If you’re looking to improve your brain power, you’ll be familiar with the term nootropics. These are smart drugs which are claimed to boost your brain function. They’re popular among students, professionals and even competitive sportsmen – anything where an extra mental edge can make the difference between winning and losing.
When people think of improving their focus – they think of caffeine, but there’s so many more options than that. Numerous supplements that you can take to improve your brain in a variety of ways including memory, focus, cognition, mood attention and more – to give you overall better mental performance.
Nootropics are even popular among older adults to help keep their brain sharper with the effects of aging. If you’re looking to improve an aspect of your brain’s performance – there may be a nootropic stack that can work for you.
We’re not saying nootropics are the ‘limitless’ pill, but natural nootropics are cognitive enhancers and an option for healthy adults to optimize their brain for peak cognitive performance.
What are Natural Nootropics?
There are two different nootropics: synthetic, a lab created compound such as Piracetam, Adderall and Modafinil (smart drugs) – and natural / herbal nootropics, such as Ginkgo biloba, Bocopa Monneiri and Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Natural nootropics are proven in boosting the brain function while at the same time making the brain healthier, even the fatty acids in coconut oil present some kind of nootropic effect.
The synthetic kind are heavily regulated by the food and drug administration (FDA) and requires a prescription. Taking advantage of these drugs without the proper guidance can lead to serious consequences. That’s why we only suggest a natural nootropic supplements for these purposes.
In this article, we’ll explore the best nootropics on the market that are completely natural to help with a variety of issues.
These are nootropic supplements which have links to plenty of benefits for brain performance, and shown to improve:
- Faster Information Processing
- Short-Term Memory
- Long-Term Memory
- Cognitive Performance and Cognitive Enhancement
- Reducing Cognitive Decline
- Reaction Time
- Mood and Motivation
- Energy and Alertness
- And more
In this article, we’ll be looking at the main issues where nootropics can help (brain fog, mood, ADHD and memory), along with what we believe the best nootropic stack is.
Are nootropics safe?
Natural nootropics are safe for healthy people when used responsibly. With the recommended dosages and the proper guidance / research, these all natural nutrients can effectively boost brain performance when taken in the right dose.
True brain-boosting nootropic substances and supplements must have very few side effects and low toxicity. Natural nootropics are safe. However, a some products classed as nootropics may not meet the safe cognitive enhancer criteria, but are still called nootropics. These are your adderall, modafinil, and other synthetic options which boost neurotrophic factor by unnatural means.
One of the natural nootropics you need to keep an eye on though is Ginkgo Biloba, which has been seen in some cases to lead to constipation, diarrhea and headaches. For that reason ginkgo biloba wasn’t included in our main lists. Fortunately ginkgo biloba is not in our recommended stack.
5 Best Nootropics for Brain Fog
Suffering from brain fog? You’re not alone – there are plenty of healthy adults from all walks of life who suffer from brain fog every day.
Sometimes it is referred to as mental fatigue, burnout or unknowingly experienced as long periods of procrastination – but everyone gets it, and it’s severity can vary.
The main symptoms that are usually associated with brain fog are:
- Bad Memory
- No Motivation to Work
- Easily Distracted
- Inability to Concentrate
- Slower Information Processing
There’s plenty more, but these are the main ways brain fog presents itself – you’ll definitely know it if you’re experiencing it – and it can affect younger and older adults. It happens more frequently depending on your lifestyle choices such as your levels of sleep, stress, nutrition and mood.
In this section of our article, we’ll be looking at what nootropic supplements you can use to fight brain fog with minimum to no reported side effects. These are all natural cognitive enhancers are supplements which improves memory, brain function and general cognitive performance.
1. Rhodiola Rosea for Brain Fog
Rhodiola Rosea supplement helps to fight brain fog by energizing your central nervous system. This can help improve concentration and overall focus.
Rhodiola Rosea supplements is one of the best nootropics and has been seen in studies to help promote attention and cognitive function which reducing mental fatigue in a study of 60 adult men and women in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study.
This supplement is mainly known for how it can help fight stress and improve mood – which we’ll cover later – but it’s ability to fight burnout is very real. Some research even shows that Rhodiola can repair damage neurons and stimulate the growth of brain cells in the hippocampus.
2. Citicoline for Brain Fog
This is one of the best natural nootropic supplements out there for cognitive enhancement. Citicoline has also been seen in numerous studies to help boost mental energy which is achieved by increasing the blood flow to your cerebral cortex.
It can help increase your brain’s acetycholine levels which can help improve your learning and memory – which can fight brain fog.
Citicoline also has CDP choline which helps protect the brain cell membranes, memory and maintains neural communication.
Using citicoline is great nootropic for fighting mental fatigue and increases brain energy, and one of the better tools to fight brain fog.
WebMD believes Citicoline is possibly effective for fighting decline in memory, eye disorders and even helping patients who have suffered from strokes.
3. N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine for Brain Fog
N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine (NALT) is one of the better amino acids out there for fighting brain fog – by how it helps to handle your body’s levels of stress.
Stress is one of the leading factors of brain phone as it lowers your levels of catecholamines such as dopamine and norepinephine.
L-Tyrosine is great for helping to increase those levels and get you back to being sharp and focus. It can help you handle the stress and improve your cognitive functions.
By fighting stress you can improve your overall mindset and take further steps to overcoming brain fog.
4. B Vitamins for Brain Fog
Vitamin B6, B9 and B12 can all help sharpen your cognition which can help fight against brain fog.
They can improve memory, preserve higher cognition and lower mental fatigue.
It all works by helping to fight your levels of homocysteine which is a sulfuric amino acid which can lead to a reduction in cognitive function.
Topping up your Vitamin B is always a good idea for fighting a foggy mind.
5. Phosphatidylserine for Brain Fog
The final option for our brain fog nootropics – phosphatidylserine can help both short-term memory and long term memory effects like learning, attention span and mental agility.
It also has a good long term use advantage too. Using phosphatidylserine may help improve and maintain cognitive activity fight overall cognitive decline.
Phosphatidylserine may achieve this by improving nerve cells in your brain and the communicatoin between them.
It’s great for helping you concentrate and busting through brain fog. In addition, WebMD claims Phosphatidylserine can help with age-related mental decline and alzheimer’s disease.
3 Best Nootropics for Mood
Another benefit that nootropics can bring to the table is their ability to improve your mood and mindset.
These nootropics can help to improve neurotransmitters in your brain and the chemical environment to make you more susceptible to being in a good mood.
Areas like the limbic system, hippocampus, insular cortex and brain stem are all areas in your brain which can affect your mood.
Finding the right nootropic stack for you might help with aspects such as anxiety, stress, depression and other negative moods.
Some mood issues could even benefit from better brain circulation along with an improvement in brain chemicals and brain energy.
By improving your overall brain health – you may help to improve your mood. There are some great nootropics out there for this. Bacopa Monnieri has been suggested to help fight anxiety, while Lion’s Mane Mushroom has some benefits for balancing mood. Lion’s Mane does have some good benefits food mood and cognition, and it is one of the more popular options out there – however, we feel that the other ingredients listed here are better for mood than Lion’s Mane. Ashwagandha was another runner up in our list.
Below we look at the current best options on the market and how they may help you.
1. Citicoline for Mood
Citicoline can help your mood by how it can support your choline levels. Choline has been linked to causing a bad mood in those who are deficient in the nutrient.
Research shows that supplementing Citicoline can help improve brain response activities in the amygdala, insula and lateral orbitofrontal cortex. These are all areas of your brain which can affect mood and emotions.
It’s a good option in a nootropic stack for improving your mood and helping with motivation and happiness.
2. Rhodiola Rosea for Mood
Although it can help brain fog, Rhodiola Rosea is also a good nootropic for mood and memory.
The herb can help fight the side effects of stress, while improving your energy levels and mood. It can also give a boost to your cognition as we’ve already mentioned.
It helps by slowing the breakdown of the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine – which is done by helping monoamine oxidase inhibitors.
It also helps to reduce the production of the stress hormone cortisol by how it affects your Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA).
3. L-Theanine for Mood
L-Theanine is a great amino acid that is commonly found in small amounts in Green tea – but with a good dosage it can be a potent nootropic.
It can raise your levels of GABA, Serotonin and Dopamine which are all feel good neurotransmitters.
L-Theanine can also fight stress by helping reduce cortisol and adrenaline – which in turn also reduces anxiety.
It can also improve alpha brain waves which can promote relaxation without being fatigued. L-Theanine is a great mood booster for putting your mind at ease and your outlook positive.
WebMD says L-Theanine may be effective for mental performance helping with multitasking and reducing errors while working.
6 Best Nootropics for ADHD
ADHD (Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is a condition passed on through genetics and unforunately comes with the following common cognitive and behavioral issues:
- Struggle to give per-longed attention
- Ability to Multitask Effectively
- Poor Concentration and Planning
- Mood Swings
- Poor Stress Management
Many people have it, and with the right medication it can be handled. We do not offer medical advice on this site and if you are struggling you should speak to your doctor and get prescribed medicine.
We do however, know the top natural nootropics that may help with symptoms associated with ADHD.
The main way a natural nootropic can help here is that it can support norepinephrine and dopamine – which are brain chemicals which are related to attention.
They may help to promote cognition and attention to counter what is usually affected by ADHD. Not only that, but they can also help mental performance, memory, motivation, mood, energy and more.
1. Phosphatidylserine for ADHD
Phosphatidylserine is a great nootropic for brain health – and this could be important for helping with ADHD.
One of the main benefits it that it can help to optimize cell membranes in your brain. These cell membranes help with catecholamine neurotransmitters which encourage sharper attention spans.
Phosphatidylserine has even been seen to help young people improve their attention, reducing hyperactivity and supproting mental performance. This is by how it can help activate chemicals in the brain to promote attention.
2. Maritime Pine Bark Extract for ADHD
Maritime Pine Bark is more of a nootropic supplement which can help protect the brain.
It has a rich antioxidant profile which can help improve dopamine and norepinephrine in your brain which can sharpen your attention.
There’s only a light amount of research into Maritime Pine Bark and ADHD at the moment but it seems promising. Where supplementing it may help with attention, concentration and focusing hyperactivity.
3. L-Tyrosine for ADHD
L-Tyrosine is an amino acid thay may be able to offer some benefit to ADHD. It hasn’t been studied specifically for this – but it can help to syntheize norepinephrine and dopamine which are both catecholamines which are involved with ADHD.
L-Tyrosine can help reduce your levels of stress and mental performance which can give you a better focused mindset which may help a lot to those who suffer from poor attention spans.
In addition WebMD claims L-Tyrosine may help improving alertness when running on a small amount of sleep.
4. Citicoline for ADHD
Another promising nootropic supplement for helping fight Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
Citicoline has been seen to help energize your brain which can improve your overall mental processing. It can support norepinephrine and dopamine which are related to ADHD issues.
Althought there are no specific studies on citicoline and ADHD at the moment – we believe it to be a promising option given it’s benefits and we look forward to seeing more research on it in the future.
5. L-Theanine for ADHD
L-Theanine is another useful nootropic supplement, a natural acid found in green tea that may help with ADHD. Mainly by how this nutrient supports Alpha Brain waves and wakeful relaxation. This can help calm you down and promote focus.
Not only that it can also help to some extent with better sleep. With many of those with ADHD suffering from sleep issues – this could be a great support to help improve a night’s rest.
It has been studied in relation to ADHD and may improve sleep quality in those with the condition.
6. Vitamin B6 for ADHD
Vitamin B6 is always a good approach for general brain health, but can it help ADHD?
Vitamin B complexes typically when you take it with mangesium have a calming effect on your nervous system. In younger people this may be a more natural way to treat ADHD before going down the more extreme prescription routes.
7 Best Nootropics for Energy
There are certain ways that you can optimize your brain chemistry to improve your overall energy via nootropics.
There are several ways that nootropics can affect your energy levels when supplemented correctly:
Via Cell Mitochondria – Mitochondria is the energy producing part of your cells, nootropics can help maintain an improve their efficiency.
Other ways nootropics can help energy is by improving sleep by balancing neurotransmitters that are excitatory. With better sleep quality, your energy levels will be higher throughout the day.
Nootropics can also support energy levels by managing stress. When your stress levels are high, it sap your energy and leave you unfocused and fatigued.
Finally, a natural nootropic stack can also help by supplying better blood flow to your brain. This can ensure you get the optimum amount of glucose and oxygen to produce the most energy.
Below, we’ll look at the top options and how they can help you.
1. Citicoline for Energy
Citicoline is ‘the’ nootropic for improving your energy levels. It gives your brain both choline and cytidine.
Choline is precursor to the memory enhancer neurotransmitter acetylcholine, whereas Cytidiine is a precursor to uridine which is a nucleotide base which promotes energy and synaptic plasticity.
This can help improve overall brain power and brain-building functions. Studies show that that supplemeting citicoline has links to boosting brain cell energy production by up to 13.6%.
It also helps improve neural connectivity and metabolic production for better overall cognition. It is the ideal chioce for an energy-based smart drugs stack.
2. N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine for Energy
L-Tyrosine’s main function is that it helps to fight stress. It can help promote energizing brain chemicals that your body depletes when your stress levels are high.
It works best under demanding situations as that’s when your body starts to depend on L-Tyrosine the most. Studies show that it can help promote cognition and mental performance during high stress.
One of the main cases for L-Tyrosine is a study that shows it helps those with sleep deprivation deliver better cognitive performance helping them to work better for longer.
It gives you better mental stamina and energy, and helps give you the power to push harder even when your brain is fatigued. It’s one of the best options out there when it comes to nootropics for energy.
3. Rhodiola Rosea for Energy
Rhodiola Rosea is a good nootropic for energy due to its physical and mental performance enhancing properties.
As an adaptogen, Rhodiola rosea can help your body adapt to stress and reduce the overall impact of the stress hormone cortisol.
It helps support chemicals in your brain such as dompamine, norepinephrine and serotinin which helps to reduce your overall levels of fatigue and fog.
The end result is that it helps reduce the chemical factors that make you feel tired and fatigued. The benefit being that with these factors under control, your energy levels have more support to rise.
It fights stress-induced fatigue, and reduces the chances of burnout allowing you to stay energized and productive for longer.
4. L-Theanine for Energy
As we’ve mentioned, L-Theanine comes from green tea and is great for promoting wakeful relaxation. However, the main way it can help you here is by how this amino supports your alpha brainwaves.
By improving the optimization of your alpha brainwaves you are delivered into a better state of relaxed, energized mental alertness.
No jitters like you would get with a sitmulant. Just calm, clear thinking that can keep you focused for a long periods of time.
5. Phosphatidylserine for Energy
This is a great option when it comes to improving energy production and cognitive function in your brain. PS can help improve how your brain uses glucose which is key to this process.
It’s more commonly known to help improve memory – but it performs well when it comes to increasing brain energy and brain function.
Human research has seen phosphatidylserine in some cases to improve basal ganglia/thalamus brain energy metabolism by up to 20%.
6. Maritime Pine Bark for Energy
Maritime Pine Bark is a brain protecting antioxidant which can improve blood flow to the brain which may improve mental energy.
By allowing for more circulation Maritime Pine bark can help promote the amount of oxygen and glucose that can reach your brain at once. In doing so it can help to ensure healthy energy metabolism of your brain cells.
It does all this by improving your Nitric Oxide levels, which improves overall blood flow and circulation.
7. B-Vitamins for Energy
As we’ve mentioned, Vitamin B complexes can be great as nootropics. Specifically Vitamin B6, B9 and B12.
For example we all know Vitamin B12 can help boost energy levels via how it supports energy metabolism.
Combined however, Vitamin Bs can help improve blood flow to the brain which can help mental energy and overall cognition.
They are great for energy and general brain health and a good source of general nutrients your body needs for both younger and older adults.
Best Nootropic Stack 2020
After countless hours of research, we have what we believe to be the best nootropic stack for healthy adults on the market from a natural standpoint.
A lot of the options on the market at the moment have good ingredients – but there are always stumbling blocks. Be it price, purity, dosage, the company, side effects – there’s always some kind of issue.
After digging deeper into the market, we’ve found what we believe to be the cleanest most effective option available for healthy adults. The main problem we found with this one was the price: $65.00. If you can get over that, you’ll get what we believe to be the most effective natural nootropic supplement on the market at the moment.
Mind Lab Pro by Opti Nutra
Price: $65.00 ($2.17 per day) | Visit Website
Mind Lab Pro is the best nootropic that we have come across on the market as a pre made stack. If you’re looking for the perfect nootropic stack for anyone who wants a comprehensive combination of nootropics to support:
- Cognitive Function
- Information Processing
- Reaction Time
- And more
Made by Opti Nutra, it’s the most comprehensive nootropic supplements stack that we’ve seen. With 11 clinically-backed natural ingredients, Mind Lab Pro contains:
- Citicoline (Helps Brain Fog, Mood, ADHD and Energy) – 250 mg
- Effects of Citicoline: Boosts brain energy by 13.6%
- Phosphatidylserine (Helps Brain Fog, ADHD and Energy) – 100 mg
- Effects of PS: Helps fight cognitive decline, and improves memory, and clarity.
- Bacopa Monneiri (Helps Mood) – 150 mg
- Effects of Bacopa Monnieri: Enhances memory and mood.
- Lion’s Mane Mushroom (Helps Brain Fog) – 500 mg
- Effects of Lion’s Mane: Links to improving cognition with regular supplementation.
- Maritime Pine Bark Extract (Helps ADHD and Energy) – 75 mg
- Effects of Pine Bark: Helps brain health and improves blood flow to brain.
- L-Tyrosine (Helps Brain Fog, ADHD and Energy) – 175 mg
- Effects of L-Tyrosine: Supports mental performance and replenishes the brain with energy during stressful situations.
- L-Theanine (Helps Mood, ADHD and Energy) – 100 mg
- Effects of L-Theanine: Promotes calmness and attention. Also gives you an energy boost without jitters.
- Rhodiola Rosea (Helps Brain Fog, Mood and Energy) – 50 mg
- Effects of Rhodiola Rosea: It’s a Scandinavian herb which helps numerous aspects of stress resistant as well as mental processing mood and attention span.
- Vitamin B6 (2.5 mg), B9 (100 mcg) and B12 (7.5 mg) – (Helps Brain Fog, ADHD and Energy)
- Effects of Vitamin Bs: B12 can help energy metabolsim, and combined with magnesium Vitamin B can have a calming effect on your nervous system, a B complex can also fight homocysteine which can cause cognitive decline.
This is a single serving of Mind Lab Pro, 2 capsules per day.
If you’ve read the rest of this article, you’ll know there’s almost all of the best nootropic supplements that we’ve mentioned in this article are in Mind Lab Pro.
The only ingredient that we hadn’t mentioned are bacopa monnieri. To give you a brief view of the effects of Bacopa Monnieri can help your brain in numerous ways with regular supplementation.
Bacopa Monnieri has been seen to help promote acetylcholine, GABA and serotonin which can help your memory and mood.
Not only that, bacopa monnieri is one of the best to help with learning and memory retention. Some research even shows that as well as memory bacopa monnieri can help with mental processing, cognition and performing under stress.
Bacopa monnieri in combination with the other ingredients this supplement is easiest the most effective and best nootropics stack on the market.
The Top 10 Things we like about Mind Lab Pro
- Trusted Source – Mind Lab Pro has some of the cleanest ingredients we’ve seen in a nootropic, many of the ingredients are designer for example it uses Cognizin which is the designer version of Citicoline which has been seen in numerous studies to help brain energy.
- Non-GMO – No genetically modified organisms in this supplement.
- Soy-Free – No soy-based ingredients, even the phosphatidylserine is made from sunflower lecithin.
- Gluten-Free – Perfect for people with gluten intolerance, there are no gluten products in this nootropic.
- Caffeine-Free – No stimulants in this stack, feel free to add your own dose to achieve the desired effect, we personally take it with coffee.
- Vegan-Friendly – Prebiotic capsules avoid the use of meat products in this supplement.
- Synthetic Additive Free – No additives or fillers, there are also zero artificial preservatives in this supplement.
- Banned Substance Free – You will not fail a drug test using Mind Lab Pro.
- Plenty of great reviews – Lots of online reviewers (and professionals) rate Mind Lab Pro highly.
- Huge discounts on bigger orders – 3 month supply gives you an extra box and works out at $1.63 per day overall ($195.00 total with free shipping).
3 Things we think Mind Lab Pro could improve
- It can only be bought from the Mind Lab Pro website – Not available on Amazon, GNC or Ebay.
- Premium priced – There is no alternative similar or “as good” as Mind Lab Pro in a cheaper price range.
- Free shipping only on multi-box orders – You need to pay for shipping and handling with single box purchases.
What we suggest you do
If you want the best clean nootropic stack that is natural and has plenty clinical support for the ingredients in it – we suggest you visit their website (MindLabPro.com).
While you’re on there, we suggest you check out their ingredients page, as well as their testimonial pages to see what kind of people are using Mind Lab Pro and their experiences that they’re having with it.
Below are some of the more commonly asked questions we get about nootropics. These are questions we couldn’t work into our main article that our readers are interested in.
These are more general questions about these kinds of supplements and what works ‘like’ other kinds of supplements.
This list of questions here is always growing so check back for more of the best questions.
What nootropic is most like Adderall?
If you’re looking for nootropic supplements which operate like the smart drugs favorite adderall, the closest option on the market is Performance Lab Stim.
Nootropic supplements obviously aren’t as potent as natural adderall, but if you’re looking for smart drugs that are shown to improve cognitive function without the use of synthetics – Performance Lab Stim is one of the better options.
Performance Lab Stim contains the following ingredients:
- Vitamin B2 – 500 mcg
- Vitamin B6 – 750 mcg
- Vitamin B9 – 167 mcg
- Vitamin B12 – 2 mcg
- Natural Caffeine – 50 mg
- L-Theanine – 100 mg
- L-Tyrosine – 250 mg
The main idea behind it is that it is ‘enhanced caffeine’. Whereas normal caffeine supplements would give an energy rush for a few hours followed by an energy crash – Stim takes numerous measures to stop this from happening.
Caffeine causes energy crashes by running you low on dopamine, serotonin, epinephrine and norepinephrine.
However the other ingredients help to mitigate this by supporting and promoting those neurotransmitters via L-Tyrosine, L-Theanine and the Vitamin Bs.
The Performance Lab Stim supplement is recommend 1 – 5 capsules per day – up to 250 mg of caffeine.
We don’t think you should go any further than 250 mg as we believe 300 mg of caffeine, 300 mg may cause problems and may raise your blood pressure. Taking as recommend will minimize side effects.
If you want to know more about this adderall alternative you can read about on their website.
Can you take nootropics every day?
If you’re taking a safe natural supplement stack like Mind Lab Pro, you should be able to take it every day. In some cases, nootropics actually give their best effects when they’re taken long term.
With the healthier natural nootropics you may even experience better long-term memory, better brain repair, steadier mood and improved stress resistance.
These effects kick in faster if you keep up a consistent regimen, taking your stack every day. The best way to keep on top of it is to have these nootropic supplements with something that you do every day, for example, making it part of your morning routine.
Is coffee a nootropic?
Yes. Technically coffee is a nootropic which is used by healthy adults elderly and young on almost a daily basis. Coffee contains two of the more commonly used ingredients in most nootropic stacks: Caffeine and L-Theanine. Albeit in smaller amounts than the average stack – but it still offers benefits which help people to be productive and focus, which is why they feel they need to use it every day.
Other nootropic supplements that people use without knowing for cognitive function is nicotine – primarily from cigarettes. However we do not recommend adding that product to your nootropic stack. It may cause a large amount of side effects with lots of evidence of causing long-term harm to repeat users, especially at high doses.