Total Shape is a reader-supported site. Purchases made through links may earn a commission. Learn more.

10 Best Nootropic for Mood & Brain Function (Buyer's Guide)

Connor Sellers
Published by Connor Sellers
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: February 9, 2023
Methodology
We personally test every product featured in our reviews and guides. By ordering products anonymously and getting a group of independent testers, we are able to get first-hand experience and provide data-driven recommendations. Learn more.

As a personal fitness coach, I often remind people that they need to make sure their brain is performing at its best in order to achieve fitness goals.

And that’s precisely where nootropic supplements for mood and brain function come into play, as they can make a huge difference in your motivation and focus.

Rather than fall for prescription smart drugs, our team decided to do some extensive research and testing into natural nootropics.

The process involved 20 testers and two months of researching dozens of nootropics to see if they would improve mood levels and to what extent.

Editor's Choice
Mind Lab Pro
Mind Lab Pro
Effectiveness
4.9
Ingredients
5.0
Price
4.9
Overall Score 4.9
4.9
Click For Best Price
#2nd Best Choice
Onnit Alpha Brain CTA
Onnit
Effectiveness
4.9
Ingredients
4.8
Price
4.8
Overall Score 4.8
4.8
Click For Best Price
#3rd Best Choice
Gorilla Mind Smooth CTA
Gorilla Mind
Effectiveness
4.8
Ingredients
4.8
Price
4.7
Overall Score 4.8
4.8
Click For Best Price

Our Top Nootropic Supplements (February 2023)

1 - Mind Lab Pro (Editor's Choice)

Mind Lab Pro
Effectiveness
4.9
Ingredients
5.0
Price
4.9
Overall Score 4.9
4.9

Our testers kept a journal to document their mood and focus throughout the day, and based on the collected data, we found that Mind Lab Pro had the most significant impact in terms of enhancing cognitive functions.

One of the stand-out ingredients is Phosphatidylserine, with research showing that it can help lower symptoms of anxiety and depression [1].

We also noticed that none of our testers reported any side effects, which often come with these dietary supplements.

Quick Facts:

  • Vitamin B6 : 2.5 mg
  • Phosphatidylserine : 250 mg
  • Lion’s Mane Mushroom : 500 mg
  • Rhodiola Rosea : 50 mg
Pros
  • Positive feedback about impacts on anxiety and depression
  • Significantly boosted cognitive function for better focus
  • Doesn’t cause side effects like stomach upset or headaches
  • The capsules are easy to swallow and don’t get stuck
Cons
  • Currently only available on the official website

2 - Onnit Alpha Brain

Onnit Alpha Brain CTA
Effectiveness
4.9
Ingredients
4.8
Price
4.8
Overall Score 4.8
4.8

Onnit is a very close second recommendation on our list, and our testing team has highlighted that they noticed a significant improvement in cognitive function. That means better focus and concentration on work and study tasks.

It looks like it’s the Alpha GPC that impacts alpha brain waves to improve focus and motivation [2].

The main reason we bumped Onnit Alpha Brain down the list is that the company has chosen to partially hide the dosage behind a proprietary label, which makes stacking more challenging.

Quick Facts:

  • Vitamin B6 : 10 mg
  • Cat’s Claw Extract : 350 mg
  • Alpha GPC : n/a
  • L-Theanine : n/a
Pros
  • Works well to relieve stress and anxiety
  • Testing results show significantly improved focus and concentration
  • Comes in small capsules that are easy to take while on the go
Cons
  • Parts of the nutrient label are hidden behind a proprietary formula

3 - Gorilla Mind Smooth

Gorilla Mind Smooth CTA
Effectiveness
4.8
Ingredients
4.8
Price
4.7
Overall Score 4.8
4.8

Gorilla Mind has become a leading brand in natural nootropics, and it ended up being another very popular one with our testing team for improved mood and brain function.

What my dietitian highlighted is the good dose of Ginkgo Biloba. This plant extract has long been used in traditional medicine, but it has also found a home in modern medical treatments for mood disorders [3].

Just keep in mind that some people have reported that they need to take more than three capsules to get the best results.

Check out our full Gorilla Mind Smooth review here.

Quick Facts:

  • L-Tyrosine : 750 mg
  • Kanna : 250 mg
  • Alpha GPC : 600 mg
  • Ginkgo Biloba : 180 mg
Pros
  • Helps with improving mood and motivation throughout the day
  • Provides great focus without the jitters from stimulants
  • Effects seem to last for more than six hours to cover a working day
Cons
  • You’ll need to swallow up to six capsules each day to get the ideal dosage

4 - Hunter Focus

Hunter Evolve Focus CTA
Effectiveness
4.7
Ingredients
4.8
Price
4.6
Overall Score 4.7
4.7

While Hunter Focus is mainly advertised as a nootropic to boost your cognitive performance, our testing team revealed that they found it significantly helped to improve mood and reduce the number of perceived distractions.

With a good dose of Rhodiola Rosea, it can help improve brain health and reduce the impacts of stress [4].

You can easily spread the dose over a full day to maximize the length of the effects, but keep in mind that the full dose requires six capsules.

Quick Facts:

  • Vitamin B6 : 2.5 mg
  • L-Carnitine : 800 mg
  • Rhodiola Rosea : 50 mg
  • Ginkgo Biloba : 120 mg
Pros
  • Positive feedback confirms it can boost mood and motivation
  • Helps to block out distractions to become more effective at work and study
  • Spreading out the capsules can extend the effects for busy workdays
Cons
  • Some people are not fans of having to swallow six capsules a day for the full dosage

5 - Gorilla Shroom

Gorilla Shroom CTA
Effectiveness
4.7
Ingredients
4.8
Price
4.6
Overall Score 4.7
4.7

This is one of the brain supplements we found that contains predominantly mushroom extracts from proven sources.

With a good dose of Lion’s Mane Mushroom, it seems to help people stay focused on complex tasks, with a few of our students highlighting that it helped them with problem-solving. Those are effects that research has proven through links to neurotransmitters [5].

And with the improvements in focus and brain performance also comes good mood enhancement.

Quick Facts:

  • Vitamin B6 : 10 mg
  • Lion’s Mane Mushroom : 1,500 mg
  • Ashwagandha : 500 mg
  • Yerba Mate Extract : 200 mg
Pros
  • Mainly based on scientifically proven herbs and mushrooms for mental clarity
  • Seems to work well to drown out the noise of distractions
  • Positive results for problem-solving complex tasks
Cons
  • It’s only available on the official website and not in stores

6 - NooCube

NooCube product
Effectiveness
4.7
Ingredients
4.6
Price
4.6
Overall Score 4.6
4.6

NooCube is another one of the popular natural nootropics that we saw recommended in many different forums and social media groups.

And our testing has shown that it has a positive impact on cognitive performance, especially memory.

My dietitian highlighted Bacopa Monnieri as one of the key ingredients because studies have linked it to triggering peak cognitive performance [6].

At the same time, she highlighted that some of the ingredients don’t have fully reliable studies to back them up.

Quick Facts:

  • Bacopa Monnieri : 250 mg
  • L-Tyrosine : 250 mg
  • Cat’s Claw Extract : 175 mg
  • Oat Straw : 150 mg
Pros
  • Students have reported positive effects on their memory function
  • Reduces stress and mental fatigue to keep your mind on track
  • The capsules are small enough not to get stuck when swallowing
Cons
  • Not all of the ingredients have enough scientific research to support them

7 - Qualia Mind

NEUROHACKER COLLECTIVE - Qualia Mind CTA
Effectiveness
4.5
Ingredients
4.6
Price
4.7
Overall Score 4.6
4.6

Qualia Mind has been formulated to specifically trigger cognitive benefits and overall mood improvements.

And our testing team reported that they felt less sluggish when they took it first thing in the morning.

One of the reasons for this is the good dose of Rhodiola Rosea, which has been proven through clinical trials to improve focus and attention [7].

Quick Facts:

  • Pantothenic Acid : 50 mg
  • Acetyl-L-Carnitine HCI : 500 mg
  • Rhodiola Rosea : 300 mg
  • Alpha GPC : 200 mg
Pros
  • Works well for short and long-term memory improvements
  • Positive mood improvements with the use of stimulants
  • Helps to lift brain fog in the morning to become more mentally focused
Cons
  • It’s regularly out of stock making it difficult to keep a steady supply

8 - Natural Stacks - Neuro Fuel

Natural Stacks - Neuro Fuel CTA
Effectiveness
4.5
Ingredients
4.5
Price
4.6
Overall Score 4.5
4.5

Next up is Neuro Fuel, which promises to provide mental energy and improved neurological health with just a handful of ingredients.

The good news is that the ingredients have scientific proof, but they might not be the most effective.

The one I want to focus on is L-Carnitine, which is a naturally occurring amino acid.

And studies have shown that it can significantly improve cognitive performance, making it a recommended ingredient for natural nootropics [8].

It’s also one of the few vegan-certified dietary supplements in this nootropics category.

Quick Facts:

  • Artichoke Leaf Extract : 900 mg
  • Acetyl-L-Carnitine : 750 mg
  • L-Phenylalanine : 500 mg
  • Coleus Forskohlii Extract : 20 mg
Pros
  • Good impact on mood, motivation, and memory functions
  • Vegan certified with no animal gelatin in the capsules
  • Available in larger bottles for bulk discounts
Cons
  • The capsules don’t seem to be the easiest to swallow

9 - Primal Harvest - Primal Mind Fuel

Primal Harvest - Primal Mind Fuel CTA
Effectiveness
4.3
Ingredients
4.6
Price
4.5
Overall Score 4.5
4.5

Primal Harvest is another company with a good nootropic stack, and this Primal Mind Fuel got a lot of good feedback from our testing team. It’s a cognitive enhancer that our testing data confirmed was great for improving mood and motivation.

The most interesting ingredient is Theobromine, which has been scientifically linked to improved brain functioning [9].

Quick Facts:

  • L-Tyrosine : n/a
  • Theobromine : n/a
  • Caffeine : n/a
  • Bacopa Monnieri : n/a
Pros
  • Works well to improve brain health and overall motivating feeling for work
  • Solid amino acid combination to help you stay focused for longer
  • Only requires one capsule a day for more convenience
Cons
  • You won’t be able to find out the exact dosage due to the proprietary blend

10 - Mindhoney - Dose

Mindhoney - Dose CTA
Effectiveness
4.3
Ingredients
4.5
Price
4.4
Overall Score 4.4
4.4

The final one of our recommended brain supplements for improved mood and mental energy comes from Mindhoney.

Our testing data shows that it can boost your motivation by reducing how much you react to distractions.

And because it helps lower stress levels, it can also reduce anxiety in a significant way [10].

The reason it’s so far down on this list is that you’ll find it difficult to stack with other supplements due to the proprietary label.

Quick Facts:

  • L-Theanine : n/a
  • Ashwagandha : n/a
  • Rhodiola Rosea : n/a
  • Lion’s Mane Mushroom : n/a
Pros
  • Good test results for improved motivation with fewer distractions
  • Stimulant-free so that you don’t have jitters or sudden crashes
  • Positive feedback suggests it can help you get into the flow
Cons
  • It’s difficult to stack due to a proprietary formula

Buyer’s Guide

A buyer looking for a guide on nootropics

Here are a few things to keep in mind before making a decision on which nootropic to buy.

Who Should Take Nootropics For Mood?

Anyone who wants to improve their overall mood and brain health should consider taking a nootropic.

Unlike prescription smart drugs, they can help to eliminate brain fog and give you a lot more motivation and focus throughout the day.

And because they are based on safe, natural ingredients, you’re also very unlikely to encounter nasty side effects.

Related Articles:

“Prescription nootropics largely consist of stimulants such as those in some ADHD medications. Although these work well for many people with ADHD, they are not recommended for others who simply want to improve their focus and attention.”

- Dan Brennan, MD at WebMD.com

Who Shouldn't Take Nootropics For Mood?

Anyone with chronic mood disorders like major depressive disorder, symptoms of depression, or bipolar disorder shouldn’t take nootropics without consulting a doctor. This is especially the case if you’re taking prescription drugs like antidepressant medications.

While nootropics might still be a good solution, it’s important to ensure that there aren’t any expected interactions with the drugs.

Ingredients And Dosage

The good news is that there are many proven natural ingredients that can improve how the human brain works.

Here are a few that my dietitian highlighted and that we saw in the most effective nootropics that we tested:

  • Phosphatidylserine
  • Lion’s Mane Mushroom
  • Rhodiola Rosea
  • Cat’s Claw Extract
  • Alpha GPC
  • L-Theanine
  • Kanna
  • Ginkgo Biloba

And when it comes to the dosage, it’s generally more important to see a handful of excellent ingredients with a lower dose than just one or two ingredients with a very high dose.

“Phosphatidylserine (PS) is an amino acid derivative compound that is fat-soluble and found in high amounts in the brain, where it contributes to cognitive functioning.”

- Kamal Patel, MPH, MBA at Examine.com

FAQs

What Nootropics Increase Dopamine?

Phosphatidylserine is one of the nootropic ingredients that increase dopamine the most [11]. And Mind Lab Pro is one product that has one of the best doses to significantly improve your overall mood and mental well-being.

What Nootropics Increase Serotonin?

Lion’s Mane Mushroom is one of the best nootropics to increase serotonin and reduce anxiety and depression [12]. It’s one of the reasons that Mind Lab Pro is one of the best nootropics to help with improvements in overall mood.

Boost Your Mood And Improve Cognitive Function

The nootropic supplement most test subjects ended up liking the best was Mind Lab Pro. Not only does it significantly improve your mood throughout the day, but it can also ensure you have overall healthy brain function.

Our testing data showed that it had a direct impact on concentration and focus as well and that it can help you with work and study-related tasks.

Order your first supply today and find out how much of a difference it can make in your life.

Our #1 Recommendation

Mind Lab Pro

Mind Lab Pro
Effectiveness
4.9
Ingredients
5.0
Price
4.9
Overall Score 4.9
4.9
Pros
  • Positive feedback about impacts on anxiety and depression
  • Significantly boosted cognitive function for better focus
  • Doesn’t cause side effects like stomach upset or headaches
  • The capsules are easy to swallow and don’t get stuck
  • Get the BEST PRICE until the end of February
Cons
  • Currently only available on the official website
Was this article helpful?
YesNo

About The Author

You May Also Like

Write a Reply or Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *