A few years ago, “smart drugs” seemed like complete science fiction. Today, millions of people consume nootropic supplements daily to boost their brain performance and brain health. But what exactly are nootropics, and what kind of benefits can you expect from them? Let’s check all the proven nootropic benefits.

What Are Nootropics?


Nootropics are natural and synthetic substances that enhance cognitive performance. By definition, nootropics must have the following features: [*]

  • Improve the brain capacity to speed up learning and improve memory
  • Support mental health
  • Protect brain cells from damages
  • Facilitate cell-to-cell communication
  • Enhance attention and focus
  • Are side-effects free (safe to use)

Nootropics can provide a whole range of benefits, but they can also be very ineffective or even potentially harmful.
Before you start supplementing nootropics, you should know which nootropics provide which effects and how quickly. Taking the right nootropics is equally important as taking the quality nootropic extracts at the right time.

Nootropic Benefits

Nootropics improve cognitive performance, boost energy, improve sleep, slow down cognitive decline, and improve brain health.

Natural nootropics can be used in many ways. Some use them to enhance their daily performance, while others use them to get long-term effects and benefits.

Short-term benefits include:

  • Improved focus and attention
  • Better stress response and resistance
  • Improved productivity and better alertness
  • Faster reaction times
  • Improved mood
  • Better short-term memory

Long-term benefits include:

  • Healthy brain structure and function
  • Decreased cognitive decline
  • Improved long-term memory
  • Improved mental clarity
  • Better well-being

Nootropics enhance brain function by affecting multiple brain pathways:

  • Optimizing the production of neurotransmitters
  • Increased brain blood flow leads to increased oxygen and nutrient delivery to the brain
  • Improve mitochondrial efficiency for more energy
  • Brain protection from harmful compounds and toxins
  • Faster regeneration and repairment of the brain cells
  • Adjust the brain wave frequencies to achieve the desired state

Let’s now check the short-term nootropic benefits in detail.

Short-Term Nootropic Benefits

1. Focus And Attention

We believe that people that can focus and sustain focus are those that will succeed in life. But this is easier said than done.

Focus or attention, by definition, means the ability to concentrate on any given task without being distracted. [*]

Think of attention as of all those moments when you were working on a particular task, playing a video game, training in the gym, or doing something fun, and time just passed by without you realizing it. What happened was that you got in this hyper-focused flow, which allowed you to work 100% focused without being distracted.

There are different types of attention, such as:

  • Focused attention – The brain can concentrate its focus on a target stimulus for any period.
  • Selective attention – The capacity to maintain focus on one stimulus
  • Alternating attention – It is the ability to switch your focus between tasks that require different cognitive demands.
  • Divided attention –Divided attention means typical multitasking.

Various natural nootropics can increase focus and attention in healthy individuals. To mention a few:

Caffeine + L-Theanine

Caffeine is a known attention booster. A dosage from 40 mg to 300 mg improves attention in healthy individuals. [*] Combined with L-theanine, which promotes alertness and concentration, expect an improved brain function, longer focus, and attention. [*]


L-Tyrosine is the dopamine and norepinephrine precursor. Increased dopamine levels lead to better focus. Supplementing l-tyrosine is especially effective during a period of high stress. [*]


Studies show that supplementing citicoline (CDP-choline or Cognizin) leads to increased alertness and focus. [*][*]


Phosphatidylserine may be effective in increasing attention, especially in people with ADHD. [*]

Rhodiola Rosea

Rhodiola can improve cognition, mental performance, and also attention. [*]

Here you can learn all about the best nootropics for focus & attention >>

2. Memory

Studies show that nootropics can improve memory. They can improve short- and long-term memory but can also be used for treating memory impairment. [*][*

Traditionally, many nootropics like Bacopa monnieri have been used for improving memory and cognitive performance. Today we know that certain nootropics can improve different memory functions like:

  • Sensory memory: it holds information for a few seconds. If a person pays attention to it, then this information moves into short-term memory.
  • Short-term memory: it serves as short-term storage of information that is limited in duration and capacity. The memories usually last for up to 30 seconds, and we can hold 7+-2 information in our short-term memory (Miller’s law).
  • Working memory: it is similar to short-term memory but usually used to manipulate information when performing specific tasks. 
  • Long- term memory: holds experience and knowledge for several years or decades.

Nootropics can improve memory in various ways. The main work mechanisms are increasing the amount of acetylcholine in the brain and improving brain cell structures.

The best memory nootropics are:


A choline compound that improves memory in healthy individuals and in people who suffer from cognitive decline. [*]

Alpha GPC

Alpha GPC is another choline compound similar to citicoline that also increases acetylcholine levels. [*]

Bacopa Monnieri

13 scientific studies show that Bacopa Monnieri improves memory and slows down the rate at which the brain forgets newly learned know-how. [*]

Ginkgo biloba

Ginkgo biloba extract improves memory in the elderly suffering from cognitive decline. [*]

Huperzine A

Huperzine is an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor that improves memory in individuals. [*]

Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 deficiency is linked to poorer cognition and memory. [*]


L-Tyrosine is an amino acid that enhances working memory when people perform under severe stress. [*]

Here you can learn all about their mechanism of work, how to take them, and more >> Best Memory Nootropics

3. Mood & Well-Being

Nootropics can impact well-being, mood and increase motivation. They can improve well-being by: 

  • Increasing the levels of two neurotransmitters: dopamine and serotonin, which control mood [*]
  • Reducing anxiety and stress levels
  • Impacting adenosine levels, which leads to increased energy [*]

By improving mood, people feel more positive, less anxious, and depressed. The best nootropics for improving mood and well-being are:

Bacopa monnieri

Adaptogen herbs like Bacopa monnieri can reduce anxiety and improve well-being. [*]

Rhodiola Rosea

Studies show that Rhodiola Rosea can significantly reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety. [*]


L-theanine reduces anxiety which can lead to better mood and well-being. [*]


Ashwagandha is one of the most potent nootropics for improving mood and well-being. [*]

Lion’s Mane mushroom

Lion’s mane increases NGF production, which leads to a more balanced mood. [*]

If you suffer from brain fog, check the best nootropics here >>

4. Energy

Natural nootropics and stimulants can increase energy levels. They do it by: 

  • Increasing the delivery of oxygen to the brain
  • Optimizing mitochondrial ATP* energy output (Adenosine triphosphate is a complex organic chemical that provides energy in living cells) [*]
  • Enhancing subjective feelings of being energetic
  • Increasing energy levels by strengthening our brains’ resistance to stress
  • Tune brain waves to an Alpha frequency – the feeling of “wakeful relaxation”

Brain energy is related to brain health. A healthy brain energy metabolism leads to more mental agility, mental sharpness, better well-being, and better general health. 

The most effective energy nootropics on the market are: 

Rhodiola Rosea

Rhodiola Rosea increases essential energy metabolites and ATP energy. [*]


Citicoline has been clinically proven to increase brain energy (ATP) by 14%. [*]


L-Tyrosine improves cognitive performance when people are sleep deprived. This leads to extended wakefulness. [*]

Vitamin B12

B-vitamins, especially vitamin B12, are key cofactors in brain cell energy metabolism. [*]

Here you can learn more about other energy nootropics >>

5. Stress & Anxiety

Millions of people die each year due to stress. [*] Nootropics can be an excellent remedy to support your brain health.

Stress affects cognitive performance, decreases energy levels, and negatively influences sleep. Therefore, it can cause many adverse short-term effects, but it can also contribute to long-term issues such as burnout. Luckily, nootropics can help by:

  • Making the body and brain more resistant to stress
  • Promoting feelings of relaxation
  • Replenishing stress-depleted chemicals 

Without optimizing the body’s response to stress, it is impossible to achieve peak performance and full brainpower.

The most effective nootropics for stress are: 

Rhodiola Rosea

Multiple studies show that Rhodiola Rosea strengthens stress resistance and reduces fatigue in otherwise healthy individuals. [*]


L-Theanine can effectively decrease stress and anxiety levels. [*]


L-Tyrosine may reduce stress, but it is more effective for enhancing mental performance in adults working in stressful environments. [*]

Bacopa Monnieri

Studies show that Bacopa Monnieri reduces stress and anxiety in an otherwise healthy population. [*]

Here you can learn more about the best nootropics for stress & anxiety >> 

And if you suffer from depression, check the best nootropics for depression here >>

6. Creativity

Natural nootropics are known to increase creativity. They can affect various brain functions linked to creativity like focus, relaxation, stress, and mood.

The best creativity nootropics are:

  1. L-theanine 
  2. Citicoline
  3. Rhodiola Rosea

L-theanine is the only nootropic among the three that leads to increased alpha brain wave activity. [*] And alpha wave activity is associated with creativity. [*]

7. Learning & Studying

Nootropics are extremely popular among students because of their cognitive-enhancing effects. By boosting brain performance, focus, attention, memory, and mood, they help students study better, longer, and be more successful.

Nootropics can help students who have certain cognitive challenges or others who are trying to achieve peak performance.

Natural nootropics are effective for day-to-day learning, preparing for the exams, and even public speaking.

All of the previously mentioned nootropics can enhance cognition and help students achieve better results. But among them, the following nootropics stand out:

Rhodiola Rosea

Not only does Rhodiola Rosea enhance cognition, but it also decreases stress and improves memory, making it one of the best nootropics for studying. [*]


Citicoline is a crucial nootropic that improves mental performance, focus, and memory, making it great for studying. [*]

Bacopa Monnieri

Bacopa Monnieri is one of the most potent memory nootropics on the market. [*]

To learn more about nootropics for studying, click here >>

8. Productivity

Nootropics can increase overall productivity. [*] This is the reason why many entrepreneurs, CEOs, managers, students, and other high-achievers use nootropics. They are most effective in the following cases:

  • Short periods of intense work
    Nootropics help to stay more productive during intense work like writing an exam, public speaking, having a presentation in front of the managers, and similar.
  • Long periods of productive work
    Most productive work is done during longer periods of intense work where people “get in the flow.”  Nootropics help you get and stay in the flow.

So, which are the most effective nootropics for improving productivity? All of the previously mentioned nootropics that enhance brainpower.

9. Motivation

Motivation is an important contributor to peak performance. Without motivation and drive, it’s hard to achieve anything significant.

The best way to increase motivation is to find an inner drive that wakes us up in the morning and keeps us alert and productive. Nootropics can help us boost your dopamine levels and improve motivation. 

Dopamine is the neurotransmitter that rewards us with pleasure when we achieve a certain goal. It is the driver and motivator which we all need for peak performance.

Lack of dopamine is associated with low motivation and poor mental performance. But which nootropics can increase dopamine levels?


L-Tyrosine is the L-Dopa precursor which turns into dopamine in the brain. It is the best nootropic for boosting dopamine levels. [*]

Vitamin B9

Vitamin B9 is an important B-vitamin that is required for dopamine synthesis. [*]

Learn more about nootropics for motivation here >>

10. Sleep

Millions of people suffer from sleep-related issues. [*] Without proper sleep, people feel sluggish, tired, unalert, and have no brainpower. Optimizing sleep is the first step to achieving peak performance. 

Luckily, natural nootropics can improve sleep quality. Nootropics promote a relaxed state of mind, accelerate the process of falling asleep, and ensure a higher-quality sleep.

The most effective sleep nootropics are:

  1. Bacopa monnieri
  2. Lavender
  3. L-tryptophan
  4. Magnesium
  5. Melatonin
  6. Montmorency tart cherry
  7. Valerian
  8. L-theanine
  9. Lemon balm

Learn all about sleep nootropics here: Best Sleep Nootropics

Long-Term Nootropic Benefits

We just covered a whole list of short-term nootropic benefits. But the most significant advantage of supplementing nootropics is its long-term benefits.


The effects of nootropics on aging are still under-researched. Still, initial studies are clear: Nootropics can slow down the cognitive decline, repair cells, help with cell regrowth, and be active anti-aging agents. [*]

Even though many high achievers take nootropics to enhance temporary mental performance, more and more people realize that nootropics can provide overall brain health benefits.

It’s too early to measure the exact nootropic effects on aging, but we can expect many practical benefits from specific nootropics. So, which nootropics are effective for anti-aging?


Resveratrol is a potent antioxidant that may not add years to life but may add life to years. [*]

Coenzyme Q10

Coenzyme Q10 is a molecule found in mitochondria and it is important for energy production. It also protects the brain from free radicals and acts as an antioxidant. [*]


Curcumin has strong anti-inflammatory properties. [*]

Pyrroloquinoline Quinone

Pyrroloquinoline Quinone (PQQ) is a vitamin-like compound that supports mitochondrial function. [*]

Neuroregeneration & Brain Health

Neuroregeneration refers to the regrowth or repair of cells and nervous tissues. [*] As we now understand, new brain cells are constantly growing, repairing and removing in response to learning. 

Nootropics can help the brain speed up regeneration in several different ways: 

  • Nootropics can promote NGF (nerve growth factor) and BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor)
  • They provide free-radical reducing antioxidants
  • They can also provide brain-building block material such as choline

Lion’s Mane mushroom

Lion’s Mane mushroom is a nootropic that increases NGF (nerve growth factor) in the brain. [*] NGF helps with brain plasticity and regeneration. 


Citicoline has been shown in human studies to boost brain regeneration by 26%. [*]

Maritime Pine Bark Extract

Maritime Pine Bark contains special flavonoids that promote BDNF production and enhance neural connections. [*]


We already mentioned the role of antioxidants in our brains. We also know that certain nootropics can provide those must-needed antioxidants. [*]

Besides, nootropics can help to protect brain cells from different kinds of damages, degradation, and even cognitive decline. Here are a few effective nootropics:

Vitamin B12, B9, and B6

B-Vitamins help to regulate unhealthy homocysteine in the bloodstream, protecting the brain from homocysteine-related damage. [*]


Phosphatidylserine (PS) helps regulate the immune system’s cleanup and disposal of dying and damaged brain cells. [*]


Citicoline accelerates brain regeneration by optimizing brain cell structure. [*]

Lion’s Mane mushroom

Lion’s Mane mushroom promotes nerve growth factor (NGF) and may protect against unhealthy proteins. [*]

Long-Term Cognition

All nootropics that we mentioned in this section provide long-term brain benefits. 

By protecting the brain with antioxidants, the brain is less damaged and should provide better cognitive performance. And neuroregeneration can speed up the process and optimize our brain performance. 

The ultimate result of that is long-term cognitive ability. And that’s the goal we should all strive for. To get there, brain nootropics can help us out. 


The more we research nootropics, the more fascinating they are to us. Natural nootropics provide a whole list of short- and long-term cognitive benefits that may add years to our life but can definitely add life to our years.

Many traditionally used nootropic compounds can be well-combined with newly made synthetic nootropics. Together, they form a great combo that can improve your brain health and performance.

So, what’s your next step? Click below to check the list of best nootropic stacks on the market and find the best supplements that will help you optimize your brain performance.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are nootropics good for you? 

Absolutely, nootropics are great for you because they provide a whole range of short- and long-term benefits. They are very beneficial for people of all ages.

What are the benefits of nootropics?

Nootropics can improve your cognitive performance, boost your energy, improve your sleep, they can slow down cognitive decline, and benefit your brain in several different ways.