Americans spend almost $13 billion each year on natural product supplements like nootropics. A staggering figure isn't it?
Nootropics are natural medicines that help you focus and perform with more efficiency in day-to-day situations. Despite their popularity, these are still a mystery to some.
So today, we are going to tell you a little about these wonderful supplements, how they work, and which may be the best for you.
So let’s begin by looking at what we consider to be the best nootropic supplements out there.
Our Top Nootropic Supplements (2022)
1 - Onnit Alpha-Brain (Editor's Choice)
Onnit’s Alpha-Brain, backed by Joe Rogan, promises to get you “into the zone” by sustaining focus and energy with carefully selected botanicals and amino acids.
The addition of B6 to the formula is good as it promotes many body functions, including enhancing focus and cognitive function, and many users report feeling the effects quickly .
Though the back of the label gives some ingredient information, I am not a fan of the proprietary blends as it lacks transparency. If you try it, the company offers a refund but asks that you use Alpha-Brain for at least two weeks.
The Onnit website offers discounts, up to 30%, and a free gift, “The Facts of Life with Joe Rogan” e-book with bulk purchasing.
- Vitamin B6 : 10 mg
- It is caffeine-free, which can appeal to users sensitive to caffeine.
- It contains vitamin B6 for enhancing brain function.
- Bulk order discount.
- “Blends” on the label lack ingredient transparency.
- Many users report severe adverse reactions, primarily vomiting.
2 - Mind Lab Pro
Made by a well-known company, Opti-Nutra, Mind Lab Pro is one the strongest brain-boosting supplements available today, designed to improve brain function such as motivation, memory, mental clarity, focus, and calmness.
The company boasts its formula containing 11 natural nootropics that's effective for everyone, from professionals and students to athletes and senior citizens.
While many supplements these days are based on individual ingredients that may have gone through some testing to prove they actually work, Mind Lab Pro has taken that one step further.
According to the research conducted by the company in placebo-based clinical trials, they were able to show an improvement in memory, learning, and brain regeneration.
This is all based on scientifically chosen ingredients that are natural and suitable for vegans.
- Lions Mane Mushroom : 500 mg
- Citicoline : 200 mg
- N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine 175 mg
- Made from high-quality ingredients with no proprietary blend
- Enhances cognitive function
- Effectively boosts short and long term memory
- Improves creativity and abstract thinking
- Comes with a 60-day money-back guarantee
- Only available on the company website
- Might be hard to stack with other supplements
With a tagline "100% Natural Brainpower", Mind Lab Pro provides pure and clean ingredients, nothing in the lines of fillers or stimulants.
Online reviews pretty much confirm that as well, with most users claiming that it helped them with improving focus, increasing motivation, and enhancing memory.
You can always try it for yourself and just get a full refund if you’re unhappy with the results you got from Mind Lab Pro. Just make sure to contact them within 60 days after your purchase.
If you’re looking for a nootropic with a good track record, then Mind Lab Pro is something you should try to boost your brain cells.
3 - Hunter Focus
Hunter Focus, from the Hunter Evolve brand, is a nootropic with an emphasis on giving you more. That is, more of the key ingredients you’d expect to see in products in this category. In some instances, you’ll find 25% more of these key ingredients in a serving on Hunter Focus.
One example is Bacopa Monnieri, which is at 200 mg in the Hunter Focus formula. You’ll normally see it at around 150mg in other products. This dedication to large servings means that you’re getting more for your money, which brings us on to price.
Hunter Focus is slightly more expensive than other products, but you get what you pay for. If you’re looking for the highest quality nootropic, then Hunter Focus could be the answer.
- Lion's Mane Mushroom : 500 mg
- Ashwagandha Extract : 500 mg
- Bacopa Monnieri : 200 mg
- Large ingredient sizes per serving – A huge 180 capsules in each bottle, that’s 6 per day
- Can improve brain function such as memory, productivity, and mood
- Other reviews indicate concentration and focus improvements
- Transparent formula
- More expensive, but you get much more for your money
Hunter Focus utilizes safe and tested ingredients proven to deliver the brain function advantage and help the brain cells unlock their potential.
4 - NOOCUBE Brain Productivity
This is not just a cool name with an even cooler logo, but a nootropic that a lot of users are leaving positive reviews in the Facebook groups and forums I researched. One of the most common highlights I saw on reviews is that it works very well to improve concentration.
And it does so very quickly, indeed. A lot of people say that they notice the effects within about 30 minutes of taking the supplement, which is pretty effective. I didn't see any reviews reporting side effects too which makes the product really enticing.
I was also very surprised by the 50% discount that is available if you order 6 bottles in one go. That’s basically 6 bottles for the price of 3.
- Bacopa Monnieri : 250 mg
- L-Tyrosine : 250 mg
- Cat's Claw Concentrate : 175 mg
- All-natural nootropic ingredients
- Enhances cognitive function
- Improves focus and concentration
- Boosts memory and learning
- Not vegan certified
With a promise to "upgrade the brain", Noocube combines several natural herbs and brain-boosting amino acids to create a synergy in the brain cells to improve memory and focus as well as upgrade learning capabilities.
A bottle of Noocube is already enough for a month and if you feel like the product's not for you, you can get a full refund within 60 days after your purchase.
The only downside I could find is that it isn’t vegan-friendly, so keep that in mind if you’re looking for a plant-based product.
5 - Adrafinil by Double Wood
Adrafinil is a non-nonsense nootropic that makes claims to be one of the most powerful on the market without prescription.
It was originally developed in by Louis Lafon Laboratories in France in the 1970’s to treat narcolepsy. Over time, it has been used as a brain supplement for its ability to stimulate and enhance concentration and calmness in healthy individuals.
That being said, there are plenty of user reviews that support the claim. The easy to swallow capsule contains 300 mg of Adrafinil and it is recommended to be taken on an empty stomach in the morning.
By no means a magic pill, Adrafinil is not going to give you superpowers but lots of customers claim to experience a sharp reduction in fatigue both mental and physical as well as an increase in mental acuity.
- Adrafinil : 300 mg
- Improves cognitive function
- Sharp reduction in mental and physical fatigue
- Increase in mental acuity
- Enhances focus and concentration
- Capsule made from gelatin so not veggie or vegan friendly
Although it should be noted that many claim they have to double dose to 600mg to get the most out of the nootropic, which is obviously not recommended or endorsed officially.
6 - TruBrain
What attracted me to the TruBrain product is the very convenient liquid form that comes in small pouches. Unlike pills or capsules, the liquid form can speed up the absorption process, according to the makers.
You can choose from 5 formulas namely Sleep, Mellow, Medium, Strong, and Extra Strong, which are designed to target different problem areas in cognitive function.
The chosen ingredients for each formula are simple with nothing flashy added in just to improve the flavor. And there are countless positive reviews that highlight that it works fast to improve concentration and memory.
Some of the active ingredients include melatonin, hemp oil, 5-HTP, L-Theanine, L-Carnitine, and Adrafinil, and these allow brain cells to make new connections through proper modulation of oxygen and blood flow.
It also contains some added vitamin C and magnesium, and you can choose it with or without caffeine stimulation.
No doubt that podcast host Joe Rogan loves this product.
- Acetyl-L-Carnitine : 500 mg
- N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine : 350 mg
- Noopept : 20 mg
- Boosts brain function and mental output
- Choose from 5 formulas with the option to include caffeine
- Good source of vitamin C
- Not the cheapest option on a daily basis
It’s not the cheapest option when you work it out on a per day basis, but if you’re looking for convenience, then this is a good choice for your mental function.
7 - Host Defense Lion's Mane
The mushrooms in these capsules are grown on the Host Defense farm and picked fresh. These are shipped to the production facility within a short period.
As a wholly organic and 100% sustainable product, only the best of the crops make it into these nootropic supplements.
Being gluten-free and vegan-friendly, these capsules are suitable for everyone who wants to enhance their mental performance, such as focus, mental clarity, cognitive abilities, and memory.
You can watch this video below to know why famous podcast host Joe Rogan is impressed with Lion's Mane Mushroom.
- Lion's Mane : 1000 mg
- Made from certified organic ingredients
- Enhances cognitive function for better focus, mental clarity, and memory
- Improves brain function by supporting nerve growth factor for better mental health
- Supports cerebral and nervous systems
- May cause a slight itchiness in a very small number of people
These smart drugs can also help to boost your nervous and immune systems so that both your body and mind are in tip-top shape.
Many users comment on how they feel more energized, focused, positive, clear-minded, and confident after taking Horse Defense Lion's Mane. Some people say that this particular brand works better for their mental function than the others that they have tried.
8 - Optimum Nutrition Micronized Creatine Powder
This creatine monohydrate powder supports muscle strength, size, and power when used as part of your post-workout shake.
Creatine is a fantastic compound that helps transport muscle building nutrients to your body tissue by way of fluids, especially in the form of creatine monohydrate. One teaspoon a day is sufficient to promote muscle gain and power successfully.
This is without doubt one of the best nootropics for enhancing athletic and mental performance in high-intensity exercise situations and not only that, it is also the perfect post-workout recovery aid as well.
- Creatine Monohydrate : 5000 mg
- Low dosage yet great results
- Increases mental performance and brain function
- Heightens energy levels
- Enhance energy reserves in muscles while minimizing protein breakdown
- No side effects
- No flavoring so can taste a bit bland
- Chalky and hard to dissolve in water
- No scoop included
This powder is one of the most popular supplements around, but some might not like the flavor and texture since it's a bit bland and chalky. Others also complain on how it stays solid in water even after stirring and shaking.
Blending it with your flavored drink of choice might help, but it still depends on your taste preferences.
9 - Jarrow Formulas Theanine
Containing the relaxant theanine which is abundant in green tea, this is one of the best brain supplements for helping you to relax and unwind.
By working on the dopamine and serotonin neurotransmitters in your brain cells, these capsules will help you to achieve a state of calmness that will allow the worries of the day to float away leaving you feeling serene and stress-free.
Best of all, this nootropic supplement does this without making you drowsy, so you can enjoy your tranquil mood without the fear of nodding off.
This also means that you can put your great mood to use in whichever way you choose.
- L-Theanine : 200 mg
- Relieves stress
- Does not make you drowsy
- Promotes learning abilities
- Not the most pleasant taste
- May not be suitable if you take blood pressure meds
Many people have found that by relieving the mind of stress and transforming it into a relaxed state, this creates the perfect mental environment for learning, so these capsules may come in extremely useful if you are studying.
10 - New Chapter Rhodiola Force
This Rhodiola Rosea supplement from New Chapter is a 100% all-natural herbal stress relief smart drugs designed to help you focus and stay sharp all day. The capsule contains Rhodiola extract to support your all-round health including your mood and stamina.
This will also aid sleep and assist you in dealing with fatigue, since it has been specifically formulated to work when you are under conditions of sleeplessness and overexertion.
Taking this supplement first thing in the morning is the perfect way to boost your stamina and sustain your energy throughout the day. A serving of 300mg of whole Rhodiola Rosea root from Siberia uplifts your mood, provide stress relief, and supports your overall mental health.
- Rhodiola Rosea Extract : 300 mg
- 100% all-natural and herbal
- Works all day long
- Will help you sleep
- Reduces anxiety
- Can cause headaches in a very small group of people
Rhodiola Force is a non-GMO, 100% vegan, and gluten, dairy, and soy-free supplement that will blend into your body to give you a natural uplift, so you can have both the mental and physical capacity to take on whatever the day throws at you.
Most users note that the dosage of Rhodiola extract in this supplement is just right to serve its purpose. However, it can cause mild headaches in a few people.
11 - Neuro Gums and Mints
Every now and then comes a time to try something new and fun, so instead of going for the usual form of pills or capsules, why not try gums and mints?
There’s a very creative team behind these ‘cognitive enhancers’ claiming that this way, you can absorb all the nutrients faster and making sure that high-quality and natural ingredients like caffeine and vitamins B6 and B12 come into play.
What makes these little guys stand out is a variety of products based on your goals. Whether you want to improve your energy and focus, work on your calmness and clarity, or your ideal state, there’s an FDA-approved gum and mint for you.
And since it’s very difficult to say ‘no’ to a food-for-mind piece of candy, there are already hundreds of positive comments about its efficiency and different tastes.
- Natural Caffeine : 40 mg
- L-Theanine : 60 mg
- A great selection of products and tastes available
- Lab-tested and compliant with the major standards
- Comes in a tiny tin box that fits any pocket or purse
- Contains sorbitol and caffeine
Mind the dosage, though, since it contains small amounts of sorbitol and caffeine per serving which are substances that not all people tolerate well.
The maximum dosage per day is 10 pieces, which sums up to 400 mg of caffeine. It might not be a good idea to unconsciously take pieces throughout the day, especially for people who are sensitive to caffeine.
What Are Nootropics?
Often called "smart drugs", nootropics are compounds that protect the neurons in your brain from being damaged by toxic substances and help safeguard those same neurons from the effects of decline as we grow older.
When translated from its Greek origin, the term nootropic translates to ‘mind changer,’ which is a very fitting description of what these supplements can do .
At the same time, they are known to stimulate neurons and improve blood and oxygen flow to your brain cells which also carry essential nutrients and fatty acids. As a result, it helps improve thinking and prevents the mind from wandering off from the job at hand.
If taken regularly, nootropics will result in you having smarter and sharper brain health, leading to better focus and concentration with anything that comes your way in life, be it at home or work.
You can think of nootropic supplements as a personal trainer for the mind.
It basically help flush toxins out of your brain to increase its capacity to take in nutrients and antioxidants, therefore supporting healthy cognitive performance and overall brain health.
Do Nootropic Supplements Work?
Since nootropics come in various types and forms, it's quite hard to answer if it really works to boost brain function and prevent mental fatigue. However, many people have reported success in large numbers, so there does have to be some truth behind the various claims.
Pharmaceutical nootropics and smart drugs are primarily used by doctors to help treat mental health symptoms and conditions. With its increasing popularity due to its effectiveness, many people, even those who are completely healthy, started using them to enhance their mental performance.
The company behind the Organic Bacopa Monnieri, Himalaya, performed a study where healthy people were asked to remember words and sentences in word span, working memory, and logical memory tests. The results show that the group that were given their product hugely outperformed the placebo group.
There are many users vouching for the ability of nootropics to improve their mental function and physical health, but it ultimately depends on the quality of ingredients used. It’s best to try and experiment with supplements available on the market to find out which one works the best for you.
What Are The Best Natural Nootropics?
The best natural nootropics to boost brain function are caffeine, L-theanine, Rhodiola, bacopa monnieri, lion's mane, tyrosine, citicoline, ashwagandha, GABA, ginseng, creatine, ALA, and alpha GPC. We describe each of their benefits below.
- Caffeine, for instance, is present in coffee and tea, some power drinks and sodas, and a good number of other consumable products. If you need a clear and wide awake head, we reach straight for the Java because caffeine is a nootropic and it can keep us alert and focused, just like those brain health supplements listed above. However, mind the dosage as caffeine can cause jitters and energy crash when consumed in excess.
- L-Theanine is an amino acid primarily found in plants and fungi that is especially adept at being absorbed by the body quickly, maybe faster than caffeine. L-Theanine can have a direct and marked impact on physical and specifically, on mental health, in the form of a stress reliever and anti-anxiety agent .
- Rhodiola, as used in the New Chapter Rhodiola Force in our best nootropic supplements above, has been used in Asia for medicinal purpose for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. It targets mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression, as well as mental fatigue and sleep problems through its anti-inflammatory properties .
- Bacopa Monnieri is known as the best natural nootropic for mood enhancement. But it has also been used in traditional Asian medicine for millennia which has proven benefits when it comes to focusing the mind and sharpening your thinking and problem-solving skills . It has been a popular nootropic supplement for students as it effectively improves memory and cognitive function to allow the brain to retain more information during study and review sessions.
- Lion’s Mane is one of the best nootropics that has become a staple in Chinese medicine. It is known to have many health benefits above and beyond those listed earlier. Aside from helping relieve mild symptoms of anxiety and depression, it is also thought to be capable of protecting us from dementia . It also supports the nervous and immune system to help with digestion problems, lower risks of diabetes and heart disease, and potentially, cancer.
- Tyrosine, also an amino acid, is essential to produce extremely important brain chemicals, among others, called neurotransmitters. Such chemicals like dopamine and epinephrine help regulate your mood, sleep, learning ability, memory, digestion, and appetite . It is believed to work better with Rhodiola, ashwagandha, and citicoline.
- Citicoline, also known as CDP choline, is a common ingredient of supplements marketed to support brain health and cognitive abilities. It is one of the building blocks of cells that helps produce an important neurotransmitter for memory called acetyl-choline. Taking citicoline can boost the production of acetyl-choline which can improve cognition in healthy adults. It also plays a role in the increased energy production in the brain which can sharpen your focus and attention .
- Ashwagandha is an a natural herb used in Ayurvedic medicine. It is thought to be an adaptogen that can improve your immune system and help you perform better under stress. It is also widely used to combat fatigue and joint pain, reduce anxiety symptoms, and treat diabetes and cancer .
- GABA or gamma-Aminobutyric acid is widely regarded as the best natural treatment for anxiety and depression and is one of the most clinically researched natural smart drugs . Aside from supporting overall brain health, it is thought to have properties that can affect growth hormones, brain energy production, and even sleep and reproductive issues.
- Ginseng , also known as Panax ginseng, is a plant from Asia that is mentioned as a medicinal tool in documents dating back to 196 AD. This natural nootropic can be used to treat a multitude of brain health conditions including mental fatigue and memory loss and even menopause problems .
- Creatine, as we have seen earlier, is basically a booster that will boost your athletic and mental performance and help you bulk up. But recent studies suggest that it may have an important antidepressant effect which can help treat depressive disorders .
- Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA) in nootropic supplement form can protect the body’s cells, specifically brain cells. This can help preserve and possibly enhance memory and cognitive function. Recent studies and clinical trials establish its potential in treating neurological and psychiatric conditions such as mood disorders, Alzheimer's, Alzheimerand schizophrenia .
- Alpha GPC is perhaps the best supplement for preserving and increasing the power of your memory, as well as boosting your brain cells. Aside from improving overall mental performance, this brain-boosting supplement has shown promise in treating Alzheimer's and other dementia diseases .
What Are The Potential Side Effects?
Three of the most common potential side effects of taking the nootropic supplements listed above are:
- Brain Fog. It means that you experience very short periods of a sensation of confusion and disorientation that can result in anxiety and fear. This usually passes quite quickly and occurs less frequently as time goes on.
- Insomnia. As the nootropic you take interrupts the body’s regular cycle, you might at first find it difficult to fall and remain asleep. In time, this problem will pass, but many people find doing yoga and napping when you can, regardless of the time of day and when convenient obviously, can help alleviate the symptoms.
- Digestive Discomfort. As with the other side effects, this will also pass soon and usually takes the form of wind, stomach twinges, and rumblings. The problem will be very mild and will not last long, and will only pose little discomfort or disturbance.
We all react in different ways to medication, whether it's natural or lab-based. Despite the fact that all manufacturers of treatments rigorously test their brain function products and try to minimize side effects, they cannot always be avoided.
Thankfully, when it comes to natural remedies, side effects usually only appear in a very mild form.
Related product: ONNIT Alpha Brain review
Since there are various forms of nootropics on the market, it's quite hard to find the perfect brain energy supplement for your needs. On top of that, a certain nootropic doesn't work for all types of people, so what might be an effective brain function supplement for some could be useless for others.
The best nootropics supplements on our list above are the most highly-reviewed products online, but if you feel like you need to do more research, these four factors can help you choose the right one for you.
Nootropics come in various forms so you need to choose one that will specifically target your brain function goals. Whether it's for improving your focus, energy, motivation, brain power, learning, mental health, and overall well-being, there is definitely a right combination of ingredients to help you get to your end goal.
You are what you eat (or ingest). Knowing the ingredients in your cognitive performance supplement and understanding how they can help you achieve your goal is an important factor to consider. With the right ingredients, quality and potency are the next aspects to check to ensure that each ingredient will do its job. In general, it's best to skip supplements with caffeine and instead, just stick to all-natural, brain-boosting ingredients. But in some cases where the formula works best with caffeine, mind the dosage to make sure that you're not overdosing.
Since some nootropics are not regulated by the FDA, it's a must to check the product for safety. Make sure that the formula is free of GMOs, artificial ingredients, preservatives, and common allergens. It's also a good idea to read online reviews first to know other people's experience in terms of results and adverse effects. Lastly, when consuming a supplement for the first time, start with the lowest dosage possible and observe how it affects your body.
A high price doesn't necessarily mean high quality. You might not want to buy the cheapest supplement online too, because the ingredients could be ineffective or the potency isn't enough to cause brain function results. The best nootropic supplements on our list above are average or slightly above average, containing well-studied, high-quality brain-boosting ingredients.
What is the most effective nootropic?
Caffeine is one of the most effective nootropics, closely followed by L-Theanine. We all know the stimulating effect that caffeine has with quite a fast action to wake us up in the morning.
L-theanine, on the other hand, is proven to promote so-called alpha brain waves which are associated with a relaxed and creative state of mind. Like caffeine, it also works almost instantly to make us feel alert, focused, and full of energy.
But then, there's really no one-size-fits-all nootropics that will target your needs. Some may look for nootropics to help with overall cognitive performance or with specific ones like memory, concentration, focus, energy, calmness, and even anxiety.
Is there a pill to make you smarter?
Yes, there is a pill that can make you smarter: nootropic supplements. They are generally made from a handful of different ingredients which work together to improve memory, creativity, and concentration.
Can nootropics cause anxiety?
Generally speaking, nootropics will not cause anxiety. However, if you have existing mental health issues, then some of the ingredients, especially stimulants, can cause an increase in anxiety levels. Otherwise, nootropics, especially those low in stimulants, can help with anxiety.
If you have such concerns, speak with your doctor before choosing any nootropic supplement to avoid adverse reactions.
What is the strongest nootropic?
The strongest nootropic, aside from prescription medication, is caffeine. Its effects are very clear to anyone who cannot function without that morning coffee, and it works within minutes of taking it.
Are nootropics safe?
Yes, most nootropics are safe, especially those that contain all-natural brain-boosting herbs, vitamins, and minerals. However, synthetic nootropic supplements may have more potent long-term effects such as poor mood regulation, insomnia, and depression.
Unless you are overdosing or using illegal products, nootropics are generally safe to use.
Do nootropics help with brain fog?
Depending on the cause, some nootropics can help with brain fog.
It is a common symptom of many underlying issues and diseases but whatever the cause, it can cloud your thoughts which inhibits focus, concentration, and motivation.
Are nootropics legal?
The legality of nootropics depends on their form and your location. All-natural nootropic supplements or smart drugs are not typically regulated as a drug, so you will need to check with your local laws to know its legal status.
Will I fail a drug test if I take nootropics?
You will not fail a drug test if you take nootropics if you use high-quality, legitimate nootropics from trusted brands. Always check the ingredients to make sure that the product is safe and legal.
If you're not sure with what nootropics to take, consult your doctor to know which product can resolve your problems.
Are nootropics addictive?
No, nootropics are not addictive, except for caffeine, which can be slightly addictive on a certain degree of consumption.
If you are sensitive to caffeine, it's best to choose caffeine-free products like our recommended nootropic supplement, Mind Lab Pro. It contains all-natural high-potency ingredients that can significantly improve your cognitive function even without caffeine.
Keep in mind that nootropic supplements are designed to help with memory, concentration, and focus, hence, it is not meant to damage your brain health.
How long does it take for nootropics to start working?
It depends on what ingredients are used, but generally, nootropics start working anywhere from 10 minutes to two hours after intake.
Which Nootropic Supplement Should You Choose?
Proven clinical trials, countless positive reviews, our testing team, and my own experience are all factors in my decision to back ONNIT Alpha BRAIN as the best nootropic.
Alpha BRAIN will get you back on track to accomplish what you need if you feel a bit of brain fog brought on by whatever life throws at you.
I continue to use it on days I need a boost to mental clarity and encourage you to give it a try and let us know what you think.
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