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January 25, 2023
Your brain is the command center of your body. Harnessing its optimal potential will make you a more engaged, productive person. Nootropics are natural supplements designed to improve your brain's ability to function. They improve your ability to concentrate, focus, learn, and remember.
Nootropics may be natural or synthetic. However, synthetic nootropics come with a laundry list of side effects, which is one reason that natural nootropic supplements have become so popular as a safe alternative.
In this article, we wade into the cluttered nootropic supplement market to identify the seven best nootropics currently available. We will also analyze the best nootropic ingredients in-depth and provide you with a comprehensive nootropic supplement buyer's guide.
**There may be affiliate links in this post where we might receive a small commission on purchases you make. We only recommend products we think you will find valuable.**
NooCube is a very popular nootropic from a company called Wolfson Berg. The capsule-form supplement is manufactured in the UK and shipped around the world. It works to improve mental functioning through five means:
Lowering stress levels
Enhancing the connection between the eye and the brain
There are 13 science-supported ingredients in NooCube. Here is what you get, along with the dosages:
Lutemax® 2020 - 20mg
Bacopa monnieri - 250 mg
Pterostilbene - 140 mcg
Huperzia serrata - 20 mg
L-theanine - 100 mg
Resveratrol 99% - 14.3 mg
Alpha GPC - 50 mg
L-tyrosine - 250 mg
Cat's claw - 4:1 extract - 175 mg
Oat straw - 10:1 extract - 150 mg
Vitamin B1 - 1.1 mg
Vitamin B7 - 50 mcg
Vitamin B12 - 2.5 mcg
Each of these ingredients is dosed following clinical recommendations. None of them have reported side effects, making NooCube a safe, effective alternative to synthetic prescription nootropics.
Many positive reviews attest to NooCube's ability to improve focus, support memory, help with relaxation and stress reduction, and even promote better sleep. In addition, Wolfson Berg offers free shipping and a 90-day money-back guarantee.
Hunter Focus is a nootropic supplement specifically for people aged 30 and over. It is manufactured in the UK and US by a company called Hunter Evolve. This supplement is marketed toward professionals who need to be on top of their mental game at work and at home.
The marketers of Hunter Focus claim that the product will:
Improve long-term memory and instant recall
Lower stress and anxiety levels
Improve brain processing ability
Release creative potential
With 20 ingredients, Hunter Focus has the largest amount of ingredients of any supplement on this review page. Here is the complete ingredient list with dosages:
Acetyl-L-carnitine - 800 mg
L-tyrosine - 500 mg
Organic lion's mane mushroom - 500 mg
Ashwagandha root - 300 mg
Bacopa monnieri - 300 mg
Citicoline - 250 mg
L-theanine - 200 mg
Caffeine - 100 mg
Ginkgo biloba - 120 mg
Maritime pine bark extract - 75 mg
Rhodiola rosea extract - 50 mg
Spanish sage - 4:1 extract
Panax ginseng - 10:1 extract
Phosphatidylserine - 100 mg
Vitamin B6 - 2.5 mg
Vitamin B9 - 100 mcg
Vitamin B12 - 7.5 mcg
Vitamin C - 200 mg
Vitamin D3 - 75 mcg
Vitamin K12 - 100 mcg
All of these ingredients are enclosed in a veggie cellulose capsule, making this a vegan-friendly supplement. It is also gluten, soy, and preservative-free.
The recommended daily serving of Hunter Focus is six capsules per day, which some people may struggle with.
Vyvamind is a popular nootropic stack that has proven itself especially useful for people with ADHD. Many people have found it to be a viable alternative to prescription medications. One reason that people seem to like this supplement so much is that its cognitive-enhancing effects kick in after 15-20 minutes.
Vyvamind has been created to act as an alternative to medications like Ritalin, which carries some serious side effects. To do that, it works on three key cognitive pathways:
Vyvamind pares the ingredient list back to the following six research-backed compounds:
Citicoline - 200mg
L-Tyrosine - 300mg
Caffeine Anhydrous - 75mg
L-Theanine - 150mg
Vitamin B6 - 2.5mg
Vitamin B12 - 50mcg
Even though this supplement does include stimulants such as caffeine and theanine, they are not in dosages that will produce jittery side effects.
Choline is a dietary compound that has been shown to have powerful brain-boosting abilities. It is able to support the synthesis of acetylcholine, which is known to enhance brain functioning. The Nootropics Depot Choline Sample Pack combines four unique choline formulations, each of which provides a unique benefit.
The four components of this sample pack are:
Cognizin Citicoline - this is a proprietary form of citicoline designed to improve focus and attention span.
Alpha GPC - this compound has been shown to support brain health and boost athletic performance.
Choline L-Bitartrate - pairing choline with bitartrate increases its absorbability and bioavailability.
DMAE L-Bitartrate - this compound is a precursor to acetylcholine and is known to boost memory recall.
Each of the four jars in this sample pack contains 15 capsules.
Performance Lab Mind is manufactured by Performance Lab and contains just four ingredients. It is focused on improving both long-term and short-term memory recall. Here are the ingredients and their dosages:
Cognizin® citicoline - 250 mg
Ajipure® L-tyrosine - 250 mg
Soy-Free Sharp-PS® Green - 100 mg
Maritime pine bark extract - 75 mg
This is a stimulant-free supplement, so you won't get a lot of extra energy from it. It's also vegan-friendly thanks to the tapioca-based capsule that houses the ingredients. The daily recommended dosage is 1-2 capsules per day.
For a focused product that has only a few ingredients, Performance Lab Mind is a relatively expensive supplement. However, many users find that it is better able to improve focus and memory than universal nootropics that try to do it all.
Life Extension Quick Brain is designed to boost mental sharpness, improve learning ability and boost creative thinking capacity. It includes the carotenoid compounds lutein and zeaxanthin, which have been shown to improve memory, thinking, and cognitive functioning.
There are just four ingredients in this supplement:
Gotu kola extract - 250 mg
Bacopa extract - 150 mg
Marigold extract (lutein) - 100 mg
Marigold extract (zeaxanthin) - 52 mg
Life Extension Quick Brain lacks some of the key ingredients that you would expect in a quality nootropic supplement. However, the four ingredients that are included work synergistically to improve mood and focus. This is the most cost-effective nootropic we have come across, with a per-serving cost of around 50 cents.
MindLab Pro is a product of Opti Nutra, which operates out of New Jersey, USA. This supplement is classified as a universal nootropic, indicating that it works on all five areas of cognitive enhancement rather than focusing on just a couple.
The key benefits that Opti Nutra promotes with this product are improved multitasking, the ability to enhance work productivity, greater brain clarity, and the ability to operate more effectively when under stress.
MindLab Pro is made up of 11 research-supported ingredients that are designed to improve cognitive function by enhancing six mechanisms:
Here's a breakdown of the ingredients and dosages in MindLab Pro:
Organic lion's mane mushroom - 500 mg
Citicoline - 250 mg
N-Acetyl L-tyrosine - 175 mg
Bacopa monnieri - 150 mg
Phosphatidylserine (from sunflower lecithin) - 100 mg
L-theanine - 100 mg
Maritime pine bark extract - 75 mg
Rhodiola rosea - 50 mg
Vitamin B6 - 2.5 mg
Vitamin B9 - 100 mcg
Vitamin B12 - 7.5 mcg
You'll notice that there is no caffeine in MindLabPro. This is, in fact, a completely stimulant-free supplement, so you won't have to worry about any stimulant side effects. There are also no fillers, additives, or preservatives in this supplement. There are a couple of missing ingredients that we'd like to see included in mindLabPro, namely ashwagandha and Ginkgo biloba.
Your purchase of MindLabPro is covered by a 30-day guarantee. This supplement has a 4-star rating on Amazon, with more than half of the 700 reviews handing out five stars.
The Greek words nous and trepin are the source of the word "nootropics." "To bend the mind" is the most accurate translation. Although it can sound a little frightening, the mind was designed to be adaptable. The secret to unlocking your mind's originality, effectiveness, and total brain strength is actually mental flexibility.
Nootropics are herbal supplements that have been scientifically proven to improve memory, focus, energy, and cognitive function. Some nootropics can also improve your mood and sleep. They are derived from organic sources.
In recent years, scientists have been concentrating on a concept known as neuroplasticity. Simply said, this term indicates that the brain is malleable throughout time. This implies that mental patterns, addictions, and behaviors may all be altered with time. This ability can be improved by nootropics.
Many individuals mix up the terms "nootropics" with "smart drugs." However, there is a significant difference between them. Nootropics are substances with no toxicities or side effects. Smart drugs, on the other hand, are only available with a prescription and tend to have some negative side effects. The majority of smart drugs are synthetic or man-made. Although some nootropics may be manufactured artificially, most of their ingredients are naturally sourced.
Nootropics come in a variety of forms, such as powder, capsules, and liquid. Some nootropics even have a fragrance, making it possible to inhale them into your system.
Compounds must possess the following characteristics in order to be labeled as nootropics:
They ought to improve memory and learning.
They ought to strengthen defenses against ingrained behaviors like electric shock and hypoxia (lack of oxygen).
They should guard the brain against various physical or chemical harms, such as those caused by prescription medications.
They should have extremely low toxicity and very few adverse effects.
They need to boost the effectiveness of the tonic cortical/subcortical control systems, which will enhance both conscious and unconscious behavior.
There has been a lot of study into the benefits of taking nootropic supplements over the last decade. Not all of the claimed benefits of nootropics have been proven by science, but many of them have. Here are the six most substantiated benefits of adding a nootropic to your supplement regimen.
Many people have trouble focusing or thinking clearly, sometimes called brain fog. Lack of focus has become more common due to the frequently changing stimuli we have access to on phones and computers.
Nootropics assist in overcoming the sensation that you are being forced to concentrate. It makes focusing effortless and natural. Nootropics have been found to increase the capacity to focus for extended periods of time while remaining alert and rational.¹
Natural nootropics support and restore memory functions like working memory and recall power. Some nootropics even boost neural connections and brain cell proliferation which improve brain function. Greater synaptic plasticity is the result, which enhances memory performance.²
20% of the body's energy is used by the brain, which places a heavy burden on energy supplies. Nootropics may improve brain cell energy utilization and boost glucose and oxygen delivery. As a result, the brain gets more fuel and uses it more effectively.³
Nootropics boost mental energy, agility, fast thinking, and alertness without the negative side effects of stimulants.
Our brains' health suffers due to the hectic, stressful modern Western lifestyle. Nootropics mitigate this impact on healthy brain function by gradually boosting oxygenation of the brain. The neurons and other brain cells they support are also maintained. Some nootropics even encourage the development of new brain tissue.⁴
Nootropics work on the brain's mood-enhancing receptors to improve a person's mood. This enables individuals to overcome stress, anxiety, despair, and other problems while sharpening their focus and cultivating a more optimistic view.⁵
Executive function includes such things as memory, concentration, creative ability, and motivation. It is also referred to as being in a state of flow, where all mental applications seem to be effortless.⁶
The term nootropics covers both natural supplements and synthetic compounds that may be sold over the counter or through a prescription. In general, natural, herbally-based nootropics, such as those reviewed in this article, are side effect free.
However, because these supplements may include a wide variety of compounds, there may be some exceptions. For example, some ingredients, such as ginseng and Ginkgo biloba, may have blood-thinning properties. If you are already on a blood thinner like Warfarin, you will want to avoid that ingredient.
Nootropics can be addictive. The positive mental benefits may lead to a reliance on nootropic supplements that could reinforce such negative habits as not getting enough sleep or eating properly.
Some people may experience minor side effects such as stomach aches, nausea, and headaches when taking a nootropic supplement. These usually only last for a week or two.
There are dozens of compounds that are considered to be nootropics. In this section, we provide an overview of the 13 most research-backed herbal nootropic supplement ingredients.
Caffeine is the most well-known and widely consumed nootropic on the planet. It is an antagonist of the adenosine receptor. Your brain uses adenosine as an inhibitory neurotransmitter; as adenosine levels grow throughout the day, alertness declines and eventually transitions to sleep.
Caffeine blocks two of the four adenosine receptor subtypes (A1 and A2A), acting as an adenosine antagonist. Increased wakefulness is produced by preventing adenosine from interacting with these two receptor subtypes.
Caffeine has also been shown to boost long-term memory and act as a stimulant to the central nervous system.
L-Theanine is an amino acid found in green tea. Studies have shown it to have an anti-stress effect on the body. This makes it an effective nootropic to help you to deal with the stressors you encounter throughout the day.⁷
Theanine is acknowledged as a nootropic anxiolytic with the capacity to calm the mind without making one sleepy. It is often paired with caffeine to help with depression relief, increase brain clarity, and improve general mental performance.
Theanine has also been demonstrated to lower blood pressure and heart rate, enhance sleep quality, and lessen signs of stress by promoting feelings of tranquility. Additionally, it has the power to shield the brain from oxidative harm.
Theanine increases the concentrations of relaxing brain chemicals. Cortisol levels are also decreased as a result of it. The calming neurotransmitters dopamine, serotonin, and GABA, all of which are crucial for controlling mood, alertness, sleep, and energy, are likewise increased by L-theanine.
The standard dosage of l-theanine is between 100-200 grams per day.
Lion's mane is a type of mushroom. A group of substances found in lion's mane promotes the synthesis of nerve growth factor (NGF). This little protein is crucial for the development and upkeep of supporting healthy brain cells.
In a 2010 study, 30 females were given cookies containing either lion's mane mushrooms or a placebo in Tokyo, Japan's Biomedical Research Journal. In the group that ate the lion's mane cookies, there was a decrease in anxiety levels.
Daily dosages of between 500 mg and 3000 mg have been shown to be safe and effective.
Bacopa monnieri, colloquially known as the herb of grace, has a long history of use in India to improve cognitive function. Its active compounds are called bacosides. According to studies, these substances can significantly help increase the quickness of attention and memory recall. It has also been demonstrated that taking bacopa and Rhodiola rosea together elevates mood.
Bacopa has a special capacity to guard against dopamine receptor malfunction in the brain, which supports the maintenance of vigor and motivation.
The recommended dosage for bacopa monnieri is 300 mg daily.
Rhodiola Rosea is often referred to as golden root. It is advertised as an energizing and mood enhancer. Rosea contains rosavins, a crucial component that offers antidepressant and antianxiety properties. In recent investigations, a different substance, known as salidroside, has been discovered to be more active than rosavin.
In a 2013 study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, researchers examined Rhodiola supplementation's effects on endurance exercises (10-minute warm-up with a 6-mile time trial on a bicycle ergometer). They discovered that Rhodiola consumption significantly reduced heart rate during the warm-up and decreased how difficult the exercise felt, which improved performance.⁸
Rhodiola is regarded as an adaptogenic nootropic. The recommended dosage is 250-600 mg per day.
One of the substances in nootropic supplements that is currently most in demand is Ginkgo biloba. It comes from the Ginkgo biloba tree and has substances called terpenoids and flavonoids in it. Antioxidants like these can neutralize free radicals, which speed up the aging process in both the body and mind.
An analysis of the relationship between ginkgo supplementation and cognitive function over a 20-year period was conducted in a 2013 study. In this study, the ginkgo supplementation group's cognitive function deteriorated more slowly than the control group's. Another study group chose the synthetic nootropic piracetam as their preferred nootropic and discovered that the same positive effect was not reached. The ginkgo group obtained the single and only therapy when compared to the piracetam and no treatment group.
The recommended dosage for Ginkgo biloba is 120-140 mg per day.
Maritime pine bark extract comes from a pine tree that originates in the Mediterranean region. Its active ingredient is a compound called pycnogenol. Its key nootropic benefit lies in its ability to increase brain blood flow. Studies have also shown that pycnogenol may help to alleviate the symptoms of such cognitive disorders as Alzheimer's disease, ADHD, and Parkinson's.
Studies have also shown that maritime pine bark extract may improve memory, mood, concentration, and the ability to make decisions.⁹
In one study, 60 volunteers between the ages of 35 and 55 participated in a 12-week study. 50 mg of pycnogenol was given to half of the group three times per day, while the other half was given a placebo. The pycnogenol supplementation group demonstrated a 16% boost in mood, an 8.9% boost in mental function, a 13.4% boost in sustained attention, and a 30% drop in oxidative stress. The placebo group showed no measurable changes.
The recommended dosage for maritime pine bark extract is 150 mg per day.
CDP Choline is more commonly referred to as citicoline.
Citicoline is a nootropic ingredient that has been shown to enhance communication between brain cells. As a result, focus and concentration are improved. Citicoline also appears to help other nootropic ingredients to work better.¹⁰
The recommended daily dosage of citicoline is 500-2000 mg.
Three key B vitamins - B6, B9, and B12 - have been shown to have powerful cognitive benefits. These are water-soluble vitamins that are quickly depleted in the body. Low levels of these three vitamins have been associated with a decline in brain functioning.
Folic acid, which is found in vitamin B9, has been shown to be especially powerful in its ability to boost memory, focus, and creative thinking ability. Vitamins B6, B9, and B12 have all been seen to be able to reduce blood homocysteine levels. This results in improvements in mood, concentration, energy, and overall cognitive fitness.¹¹
The following are the daily recommended dosages for men as provided by the NIH:
Vitamin B6 - 1.3 mg
Vitamin B9 - 400 mcg DFE
Vitamin B12 - 2.4 mcg
The molecule phosphatidylserine is crucial for numerous bodily processes, particularly those involving the brain.
In the body, phosphatidylserine is a component of cell structure. Although phosphatidylserine can be produced by the body, we get it mostly from food and supplements. In the past, cow brain was used to make these supplements. These days, they are frequently manufactured from soy or cabbage.
Alzheimer's disease and typical aging-related memory and cognitive impairment may be treated with phosphatidylserine.¹²
The recommended dosage for phosphatidylserine is 200-400 mg per day.
DHA is a form of Omega-3 fatty acid that has a powerful positive effect on the brain. The brain is 60% fat, and omega-3 fatty acids are the main building blocks of cell nerves and membranes. They are also the preferred energy source for the brain.
DHA is the most plentiful Omega-3 fatty acid found in the brain. It is also the main component of the cerebral cortex, which controls memory, creativity, and concentration. Supplementing with DHA will improve communication between different parts of the brain.
DHA supplementation has also been shown to increase the levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), leading to the formation of new cells in the brain.¹³
The recommended dosage for total Omega-3 fatty acids is 500-1000 mg per day.
L-Tyrosine is an amino acid that enhances focus and eases training stress by lowering cortisol production. It can also be used to help combat the effects of sleep deprivation.
Tyrosine is converted by the body into a precursor of the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and epinephrine, which give you a burst of energy, and dopamine, which controls sensations of well-being. Tyrosine supplementation may also aid in reducing fatigue, according to research¹⁴
L-Tyrosine should be taken 500–2000 mg per day. It should be consumed roughly 30 minutes prior to your workout.
Withania somnifera is the official scientific name for ashwagandha, also referred to as Indian ginseng. It has a lengthy history of use in India as an adaptogenic herb. This nootropic can also be used to boost energy. Ashwagandha can increase adrenaline and dopamine, which are catecholamines. Catecholamines can play a part in improving memory and motivation.¹⁵
The recommended dosage for ashwagandha is 600-1200 mg per day.
There is an intimidating number of nootropic supplement brands on the market. Use the following guide to help you negotiate your way through them to find the best supplement to meet your needs.
It is easy to be taken aback by the list of ingredients on a nootropic supplement label. Most of the words you won't even be able to pronounce. That is why we've provided an overview of the 13 most research-backed ingredients in this article. Look out for them on the label. If the product doesn't include a good number of them, put it back on the shelf.
Ingredient dosage is just as important as the actual ingredient itself. Many manufacturers underdose their ingredients to save money. Check the label to make sure that the brand you are considering is within the recommended range.
A large number of manufacturers choose to hide their ingredient dosages behind a proprietary blend. This is when they group a bunch of ingredients together under a fancy title and only provide you with the total dosage quantity of the combined ingredients.
As a result, you do not know how much of each individual ingredient is in the product. This is a disservice to the consumer; you deserve to know exactly what is in the product and in what quantity.
The best nootropic supplement manufacturers will make use of 3rd party testing with an independent laboratory to check on the purity and potency of the product. Look for a nootropic supplement that has a label sticker indicating that it has been 3rd party tested.
The price of nootropic supplements varies greatly, depending on the brand, ingredients, and marketing budget of the manufacturer. The seven best nootropics reviewed in this article range in price from around $15-$75 for a one-month supply.
We always recommend checking the review pages on any supplement you are considering purchasing. Doing so will allow you to read real user experiences with the product. Take note of the reported cognitive benefits, how long it takes for the benefit to kick in, and any unwanted side effects.
Yes, nootropics do work in terms of boosting brain function, energy, and focus. However, the individual effectiveness of a brand depends on the ingredients included and how they are dosed.
Nootropics should be taken by people who want to improve their attention, memory, creative ability, and mood. However, you should consider a nootropic to be a supplement to a mentally healthy lifestyle. So, if you are not getting adequate sleep, following a healthy diet, and following mindful health practices, you should consider incorporating these factors into your life before using a nootropic supplement.
Nootropics tend to be more expensive than most other types of supplements. The top seven nootropics reviewed in this article range in price from around $15 to $75 per month, or between 50 cents and $2.50 per daily serving.
The length of time it takes for a nootropic to work depends on the individual ingredients in the product. Some ingredients, such as caffeine, will kick in after a few minutes, while others will need to build up in the body for a number of weeks before you feel their effects.
The best nootropics are those that include at least half a dozen scientifically proven ingredients at dosages that are in line with clinical recommendations. Our pick for the best nootropic out right now is NooCube.
Nootropic brain supplements promise to boost brain function, increase energy levels and elevate the user's mood. But they will only do those things if they include the right ingredients in the right amounts. In this article, we've shone a light on the seven best nootropic supplements on the market right now across a range of categories.
The best overall nootropic on the 2023 market is NooCube, which includes 13 well-dosed ingredients designed to increase focus, boost memory, improve attention levels, reduce stress, and improve eye-brain coordination.
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