Best nootropics 2023

Key Takeaways

  1. Comprehensive list of nootropics categorized based on their effects such as memory enhancement, mood improvement, and increased focus.
  2. Detailed explanation of each nootropic including its benefits, mechanism of action, and recommended dosages.
  3. Mention of natural nootropics like Bacopa Monnieri and synthetic ones like Noopept, providing a diverse range of options.
  4. Thorough reviews on the safety and potential side effects of different nootropics, ensuring informed decision-making.
  5. Guidance on creating personalized nootropic stacks to achieve specific cognitive goals, alongside recommendations for pre-made stacks.

The best nootropic supplements for 2023 cover the fundamentals for supporting great cognitive function,  performance, and brain health.

Natural nootropic supplements for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), boost decision-making, enhance cognitive functionlearning & memory, focus, energy, and motivation.

And supplements that for many, can reduce anxiety, depression, OCD, PTSD, or age-related cognitive decline.

I have also found over years of hacking my own brain, that we can simplify the list of supplements we use if we narrow our choices down to only 5 categories for brain optimization.

Those brain hacking categories look like this …


Best Nootropics for …

Recommended nootropics

Processing speed, Decision-Making, Focus, Flow, & Thinking

Acetyl-L-Carnitine, CDP-Choline, Lion’s Mane, Magnesium, L-Tyrosine, B-Complex

Learning & Memory

Bacopa Monnieri, CDP-Choline, DHA (Omega-3), Magnesium, Phosphatidylserine (PS), Pine Bark Extract, L-Tyrosine, B-Complex

Anxiety & Depression

CDP-Choline, Bacopa Monnieri, Magnesium, Rhodiola Rosea, B-Complex, Saffron

Energy & Motivation

Caffeine, Acetyl-L-Carnitine, CoQ10, L-Theanine, MCT Oil, Rhodiola Rosea

Brain Repair & Maintenance

Acetyl-L-Carnitine, Astaxanthin, CDP-Choline, DHA, Lion’s Mane, Magnesium, Phosphatidylserine (PS), Rhodiola Rosea, Pine Bark Extract, Saffron


Best Nootropic Supplements in 2023

I have my favorite nootropics after 17-years of trial and error. And I’ll share what I’ve found and use in this article. Because what works for me may work well for you too. The nootropics I’m talking about here are what I use every day.

You’ll notice in the categories above that some of the most popular nootropic supplements work in multiple areas of cognitive enhancement. This means you can use fewer capsules in a well-rounded nootropic stack.

I encourage you to invest a little time and learn how each nootropic works in your brain. Because you’ll find that many of these compounds work in synergy. This translates to smaller doses of each supplement for a bigger benefit.

The key to success with nootropics is having the willingness and determination to experiment and find out what works best for you.

And there is no “one pill” solution for repairing and optimizing your brain. It often takes several carefully chosen supplements to get the job done.

Pre-Made Nootropic Stack Benefits

Mind Lab Pro v4.0Fortunately, I found the best pre-made nootropic stack in late 2015 which includes most of the nootropics I’d selected for my stack. All packed into 2 capsules in a natural pre-made nootropic stack called Mind Lab Pro® v4.0.

I’ll talk more about Mind Lab Pro® v4.0 in a few minutes and how it ties into my brain hacking goals.

The company that makes Mind Lab Pro® also produces a line of dietary supplements called Performance Lab®.

They also make a nootropic snack bar that I use when I need an energy boost. They are called Nu:tropic® bars.

And before I go to the gym, I mix a glass of Pre Lab Pro®. It contains ingredients for mental clarity, more energy, improves cognitive function, better muscle performance and growth, and quicker recovery,

get Mind Lab Pro® v4.0

get Performance Lab® Energy

get Performance Lab® Caffeine+

get Performance Lab® Omega-3

get Nu:tropic® bars

get Pre Lab Pro®

Choose the Best Nootropic Supplement Stack for You in 2023

If you are new to nootropics, or have years of experience but need a refresher on building your own nootropic stack, see my articles:

Beginners Guide to Nootropic Stacks

How to Create the Best Nootropic Stack

Improve Brain Function with the Best Nootropic Supplements to buy in 2023

best nootropics for 2023Each of the nootropics I detail below contain links through to my full review. When you click through to each individual nootropic supplement review you’ll find more detail on what it is, why we use it as a nootropic, how it feels, the mechanism of action in your brain, potential side effects, recommended dosages, and the best supplement to buy.

You’ll also notice in the table above and each nootropic listed below that many of these ingredients are conveniently encapsulated in the Mind Lab Pro® v4.0 formula of two capsules per day.

Or in Performance Lab® Energy or Performance Lab® Caffeine+ or Nu:tropic® bars or Pre Lab Pro®.

Each of these nootropic supplement stacks are generally regarded as safe and non-toxic at recommended doses. Your mileage may vary.

How you respond to each of these compounds depends on a host of variables including:

  • Genetics
  • Interactions with prescription meds
  • Current state of health

So please click through to each nootropic and read the side effects, drug interactions and any other notes or warnings. But in general, these are among the safest cognitive enhancers we know of.

Read more about Nootropics Safety and Side Effects

  1. Acetyl-L-Carnitine

ALCAR helps transport fatty acids into mitochondria for the creation of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). [i] ATP is your main energy source throughout your day and can boost physical and mental energy.

ALCAR is a necessary cofactor for acetylcholine formation.[ii] Which boosts memory, cognitive function, mental alertness, and fluid thought.

The antioxidant properties of Acetyl-L-Carnitine provide neuroprotection. And ALCAR boosts Brain-Derived Nerve Growth Factor (BDNF) and promotes cerebral blood circulation.

  1. Astaxanthin

Astaxanthin is one of the few antioxidants that can cross the blood-brain barrier and blood-retinal barrier, benefiting both your brain and vision.[iii]

As a nootropic, Astaxanthin is a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory providing protection from Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, and other neurodegenerative disease.[iv]

Astaxanthin protects your cells from the destructive effects caused by free radicals and protects cognitive function by increasing cerebral blood flow for better memory, cognitive abilities, and overall cognitive performance. [v]

And supplementing with Astaxanthin helps reduce cortisol, a biomarker for stress and mental fatigue.

  1. Bacopa Monnieri

best nootropics for focus 2023Bacopa Monnieri has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years and is one of the best nootropics for studying.

Researchers at Banaras Hindu University in India showed Bacopa Monnieri as effective for anxiety as the benzodiazepine drug lorazepam.

And unlike benzodiazepines, Bacopa Monnieri did not cause memory loss. In fact, it boosted mental function.[vi]

Another study done in Portland Oregon demonstrated that 300 mg of Bacopa Monnieri per day for 12 weeks:

  • Improved word recall
  • Increased attention
  • Enhanced processing speed
  • Boosted memory
  • Improved focus while learning
  • Lowered anxiety and heart rate[vii]
  1. Caffeine

Caffeine is the main active compound found in a cup of coffee and is an adenosine antagonist which is why it helps prevent you from getting sleepy. Which in turn influences acetylcholine, epinephrine (adrenaline), serotonin and it boosts the use of dopamine. Providing the stimulant effect you feel when consuming caffeine.[viii]

Caffeine assists in the gene expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) which boosts neurogenesis.

And caffeine increases the density of GABA receptors, potentiates dopamine, and causes some serotonin receptors to be more responsive. Which in turn improves mood within an hour of consumption.[ix]

  1. CDP-Choline

A valuable addition to any potent nootropic stack, the cholinergic compound CDP-Choline is a multitasker which boosts cognition, mental processing, cognitive function, and brain power, improves focus and motivation, and reduces fatigue.

CDP-Choline aids in the synthesis of acetylcholine, and the release of dopamine.[x] Both neurotransmitters involved in learning and memory.

CDP-Choline also helps repair of brain cell membranes. The cytidine in CDP-Choline converts to uridine in your brain. And works as a bridge between choline and neuron membrane synthesis.

Uridine is needed to synthesize phosphatidylcholine (PC) needed to repair damaged neuron membranes.[xi]

Choline is so vital to cognitive functions, cognition and nerve function that, without it, we couldn’t move, think, sleep, or remember anything. And one the best ways to provide your brain and body with the choline it needs is supplementing with CDP-Choline.

  1. DHA

DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) is an omega-3 fatty acid. DHA is crucial for the healthy structure and function of your brain. Your brain is made up of 60% fat. And much of that fat is DHA.

DHA enhances brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Improving neuroplasticity leading to better learning and memory. And DHA acts as an anti-inflammatory by reducing the enzyme COX-2.

If you suffer from chronic depression, within a few weeks of adding DHA to your nootropic stack, you should feel the depression lift. You’ll think clearer and quicker. Your memory and ability to learn will improve. And you’ll likely have more energy and motivation.

But it is very likely you won’t think to attribute these improvements to adding DHA to your nootropic stack. Something else will get the credit.

The thing is you cannot get these benefits from fish oil or most Omega-3’s on the market. Because the dosage of DHA is far too low. And purity is a problem.

Best to get your DHA from the source. The same place fish and other marine life get their DHA. And that’s from algae.

A recent addition to my nootropic stack, and thousands in our community, is the Performance Lab® Omega-3. It provides 540 mg DHA and 270 mg EPA made from Algal Oil (from life’s™ Omega 60) in two NutriGels® vegan softgels.

  1. Lion’s Mane

Lion’s Mane Mushroom is well-known for its neuroprotective effects. It’s an ancient Chinese remedy and traditional medicine for improving cognitive performance, and overall health.

In our modern world, Lion’s Mane makes it into some of the best nootropic stacks. Why?

Because Lion’s Mane stimulates enzyme production that releases Nerve Growth Factor (NGF).[xii] It stimulates the repair and creation of neurons (neurogenesis). Boosting neurotransmitters and signaling that may effect memory, improve cognitive function, learning, recall, and mood.

And Lion’s Mane helps eliminate brain fog. Restoring function from cognitive impairments, memory, and mental alertness. And lowers anxiety and depression symptoms.[xiii]

Lion’s Mane is a great compliment to any nootropic stack for an immediate cognitive boost.

  1. L-Tyrosine

best nootropics for ADHD 2023L-Tyrosine is a precursor to the synthesis of the catecholamine-triad of neurotransmitters dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine. As your dopamine levels increase, you’re better able to concentrate, organize your thoughts, and stay productive.

L-Tyrosine can be an effective for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms. L-Tyrosine works in synergy with Smart Drugs like Ritalin and Adderall by boosting extracellular levels of dopamine. Helping these drugs be more effective. And mitigating side effects like crashes when these smart drugs wear off.

Tyrosine also improves memory and cognition under acute stress.[xiv] It helps improve decision making, flow state’ and creativity, cognitive flexibility, acts to support cognitive function, and working memory.

L-Tyrosine is a great addition to any nootropic stack, especially if you’re dealing with ADHD or ADD.

For more tips on how to deal with ADHD and ADD symptoms, see my article:

Best Nootropics for ADHD/ADD

  1. Phosphatidylserine (PS)

Phosphatidylserine is one of the best nootropics because:

Phosphatidylserine (PS) is arguably one of the most effective and important nootropics we have available today. It has a reputation for improving alertness, attention, cognition, cognitive function, memory, recall and mood.[xv]

  1. Pine Bark Extract

Maritime Pine Bark Extract is one of the best nootropics around but relatively unknown to the nootropic community. It’s a naturally derived standardized herbal extract of French maritime pine bark.

Pine Bark Extract helps prevent increases in dopamine, norepinephrine, and the glutathione (GSH) to GSH-disulphide reductase (GSSG-R) ratio. Neurotransmitter problems which contribute to hyperactivity in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).[xvi]

Pine Bark Extract helps by increasing blood flow to and within your brain for better overall brain health.[xvii] By increasing nitric oxide (NO) which helps dilate blood vessels. And helping repair and maintain the health of the lining of blood vessels. Crucial to overall brain health, maintaining signaling pathways and leading to improved cognitive function and learning and memory.

And Maritime Pine Bark Extract also helps prevent the accumulation of oxidatively damaged proteins. Which may reduce the risk of diseases like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and Huntington’s.

  1. Rhodiola Rosea

best nootropicsIn Russia, Rhodiola Rosea is widely used as a remedy for fatigue, poor concentration, and decreased memory. It’s also believed to make workers more productive.

As one of the best nootropics around, this adaptogen helps reduce stress and fatigue, cognitive function, increase energy, alertness, and stamina, while boosting mental performance under periods of chronic stress.

Research shows Rhodiola Rosea can increase attention to detail-oriented tasks by improving concentration over a prolonged period. Making it one of the best nootropics for studying.

Rhodiola Rosea boosts mood by influencing serotonin and norepinephrine levels in your brain, and the feel-good opioids like beta-endorphins.

It also helps with neurogenesis by repairing and growing new neurons. As well as activating the synthesis and re-synthesis of ATP, your body and brain cell’s main energy source.

One more reason to add Rhodiola Rosea to your nootropic stack – it helps reduce inflammatory C-reactive protein. And salidroside, one of many components of this incredible herb, protects neurons from oxidative stress-induced cell death.

  1. Saffron

Saffron is the dried stigma of the Crocus sativus plant native to the Middle East. And is the world’s most expensive culinary spice largely due to the way it must be grown and harvested (by hand).

Saffron has been used for thousands of years as an anxiolytic, sedative, and antidepressant.

Recent studies show Saffron as effective as some popular prescription antidepressants. And can even help alleviate the sexual dysfunction caused by these drugs.[xviii]

Saffron extracts (crocin & safranal) inhibit the uptake of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain which helps improve mood.

Saffron inhibits the deposit of amyloid-β which is associated with the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Saffron also inhibits the breakdown of acetylcholine (acetylcholinesterase) just like the current medication (donepezil) approved to treat Alzheimer’s.[xix]

Saffron is also a very effective vision supplement. Driving at night is easier on your eyes. And the flicker caused by screens and monitors won’t leave you with eye fatigue later in the day.[xx]

Saffron improves the oxygen and nutrient supply required for healthy eyes. By boosting blood flow in the retina and choroid of your eyes.[xxi]

For the best vision supplement on the market, get: Performance Lab® Vision. I’m serious. Get it!

  1. L-Theanine

best nootropics for anxiety 2023L-Theanine is an amino acid and one of the main natural substances you get from green and oolong tea. Many consider it the best nootropic when combined with caffeine for the synergistic effect of lowering blood pressure, rejuvenate and relax, boost thinking ability and cognitive function, improve focus and put you in a better mood.

This amazing amino acid:

  • Boosts alpha brain waves (8-12Hz) promoting alert relaxation.[xxii]
  • Increases GABA, serotonin, and dopamine use in your brain. Producing an energizing and calming effect helping you go into flow. And improving cognition and memory.
  • Is an antagonist of NMDA receptors and can inhibit synaptic release of glutamate. Protecting your brain from over-stimulation caused by glutamate, and possible glutamate toxicity.
  • Boosts the use of neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine, and GABA in your brain. As well as increasing Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) and Nerve Growth Factor (NGF).[xxiii]

Most neurohackers report a calming effect within 30 – 45 minutes of taking L-Theanine. Cognition gets a boost, and energy levels rise without the jitteriness caused by stimulants like caffeine.

Some report L-Theanine has stopped their anxiety and panic attacks.

  1. Vitamin B-Complex

The B-Vitamins are essential vitamins that should be part of every nootropic stack and they include:

You may not realize the full benefit of a nootropic stack containing CDP-Choline, Acetyl-L-Carnitine, any of the racetams, or any nootropic for that matter without adding a good quality bioactive B-Vitamin Complex. These essential vitamins are possibly the most important and least expensive addition to your stack.

get Mind Lab Pro® v4.0

get Performance Lab® Energy

get Performance Lab® Caffeine+

get Performance Lab® Omega-3

get Nu:tropic® bars

get Pre Lab Pro®

Check Your Oil

Some nootropic supplement labels recommend taking it with a meal. The implication behind this recommendation is that the nootropic is fat-soluble. And requires some fat for proper absorption and to increase bioavailability.

Each of the nootropics above have links through to a full review which includes information about solubility – fat or water soluble.

To make sure all fat-soluble ingredients in my stack are absorbed, I use one tablespoon of organic Performance Lab® MCT oil with my nootropic stack. But you can use unrefined coconut oil as well.

This healthy oil provides the fat I need for better absorption of  fat-soluble supplements. And I don’t have to worry about taking it with a meal.

Using MCT or unrefined coconut oil with my stack does not interfere with water-soluble supplements either. It’s a win-win.

get Performance Lab® MCT

best nootropics for memory 2023Choose the Clear Path to Improved Performance in 2023

I’ve tried a lot of different nootropic stacks in the last 17 years. But in late 2015, I finally found one high quality pre-made stack that covered all the bases. That stack is Mind Lab Pro® v4.0.

I’ve used Mind Lab Pro® as the “base” for my personal nootropic stack since 2015. And continue to use it in 2023. It’s that good.

In fact, in 2017 Mind Lab Pro® upgraded their formula. Their B-Vitamins are now their own proprietary NutriGenesis® vitamins. ‘Nature-identical’ nutrients that your body recognize as food.

Then in 2018, their sister company introduced an entire new supplement brand called Performance Lab®. The company recognized the demand for more choices when it comes to brain optimization. And the need to support the rest of your body.

Performance Lab® offers the pre-formulated nootropic stacks Performance Lab® Mind, Performance Lab® Caffeine+, and Performance Lab® Energy.

Their nootropic stacks are supported by the Performance Lab® NutriGenesis Multi which I also use daily. This multi contains nature-identical NutriGenesis® vitamins and minerals for whole-body and brain performance.

This is now my preferred multivitamin supplement which works very well with Mind Lab Pro® v4.0.

In early 2018, I switched from using individual supplements to Performance Lab® Energy. Because this stack contains the Acetyl L-Carnitine (ALCAR), Coenzyme Q10, PQQ, and R-Lipoic Acid that I was buying and using separately which was more expensive.

Performance Lab® Energy uses the patented, clinically-tested forms of each ingredient in NutriCaps® vegan-friendly capsules and no additives. Just pure, tested nutrients that work.

In 2019 I added Performance Lab® Caffeine+ which I use occasionally when energy is running a little ragged. And I need that extra boost to finish what I’m doing.

Because it contains Natural Caffeine (from Coffea Robusta seeds) 50 mg, L-Theanine (Suntheanine®) 100 mg, Ajipure® L-Tyrosine 250 mg, supported by NutriGenesis® Vitamin B2, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B9 & Vitamin B12. For alert clean energy without the negative side effects like the jitters.

Or a get a quick boost by using a Nu:tropic® bar which contains Norwegian Black Oats, NutriGenesis® Choline, DHA (Omega-3) 150 mg, Prebiotic fiber, Phosphatidylserine (PS), NutriGenesis® Magnesium, and NutriGenesis® Vitamins D3, K2, B2, B3, B6, B9 & B12.

Performance Lab® also offers supplement stacks for Vision, Sleep, Prebiotic, Flex, and Pre Lab Pro® which I use just before I go to my gym for a workout.

And they make an effective T-Booster for men.


Conclusion – Best Nootropic Supplements

If you’re feeling frustrated finding your ideal stack, my hope is this page provides the pointers you need to create your best nootropic stack.

Each nootropic I’ve featured on this page works. How do I know? Because I use them every single day.

But I’m not the only one. 100’s of thousands of people just like you and I have found success with these nootropics too.

I encourage you to try each of them in your nootropic stack in 2023. Or save some money on your monthly supplement purchases and try some of the pre-formulated stacks like Mind Lab Pro® v4.0 and the Performance Lab® supplements. The company even offers a money-back guarantee if you try one of their supplements and are not happy with it.

My attitude is that once I’ve found a nootropic supplement company that puts out high quality product, I keep using them until something better comes along.

So far that has not happened. I’m confident you’ll like and appreciate the pre-formulated nootropic stacks on this page. The company puts out amazing products.

When it comes to brain optimization and what I put in my body, “good enough” isn’t nearly good enough until I’m performing my best. In all areas of life.

The right combination of nootropics in the right amounts have helped me get to the point where I feel I’m performing better than ever.

Near the beginning of this page we identified the main points that lead to better cognitive ability, cognitive function, cognition, decision-making, focus, flow, thinking, memory, anxiety, depression, energy, motivation, brain repair and maintenance.

What I love about the nootropic supplements outlined on this page is that it covers each of those categories.

And to help you fine-tune your nootropic stack even further. Spend some time with each of the following articles I have written on individual areas of brain optimization here.

Best Nootropics for Learning & Memory

Best Nootropics for Social Anxiety

Best Nootropics for Anxiety

Best Nootropic for ADHD

Best Nootropics for Depression

Best Nootropics for Motivation

Best Nootropics for Hacking a Flow State

13 Nootropics to Boost BDNF

Psychobiotics: The Gut-Brain Connection

How to Select the Best Multivitamin for Brain Function

[i] Berg J.M., Tymoczko J.L., Stryer L. Biochemistry. 5th edition. New York: W H Freeman; 2002. (source)

[ii] White H.L., Scates P.W. “Acetyl-L-carnitine as a precursor of acetylcholine.” Neurochemical Research 1990 Jun;15(6):597-601. (source)

[iii] Galasso, C., Orefice, I., Pellone, P., Cirino, P., Miele, R., Ianora, A., Brunet, C., & Sansone, C. (2018). On the Neuroprotective Role of Astaxanthin: New Perspectives?. Marine drugs16(8), 247. (Source)

[iv] Nakagawa, K., Kiko, T., Miyazawa, T., Carpentero Burdeos, G., Kimura, F., Satoh, A., & Miyazawa, T. (2011). Antioxidant effect of astaxanthin on phospholipid peroxidation in human erythrocytes. The British journal of nutrition105(11), 1563–1571. (Source)

[v] Lobos, P., Bruna, B., Cordova, A., Barattini, P., Galáz, J. L., Adasme, T., Hidalgo, C., Muñoz, P., & Paula-Lima, A. (2016). Astaxanthin Protects Primary Hippocampal Neurons against Noxious Effects of Aβ-Oligomers. Neural plasticity2016, 3456783. (Source)

[vi] 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)

[vii] Calabrese N.D., Gregory W.L., Leo M., Kraemer D., Bone K., Oken B. “Effects of a Standardized Bacopa monnieri Extract on Cognitive Performance, Anxiety, and Depression in the Elderly: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial” Journal of Alternative and Complimentary Medicine 2008 Jul; 14(6): 707–713. (source)

[viii] Walker J., Rohm B., Lang R., Pariza M.W., Hofmann T., Somoza V. “Identification of coffee components that stimulate dopamine release from pheochromocytoma cells (PC-12).” Food and Chemical Toxicology. 2012 Feb;50(2):390-8 (source)

[ix] Gjorness T.E., Greene R.W. “Adenosine and Sleep” Current Neuropharmacology. 2009 Sep; 7(3): 238–245. (source)

[x] Adibhatla R.M., Hatcher J.F., Dempsey R.J. “Citicoline: neuroprotective mechanisms in cerebral ischemia.” Journal of Neurochemistry 2002 Jan;80(1):12-23 (source)

[xi] Wang L., Pooler A.M., Albrecht M.A., Wurtman R.J. “Dietary uridine-5′-monophosphate supplementation increases potassium-evoked dopamine release and promotes neurite outgrowth in aged rats.” Journal of Molecular Neuroscience 2005;27(1):137-45. (source)

[xii] Lai P.L., Naidu M., Sabaratnam V., Wong K.H., David R.P., Kuppusamy U.R., Abdullah N., Malek S.N. “Neurotrophic properties of the Lion’s mane medicinal mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Higher Basidiomycetes) from Malaysia.” International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms. 2013;15(6):539-54. (source)

[xiii] Nagano M., Shimizu K., Kondo R., Hayashi C., Sato D., Kitagawa K., Ohnuki K. “Reduction of depression and anxiety by 4 weeks Hericium erinaceus intake.” Biomedical Research. 2010 Aug;31(4):231-7. (source)

[xiv] Coull N.A., Watkins S.L., Aldous J.W., Warren L.K., Chrismas B.C., Dascombe B., Mauger A.R., Abt G., Taylor L. “Effect of tyrosine ingestion on cognitive and physical performance utilising an intermittent soccer performance test (iSPT) in a warm environment.”European Journal of Applied Physiology. 2015 Feb;115(2):373-86. (source)

[xv] Crook T.H., Tinklenberg J., Yesavage J., Petrie W., Nunzi M.G., Massari D.C. “Effects of phosphatidylserine in age-associated memory impairment.” Neurology 1991 May;41(5):644-9. (source)

[xvi] Dvoráková M., Jezová D., Blazícek P., Trebatická J., Skodácek I., Suba J., Iveta W., Rohdewald P., Duracková Z. “Urinary catecholamines in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): modulation by a polyphenolic extract from pine bark (pycnogenol).” Nutritional Neuroscience 2007 Jun-Aug; 10(3-4):151-7. (source)

[xvii] Nishioka K., Hidaka T., Nakamura S., Umemura T., Jitsuiki D., Soga J., Goto C., Chayama K., Yoshizumi M., Higashi Y. “Pycnogenol, French maritime pine bark extract, augments endothelium-dependent vasodilation in humans.” Hypertension Research. 2007 Sep;30(9):775-80. (source)

[xviii] Lopresti A.L., Drummond P.D., Inarejos-García A.M., Prodanov M. “affron®, a standardised extract from saffron (Crocus sativus L.) for the treatment of youth anxiety and depressive symptoms: A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study.” Journal of Affective Disorders. 2018 May;232:349-357 (source)

[xix] Banerjee S., Hellier J., Romeo R., et al. “Study of the use of antidepressants for depression in dementia: the HTA-SADD trial – a multicentre, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of the clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of sertraline and mirtazapine.” Health Technology Assessment. 2013 Feb;17(7):1-166. (source)

[xx] Natoli R., Zhu Y., Valter K., Bisti S., Eells J., Stone J. “Gene and noncoding RNA regulation underlying photoreceptor protection: microarray study of dietary antioxidant saffron and photobiomodulation in rat retina.” Molecular Vision. 2010 Sep 3;16:1801-22. (source)

[xxi] Xuan B., Zhou Y.H., Li N., Min Z.D., Chiou G.C. “Effects of crocin analogs on ocular blood flow and retinal function.” Journal of Ocular Pharmacology & Therapeutics. 1999 Apr;15(2):143-52. (source)

[xxii] Mason R. “200 mg of Zen” Alternative and Complementary Therapies. July 2004, 7(2): 91-95. (source)

[xxiii] Yamada T., Terashima T., Wada K., Ueda S., Ito M., Okubo T., Juneja L.R., Yokogoshi H. “Theanine, r-glutamylethylamide, increases neurotransmission concentrations and neurotrophin mRNA levels in the brain during lactation.” Life Sciences. 2007 Sep 29;81(16):1247-55. (source)

[xxiv] Clayton P.T. “B6-responsive disorders: a model of vitamin dependency.” Journal of Inherited Metabolic Disease. 2006 Apr-Jun;29(2-3):317-26. (source)

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.

Subscribe to the Nootropics Expert newsletter

Keep up to date with the latest developments in the nootropics space.

Head First 2nd Editon

The Award Winning Guide to Healing & Optimizing Your Brain with Nootropic Supplements.

Head First 2nd Edition

NEW! Eliminate Brain Fog, Low Energy, Moodiness, Difficulty Sleeping, Memory Loss or Anxiety. Available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Walmart and more...

Where to Buy Nootropics

Wondering where to buy the best nootropic supplements? Well, you’re in the right place. Because here you will find the nootropic supplements that I personally use and recommend. Each supplement has a link to the company store and product that I use. I also include a link to my full review for each supplement here […]

The Definitive Guide to Nootropics

Nootropics can help increase your memory, boost learning ability, improve your mood and assist overall brain function. If you’re new to nootropics, or wonder about the difference between a nootropic and a smart drug, then this page is for you. Here you’ll find the definition of a nootropic, how to pronounce the word “nootropic”, the […]

The Most Comprehensive Nootropics List

This is our big list of the most popular Nootropics in use today. Here you’ll learn what each nootropic is, what it does and suggested dosages. What is this List of Nootropics About? Nootropic supplements are cognitive enhancers aiming to improve brain function. Whether you are looking to treat mild cognitive impairment, improve mental focus, or biohack […]

Free Secrets of the Brain 3rd Edition

Get “Secrets of the Optimized Brain,” 92 nootropics to help you plan your Nootropic Stack when you sign up for my newsletter:

Join The Discussion - 356 comments

August 29, 2018

Greetings David,

I was taking 200mcg for 4 days straight before discontinuing my usage of Huperzine-A. I’m panicking slightly because in this forum it states after the overload of acetylcholine your brain will then create less..

Thanks for getting back to me

    David Tomen
    August 29, 2018

    Jamie, 4-days is not long enough to do any permanent damage. The human brain has the amazingly ability to heal itself. Look up the side effects of too much acetylcholine. And if you’re not feeling those side effects there’s nothing to worry about.

August 27, 2018

Why is Huperzine-A not mentioned in your stack?

    David Tomen
    August 28, 2018

    Jamie, because Huperzine-A needs to be cycled. It’s half-life is reported to be up to 24 hours. So you can’t take it every day. Otherwise it’ll build up in your system to toxic levels.

August 12, 2018

As it turns out, I take about 2/3rds of everything you take. Haven’t had a chance to look up everything yet. One stand out is that I use 3 cc’s of D-aspartic acid in the AM and have done so for over 5 years. D-aspartic acid (D-AA) is an amino acid regulator of testosterone synthesis and acts on the stimulatory receptor (NMDA). D-AA aids in male fertility. D-AA has an affinity for the Thalamus, Hypothalamus, Ant.& Post. Pituitary, Pineal Gland, and the Testicles. It increases the strength of signaling from the brain’s center to the pituitary and the signaling from the pituitary to the endocrine system, particularly the testicles. Suggest you check it out. says D-AA “may” do this or that but after over 5 years experience, it does help male fertility and virility. I’m 70 years old. I mow (push mower), shovel snow, run daily, bike, yoga and calisthenics, and lift weights in the winter when its hard to get outside. I’m a big supplement fan and take most of your stack. BTW, for top quality phosphadytlserine you should try herring in a wine sauce. It has very high p-serine in it. I use Bacoma, Vinpocetine, Huperzine, Theanine, Tyrosine, GABA, ALCAR, Ornithine, Arginine, Citrulline, Lysine, Glutamine, BCAA, Boron, Beta Alanine, Trimethylglycine, Creatine, Tumeric, Ginger, MilkThistle, Dandelion, Fenugreek, and about two dozen others. My pulse is high 30’s when fully rested, 40’s during training season. Check out D-AA. Be careful not to overuse or it will give you a whopping headache right behind your eyes due to overstimulation. It may get you completely off Ritalin and other stimulates.

    David Tomen
    August 12, 2018

    Poppy, I’ve been using 1600 mg of D-Aspartic Acid Calcium Chelate which is part of the formula for Prime Male ( I haven’t mentioned it here because Nootropics Expert is focused on brain health and optimization.

    But you raise a good point and something that I’ve on my list to write is a post about hormones and brain health. I’ve been putting it off because it’s about 2-weeks worth of research to write that post. So thanks for the reminder. 🙂

Peggy Martinson
August 8, 2018

Where do you purchase there products?

    David Tomen
    August 8, 2018

    Peggy, go to the section in this post called “Clear Path to Improved Performance” and there are links to reviews which include links to Mind Lab Pro and the Performance Lab products.

    Or you can get each nootropic as a separate supplement. I’m in the USA so I get some of my nootropics from Amazon or Nootropics Depot. I don’t know which country you are in so cannot provide more specific advice.

July 30, 2018


I have been struggling with muscle fatigue and brain fog since I had my second child three years ago. I used to work out at a moderate intensity twice a week with no negative consequences. After my second child, a brisk walk will aggravate the fatigue and fog to an almost unbearable level. In an effort to figure out what was happening, I was diagnosed with chronic thyroiditis. I take a very low dose medication for this and it helps in general but if I do any physical activity I am barely able to function for a few days. After my third child, I continued to struggle with this but also struggled with depression. I had not struggled with depression with my previous two children. My third child was born about a year ago and the depression has been slowly diminishing.

My husband and I have been cleaning up our diet for the past three years and it is, in my opinion, pretty clean. Lots of fruits and vegetables, transitioning to grass fed meats (not exclusively but working towards that goal). The only thing that jumps out to me is that I drink almond milk and I am not sure how good that actually is.

All this background to ask what you nootropics you would recommend. My thoughts are a Vitamin B-Complex but I have no idea what I am looking for. I am comparing dosage recommendations on your site to products I find but cannot seem to find a fit. Is a B-complex a good place to start? Do you recommend a specific B-complex product?

Thank you,


    David Tomen
    July 31, 2018

    A B-Complex is a good start. Take a look at Life Extension’s BioActive Complete B-Complex which has higher dosages than most and is nature-identical to what your body needs (

    Then search Nootropics Expert for nootropics that reduce fatigue and brain fog. Too many to list here but an easy way to start is trying a pre-made nootropic stack for energy like this one: Take a look at the review for each ingredient listed in that stack so you understand how and why it works.

    Brain fog could be caused by any number of things. Try a search here for “brain fog” and see what turns up. Another quick option to try is by the same company and it’s called Mind: Again, look at the review for each ingredient listed in that stack so you understand how and why it works.

    David Tomen
    July 31, 2018

    One other thing… if you are dealing with Hashimoto’s, until you get your thyroid hormones and adrenals under control, you’ll continue struggling with fatigue and brain fog. Regardless of what nootropics you try using.

    I know this from personal experience. A book I highly recommend and used as my ‘bible’ to help bring me back from the brink was Jamie Bowthorpe’s “Stop the Thyroid Madness” (

July 12, 2018

Thank you for your kind advice. I will reread the link you shared. I have a good amount of brain fog and inability to focus, which is probably why I did not absorb the material well. I probably should invest some time and look for something to address that problem too. Again, thanks! 🙂

July 11, 2018

Hi David,

I am interested trying sulbutiamine and rhodiola to try to get myself more motivated and get out of the house without feeling anxious. I have terrible social anxiety and read that sulbutiamine may help, as well as the rhodiola. I am currently on Effexor XR 112.5 mg daily, lithium orotate 240 mg daily, vitamin A 10,000 IU, vitamin D, magnesium 400 mg and zinc. I find nootropics very intriguing, but am hesitant because I am on the Effexor. Do you have any thoughts on whether it would be worth trying the sulbutiamine and/or rhodiola with the Effexor?

    David Tomen
    July 12, 2018

    Kelly, Effexor (Venlafaxine) is a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI). So as long as you are using that drug you need to avoid any nootropic supplement that boosts serotonin, dopamine or norepinephrine. Otherwise you’re setting yourself up for Serotonin Syndrome or a heart attack. Rhodiola Rosea is NOT a good idea in this case.

    Sulbutiamine does not directly affect serotonin and should be OK.

    Please study this post on anxiety and choose nootropics that are not contraindicated with SSRI’s or MAOI’s:

July 10, 2018

Hii david i am 23 year old guy from india experiencing depression and anxiety since 1 and half years !

Actually everything is fine,my depression is 80% ok by pills
( paroaxetine ) anxiety is in controlled by ( propanol 20 mg and 0.25 mg etizolam )

I am at the edge of my career growth and the only problem i facing is ( mental fatigue ) or brain fog and due to this i cant work for long hours in computer and due to this my job life is affecting badly !
I am not in job since 1 year

Please suggest me best natural nootropics to cure mental fatigue !

Waiting for your reply

    David Tomen
    July 11, 2018

    Dennis, the antidepressant and antianxiety medications you are using could be causing mental fatigue. Paroxetine for example appears to be anticholinergic. If it is then it means that your brain isn’t getting enough acetylcholine for brain signaling. You could try countering it with something like Alpha GPC or CDP-Choline. But it’s like trying to plug a leaky bucket. You keep on putting water in but some of it keeps leaking out.

    It is unlikely that natural nootropics can successfully treat mental fatigue when competing with such strong pharmaceuticals.

Leave a Reply

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

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.