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)
What do you think of the best daily antioxidant supplement?
R+ALA (ALA) or Astaxanthin?
it would be interesting to see an article on the best antioxidants.
David Tomen says
There is not a “best” antioxidant because each supplement shown to work as an antioxidant also provides several other unique benefits. Most base their decision on one or more of those other benefits while also getting the supplement’s antioxidant benefits.
For example, Maritime Pine Bark Extract has been shown to be one of the most potent antioxidants found in nature. But most use it for increasing blood flow in the brain.
let’s post about “mumie” and “Fulvic Acid”, they can improve brain function and memory by preventing certain proteins from sticking together.
This is very beneficial for the immune system.
David Tomen says
I haven’t a clue what mumie is but IF I can find enough peer reviewed clinical evidence done with humans that fulvic acid helps the human brain then I’ll put in on my list of supplements to review.
I am very surprised that only one mushroom made it onto your list.
Chaga, Cordyceps, Reishi, and psylocibin cubensis, and all extremely beneficia for your mind in addition to the Lion’s main you mentioned.
David Tomen says
Mark, I have hundreds of thousands of people in our community. And every single one likely has some problem with my choice of “best nootropics”. Sorry I missed yours.
I’m wondering if Phosphatidylcholine is the best option as it makes the body better at producing Phosphatidylserine, Choline and Acetylcholine. Correct me if I’m wrong.
David Tomen says
john freeman says
WTF david, totally leave hydergine off the list? you must work for the FDA ,,,, they want us brain dead.
My mother had strokes an TIA. Lost the ability to speak.
ergoloid mesylates about 6 mg and her speech returned to normal. Also a little melatonin seemed to help with her sleep.
David Tomen says
John, Nootropics Expert is all about natural nootropic supplements that support the human brain. Supplement that most people around the world can buy at their local vitamin shop or health food store. And you do not need a prescription to get a nootropic supplement. Hydergine does not fall under that category.
Jacques Grenier says
Very relevant to my case, 73 year old retired multilingual Sea captain.
starting to have difficulty with advanced math. doing navigation exercises
in my head is getting harder
David Tomen says
Jacques, this article should help as well: https://nootropicsexpert.com/best-nootropics-for-the-aging-brain/
Hey David , can you Please write a list of nootropics that is not Good too take if u have high thyroid and wich one is okey … so I know what i can Buy and not, dont want my stress to become more… bless
David Tomen says
Felicia, best be careful using Ashwagandha and ALCAR because they both affect thyroid hormone
I’m confused, what is a nootropics stack exactly? Is it a synethic blend? Like is it one pill that does multiple things like memory, focus, clarity, mood, etc?
Nuven Naturals Brain Support, is that a nootropics stack?
Or is a nootropics stack, a mix of individual supplements taken together or as part of a plan an individual has?
David Tomen says
Tony, a nootropic stack refers to combining two or more nootropic supplements to achieve a desired effect. They could be individual supplements taken at the same time. Or a pre-made supplement containing several ingredients like Mind Lab Pro which contains 11 individual ingredients for whole brain support.
Hi. I’m trying to do my nootropics stack. I’m a student and I sometimes I’m not motivated and I get difficult to focus and study so I would take something for focus and motivation. also I suffer with anxiety and depression and I take prescribed drugs for that. I would like to get something to increase the energy of my brain and processing speed but also get better with my mood and social anxiety.
this is the stack I found that maybe could work for me, although I haven’t tried yet,:
suntheanine and caffeine
thank you so much and I really like your work.
David Tomen says
Gabriele, try this stack and see if it works for you. Just make sure the get the dosing amount right and the number of times per day if applicable. I do recommend adding 500 mg L-Tyrosine twice per day.
Good afternoon Sir, I’m in desperate need of guidance for my dad…He’s 70 years old, has been developing short term memory loss, confusion, disoriented early on this year after an infection, and a bad fall one night. he was very resistant to see a neurologist, because we couldn’t say where the infection was but upon getting an MRI, Brain scan, spine can, the neurologist dismissed being dementia or alzheimer. However he has severe arthritis in his neck area, a chronic sinusitis with an infection, and lower o2 blood perfusion to his brain due to cervicals pinching on the main artery there…I had him start taking some cbd oil full spectrum from cbddistillery with the mind lab 4.0 after some research. 2.5 weeks into taking it, everybody asked me what i gave him because he was normal again.
Unfortunately he contracted covid in august and since then he has been more foggy and forgetful, mood also degraded, and is searching for his words, and often is confused and anxious…
I would like to know what you would recommend, but also i’m not opposed to doing a consult after getting him on a couple extra supplements.
I hope i can still get my dad back…
David Tomen says
Claude, if your Dad is 70 then this is for him: https://nootropicsexpert.com/best-nootropics-for-the-aging-brain/. If you could use some help with creating a stack from that article then I suggest a consultation.
Siobhan Morris says
Hello there, I like your videos and it’s very helpful. I was wondering if you can tell me where to my buy (phenylpiracetam) supplement ? Where is the best place to buy? I had a brain injury which resulted in a surgery on my brain so my cognition got weak, and was wondering if it will help me restore my neurons? I had epilepsy and was taking medication, but stopped it. Does it help with people who had surgery in their brain due to an injury?
David Tomen says
I have been searching for a a vendor who sells Phenylpiracetam but so far have not had any luck. Maybe someone else reading this has a suggestion.
Thanks so much for your site and sharing your knowledge!!
I’ve taken supplements for a while, but just started looking into full nootropic stacks to help with cognition (as a grad student).
Planning to try Mind Lab Pro (thanks for the recommendation!).
I also came across Thesis (takethesis.com) and thought some of their blends like Logic, Creativity, Clarity, could be helpful though I think each is targeted/less comprehensive than Mind Lab Pro.
– Wondering if you have thoughts about/reviewed this brand?
– Would it work well to take Mind Lab Pro as a base, and add a Thesis packet as needed, or better to take just one of them?
Thanks so much! Still learning,
David Tomen says
Lisa, I have looked at and tried many of the other nootropic stacks on the market. And keep coming back to Mind Lab Pro. Simply because it works better than the others as an overall stack.
But it depends on your age or if you are trying to fix a particular issue. You may need to use some of the ingredients found in Mind Lab Pro in addition to this pre-made formula. Like another dose of L-Tyrosine, CDP-Choline and ALCAR at noon.
Great additions to Mind Lab Pro on its own include Vitamin D3, magnesium, and a high quality bioactive Multi.
Curious to know your thoughts on this new product called “Thesis”?
David Tomen says
Dee they refer to nootropics as “smart drugs” which is just plain wrong. I do not trust anyone who makes a statement like that because it shows they have no idea what they are doing.
I’m taking ashwagandha ksm 66 550mg, lions mane 1000mg and pine bark extract 400 mg. 1) Can you tell me which one is water and which is fat soluble. 2) is it a good stack? 3) is it good to add also alcar and cdp choline? 4) can you tell me if alcar and cdp choline with a ratio of 4 (alcar):1 (cdp) match well?
David Tomen says
Salvatore, the easiest thing to do is a search for example, “is KSM 66 water soluble?” All 3 of those supplements are water soluble. In the future … 🙂
Adding the other two supplements will increase acetylcholine. Only you can know if you need to increase acetylcholine. I cannot tell you “it’s a good stack” because it depends entirely on what you are trying to do. There is no “ratio’ between ALCAR and CDP-Choline. The recommended adult dose for each is in each review for those supplements. You will find links to each in the article above.
Hi David and thank you for your wonderful site.
I have a question about the nootropics that you mension for brain repair. Despite as you write the they repair brain like lion’s mane or rhodiola why I have to take them for life? You mension that you take ML PRO so many years. What will happen if you stop take it?
What is the deference from psychiatric drugs if you need them for life and when you stop them you are worse? There isnt a healing process?
Thank you for your time!
David Tomen says
Dennis, there is of course a healing process when using supplements that boost Nerve Growth Factor and BDNF. But your brain is a highly dynamic environment. And is in need of constant maintenance and repair.
When you stop supporting Nerve Growth Factor and BDNF you may keep their benefit for a few days at most. You may not slide back to the condition you were in when you started to supplement. But you will backslide and continue to do so if you do not give your brain the tools it needs to grow and repair itself.
Please read my article on brain aging and you’ll see what I mean: https://nootropicsexpert.com/best-nootropics-for-the-aging-brain/
Is it safe to take that many vitamins and supplements a day?
David Tomen says
David, yes it is safe as long as you follow dosage recommendations. And depending on the supplement, that it is not contraindicated with any meds you are using.
100 years ago there was no such thing as a dietary supplement industry. In 2022, it’s a multi-billion dollar industry. Why? Because we no longer get the nutrients we need from food. So we need to “supplement” our daily food intake for optimal health and performance.
Hi David. I’ve been following your research and referring back to your Nootropics information for years! I wanted to get your thoughts on the pre-made stack company “Bright Brain.” They have a couple of pre-made formulas: Cram & Bright Brain. I’d love to get your feedback on the ingredients in those two products and/if you have heard of them.
I apologize on my question. I meant the two pre-made stack formulas: Cram & Absolute Focus.
David Tomen says
M, I’ve never heard of Bright Brain. But that is no surprise because since I founded Nootropics Expert and word has spread, anyone with $5,000 can start a supplement company. And many people have.
How about Mind Lab?
David Tomen says
Susie Averbach says
I’ve been taking. Phosphatidyl Serine for 3 weeks –I’m taking 100 mg twice daily. I’ve enjoyed results in terms of clarity, but am feeling speedy, hyperstimulated during the day. I’m very sensitive to supplements, nootropics, etc. I don’t take pharmaceuticals.
Have you heard of this reaction and if so, what might the mechanics of action of overstimulation?
Thanks so much.
You’re providing an invaluable service, David
David Tomen says
Susie, Phosphatidylserine increases acetylcholine (ACh) so you likely have excess ACh.
PS also interacts with cellular proteins, modulates the activity of neuroreceptors, enzymes, ion channels, and brain cell signaling.
It also lowers cortisol so if you have weak adrenals you could be suffering from not enough cortisol.
I’ll have to do some research because I have used Neuriva and Neuriva plus for 5 months with no success.
David Tomen says
Willie, what are you trying to do with supplements? Neuriva is simply coffee fruit extract with Phosphatidylserine (PS). And the “Plus” version adds some of the B-Vitamins.
One thing you soon learn when it comes to brain health and cognition is the is no such thing as a “one pill” solution.
If i want to be best in school test ， does only mindlabpro enough？
David Tomen says
See this article which may help you in school: https://nootropicsexpert.com/best-nootropics-for-studying/
Mind Lab Pro may be enough depending on your age. If you are in your teens or early twenties it may be enough to use 2 capsules of Mind Lab Pro in the morning and then again at noon.
But if you are older you may need to add on to the amount of some of the ingredients in Mind Lab Pro.
I am older and considering Mind Lab pro. What would you suggest. My thinking is foggy, I,m having trouble with short-term memory and word retrieval. I also have Tinnitus.
David Tomen says
Tom, for tinnitus I suggest a Personal Consultation with me because I haven’t written an article about it yet.
Mind Lab Pro will likely help you but you’d need to take a full dose in the morning and again at noon. And add several other supplements to support the aging brain. More on that here: https://nootropicsexpert.com/best-nootropics-for-the-aging-brain/
Hi David and congratulations for the good work.i am running to your site many times a day to inform my self about the things you are writing.
Since i am from Greece i am trying to translate as good as i can in my language all the above.
i am reading in your ” secrets for the best stack” on number 6 the risk factor , what do you mean by saying that if we risk shortening the lifespan?
what lowers the lifespan ?
The nootropics that you have on your list or some other nootropics – drugs that they have not been tested so we don’t know their safety.?
thanks again and my apologies if during the translation i am missing something.
David Tomen says
George, there is nothing in the stacks I recommend that can shorten lifespan. In fact, it’s the opposite in many cases. You are not “missing something” but I may have not communicated very well.
I included that sentence to get people to think about what their intentions for improving cognitive health. How far would you be willing to go? Is it better to stay healthy until the end? Or would you rather extend your life another 20 years but be in poor health.