Today’s competitive world has everyone trying to showcase their mental abilities and bring forth the best performance. Hence, it is not surprising that students, athletes, business persons, and people from all walks of life look for an ultra edge to excel in what they do.
If you are one of those seeking more mental clarity, focus, memory, and creativity, then you have probably heard of nootropics.
What are Nootropics?
Nootropics are smart drugs or cognitive boosters that can enhance the brain’s potential for specific periods. While taking nootropics will not bestow you with superhuman powers, they improve mental capabilities to positively enhance an individual’s performance.
Nootropics can be natural or synthetic. Synthetic or lab-made nootropics are often sold as prescription drugs to treat specific conditions. Natural or plant-based nootropics can be purchased as teas, juices, powders, tablets, and softgel capsules in stores or online without a prescription.
Studies indicate that natural nootropics promote healthier brain functions and performance. They increase blood circulation to boost energy and oxygen flow to the brain and lower inflammation to protect the brain from free radicals (1).
Summary: Nootropics are natural or synthetic cognitive enhancers. They can help boost an individual’s mental capabilities to display enhanced focus, memory, and result in better performance.
Our Top Picks
Listed here are our 6 favorite nootropic supplements. Learn more about them to choose the product that suits your needs the best.
1. Best Nootropic Supplement Overall – Opti-Nutra’s Mind Lab Pro®
2. Best Value Nootropic Supplement – VitaBalance Nootrogen
3. Best Nootropic Supplement for Cognitive and Anti-stress Support – Performance Lab® Mind
4. Best Nootropic Supplement for Mental Clarity and Energy – Brain Pill™
5. Best Natural Nootropic Supplement – Hunter Focus
6. Best Nootropic Supplement for Improved memory and Focus – Vital Vitamins Brain Booster
Now let’s look at each of these nootropics supplements in detail to find out why they are considered the best in their categories.
1. The Best Nootropic Supplement Overall – Opti-Nutra’s Mind Lab Pro®
The overall best nootropic in its category is ranked in terms of ingredients, their ability to work in tandem to bring about desired changes, the manufacturing processes, the range of people it caters to, and many more.
About Opti-Nutra’s Mind Lab Pro®
Mind Lab Pro® is a unique dietary supplement loaded with brain-boosting ingredients that can significantly contribute to improved memory, greater focus, intense energy, and superior performance.
The incredible combination of 11 clinically proven ingredients works in sync to lower mental fatigue, foggy-headedness, and to keep the brain active throughout the day.
Made in cGMP facilities in New Jersey, USA, this quality supplement is made from globally sourced non-GMO ingredients. It is suitable for students to the elderly, and anyone in between with a hectic and demanding lifestyle.
What it Contains:
Each serving of 2 capsules has:
- B6, B9, B12 (as NutriGenesis®) – 2.5 mg, 100 mcg, 7.5 mcg
- Citicoline (as Cognizin®) – 250 mg
- Bacopa Monnieri Extract – 150 mg
- Lion’s Mane Mushroom – 500 mg
- Phosphatidylserine (as Sharp-PS® Green) – 100 mg
- N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine – 175 mg
- L-Theanine (as Suntheanine®) – 100 mg
- Rhodiola Rosea – 50 mg
- Maritime Pine Bark Extract – 75 mg
Mind Lab Pro® can be purchased as 60 capsules that roll out up to 30 servings a month. Packed in patented pullulan NutriCaps®, which is made from tapioca, this supplement can be taken by vegans safely.
The manufacturer’s recommended dosage is 2-4 capsules a day depending on the requirement. It can be taken in the morning or afternoon for good results.
Made of high-quality ingredients, the product is free of stimulants and banned substances. It does not contain artificial flavors or colors and is allergen-free.
Mind Lab Pro® undergoes quality testing by third parties. This includes dissolution and disintegration testing which ensures quick absorption and better bioavailability to sustain good cognitive health.
- Potent formulation of 11 natural ingredients for overall cognitive health
- Tapioca-based pullulan NutriCaps®
- Third-party tested
- No gluten, soy, or stimulants
Summary: Mind Lab Pro® is a potent nootropic made of clean natural ingredients. Third-party tested for quality, this supplement can help maximize an individual’s cognitive abilities to bring out the best performance each time.
2. The Best Value Nootropic Supplement – VitaBalance Nootrogen
Dietary supplements are a much-needed aid to bridge gaps and balance nutritional deficiencies. But exorbitantly-priced supplements may burn a hole in your pocket.
Reliable and reputed brands with lower manufacturing costs offer good quality nootropics at a budget-friendly price for the consumer to gain in terms of benefits and cost.
About VitaBalance Nootrogen
VitaBalance Nootrogen is a top-quality supplement intended to bestow cognitive benefits at an affordable price. This beneficial supplement provides active support to battle everyday stress and improves memory, focus, and creativity.
Made in the USA, this product contains domestic and globally sourced non-GMO ingredients. It is manufactured in an FDA-registered facility with strict adherence to GMP regulations.
What it Contains:
Each serving of 2 capsules provides:
- Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, C, D, E
- Trace minerals – calcium, iron, magnesium, selenium, zinc, and more
- A proprietary blend of herbs, DMAE, amino acids, DHA, and more – 642 mg
Intended only for healthy adults, it is available as 60 capsules or 30 servings that fulfill the monthly limit. The recommended dosage is 2 capsules per day taken 20-30 minutes before meals with 8 oz water for good results.
VitaBalance Nootrogen contains no artificial ingredients. It is free from gluten and dairy, but individuals allergic to soy and fish should exercise caution as it contains both. Purchase of multiple bottles can get you good savings on your money.
- A potent proprietary blend of herbs, amino acids, and other compounds
- Added multi-vitamins and minerals for complete nourishment
- A single dose of 2 capsules every day for maximum benefits
- Free from gluten and dairy
Summary: VitaBalance Nootrogen is a proprietary blend of herbs, amino acids, and added nutrients to obtain top cognitive support. Free from gluten and dairy, this product can help maintain overall mental well-being.
3. The Best Nootropic Supplement for Cognitive and Anti-stress Support – Performance Lab® Mind
Nootropics are capable of reducing the mental stress that arises in today’s fast-paced lives. By reducing anxiety and stress, they automatically promote better cognition to result in better performance.
About Performance Lab® Mind
Performance Lab Mind is a popular nootropic supplement that acts as effective anti-stress support and enhances cognitive capabilities to achieve better performance.
This supplement with its mix of powerful, scientifically-backed ingredients protects brain health naturally. It also helps recover from mental stress without any stimulants that can cause crashes or jitters.
Designed and formulated in the UK, this supplement is made in an FDA GMP certified facility in the USA. The ingredients are 100% non-GMO and undergo strict in-house quality control testing. They are also verified by independent third-party labs for purity.
What it Contains:
Each serving of 1 NutriCaps® consists of:
- Cognizin®™ Citicoline – 250 mg
- Ajipure® L-Tyrosine – 250 mg
- Sharp-PS® Green Phosphatidylserine – 100 mg
- Maritime Pine Bark Extract – 75 mg
Performance Lab Mind can be purchased as a bottle of 30 capsules which provide up to 30 servings depending on use. The NutriCaps® are easy-to-swallow and vegetarian. They are made from pullulan (fermented tapioca) and hence suitable for vegans.
The manufacturer recommends a dosage of 1-2 capsules a day ideally taken with the first meal and with dietary fats such as milk, MCT oil, eggs, etc. for better absorption and good benefits.
Performance Lab Mind is free of common allergens, gluten, caffeine, and preservatives. Tested for banned substances and backed by a 60-day money-back guarantee, this product can uphold mental health for a lifetime.
- Lowers stress and boosts cognitive abilities
- Free from common allergens, caffeine, and artificial ingredients
- 60-day money-back guarantee
Summary: Mind is a top-quality nootropic from Performance Lab, USA. This quality supplement is free from allergens, synthetic additions, and has powerful ingredients to support enhanced cognition while lowering stress and fatigue.
4. The Best Nootropic Supplement for Mental Clarity and Energy – Brain Pill™
Mental clarity can lead to improved focus, and better energy helps in accomplishing a job in a lot less time. Good nootropics can support greater cognition, ensure agility in completing tasks, and help in superior performance.
About Brain Pill™
Brain Pill is a top-ranking dietary supplement that aims to eliminate cognitive issues by improving mental clarity, focus, and mental energy to complete tasks with greater ease.
Loaded with a powerful 13 ingredient combination of herbs, vitamins, amino acids, and other plant-derived chemicals, this supplement assures rapid thinking skills and intense energy to keep going.
Manufactured by the Canadian company Leading Edge Health, Brain Pill is made in a cGMP compliant facility in the USA with FDA-approved ingredients. Brain Pill is recommended by Dr. Dave David and contains clean, natural ingredients.
What it Contains:
Each serving of 2 capsules holds:
- Vitamin B6 – 5 mg
- Folic Acid – 400 mcg
- Vitamin B12 – 50 mcg
- Pantothenic Acid – 30 mg
- Cognizin® (citicoline) – 250 mg
- Synapsa™ (Bacopa Monnieri) – 320 mg
- L-Tyrosine – 175 mg
- L-Theanine and DHA complex – 100 mg each
- Ginkgo Biloba Extract and Phosphatidylserine – 100 mg each
- Huperzine A and Vinpocetine – 5 mg each
Brain Pill comes as a pack of 60 pills. Each pack can provide 30 servings for a month’s supply.
The suggested dosage is 1 capsule in the morning and 1 in the afternoon with 8 oz water or as recommended by a practitioner. This supplement is best taken with meals for getting desired results.
Backed by research-based formulation, this supplement contains no stimulants, fillers, or artificial ingredients. Brain Pill comes with a 67-day money-back guarantee with no questions asked, to provide ultimate customer satisfaction.
- A strong combination of 13 research-proven ingredients
- Energizes the mind and increases mental clarity
- A 67-day money-back guarantee
Summary: Brain Pill is a doctor-recommended nootropic for improved mental clarity. This stimulant-free supplement ensures clear focus, memory, and energy for unmatched performance.
5. The Best Natural Nootropic Supplement – Hunter Focus
Natural nootropic supplements are beneficial as they not only help in sustaining a healthy brain but also may be beneficial for maintaining overall health. Since they are plant-based they tend to have fewer side effects, are more available, and bridge nutritional gaps naturally.
About Hunter Focus
Hunter Focus is an all-natural supplement with the finest ingredients to provide support with enhanced memory, greater concentration, and better moods. The formulation with scientifically proven ingredients helps keep your brain sharper and makes you perform better.
Made of 100% premium quality natural ingredients, Hunter Focus is manufactured in US and UK facilities that are FDA-authorized and GMP compliant. The ingredients used are pure and the product is certified non-GMO to assure safety in consumption.
What it Contains:
Each serving of 4 capsules offers:
- Lion’s Mane Mushroom – 500 mg
- Ashwagandha – 300 mg
- Citicoline and Passion Flower Extracts – 200 mg each
- Bacopa Monnieri – 200 mg
- Amino Acids (N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine and L-Theanine) – 200 mg each
- Phosphatidylserine from Sunflower Lecithin – 100 mg
Hunter Focus is available as 120 capsules that work out as 30 servings per bottle. The capsules are easy to swallow but made of gelatin, and therefore may be unsuitable for vegans and vegetarians.
The manufacturer assures no harsh side effects and recommends a dosage of 4 capsules a day. The capsules can be taken two times a day with meals for a minimum of 3 months to see visible results.
Hunter Focus’s potent formula is free of gluten and soy. It is also free from artificial ingredients and preservatives. The supplement can be used by both men and women and can be stacked with other supplements for consumption.
- All-natural, premium quality ingredients for maximum benefits
- Made in FDA approved GMP compliant facilities
- Can be stacked with other supplements
- Free from gluten, soy, and harmful preservatives
Summary: Hunter Focus is a potent nootropic supplement that can provide maximized support for improved cognitive skills. Suitable for men and women, it can be stacked with other supplements to benefit mental health naturally.
6. The Best Nootropic Supplement for Improved Memory and Focus – Vital Vitamins Brain Booster
Most often we think of something and then stop midway because we forget what it is. Forgetfulness is common among many and the reason is bad short-term memory.
Natural supplements can play a significant part in boosting memory and improving focus in both the young and the old.
About Vital Vitamins Brain Booster
Vital Vitamins Brain Booster as the name implies is designed to provide a cognitive boost to improve your short-term memory. The proven ingredient increases attention span and helps you focus more on the things you need to get done, efficiently.
Vital Vitamins manufactures its Brain Booster in a GMP compliant facility in the USA. The use of globally sourced non-GMO ingredients makes this a safe and quality product for use.
What it Contains:
Every serving of 1 capsule gives:
- Vitamin B12 – 500 mcg
- Bacopa Monnieri – 300 mg
- Ginkgo Biloba – 100 mg
- Phosphatidylserine – 100 mg
- Rhodiola Rosea – 50 mg
- DMAE (Dimethylaminoethanol) Bitartrate – 50 mg
This supplement with a great combination of herbs and other nutrients is available in bottles of 30 capsules to last a month.
The dosage is quite convenient with only one capsule a day required for experiencing good cognitive benefits. It should be preferably taken with meals or as directed by a healthcare practitioner.
Vital Vitamins Brain Booster has 100% all-natural ingredients that are free from hormones and gluten. This product is lab-verified for quality and can be used safely to sustain good memory and a healthy mind.
- A great combination of B12 vitamins and powerful herbs
- A single dose of 1 capsule a day for convenience
- Free from hormones and gluten
- Lab-verified for quality
Summary: Vital Vitamins Brain booster is a quality supplement with the right combination of vitamins and herbs. A single capsule a day can assure improved memory and focus to perform your tasks efficiently.
Common Ingredients in Nootropics Supplements
Nootropics are made of multiple ingredients that can comprise herbs, plant-derived compounds, synthetic derivatives, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. Listed below are some of the common ingredients that may be combined in nootropics to enhance cognitive health.
Traditional medicine has consistently used botanical herbs to treat various medical conditions for centuries. Some herbs have shown exceptional ability to enhance brain power easily. They are:
Bacopa Monnieri: Known as water hyssop or Brahmi, the powerful antioxidants in this herb have amazing anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety effects. The herb has shown the potential to fight free-radical damage, improve learning rate, and working memory (2).
Lion’s Mane Mushroom: One of the top-rated ingredients in nootropics, this unique mushroom is touted to have various health-promoting properties that include lowering depressive symptoms and enhancing cognitive capabilities (3).
Rhodiola Rosea: A known adaptogen, this herb balances the stress hormones in your body. It fights mental fatigue arising due to stress, elevates mood, and helps with superior performance (4).
Ashwagandha: Used widely in traditional Ayurveda, the roots of ashwagandha are commonly used to treat anxiety and stress. Its consistent use can ensure great moods and improve memory significantly (5).
The human body needs antioxidants that can help protect its cells from free radical damage and oxidative stress. Natural antioxidants also display neuroprotective capabilities that can prevent damage to the brain and its functioning. The notable ones used in nootropics are:
Ginkgo Biloba: Also referred to as the maidenhair tree, ginkgo biloba has been used as a herbal remedy in Chinese medicine. It’s most popular for its efficiency in increasing blood circulation in the brain. Clinical studies show that it may be beneficial for treating Alzheimer’s and age-related dementia (6).
Maritime Pine Bark: This powerful antioxidant has been researched for its potent free radical-scavenging activities that can boost cognitive functions and aid in the prevention or treatment of degenerative diseases (7).
Amino acids act as powerful building blocks as they form proteins, regulate hormone secretion, and perform other functions for overall well-being. The human brain needs amino acids for the synthesis of neurotransmitters and proper functioning. Some important amino acids are:
L-Tyrosine: An important amino acid that ensures adequate levels of dopamine (DA) and norephedrine (NE), two of the neurotransmitters in the brain. L-tyrosine from supplements ensures that these neurotransmitters function optimally. It helps prevent brain fogginess, attention deficits, and promotes maximized performances (8).
L-Theanine: Abundantly available in green tea, this well-known amino acid has been proven in many studies to lower stress levels effectively. It can relax the brain, support mood, sleep and enhance cognitive abilities such as verbal fluency, memory, thinking ability, etc. efficiently (9).
Vitamins and minerals are essential for the overall well-being of an individual. Supplements that generally include a mixture of these are most beneficial for health.
The ‘B’ category of vitamins are known for their ability to sustain cognitive abilities in the brain. Though B12, B9, and B6 are considered most important for brain health, studies have indicated that all the B vitamins work individually as well as together to promote optimal mental well-being (10).
Phosphatidylserine (PS): A phospholipid derived from the seeds of sunflower lecithin, this compound as studies indicate acts as a great support to enhance cognitive functions such as memory, recall, concentration, problem-solving, and ease of communication (11)
Choline, DMAE, and Citicoline: Choline is a conditionally essential nutrient that is required to make acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter, for maintaining good brain functions.
Commonly found in nootropic supplements, DMAE (Dimethylaminoethanol) acts as a precursor for choline and citicoline helps in the synthesis of acetylcholine.
Studies indicate that DMAE has shown potential for free radical-scavenging activity and better moods. Citicoline has shown promise in improving memory recall and preventing memory loss with age (12), (13), (14).
DHA: An important omega-3 fatty acid, DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid), supports the proper functioning of the brain and other neurological functions. Reduced levels of dietary DHA can hamper brain functioning. DHA exhibits neuroprotective effects and can prevent cognitive decline with aging (15).
Summary: Nootropics supplements can contain a combination of ingredients to support cognitive health. A combination of natural ingredients may prove more effective in bridging deficiencies and boost cognitive health.
Dosage for Nootropics Supplements
Nootropic supplements differ from each other in terms of ingredient combination, the potency of ingredients, and hence the dosage too can vary with each supplement.
Dosage can also vary based on an individual’s need or as prescribed by a practitioner if intended to treat a specific medical condition. Most supplements recommend 1 or 2 capsules, once or twice a day to provide overall cognitive benefits.
A good nootropic supplement should contain clinically-approved dosages of the ingredients it contains. It shouldn’t have an excess of anything that might result in an overdose.
Individuals with common medical conditions, neurological and neurodegenerative disorders or allergies need to check with a doctor for suitability before using any nootropics.
Summary: Nootropics supplements can differ in dosage based on ingredients and their combination. Lower dosages or doctor-recommended doses of nootropics may benefit overall cognitive health.
Risks and Side Effects of Nootropics Supplements
Nootropics can naturally enhance cognitive functions and are generally safe when taken in clinically approved dosages. As with any supplement, nootropics too can result in side effects in some individuals.
Common side-effects such as digestive problems, diarrhea, jitters, mild mood swings are experienced by some individuals who use nootropics but most are temporary.
Some risks or adverse effects from the use of nootropics may result due to the following:
- Stacking different nootropics or excess use of a supplement that results in overdose
- Allergy towards caffeine or one or more of the herbal ingredients
- Use of supplements containing low-quality ingredients
- Medications prescribed for anxiety, mood, depression, and other medical conditions
- Combining alcohol and nootropics
Pregnant, nursing women and children should refrain from using any nootropic unless specifically advised by a practitioner.
Summary: Nootropics can induce mild side-effects that may be temporary. Combining supplements, ingredient allergies, medications, etc are some of the risks to be considered while deciding to use nootropics.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Nootropics
What is the best time for taking nootropics?
Usually, the dosage and timing are listed on the product label and it’s best to follow that. Most supplements recommend taking nootropics either in the morning or the afternoons. Since nootropics are taken for mental alertness and energy, they are not advised at bedtime.
Are nootropics addictive?
Nootropics are not intended to be habit-forming. But owing to the intense cognitive boosts, people may feel better taking them regularly for quality performance.
The Final Note
Nootropics or smart drugs have a positive effect on cognition and induce your mental faculties to work at their best. They may also be useful in slowing down cognitive decline owing to stressful lifestyles and age.
Natural nootropics are available as prescription-free supplements. Usually found with a mixture of herbs, amino acids, vitamins, and other nutrients, these supplements can potentially boost overall mental health.
Mild side-effects are common and generally temporary. Checking with a practitioner before using nootropics may be sensible to get the right dosage, avoid adverse effects, and receive cognitive benefits safely.