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), boosting decision-making, cognitive function, learning & 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 …
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
Table of Contents
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
Fortunately, 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 Performance Lab® Caffeine+
get Nu:tropic® bars
get Pre Lab Pro®
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
Best Nootropic Supplements to buy in 2023
Each 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:
- 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
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.
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 function, and overall cognitive performance. [v]
And supplementing with Astaxanthin helps reduce cortisol, a biomarker for stress and mental fatigue.
Bacopa 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]
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]
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 function, 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.
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.
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 effects memory, cognitive function, learning, recall, and mood.
And Lion’s Mane helps eliminate brain fog. Restoring cognitive dysfunction, 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.
L-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 the smart drug wears off.
Tyrosine also improves memory and cognition under acute stress.[xiv] It helps improve decision making, ‘flow state’ and creativity, cognitive flexibility, 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
Phosphatidylserine is one of the best nootropics because:
- PS helps the efficient transfer of proteins, enzymes, nutrients, oxygen, and glucose into and out of each cell
- PS is involved in the formation and sending of signals within neurons
- PS promotes healthy nerve growth factor (NGF)
- PS supports the neurogenesis needed for long-term potentiation (LTP)
- PS is involved in building mitochondria which are the energy centers of each brain cell.
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]
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 boost 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.
In 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.
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!
L-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.
The B-Vitamins are essential vitamins that should be part of every nootropic stack and they include:
- Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) – needed to produce ATP within mitochondria and is a cofactor in acetylcholine synthesis
- Vitamin B3 (Niacin) – used in the synthesis of acetylcholine and cerebral blood flow
- Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) – needed to make acetylcholine
- Vitamin B6 (P-5-P) – required for the synthesis of dopamine, epinephrine, GABA, melatonin, norepinephrine, and serotonin[xxiv]
- Vitamin B8 (Inositol) – regulates cell volume, signaling pathways in brain cells, DNA repair, long-term potentiation, is a component of cell membranes, regulates cellular metabolism and cellular energy consumption
- Vitamin B9 (Folate) – involved in DNA and RNA synthesis, cognitive function, gene expression, amino acid synthesis, myelin synthesis and repair, and required for synthesis of dopamine, epinephrine, and serotonin.
- Vitamin B12 (Methylcobalamin) – required for the synthesis of the neurotransmitters dopamine, GABA, norepinephrine, and serotonin.
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 Performance Lab® Caffeine+
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.
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 function, 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 Depression
Best Nootropics for Motivation
Best Nootropics for Hacking a Flow State
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 drugs, 16(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 nutrition, 105(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 plasticity, 2016, 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)
My wife do not sleep well often and even though she sleep well on some of the nights , she complain of tired on the next day.
She used to have a operation on the leg and that was a metal piece was implanted on her and she has pain on her leg once a while especially when it rains. She also has some mild anxiety even though she is at home and pluck her lips. She was also traumatized when she was young.
She is taking performance lab multi vitamins and performance lab sleep currently.
I believe she has some kind of fatigue in her. Do you have any nootropics recommendations for fibromyalgia? Any links ? Thanks
David Tomen says
Wong, a multivitamin and the sleep supplement are a good start. But she may need something extra for sleep (like I do). You can add an extra 500 mg L-Tryptophan, 200 mg L-Theanine, and 20 mg of CBD Oil (like the Charlotte’s Web “calm” gummies). That should help her sleep a little better.
Fibromyalgia is much more complicated and science is having a difficult time figuring it out. I have learned that fibromyalgia may be caused by low thyroid hormones (T3). I found that when I increase and stabilized my thyroid the fibromyalgia disappeared.
She should get a ‘full thyroid panel’ done if you can. Find out what Free T4 and Free T3 is because if she is low it means she is either hypothyroid or has Hashimoto’s. And if this is true, she will never get better until her thyroid hormones are taken care of.
That means taking thyroid medication (i.e. Natural Dessicated Thyroid like Armor or NP Thyroid or whatever they have in your country). See this website for more on thyroid and adrenal health: https://stopthethyroidmadness.com/
I find your articles very interesting, so thank you for the info, you seem to recommend products by performance lab very often and I have had a bit of a research myself and they seem very good, however I just wanted to ask you if you are affiliated with them at all, I am still planning on getting their products but I just wanted to ask you.
David Tomen says
Rob, my only ‘affiliation’ with Performance Lab is that I use their products myself. And get a small commission each time someone buys their product on my recommendation. It’s how I support my family.
I would not be recommending their product line if I thought there was a better supplement line on the market. But so far that hasn’t happened. And I have personally tried every other major brand on the market. Usually at the request of the manufacturer. That is why I am confident recommending their supplement line and can live with that without reservation.
Hey David, you had told me to switch from NALT L-Tyrosine to L-Tyrosine to see if it reduced my swollen gums.
Sadly it did not work. Does L-Tyrosine or any of the following medications have Calcium channel blockers that control blood flow?
Apparently, this could be a reason why my gums are reacting. I’m just not sure which one is the issue or which Nootropics to avoid.
David Tomen says
James, you’ll need to look through each of my reviews for these supplements and check their mechanism of action. But I don’t think any of them affect calcium channels.
Another way to check this is a Google search something like this for each of them: “L-Tyrosine” AND “Calcium channel” and see if anything turns up. If it does it’ll likely be a reference in a clinical study and will take some reading to find it.
Anke Ahlbrink says
As i am surching for a treatment of my Add and emotional instability.
I found a nootropic brand called SNAP at the Additude magazin.
There product contains
it is quite expensive, but if it is worse the money, i will order it.
Ore what is youre opinion on this stack.
What would you recommend.
As i am also take q10, Lions-Main, Ashwaganda, sometimes Gingko….and a lot of other nutritons…magnesium , zink. B6,B3….ect…
It is a lot to take…durring the day.
I stoped taking antidepressens and also i just can take small amounts of medications like ritalin ore elvanse. because my heart is beating to fast after i take them. ( could be anxiety…)
So my question is. Should i order this one ore something else.
Are there side effects in combination with ritalin and elvanse…
And what would you recommend instead.
I am a bit confused and i need help.
Also i am from Germany. Í have to order this pills from the states. And i am surching for alternatives. But if there are non. i would order SNAP ore your recommended ones.
But it is hard to deside…
I would be so happy if you can give me some advices…
Kind regarts from Germany
David Tomen says
Anke, I think you can do better than using the stack you mentioned. Phosphatidylserine (PS), Rhodiola Rosea, and L-Tyrosine are all good supplements for ADHD. But DMAE is an old drug (i.e. 1950s) that was once used to treat ADHD. But we have much better options available in 2021.
You are much better off using a stack like Mind Lab Pro which is a more complete option. See my review of MLP here: https://nootropicsexpert.com/mind-lab-pro-review/.
Or a less expensive option but still better than SNAP is Performance Lab Mind: https://nootropicsexpert.com/performance-lab-mind-review/. But it works best if used with a high quality multivitamin.
CocoRose in Miami says
Hello, I will turn 70 this year and for the past year I find myself reversing letters. This happens when I’m typing on the computer. I’m a fast typist and when typing I don’t realize I’m doing this until I go back to proof read what I’ve typed. Recently on a few occasions I reversed letters when writing something down.
I consider myself healthy and take an array of vitamins. I take no pharmaceuticals or over the counter drugs. I have never experienced memory loss. My father lived until 90 but had Alzheimer’s in his final years so this is a concern for me.
I first learned about Nootropics from my autistic son’s doctor, Dr. Andrew Levinson of South Beach. When I found you I purchased Mind Lab Pro and am just finishing up my first bottle. I’ve ordered more and the MCT oil. I have not noticed any improvement with the letter reversals although I feel more grounded and calm in the face of challenging situations.
I’m wondering if it’s too early to see improvement? Are you aware of this problem in others that have been resolved by a particular product? I appreciate any feedback you could give me.
David Tomen says
CocoRose, have you ever considered that there might be something wrong with your computer and it’s reversing the letters on you? Just kidding.
I’m glad that Dr. Levinson introduced you to nootropics. Because you are certainly in the right place. I’d like you to read this article: https://nootropicsexpert.com/best-nootropics-for-the-aging-brain/.
That article walks you through what happens to us humans as we age. It happens to every single one of us. But you can counter many of these aging problems by using the right nootropic supplements. That article explains how.
Mind Lab Pro is a great start and I encourage you to continue using it. It will get better with time. Don’t forget that you are working on repairing and replacing what has been lost over 70 years. It won’t take you another 70 years to undo this damage. But it won’t happen overnight either.
After reading that article you’ll soon realize that Mind Lab Pro is a good start. But it’s going to take more than just that one supplement considering the work you have to do.
If you follow the advice in that article you will find that one day the letters will somehow magically appear how you intended. It will not happen in a week. But it will happen if you use the right supplements and are consistent with it every single day.
I’m open to Personal Consultations as well if you are interested. More on that here: https://nootropicsexpert.com/personal-consultations/
Sami Rawass says
hello my 67 years old mom had a stroke in her front temporal lobe after 4 months of the stroke we supplied her with nuraid its a herbal medicine for stroke recovery but after starting the nuraid she had some seizures and we are giving her anti seizures medicine but shes recovering very slow since 1 year and a half from her stroke we didnt stop her rehabilitation yet
we gave her cdp-choline ( somazina ) it strengthened her seizures
my question is which nootropic is the best for my moms case to continue recovering in a better way please
thanks in advance
David Tomen says
Sami, please carefully read through this entire page: https://nootropicsexpert.com/best-nootropics-for-the-aging-brain/. You’ll find 22 mentions of various supplements that can be used to prevent a stroke or help treat post-stroke.
You other option is do a search of Nootropics Expert using the search function top right of the main menu at the top. And search for the keyword “stroke”. You’ll get 7 pages of results. It will take time to read through each of them. But you’ll learn a lot about the cause of a stroke. What can be done to prevent a stroke. And a few supplements that have been shown to help.
Hi what have you researched about Cats Claw?
I read an article in Nature
that it untangles the placques in the brain, and is neuroregenerative as well as neuroprotective?
David Tomen says
Cat’s Claw: https://nootropicsexpert.com/cats-claw/
Casandra Lorincz says
Hello Mr. Tomen,
My name is Casandra Lorincz, and I am 67 years old.
I have memory problems; mostly short term memory.
I found out that Pramistar (Pramiracetam), a prescription medication works wonders for my cousin in Romania. But in the United States it is not approved as a prescription medication. I searched for it on Google, and I found out that in America it is available only as a supplement nootropic, and I discovered you. I ordered your books on line, and Pramiracetam 300mg from PureNootropics.net.
I took almost half of the bottle, 2/day, but I don’t feel any improvement with my brain. It doesn’t work.
What can it be? Can you help me?
David Tomen says
Casandra, for Pramiracetam (https://nootropicsexpert.com/pramiracetam/) to provide benefit you need to dose it properly. Which means a minimum of 250 mg 3-times per day (i.e. morning, noon and 4 PM). And you must use it with 300 mg of either Alpha GPC or CDP-Choline each time. And because it is fat-soluble it must be taken with a healthy fat each time. For example, 1 tablespoon of unrefined coconut oil or MCT oil each time you use Pramiracetam.
For short-term memory, please see this section of an article I wrote on memory: https://nootropicsexpert.com/best-nootropics-for-learning-and-memory/#shortterm-memory. At the end of that section are some suggestions including; Rhodiola Rosea, Phosphatidylserine (PS), CDP-Choline, and Bacopa Monnieri.
Reading about Nootropics is really fascinating me. I am a newbie and reading a lot. I have not tried or ordered anything yet. I would appreciate your input. I have read the other posts and try to glean from those. My area of interest is energy, to get through the day, focus, concentration, short/long term memory, brain fog, etc. I have already addressed thyroid and hormone/adrenal issues and take thyroid supplements and BioTe pellets. I have also tried adrenal liquid formulas and still feel rundown and unable to focus and oraganize my day. I am almost 50 and as I was reading about how brain neurotransmitters change with age, I figured this is the next place to go. Thank you in advance for your input.
Just to add, I am a regular caffeine user. I call it “Vitamin C”. But it doesn’t do all that much or for just a very short period of time.
David Tomen says
Angela, the best way for you to get started is herehttps://nootropicsexpert.com/best-nootropics-for-the-aging-brain/. Choose two nootropics from each of the categories on that page. Put together a daily schedule for what and how much of each supplement you need to take at 8 AM, noon, and late in the afternoon or before bed.
Do this consistently every day and you’ll start to feel the benefit in the first couple of days. But the real benefit if you stay with it will happen in a couple of months. And continue to get better.
Pedro Moreno says
Hi David, congrats for your site and info, really great! I was wondering why Mind Lab Pro does not have any DHA in it, which would make sense, and if you think I should add some to it. In that case, which DHA supplement would you recommend and in which dose? Thanks!
David Tomen says
Pedro, it just isn’t practical to put something like DHA in a pre-made stack like Mind Lab Pro. Because the most effective daily dose of DHA is 600 – 1,000 mg. And it’s usually in its natural liquid form.
My favorite DHA supplement is the new Performance Lab Omega-3 (https://bit.ly/3kgtQ12). Because it’s made from a patented form of algae which is where DHA comes from in the first place. And the price is right too when compared to other premium algae-sourced DHA. It’s a higher dose compared to the others. And contains EPA as well which your body needs although lesser amounts than DHA for your brain.
Hi how can I
Get your newsletter and info on nac?
I’m in the U.K. also where does one buy nac? My pharmacist told me it’s prescribed only for paracetamol overdose.
Thanks so much
David Tomen says
Jo, you can subscribe to my newsletter here: https://nootropicsexpert.com/free-download/.
I’m not sure if NAC is banned by the UK government. This is the NAC I use: https://amzn.to/2IQ9Pkj
looking for a good organic mucuna pruriens product for my wifes parkinsons thanks
David Tomen says
Jim, I use and recommend NatureBell Organic Mucuna (30% L-DOPA): https://amzn.to/3a8Qt3v
Other options: Himalaya Organic Mucuna Pruriens (6%): https://amzn.to/3kqzTAJ.
Micro Ingredients Organic Mucuna (5%): https://amzn.to/33JaSe4.
David R. says
I appreciate your website and all the information it has to offer regarding nootropics. Last year, I discovered another natural nootropic not mentioned on your site. The nootropic is called Fisetin. It is a substance derived from from strawberries/produce, and is suppose to support cognitive function. Can you do an objective review of Fisetin on your website? As well, I welcome your opinion.
David Tomen says
David, Fisetin is on my list of nootropic supplements to review. I just haven’t gotten around to it yet. There seems to be plenty of clinical evidence that it works. So I’ll move it up the list of things “to do”.
Don’t hold your breath though because my plate is kinda’ full right now. Which is the understatement of the year I think. But it will be done! And thank you.
David, Wow, your website provides such a comprehensive coverage on nootropics, I am so glad to have found you. I am a healthy happy 80 year old lady, except I am noticeably on the decline in short term memory started a few months ago, probably not noticeable to others yet. I have been trying a few nootropics so far, but am thinking to switch to Mind Lab Pro which I have read about. My mother died of AD, so I am really concerned about getting it. She lived to be 90, with no high blood pressure, no high glucose, no high cholesterol problems, so they say AD’s another name is Type 3 diabetes — does not apply to her case. I am prediabetic, with elevated cholesterol level, both under control by prescriptions in the lowest dosage. Do you think I should try taking Mind Lab Pro? I take calcium and magnesium supplement, fish oil, B12, CoQ10. Thank you in advance for your help!
David Tomen says
Suzanne, definitely try Mind Lab Pro. Use it daily for a couple of weeks and you should start experiencing some improvements. I’ve got two other articles I’d like you to study. The first one is how memory works in your brain and provide some suggestions on boosting short-term memory: https://nootropicsexpert.com/best-nootropics-for-learning-and-memory/
The other article is on aging and what you must do to keep your brain in tip-top shape: https://nootropicsexpert.com/best-nootropics-for-the-aging-brain/
Thank you so much for your quick reply. I’ll definitely take your advice, and expect to report to you positive result. God bless you, Suzanne
Bob Daugherty says
Aloha David, I just found your site and wonderful articles! I will definitely spread the word.
I did want to ask one quick question too. Are there any nootropics that might help with physical balance improvment? Hope so!
David Tomen says
Bob, are you talking about vertigo? Because is so, that’s a problem with the inner ear. I realize that’s extremely close to your brain. But I’m not aware of any nootropic that assists with vertigo symptoms.
Aivo Rannik says
I recently discovered the world of nootropics. Found your channel in Youtube and been reading lot of your posts here. Thank you for all the effort you’re making! Everything here is absolute gold!
I’m 36, have had low mood, energy and motivation for all of my life. Also, self-diagnosed myself a mild ADD. Recently I came out of depression period. First I took SSRI antidepressant which made my completely numb. Then I lowered the dose to half and started to took it with 5-HTP (no side effects, after a month of use) D,L-Phenylalanine, magnesium threonate and B vitamin complex. Been feeling absolutely great for the last few weeks! I couldn’t even imagine that I can ever feel that way. But I guess, some of my mood change has happened because of the use SSRI. So my goal is to slowly quit the antidepressant and completely move to nootropics.
But my question is: Can you mention more different brand names that you consider quality since Mind Lab Pro and Performance Lab don’t clearly cover lot of the nootropics out there.
David Tomen says
Aivo, I have individual recommendations for specific vendors for many of the nootropics I review when it’s not included in either Mind Lab Pro or one of the Performance Lab supplements.
I only make more specific, granular recommendations during personal consultations when warranted. If you’re just getting started with nootropics that may be the best investment you can make right now: https://nootropicsexpert.com/personal-consultations/
Hi I want to take Prime Male testosterone and Prime Male together and also I would like to a pre formulated nootropic like Alpha Brain. Or something similar to achieve the effects to enhance both masculinity as well as act as a nootropic
David Tomen says
Ash, if you’re talking about the Performance Lab T supplement and Prime Male, I don’t recommend using both. That’s not the way these supplements work.
More is NOT better.
Both stacks were carefully designed to assist male hormones. And both work as designed for most men. But one or the other and not both. You are not going to get any benefit by trying to amplify the mechanism of action of each ingredient in these supplements.
Mr Mike says
– I am planning to take a supplement stack for the purpose of increasing (HGH) human growth hormone to help me with skin issues and weak bones.
– Can you please tell me if there is any potential negative interactions between the supplements that I plan to take:
– Morning: (Fish oil 1g)-(Calcium 1g)-(Vitamin k2 mk4 5mg with mk7 and k1)-(Vitamin C 500mg)-(SAM-e 400mg)-(Ipriflavone 300mg)
– Noon: (SAM-e 400mg)-(Vitamin C 750mg)-(Alpha GPC 600mg)-(Mucuna pruriens 100%extract L-Dopa 500mg)
– Early evening: (Niacin “flush-version” 500mg)-(Ipriflavone 300mg)-(Vitamin C 750mg)
– Before Bed: (Zinc 15mg)-(Magnesium 200mg)-(Melatonin 3mg)-(ALCAR 500mg)-(Pro-GH supplement containing: 1.5 g Arginine – 1.5g Orthenine – 500 Lysine – 2g Glutamine – 2g Glycine – 500mg GABA)
– Another question is there are studies that suggest that 500mg and above of alpha gpc lower (TSH) thyroid hormone what are your thoughts on this
((Serum TSH was found to be significantly depressed in the 500 mg A-GPC group)) from this study https://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12970-017-0196-5
David Tomen says
Mike, that’s the only study I’ve ever seen about Alpha GPC affecting TSH. I’m severely hypothyroid and use 300 mg Alpha GPC 4-times per day and have not experienced a problem.
TSH is not thyroid hormone anyway. Thyroid Stimulating Hormone is produced in your pituitary gland which signals our thyroid to produce T4 and T3 thyroid hormones. It’s T4 and T3 which are important. Not TSH.
David, which Nootropics would you say are the best for young, healthy adults (in their 20’s and 30’s?) I notice a lot of Nootropics are more beneficial for older adults.
My preference is for nutrient-based Nootropics (such as ALCAR or Choline).
David Tomen says
Taylor, there is no “best for young, healthy adults” when it comes to nootropics. It depends on what you are trying to achieve.
The thing is science shows that the human brain continues to develop until about 25. So you don’t want to do anything that would interfere with that natural development.
Many nootropics reviewed on Nootropics Expert is a “nutrient-based” nootropic because many of them originate in food.
I’m coming down very slowly from antidepressant nortroptyline. What is the best nootropic that can support me from the withdrawal of this medication? Something that can maybe fix my brain. I’m already taking Aniracetam, Caffeine, CDP-Choline and DHA.
Any advice is greatly appreciated
David Tomen says
Mick, the only thing you can do is treat it as traumatic brain injury. https://nootropicsexpert.com/best-nootropics-for-traumatic-brain-injury/. Which would include boosting BDNF and Nerve Growth Factor.
Thank You David for your help
Iv been using amphetamines for over 10 years. This has never been in a party or recreational manner, but as a self medication for depression, trauma and fatigue. But now I live with major regrets and major depletion on every level, which is 100% debilitating. If I don’t find a way to function without the use of this drug, I’m going to end up with irreparable damage.
You havnt mentioned addiction at all and was hoping you could tell me if your aware of successful benefits for those seriously wanting to have a life beyond the hell of addiction.
David Tomen says
Loralie, I’m very familiar with addiction because of the way it has affected my family. But this subject crosses over between brain repair while getting help. And the best help I know of are 12-step programs. They work together or it doesn’t work.