Adderall Alternatives: Best Over the Counter Substitutes

best adderall alternative 2020Thousands of college students go to their health clinic asking for Adderall. Or get it from an attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) friend who’s willing to part with a few tablets from their monthly prescription.[i]

Because they feel Adderall makes them more productive. And it helps them stay up at night to study.[ii]

At least that’s what they’ve been told. And it turns out this stimulant drug will help keep you awake. One of the many side effects of this amphetamine is insomnia.

But a study drug?

What is not commonly known is one of the reasons why sleep is so critical is that long-term memory is consolidated while you sleep.

What you study during the day is consolidated and integrated into long-term memory during the short-wave stage of sleep.[iii]

If you don’t get enough quality sleep, you suffer from poor memory. And you’ll not be able to recall what you studied the night before for your exam the next day.

But it’s not just college kids. Athletes, executives, and the military use stimulants like Adderall too.

Because they think it makes them more productive, improves reaction time, and prevents fatigue so they can work harder and longer.

But at what cost?

How Adderall Works in your Brain

Adderall is an amphetamine. It’s a combo of 25% levoamphetamine salts and 75% dextroamphetamine salts.

It rapidly crosses the blood-brain barrier and goes inside the presynaptic terminal of monoamine neurons.

Once inside, Adderall interacts with trace amine-associated transporter 1 (TAAR1) and vesicular monoamine transporters 2 (VMAT2) which reverses the direction of the transporters.[iv]

Forcing the release of dopamine and norepinephrine that was stored in synaptic vesicles and pushing it back out of the neuron. Providing the stimulant effect most are seeking when using Adderall.

The problem is studies have demonstrated that amphetamines can be toxic to neurons. Because these drugs will eventually reduce levels of dopamine, norepinephrine, and transporters in the brain, impair receptor function and dendrite growth.[v]

This would explain why tolerance to Adderall becomes a problem. And why you need to use higher and higher doses of this drug to achieve the same effect.[vi]

But many are becoming wise to the side effects of prescription stimulants like Adderall. And are looking for natural OTC alternatives like Mind Lab Pro®.

Because unless you’re clinically and truly ADD or ADHD and realizing Adderall’s benefit, the perceived short-term benefits to you if you’re not, are not worth the cost to your brain health.

closest thing to adderall over the counter

Closest Thing to Adderall Over the Counter

First, there is no such thing as a “natural Adderall” alternative. Anyone who tells you that they sell an “Over the Counter Adderall Alternative” is not being honest.

And here’s why …

Recall that Adderall works by reversing the action of the monoamine transporters TAAR1 and VAMT2. And activating TAAR1 receptors.[vii] Forcing dopamine and norepinephrine out of synaptic vesicles and back out of the neuron.

This action provides the stimulant effect of Adderall.

No natural substance known to man can exactly mimic this behavior.

But what we can do with nootropics is increase levels of dopamine and norepinephrine naturally. And studies show that if higher dosages of these nootropics are used, it will activate TAAR1 receptors.[viii]

Which will contribute to a mood lift, and better memory. And the addition of an acetylcholine precursor can make you more alert. Creating a stack of natural otc Adderall alternatives may be your best alternative..

You get the benefit of being able to work longer and faster.

And you avoid the potential Adderall side effects of brain cell toxicity, tolerance, addiction, abdominal pain, anorexia, constipation, dizziness, dry mouth, headache, insomnia, jitteriness, irritability, nausea, or palpitations.

Or the nasty withdrawal symptoms once you quit Adderall.

I am Adult ADD and have taken advantage of this mechanism of action with natural nootropics to support daily Ritalin use.

In fact, not long after starting Nootropics Expert® I weaned off the Ritalin I was using. And tried an experiment.

I used my ADD nootropic stack for one year and was able to control my Adult ADD symptoms using only natural supplements.

I’ve shared this natural way to control ADD and ADHD symptoms with tens of thousands since. And know this works.

That’s next …

legal alternative to adderall

The 3 Best Natural Adderall Alternatives

In this section I’ll briefly detail the ingredients of 3 pre-made natural nootropic stacks. That can provide most of the benefits normally associated with Adderall including reducing ADD and ADHD symptoms.

I’ve been using this first nootropic stack made by Performance Lab® for the last couple of years on an “as needed” basis.

And it provides the temporary stimulant boost most are looking for when using Adderall. But without the negatives because it acts as a central nervous system stimulant.

Performance Lab® Caffeine+

If you routinely stop at Starbucks® for a Grande, or the corner store for an energy drink, or use Adderall for its stimulant boost – this natural nootropic stimulant stack called Performance Lab® Caffeine+ may be a great alternative for you.

Performance Lab Caffeine+Here’s how it works …

Natural Caffeine 50 mg (from Coffea Robusta seeds)

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

But caffeine also influences acetylcholine, epinephrine, serotonin and boosts dopamine use which also contributes to its stimulant effects.

Caffeine also activates the release of excess cortisol, restricts blood flow, and depletes water-soluble B-Vitamins.

The rest of this stack counteracts the negatives associated with caffeine use.

L-Theanine 100 mg (Suntheanine®)

L-Theanine increases Alpha brain waves which promotes alert relaxation. It boosts serotonin, dopamine, GABA and Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) in your brain.[x]

And L-Theanine helps relieve the stress of excess cortisol. All counteracting many of the negatives of caffeine use.

L-Tyrosine (Ajipure®) 250 mg

Caffeine’s stimulant effect is produced in part by increases in the release of the catecholamines dopamine, norepinephrine and epinephrine. Releasing these neurotransmitters into the extracellular space is similar to how Adderall works.

But this demand on increased catecholamines can result in attention problems, mood imbalances, energy crashes and long-term feelings of exhaustion.

The addition of L-Tyrosine in this Stim formula helps replace the neurotransmitters that are impacted by caffeine.

Resulting in better working memory, quicker thinking even under pressure, a boost in multitasking performance, stress resistance and no crash.

NutriGenesis® B-Complex

Caffeine consumption causes a diuretic effect which accelerates the excretion of  Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine, P-5-P)Vitamin B9 (Folate)and Vitamin B12 (methylcobalamin).

Including these B-Vitamins in this stimulant stack counterbalances this vitamin depletion caused by caffeine.

If you use Adderall for its stimulant boost, you may want to try this natural alternative instead. It’s safer, can be used whenever you need an energy boost, and it’s effective.

See my complete Performance Lab® Caffeine+ Review or

Get and try Performance Lab® Caffeine+

Performance Lab® Mind

If you had all the brain energy you needed and zero mental fatigue, it’s unlikely you’d be using Adderall.

best premade nootropic stack for mental clarityThat’s what this next natural nootropic stack helps you do.

Performance Lab® Mind helps increase brain energy and reduce mental fatigue. It does it by supporting the thousands of mitochondria you have in each one of your brain cells. And by boosting cerebral blood flow.

Mind supports neurogenesis by increasing the density of neurons and synapses. It increases the neuroplasticity required for learning, memory, and overall brain function.

And Performance Lab® Mind enhances focus, reaction-time, brain processing speed and memory by boosting brain energy, critical neurotransmitters and hormones depleted by stress.

Here’s how it works …

Citicoline 250 mg (Cognizin®)

Citicoline (CDP-Choline) provides the choline required for acetylcholine synthesis. The neurotransmitter involved in brain cell signaling needed for quick thinking, learning, memory and recall.

Once Citicoline crosses your blood-brain barrier it converts to uridine which is used in the synthesis of Phosphatidylcholine (PC).[xi]

PC is used to repair and rebuild brain cell membranes. Keeping membranes fluid for better signaling needed for attention, quicker reaction time, learning, memory, cognition and recall.

Citicoline as Cognizin® has been shown to increase adenosine triphosphate (ATP) which is the fuel source generated in mitochondria and supplies energy to brain cells.

And the Cognizin® form of citicoline found in Performance Lab® Mind has been shown in research to boost brain cell membrane formation by 26% and brain energy by 13.6% in healthy adults.[xii]

Phosphatidylserine 100 mg (from Sunflower lecithin)

Phosphatidylserine (PS) is a phospholipid component of the membrane encasing nearly every one of your cells.

PS promotes nerve growth factor (NGF) for neurogenesis, neuroplasticity, and neuron repair and maintenance.

Studies show that phospholipid content including Phosphatidylserine begins to decline as early as age 20. And this decline becomes more pronounced as you age.[xiii]

Phosphatidylserine (PS) is arguably one of the most effective and important nootropics we have available today.

PS keeps our brain cells healthy. And has a reputation for improving alertness, attention, cognition, memory, recall and mood.

L-Tyrosine 250 mg

L-Tyrosine is used in your brain to produce dopamine. And the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and epinephrine (your “fight or flight” hormone). The same neurotransmitters released when using Adderall.

L-Tyrosine helps restore these catecholamines when you are sleep deprived. Or dealing with extreme stressors like heat or cold, intense business negotiations, exams, or war zones.[xiv]

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

It’s a safe way to boost dopamine and norepinephrine while avoiding the negative side effects by doing the same with Adderall.

Maritime Pine Bark Extract 75 mg (95% proanthocyanidins)

Pine Bark Extract helps increase cerebral circulation for more blood flow. Providing nutrients and oxygen to energy-hungry brain cells.[xv]

Pine Bark Extract helps prevent decreases in dopamine and norepinephrine. And the glutathione (GSH) and GSH-disulphide reductase (GSSG-R) ratio. Neurotransmitter problems which contribute to hyperactivity and is treated with Adderall.[xvi]

Studies show that Pine Bark extract significantly boosts blood flow even in healthy young adults.[xvii] And has a remarkable effect on memory, focus, decision-making and mood.[xviii]

Performance Lab® Mind is a long-term solution for bringing your brain up-to-speed and keeping it there. So you’ll not be tempted to resort to a synthetic stimulant like Adderall.

And Mind is particularly effective when supported by a high-quality, bio-identical multivitamin like Performance Lab® NutriGenesis Multi.

And when you need that extra energy boost, take a capsule of Performance Lab® Caffeine+.

See my complete Performance Lab® Mind Review or

Get and try Performance Lab® Mind and

Get and try Performance Lab® NutriGenesis Multi for men or women

Mind Lab Pro®

I’ve been using Mind Lab Pro® daily for the last 5 years and it’s still my favorite natural Adderall substitute.

OTC Adderall alternativeMind Lab Pro® was formulated to support all brain functions and pathways. 11 multi-tasking nootropics in this formula at clinically-proven dosages may be all you need.

This stack supports brain energy, neurotransmitters, blood flow, and brain waves. And provides neuroprotection while regenerating what’s been lost or damaged.

Just 2 capsules of this nootropic supplement every day for a month or two. And you may find you no longer need or want to use a short-acting stimulant like Adderall.

Earlier in this post I mentioned how I used only my nootropic stack including Mind Lab Pro® with no prescription stimulants for one year. And kept my Adult ADD symptoms under control.

The genius of this combination of ingredients and their synergy is how it works so well. And has become the industry standard others envy but have not yet matched.

These are the nootropic ingredients that make it work to improve brain health:

Citicoline 250 mg (Cognizin®) – see how Citicoline works in your brain in my list of ingredients above for Mind.

Phosphatidylserine (PS) 100 mg (Sharp-PS® Green) – see how Phosphatidylserine (PS) works in your brain in my list of ingredients above for Mind.

L-Tyrosine 175 mg (as N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine) – see how L-Tyrosine works in your brain in my list of ingredients above for Stim and Mind.

L-Theanine 100 mg (Suntheanine®) – see how L-Theanine works in your brain in my list of ingredients above for Stim

Maritime Pine Bark Extract 75 mg (95% proanthocyanidins) – see how Pine Bark Extract works in your brain in my list of ingredients above for Mind.

These next 6 ingredients are what makes Mind Lab Pro® the best ‘universal’ nootropic stack on the planet.

And why 2 capsules per day of this stack may be all you need as a natural Adderall alternative. But it does so much more …

Bacopa Monnieri 150 mg (standardized for 24% bacosides)

Bacopa Monnieri’s active bacosides improves brain cell signaling and helps restore damaged neurons and synapses.  And Bacopa acts as an anxiolytic by reducing free radicals and oxidative stress while reducing cortisol.[xix]

Studies show Bacopa Monnieri improves recall, attention, speed of information processing and memory.[xx] All while reducing anxiety. And its effects seem to keep working even after you stop using Bacopa.[xxi]

Lion’s Mane Mushroom 500 mg (organic and full spectrum)

Lion’s Mane Mushroom’s active compounds hericenones and erinacines boost Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) synthesis. Which stimulates neuron regeneration and neurite outgrowth.[xxii]

This increase in neuroplasticity helps boost mood, mental energy, increases depth perception and sense of smell. And improves decision-making ability and concentration.

Rhodiola Rosea 50 mg (standardized for 3% rosavins, 1% salidrosides)

Rhodiola Rosea promotes the proliferation and differentiation of neural stem cells in the hippocampus.[xxiii] Restoring injured neurons helps fight cognitive decline and memory loss.

And Rhodiola influences levels of dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin and beta-endorphins which provides remarkable anti-depressant and anti-anxiety qualities.[xxiv]

Shown to be as good as many prescription pharmaceuticals in treating depression and anxiety.

Vitamin B6 2.5 mg (NutriGenesis®)

Vitamin B9 100 mcg (NutriGenesis®)

Vitamin B12 7.5 mcg (NutriGenesis®)

Mind Lab Pro® contains the bio-identical NutriGenesis® form of these critical B-Vitamins. This combo reduces homocysteine levels which ensures good brain blood flow and healthy brain chemistry.

Vitamins B6, B9, and B12 are required cofactors for neurotransmitter synthesis, and myelin formation and repair. And required for red blood cell formation, optimal brain energy metabolism, gene expression, and brain cell signaling.

Including these important B-Vitamins ensures the rest of the nootropic ingredients in Mind Lab Pro® work to provide their full benefit.

See my complete Mind Lab Pro® Review or

Get and try Mind Lab Pro®

The 3 Best Adderall Alternatives that are Not Prescription Medications in 2024

Adderall Alternatives - Best Over the Counter SubstitutesIf you’re aim is to find the best OTC Adderall alternative, the three nootropic stacks detailed in this post should help.

Near the beginning of this post I told you about my ‘experiment’. I’m Adult ADD and have been using Ritalin for the last 15 years.

My experiment was a one-year ‘holiday’ from Ritalin, and I used only Mind Lab Pro® with other natural nootropic supplements. My stack was tailored to my symptoms.

And was successful in keeping my ADD symptoms under control without the use of stimulants to improve cognitive function.

Many thousands in the Nootropics Expert® community have followed the same advice. And are successfully using natural nootropic supplements instead of prescription stimulants.

Both those with ADD or ADHD, and others who wish to avoid the negatives and side effects associated with prescription stimulants.

Choose either Mind Lab Pro® or Performance Lab® Mind (with a Multi). And use Performance Lab® Caffeine+ when you want an extra, temporary energy boost.

Mind Lab Pro® and the Performance Lab® line of supplements stand behind their product. And offer a generous money-back guarantee if you’re not satisfied. Even after using their product for month.

If you are honestly looking for an Adderall alternative, I encourage you to try these supplements for better cognitive performance.

There’s no risk in trying natural OTC Adderall substitutes.

And you may have found exactly what you were looking for. Just like tens of thousands of others have from nearly every country on planet Earth.

Get Mind Lab Pro®

Get Performance Lab® Caffeine+

Get Performance Lab® Mind

Get Performance Lab® NutriGenesis Multi


L-Carnosine improves cognition, memory, energy levels, prevents brain cell death, and is anti-aging.

L-Carnosine (β-alanyl-L-histidine) is a natural histidine containing dipeptide amino acid and the other being beta-alanine. Carnosine is found throughout your body. The highest concentrations are in high energy demand areas such as your brain, heart and muscles.

L-Carnosine is known as the ‘longevity molecule’. But don’t let that put you off if you’re not concerned about anti-aging. Carnosine levels decrease with age – starting at age 10! And decrease by 63% by the time you reach 70 years.[i]

L-Carnosine is one of the most powerful antioxidants known. It’s a heavy-metal scavenger. It’s a super auto-regulator. And it stands alone when it comes to preventing and reversing advanced glycation end products (AGEs) and cross-linking. And it’s highly concentrated in your brain.

Your brain uses l-carnosine to repair tissue and clear away toxins. And increase the energy output of your mitochondria. It suppresses excess immune responses when your immune system is in hyper mode. And it stimulates the immune response if you have a weakened immune system.

L-Carnosine helps:

  • Neuro-repair: L-Carnosine prevents and reverses the damage done by advanced glycation end products (AGEs). AGEs are created in your brain by sugars binding to amino acids, and caused by a variety of things including certain food and cooking techniques. Affecting word recall, response time, and cognition.
  • Brain Energy: L-Carnosine can revive mitochondria. And even rescue your brain cells if the mitochondria have stopped functioning.
  • Neuroprotectant: L-Carnosine has a powerful antioxidant effect in your brain. It continues to prevent oxidative damage even after brain cells have been attacked by free radicals. Preventing brain cell death and neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.


l-carnosine for longevity

L-Carnosine (β-alanyl-L-histidine) is a dipeptide of the amino acids beta-alanine and histidine. Carnosine is found throughout your body. The highest concentrations are in high energy demand areas such as your brain, heart and muscles. (Don’t mistake l-carnosine for l-carnitine).

L-Carnosine is known as the ‘longevity molecule’ and targets several major processes in your brain and body. It removes heavy metals which accumulate in, and damage brain cells causing diseases like Alzheimer’s.[ii] And it prevents cross-linking of proteins which cause the neurofibrillary tangles found in Alzheimer’s.[iii]

L-Carnosine fights mitochondrial dysfunction by relieving oxidative stress caused by accumulation of free radicals in cells.[iv]

This not only works in your brain cells. L-Carnosine is used by athletes to achieve better results. Its buffering nature contributes to the acid-base balance in muscles.

Researchers have found l-carnosine restores neurotransmitter receptors. Receptors that were damaged from stroke or glutamate toxicity.[v]

And l-carnosine reduces damage to telomeres. These caps on the end of DNA strands shorten with each cell replication. This natural, ongoing process is used for example in long-term potentiation needed to form memories. L-carnosine slows the rate of shortening of telomeres.[vi]

Some l-carnosine is naturally produced in your body by the enzyme carnosine synthetase. And you can get l-carnosine from food – primarily from red meat and poultry. But a typical meal provides only about 250 mg of carnosine. It’s then quickly degraded in your body by the carnosinase enzyme.

This means carnosine from food doesn’t last long enough in your body to provide much benefit. And if you’re a vegetarian, you won’t be getting much carnosine other than what’s naturally produced in your body.

Supplementing with at least 1,000 mg of l-carnosine per day overwhelms that carnosinase enzyme. Allowing you to maintain consistent blood levels of this vital nutrient.

L-Carnosine is anti-aging brain nutrition

How does L-Carnosine Work in the Brain?

L-Carnosine boosts brain health and function in several ways. But two in particular stand out.

  1. L-Carnosine is critical for brain health. L-Carnosine’s antioxidant, neuroprotective, chelating, and anti-glycation activity not only maintains optimal brain health. This dipeptide can be used to prevent and treat neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes, diseases of the sense organs (i.e. eyes) and cancer.[vii]

L-Carnosine has been shown to reduce oxidative and glycemic stress.[viii] And it reduces inflammation. L-carnosine reduces the accumulation of b-amyloid plaque which plays a role in cognitive dysfunction and Alzheimer’s. And it helps remove heavy metals that cross the blood-brain barrier and accumulate in brain cells.[ix]

  1. L-Carnosine is required for healthy mitochondria. In your brain, you can have thousands of mitochondria in each cell. And they pump out energy in the form of ATP (adenosine triphosphate). 20% of your body’s total ATP is located in your brain.

Glycation during this energy production reduces the functionality and efficiency of mitochondria. This is turn can cause apoptosis (cell death).[x] Glycation happens when proteins or DNA bond chemically to sugar molecules.

These sugar molecules go on to form advanced glycation end products (AGEs). These AGEs are implicated in Alzheimer’s, skin wrinkles, hardened arteries, and reducing the function of most major organs. Including your brain.

A study in the Netherland was done to examine the association between AGEs and cognitive function. This population-based study also included 215 people with type 2 diabetes.

Researchers tested for global cognitive functioning, information processing speed, verbal memory (immediate and delayed word recall), and response inhibition.

The study found there was a direct correlation with markers measured for AGEs and decreased cognitive performance. And the associations were no different between healthy people and those with diabetes.[xi]

Another study out of the University of California determined that l-carnosine was able to prevent AGEs.[xii]

How things go bad

Free electrons are a byproduct of ATP energy production. These electrons convert oxygen to a highly reactive form capable of damaging brain cells. And wreaking havoc with DNA in the long-term.L-Carnosine supports healthy DNA

If left unchecked, it leads to neurodegenerative disease like memory loss, cognition dysfunction, and eventually diseases like Alzheimer’s.

ATP levels decline in mitochondria

Cognition, learning, memory and recall decline

AGEs damage brain cells

↓ Free radicals damage brain cell mitochondria

All of these changes can happen at any age. And can start at age 10 or earlier (in the case of autism).

So l-carnosine supplementation can help for age-related cognitive decline, as well as anyone who wants to boost cognition, learning, recall and memory.

L-Carnosine benefits

There is a proven high correlation between human lifespan and l-carnosine levels. Having high levels of skeletal muscle carnosine contributes to a number of life-extending activities. As L-Carnosine is highly concentrated in your muscles and brain.

L-Carnosine helps prevent the buildup of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) that damage mitochondria. And eventually end in premature cell death.

It is a heavy metal chelator and works by removing heavy metal accumulation in brain cells. L-carnosine is an anti-oxidant and pH buffer in muscle cells preventing lactic acid buildup.

How does L-Carnosine feel?

When you start taking L-Carnosine, you’ll notice younger-looking skin. And you’ll have more energy.

L-Carnosine boosts energyYou should experience a boost in cognition and decision-making capability. Thinking could be more fluid and your motivation may see a boost.

These changes are reported by neurohackers in their 20’s and 30’s as well as the more senior user.

But most of the talk and research on l-carnosine is on its anti-aging and longevity benefits. So what if I told you it also helps fight the flu?

It turns out that the influenza virus raises nitric oxide (NO) and oxygen free radicals such as superoxide anion (O₂⁻˙). When NO and O2 interact, they form peroxynitrite, the pathogen that causes pneumonia.

The excess amount of toxicity and oxygen radicals generated overwhelms your immune system. A study in the American Journal of Therapeutics reports that l-carnosine can put a stop to this overwhelm. And help you avoid or get rid of the flu or cold.

And eating chicken soup to make you feel better when your sick is not an ‘old wife’s tale’ after all. Chicken soup is rich in l-carnosine.[xiii]

L-Carnosine Clinical Research

L-Carnosine improves cognition

Animal and human studies suggest NMDA antagonists worsen executive function. This dysfunction is often caused by glutamate toxicity. And if this persists, you end up with diseases like schizophrenia.

This double-blind, placebo-controlled study worked with 75 adults with schizophrenia. They were stable in their symptoms at the time of the study. Subjects were randomly selected to receive 2 grams of l-carnosine per day for 3 months.

Executive dysfunction, memory, attention and motor speed were assessed at the beginning, and at 4 and 12 weeks. The l-carnosine group performed much better in executive function tests. And were better at strategy with fewer errors than the placebo group.[xiv]

L-Carnosine improves autism symptoms in children

L-Carnosine enhances frontal lobe function in your brain. And acts as a neuroprotectant. It also works with GABA for an anticonvulsive effect.

This double-blind study work with 31 children with autism for 8 weeks. They were given 800 mg of l-carnosine per day. The scientists then used several autism rating scales to measure results.

After 8 weeks of l-carnosine use, the children showed significant improvement in behavior, sociability, communication and vocabulary. The researchers concluded that l-carnosine enhanced neurologic function.[xv]

L-Carnosine is anti-aging

In 1965, Dr. Leonard Hayflick found that human cells have a limited capacity to divide. After which they become ‘senescent’. This is now known as the “Hayflick Limit”.

L-Carnosine slows brain cell apostosisHayflick discovered that your cells go through 3 phases. This first is rapid cell division called ‘mitosis’. The 2nd is where mitosis slows. And the 3rd stage is ‘senescence’ where the cell stops dividing entirely. They remain alive for a while and then do a particularly disturbing thing. They commit suicide. This programmed cell death is called ‘apoptosis’.

This cell life cycle occurs throughout your body and its trillions of cells. Including in your brain. But what if there was some way to slow down this programmed cell death?

Turns out there is. And it’s called L-Carnosine. Researchers at Sydney Laboratory in Australia found that l-carnosine extended cell life. They put cultured aged human cells in a petri dish with carnosine. The cells reverted back to juvenile cells.

When they put those same newly rejuvenated cells in a culture that had no carnosine, they reverted back to their old self again. Put them back in carnosine and they got young again.[xvi]

This experiment has been done again and again in labs around the world. Establishing l-carnosine as the best anti-aging thing since Ponce de Leon was searching for the Fountain of Youth right here in Florida (where I’m writing this article).L-Carnosine is an anti-aging fountain of youth

David Guetta thinks that Miami is “the sexiest city in the world”. Could be that everybody in Miami is using l-carnosine.

L-Carnosine Recommended Dosage

Recommended L-Carnosine dosage is up to 1,000 mg per day.

To keep a consistent level of L-Carnosine in your body, split your dose into two 500 mg doses. One in the morning and one later in the afternoon.

One important note on L-Carnosine. When you supplement with L-Carnosine it binds to aldehydes. Preventing them from making proteins. The byproduct is lipofuscin. This age pigment is not dangerous. But shows up as brown spots on your brain, skin and other organs.

As lipofuscin builds up over time, and this process is accelerated when using l-carnosine, it can interfere with proper organ and cellular functions.

This is why I recommend stacking L-Carnosine with CDP-Choline (Citicoline) and acetyl-L-carnitine (ALCAR). CDP-Choline provides a choline molecule for the synthesis of acetylcholine (ACh). And ALCAR works as a cofactor in this synthesis as well as boosting mitochondrial energy production while acting as a neuroprotectant.

You can also try adding DMAE with CDP-Choline and ALCAR which helps flush lipofuscin from your brain and body. So stack your daily dose of 1,000 mg of L-Carnosine with CDP-Choline, DMAE and ALCAR at their recommended doses.

L-Carnosine is water-soluble so you don’t need to take it with a meal, or healthy fat like some nootropics.

L-Carnosine Side Effects

Carnosine is considered an extremely non-toxic and safe. High doses can cause insomnia. And L-Carnosine can cause a stimulant effect. So take your 2nd dose before evening.

Type of L-Carnosine to Buy

L-Carnosine comes in powder, capsule, tablet and liquid form.

Most major supplement manufacturers offer 500 mg tablets or capsules.

But make sure you read the labels and get L-Carnosine in its natural form. Some manufacturers will try to fool you by calling their synthetic carnosine natural sounding names like “nature-identical”. But lab created l-carnosine is not the real thing and not nearly as bioavailable.

Nootropics Expert Recommendation

L-Carnosine 1,000 mg per day

Nootropics Expert Tested and ApprovedI recommend using L-Carnosine as a nootropic supplement.

Your body does make some L-Carnosine on its own from the amino acids beta-alanine and histidine. And you can get small quantities from red meat and poultry. But it’s easily and quickly broken down by the enzyme carnosine synthetase.

So to get its benefits, and enough to overwhelm the carnosinase enzyme, you must take it as a supplement.

L-Carnosine is especially helpful for repairing brain cells at the mitochondria level. It removes heavy metals, works as a very powerful antioxidant, and gets rid of AGEs.

Advanced glycation end products (AGEs) kill brain cells. Foods that are high in AGEs include roasted, fried, sautéed and barbecued meats, nuts and tofu. Those fries you had for lunch? Brain cell death.

Your natural production of L-Carnosine starts to drop at age 10. So anyone will benefit from supplementing with this anti-aging nutrient.

L-Carnosine helps control blood glucose levels, prevent Alzheimer’s, wound healing, protects from the side effects of chemo therapy, alcohol-induced liver damage, combatting heart disease, and eye health by protecting or repairing cataracts.

L-Carnosine is also particularly useful if you’re dealing with autism or Alzheimer’s. For autism, dose up to 800 mg per day. For Alzheimer’s, dose at least 1,000 mg per day.

And don’t forget to stack your daily L-Carnosine dose with DMAE and ALCAR. (See Dosage Notes)


5-HTP is known for relieving depression and anxiety, fibromyalgia, insomnia, migraines, obesity, and symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease

5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan or oxitriptan) is an amino acid that is naturally produced in your body. 5-HTP is synthesized from the amino acid tryptophan which we get from food.

5-HTP is the immediate precursor of serotonin. And as a nootropic and dietary supplement, 5-HTP is popular with those who advocate its effectiveness in treating depression. Along with a number of other serotonin-related diseases.

But using 5-HTP for treating depression and anxiety is not supported by science. The research is contrary to how 5-HTP is viewed by many, including medical doctors.

When we dig into the research, we find that 5-HTP may be contraindicated for depression in those whom marketers advocate its use.[i]

We’re all for boosting neurotransmitter levels and optimizing cognitive performance here at Nootropics Expert®. But now and again I run into a nootropic or dietary supplement that may be popular. But also may be a particularly bad idea.

We’re going to get to the bottom of how 5-HTP works in your brain in this review. We’ll examine why it’s critical for brain health. And reasons why you may want to find another way to boost serotonin levels in your brain.

5-HTP helps:

  • Anxiety & Depression. 5-HTP is synthesized into serotonin in brain cells. Elevating levels of serotonin can help relieve the symptoms of anxiety and depression.
  • Neurotransmitters. 5-HTP is a necessary ingredient for serotonin synthesis which boosts mood and social behavior, improves memory, regulates appetite and digestion, sleep, sexual desire and function.
  • Brain Optimization. A critical balance of the primary neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine are needed for the highly optimized brain. When these neurotransmitters are not in balance it affects mood, memory, cognition, decision-making, sexual desire, and a host of other critical life functions.


5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan or oxitriptan) is an amino acid that’s synthesized from the essential amino acid tryptophan.


Tryptophan is hydroxylated by tryptophan hydroxylase to 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan), then decarboxylated to serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine or 5-HT).[ii]

Tryptophan → 5-HTP → serotonin

80-90% of your body’s serotonin is made in your intestines. But serotonin cannot cross the blood-brain barrier. So all the serotonin that your brain needs has to be made within the brain. This is where 5-HTP comes in…

5-HTP crosses the blood-brain barrier more readily than tryptophan. And gets synthesized into serotonin at a faster rate than from tryptophan.[iii]

As a neurotransmitter, serotonin influences directly and indirectly, the majority of brain cells. So if you want to boost serotonin in your brain, some find that supplementing with 5-HTP is better than taking tryptophan.

Tryptophan, which your body uses to make 5-HTP, can be found in turkey, chicken, milk, potatoes, pumpkin, sunflower seeds, turnip and collard greens, and seaweed.

5-HTP as a nootropic supplement is a naturally occurring amino acid derived from seed pods of Griffonia simplicifolia, found in West and Central Africa. 5-HTP content in extracts of this plant vary from 2 – 20.83% (from seeds obtained in Ghana).[iv]

5-HTP nootropic for depression

How does 5-HTP work in the Brain?

5-HTP is a precursor to serotonin. The neurotransmitter serotonin plays a role in sleep, appetite, learning & memory, mood, and sexual function.

When tryptophan’s role in converting to 5-HTP for boosting serotonin doesn’t work efficiently, the result is often depression, chronic headache and insomnia.

An open-label trial was conducted in Italy to determine the efficacy of using 5-HTP in young subjects with high levels of “romantic stress”.

Serotonin has been linked to human romantic attachment. So researchers in this study set out to determine brain levels of Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) and serotonin in relation to changes in romantic stress during the study.

15 healthy subjects (mean age 23.3 years) who had a “romantic breakup” took part in the study. Participants received 60 mg of Griffonia simplicifolia extract containing 12.8 mg 5-HTP daily for 6 weeks.

The subjects were evaluated for BDNF and serotonin levels at the beginning of the study, at 3 weeks and then again at the end of the 6-week trial.

The scientists observed significant improvements in romantic stress scores from weeks 0 through 3. So far, 5-HTP seems to be working. But no further improvement was seen from weeks 3 through 6. Even though the young people had significantly higher levels of BDNF and serotonin.[v]

More Involved in Depression and Stress than Serotonin

This “romantic breakup” study is a classic illustration of why using 5-HTP alone to treat depression and stress may not work. And if it does work, why it may not work for long.

5-HTP for romantic stress

Depression is often more than simple serotonin dysfunction. Depression can also be associated with catecholamine dysfunction, including dopamine and/or norepinephrine. Or a combination of serotonin and catecholamine dysfunction.

When you take 5-HTP alone, you are also depleting dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine. Synthesis of serotonin from 5-HTP, and dopamine from L-DOPA is catalyzed by the same enzyme, L-aromatic amino acid decarboxylase (AAAD).

Dopamine and serotonin precursor supplementation must be taken in proper balance. Because when you use only 5-HTP, it dominates dopamine at the AAAD enzyme synthesis level.

Blocking dopamine synthesis at the AAAD enzyme through competitive inhibition will lead to depletion of dopamine and the rest of the catecholamines.[vi]

Going back to our Italian study of young people dealing with “romantic stress”, the subjects stopped responding to 5-HTP in the 2nd half of the study. Likely because their catecholamines became depleted through continuous 5-HTP supplementation.

Studies have found that when dopamine is depleted enough, 5-HTP will no longer function.[vii]

Catecholamine Dysfunction Affects More Than Just Depression

When catecholamine neurotransmitter levels (dopamine and/or norepinephrine) influence depression, supplementing with 5-HTP alone is not the way to go. Because you may deplete dopamine and norepinephrine, worsening the disease and its underlying cause.

But this contraindication is not exclusive to depression. It extends to all other diseases where catecholamine dysfunction has been implicated. Including ADHD[viii], obesity, anxiety, seasonal affective disorder  (SAD), and Parkinson’s Disease.[ix]

How things go bad

5-HTP boosts serotonin levelsAmino acid precursors of serotonin (i.e. 5-HTP) and dopamine (i.e. L-Tyrosine) work together during synthesis, metabolism and transport to the point that they function as one system.

When serotonin and dopamine are properly balanced, functions that are regulated only by serotonin, can be regulated by manipulating dopamine levels. And functions regulated only by dopamine in this balanced state can be regulated by manipulating serotonin.[x]

When you mess with this balance and improperly supplement with serotonin or dopamine precursors, you don’t get the desired effect of using that nootropic. And you increase the possibility of side effects with too much serotonin.

If you supplement with only one precursor (i.e. 5-HTP to boost serotonin) that dominates the other system (i.e. dopamine synthesis), depletion of the dominated system will occur (i.e. depleted dopamine).

And if this effect is pronounced enough, you will not get the benefit you were aiming for when supplementing with the original precursor (i.e. 5-HTP).

A powerful example of this effect is in the management of Parkinson’s Disease where the effects of L-DOPA are no longer observed over time due to serotonin depletion.[xi]

Since serotonin and dopamine cannot cross the blood-brain barrier, the number of serotonin and dopamine molecules in the brain is a function of the amount of nutrients (amino acid precursors) that are available to be synthesized into new neurotransmitter molecules.

Optimizing brain function with minimal side effects is NOT a function of supplementing until you get sufficiently high amino acid levels. It’s a function of achieving the proper balance between serotonin and dopamine.

5-HTP improves mood

5-HTP benefits

5-HTP is absolutely critical for synthesis of serotonin in your brain. But supplementing with 5-HTP to boost serotonin does not work well.

Using 5-HTP to treat depression has had very little success over the last few decades of clinical trials and biohacking.

Integrating 5-HTP into your nootropic stack is much more complicated than simply adding some 5-HTP in order to boost serotonin.

5-HTP alone will not work for depression, or any other issue you’re dealing with involving the catecholamines (dopamine, norepinephrine, epinephrine) because of 5-HTP’s tendency to deplete those neurotransmitters.

5-HTP will boost serotonin in your brain.[xii] But 5-HTP must be carefully stacked with precursors for dopamine and norepinephrine or you risk making the situation worse.

You must avoid supplementing with only one of the serotonin or dopamine amino acid precursors. When amino acid precursors are not in balance, you end up with decreased effectiveness of that nootropic, increased side effects, and depletion of the non-dominant system.

How does 5-HTP feel?

Reactions to supplementing with 5-HTP vary considerably but the one consistent theme is initial feelings of well-being, better sleep, less need for sleep, improved mood, less social anxiety, lower appetite, improved tolerance for stress and improved cognitive function.5-HTP helps fibromyalgia

And after a couple of weeks of dosing 5-HTP  – side effects begin. Serotonin overload results in dopamine and norepinephrine depletion.

Side effects include feelings of lethargy, depression, brain fog, stomach pain, and possibly a chronic tension type of headache. Worst case scenario is nausea, vomiting and even blacking out.

Neurohackers who report consistent success supplementing with 5-HTP stack it with B-Vitamins, a dopamine precursor like L-Tyrosine, and only use 5-HTP as needed.

Those who have a bad experience with 5-HTP from the start often have no idea why they’ve reacted badly. But an educated guess is their depression was catecholamine (dopamine, norepinephrine, epinephrine)-related. And boosting serotonin made their dopamine-related issues worse. Very quickly.

One huge word of WARNING: Do NOT take 5-HTP with any antidepressant medication. You put yourself in the very real danger of Serotonin Syndrome which can ultimately kill you.

does 5-htp work for depression?

5-HTP Clinical Research

5-HTP supplements are heavily marketed as a natural remedy for depression. But the science does not support using 5-HTP for depression. We have decades of clinical trials available. And there is no evidence of the efficacy in using 5-HTP for depression.

5-HTP instead of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors

The Department of Public Health at the University of Queensland Medical School in Australia did a systematic review of literature dating from 1966 – 2000 for “5-HTP” and “depression”.

The researchers found 108 clinical studies of which only 2 studies, one with serotonin (5-HT) and one with L-Tryptophan for a total of 64 patients met sufficient quality criteria to be included. These studies suggest serotonin (5-HT) and L-Tryptophan are better than placebo at alleviating depression.

But the researchers noted “the small size of the studies, and the large number of inadmissible, poorly executed studies, cast doubt on the results from potential publication bias, and suggests that they are insufficiently evaluated to assess their effectiveness.”[xiii]

5-HTP for Fibromyalgia

A double blind controlled study in Italy studied the efficacy of using 5-HTP in treating fibromyalgia symptoms.

50 patients with primary fibromyalgia syndrome were selected for this study. This 1990 study did not publish the amount of 5-HTP used. But the researchers found a significant improvement in fibromyalgia symptoms with only mild and transient side effects.[xiv]

5-HTP for Treatment of Depression

Insufficient activity of the neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine is a central element of the model of depression most widely held by neurobiologists today.

In the late 1970’s and 1980’s, numerous studies were performed in which depressed patients were treated with the serotonin precursors L-Tryptophan and 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP), and the dopamine and norepinephrine precursors Tyrosine and L-Phenylalanine.

A summary published in the Alternative Medicine Revue looked at the data from all these studies. The author noted that the nature of the studies makes it difficult to draw firm conclusions regarding the efficacy of neurotransmitter precursors for treating depression.

While there is evidence that precursor loading could work, particularly for serotonin precursor 5-HTP, more studies of suitable design and size “might lead to more conclusive results”.[xv]

Those studies have not materialized since that report was published 22 years ago.

5-HTP Recommended Dosage

Recommended dosage of 5-HTP if you’re going to try it is 50 mg 1 – 3 times per day.5-HTP nootropic dosage

Some studies have used higher doses than the recommended dose, but 5-HTP can be toxic for your central nervous system at high doses.

For anxiety or depression, 5-HTP is dosed at 150 – 300 mg per day total.

To relieve post MDMA (Ecstasy) depression, 5-HTP 100 mg on Day 3-7 after MDMA use.[xvi]

Successfully supplementing with 5-HTP requires stacking it with a dopamine precursor like L-Tyrosine or L-DOPA along with B-Vitamins (for synthesis), and one of the sulfur-containing amino acids (methionine, cysteine, homocysteine, or taurine).

And you must monitor the effects this stack is having on your body. If you start experiencing side effects of any kind, it’s a good indication that either serotonin or dopamine is out of balance.

DO NOT combine 5-HTP with any kind of antidepressant medication.

Combining SSRI’s, Tricyclics or MAOI’s with 5-HTP will cause Serotonin Syndrome. An extremely dangerous condition involving severe mental changes, hot flashes, rapidly fluctuating blood pressure and heart rate, and possibly coma leading to death.

Serotonin Syndrome can kill you. And I’m not kidding here.

5-HTP Side Effects

5-HTP supplementation can cause heartburn, heart palpitations, headache, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, drowsiness, sexual problems and muscle issues.

5-HTP can also cause some pretty radical mood changes including agitation, aggressiveness, anxiety, euphoria, poor decision-making, irritability, psychosis, restlessness and insomnia.

5-HTP can make the symptoms of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and other mental disorders worse.

Serotonin Syndrome

And I can’t emphasize this enough so I’m going to repeat it here in case you missed it…

DO NOT combine 5-HTP with any kind of antidepressant medication. Or with carbidopa. 

Combining SSRI’s, Tricyclics or MAOI’s with 5-HTP will cause Serotonin Syndrome. An extremely dangerous condition involving severe mental changes, hot flashes, rapidly fluctuating blood pressure and heart rate, and possibly coma.

And combining 5-HTP with carbidopa also has the potential of causing Serotonin Syndrome.

Serotonin Syndrome can kill you. And I’m not kidding here.

Type of 5-HTP to Buy

5-HTP is made from tryptophan in your body.

5-HTP as a nootropic supplement is made from extracts of the African tree Griffonia simplicifolia. 5-HTP supplements are typically in tablet or capsule form.

You’ll often find 5-HTP in many ready-made vitamin and herbal formulas.

If you are going to stack low-dose 5-HTP with L-Tyrosine I suggest: Natrol 5-HTP Fast Dissolve Tablets. Cut the 100 mg tablet into quarters using a pill splitter and dissolve 25 mg 5-HTP under your tongue (sublingually).

Nootropics Expert Recommendation

5-HTP 50 mg up to 3-times per day

Nootropics Expert - Tested and Not ApprovedI DO NOT recommend using 5-HTP as a nootropic supplement.

Your body does synthesize 5-HTP on its own to make serotonin in your brain. And you can’t get 5-HTP from food. But you can get L-Tryptophan from food which is synthesized into 5-HTP in your body.

5-HTP may help you if you’re dealing with depression. But you must stack if with a dopamine amino acid precursor along with B-Vitamins and a sulfur-containing amino acid. See the “5-HTP Recommended Dosage” in this review above.

IF you are going to try 5-HTP, I suggest starting with a dose of more than 50 mg daily. You may want to take it in the evening because it could help sleep disorders.

Short-term dosing of 5-HTP of no more than 2 weeks seems to provide the most benefit if you’re going to benefit from this nootropic.

Or try using 5-HTP only on an “as needed” basis. For a mood boost, reduce social anxiety, and provide a short-term boost in cognition.

5-HTP supplementation on its own is NOT recommended. Nor is it recommended for long-term use.

Best Nootropics for Traumatic Brain Injury

best nootropic supplements for concussion

Every day, 166 people in the USA die from traumatic brain injury (TBI) according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).[i] If you survive TBI, you can experience the effects for a few days. Or for the rest of your life.

TBI can result in impaired cognition and memory, loss of vision or hearing, personality changes and depression. Affecting not only those who suffered TBI but connected families and communities.

While decades of research and clinical studies have searched for pharmaceutical solutions to treat TBI, no prescription medication has been found.

As a result, millions are searching for and successfully using natural nootropic supplements to alleviate the symptoms of brain injury.

And yet, the US Food and Drug Administration put out a warning in 2014 telling consumers to ignore and avoid using dietary supplements for treating symptoms of TBI. The FDA news release claimed there was no scientific evidence to support claims that dietary supplements could in any way help an injured brain.[ii]

Turns out there is some truth in what they claim. Most of the clinical research on dietary supplements and traumatic brain injury have been done with animals. Very few have been conducted with human subjects dealing with TBI.

The thing is some of the nootropic supplements we’ll explore in this post have been used for thousands of years. Not treating TBI specifically. But the track record and user reports speak volumes.

The purpose of this post is to provide you with the latest scientific research on nootropic supplements and traumatic brain injury. You’ll learn how to recognize traumatic brain injury (including concussions).

You’ll see what happens in the human brain that’s injured. And we’ll also consider some nootropic supplements that have been scientifically, clinically shown to alleviate some of the symptoms of TBI.

But a cautionary note to start – traumatic brain injury, and even a concussion is serious. If you whacked your head hard enough that you feel some of the symptoms described in the next section, go immediately to the ER and get checked out for bleeding in your brain.

We’ll wait right here until you get back …

Recognizing Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head that disrupts normal function of the brain. Severity of traumatic brain injury can range from ‘mild’ TBI (i.e. a brief change in mental status or consciousness) to ‘severe’ TBI (i.e. extended period of unconsciousness or memory loss).

Most TBI’s are mild (mTBI) and commonly called concussions.[iii] One study in the UK found that mild TBI accounts for up to 80% of clinical traumatic brain injuries. But a simple concussion can result in cognitive impairment and white matter damage that may develop and persist for years.[iv]

Other research has shown that a concussion can result in behavioral changes, impairments in memory and attention, headache, and unsteadiness. Two or more concussions often result in severe brain injury (second impact syndrome) with a greater severity in symptoms and longer recovery time.traumatic brain injury treatment with nootropics

A study in Italy demonstrated how vulnerable the brain is after a single concussion (mTBI). A second mild concussion within 3 days resulted in profound metabolic abnormalities similar to those seen after a single severe TBI. Affecting acetyl-CoA, gene expression, neurotransmitters, and mitochondrial metabolism.[v]

Left unchecked, this type of brain injury often leads to earlier onset of age-related cognitive decline and dementia. I have conducted Personal Consultations within the last few months where traumatic brain injury led to early-onset Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s Disease a few months after the  head injury.

The American Association of Neurology developed a grading system to help diagnose and treat concussions. Early symptoms (within a few minutes to a few hours) include lack of awareness, dizziness, headaches, nausea and vomiting. Later symptoms (days to weeks) include lower attention and concentration, persistent headaches, irritability, and sleep disturbances.[vi]

The key here is being able to recognize concussion or TBI and prevent a second injury. In sports, this means getting off the field and going into recovery rather than going back into play. It could mean the difference between quicker recovery to full health or a lifetime of cognition problems.

It also means the quicker you recognize the signs of concussion or TBI, you get medical help fast. And then identify which nootropic supplements you may want to try and support your recovery from TBI or concussion.

best nootropics for concussion

TBI and Concussion Effects on the Brain

A blow to the head immediately sets off a cascade of events in the brain. Effecting neuron depolarization, the release of excitatory neurotransmitters, ionic shifts, changes in glucose metabolism, altered cerebral blood flow and impaired axon function.[vii]

If this all sounds like Greek to you, stay with me and I’ll do my best to walk you through the neuroscience. As simply and basically as I can. This is important to help you understand specifically what you need to repair in your injured brain. And will help identify specifically which nootropics may help support that repair.

Traumatic brain injury or concussion starts with a disruption in neuron cell membranes and axon stretching. Causing an indiscriminate flux of ions through ion channels that were previously strictly regulated.[viii]

This process causes a widespread release of several different neurotransmitters, particularly the indiscriminate release of glutamate.[ix] Which is toxic when released in excess. Resulting in a further ionic flux.

Neuron mechanisms then work at maximum capacity to restore ionic balance which depletes brain cell energy stores.

As we step through each process in the brain that gets disrupted by traumatic brain injury, we can identify specific nootropics that may be able to target and assist in each of these problems.

Axon Injury

Traumatic brain injury often results in stretching of axons within the brain. Causing ionic flux and depolarization, calcium influx and swelling of mitochondria.[x] And neurofilament compaction (the skeletal structure that supports axons).traumatic brain injury definition

Neurofilament compaction can occur immediately after injury (5 mins. – 6 hours). And from 6 – 24 hours after you get knocked in the head, an influx of calcium can destabilize microtubules which are responsible for ions, proteins, amino acids and neurotransmitter movement into and out of the brain cell.

Axons extend from brain neurons to send messages to other neurons. The damage just described can interrupt this communication, result in axon blebbing (local swelling), and eventually the axon breaking off of the neuron.[xi]

Research has recently found that axon damage can also result from concussion (mTBI).[xii] And the damage can progress over a period of 4 – 6 weeks post-injury.

Axon damage from a concussion results in cognition problems. One study conducted in New York with 17 patients found cognitive impairment due to TBI and axon damage 8 months to 3 years after concussion![xiii]

We’ll look at nootropic supplements shown to support axon health and repair later in this post.

Cerebral Circulation

Studies have found that after TBI, cerebral blood flow decreases (hypoperfusion) the day of the injury. Day 1 – 3 blood flow in the brain increases too much (hyperemia). And days 4 – 15 after TBI, blood vessels constrict (vasospasm).[xiv] Meaning not enough blood flow to support brain cell repair and maintenance.

Cerebral blood flow and blood vessels can all be assisted with nootropics which we’ll explore in a minute.


When the brain is injured, neuron membranes deform. Resulting in excessive potassium release between neurons. This neuron membrane deformity also results in the release of excitatory neurotransmitters like glutamate. Which binds to NMDA and AMPA receptors and related ion channels.

The result is a widespread suppression of neurons and a condition resembling depression. Na+/K+ pumps (sodium and potassium) are activated to restore ionic balance. Because these pumps are ATP-dependent, and require high levels of glucose for metabolism, cellular energy stores are depleted.

This increase in metabolism occurs immediately and can last from 30 minutes to 4 hours after TBI.[xv] At the same time, oxidative metabolism is disrupted due to mitochondrial dysfunction.[xvi] IN turn depleting adenosine triphosphate (ATP) which brain cells use for energy.

Glucose and Mitochondria

Within 30 minutes of a concussion (mTBI), the use of glucose for metabolism rises well above normal levels. Hypometabolism (abnormally low metabolic rate) sets in after 6 hours which can last for up to 5 days.traumatic brain injury recovery

Hyperglycolysis (an increase in glucose utilization) followed by hypometabolism may last for months after moderate or severe TBI.[xvii]

NMDA channels are activated after TBI which result in a significant jump in Ca++ (calcium ions) which accumulate in mitochondria. Causing glucose oxidative dysfunction.

This oxidation is normally handled by antioxidants which prevent free radicals from damaging brain cells. With traumatic brain injury the antioxidants normally present in brain cells are insufficient to prevent brain cell damage or death (apoptosis).

Studies have found that metabolic markers such as the ATP/ADP ratio, NADH/NAD+ ratio, and N-acetylaspartate (NAA) levels all decrease after repeated concussions. Mitochondrial oxidative function is downregulated by as much as 10 days after injury.[xviii]

Animal studies have found that after TBI, the brain experiences a reduction in creatine (Cr), NAA, phosphatidylcholine (PC), and in the ATP/ADP ratio. And these findings were later confirmed in athletes with concussion.[xix] All of which can be helped with nootropics that we’ll explore later in this post.

NMDA Receptors

NMDA channels are associated with long-term potentiation (LTP) which is required for learning and the encoding of long-term memory.

It comes as no surprise that LTP is impaired after traumatic brain injury. Resulting is problems with memory. Problems with LTP manifest within 2 days of injury. And seems to recover within 7 – 15 days after injury. But LTP deficiency has been shown to last up to 8 weeks after TBI.[xx]

Nootropics to support NMDA receptor functionality and long-term potentiation will be explored in the next section of this post.

traumatic brain injury nootropic supplements

Nootropic Supplements for TBI or Concussion

Decades of research and clinical studies have shown that traumatic brain injury or concussion results in problems with ion balance, excess neurotransmitter activation, integrity of axons, brain cell energy metabolism and cerebral blood circulation.

This knowledge helps us identify nootropics from our List of Nootropics that can address each problem. And it turns out that several nootropics have been studied extensively specifically for treating the symptoms of traumatic brain injury. Particularly related to sports injuries.

If you’ve spent any time on Nootropics Expert®, it seems that most of the nootropics reviewed here could help repair and maintain an injured brain. So let’s narrow the list to supplements that have shown promise through therapeutic applications for TBI in actual clinical trials.


As a nootropic, creatine is one of the most effective cognitive enhancers available. This non-essential amino acid is naturally synthesized in your liver, kidneys and pancreas. And used in your brain to provide a phosphate molecule to adenosine diphosphate (ADP) to produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is the primary cellular fuel source created in brain cell mitochondria.

Studies have found that metabolic markers including the ATP/ADP ratio decrease due to traumatic brain injury. Part of the problem may be a drop in creatine from TBI.[xxi]

Maintenance of brain cell ATP levels is critical for the cellular energy required to maintain proper neuron membrane potential, ion gradients underlying brain signaling, intracellular calcium homeostasis, neurotransmission, and intracellular and intercellular signal transduction.[xxii]

A study in Greece worked with 30 children aged 1 – 18 years who suffered from TBI. The children were given 0.4 gr/kg of creatine per day for 6 months. The study found a reduction in post-traumatic amnesia, shorter intensive care stay, and improvements in recovery, communication, locomotion, sociability, personality and behavior and cognitive function.

The Greek study concluded that “administration of creatine may be beneficial to patients with traumatic brain injury”.[xxiii] Recommended dosage of Creatine for cognitive benefit is up to 5 grams per day.

DHA (Omega-3)

Omega-3 fatty acids (DHA & EPA) are important structural components of brain cell membranes. Modulating membrane fluidity, thickness, brain cell signaling and mitochondrial function.[xxiv]DHA Omega-3 for concussion and traumatic brain injury

DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) influences the phospholipid content of brain cell membranes increasing phosphatidylserine (PS) and phosphatidylethanolamine production and promoting neuron growth throughout your life.

Many clinical studies with animals have shown the DHA and/or EPA supplementation benefits for traumatic brain injury recovery. DHA has been shown to significantly reduce the number of swollen (blebbing), disconnected and injured axons when taken following traumatic brain injury.[xxv]

DHA is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory,[xxvi] reduces AMPA-mediated cell death, reduces glutamate-induced toxicity, increases nitric oxide production for cerebral circulation, normalizes brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) levels, and generally helps restore brain cell homeostasis following TBI.

Despite all the positive animal research showing benefits of Omega-3’s and DHA in recovery from TBI, so far we have no human clinical trials to verify these benefits in humans.

But growing clinical experience by numerous health care professionals show that the brain needs to be saturated with high doses of Omega-3’s in order for the brain to heal after injury. Without sufficient DHA and EPA, healing is less likely to happen.[xxvii]

Green Tea

In 1998, a study was conducted in China including subjects from 12 provinces aged 35 – 60 years. In all, 14,212 people participated in this study to investigate the association between tea consumption and stroke.

The study concluded there was a 40% decreased risk of stroke in those who drank green, black or jasmine teas.[xxviii]green tea for concussion and traumatic brain injury

No human clinical trials have been done with green tea and traumatic brain injury. But the cognitive benefits of green tea are so profound, it must be included in this list of nootropics to benefit TBI and concussion.

TBI comes with severe oxidative stress, neuron injury, cerebral blood flow problems and inflammation. Green tea addresses all of these issues.

Green tea’s neuroprotective qualities include the flavonoid epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), the amino acid L-Theanine and methylxanthines which provide caffeine.

EGCG modulates nitric oxide and oxidative stress.[xxix] Green tea polyphenols potentiate nerve growth factor which is needed to regrow neurons.[xxx] L-Theanine delays neuronal cell death. EGCG is an anti-inflammatory and protects cell signaling pathways.

You can think of green tea as a fertilizer for nerve growth factor and L- Theanine as a silent hero that puts the brakes on neuronal cell death.

And EGCG reduces beta-amyloid mediated cognitive impairment and modulates tau pathology implicated in Alzheimer’s.[xxxi] And are associated with successive concussions or severe TBI.

We do have human studies showing that green tea extract and L-Theanine improves memory and brain theta wave activity which boosts cognitive alertness.[xxxii] A primary benefit in anyone dealing with a concussion.

Some professionals caution about the caffeine content in green tea when it comes to traumatic brain injury. But caffeine-mediated neuroprotection include reductions in neurological deficits, cerebral edema (brain swelling), brain cell apoptosis and protection from inflammation.[xxxiii]

Lithium Orotate

Glutamate toxicity plays a major role in brain damage from traumatic brain injury. Over-activity of glutamate on NMDA receptors causes apoptosis. Lithium inhibits this overactivity.

A study conducted by Dr. Peter Leeds and his team in 2014 states that lithium had “demonstrated robust beneficial effects in experimental models of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).

These include decreases in TBI-induced brain lesion, suppression of neuroinflammation, protection against blood-brain barrier disruption, normalization of behavioral deficits, and improvement of learning and memory, among others.”[xxxiv]

Lithium Orotate recommended dose is 5 mg 2 or 3-times per day. Naturopathic doctors suggest stacking Lithium Orotate with 1,000 mg of Omega-3 and 400 IU of Vitamin E (as mixed tocopherols). Excellent advice for anyone. Including those dealing with TBI or concussion.

N-Acetyl L-Cysteine (NAC)

N-Acetyl L-Cysteine (NAC) is a precursor of glutathione which is a potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and free radical scavenger. All problems that come with TBI. NAC also reduces irritability, anxiety and depression. Also associated with TBI.

A double-blind, placebo-controlled study was conducted with soldiers at a forward-deployed field hospital in Iraq. The soldiers in this study were dealing with mTBI after being exposed to blasts on the battlefield.

The soldiers were suffering from dizziness, hearing loss, headache, memory loss, sleep disturbances and neurocognitive dysfunction. All symptoms you may recall of concussion or mTBI.

The soldiers who were treated with N-Acetyl L-Cysteine (NAC) reported no symptoms after 7 days of supplementing with NAC. The researchers reported that “This is the first demonstration of an effective short term countermeasure for mTBI”.[xxxv]

Recommended dosage of NAC is 600 mg three-times per day.

Pine Bark Extract 

Pycnogenol® is a standardized extract of French maritime pine bark. This extract contains 65 – 75% proanthocyanidins (procyanidins).

Pine Bark Extract is a potent anti-inflammatory and one of the most powerful antioxidants currently known.[xxxvi] Both problems with traumatic brain injury.

Studies have shown that Maritime Pine Bark Extract is 50 – 100 times more potent than Vitamin E in neutralizing free radicals. And it helps recycle and prolong the activity of Vitamins C and E.

Pine Bark Extract helps reduce DNA damage caused by oxidation, inhibits proinflammatory gene expression, prevents glycation, inhibits brain cell membrane damage from free radicals, and reduces oxidative stress. And it can boost cerebral circulation by increasing nitric oxide activity.

I think we pretty much crossed off most of the symptoms associated with traumatic brain injury here. Recommended dosage of Pine Bark Extract is up to 300 mg per day.


Piracetam is a water-soluble ampakine nootropic in the racetam-family of compounds. The very first “nootropic”, Piracetam was developed by the father of nootropics, Dr. Corneliu Giurgea.

Piracetam modulates both AMPA and NMDA receptors. Both receptors as you may recall are negatively affected by brain trauma. It normalizes L-Glutamate and prevents the glutamate toxicity associated with traumatic brain injury.

Piracetam also increases cerebral blood flow. Reversing the symptoms caused by restricted blood flow after TBI.

A study conducted in Russia with 42 patients aged 12 – 18 dealing with severe traumatic brain injury symptoms for the past 1½ – 5 years. 20 patients received 1600 – 2400 mg of Piracetam daily for a month. The other 22 were used as controls.

The study concluded that Piracetam provided positive therapeutic effects on memory, attention, executive function and motor function. As well as speed of cognitive and motor performance.[xxxvii]

Recommended dosage of Piracetam is 1,600 mg 3-times per day for TBI.


Resveratrol is a polyphenol stilbenoid and phytoalexin that certain plants produce in response to stress, such as injury or fungal infection. It’s a naturally occurring compound found most famously in red wine.

Resveratrol could be one of your best nootropics for controlling the damage done from TBI. Although no human studies have been conducted specifically with TBI victims.resveratrol for concussion and traumatic brain injury

This polyphenol increases brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in the brain. BDNF has been called Miracle Gro for promoting repair and growth of new neurons. Resveratrol also increases cerebral blood flow.

Resveratrol as an anti-inflammatory is a potent inhibitor of TNF-α- and IL-1b-induced NF-kB activation. And it suppresses COX-2 by blocking NF-kB activation.

And Resveratrol prevents the release of toxic glutamate during a stroke. Even protecting the brain when administered 6 hours after stroke.[xxxviii] This sounds like a strong therapeutic candidate to be used within the first few hours of concussion to prevent further brain damage.

Pre-clinical studies have explored Resveratrol’s therapeutic effect on experimental TBI. Studies show it reduced neuron loss after TBI in animals. And improved locomotion, anxiety and memory.[xxxix]

Recommended dose of Resveratrol extract (99%) from Japanese Knotweed for brain damage caused by TBI and increasing cerebral blood flow is 250 – 500 mg.


Pramiracetam is a fat-soluble nootropic in the racetam-family of compounds. It was first synthesized by Parke-Davis scientists in the late 1970’s. In 1991, Pramiracetam was licensed to Cambridge Neuroscience Inc. And tested for restoring cognitive function after stroke or traumatic brain injury.

Pramiracetam increases nitric oxide activity in your brain. Which acts as a vasodilator which relaxes blood vessels. Improving cerebral blood flow which is a problem after TBI.

This nootropic also has a profound effect on the synthesis of acetylcholine. Which is critical for encoding new memories, concentration, cognition and neuroplasticity.

A study in Russia was conducted with 65 patients suffering from concussion. The researchers gave half the patients Pramiracetam and the other half received Piracetam.

Tests were carried out on the first, tenth and after thirty days. Both groups noted a considerable reduction in headaches, dizziness and nausea. But the Pramiracetam group reported better restoration of orientation, feeling and said it was more effective on amnesia.[xl]

Recommended dosage for Pramiracetam is 250 – 400 mg per day. For TBI you may go up to 1,500 mg per day.

Since this nootropic has a significant effect on acetylcholine, you should stack it with a choline supplement like Alpha GPC or CDP-Choline. And because it’s fat-soluble, take it with a tablespoon of unrefined, extra virgin coconut oil for absorption.


Oxiracetam is a water-soluble ampakine nootropic in the racetam-family of compounds. And in 1977, was the 3rd racetam nootropic to be developed.

Oxiracetam modulates both AMPA and NMDA receptors which prevents the glutamate toxicity associated with TBI. It also seems to prevent an imbalance of acetylcholine activity which should also benefit those recovering from brain injury.

Oxiracetam enhances protein kinase C (PKC) which affects M1 acetylcholine receptors. Oxiracetam even demonstrates the ability to repair these receptors when damaged. Such as from traumatic brain injury.[xli]

In a study done with Wistar rats dealing with TBI, researchers showed the rats who received Oxiracetam had significantly less brain impairment 7, 14 and 21 days after brain injury.[xlii]

While I don’t have access to any human trials with Oxiracetam and traumatic brain injury, this nootropic looks like a promising addition to any stack for someone recovering from TBI.

Recommended dosage of Oxiracetam is 750 – 1,500 mg per day split into two doses. Since this nootropic boosts acetylcholine in your brain, you should stack it with a good choline source like Alpha GPC or CDP-Choline.


Turmeric is one of the most studied herbs in Ayurvedic, Siddha, Unani and Chinese healing. This perennial shrub native to southern Asia has been used as medicine for at least 6,000 years.

Turmeric, or any one of its several active compounds including curcumin and Ar-turmerone undoes damage to your brain caused by depression, chronic stress and traumatic brain injury.

Turmeric and curcumin boosts neurogenesis, increases dendrites, repairs DNA, reduces inflammation, counters free radical damage, and boosts neurotransmitters when needed. All problems identified in TBI.

In one animal study, researchers in Germany found that Ar-turmerone, one of the many components extracted from turmeric, increased neural stem cells in the brain. Promoting the creation of new brain cells.[xliii]

Another study conducted at UCLA found that curcumin counteracts the outcome of traumatic brain injury on oxidative stress, synaptic plasticity and cognition.[xliv]

To obtain the cognitive benefits needed for healing traumatic brain injury, both Turmeric and Curcumin seem to be the best option. DolCas Biotch developed a standardized extract of turmeric containing curcumin-essential oil complex of 86% curcuminoids and 7-9% essential oils. Including the turmeric volatile oil Ar-turmerone. It’s called BCM95®.

If you choose a turmeric supplement containing BCM95®, follow the dosage directions on the label. Otherwise, recommended dosage for Turmeric extract (95% curcuminoids) is 750 mg 3-times per day.

B-Complex Vitamins

Any nootropic supplement stack used for traumatic brain injury or concussion recovery should include a high quality, bio-available B-Complex vitamin. Here’s why …

  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) – is needed to control inflammation caused by elevated homocysteine. It’s a cofactor in the synthesis of dopamine, epinephrine, GABA, norepinephrine and serotonin. Vitamin B6 has a direct effect on your immune system, gene transcription and expression and is involved in glucose regulation.
  • Vitamin B8 (Inositol) – helps boost serotonin and dopamine receptor density. Improves the effectiveness of all major neurotransmitters in your brain. Myo-inositol affects mRNA which regulates cell volume, controls cellular signaling, plays a role in DNA repair, is a component of brain cell membranes, regulates cell metabolism and energy consumption and affects long-term potentiation.
  • Vitamin B9 (Folate) – is involved in DNA and RNA synthesis, gene expression, amino acid synthesis and metabolism, and myelin synthesis and repair. Folate is required for synthesis of dopamine, epinephrine and serotonin.
  • Vitamin B12 (Methylcobalamin)Methylcobalamin, the type of B12 your body uses, is needed to control inflammation by regulating homocysteine, is a cofactor in the synthesis of dopamine, GABA, norepinephrine, and serotonin. And helps increase serotonin and dopamine levels which decrease anxiety, depression, fatigue and pain.

Choose a B-Complex that contains folate (not folic acid) and methylcobalamin (not cobalamin). I can’t imagine good recovery from traumatic brain injury or concussion without the assistance of the B-Vitamins.

concussion definition

Suggested Nootropic Stack for TBI or Concussion Recovery

The use of nootropic supplements and herbal remedies has become more common place. Particularly when it comes to quality recovery from traumatic brain injury or concussion.

So far, no pharmaceutical solution exists to your brain’s ability to repair from this type of injury.

When choosing nootropic supplements for your stack, do your best to select only high quality supplements from reputable manufacturers with a great track record and great customer reviews.

When it comes to plant-based nootropics, organics are best so you avoid contamination by heavy metals, and other toxins.

Follow dosage recommendations carefully to avoid side effects. And please do your homework and ensure each nootropic is not contraindicated with any of the prescription medicines you’re taking.

If I was personally dealing with concussion or traumatic brain injury, the first thing I’d do is go to the emergency room. And get checked out for bleeding in my brain.

When I got home, this is the nootropic stack I’d use, and you may want to consider as well. This is by no means medical advice. You should be consulting with your neurologist or neurosurgeon every step of the way when recovering from this type of injury.

Here’s a suggested nootropic stack to support ionic balance, neurotransmitter problems, axon damage, brain cell energy metabolism and cerebral blood flow.

  • Creatine
  • DHA (Omega-3)
  • Lithium Orotate
  • N-Acetyl L-Cysteine (NAC)
  • Pine Bark Extract
  • Turmeric (BCM95®) extract
  • B-Complex Vitamins
  • CDP-Choline

CDP-Choline is included because Pramiracetam boosts acetylcholine. And your brain needs more acetylcholine which is why you need to use a precursor like CDP-Choline. You could alternatively use Alpha GPC.

Find a green tea that you like and drink at least 4 cups per day. You could use a L-Theanine supplement. But you wouldn’t get the full benefit of all the cognitive health promoting properties of green tea.

I’d also highly recommend completely stop eating inflammation-producing foods or drink. This includes all processed food, grains, soft drinks and others. Do an Internet search for “inflammatory foods” for a full list.

It is possible to fully recover from traumatic brain injury. Not guaranteed of course. But the odds are stacked in your favor if you take action. And support your brain with what it needs to repair itself with nootropic supplements.

Best Nootropics for Studying

Best Nootropics for StudyingNatural nootropic supplements are one of the easiest and safest ways to boost your academic performance this year.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

best nootropics for studying reddit

Best Nootropics for Cognitive Performance in School

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

best racetam for studying

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

13 Vitamins Essential for the Optimized Brain

nootropics for studying

Enhance Cognitive Function with This Nootropic studying stack

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

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

This is your nootropic study stack:

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

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

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

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

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

Best MCT Oil Supplement to Buy in 2024

best mct oil you can buyDo a search for “Best MCT Oil for 2024″ and it’s all over the place. Every major and even unheard-of supplement manufacturer is selling an MCT Oil supplement.

So I frequently get asked by people in the Nootropics Expert® community which MCT Oil supplement really is the best.

In this review you’ll discover that it is possible to produce a 100% USDA Organic Certified MCT Oil. And that both MCT C-8 and C-10 provide ketogenic diet value as a nootropic supplement.

After analyzing the market, the evidence is clear, bulletproof in fact, that the best liquid MCT Oil available in 2024 is Performance Lab® MCT.

Use this page as your guide on how to tell the difference when looking at a row of MCT Oil supplements side-by-side on a store shelf.

And find out why I recommend the new Performance Lab® MCT for 2024 above all the other MCT Oil products available today.

get Performance Lab® MCT

What is MCT Oil?

MCT” stands for medium-chain triglycerides. MCTs are fatty acids that are naturally sourced from coconut oil.

MCTs easily cross your blood-brain barrier and delivered across cell membranes to mitochondria. Where they’re converted to ketones and used instead of glucose to make adenosine triphosphate (ATP).

MCT Oil is ideal as a quick natural source of energy and perfect addition for nearly any nootropic stack.

A tablespoon of good MCT Oil helps your body and brain absorb the fat-soluble nootropics in your stack.

MCT Oil quickly converts into ketones to support a keto diet and weight management. It helps suppress hunger cravings, supports better and longer workouts, supports mitochondria and your microbiome, and helps prevent neurodegenerative disease.

Next, I’ll compare the benefits of choosing a quality MCT Oil over unrefined coconut oil. And why you may want to choose MCT Oil instead.

Use the Table of Contents above to skip through to the sections of this review that interest you.

But if you can’t wait and want to get the best MCT Oil for 2024, go to:

get Performance Lab® MCT

Coconut Oil vs. MCT Oil: What’s the Difference?

Unrefined Coconut Oil is composed primarily of saturated fatty acids.

Best MCT Oil for ketosisSaturated fats consist of fatty acids whose carbon chain is “saturated” with hydrogen. Fatty acids are chain-like molecules of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen linked in groups of three to a backbone of glycerol.

When coconut oil is consumed, the fatty acids separate from their glycerol backbone during the digestion process.

When you eat saturated fat, its digested and makes its way through your intestinal wall. Most of this digestion occurs in the upper part of your intestine using digestive lipases (digestive enzymes) which act on fat (triglycerides) that has been emulsified with the aid of bile acids.

The duration of fat digestion and absorption
depend on the length of the fatty acid chain.

Fatty acid chains are classified as long chain fatty acids (LCFAs), medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs or MCTs) and short chain fatty acids (SCFAs).

Each of these fatty acid subgroups are broken down further; short- (C2 – C6), medium- (C8 – C12) and long- (C14 – C24) chain fatty acids.

LCFAs are transported by carriers in the lymph system and end up in your liver or other tissues. Once LCFAs enter cells, they combine with coenzyme A to form acetyl-CoA chains.

These acetyl-CoA chains are transferred into mitochondria within cells, where they are broken down into acetyl-CoA units. This process is called β-oxidation.

Here is the key difference; medium chain fatty acids from coconut oil skip the lymph system and go straight to your liver. Then cross the blood-brain barrier and are oxidized in brain cells through β-oxidation for acetyl-CoA generation and subsequent production of ketone bodies.

These ketones can then be used as metabolic fuel by mitochondria for ATP synthesis.[i]

Here’s the thing … because they bypass the lymph system, your body does not store these medium-chain fatty acids in adipose (fat) tissue to use later when energy is low.

This direct transport to your liver and then to your brain for ketone production is how MCTs can supply energy more rapidly than unrefined coconut oil. Hence, giving you better brain health, energy levels, and assist with weight loss.

Which brand of MCT oil is best?

Types of MCT Oil

You can get medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs) from coconut oil (Cocos nucifera), palm oil (Elaesis guineensis), goat milk, and breast milk.

Coconut Oil is unique because it is made up of about 90% saturated fats. And nearly 60% of the fats in coconut oil are medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs) which are also called medium chain triglycerides (MCT).

These MCTs are identified by their carbon chain and ranging from 6 to 12 carbon atoms in length; caproic acid C-6 (0.5%), caprylic acid C-8 (7.8%), capric acid, C-10 (6.7%), and lauric acid C-12 (47.5%).[ii]

caproic acid C-6 (0.5%)found in coconut oil in very small amounts and tastes bad so is not used in high quality MCT Oil. If you get MCT Oil that tastes a little strange and burns your throat it’s likely that it contains C-6 which was not removed during filtration.

Is c8 the best MCT?caprylic acid C-8 (7.8%) one of two MCTs used in high quality MCT Oil because it quickly converts to ketones in your brain. MCTs that cross your blood-brain barrier to be used in brain cell mitochondria for ATP energy production.

capric acid C-10 (6.7%) the other MCT used in high quality MCT Oil because it quickly converts to ketones which are used in brain cell mitochondria for ATP energy production.

lauric acid C-12 (47.5%) not used in high quality MCT Oil because it acts more like a long-chain triglyceride than an MCT. It uses your lymph system to make its way to your liver before being available for ketone production.

Cheaper quality MCT Oil often contains C-12 because it’s cheaper to make than MCT Oil that uses only C-8 and C-10. Also harder on your digestive system.

MCT Oil Quality Matters

MCT Oil is also called “Fractionated Coconut Oil” and usually found in the “oils” section of your local supermarket. MCT Oil is used as a nootropic supplement and Fractionated Coconut Oil is used as cooking oil. Both can contain caprylic acid C-8 and capric acid C-10.

The difference is quality. Fractionated Coconut Oil is often made from GMO coconuts or palm oil, hydrogenated and chemically processed with hexanes. And many do not filter out C-6 or C-12 which can taste awful and result in stomach upset.

The best organic MCT oil like Performance Lab® MCT uses only caprylic acid C-8 and capric acid C-10 sourced from 100% organic coconuts. This MCT Oil is expeller-pressed and triple-distilled for purity.

MCT Oil vs. MCT Oil Powder

With quality MCT Oil you know what you’re getting. Just pure expeller-pressed and triple-distilled C-8 and C-10 MCTs.

And while MCT Powder may be a convenient way to get your MCTs, you need to read the label to find out what’s in there. Because MCT Powder is made by spraying MCT Oil onto a carrier material and then dried to form a powder.

It’s the carrier material that could be a problem. Because powders like maltodextrin and glucose can affect your insulin levels and boot you out of ketosis.

MCT Powder is often made using inferior palm oil or GMO coconuts with other added and often toxic “other ingredients”. Which makes it difficult to fully recommend which is the best MCT oil powder and best MCT oil capsules.

Though, sticking with the tried and true best MCT oils on the market that is best for your nootropic health benefit is make sure your MCT Oil is made from 100% organic coconuts, is expeller-pressed and triple-distilled like the Performance Lab® MCT.

What is better MCT oil or coconut oil?

How does Performance Lab® MCT work in real life?

Taking MCT oil like Performance Lab® MCT quickly converts to ketones in your brain soon after you take it. The MCTs travel past your blood-brain barrier for use to produce ketones that are taken up by mitochondria for ATP synthesis.

This ATP synthesis provides a boost of cellular energy and helps reduce fatigue giving you more brain energy.

Performance Lab® MCT also helps increase the bioavailability of any fat-soluble nootropics in your stack. These nootropic supplements often carry a label suggesting you take it “with a meal”.

Neurohackers using this MCT Oil report increases in alertness and focus. Some mentioned that their brain was ‘clearer’ and they felt energized through-out their day.

Others mention an improvement in mood. And their happiness level was elevated for about 4 hours after taking Performance Lab® MCT.

Performance Lab® MCT benefits

MCT Oil for after traumatic brain injury

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) can disrupt glucose metabolism in brain cells resulting in decreased adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production by mitochondria.

TBI also causes an increase in free radical production, DNA damage, and depletion of the NAD pool.

Scientists have found that ketone bodies are the only known natural alternative that can contribute to ATP production when glucose is disrupted by traumatic brain injury. Ketones that can be supplied by supplementing with MCT Oil.[iii]

MCT Oil for fast mental energy

Performance Lab® MCT turns into ketones within minutes, providing a quick energy jolt with a boost in mental clarity.

Especially helpful when you’re low in carbs, a tablespoon of MCT Oil is a better option than food or drink containing glucose for quick mental energy.

MCTs quickly cross your blood-brain barrier for conversion to ketones and to be used to produce ATP for mental energy.[iv]

MCT Oil for weight loss

best MCT oil for coffeeMCT Oil helps create ketones which are used for fuel synthesis in mitochondria instead of glucose. Providing a boost in brain energy, while helping you get rid of fat, and reducing cravings.

A study conducted in Sweden had 3 groups of obese women participate. Group 1 got MCT Oil dosage based on body mass daily for 4 weeks. Group 2 received 8 – 9 grams of long-chain fatty acids for 4 weeks. And Group 3 received a low-fat, high-carb diet daily for 4 weeks.

Group 1 showed a significant decrease in body weight during the first 2 weeks. This group also experienced less intense hunger cravings and felt fuller faster.

The researchers concluded that further studies were warranted to confirm these findings. That MCT Oil helps you lose weight, suppresses cravings and provides a cognitive energy boost.[v]

MCT Oil boosts athletic performance

A study in Japan gave athletes food containing MCTs or LCTs for 14 days and had them perform moderate-intensity exercise and high-intensity exercise.

The study found that the athletes using pure MCT oil had reduced blood lactate levels, fat oxidation rate was higher and carb oxidation rate was lower, and their perceived exertion was lower. But not so for those using LCTs.

The researchers concluded that consuming MCTs suppresses use of carbs for energy production. And that MCTs also help suppress lactate levels, improves exertion perception, and extends the duration of high-intensity workouts.[vi]

Performance Lab® MCT is recommended for athletes who wish to perform better and longer during moderate or extended exercise periods.

MCT Oil vs Performance Lab® MCT

The first thing you should know is that Performance Lab® MCT is MCT Oil in its best form. Here’s what makes it so good:

  • Performance Lab MCTThe most ketogenic benefitsPerformance Lab® MCT is 100% caprylic acid C-8 (60%) and capric acid C-10 (40%) and nothing else. C-8 and C-10 are the most ketogenic fatty acids in coconuts. You get lasting energy, less brain fog, better fat-burning, fewer hunger cravings, increased gene expression resulting in more mitochondria,[vii] healthier mitochondria, and better and longer workouts with less fatigue.
  • Organic – some companies will try to tell you that it’s not possible to make an Organic Certified MCT Oil. Well, Opti-Nutra thought differently and have produced a superior MCT Oil using 100% USDA Organic Certified coconuts.
  • Purity Performance Lab® MCT is sourced from USDA Organic Certified non-GMO coconuts, extracted with hexane-free technology and triple-distilled for purity. It’s calibrated to provide exactly 60% C-8 and 40% C-10 MCTs. This MCT Oil is tested before and after bottling in their USA manufacturing facility. It is flavorless, and contains zero coconut residue, allergens, synthetic additives, artificial colors, preservatives, or anything else. Just pure, clean, perfectly calibrated MCT Oil.
  • Sustainability Performance Lab® MCT is sourced from sustainable, 100% organic coconuts from Singapore. And not palm oil that’s grown on land stolen from rain forests and mixed in to so many other lesser quality MCT Oils.

Best MCT Oil for 2024

Nootropics Expert Tested and ApprovedI recommend Performance Lab® MCT as the best MCT oil you can buy in 2024.

Performance Lab® MCT is perfectly calibrated to provide the MCTs caprylic acid C-8 (60%) and capric acid C-10 (40%).

This MCT Oil is sourced from 100% USDA Organic Certified coconuts. It’s distilled and extracted using toxin-free technology and triple-distilled for purity.

Performance Lab® MCT is an unflavored MCT oil, and contains zero coconut residue, allergens, synthetic additives, artificial colors, preservatives, or anything else. Just pure, clean, perfectly calibrated MCT Oil.

A tablespoon of this MCT Oil quickly crosses your blood-brain barrier where it’s converted to ketones. In your brain, it is used as an alternative to glucose by mitochondria to make ATP for cellular energy.

When buying MCT oil, especially Performance Lab® MCT, it stacks well with Performance Lab® Mind, Energy and even the Performance Lab® NutriGenesis Multi.

Try a bottle of Performance Lab® MCT today.

Best Natural Nootropics

best natural nootropics 2019
If you are just getting started with nootropic supplements, the choices can seem overwhelming. And even confusing at times.

Here at Nootropics Expert I do my best to reduce the overwhelm and confusion.

Natural nootropics are typically made from plants or plant extracts, amino acids, and other nutrients sourced from nature.

The term “nootropic” was coined in 1972 by Romanian psychologist and chemist Dr. Corneliu Giurgea. It is derived from the Greek words nous (mind) and trepein (to bend).[i]

Dr. Giurgea described a nootropic as having the characteristics of enhancing learning and memory. It should protect the brain while increasing natural cognitive processes. And should not be toxic, nor stimulate or depress the brain.

By this definition, smart drugs are not nootropics.

This post reveals the best natural nootropics to improve cognitive function, energy and motivation. And reducing anxiety and depression. This list can be particularly helpful for anyone out there with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

You’ll learn why each natural nootropic works. And you’ll find a live link through to a full review for each nootropic described in this post.

natural nootropicsNatural Nootropics for Quicker Thinking

How fast you can ‘think on your feet’ or make a decision touches every area of your life.

Think of how much easier life is when it feels like your brain is firing on all cylinders. Driving is safer and stress-free. Relationships are better with fluid conversation. Business is more successful when decisions come easier.

Cognition includes thinking, knowing, short, working, and long-term memory, decision-making and problem solving.

That seems like a lot of brain power because it is. But a small stack of natural nootropic supplements can help.

  • CDP-Choline – is also known as Citicoline. This naturally occurring choline source is present in every cell in your body.

The choline in CDP-Choline aids in the synthesis of acetylcholine and the release of dopamine in your brain. Both neurotransmitters critical to quicker thinking.[ii]

If there is not enough choline in your system, your brain gets it from phosphatidylcholine (PC) that makes up the outside of each brain cell membrane.

The PC in cell membranes releases choline to help make acetylcholine. But when your neurons lose too much choline, they lose integrity. Thinking slows, and cognitive impairment occurs.[iii]

You can prevent this decline and even boost this function by supplementing with CDP-Choline.

As a natural nootropic, supplementing with Creatine helps re-charge Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) produced by your mitochondria and after that ATP is used as your cellular energy source. Creatine adds a phosphate molecule to the depleted ATP so it can be used again to fuel brain cells. Creatine essentially re-charges the fuel cells in your neurons.

ATP is also directly involved in producing, packaging and secreting neurotransmitters. Which boosts intelligence, improves memory, boosts mood, and facilitates quicker thinking.[iv]

  • Lion’s Mane Mushroom – a “brain tonic” used by Buddhist monks for thousands of years to enhance brain power. And strengthen their ability to focus during meditation.

Lion’s Mane stimulates the repair and creation (neurogenesis) of neurons in your brain. By increasing enzyme production that releases Nerve Growth Factor (NGF).[v]

By boosting neurogenesis and assisting in repair, Lion’s Mane as a natural nootropic supports healthy neurotransmitter levels and better brain cell signaling. Affecting memory, learning, recall and mood. Leading to quicker thinking and decision-making.

Better blood flow in your brain results in quicker thinking.[vii]

best natural nootropics redditNatural Nootropics for Energy & Motivation

You realize you could use more energy if you’ve ever felt mentally drained after an intense study session or exam, a misunderstanding with your partner, or after working out a business problem.

A quick cup of coffee may seem to perk you up for a bit. But it doesn’t last and certainly will not help in the motivation department.

The caffeine in coffee is an adenosine antagonist. Helping you put off sleep for a while. But it’s not a true source of energy.

The right stack of natural nootropic supplements on the other hand can help boost ATP energy production in your mitochondria. Helping to provide all the energy you need to make it through your day. So you do not feel completely drained on your way home.

  • Acetyl L-Carnitine (ALCAR) – is a precursor required for the synthesis of acetylcholine (ACh) in your brain. ACh is directly tied to memory, brain cell energy production, and better overall brain function.

ALCAR works as a shuttle transport for fatty acids through brain cell membranes. ALCAR helps deliver fatty acids into mitochondria where it’s used in the Krebs cycle that produces cellular energy.[viii]

And ALCAR helps shuttle used fatty acids out of mitochondria once they’ve served their purpose.[ix] Continuously flushing out toxic byproducts ensures pure, clean energy throughout your day.

  • Alpha Lipoic Acid – as a natural nootropic increases acetylcholine production by activation of choline acetyltransferase and by increasing glucose uptake. This process supplies more Acetyl-CoA to produce acetylcholine.[x]

Acetylcholine is integral to brain cell signaling, memory formation, better overall brain function and energy.

The R-Lipoic Acid form of this nootropic supplement functions as a cofactor for mitochondrial enzymes involved in energy production.

Alpha Lipoic Acid is an unique antioxidant. It’s water- and fat-soluble which means it works as a neuroprotectant both inside and outside each of your brain cells. The more lipoic acid you have in your system, the more antioxidant benefits you experience.

Alpha Lipoic Acid also helps regenerate the antioxidants already in your system including Vitamin C, Vitamin E, glutathione, and CoQ10.[xi]

Alpha Lipoic Acid is one of the best natural nootropics because it boosts brain cell energy while reducing inflammation. And even getting rid of heavy metals.

  • Coenzyme Q10 – is also known as “ubiquinone” because it is ‘ubiquitous’ in the human body. CoQ10 is used by every single cell.

CoQ10 is your cell’s natural source of energy. It fuels your mitochondria energy production capability by taking fat and other nutrients and converting them into an usable form of energy.

Your body uses CoQ10 faster than it can produce it. Meaning you need supplemental CoQ10 either from food or a nootropic supplement. In food, you can get CoQ10 from eating fatty fish, beef, poultry, nuts, seeds and oils.

Supplementing with high quality CoQ10 can be one of the most powerful natural nootropics for boosting energy.

  • PQQ – is the only known nutrient and natural nootropic that can promote the growth of new mitochondria.[xii] More mitochondria means more energy.

And PQQ boosts the production of Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) which assists in the repair, maintenance, and regeneration of neurons in your brain. Including many of the neurons responsible for cognitive performance like learning and memory.

Research from hundreds of clinical studies demonstrate that PQQ helps boost energy levels and stamina, reduces fatigue, and improves cognition, memory, learning and recall.[xiii]

Best Natural NootropicsNatural Nootropics for Anxiety & Depression

Anxiety and depression are something most of us have had to deal with at one time or another.

Anxiety[xiv] and depression[xv] are often grouped together both in nootropic circles as well as in the psychiatric/medical world. But they are two distinctly different conditions. Even though the cause of anxiety and depression may overlap.

The cause of anxiety and depression can be traced to a number of different conditions. But contrary to what mainstream medicine and the big drug companies would have you believe, it’s probably not as simple as a serotonin imbalance.

Sure, neurotransmitter levels that are out of balance can cause severe depression. But it may also be a problem with GABA, dopamine, acetylcholine, or norepinephrine.

So boosting serotonin in this case will not help. And is often the reason why so many people have no success with SSRIs and other prescription antidepressants.

Illness and stress can also cause anxiety and depression. Poor cerebral blood flow, a lack of Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), Nerve Growth Factor (NGF), mental fatigue from a lack of cellular energy, Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s, stroke and more can all cause anxiety and depression.

The bottom-line is it may take experimenting with different natural nootropic supplements before you are able to figure out what is causing your anxiety and depression. And which nootropic or nootropic stack will work for you as your next cognitive enhancers.

But if your depression or anxiety is severe, please, please seek professional help while you are exploring your nootropic options.

This adaptogen has been shown in clinical studies to work as well for depression as benzodiazepines and tricyclic antidepressants.[xvi]

  • Coenzyme Q10 – is your cell’s natural source of energy. Contributing to ATP synthesis in your mitochondria by taking fat and converting it into usable energy. CoQ10 preserves brain function, helps fight mental illness and migraines.

Major depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia are now being recognized as having mitochondrial dysfunction in common. Which is often accompanied by higher oxidative stress levels.[xvii]

Studies show that 1,200 mg per day of CoQ10 in bipolar adults experienced a significant reduction in depression.[xviii] Note that this is a very high dose of CoQ10 and not recommended unless done under your doctor’s supervision. The standard recommended adult dose for CoQ10 is 200 – 400 mg per day.

  • Ginkgo Biloba – is a tree native to China that has been used used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years to improve mental function like alertness, improve cerebral circulation and improve overall brain function.

Many have found Ginkgo Biloba to be effective in reducing anxiety and stress. And for boosting mood.

1,570 men and women in England participated in a study using 120 mg of Ginkgo Biloba extract daily for 4, 6, and 10 months.

Those who used Ginkgo the longest experienced the most improvement in ratings for anxiety, depression, energy, reduced drowsiness, sadness and increased happiness.[xix]

Dopamine is associated with libido, memory, focus, concentration, and mood. And studies show that low dopamine can be a cause of depression.[xx]

And norepinephrine which is synthesized from dopamine is associated with the regulation of emotions and cognition. Several studies show increases in norepinephrine in the brain can help alleviate depression.[xxi]

  • Rhodiola Rosea – is an adaptogen and herb that has been used in traditional medicine in Russia and Scandinavian countries for centuries.

Rhodiola activates AMPA receptors in your brain. Which decreases depression and stress-related mood swings, reduces fatigue, stimulates energy and alertness, and boosts cognition.

A clinical trial was conducted with 57 depressed patients who were given Rhodiola Rosea extract, sertraline (Zoloft®), or a placebo for 12 weeks.

The study found that Rhodiola was slightly less effective than sertraline for depression. But produced far fewer side effects and was better tolerated compared to the drug.[xxii]

natural nootropics in foodBest Natural Nootropics to Buy for Cognitive Function

Experienced neurohackers typically start with individual nootropic supplements. With the intention of finding out exactly what works for their unique problems.

But most find that it takes more than one natural nootropic to alleviate the symptoms of brain-related health issues.

First, they find what works for them. And then select a combination of supplements that we call a “nootropic stack”.

The thing is, putting together the best natural nootropic stack can take time. And could be a considerable financial investment.

Another option that could save you time and money is a high quality pre-made nootropic stack.

Mind Lab Pro best nootropics-2019My favorite natural nootropic stack, and the one I’ve been using daily for the last 6 years is Mind Lab Pro®4.0 which is known as the world’s first “universal” nootropic stack.

Mind Lab Pro® contains therapeutic dosages of CDP-Choline, Bacopa Monnieri, Lion’s Mane Mushroom, Phosphatidylserine (PS), N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine (NALT), L-Theanine, Rhodiola Rosea, and Pine Bark Extract. And the B-Vitamins B6, B9 and B12 required for the synthesis of neurotransmitters acetylcholine, dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin.

Performance Lab® is a sister company to Mind Lab Pro® who make a nootropic stack called Performance Lab® Energy which contains therapeutic dosages of Coenzyme Q10, PQQ, Acetyl L-Carnitine and R-Lipoic Acid. Another great option if you want to boost energy and motivation. But want to do it naturally.

Performance Lab Energy best nootropic stackMy Nootropics Expert® recommendation is put together a natural nootropic stack using the information provided in this post.

And if you want to save some time and money, try Mind Lab Pro®. Which covers all the brain health issues and age related cognitive decline we talked about earlier. And for more energy and motivation, try Performance Lab® Energy.

You don’t need to risk smart drugs for better better mental performance, concentration, focus, energy, and mood.

Natural nootropics work and have been proven by millions of neurohackers worldwide.

Mind Lab Pro vs Neuriva

In the quest for improved cognitive function and overall brain health, nootropic supplements have gained significant attention. But with so many options on the market, how do you know which one is right for you?

Today, we’ll be comparing two popular choices in the “mind lab pro vs neuriva” debate, Mind Lab Pro® and Neuriva® Original, to help you make an informed decision that best suits your needs.

Introducing the Contenders: Mind Lab Pro vs Neuriva

Mind Lab Pro® is a vegan-friendly nootropic brain supplement containing 11 active ingredients designed to enhance cognitive performance.

On the other hand, Neuriva® Original is a natural brain supplement that focuses on maintaining healthy brain cells and providing a bit of an energy boost.

Neuriva® is produced by Schiff vitamins brand while Mind Lab Pro® is made by the Performance Lab® Group.

While both supplements claim to enhance cognitive function, they vary in their ingredients and areas of focus. Mind Lab Pro® holds a higher standing as a nootropic supplement vs Neuriva®, attributed to its all-encompassing formula and ingredients backed by science.[i]

But Neuriva® maintains its popularity among those in search of a natural cognitive boost largely based on an effective advertising campaign.

Mind Lab Pro bottle contains ingredients like lions mane mushroom and B vitaminsMind Lab Pro: The Comprehensive Brain Booster

Price: $69 per bottle (one month supply)


  • 11 active ingredients
  • Vegan-friendly
  • stimulant free formula


  • Most popular pre-made nootropic on the market
  • Comprehensive cognitive enhancement
  • Targets multiple aspects of cognition
  • NutriCaps® tapioca-based capsules
  • vegan-friendly, non-GMO, caffeine-free
  • NutriGenesis® nature-identical B-Vitamins
  • Backed by peer-review clinical studies[ii]


Mind Lab Pro® contains 11 brain enhancing ingredients which include: Citicoline, Bacopa Monnieri (full spectrum extract), Lion’s Main Mushroom extract (fruiting body and mycelium), Phosphatidylserine (from Sunflower lecithin), N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine (NALT), L-Theanine, Rhodiola Rosea (3% rosavins, 1% salidrosides), Maritime Pine Bark Extract (95% proanthocyanidins), and NutriGenesis Vitamin B6, B9, & B12.

Mind Lab Pro® is a powerful nootropic stack designed to benefit multiple brain regions, supports your nervous system, enhances neurotransmitter production including acetylcholine levels,[iii] stimulates brain regeneration,[iv] and improves overall brain function.

With 11 carefully selected nootropic ingredients, this stimulant-free formula aims to deliver overall cognitive enhancement compared to other more narrowly focused nootropic stacks.

Mind Lab Pro® is a great option for those who are sensitive to stimulants or looking for a more balanced approach to cognitive enhancement.

I have used Mind Lab Pro® every day for the last 8 years. And my extensive experience with nootropics led me to find Mind Lab Pro® as a highly advanced and comprehensive solution, addressing all aspects of cognition.

The benefits of this premium pre-made nootropic stack include:

  • A stimulant-free formula, which is a breath of fresh air in a market filled with caffeine-spiked alternatives
  • Significant impact on cognition and overall health
  • Justifies the cost, despite being pricier than its counterparts

Neuriva Original contains coffee fruit extractNeuriva Original: The Natural Cognitive Enhancer

Price: $32.99 (Amazon)


  • Plant-based ingredients
  • GMO-free, gluten-free, vegetarian, and decaffeinated


  • Simple formula which boosts BDNF and healthy brain cell membranes
  • Clinically tested ingredients in brain health supplements
  • GMO-free, gluten-free, vegetarian, and decaffeinated


Neuriva® Original is a natural supplement formulated is said to promote five aspects of cognitive performance:

It contains phosphatidylserine (PS) (from soy lecithin), and coffee fruit extract (NeuroFactor® coffea arabica) which is a coffee fruit concentrate powder as its active ingredients, all of which have been clinically tested.

Neuriva® is a suitable choice for those favoring a natural supplement with fewer ingredients.

From my experience, I observed a minor enhancement in focus during the morning hours after taking Neuriva®. Yet, the impacts were not as noticeable as with Mind Lab Pro®.

Some users may find Neuriva® to be a safe and natural product with basic ingredients, but it may not provide significant cognitive enhancements for everyone.

Pros of Mind Lab Pro

One of the main advantages of Mind Lab Pro® is its comprehensive formula, containing 11 key ingredients that support various aspects of cognitive function.

This makes Mind Lab Pro® a more advanced and well-rounded supplement compared to others in the market. It is also vegan-friendly and stimulant-free, which appeals to a wide range of users.

Another benefit of Mind Lab Pro® is its support for both short and long-term brain performance, as well as long term brain health.

The synergistic effect of its ingredients has been demonstrated to provide maximum benefits after sustained use.

Users have reported increased energy levels, a greater sense of calm, and higher scores on cognitive tests.

Cons of Mind Lab Pro

A disadvantage of Mind Lab Pro® is its exclusive availability on their official website, which might restrict some potential customers. This exclusiveness might complicate the process for users to compare costs or find offers on the product.

Also, individual outcomes may differ based on one’s brain chemistry. While numerous users share positive results with Mind Lab Pro®, others might not perceive the same degree of cognitive improvement.

You need to consider your personal needs and tastes when choosing a nootropic supplement.

Pros of Neuriva Original

Neuriva® focuses on supporting five indicators of brain health using plant-based ingredients. These indicators are:

  • Focus
  • Memory
  • Learning
  • Accuracy
  • Concentration

This makes it a suitable option for those looking for a natural and more straightforward supplement to support improved cognitive function.

Another merit of Neuriva® is its utilization of clinically proven ingredients, like Coffee Cherry and Plant Sourced Phosphatidylserine (PS), which may contribute to the production of brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).

This means that the product is backed by scientific research and is more likely to provide some level of cognitive enhancement.[v]

Also, Neuriva®’s GMO-free, gluten-free, vegetarian, and decaffeinated nature makes it a secure and approachable choice for a broad spectrum of users.

Cons of Neuriva Original

A significant drawback of Neuriva® is its limited formula with only two active ingredients: phosphatidylserine and coffee cherry extract.

This means that it may not offer the same level of cognitive enhancement as other nootropic supplements with more comprehensive formulas, like Mind Lab Pro®.

Some users may find that Neuriva® does not provide significant benefits for their cognitive function.

Another issue with Neuriva® is that it lacks some science-backed substances found in other nootropic supplements. This may limit its overall effectiveness in improving cognitive function.

Users should weigh the pros and cons of Neuriva® and consider your individual needs when deciding if this supplement is right for you.

Person choosing between Mind Lab Pro vs Neuriva Original bottlesDecoding Nootropics: How to Choose the Right One

When selecting a nootropic supplement, you need to consider factors like ingredients, efficacy, safety, and cost.

Both Mind Lab Pro® and Neuriva® come with their merits and demerits, as detailed in the preceding sections.

Mind Lab Pro® is a more advanced and comprehensive supplement compared to Neuriva® Original, thanks to its 11 key ingredients that support various aspects of cognitive function.

Conversely, Neuriva® is a secure product with fundamental ingredients targeting five indicators of brain health, making it an apt choice for those preferring a more basic supplement.

In the end, the choice between Mind Lab Pro® and Neuriva® hinges on your individual needs, tastes, and expected results.

You must balance the advantages and disadvantages of each product and consider factors like ingredients, effectiveness, and safety before deciding.


In conclusion, both Mind Lab Pro® and Neuriva® offer different approaches to supporting cognitive function and overall brain health.

Mind Lab Pro® provides a comprehensive formula with 11 key ingredients, while Neuriva® offers a more straightforward approach with fewer, plant-based ingredients.

By considering factors such as ingredients, effectiveness, safety, and price, you can make an informed decision on the best nootropic supplement for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

What works better than Neuriva?

Mind Lab Pro® offers a more comprehensive approach to cognitive enhancement, backed by 2 peer-reviewed clinical studies.[vi] And featuring 11 proven ingredients including Citicoline, Bacopa Monnieri (full spectrum extract), Lion’s Main Mushroom extract (fruiting body and mycelium), Phosphatidylserine (from Sunflower lecithin), N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine (NALT), L-Theanine, Rhodiola Rosea (3% rosavins, 1% salidrosides), Maritime Pine Bark Extract (95% proanthocyanidins), and NutriGenesis Vitamin B6, B9, & B12. It works better than Neuriva® and Prevagen®. (Amazon)

Is there any evidence that Neuriva works?

There is evidence to support the effectiveness of Neuriva®. It contains Phosphatidylserine (PS) which has been shown to improve working- and long-term memory, recall, logic and even speech. Attention span increases while using Phosphatidylserine (PS). And motivation, socialization and initiative all increased when using Phosphatidylserine (PS) as a nootropic.

What are the main differences between Mind Lab Pro and Neuriva Original?

Mind Lab Pro® offers a comprehensive formula of 11 active ingredients to support cognitive function, while Neuriva® Original provides only two ingredients – Phosphatidylserine (PS) and coffee fruit extract (NeuroFactor® coffea arabica).

Are there any safety concerns with taking Mind Lab Pro or Neuriva Original?

Overall, Mind Lab Pro® and Neuriva® are considered safe for long-term use; however, it is important to research each ingredient and make sure none of the contents of each formula are contraindicated with any prescription med you are using.

Where can I purchase Mind Lab Pro and Neuriva Original?

Mind Lab Pro® can be purchased from their official website, while Neuriva® Original (Amazon) is available in online and physical stores.

Mind Lab Pro vs Modafinil: A Comprehensive Comparison for Cognitive Enhancement

As the popularity of nootropics for cognitive enhancement continues to grow, two products have stood out among the competition: Mind Lab Pro® and Modafinil.

Both have impressive reputations in the world of cognitive enhancers, but how do they stack up against each other?

In this comprehensive comparison of “mind lab pro vs modafinil”, we’ll explore the pros, cons, and my personal experience with both Mind Lab Pro® and Modafinil to help you make an informed decision on which one is right for you.

Overview of Mind Lab Pro and Modafinil

Mind Lab Pro® is a natural nootropic supplement designed to enhance brain function and improve cognitive performance. This nootropic formula contains a blend of 11 natural ingredients, targeting 6 brain pathways and boosting overall cognitive enhancement.

On the other hand, Modafinil (brand name Provigil® and Nuvigil®) is a pharmaceutical smart drug and approved for the treatment of narcolepsy, sleep work shift disorder, and obstructive sleep apnea.[i]

As a prescription medication, Modafinil has a half-life of 12-15 hours which is considerably longer compared to Mind Lab Pro®.[ii]

Modafinil is a weak dopamine reuptake inhibitor and elevates concentrations of norepinephrine and serotonin in the prefrontal cortex and hypothalamus.[iii] It also increases signaling of histamine pathways and may also affect the use of glutamate in the brain.

  • Best for natural cognitive enhancement: Mind Lab Pro®
  • Best for alertness and focus: Modafinil

mind lab pro vs modafinilDetailed Review of Mind Lab Pro

Price: $69.99 per bottle (60 capsules)

Pros of Mind Lab Pro

  • The Supplement Facts label details the exact amount of each ingredient – no Proprietary Formulas!
  • Vegan natural NutriCaps® capsules
  • BioActive NutriGenesis® B-Vitamins (P-5-P, methyl-folate, and methylcobalamin)
  • No additives or toxic “other ingredients”
  • Tested prior to encapsulation for allergens, GMOs, microbes, pesticides, and herbicides
  • Batches are re-tested to confirm potency, purity, and activity after encapsulation
  • Designed to improve brain energy, mood, memory, focus, and concentration
  • Contains 11 research-backed ingredients
  • Natural and safe for long-term use

Cons of Mind Lab Pro

  • More expensive than some competitors
  • Some ingredients may be underdosed for some users

Mind Lab Pro® aims to enhance cognitive performance and optimize brain function, focusing on various cognitive functions, including memory, attention, and brain energy.

Its blend of 11 distinct ingredients works synergistically to improve brain energy, increase brain blood flow, boost brain waves, supports neurotransmitters including acetylcholine, dopamine, norepinephrine, and GABA.

Mind Lab Pro® also helps with brain regeneration and maintenance and provides long-term neuroprotection for as long as you use the supplement.

Mind Lab Pro®  stands out as a premium nootropic stack and sells for more compared to other nootropic supplements.

But those who use Mind Lab Pro® say that this pre-made stack is worth every penny. Because it works.

Mind Lab Pro® continues to be a favored choice for those in search of an effective and science-backed natural nootropic supplement.

Personal Experience with Mind Lab Pro

I have been using Mind Lab Pro® every day for the last 8 years. I typically take two capsules in the morning, along with a tablespoon of unrefined coconut oil to boost bioavailability.

Mind Lab Pro® is the base of my nootropic regimen. And combined with Vitamin D, DHA (Omega-3), my Performance Lab® NutriGenesis Multi and additional tyrosine helps me put in a long day of writing and interacting with my community.

The combination of these supplements has significantly improved my mood and productivity.

Other users have reported similar improvements, including:

Mind Lab Pro® has sold well over one million bottles of this pre-made nootropic stack worldwide, and consistently gets high ratings and positive reviews.

Try: Mind Lab Pro®

modafinil - prescription stimulantDetailed Review of Modafinil

Price: Varies (prescription medication)


  • Potent wakefulness-promoting effects
  • Enhances focus and productivity


  • Requires a prescription from your doctor
  • Potential side effects

Modafinil, a prescription medication used to treat sleep disorders, has gained a reputations as a cognitive enhancer because of its potent wakefulness-promoting benefits.

Unlike Mind Lab Pro®, Modafinil has a more focused scope of benefits including more alertness, focus, and wakefulness.

Its efficacy in delivering these benefits is well-documented, making it an attractive option for those seeking a pharmaceutical solution to enhance cognitive performance.

Yet, Modafinil has its disadvantages. Because it’s a smart drug, you’ll need a valid prescription from a healthcare professional, making it less accessible than over-the-counter nootropic supplements such as Mind Lab Pro®.

Also, side effects like insomnia, headaches, and nausea associated with Modafinil might discourage some prospective users.

Pros of Modafinil

Modafinil (Provigil®) was originally developed in France in the 1970’s for the treatment of narcolepsy. It is currently approved by the US FDA for the treatment of narcolepsy, shift-work disorder, and obstructive sleep apnea.

Modafinil elevates histamine levels in the hypothalamus region of your brain.[iv] (This is why ‘antihistamines’ produce drowsiness).

Modafinil also binds to the dopamine transporter. And acts as a dopamine reuptake inhibitor (similar to methylphenidate).[v] Which increases dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin in the prefrontal cortex.

Modafinil produces a unique mechanism of action in the brain compared to other stimulant drugs.

It enhances the efficiency of prefrontal cortex information processing which affects executive function and working memory. While reducing reactivity to fear stimuli in the amygdala (the brain region involved in anxiety).[vi]

Cons of Modafinil

Despite its impressive cognitive benefits, Modafinil does have some drawbacks.

As a prescription medication, it can be more challenging to obtain than over-the-counter nootropic supplements like Mind Lab Pro®. Modafinil may also cause side effects, such as insomnia, headaches, and nausea.

There is also evidence suggesting that Modafinil may have a negative effect on creativity, because it reduces convergent thinking and divergent thinking, both of which are required for creative thinking.

Personal Experience with Modafinil

I am Adult ADD and have used methylphenidate for many years to treat my ADD symptoms.

But recently, I’ve had problems filling my methylphenidate prescription because of reduced supply and increased ADHD diagnosis in the USA. So I decided a change and chose to try Modafinil.

Turns out  that Modafinil has had a profound effect on my cognition, with the added benefits of better alertness and concentration.

I found that Modafinil significantly improved my ability to focus on complex tasks and maintain productivity throughout the day. And I also noticed a lack of negative side effects.

Many other users of Modafinil have reported similar experiences, with many praising Modafinil for its ability to enhance cognitive function and improve multi-tasking.

But your mileage may vary, and you may prefer to stay with natural nootropic solutions for optimizing your brain instead of prescription drugs like Modafinil.

natural nootropic supplements vs smart drugsChoosing the Right Nootropic: Mind Lab Pro vs Modafinil

When making a choice between Mind Lab Pro® and Modafinil, it’s necessary to understand the difference between natural nootropic supplements and smart drugs.

You can purchase most nootropic supplements at your local vitamin shop, health food store, or online. Smart drugs like Modafinil on the other hand require a prescription from your doctor or psychiatrist.

You can likely find suppliers of Modafinil online, but I will not be linking to them here for legal as well as ethical reasons. And the purity of the drug could be questionable when bypassing your local pharmacy for your Modafinil supply.

Understanding the Ingredients

Mind Lab Pro® contains a unique formulation of 11 natural nootropic ingredients including Citicoline, Bacopa Monnieri extract, Organic Lion’s Mane Mushroom extract, Phosphatidylserine (PS from sunflower lecithin), N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine (NALT), L-Theanine, Rhodiola Rosea extract, Maritime Pine Bark Extract and NutriGenesis® Vitamins B6, B9, & B12.

The combination of these natural ingredients work in synergy to support 6 brain pathways. This combo helps boost brain energy, blood flow, brain waves, neurotransmitters like dopamine and acetylcholine, and brain regeneration and maintenance.

Modafinil, on the other hand, is a pharmaceutical drug with a single active ingredient—modafinil. It works as a dopamine reuptake inhibitor which increases the use of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin in the prefrontal cortex.

And Modafinil elevates histamine levels in the hypothalamus region of your brain. Which helps increase wakefulness and prevent sleep.

While both products have been shown to improve cognitive performance, the natural formulation of Mind Lab Pro® may be more appealing to some users, particularly those who prefer natural nootropics,  over prescription smart drug medications.

Get: Mind Lab Pro®

Considering Side Effects

Mind Lab Pro® is generally considered safe, with few reported side effects. In contrast, Modafinil has been known to cause side effects like insomnia, headaches, and nausea.

It’s important to balance the potential side effects against the cognitive benefits of each product and do your research before initiating any new supplement routine.

Evaluating Costs

When it comes to costs, Modafinil may be more expensive than Mind Lab Pro®, particularly as it requires a valid prescription and if it is not covered by your health insurance.

Mind Lab Pro®, on the other hand, is available over-the-counter and online, and may be more accessible for some.

Determining Your Needs

In the end, the decision between Mind Lab Pro® and Modafinil hinges on your personal needs, objectives, and preferences. Consider factors such as your lifestyle, health objectives, and any potential allergies or intolerances to ingredients.

Bear in mind that individual experiences can differ—what is effective for one person might not necessarily work for another.


In conclusion, both Mind Lab Pro® and Modafinil offer impressive cognitive benefits, with each nootropic catering to different preferences and needs. Mind Lab Pro® provides a natural, comprehensive approach to cognitive enhancement, while Modafinil offers potent wakefulness-promoting effects and improved focus.

By considering factors such as ingredients, side effects, costs, and individual needs, you can make an informed decision on which nootropic is the best fit for your cognitive enhancement journey.

Get: Mind Lab Pro®

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best Mind Lab Pro alternative?

My honest opinion suggests that Performance Lab® Mind is the best alternative to Mind Lab Pro®, offering an equally clean and high-quality product.

What is the #1 rated nootropic?

Mind Lab Pro® is the number one rated nootropic and the bestselling pre-made nootropic stack on the planet consisting of 11 scientifically proven ingredients to provide both short-term and long-term effects.

What are the long term effects of Mind Lab Pro?

Mind Lab Pro® boosts cognitive performance and memory and improves neural plasticity, structure and slows brain aging in the long-term. This makes it an effective way to maintain optimal mental wellbeing.

What are the main differences between Mind Lab Pro and Modafinil?

Mind Lab Pro® is a natural nootropic supplement with a blend of 11 ingredients, targeting multiple aspects of cognitive performance, whereas Modafinil is a pharmaceutical drug with a single active ingredient, primarily enhancing alertness and focus.

Are there any side effects associated with Mind Lab Pro and Modafinil?

Overall, Mind Lab Pro® and Modafinil are considered safe to use by most people but may cause nausea, headaches, stomach discomfort, and insomnia in some.

Performance Lab Prebiotic Review

Remember the last time you were nervous? It felt like you had “butterflies in your stomach”. Or you were afraid? Your stomach was “tied in knots”. Or someone you love cheated on you? Someone “kicked you in the gut”.

All these feelings point to the connection between your gut and your mood. Otherwise known as the gut-brain axis.

To demonstrate this gut-brain axis, researchers in France published two studies.

One study showed how supplementing with the probiotics Lactobacillus helveticus and Bifidobacterium longum for 2 weeks reduced depression by 50%.[i]

And another trial with human volunteers using the same probiotics for 30-days experienced a 55% improvement in anxiety symptoms.[ii]

While it may seem surprising that an ordinary, everyday probiotic can have such a profound effect on mood, a ton of research in the last 5 years shows that your gut is like a “second brain”.[iii]

We are only beginning to understand the extent to which our microbiome has a direct influence on mood, anxiety, energy levels, bones, weight control, and immune system.

But one thing is crystal clear – a healthy gut is critical to overall health and wellbeing.

Performance Lab Prebiotic - gut-brain connectionA diet high in soluble fiber is one way to support gut health. But if you choose to use supplements along with fiber in your diet, you have two options.

You can choose a probiotic with exactly the right bacteria including the Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus strains your body needs.

Or feed the native Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus already in your gut with a quality prebiotic. And support the built-in intelligence your microbiome has had from the beginning.

My goal with this review is to help you understand what a prebiotic is, how it works, and why you may want to consider adding it to your daily supplement stack.

And I’ll share what I believe to be the best prebiotic supplement on the market. The prebiotic I use every day is called Performance Lab® Prebiotic.

My Prebiotic Supplement Criteria

Any good naturopathic doctor will tell you that if your diet is right, taking a prebiotic supplement is not necessary. Because we should be getting enough soluble fiber from our food.

But eating enough fiber every day is not doable for most of us. So we turn to supplements …

Most prebiotic supplements are made from grains like oats and corn. Because whole grains contain soluble fiber which is what a prebiotic is.

But if you are health conscious like me and want to avoid grains – especially GMO cereals, bread, and pasta. And want to limit your gluten and starch consumption …

… then you need to get your prebiotic soluble fiber from fruits and vegetables.

So if you eat a lot of organic asparagus, leeks, artichokes, garlic, carrots onions, and beans then you don’t need a prebiotic supplement.

But if you can’t eat enough organic vegetables, then your other option is soluble fiber from organic fruits.

A lot of fruit.

According to the Dietary Guidelines issued by the USDA, adults should eat a minimum of 25 grams of soluble fiber per day. The Institute of Medicine recommends 25 grams of fiber per day for women, and 30 – 38 grams per day for men.

So to get enough soluble fiber from your diet, you would need to eat 5 large organic apples every day to get 25 grams of fiber. Or 80 baby organic carrots. Or 5 ½ large oranges per day. Or 3 ½ cups of shredded coconut.

See where I’m going with this?

Most of us have very little chance of getting enough soluble fiber from food every day to keep our microbiome healthy.

So you need a prebiotic supplement to feed and increase the levels of healthy bacteria like bifidobacteria in your gut. And keep your microbiome at optimal levels to stay healthy.

The first thing I look for is a 100% natural prebiotic supplement. And not something that’s artificially synthesized.

My second criteria is to make sure it’s safe to use every day. And not made by some shady chemical manufacturer selling low quality or even dangerous products.

And my final criteria is a high quality brand. A company that I can trust with a proven reputation and history of satisfied customers.

get Performance Lab® Prebiotic

Discovering Performance Lab®

I have been using a probiotic every day for years to keep my microbiome healthy. And I do feel better using it. When I stop or forget to get another bottle, my memory and mood suffer. And overall, I don’t feel well.

But the thing is I never know for sure if the probiotic I am using really has the “guaranteed” 30 Billion organisms it says on the label.

What bacteria am I low on anyway? How do I know what needs increasing and what doesn’t?

Then I discovered a new supplement line created by the same company who makes my favorite nootropic supplement stack – Mind Lab Pro.

And this new supplement line included a ‘prebiotic’. Not a probiotic like I’ve been using. But a prebiotic that I discovered would help increase and maintain a healthy microbiome in my gut. Even if I wasn’t using a probiotic supplement.

Who Makes Performance Lab?

Performance Lab® is a new line of supplements and sister company to Mind Lab Pro®.

Performance Lab Prebiotic - boost serotonin - natural antidepressantI’ve been using Mind Lab Pro for over 5 years and have come to trust the company. And the quality of their supplements.

Performance Lab® is based in the U.K. and manufactures all their supplements in the USA.

Performance Lab® NutriGenesis Multi is the foundation of their new supplement line.

The company’s multivitamin for men and women supplies the essential vitamins and minerals required for overall health. Nutrients that may be missing from your diet.

Performance Lab Prebiotic extends the benefits of their NutriGenesis® Multi to enhance and maintain a healthy gut microbiome.

This Prebiotic helps increase gut levels of bifidobacteria. And studies show that elevated levels of bifidobacteria are a marker for healthy microbiome composition.[iv]

Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus are live bacteria that naturally grow in your lower gastrointestinal tract (i.e. large intestine). And prebiotics are food for these friendly bacteria.

These live bacteria are also known as ‘probiotics’. The neurohacking and professional psychiatric communities consider these organisms “Psychobiotics”. Because of their connection to brain health and the gut-brain axis.[v]

Using Performance Lab Prebiotic to increase your daily intake of soluble fiber helps support brain and heart health, blood sugar balance and weight control.

Prebiotic helps increase serotonin naturally leading to better mood. It promotes “satiety” so you may cut down on your food intake and lose weight.

Performance Lab Prebiotic helps digestion, so you’ll feel better. And have a more blissful experience in the bathroom.

And Prebiotic helps strengthen the lining of your intestinal wall to keep out the bad stuff. Boosting your immune system and helping avoid illness.

get Performance Lab® Prebiotic

Performance Lab® Prebiotic Ingredients

Inulin-FOS (FructoOligoSaccharides) 2 g (as Orafti® Synergy1)

Inulin-FOS (FructoOligoSaccharides) is a soluble fiber-based prebiotic sourced from chicory root.

Inulin is a long-chain storage carbohydrate derived by water extraction from chicory root. The short-chain Oligofructose or fructose-oligosaccharide (FOS) is derived from inulin with an enzyme that also naturally exists in chicory root.

Orafti® Synergy1 is a combination of 50% long-chain and 50% short-chain inulin.

Performance Lab Prebiotic provides Inulin and FructoOligoSaccharides that passes through your system undigested to your large intestine.

Once there, Inulin and FOS are fermented in your gut by bacteria like bifidobacteria. Which leads to an increase of bifidobacteria.

This fermentation also produces short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) including acetate, propionate, and butyrate.[vi]

Psychobiotic: The Gut-Brain Axis

Psychobiotics have been defined as “live bacteria (probiotics) which, when ingested, confer mental health benefits through interactions with gut bacteria”.

Psychiatric researchers have now extended this definition to include prebiotics, which enhance the growth of gut bacteria.[vii]

Your microbiome is connected to your hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis. And your brain via the vagus nerve that runs from your gut to your brain.

This gut-brain connection influences your mood, cognition, and other aspects of neuronal health.

Increasing levels of ‘good bacteria’ with Performance Lab Prebiotic may help curb inflammation and cortisol levels, reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, lower your response to stress, improve your memory, and reduce social anxiety.[viii]

Stronger Bones

The SCFAs in Performance Lab Prebiotic create a more acidic environment in your colon. Which helps boost calcium absorption for stronger bones.

Decreasing the pH in your colon simulates your intestinal cell lining (mucosa) to increase the absorption surface. Which enhances intracellular permeability and indirectly stimulating the production of calcium-binding proteins.[ix]

More calcium absorption results in better bone density. And less chance of developing osteoporosis.

Studies show that children supplementing with Orafti® Synergy1had significantly higher calcium absorption, and greater bone mineral density.[x]

Better Immune System

We know that a lower pH environment in our gut nourishes the innermost layer of cells (mucosa) in your gastrointestinal tract wall. The strength of this barrier is an important part of your immune system defenses.

Because it ensures only the good nutrients get through. And not the nasty stuff like viruses and bad bacteria. Otherwise known as “leaky-gut syndrome”.[xi]

Supplementing with Performance Lab Prebiotic supports beneficial bacteria in your gut (primarily bifidobacteria and lactobacilli).

Boosting fermentation of these intestinal bacteria suppresses proteolytic (protein) fermentation. Reducing potentially harmful bacteria which act as carcinogens.[xii]

Weight Control

The short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) acetate crosses the blood-brain barrier to signal your hypothalamus that you’ve had enough to eat.[xiii] Reducing your desire to eat more and hopefully better weight control.

Researchers analyzed 26 randomized controlled human trails on prebiotics conducted between January 2000 and September 2013. The 831 participants in these trials confirmed increased feelings of satiety (feeling full) when using chicory root fiber prebiotics.[xiv]

Bathroom Bliss

SCFAs also stimulate the peristaltic reflex which results in more frequent bowel movements.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has authorized the health claim that Inulin-FOS in Performance Lab Prebiotic reduces constipation. And improves bowel movement frequency without causing diarrhea.[xv]

You know how you feel after you’ve had a really good shit? Turns out that more than 90% of the serotonin synthesized in your body is made in your gut.[xvi] Serotonin is one of the “feel-good” neurotransmitters.

Performance Lab Prebiotic provides this anti-constipation benefit by boosting the neurotransmitter serotonin. Which is a key modulator for gastrointestinal function.

get Performance Lab® Prebiotic

Traveler’s Diarrhea

Nothing puts a damper on an exotic vacation more than “traveler’s diarrhea”.

One study demonstrated that using a prebiotic like Performance Lab Prebiotic can reduce the chances of developing diarrhea. And improve your sense of overall well-being while traveling.[xvii]

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

If you are dealing with a sensitive gut or Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), you may want to consider trying Performance Lab Prebiotic.

Those suffering from IBS tend to avoid fruits and vegetables because the non-digestible carbohydrates (prebiotics) in these foods can cause gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, or cramping.

Studies have found that supplementing with Inulin-FOS may improve food tolerance in those with IBS.[xviii]

And the chicory root fiber in Performance Lab Prebiotic is well-tolerated by those suffering from IBS.[xix]

Performance Lab® Prebiotic Dosage

Recommended dosage of Performance Lab Prebiotic is 3 capsules with your first meal of the day. And another 3 capsules during your second meal.

Each 3-capsule dose provides 2 grams of soluble fiber. Research shows that 2.5 – 5 grams of Inulin-FOS per day can help maintain healthy bifidobacteria levels in adults.[xx]

How Performance Lab® Prebiotic Works in Real Life

The first thing you notice when supplementing with Performance Lab Prebiotic is regular stools that don’t smell nearly as bad. And are firmer even if you’ve had loose stools in the past.

If you’re dealing with constipation, particularly from using opiates for pain, you should be regular again.

Neurohackers who suffer from allergies report fewer symptoms.

Some report less brain fog, more energy, and clearer thinking.

Sugar cravings diminish, and if used every day, you may find it easier to control your weight.

Some with IBS report less discomfort. Especially after a meal.

get Performance Lab® Prebiotic

Performance Lab® Prebiotic is Good Value

If you are currently using a quality probiotic, you may find you only need one 3-capsule dose in the morning of Performance Lab Prebiotic to get results.

Performance Lab PrebioticClinical research shows you may only need a minimal dose of an inulin-type prebiotic to boost the population of Bifidobacterium in your gut.

All prebiotics are fiber, but not all fiber is prebiotic. So you can’t expect just any type of dietary fiber to increase gut microbiota.

Performance Lab Prebiotic uses Orafti® Synergy1 which is a combination of 50% long-chain and 50% short-chain inulin.

Clinical studies show that this type of FructoOligoSaccharides improves intestinal flora, relieves constipation, improves blood lipids, and suppresses the production of bad intestinal bacteria.[xxi]

You may find a couple supplement manufacturers who sell a prebiotic containing “Inulin” or even FOS. But it’s unlikely you’ll find one using chicory root-derived Orafti® Synergy1.

A bottle of Performance Lab Prebiotic is only $44.

Pros & Cons of Performance Lab® Prebiotic

The concept of ‘prebiotics’ was first introduced by Gibson and Roberfroid in 1995.[xxii] More than 2,000 research articles and studies have been published since.

Here are what I think are the pros and cons of this premium prebiotic supplement.


There are only three proven prebiotics worldwide; chicory root fiber, galacto-oligosaccharide (GOS) and lactulose.

Performance Lab Prebiotic uses chicory root fiber extract (Orafti® Synergy1) which is the only prebiotic supplement that is:

  • Non-digestible in the small intestine
  • Fully fermentable in the large intestine
  • A plant-based dietary fiber (not synthetic), vegan-friendly
  • Extensively researched (20 years including human clinical studies)
  • Hot water extraction (no chemicals)
  • Only added ingredient is NuFlow® rice concentrate
  • Vegan-friendly NutriCaps® capsules
  • Tested prior to encapsulation for allergens, GMOs, microbes, pesticides, herbicides, heavy metals, and other contaminants
  • Tested again to confirm potency, purity, and activity after encapsulation
  • Ships in recyclable cardboard security boxes filled with biodegradable packing peanuts
  • Competitively priced
  • Empty bottle, money-back guarantee (less shipping)
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Causes gas


  • Only available on their website
  • Causes gas

You may have noticed both a pro and a con for “causes gas”. You may not like to pass gas but when using Performance Lab Prebiotic, you’ll know that it’s working. Because of the natural fermentation process in your gut. And surprisingly enough the gas doesn’t smell anything close to what you’d expect.

I mentioned earlier that I’ve been faithfully using a quality probiotic for years.

But I’ve experienced a more noticeable difference from the very first day of using Performance Lab Prebiotic than any probiotic supplement I’ve ever tried.

Compared to every other prebiotic on the market that uses Acacia fiber, Jerusalem Artichoke fiber, green banana fiber, and other saccharides.  Or “proprietary blends” of exotic fruits.

Performance Lab Prebiotic is the only one I could find that uses chicory root extract. With 20 years of clinical studies backing up it’s benefits with real people like you and me.

Nootropics Expert Recommendation

Nootropics Expert Tested and ApprovedI recommend using Performance Lab® Prebiotic as part of your daily supplement regimen.

Pricing of Performance Lab Prebiotic is competitive compared to using a daily probiotic. Or all the organic fruits and vegetables you’d need to eat daily to get this amount of soluble fiber in your diet.

You can use this prebiotic on its own to boost the beneficial flora in your gut. Or combine it with your favorite probiotic for even a more profound gut health effect.

The biggest advantage with Performance Lab Prebiotic is a more pleasant daily bathroom experience. I call it ‘bathroom bliss’.

But the long-term benefits of using this prebiotic include support for bone health, better mood, less pain, and fewer sick days.

Make sure you drop a bottle in your bag when traveling and avoid problems with the local food and water.

Performance Lab® products including their Prebiotic are available only on their website. You will not find it on Amazon or other online or brick-and-mortar retailer.

The company goes the extra mile by using top-notch ingredients like Orafti® Synergy1.

The company uses vegan NutriCaps® for capsules to ensure quick absorption. And testing before and after encapsulation of each batch of product.

And the company a offers a risk-free, “empty bottle”, money-back guarantee if you are not happy with any of their products.

So if you’d like try Performance Lab Prebiotic, or learn about this exceptional line of supplements, please go to their website for more. And while you’re there, get Performance Lab® Prebiotic.

Mind Lab Pro vs Genius Mindfulness: Unveiling the Best Nootropic

If you are new to the world of nootropic supplements it is easy to feel overwhelmed with hundreds of products vying for your attention.

My mission at Nootropics Expert® is to uncover the best nootropic supplements for cognitive enhancement and mental clarity.

In this review you’ll learn more about Mind Lab Pro® vs Genius Mindfulness. In just a few minutes I’ll cover the unique characteristics of each pre-made nootropic stack including detailed explanations of the ingredients for each. And the potential benefits of using Mind Lab Pro® and Genius Mindfulness.

By examining these two supplements side-by-side, you will gain the knowledge necessary to make an informed decision on which nootropic supplement you should try first.

And boost your brain health and cognition when supplementing with mind lab pro vs genius mindfulness.

Get: Mind Lab Pro®

Try: Genius Mindfulness

Comparison of two popular nootropic supplements: Mind Lab Pro vs Genius MindfulnessSnapshot Comparison: Mind Lab Pro vs Genius Mindfulness

When it comes to the most popular nootropic supplements, Mind Lab Pro® and Genius Mindfulness are two top contenders. Produced by the Performance Lab® Group and Genius Brand respectively, these all-in-one nootropic supplement stacks are designed for daily use.

And offered with the goal of improving overall cognitive health, mood, mental clarity, energy, memory, and concentration.

What makes them unique in their approach to cognitive enhancement, and how do they cater to your specific needs?

Mind Lab Pro® is known as the “universal nootropic,” with a stimulant-free formula that targets multiple aspects of brain performance.

On the other hand, Genius Mindfulness provides a steady flow of energy and mental performance with its antioxidant-rich blend.

Understanding the ingredients, benefits, and potential drawbacks of each supplement is key in making an informed decision for your cognitive needs.

Mind Lab Pro: Stimulant-free brain powerhouseMind Lab Pro: The Stimulant-Free Brain Powerhouse

Price: $69


  • 11 nootropic ingredients
  • Stimulant-free formula


  • Most popular pre-made nootropic on the market
  • Comprehensive cognitive enhancement
  • Targets multiple aspects of cognition
  • NutriCaps® tapioca-based capsules
  • vegan-friendly, non-GMO, caffeine-free
  • NutriGenesis® nature-identical B-Vitamins
  • Backed by peer-review clinical studies[i]


  • More expensive than some alternatives

Mind Lab Pro Ingredients

Mind Lab Pro® contains 11 brain enhancing ingredients which include: Citicoline, Bacopa Monnieri (full spectrum extract), Lion’s Main Mushroom extract (fruiting body and mycelium), Phosphatidylserine (from Sunflower lecithin), N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine (NALT), L-Theanine, Rhodiola Rosea (3% rosavins, 1% salidrosides), Maritime Pine Bark Extract (95% proanthocyanidins), and NutriGenesis Vitamin B6, B9, & B12.

Mind Lab Pro® is a powerful nootropic stack designed to benefit multiple brain regions, promotes nervous system, enhances neurotransmitter production including acetylcholine levels,[ii] stimulates brain regeneration,[iii] and improves overall brain function.

With 11 carefully selected nootropic ingredients, this stimulant-free formula aims to deliver overall cognitive enhancement compared to other more narrowly focused nootropic stacks.

Mind Lab Pro® is a great option for those who are sensitive to stimulants or looking for a more balanced approach to cognitive enhancement.

I have used Mind Lab Pro® every day for the last 8 years. And my extensive experience with nootropics led me to find Mind Lab Pro® as a highly advanced and comprehensive solution, addressing all aspects of cognition.

The benefits of this premium pre-made nootropic stack include:

  • A stimulant-free formula, which is a breath of fresh air in a market filled with caffeine-spiked alternatives
  • Significant impact on cognition and overall health[iv]
  • Justifies the cost, despite being pricier than its counterparts


  • Price: 4/5
  • Effectiveness: 5/5
  • Safety: 5/5
  • Overall: 4.5/5

Genius Mindfulness: Antioxidant-rich mental clarityGenius Mindfulness: Antioxidant-Rich Mental Clarity

Price: $39.99


  • Uses 3 patented ingredients
  • All-natural, scientifically validated ingredients, including Ashwagandha extract



  • Limited benefits
  • Vegetarian capsules
  • Uses caffeine to provide the energy boost

Genius Mindfulness Ingredients

Genius Mindfulness contains only 3 main ingredients including Ashwagandha extract (Sensoril®) 10% withanolides), NeuroFactor® (Coffea arabica extract), and BlueBoreal® (blueberry blend).

Genius Mindfulness could be your go-to choice if you seek mental clarity and a boost in brain energy, helping you combat brain fog.

In my personal experience, Genius Mindfulness has served as an excellent aid on days when I need an extra push in mental energy and focus. The antioxidant-rich blend provides a unique approach to cognitive enhancement and brain health.

But remember, Genius Mindfulness includes a caffeine-like stimulant which can be potentially unsuitable for some users. Overall, it’s a good supplement with high-quality ingredients designed to support cognitive function and mental clarity.


  • Price: 4.5/5
  • Effectiveness: 3.5/5
  • Safety: 4/5
  • Overall: 4/5

Mind Lab Pro Vs. Genius Mindfulness – Which Nootropic Is BEST?

Your brain is the most energy-hungry organ in your body. It supports how your body functions as well as how you act and behave every day. This is what really makes your personality unique.

Like most organs of the human body your brain requires an ideal nutrient balance. These nutrients should come from eating certain foods, which are naturally absorbed and converted for use by your body.

Unless you have adequate nutrition, your mind can’t function as it was designed to. And that’s where nootropic supplements come in because we are supplementing what we are not getting from food.

This post was an investigation into the distinct features and benefits of Mind Lab Pro® vs Genius Mindfulness. Investing time in researching and comparing various popular nootropics help you to make an informed choice when deciding on the best nootropic stack for your cognitive needs.

Mind Lab Pro® is a comprehensive, stimulant-free, universal nootropic formula that supports all 6 aspects of cognitive enhancement. But Genius Mindfulness is a much simpler solution with limited benefits. This pre-made stack offers an energy boost and anti-anxiety benefits.

So, which one is right for you? If you’re looking for comprehensive, stimulant-free cognitive enhancement, Mind Lab Pro® is the clear winner.

However, if you prioritize mental focus and mood along with a much lower price, Genius Mindfulness may be a better choice. Ultimately, the decision is yours to make based on your unique needs and preferences.


In conclusion, both Mind Lab Pro® and Genius Mindfulness offer unique and effective approaches to cognitive enhancement and brain health.

Mind Lab Pro® provides a comprehensive, stimulant-free formula that targets multiple aspects of cognition, making it an excellent choice for those seeking a balanced and holistic approach to cognitive enhancement.

Genius Mindfulness, on the other hand, offers a lower price-point along with an on demand energy boost and better mood.

Ultimately, the choice between Mind Lab Pro® and Genius Mindfulness comes down to your individual cognitive needs, lifestyle, and preferences.

By taking the time to research and compare these two popular nootropic stacks, you can make an informed decision and find the perfect supplement to support your brain health and cognitive performance.

So, which one will you choose to unlock your brain’s true potential?

Get: Mind Lab Pro®

Try: Genius Mindfulness

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the #1 rated nootropic?

Mind Lab Pro® is the #1 rated nootropic, with 11 scientifically proven ingredients for fast-acting and long-term effects.

What is the best Mind Lab Pro alternative?

Performance Lab® Mind is the best alternative to Mind Lab Pro®. Performance Lab® offers the same level of quality as found in Mind Lab Pro®, which is undoubtedly the cleanest and most effective pre-made nootropic stack on the market.

What is the difference between Mind Lab Pro and thesis?

Mind Lab Pro® and Thesis both use quality ingredients in their nootropic formulas, but Mind Lab Pro® takes transparency a step further with third-party testing for purity and dosing that aligns with scientific research. And is supported by peer-reviewed clinical studies proving its efficacy as an effective nootropic stack.

What are the main differences between Mind Lab Pro and Genius Mindfulness?

Mind Lab Pro® is a comprehensive nootropic supplement that does not contain any stimulants, whereas Genius Mindfulness supports mental energy and clarity with some mood support.

Is Mind Lab Pro suitable for those sensitive to stimulants?

Mind Lab Pro® is a stimulant-free formula and thus suitable for those sensitive to stimulants.

Get: Mind Lab Pro®

Try: Genius Mindfulness

Black Seed Oil

Black Seed Oil may be effective for anxiety, depression, epilepsy, learning & memory, sleep, neurodegenerative disease and is anti-tumor

Black Seed Oil (Nigella sativa, Black Cumin) is an annual herb and spice belonging to the Ranunculaceae (Buttercup) family of flowering plants.

Nigella Sativa benefits
Black Seed (Nigella Sativa)

Black Seed Oil is native to the Middle East, Southern Europe and North Africa. And taking black seed oil has been used for millennia for a variety of illnesses.

It’s main active compound thymoquinone (TQ) has been shown to benefit cognitive and mental illness, cardiovascular disorders, cancer, diabetes, inflammation, and infertility.

And Black Seed Oil has been used for a variety of bacterial, fungal, parasitic and viral infections. It’s even showing promise in early studies to be effective against HIV/AIDS.[i]

Nigella Sativa oil is an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor, reduces tumor necrosis factor-α (TNf-α), and increases brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).

Supplementing with Black Seed Oil seems to modulate neuronal signaling pathways in the brain. Affecting synaptic plasticity and long-term potentiation which can help learning and memory.

Here we’ll explore how Black Seed Oil benefits your brain.

Black Seed Oil helps:

  • Neurotransmitters: The compound thymohydroquinone in Black Seed Oil is one of the most potent acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitors on the planet.[ii] By increasing acetylcholine, AChE inhibitors have been found to be helpful in treating apathy, autism, dementia, Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia, and Parkinson’s Disease.[iii]
  • Anxiety & stress: Black Seed Oil increases L-Tryptophan and serotonin levels in the brain. Providing an antidepressant effect following repeated dosing.[iv]
  • Learning & memory: Black Seed Oil has been shown in animal and human studies to support neurogenesis and long-term potentiation. Showing positive effects on learning and memory. Particularly working memory.[v]


Black Seed Oil (Nigella sativa, Black Cumin) is extracted from Nigella sativa, a plant belonging to the family Ranunculaceae (Buttercup).

It’s native to southern Europe, North Africa and Asia Minor. And known as “Black Seed” because when the seeds are exposed to air, they turn black.

Black Seed Oil side effects
Queen Nefertiti

Black Seed has been used for millennia as mentioned in ancient texts for a variety of health issues. Several archaeological sites in Egypt including King Tut’s tomb contained Nigella sativa seeds.

Queen Nefertiti is reported to have been a devoted user of Black Seed Oil and gave it credit for her beautiful complexion.[vi]

The earliest written reference is in the book of Isaiah where it was referred to as ketsah in Hebrew. And was used as a baking spice.[vii]

The Prophet Mohammed described the curative powers of Black Seed saying, “it has a remedy for every illness except death”.[viii]

Persian physician and philosopher Ibn Sina (Avicenna) recommended Black Seed Oil in his “Canon of Medicine” as a remedy for colds, fever, headache, toothache, skin diseases, promote wound healing, fungus, parasites, warts, and insect bites.

The main bio-active compounds in Black Seed Oil include thymoquinone (37.6%) followed by p-cymene (31.2%), α-thujene (5.6%), thymohydroquinone (3.4%), and longifolene (2.0%).[ix]

Most of the nootropic benefit of Black Seed Oil is attributed to thymoquinone (TQ).

black seed oil for mental illness

How does Black Seed Oil work in the brain?

Black Seed Oil boosts brain health and function in several ways. But two in particular stand out.

  1. Black Seed Oil for attention, cognition and memory. Animal studies show that Black Seed Oil is effective for boosting memory in aged rats. And these findings were also demonstrated in human experiments.

One study by the University of Dhaka in Bangladesh recruited 40 elderly volunteers and divided them randomly into groups A and B. Group A were given 500 mg Black Seed Oil twice a day for 9 weeks. Group B received a placebo.

Neurological measures for this trial included a logical memory test, digit span test, Rey-Osterrieth complex figure test, letter cancellation test, trail making test and Stroop test.

The Rey-Osterrieth complex figure test is particularly interesting. People are asked to reproduce a complicated line drawing first by copying it freehand, and then drawing from memory.

The test permits the evaluation of things like visuospatial abilities, memory, attention, planning, working memory and executive function.

The study concluded that Black Seed Oil supplementation for 9 weeks demonstrated a significant role in enhancing attention, cognition and memory.[x]

Another study with 48 young men aged 14 – 17 who used 500 mg of Black Seed Oil per day for 4 weeks had better short-, and long-term memory and recall.[xi]

  1. Black Seed Oil reduces seizures (sometimes). Black Seed Oil is known to have anticonvulsive effects in ‘traditional medicine’. And because many epileptic children do not respond to modern anti-seizure medication, researchers have been conducting studies to find out if Black Seed Oil could fill this need.

One study in Iran worked with 22 patients who were divided into two groups.

In this double-blind crossover study thymoquinone was compared to standard anti-epileptic drugs over a period of 4 weeks.

The study concluded that thymoquinone, the main active compound found in Black Seed Oil has anti-epileptic effects in children with refractory seizures.[xii]

But other studies have not been as promising. One study worked with 30 intractable epileptic children and 5 healthy kids used as controls. Here again Black Seed Oil was compared to anti-epileptic drugs over the 4-week trial.

Researchers in this study found that 40-80 mg/kg/day of Black Seed Oil as add-on therapy did not alter seizure frequency or severity in intractable epileptic patients.[xiii]

But another study with 20 epileptic children aged 13 years used an aqueous extract of Black Seed Oil (40 mg/kg) 3-times per day for 4 weeks. In this study, seizure frequency was reduced significantly during treatment.[xiv]

The takeaway here for using Black Seed Oil if you are hoping to reduce the number and frequency of epileptic seizures – it may or may not work. But it doesn’t hurt to try.

black seed oil serotonin

How things go bad

Seems many of the cognitive ailments we suffer from today are nothing new. Our ancestors thousands of years ago were dealing with many of the same issues we face today.

As we get older, our brain chemistry and energy metabolism changes. This can happen at any age once we enter our adult years.

↓ Chronic inflammation

↓ Cardiovascular disease (high blood pressure, which affects blood clotting, atherosclerosis)

↓ Metabolic disease (diabetes, non-alcoholic liver disease)

↓ Neurodegenerative disease (anxiety, depression, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s)

↓ Bacterial, fungal, parasitic and viral infections

Avicenna, the famous 10th century physician in his book “The Canon of Medicine” recommended Black Seed Oil for enhancement of body’s energy and support during recovery from fatigue and dispiritedness.[xv]

What’s old is new again and we’re re-discovering the healing benefits and nootropic value of this ancient remedy for a variety of diseases.

Black Seed Oil benefits

Thymoquinone (TQ) is the primary active component of the volatile oil in Black Seed (Nigella sativa) and most of its effects and actions are related to TQ.

Black Seed Oil is anti-tumor, anti-microbial, anti-histamine, it modulates your immune system, is an anti-inflammatory and acts as an antioxidant.[xvi]

In the traditional system of medicine practices in the Arabian Gulf region, Black Seed is recommended for fever, cough, bronchitis, asthma, chronic headache, migraine, dizziness, chest congestion, obesity, diabetes, paralysis, back pain, infection, inflammation, fasting blood sugar levels, rheumatism, hypertension, and gastro issues like dyspepsia, flatulence, dysentery and diarrhea.

Over 150 clinical studies over the last 5 decades have investigated the chemical and health benefit properties of Black Seed Oil. And these studies justify the broad and traditional therapeutic value of Black Seed.

As a nootropic, studies show Black Seed Oil helps with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, depression, brain inflammation, epilepsy, reduced blood flow, glial tumors, and traumatic brain injury (TBI).[xvii]

black seed oil brain fog

How does Black Seed Oil feel?

If you have not yet experienced the benefits of Black Seed Oil, check out some of the comments and reviews left by others who have.

Neurohackers report that using Black Seed Oil daily makes them feel better and they’ve got more energy.

Several people say using Black Seed Oil helps relieve their migraine symptoms.

A couple of people commented that Black Seed Oil gave them vivid dreams.

Some say it helps keep their allergies under control. And like Queen Nefertiti, some report their skin looks more youthful.

Black Seed Oil is said to reduce inflammation and balance hormones. Others say they get powerful relief from pain.

One person reported that she had lost 11 pounds, her joints weren’t aching, no more constipation and her sleep had improved tremendously – and she was only 1/4 of the way through the bottle. A randomized, double-blind trial of obese women who followed a low calorie diet found that the integration of black seed oil improved body composition, such as body mass index, and decreased appetites in participants.

Another long-time user of Black Seed Oil said he hadn’t been sick in over 2 years.

And several neurohackers say Black Seed Oil helps them quickly fall asleep.

black seed oil for anxiety reviews

Black Seed Oil Clinical Research

Black Seed Oil Boosts Memory

40 elderly volunteers were recruited by researchers at the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh.  The study was conducted to see if memory improvements from Black Seed Oil with animals also worked in humans.

Half of the group were given a 500 mg Black Seed Oil capsule twice daily for 9 weeks. The other half received a placebo.

The university research team found a significant improvement in memory, attention and cognition in the group using Black Seed Oil. With no significant improvement in the placebo group.

The researchers concluded Black Seed Oil should be considered as a supplement for enhancing memory, attention and cognition.[xviii]

Black Seed Oil for Anxiety

A study with 48 healthy human male volunteers aged 14 – 17 years were recruited and split into two groups.

Group A received a 500 mg Black Seed Oil capsule once daily for four weeks. And Group B received a placebo. The volunteers were assessed for cognition using a verbal learning test, mood and anxiety. Tests were done at the beginning of the trial and after 4 weeks of supplementation.

The research team concluded that after 4 weeks of using Black Seed Oil that there was a significant mood improvement, decreased anxiety, and a boost in cognition.[xix]

Black Seed Oil Reduces Seizure Frequency

Several different drugs and drug combinations are prescribed to reduce seizures in epileptic children. But nearly 15% of children are resistant to treatment.

Black Seed Oil is known to have anticonvulsant effects which are mainly attributed to thymoquinone.

A double-blind crossover clinical study was conducted in Iran with epileptic children. 22 patients were divided into two groups with one group receiving thymoquinone and the other a placebo for 4 weeks. They each had a one week wash out period. And then the groups were switched and dosed for another 4 weeks.

The parents were happy with the results of the trial. Because the children had significantly fewer seizures when using thymoquinone.

The researchers concluded that thymoquinone has anti-epileptic effects in children with refractory seizures.[xx]

Black Seed Oil for Opiate Withdrawal

Opioid addiction is a major problem in our society. With headlines every week about the number of deaths from opiate overdose.

black seed oil dopamineThe most successful treatment we have so far for quitting opiates are 12-step programs. But success rates in recovery and those ending up in relapse demonstrate how difficult it is to get off these powerful drugs.

But a new and novel treatment for dealing with opiate withdrawal symptoms may help.

A study was conducted in Karachi to find a non-opiate treatment for opiate withdrawal. 35 opiate addicts were recruited for this clinical trial.

While details are sketchy, the study found that 500 mg Nigella sativa significantly reduced opiate withdrawal symptoms.

The researchers concluded, “Non opioid drug Nigella sativa is effective in long-term treatment of opioid dependence. It not merely cures the opioid dependence but also cures the infections and weakness from which majority of addicts suffer.”[xxi]

Black Seed Oil Recommended Dosage

Recommended dosage of Black Seed Oil is 1 – 3 teaspoons per day.

If you’ve never used Black Seed Oil before, start with ½ a teaspoon and see how your body reacts.

Children under 11 years should only use half the adult dosage. And kids under 5 years, only a drop or two to start with.

Nigella sativa extract seeds or powder dosage is 1 – 3 grams per day.

Potency can vary between brands which can affect dosage. So check labels carefully.

Black Seed Oil Side Effects

Black Seed Oil is considered non-toxic and safe to use at recommended doses. (More is NOT better).

Black Seed Oil has a nasty taste. To me it tastes a lot like gasoline. So beware if this is your first time. And have something handy to chase it with especially if you don’t like the taste.

You should not use Black Seed Oil if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

It’s best to check with your doctor before using Black Seed Oil, especially if you’re dealing with a chronic health condition or are currently taking medication.

Do not use Black Seed Oil if you have a bleeding disorder or plan on doing surgery of any kind.

If you have low blood pressure Black Seed Oil could make this condition worse by causing slow blood clotting.

And too much Black Seed Oil (more than the recommended dosage) could cause liver or kidney damage.

On your skin, Black Seed Oil may cause a rash or hives. Best to do a small patch test before using a regular dose.

Type of Black Seed Oil to Buy

Black Seed Oil is easily found in most health food stores and vitamin shops worldwide. You can get Black Seed Oil in a bottle, or Black Seed Oil capsules. Or Black Seed extract as a powder. The Oil version in a bottle is most common.

Always go for organic Black Seed Oil to ensure you are not getting any toxic pesticides or herbicides contaminating your oil.

And select Black Seed Oil that comes in a dark amber glass bottle which helps prevent it from going rancid.

Choose an oil that is cold-pressed because other methods of extraction involve high heat. Which can damage the beneficial compounds and fatty acids in the oil. And you’ll end up with Black Seed Oil that’s useless.

I recommend and use Amazing Herbs Egyptian Black Seed Oil (Amazon) because it’s milder tasting. It works and has good reviews.

They also sell Black Seed Oil Soft-Gels (Amazon) if you can’t stand the taste. Each soft-gel is equivalent to ¼ teaspoon of oil.

Nootropics Expert Recommendation

Nootropics Expert Tested and ApprovedBlack Seed Oil 1 – 3 teaspoons per day

I recommend using Black Seed Oil as a nootropic supplement.

Your body does not make Black Seed Oil on its own. So to get its benefits you must take it as a nootropic supplement.

Black Seed Oil is especially helpful for those dealing with stress and anxiety. Because it affects the GABA pathway in your brain which provides its anxiolytic benefit.[xxii]

Recent research shows depression may be caused by inflammation. Black Seed Oil may reduce symptoms of depression because it decreases levels of inflammatory markers like interleukin-4 (IL-4), interleukin-6 (IL-6), interleukin-13 (IL-13) and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-a).[xxiii]

Black Seed Oil can increase learning and memory within 20 weeks of consistent, daily dosing.

If you’ve tried other meds to reduce seizures with no luck, try Black Seed Oil next. Because it’s been shown to be effective with some types of epilepsy.

And two decades of research shows Black Seed Oil may be effective in suppressing tumor development, growth, and metastasis for a wide range of brain tumors. Including glial tumors which cannot be treated by modern medicine.

Black Seed Oil is a powerful but ancient nootropic supplement. If you’ve tried everything else including the latest mainstream medicine has to offer and have had no luck, try Black Seed Oil.

You can safely take up to 3 teaspoons of Black Seed Oil daily if needed. Split into smaller doses 2 – 3 times during your day. But do NOT exceed 3 teaspoons.