nootropics for studying

Best Nootropics for Studying

David Tomen
David Tomen
7 minute read

Natural nootropic supplements are one of the easiest and safest ways to boost your academic performance this year.

The right nootropic stack will help you focus on what you’re studying, pay attention during class or a lecture, and provide all-day energy so you don’t crash.

The nootropics recommended in this post are ideally suited for studying. They’ll help you encode the material to memory. Then recall this knowledge during an important exam or test.

And a couple of the nootropics in this stack can even help reduce anxiety when you’re prepping for an exam or date.

Each nootropic featured in this post should be easy to find anywhere in the world. They’re legal in most countries and affordable.

The beauty of this stack is it’ll work for students of any age. Nootropics are cognitive enhancers for anyone looking to promote mental clarity, have better energy, boost their memory, and overall enhance mental performance.

But if you are under 18 years, please be careful with nootropics and especially the dosage. Always go with the lower end of dosage recommendations.

Nootropics typically are not recommended for anyone under 18 because your brain is still developing. And you don’t want to disrupt this natural process.

But in this hyper-competitive academic world and if you’re deciding between prescription stimulants/smart drugs or natural nootropics – your best and safest choice are natural nootropic supplements.

The right nootropic stack can be as effective as synthetic, prescription smart drugs. With the added bonus of being less expensive and safer.

best nootropics for studying reddit

Best Nootropics for Cognitive Performance in School

Choose the right nootropics and you’re able to improve attention, focus, energy, mood and memory. All while supporting long-term brain health and function.

  1. CDP-Choline (Citicoline) – is a naturally occurring choline source for the synthesis of acetylcholine. And enhances the release of dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin in your brain.

CDP-Choline is known for its cognitive enhancement and brain function abilities, improving concentration, focus and motivation, and reducing fatigue.

Recommended dosage of CDP-Choline is 250 mg twice a day.

  1. Gotu Kola – is often called the “student herb” in Bali because it sharpens the mind. It helps prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine in your brain. More acetylcholine helps boost cognition, concentration, learning, memory and mood.

Recommended dosage of Gotu Kola extract is up to 600 mg per day. Higher dosages should be divided into two or three smaller doses spaced a few hours apart.

  1. Bacopa Monnieri – was first made popular in Medhya Rasayana, India’s ancient Ayurvedic medical system. “Medhya” refers to the essence of intellect and retention. And Rasayana means the path of excellence.[i]

The bacosides A and B in Bacopa help improve signaling between brain neurons. Improving attention, recall, memory and optimal cognitive function. And studies show that Bacopa helps increase the speed of visual information processing, boosts learning rate and memory consolidation, and reduces anxiety.[ii]

Research at Banaras Hindu University in India showed Bacopa as effective for anxiety as the benzodiazepine drug lorazepam.[iii]

Recommended dosage of Bacopa Monnieri extract (45% bacosides) is 200 – 450 mg per day. Higher doses should be divided into smaller doses taken several hours apart.

Bacopa is fat-soluble and should be taken with a healthy fat for best absorption. My preferred healthy fat is a tablespoon of the new organic, non-GMO Performance Lab® MCT Oil.

  1. Caffeine used in moderation is a great nootropic for studying because it helps improve reaction time, alertness, memory and mood.

best racetam for studying

Adenosine levels rise during the day as a byproduct of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) which is produced by your mitochondria and used as cellular fuel. As an inhibitory neurotransmitter, increases in adenosine decreases your wakefulness state. Eventually leading to sleep.

Caffeine acts by blocking adenosine receptor subtypes A1 and A2A which in turn increases wakefulness. Instead of becoming sleepy, you are more alert.[iv]

This action on adenosine also influences acetylcholine, epinephrine, serotonin and boosts the use of dopamine. Providing the stimulant effect experienced when consuming caffeine.

When caffeine boosts norepinephrine and epinephrine it activates your adrenal glands which in turn release the stress hormone cortisol.

And the diuretic effects of caffeine consumption increase the excretion of water-soluble B-Vitamins. Which are required for neurotransmitter synthesis, myelin synthesis, gene expression and cellular metabolism.

According to the Mayo Clinic, 400 mg of caffeine per day appears to be safe for most healthy adults. About the amount of caffeine in four cups of regular brewed coffee.

But to counteract some of the side effects of using caffeine I recommend the next nootropic in this list for studying. L-Theanine + caffeine is a great natural stimulant nootropic stack.

  1. L-Theanine – an amino acid found in green tea increases GABA, serotonin, and dopamine levels to support brain health. Producing an energizing and calming effect while improving learning and memory.

L-Theanine also boosts alpha and theta brain waves. Promoting alert relaxation and relief from the trauma of exams. You get calm, relaxed thinking without sedation.

One of the simplest and most effective study nootropic stacks is combining L-Theanine with caffeine. For the stimulant action provided by caffeine, balanced by the calming effects of L-Theanine.[v]

Recommended dosage of L-Theanine is 100 – 200 mg once or twice per day. A study conducted in the UK found that if stacking L-Theanine with caffeine, the most effective dosage was 50 mg caffeine + 100 mg L-Theanine.[vi]

Performance Lab® Caffeine 2 – is the best pre-formulated caffeine + L-Theanine stack I’ve tried and use nearly every day. It contains Natural Caffeine (from Coffea Robusta seeds) 50 mg, L-Theanine 100 mg, L-Tyrosine 250 mg, with a balanced NutriGenesis® B-Complex. For studying, this stack provides alert clean energy without the jitters.
  1. L-Tyrosine– is an amino acid and precursor to the synthesis of dopamine and norepinephrine.

nootropic study stackL-Tyrosine enhances working memory and executive function in the prefrontal cortex. It helps with creative flow states, is fuel for inspiration, and offers flexibility to enhance cognitive performance, and the kind of “convergent thinking” you do in multiple choice exams.

Studies show the L-Tyrosine can decrease blood pressure caused by the stress of exams. And could be used to mitigate the effects of stressful situations if taken prior to a stressful event like an exam.[vii]

Recommended dosage for L-Tyrosine is 500 mg twice per day.

You get 250 mg of Ajipure® L-Tyrosine in Performance Lab® Caffeine 2.

Another great nootropic study option in one pre-made stack is my favorite Mind Lab Pro® v4.0 which contains 175 mg N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine.

Mind Lab Pro® also uses 10 other performance enhancing nootropics including 250 mg Citicoline, 150 mg Bacopa Monnieri (full spectrum extract), 100 mg L-Theanine and NutriGenesis® Vitamins B6, B9, & B12. . Used by students world-wide for better grades and less stress.

  1. B-Complex Supplement – your brain requires the B-Vitamins to produce all major neurotransmitters, fuel mitochondria, synthesize myelin, cerebral blood flow, gene expression and more.

None of the nootropics in this stack for school will work without the B-Vitamins.

For more on how vitamins are critical to your academic success and performance, see my post:

13 Vitamins Essential for the Optimized Brain

nootropics for studying

Enhance Cognitive Function with This Nootropic studying stack

Each of the nootropics mentioned in this post are powerful on their own.

But when stacked and taken following the dosage recommendations can be a very effective method for excelling in school this year. Studying should be easier and exams less stressful to write during your learning and memory processes. Plus, taking natural nootropics while studying or learning will assist later down the road to help avoid any age related cognitive decline.

This is your nootropic study stack:

  • CDP-Choline (Citicoline)
  • Gotu Kola
  • Bacopa Monnieri
  • Caffeine
  • L-Theanine (+caffeine) or Performance Lab® Caffeine 2
  • L-Tyrosine
  • bio-active B-Complex supplement

Use the links provided above for each of these nootropic supplements to see more on what they are, why we use them, clinical studies supporting their nootropic use, detailed dosage notes, side effects, and forms or types to buy.

Note that dosage recommendations in this post are for general use by any age student. But if you are under 18, please use caution and go with the lowest recommended dose for each. For younger students you may want to cut that dosage in half again.

A good, safe way to get most of the study nootropics mentioned in this post is with Performance Lab® Caffeine 2 combined with Mind Lab Pro®.

Good luck with your studies this year. And please use the “Comments” section below if you have any questions or require clarification on anything.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This post may also contain other affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

[i] Kulkarni R., Girish K.J., Kumar A. “Nootropic herbs (Medhya Rasayana) in Ayurveda: An update” Pharmacognosy Review 2012 Jul-Dec; 6(12): 147–153. (source)

[ii] Stough C., Lloyd J., Clarke J., Downey L.A., Hutchison C.W., Rodgers T., Nathan P.J. “The chronic effects of an extract of Bacopa monniera (Brahmi) on cognitive function in healthy human subjects.” Psychopharmacology (Berlin). 2001 Aug;156(4):481-4. (source)

[iii] Bhattacharya S.K., Ghosal S. “Anxiolytic activity of a standardized extract of Bacopa monniera: an experimental study.” Phytomedicine. 1998 Apr;5(2):77-82 (source)

[iv] Wen Y., Li W., Poteet E.C., Xie L., Tan C., Yan L.J., Ju X., Liu R., Qian H., Marvin M.A., Goldberg M.S., She H., Mao Z., Simpkins J.W., Yang S.H. “Alternative mitochondrial electron transfer as a novel strategy for neuroprotection.” Journal of Biological Chemistry. 2011 May 6; 286(18):16504-15. (source)

[v] Haskell C.F., Kennedy D.O., Milne A.L., Wesnes K.A., Scholey A.B. “The effects of L-theanine, caffeine and their combination on cognition and mood.” Biological Psychology. 2008 Feb;77(2):113-22. (source)

[vi] Owen G.N., Parnell H., De Bruin E.A., Rycroft J.A. “The combined effects of L-theanine and caffeine on cognitive performance and mood.” Nutritional Neuroscience. 2008 Aug;11(4):193-8. (source)

[vii] Deijen J.B., Orlebeke J.F. “Effect of tyrosine on cognitive function and blood pressure under stress.” Brain Research Bulletin. 1994;33(3):319-23. (source)

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Join The Discussion - 20 comments

March 25, 2024

Hi David,
Is it ok to take L Theanine with Sulbutiamine? Thank you!

    David Tomen
    March 27, 2024

    Helena, yes it is.

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