+1(855) 228-9993 (M-F, 9-6)
Search Site

Supplements for Pain: 5 Top Substances that May Help With Pain

Chronic pain can be a debilitating source of discomfort. Pain relief tablets make up a billion-dollar industry, in the US alone. [1] Unfortunately, pain-relief tablets, especially opioid-based tablets, account for a large number of deaths every year. Whether this is from allergies or overuse is unclear. In 2013, there were over 18’000 deaths related to over-the-counter pain relief tablets reported by the CDC.[2]

Dietary supplements for pain are by no means able to replace pain relief tablets. However, it is interesting that some supplements may have the potential to manage certain symptoms of pain, especially chronic pain. We’ll explain more here!

woman with back pain Some dietary supplements may have the potential to help with pain

Types of pain

You can divide pain into two groups: chronic pain and acute pain.

Acute pain is usually short-lived, lasting anywhere from a moment to around six months. Acute pain is often described as “sharp” or “burning” pain. Examples of acute pain include a raw, inflamed throat, headaches, burns or cuts, or broken bones.

man with back pain Chronic pain can cause anxiety and depression

Chronic pain, on the other hand, is long-lasting and is often described as more of an “aching” nature. Chronic pain may last for a few weeks up to a few years. Scientists associate chronic pain with negative psychological effects like anxiety and depression. Examples of chronic pain include migraines, back pain, arthritis, nerve damage, and chronic inflammation.

The methods use to relieve pain often depend on the type of pain. These range from pharmaceuticals to therapy and counseling, to surgery. [3]


Pain-relief versus Anti-inflammatory

The scientific name for a substance that has pain-relief properties is an analgesic substance. Analgesics and anti-inflammatories often go hand-in-hand, and most pain-relief pills also act as anti-inflammatories.

The reason for this is that pain is so often associated with inflammation. For example, if you have a cold, you’ll also have a headache and sore throat, and your throat and sinus will most likely also be inflamed.

supplements for pain, help with inflammation All pain is related to your body's response to inflammation

In fact, in recent breakthroughs, scientists have discovered that all pain is related to inflammation and the response of your inflammatory system.

“Activation of pain receptors, transmission, and modulation of pain signals, neuroplasticity and central sensitization are all one continuum of inflammation and the inflammatory response. Irrespective of the characteristic of the pain, whether it is sharp, dull, aching, burning, stabbing, numbing or tingling, all pain arises from inflammation and the inflammatory response.” – Sota Omoigui, MD [4]

Inflammation is the causal agent of pain.


Top Five Dietary Supplements for Pain-Relief:


1.    DL-Phenylalanine

DL-Phenylalanine is an interesting Nootropic with a number of benefits. It is one of the most promising supplements for pain. DL-Phenylalanine is comprised of both L-Phenylalanine and D-Phenylalanine.[5] This allows the Nootropic to have multiple benefits.

L-Phenylalanine is an amino acid that you’ll find in low concentrations in many food sources. You can think of the L-Phenylalanine part of DL-Phenylalanine as being more of the mental part of this Nootropic.

liftmode's supplements for pain Liftmode's DL-Phenylalanine, 99% purity

L-Phenylalanine has strong effects on your mood, focus, and energy. L-Phenylalanine is important for your brain to produce dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. The effects of these hormones and transmitters are to regulate mood and improve energy and focus.[6]

D-Phenylalanine is much more useful in the management of pain. A number of studies have emerged indicating that D-Phenylalanine may be very effective for reducing sensations of pain, especially chronic pain.

Scientists have suggested that your body might regulate DL-Phenylalanine through a system called the 'endogenous analgesia system' (EAS). The EAS is a neural pathway involved in reducing pain sensations, and the authors of the study suggested that DL-Phenylalanine may interact with the EAS.[7]

A second study suggested that D-Phenylalanine prevents the breakdown of natural compounds called Enkephalins. These are also involved in your body’s natural pain-relief system. The hypothesis is that D-Phenylalanine interferes with the way that Enkephalins are broken-down, and therefore helps to reduce pain.[8]

However, these studies have some experimental flaws, and there have been one or two other studies with contradictory findings. There is definitely room for more research into the potential use of DL-Phenylalanine as a dietary supplement and Nootropic for reducing pain.

Another great way to get information about the effects of DL-Phenylalanine is by reading through user reviews to see what other people have experienced.


2.    Choline Bitartrate

Choline bitartrate is a great dietary supplement with potentially strong effects on reducing inflammation. Reduction in inflammation is especially important for chronic pain. In fact, it is a well-known fact in the medical profession that almost every pain syndrome is caused by inflammation and inflammatory responses.4

Scientists have not yet produced any studies on choline and pain reduction in humans. However, they have published numerous studies showing how effective it is at reducing inflammation. [9]

choline bitartrate for improved cognitive function Liftmode Choline, 99%+ purity

In fact, scientists have shown that people with high dietary choline and betaine are less likely to have inflammation. Betaine is found primarily in plant sources like quinoa, beets, and spinach. [10] Dietary choline is found at high concentrations in eggs, fish, and soy. [11]

When we eat choline or take choline supplements for pain, a lot of it is converted into betaine in our liver. Betaine is an extremely important compound for reducing inflammation. Your body uses betaine to lower its homocysteine levels, and this decreases inflammation.[12]

Choline bitartrate acts as a dietary choline supplement. Around 42% of choline bitartrate is choline. Other forms of choline supplements include Alpha-GPC and CPD-Choline. These contain around 40% choline by weight.[13]

CDP-Choline is converted into Choline and Uridine. Scientists believe that uridine may also have a role to play in reducing pain. One study on over 200 patients with chronic pain found that uridine with B12 and folic acid was effective at reducing pain.[14]


3.    Agmatine Sulfate

Agmatine is a compound that is very similar to the amino acid L-arginine. Like acetylcholine, agmatine is an important neurotransmitter. It may help to maintain healthy brain function, as well as improve cognitive performance.

Scientists are busy studying agmatine along with other supplements for pain. Agmatine could potentially be used as a dietary supplement for drug addictions and reducing pain. Agmatine sulfate is the most common form of the agmatine supplement and the sulfate group keeps the compound stable.

Agmatine works in a number of ways to produce its great health benefiting qualities. Scientists are looking into studying the effects of agmatine on humans. Because of the lack of human studies, the recommended dosage is based on a single study. This study used between 1.3 – 2.6 grams of agmatine per dose, for pain reduction and improving cognition.[15]

woman is stressed / anxious Agmatine sulfate may be beneficial as a dietary supplement for reducing anxiety

There is a single human study to date on agmatine for pain reduction. In the study, scientists gave 61 patients diagnosed with serious back pain varying doses of agmatine sulfate (or placebo) over 10 – 21 days. The results showed that the agmatine supplement significantly improved pain symptoms and improved the quality of life for those involved. [16]

Interestingly, there is one other agmatine study on humans, this one looking at its effects on depression. Three participants, all diagnosed with major depressive disorder (MDD), were given agmatine supplements, which seemed to alleviate their symptoms.

They then volunteered to receive PCPA, a substance known to cause a relapse of depression. While they were taking agnatine, the relapse did not occur.[17]

Agmatine is an interesting new dietary supplement with a number of potentially beneficial effects, including pain reduction.


4.    Noopept

Companies often market Noopept as the most potent Nootropic available. It is based on the previous Nootropics of Piracetam and Phenylpiracetam but is up to 1000 times stronger and more effective than Piracetam.[18]

Most users take Noopept for its potential ability to improve brain health and cognitive function. Many Noopept users also report increased mental clarity and improved memory. Some people say that Noopept also acts as a mental stimulant.

brain with neurons firing Noopept, a powerful Nootropic substance, may also have potent pain relief properties

However, many users are unaware of the potential anti-inflammatory effects of Noopept. Many, many scientific articles have examined the link between inflammation and disease. However, as we explored above, the link between inflammation and pain is often misunderstood. People don't often group Noopept with other supplements for pain.

There have been two large animal studies looking at Noopept’s ability to reduce inflammation. In both studies, researchers injected laboratory-bred mice with a chemical called concanavaline A, a powerful substance that causes excessive inflammation. Scientists then injected the mice with Noopept. The results showed a marked reduction in inflammation in the mice. [19] [20]

Reading through animal experiments can be interesting. However, it is more informative to read through the experiences of consenting humans. Since most people aren’t aware of the potential anti-inflammatory and pain-reducing effects of Noopept, there are few experiences listing these effects. [21]

Have you tried Noopept? Did it help to reduce pain? In future, you'll be able to find high quality Noopept at Newmind.com.


5.    Tianeptine

Tianeptine is a new research chemical that could potentially have strong anti-depressant effects. Animal studies have indicated that tianeptine is good for reducing stress and anxiety, in rats. These studies also found that tianeptine has memory-protective effects and that it blocks the negative effects of stress on significant portions of the brain.[22]

Scientists have also conducted a number of human studies on the effects of tianeptine. These have shown that tianeptine may have the potential to work as a supplement for reducing depression and anxiety.[23]

inflammation wrist Many supplements may have the potential to reduce inflammation

As with Noopept, the anti-inflammatory effects of tianeptine remain relatively unknown. Two studies have shown the possible potential for tianeptine as a potent anti-inflammatory research chemical.[24]

In one study, the scientists found that tianeptine prevented inflammation by de-activating microglia cells (immune response cells found in your brain and central nervous system, responsible for inflammation).[25]

Tianeptine is a research compound that people use mostly for improving mood and reducing stress. Recent studies have shown that it may also be effective at reducing inflammation.

couple enjoying the beach It feels great to be free from pain!

Top 5 Interesting Alternative Pain-relief methods:

We’ve also compiled a list of alternative methods of pain management. People use these alternative methods especially for reducing chronic pain.

1.    Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a form of ancient Chinese medicine, developed over 3000 years ago. It involves using very fine needles to puncture your skin in different points, called acupoints. Acupuncture is based on the principle of Qi – vital energy.

acupuncturist is treating a woman's back Acupuncture is an alternative treatment for pain

The acupoints are connected to your body’s major energy meridians. The ancient Chinese believed that a blockage in Qi, or energy flow, caused disease and pain. Using needles to open the energy points is thought to allow the flow of Qi to resume in its normal way.[26]

Although acupuncture had a bad reputation among Western scientists and medical practitioners for a long time, there have been an increasing number of studies that are pointing toward its effectiveness. In fact, according to WebMd’s Dr. David Kiefer, the medical community now largely accepts acupuncture as a form of treatment for pain. [27]


2.    Medical marijuana

Cannabis is now legal for the medical treatment of chronic pain in 25 States. Although still strictly regulated because of the potential for misuse, many patients are turning to marijuana for its well-known effects on pain.[28]

medical marijuana plant Medical marijuana is a highly regulated form of pain management

Researchers have produced several human studies on the effects of medical marijuana and symptoms of pain. With the down-regulation of the legality of marijuana, it has become easier for scientists to conduct more studies. Many studies point to the effectiveness of medical marijuana in reducing symptoms of pain, and it is prescribed by many physicians for these effects.[29]


3.    Exercise

Scientists have produced a large library of human-based evidence showing that exercise is effective at managing many forms of chronic pain.[30] Numerous studies have found that exercise reduces physical pain, especially chronic pain. Even just one hour of exercise a day has great effects on reducing pain.[31]

It’s a good idea to speak to a doctor or a fitness instructor about the best exercises for managing pain. However, it’s important to know that some scientists have found that the pain-relief from exercise is not dependent on what exercises you did. In other words, any exercise at all is good for reducing pain.


4.    Meditation

The most accessible and ancient form of meditation, mindfulness meditation, is where you try to calm your mind from all thought and simply experience each moment as it is. This usually requires you to try to focus on the sensation of breathing in and out.

woman meditating on the beach Meditation is a great way to reduce your perception of pain.

Researchers have shown that mindfulness meditation can actually re-wire your brain. [32] The concept of neuroplasticity means that the neural networks in your brain change based on experiences and thoughts. Mindfulness meditation allows you to overcome thought patterns based on anxiety and stress, and to be more accepting of situations that are out of your control. This may negate the need to use supplements for pain.

A number of studies have examined the effects of mindfulness meditation on pain relief. Well-conducted studies, using brain scans and comparisons to common pain-relief substances, have shown that mindfulness meditation is highly effective at reducing your perception of pain.[33] [34]


5.    Visiting a chiropractor

Visiting a chiropractor is another method of pain relief, especially for back pain. Chiropractors focus on neuromuscular disorders, and attempt to treat these using manual pressure and physical exercises on your spine.[35]

Like acupuncture, chiropractic therapy had a bad reputation in the medical community for quite a while. Recently, however, more studies are being published indicating the efficacy of chiropractic therapy in pain relief. These studies look especially at the chiropractic treatment of lower and upper back pain, where it is most effective.[36]



The medical community has reached a consensus that almost all pain and pain-related disorders are a result of inflammation or inflammatory response. As a result, doctors often prescribe anti-inflammatory substances to go with pain relief tablets.

There are a number of dietary supplements for pain. These include, but are not limited to, Choline Bitartrate, Noopept, DL-Phenylalanine, Agmatine, and Tianeptine. The research on these substances is still preliminary, but user reviews show that many people have success with them.

There are also a number of alternative methods of reducing pain, including acupuncture, meditation, chiropractic therapy, exercise, and medical marijuana.

Liftmode.com does not advocate the use of any dietary supplement over prescribed medication. If you have a pain disorder, please consult your physician about treatment plans.

top nootropics



[1] Annual sales of the leading OTC pain relief products* in the United States in July 2014**, in million U.S. dollars, Statistics Portal.com, 2014, available from https://www.statista.com/statistics/322991/sales-of-otc-pain-relief-products-in-the-us/

[2] Annual Causes of Death in the United States, Drugwarfacts.com, 2014, available from https://www.drugwarfacts.org/cms/Causes_of_Death#sthash.BVoCCcZP.dpbs

[3] Acute vs. Chronic Pain, Cleveland Clinic, 2015, Clevelandclinic.org

[4] The Biochemical Origin of Pain: The origin of all Pain is Inflammation and the Inflammatory Response. PART 2 of 3 –Inflammatory Profile of Pain Syndromes, S. Omoigui, MD, Med Hypotheses. 2007; 69(6): 1169–1178, Published online 2007 Aug 28, doi:  10.1016, available from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2771434/

[5] Phenylalanine, University of Maryland Medical Center, Steven D. Ehrlich, NMD, June 2015, available from https://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/phenylalanine

[6] Phenylethylamine, Examine.com, available from https://examine.com/supplements/phenylethylamine/

[7] DL-phenylalanine markedly potentiates opiate analgesia - an example of nutrient/pharmaceutical up-regulation of the endogenous analgesia system, AL Russel and MF McCarty, Med Hypotheses. 2000 Oct;55(4):283-8, available from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10998643

[8] The Use of D-Phenylalanine in the Treatment of Chronic Pain, K Budd, ZAK Zürich, Volume 188 of the series Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine, pp 306-311, available from https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007%2F978-3-642-71269-2_48

[9] Dietary choline and betaine intakes in relation to concentrations of inflammatory markers in healthy adults: the ATTICA study, P Detopoulou et al., Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 Feb;87(2):424-30, available from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18258634

[10] Foods highest in Betaine, Self Nutrition Data, available from https://nutritiondata.self.com/foods-000145000000000000000-w.html

[11] Foods highest in Choline, Self Nutrition Data, available from https://nutritiondata.self.com/foods-000144000000000000000-1w.html

[12] Choline, Oregon State University, Jane Higdon, Ph.D et al., this version reviewed in Feb 2015, available from https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/other-nutrients/choline

[13] What Source of Choline Should I Use?, Examine.com, available from https://examine.com/nutrition/what-source-of-choline-should-i-use/

[14] Effect of the combination of uridine nucleotides, folic acid and vitamin B12 on the clinical expression of peripheral neuropathies, L Negrao et al., Pain Manag. 2014 May;4(3):191-6. doi: 10.2217, available from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24835269

[15] Agmatine, Examine.com, available from https://examine.com/supplements/agmatine/

[16] Safety and Efficacy of Dietary Agmatine Sulfate in Lumbar Disc-associated Radiculopathy. An Open-label, Dose-escalating Study Followed by a Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Trial, O Keynan et al., Pain Med. 2010 Mar;11(3):356-68. doi: 10.1111, available from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20447305

[17] The clinical antidepressant effect of exogenous agmatine is not reversed by parachlorophenylalanine: a pilot study, B Shopsin, Acta Neuropsychiatrica, Volume 25, Issue 2, April 2013, pp. 113-118

[18] Noopept, Examine.com, available from https://examine.com/supplements/noopept/

[19] [An experimental study of the anti-inflammatory action of noopept and its effect on the level of cytokines], SV Alekseeva et al., Eksp Klin Farmakol. 2012;75(9):25-7, available from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23156084

[20] [Anti-inflammatory properties of noopept (dipeptide nootropic agent GVS-111)], LP Kovalenko et al., Eksp Klin Farmakol. 2002 Mar-Apr;65(2):53-5, available from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12109295

[21] Noopept - long-term experience (more than a simple nootropic), Registered user review posted on LongeCity.org

[22] Tianeptine: An Antidepressant with Memory-Protective Properties, P.R. Zoladz et al., Curr Neuropharmacol. 2008 Dec; 6(4): 311–321, doi:  10.2174, available from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2701287/

[23] Tianeptine: a review of its use in depressive disorders, AJ Wagstaff et al., CNS Drugs. 2001;15(3):231-59, available from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11463130

[24] Chronic administration of tianeptine balances lipopolysaccharide-induced expression of cytokines in the spleen and hypothalamus of rats, N Castanon et al., Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2004 Jul;29(6):778-90, available from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15110927

[25] Anti-inflammatory properties of tianeptine on lipopolysaccharide-induced changes in microglial cells involve toll-like receptor-related pathways, J Slusarczyk et al., J Neurochem. 2016 Mar;136(5):958-70. doi: 10.1111, available from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26640965

[26] Acupuncture in pain management, J Wilkinson and R Faleiro, Contin Educ Anaesth Crit Care Pain (2007) 7 (4): 135-138, doi: 10.1093, available from https://ceaccp.oxfordjournals.org/content/7/4/135.full

[27] Why Does Acupunture Work? S Lipsey, WebMD.com, available from https://www.webmd.com/pain-management/features/acupuncture-pain-killer

[28] 25 Legal Medical Marijuana States and DC, Procon.org, available from https://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=000881

[29] Medical Marijuana for Treatment of Chronic Pain and Other Medical and Psychiatric Problems: A Clinical Review, KP Hill, JAMA. 2015 Jun 23-30;313(24):2474-83. doi: 10.1001, available from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26103031

[30] Exercise in the treatment of chronic pain, S Mior, Clin J Pain. 2001 Dec;17(4 Suppl):S77-85, available from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11783835

[31] Physical exercise: does it help in relieving pain and increasing mobility among older adults with chronic pain?, MM Tse et al., J Clin Nurs. 2011 Mar;20(5-6):635-44. doi: 10.1111, available from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21320192

[32] Buddha's Brain: Neuroplasticity and Meditation, R.J. Davidson and A. Lutz, IEEE Signal Process Mag. 2008 Jan 1; 25(1): 176–174, available from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2944261/

[33] Mindfulness meditation-related pain relief: Evidence for unique brain mechanisms in the regulation of pain, F. Zeidan et al., Neurosci Lett. 2012 Jun 29; 520(2): 165–173, Published online 2012 Apr 6. doi:  10.1016, available from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3580050/

[34] Mindfulness-Meditation-Based Pain Relief Is Not Mediated by Endogenous Opioids, F Zeidan et al., J Neurosci. 2016 Mar 16;36(11):3391-7. doi: 10.1523, available from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26985045

[35] What is a Chiropractor? S.G. Yeomans, DC, 2013, spine-health.com, available from https://www.spine-health.com/treatment/chiropractic/what-a-chiropractor

[36] Evidence-based guidelines for the chiropractic treatment of adults with neck pain, R Bryans et al., J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2014 Jan;37(1):42-63. doi: 10.1016, available from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24262386