Nootropics – Review of Best Brain and Memory Enhancement Supplements

The objective of nootropics brain supplements is to increase cognitive abilities such as focus, memory, information processing, critical thinking, and language abilities.

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best nootropic memory supplements

Unlock the power of your brain with the following Nootropics, Brain & Cognition Supplements. Photo (Shutterstock)

Brain Enhancement Supplements Overview

What are Nootropic Supplements?

Brain supplements are called nootropics, and their goal is to improve cognitive skills like concentration, memory, knowledge processing, critical thinking, and language skills.

Nootropics come in two forms: those that are developed scientifically in a lab, and those that already exist in the natural world. These synthetic organic substances can often be found naturally in nootropic supplements.

Nootropics are in huge demand by people who are looking for ‘smart drugs.’ This includes students and executives alike, really anyone who is looking to boost their mental acuity. The concept of nootropics is actually quite controversial as many people feel that they provide users with an unfair edge and that this aspect is unethical.

However, many people are overwhelmed by the stress of daily tasks like studying and feel they need something to help them get through.

Why are cognitive enhancement supplements important?

Cognitive supplements are used to decrease the symptoms of a wide variety of medical conditions where current drugs on the market available to treat these various conditions have many side effects.

These conditions include:

  • stroke
  • dementia
  • schizophrenia
  • obesity
  • narcolepsy
  • sleep issues
  • attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

Which Ingredients To Look For In A Nootropic?

Bacopa Monnieri

This is an herb which has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. There’s a healthy body of research which shows that it can improve memory and cognitive functioning[1] in healthy individuals and in dementia patients[2]. This effect occurs if the herb is taken consistently on a daily basis.

St. John’s Wort

This is an herb which has been used successfully to treat depression. Research[1] also shows that it can improve recognition memory and reduce cognitive impairments.

Huperzine A

It’s a chemical taken from a Chinese moss plant. There’s a large body of research[2] showing that this substance has a positive effect on learning and memory.

DMAE

This is a liquid devoid of any color. It’s often included as an ingredient in skin care creams, as well as in supplements for improving cognitive functioning. Research[3] shows that it prevents a decline in long term memory over time in otherwise healthy people.

L-Tyrosine

This amino acid can improve cognitive performance, including memory. It’s directly responsible for producing the neurotransmitters dopamine and adrenaline.

L-Theanine

This is an amino acid that has the ability to induce relaxation and lessen stress and can aid in the achievement of more restful sleep. There’s also some evidence that it plays a role in the formation of new memories[4].

Alpha Lipoic Acid

This is a molecule that includes powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Research[4] shows that it has a positive effect on human cognitive functioning.

Guarana

This plant is also called Paullinia cupana. Research has shown an improved cognitive performance in subjects after taking guarana extract.

Ginkgo Biloba

This herbal substance is taken from the tree of the same name. It’s believed to be an excellent brain-enhancing ingredient that improves blood flow to the brain. It accelerates memory and attention span (source)[5].

How to choose the Best Nootropic for You?

Nootropics don’t come in one size fits all. It depends on why you want to use brain supplements.
The best nootropic is one that is created for you specifically. Your brain receives the help it needs to develop the cognitive skills that are most in need of development.
The best memory pills naturally enhance what you already have; they don’t make you “smarter,” but rather help your brain function more efficiently, which may improve your capacity for learning, memory, and concentration, among several other things.

What to Keep in Mind Before You Buy Any Memory Supplement?

Understanding the Label

There can be risks in taking some of these supplements. Sometimes there are hidden ingredients that are not included on the label, which can cause problems for people who have allergies and other intolerances.

Products that have an asterisk on the label are approved by the Food and Drug Administration. This means considerable research has gone into testing both their efficacy and their safety.

Supplements that are not FDA-approved have had less attention put into their development.

Consumer Reviews & Feedback

Reading consumer reviews and feedback at times can be a good way to find out the pros and cons of a product and whether it’s effective.

NOTE: Do read the reviews, but keep in mind that advertisers sometimes pay for good reviews.

Guarantee & Return Policy

Before you purchase a product, pay careful attention to the return policy and the guarantee listed by the seller. Realistically, a 30-day guarantee doesn’t allow you enough time to try the product and see if you like it in time to return it back to the company by the cut-off.

Look for a policy of a least 60 days. Another detail you want to look for is whether you have to return the product intact in the original packaging, or if you can return half or empty bottles.

What to Avoid – 3 ‘Most Important’ Points To Consider

1. Improper Dosages

It’s not enough to learn that a particular substance is safe and effective. You have to check the dosage. If there’s been research, look into this and examine the dose of the substance that was tested. Try to find out as much as you can about safe dosages of the ingredients in the supplement that interests you.

2. Trusting Amazon

When it comes to reviews on Amazon, keep in mind that they aren’t always legitimate. Companies pay writers to post positive reviews of products. Therefore you can’t rely on reviews alone anymore. You have to do as much research on the product and its ingredients as possible.

3. Fake “Free Trial” Offers

There are many free trial offers from supplement companies that are designed to get your credit card number. You sign up for the trial and pay a small shipping fee. Then they send you your free bottle. At that point, the company enrolls you in a subscription and begins to charge you every month. It’s very difficult to unsubscribe and get your money back.

Best Nootropics and Best Brain Supplements of 2022

Alpha Brain

 

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*All the prices listed here are as they appear on their websites and are subject to change.

Quick Facts & Specs

Alpha Brain
Alpha Brain by Onnit Labs is a natural supplement that supports brain health by improving memory, focus, and mental processing speed.

  • Form:Capsules
  • Type:Supplement
  • Benefit:Promotes sustained focus, supports memory, aids mental processing
  • Phone & Address:1-855-ONNIT-99; 4401 Freidrich Ln., Suite 302Austin, TX 78744 USA; help@onnit.com
  • Brand:Onnit
  • Active Ingredients:L-Theanine, L-Tyrosine, Phosphatidylserine, L-Leucine, Pterostilbene
  • Price:$34.95*
 
 

Alpha Brain Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Alpha Brain can sharpen your memory.
  • This supplement improves mental focus.
  • Alpha Brain can elevate mental processing.
  • It contains no caffeine or gluten.

Cons

  • Alpha Brain is an expensive supplement.
  • You have to take 3 capsules each day, which will be difficult for some users.

NooCube

 

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*All the prices listed here are as they appear on their websites and are subject to change.

Quick Facts & Specs

NooCube

Noocube Brain Productivity Supplement is a powerful blend of nootropics meant to improve mental attention, memory, and brain processing speed.

  • Form:Capsules
  • Type:Supplement
  • Benefit:Stimulates focused energy, enhances memory and creativity, increases cognitive functions
  • Phone & Address:+1 (207) 530 8152
  • Brand:NooCube
  • Active Ingredients:Bacopa Monnieri, Alpha GPC, Cat’s Claw, Huperzine-A, L-Tyrosine & L-Theanine, Oat Straw
  • Price:$59.99*
 
 

NooCube Pros & Cons

Pros

  • This supplement can improve your mental performance
  • It improves your ability to concentrate
  • The product could get rid of that feeling of ‘brain fog’
  • It increases your energy level

Cons

  • If you take it in the evening, it could keep you awake
  • It contains some ingredients, which are allergens for many people
  • It may make you feel jittery and nervous

Nootrogen

 

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*All the prices listed here are as they appear on their websites and are subject to change.

Quick Facts & Specs

Nootrogen
Nootrogen is a dietary supplement specifically designed to help promote memory support, assist ability to focus, promote cognitive function and support stress so you can mentally perform at your best.

  • Form:Capsules
  • Type:Supplement
  • Benefit:Memory and focus support, improves cognitive performance, calm functionality
  • Phone & Address:1-888-455-9995; Vita Balance Inc, 7400 Beaufont Springs Drive, Suite 300, Richmond, Virginia 23225, United States; support@vitabalance.net
  • Brand:VitaBalance
  • Active Ingredients:DMAE Bitrate, L-Glutamine, Bacopa Extract, Grapefruit Seed Extract, Boron, Licorice, Grape Seed Extract, Inositol
  • Price:$29.95*
 
 

Nootrogen Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Nootrogen gives me mental energy and focus.
  • This supplement can improve cognitive performance.
  • Nootrogen can decrease your stress levels.
  • The product can improve your memory and learning.

Cons

  • It contains soy and fish, which many users can’t have.
  • Different users will have somewhat different results.

Brain C-13

 

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*All the prices listed here are as they appear on their websites and are subject to change.

Quick Facts & Specs

Brain C-13
Brain C-13 is a dietary supplement which is designed to support the brain’s “Mental Powerlines” and to help the brain’s Memory Center get enough energy. It uses natural herbs & minerals to protect against age-related mental decline.

  • Form:Capsules
  • Type:Supplement
  • Benefit:Promotes memory, boosts mood, helps awareness, supports quick thinking, increases neural flexibility
  • Phone & Address:1 (800) 928-1184; 4610 Prime Parkway McHenry, IL, 60050, USA; support@zenithlabs.com
  • Brand:Zenith Labs
  • Active Ingredients:Citicoline, Turmeric Root, Gingko Leaf, Rhodiola Rosea, Rosemary Leaf
  • Price:$49*
 
 

Brain C-13 Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Brain C-13 helps to enhance memory functioning.
  • This supplement improves your mood.
  • It promotes cognitive focus and attention span.
  • Brain C-13 protects against age-related mental deterioration.

Cons

  • You have to take 3 Brain C-13 capsules per day.
  • There are no free samples available.

Primal Harvest Primal Mind Fuel

 

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*All the prices listed here are as they appear on their websites and are subject to change.

Quick Facts & Specs

Primal Harvest Primal Mind Fuel
Primal Harvest Primal Mind Fuel is a natural cognitive support formula featuring a powerful blend of B-vitamins, amino acids, adaptogens and more for enhanced mental sharpness, energy, focus, and cognitive performance

  • Form:Capsules
  • Type:Supplement
  • Benefit:Promotes memory, boosts mood, helps awareness, supports quick thinking, increases neural flexibility
  • Phone & Address:+1 631-769-2227; 814 Fulton Street Ste C, Farmingdale, NY 11735; support@primalharvest.com
  • Brand:Primal Harvest
  • Active Ingredients:Theobromine, L-Tyrosine, Rhodiola Rosea, Bacopa Monnieri, Huperzine
  • Price:$29.95*
 
 

Primal Harvest Primal Mind Fuel Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Primal Harvest Primal Mind Fuel gives you physical energy.
  • If you subscribe, you get 25% off plus free shipping.
  • Primal Harvest Primal Mind Fuel can improve mood and motivation.
  • This supplement supports mental focus.

Cons

  • It’s a popular product which sometimes goes out of stock
  • Primal Harvest Primal Mind Fuel does not provide free sample
  • Users will experience the results differently.

Neuro Gum

 

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*All the prices listed here are as they appear on their websites and are subject to change.

Quick Facts & Specs

Neuro Gum

Neuro Energy & Focus is specially formulated with natural caffeine, L-theanine, and B-vitamins to sustain the mental endurance necessary to stay focused on your goals.

  • Form:Tablet
  • Type:Supplement
  • Benefit:Sustains the mental endurance, enhances attention span, supports overall brain functioning
  • Phone & Address:1-855-638-7646; Los Angeles, CA 90013; hello@getneuro.com
  • Brand:NeuroGum
  • Active Ingredients:L-Theanine, Caffeine, Vitamins B6 or B12
  • Price:$21*
 
 

Neuro Gum Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Neuro Gum provides you with mental focus.
  • The product can give you physical and mental energy.
  • It can reduce feelings of anxiety and stress.
  • Neuro Gum is free of sugar and gluten.

Cons

  • Peppermint is the only flavor option.
  • Some people don’t enjoy chewing gum.

Brain Focus

 

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*All the prices listed here are as they appear on their websites and are subject to change.

Quick Facts & Specs

Brain Focus

Brain Focus pills are formulated with Ginkgo Biloba, Bacopa Monnieri, Guarana to improve mental functions such as cognition, memory, concentration and improves brain fog.

  • Form:Capsules
  • Type:Supplement
  • Benefit:Enhances mental focus, enhances learning, improves brain fog, boosts concentration
  • Brand:Opportuniteas
  • Active Ingredients:Ginkgo Biloba, Bacopa Monnieri, Guarana, Caffeine
  • Price:$39.99*
 
 

Brain Focus Pros & Cons

Pros

  • This product may improve your memory
  • It can enhance your attention span
  • This supplement can make you more alert

Cons

  • The product is very high in caffeine, which many people can’t tolerate
  • It contains soy, which is a very common allergen
  • This supplement may be dangerous if ingested by kids

Nootro-Focus

 

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*All the prices listed here are as they appear on their websites and are subject to change.

Quick Facts & Specs

Nootro-Focus

Nootro-Focus is cognitive supplement designed to heighten mental clarity and sharpen your focus. It works to reduce restlessness and sharpen mental clarity, increasing Alpha brain waves, helping you zone in on the task in front of you.

  • Form:Capsules
  • Type:Supplement
  • Benefit:Increases neurotransmitter activity and fuels the brain, improves memory, attention and focus
  • Phone & Address:info@thenueco.com
  • Brand:The NueCo
  • Active Ingredients: Citicoline, L-Theanine, Bacopa Monnieri, Gingko Biloba, Rhodiola Rosea
  • Price:$85*
 
 

Nootro-Focus Pros & Cons

Pros

  • This supplement could enhance your memory function
  • It can make your focus much sharper
  • The product may heighten your clarity

Cons

  • It contains rice extract, which is a very common allergen
  • This product has a very high price point and is branded like it’s a ‘designer supplement’
  • Nootro-Focus takes a few days to start working

Prevagen

 

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*All the prices listed here are as they appear on their websites and are subject to change.

Quick Facts & Specs

Prevagen
Prevagen is a popular brand of organic supplements which promise to improve memory and enhance cognitive performance. Most of the products contain 2 main ingredients, Vitamin D3 and a protein from jellyfish called Apoaequorin. In addition, this brand can help you fall asleep faster and improve sleep quality.

  • Form:Capsules
  • Type:Supplement
  • Benefit:Supports healthier brain functioning and sharper mind, clearer thinking
  • Phone & Address:877-977-3824; 726 Heartland Trail, Suite 300, Madison, Wisconsin 53717
  • Brand:Prevagen
  • Active Ingredients:Apoaequorin, Vitamin D
  • Price:$39.95*
 
 

Prevagen Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Prevagen can support brain health.
  • These wellness products can improve bone health.
  • The brand can strengthen the immune system.

Cons

  • These products could use additional ingredients.
  • The results will vary for different users.
  • The shake product only has one flavor.


Memory Supplements FAQs

Can a nootropic supplement really make you smarter?

As we have just mentioned, there are some natural substances that can legitimately enhance memory and general brain health. Unfortunately, there’s little evidence to show that they work.

One recent study showed that these supplements were actually quite ineffective. The reason for this lack of data may be the fact that the majority of the supplements on the market are not subject to much in the way of clinical trials.

They may include ingredients that have the intended effects, but the dosage of those ingredients included is also an important factor.

There certainly are both customers and practitioners alike who use these brain health supplements, including some people who suffer from the effects of dementia. It’s important to research any supplement you do choose carefully to make sure the ingredients and dosages seem reasonable.

What is the best natural supplement for brain memory?

There are some natural substances that can have a proven effect on memory.

These include:

CoQ10 has been known to have a positive effect on memory loss (source).

Iron can improve memory, specifically in women who are iron-deficient (source)[6].

In addition, some forms of choline can apparently improve cognition in Alzheimer’s patients with mild to moderate symptoms.

What else can you do to improve your memory? (Strategies to Try instead)

Not everyone wants to use memory pills to enhance their memory and general brain health.

Fortunately, there are some natural ways to achieve this.

1. One of the best methods is regular physical exercise, and this is backed up by science.

Studies have shown that working out on a weekly basis can really enhance your memory, as well as staving off dementia and reducing your risk of developing some diseases.

2. Another great memory-enhancing strategy is eating healthy foods.

Research[7] has proven that if you want a healthy diet with all of the key components, you do not even have to take a vitamin supplement.

Nootropic Supplements – The Bottom Line

Many of these natural ingredients do possess benefits and effects. Often, it’s a matter of dosage. That’s why it’s important to look at the dosage on the label carefully and compare it with the dosages used in research studies, or consult with your healthcare practitioner on the same.

Some supplements so have side effects associated with them. If you experience any serious effects, discontinue use immediately.

NOTE: Before you start taking any new supplement, see your healthcare practitioner for a comprehensive discussion as to whether this supplement is safe for you to begin.

Sources

Health Insiders relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.

[1] Trofimiuk E, Walesiuk A, Braszko JJ. St John's wort (Hypericum perforatum) diminishes cognitive impairment caused by the chronic restraint stress in rats. Pharmacol Res. 2005 Mar;51(3):239-46. doi: 10.1016/j.phrs.2004.08.007. PMID: 15661574.

[2] Sun QQ, Xu SS, Pan JL, Guo HM, Cao WQ. Huperzine-A capsules enhance memory and learning performance in 34 pairs of matched adolescent students. Zhongguo Yao Li Xue Bao. 1999 Jul;20(7):601-3. PMID: 10678121.

[3] Blin O, Audebert C, Pitel S, Kaladjian A, Casse-Perrot C, Zaim M, Micallef J, Tisne-Versailles J, Sokoloff P, Chopin P, Marien M. Effects of dimethylaminoethanol pyroglutamate (DMAE p-Glu) against memory deficits induced by scopolamine: evidence from preclinical and clinical studies. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2009 Dec;207(2):201-12. doi: 10.1007/s00213-009-1648-7. Epub 2009 Sep 16. PMID: 19756528.

[4] Fava A, Pirritano D, Plastino M, et al. The Effect of Lipoic Acid Therapy on Cognitive Functioning in Patients with Alzheimer's Disease. J Neurodegener Dis. 2013;2013:454253. doi:10.1155/2013/454253

[5] Sadowska-Krępa E, Kłapcińska B, Pokora I, Domaszewski P, Kempa K, Podgórski T. Effects of Six-Week Ginkgo biloba Supplementation on Aerobic Performance, Blood Pro/Antioxidant Balance, and Serum Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor in Physically Active Men. Nutrients. 2017;9(8):803. Published 2017 Jul 26. doi:10.3390/nu9080803

[6] Fretham SJ, Carlson ES, Georgieff MK. The role of iron in learning and memory. Adv Nutr. 2011;2(2):112-121. doi:10.3945/an.110.000190

[7] Gómez-Pinilla F. Brain foods: the effects of nutrients on brain function. Nat Rev Neurosci. 2008;9(7):568-578. doi:10.1038/nrn2421

Author
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Caroline Duncan, M.D.

Caroline C. Duncan graduated from the Medical University of South Carolina in May of 2017, where her interests were primarily psychiatr...

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