Best Brain Nootropics: A Complete List

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With the rapid development of science, taking brain nootropics is nowadays becoming a new standard. Let’s find out the best brain nootropics right now available on the market.

best brain nootropics

Table of Contents

What Are Brain Nootropics?

The world is getting extremely competitive, and to stay in the game, people are trying everything to perform a bit better, to work a bit longer, and to be a bit more productive. The higher on the ladder you look, the more people are trying to beat the system, outsmart people around them and somehow achieve limitless performance and productivity.

While there is no limitless pill available (well, at least not a real one), nor would taking a limitless pill be a long-term solution, brain nootropics come into the game.

The primary role of brainpower nootropics is to help you improve your focus, speed of thinking, memory, brain fog, and cognition. Some brain nootropics slow down brain decline; others provide anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effects. Some provide brain health (hence they are called brain health nootropics), others help you hack your brain (so-called brain hack nootropics). But overall, all influence your brain.

Some nootropics work in a matter of minutes. Others you have to take for several weeks before you can notice first results. Now, we’ve been researching nootropics for years, and in this blog post, we want to share with you only the best brain nootropics that are:

  1. Effective
  2. Safe
  3. Provide multiple benefits

In the first part of this post, we’ll share with you individual brain nootropics. In the second part, we’ll advise you on some of the best brain nootropic stacks. If you are ready to hack your brain, let’s begin.

brain nootropics

Brain Nootropics Review

Many of you probably wonder how effective brain nootropics are. Do they work? Do they provide immediate benefits? An energy kick? How about long-term use? Well, let us clarify that brain nootropics are not magical pills that would instantly increase your IQ and make you a genius.

But they are incredibly effective in boosting your cognitive performance, memory, focus, attention, and taking care of your brain. By taking them, you ensure your brain will get the required nutrients for optimal performance.

Most of the brain supplements do not provide an immediate kick, but they surely work and deliver tons of benefits. 

Best Brain Nootropics

If you are ready to enhance brain function, let’s have a look at the best brain nootropics you can get on the market. All of them play an essential role in our brain performance, and they are listed in no particular order.

Side note: Instead of purchasing them separately, we suggest buying an effective brain supplements stack (mix of brain supplements). We will share with you more information below the post.

Lion’s Mane Mushroom

Let’s start this list with one of our favorite and most effective brain nootropics – Lion’s Mane mushroom. Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus), also known as Yamabushitake, is a mushroom native to parts of Asia, North America, and Europe. [1]

It has been used medicinally for thousands of years, and it has become trendy in the last years. You can find it in many popular brain supplements, but you can also buy it as an individual compound. It has become so popular because:

  1. It has been shown to improve our mental functions (memory, motivation, focus, and attention) 
  2. It may prevent neurodegeneration 
  3. It may support our immune system 
  4. It contains cancer-fighting and anti-depressant properties
  5. It may increase Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) that is crucial to the growth of neurons

Lion’s Mane is becoming one of the essential supplements for providing brain support and helping people improve their cognition. It is considered a very safe and non-toxic supplement, but if you are allergic to it, you should avoid it. 

The recommended daily dosage is 500 – 1000 mg. You can take it three times per day.

Rhodiola Rosea

Rhodiola Rosea is an adaptogen herb that is known for its benefits for enhancing our ability to decrease stress, work as an anti-depressant, and improve your cognition. [2] The last-mentioned benefit is what we should focus on.

Researchers have found various adaptogenic effects of Rhodiola extract on our bodies. This is the reason why this adaptogen herb is so popular and often used in brain-boosting supplements. Rhodiola Rosea extract is involved in several physiological functions and pathways that retard the growth of cancer cells. It also reduces fatigue and improves mental performance. When taken in the recommended daily dosage, Rhodiola Rosea leaves no side effects.

You can take it as an individual compound, but based on our experience, it’s far more effective if you take it with other nootropics. 

The recommended daily dosage is 50 – 150 mg of Rhodiola per day.

Bacopa Monnieri

Bacopa (Bacopa monnieri) is a traditional Ayurvedic herbal remedy and one of the most popular brain enhancing supplements. [3] It is used as a brain-boosting supplement that can also improve your memory, attention, thinking, and processing speed.

Bacopa is often used with patients that have Alzheimer’s disease, but recent research is showing benefits for healthy individuals as well. When this herb was compared to a very effective drug Modafinil and Ginseng (which we will soon talk about), it was shown to be the most potent. Also, keep in mind that Bacopa is a known adaptogen, which means that it can decrease stress, reduce hormone cortisol, and boost your energy.

When it comes to side effects, Bacopa Monnieri is considered safe. However, if you don’t follow the recommended daily dosage or you don’t take it with a meal, people reported issues such as nausea, diarrhea, and cramping. 

Follow the recommended dosage, and you should be able to avoid all potential side effects. 

It is recommended to take up to 300 mg of Bacopa Monnieri per day.


Citicoline is one of the most effective brain-boosting supplements available on the market. It is a compound that is found in every cell of our body. [4] Citicoline provides a whole range of benefits:

  1. It plays a vital role in memory formation and learning
  2. It increases levels of dopamine and acetylcholine 
  3. It can improve our mood and vision
  4. It slows down cell aging
  5. It enhances brain circulation 
  6. It can improve our focus, concentration, and attention 

Citicoline can be very effective as an individual compound, but it’s even more effective in brain-boosting supplements. People tolerate it well. However, consult your doctor before supplementing it. 

The recommended daily dosage is between 250 and 1000 mg.

Alpha GPC

Whenever we talk about Citicoline, we cannot go without mentioning Alpha GPC as its alternative. Alpha GPC is a choline compound found naturally in trace amounts in the body. [5]

Similar to Citicoline, Alpha GPC also increases the level of neurotransmitters; it improves our memory, focus, attention span and can help slow down mental decline. While Alpha GPC is considered a brain supplement in most of the world, it is used as a prescription medication for Alzheimer’s in Europe. So you can understand how useful this compound really is.

Alpha GPC should not be taken by anyone using anticholinergic drugs, but otherwise is considered a very safe supplement. 

The recommended daily dosage is 300 – 600 mg of Alpha GPC.


Ginseng is another adaptogenic herb known for several cognitive benefits. [6] This herb has been used for centuries to decrease our stress levels, improve energy, and boost our immune system.

Besides, American Ginseng has clinically proven benefits to being an effective cognitive enhancer. Supplementing Ginseng can also improve your focus and attention.

Since it is considered a very safe supplement (with some rare occasions of insomnia, increased heart rate, and headaches), it is rapidly growing in popularity. 

The recommended daily dosage varies from 200 – 400 mg.


Huperzine-A is a mental energy booster that is known for improving memory and brain circulation. [7] It is extracted from a unique plant called Chinese club moss (Huperzia Serrata), and it is the main active compound that provides the benefits. Huperzine-A can raise our acetylcholine levels, it can slow down Alzheimer’s disease, and it can treat dementia. Actually, it is used as a prescription drug in China.

Some potential side effects of supplementing Huperzine-A include upset GT, headaches, nausea, and slowed heart rate. However, this brain supplement is still considered safe. 

The recommended daily dosage is 30 – 100 mcg.


ALCAR (Acetyl-L-Carnitine) is an amino acid that can improve your physical and mental performance. It is a precursor of acetylcholine, the neurotransmitter known to influence learning and memory. This amino acid is effective in improving mental focus, clarity, thinking speed, and even memory. Besides, it may have positive anti-aging benefits. [8]

Recent studies show the potential of supplementing ALCAR to slow down Alzheimer’s. We also found some evidence that it can increase the insulin sensitivity of our brain cells to help them better utilize blood glucose. That’s why ALCAR is often listed as an effective energy-boosting supplement. 

The recommended daily dosage is up to 2 grams per day.


L-Theanine is a naturally occurring substance that can be found in tea leaves, but also in rare species of mushrooms. It is a non-dietary amino-acid, which means we don’t need to take it, but it can provide a whole range of benefits. 

L-Theanine is known to promote relaxation without drowsiness. It can also boost attention and focus. Besides, it works exceptionally well with caffeine, the widely used stimulant. Several studies show that the right combination of both brain supplements can improve reaction time, decrease tiredness, and improve memory. [9]

L-theanine can also improve memory and cognition in seniors. Last but not least, L-theanine is neuroprotective against Alzheimer’s, stroke, and Parkinson’s.

The recommended daily dosage is 200 mg of L-Theanine taken with 100 mg of caffeine.


Phosphatidylserine (PS) is a protein that is found widely in the membrane of the cells, and it is the most pronounced in the neural tissue. This brain nootropic is very popular for boosting cognition, focus, learning, concentration, and memory. PS also ensures that toxins don’t reach our brain. It can repair the structural integrity of neurons. It also normalizes the level of cortisol in our bodies.

PS may also produce a feeling of happiness by influencing neurotransmitters. Besides all that, supplementing PS can significantly improve attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms in children. [10]

Due to its memory-boosting benefits, it is often used by students before exams. Phosphatidylserine is considered safe and effective for people of all ages. Typical side effects include the upset stomach, gas, and insomnia, but if you follow the recommended dosage, there should be nothing to worry about. Keep in mind that phosphatidylserine received a qualified stamp of approval from the FDA for age-related cognitive decline and dementia in seniors.

The recommended daily dosage is 3 x 100 mg.

Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo Biloba is a 200 million years old tree and a known antioxidant, an anti-inflammatory agent, an antidepressant, a natural anticoagulant, an anti-stress agent, and even an anti-diabetic. It can protect the brain from free radical damage and increase circulation to the brain. It’s a very popular memory booster and a prescription drug in Europe.

While it is believed that Ginkgo Biloba is a potent memory supplement, recent studies rejected this. Despite that, Ginkgo is still very beneficial for treating anxiety and stress, it can improve short-term memory, and it can influence neurotransmitter production. [11]

When it comes to side effects, ginkgo side effects include digestive upset, diarrhea, dizziness, headache, and restlessness. Ginkgo also reacts badly with many medications, so do consult your doctor before supplementing it.

The recommended daily dosage is 80 – 680 mg.


Curcumin, the main bioactive compound in the Indian spice turmeric (Curcuma longa), is known to protect our brain in several ways. It is a very effective anti-depressant, it can increase blood flow to the brain, and it can increase levels of serotonin and dopamine.

Besides, a study shows that supplementing curcumin can improve attention and memory in otherwise healthy seniors. It can also improve energy, mood, and working memory while decreasing stress. People who consume turmeric in India have some of the lowest rates of Alzheimer’s in the world. [12]

The recommended daily dosage is 80 – 500 mg.


As you might know, magnesium is an essential dietary mineral that is required for over 600 metabolic functions in our body. Sadly, the majority of people are magnesium deficient nowadays. [13]

What are the effects of deficiency?

  • Brain fog
  • Insomnia
  • A general feeling of tiredness
  • Lack of focus

Supplementing magnesium can immediately solve those issues. Not just that, it can also be beneficial for improving memory, attention, and anxiety. Magnesium is helpful for the treatment of depression, ADHD, and even schizophrenia. If you decide to buy magnesium supplement, search for L-threonate that seems to be the most effective in crossing the blood-brain barrier.

The recommended daily dosage is up to 320 mg for women and 420 mg for men.

Now we understand there are many very effective brain nootropics. But which are the best brain nootropics of 2020?

Best Brain Nootropics 2020

best brain supplement nootropics

The question I often receive is: Do brain nootropics work? If you read the previous part of this post, then you already know the answer.

Yes, brain nootropics work and can be extremely potent and effective. However, combining different brain supplements in supplement stacks proved to be even more effective. Why would you combine different supplements?

  1. Multiple-benefits
  2. Stronger benefits
  3. Ease of using supplements
  4. More affordable and convenient

So, which is the best brain nootropics currently on the market?

Click on the button below to check our top-rated nootropic stacks >>


We had a look at the most effective and best brain supplement nootropics currently available on the market. It’s a long list of supplements that can provide extreme cognitive performance.

Let’s list all effective brain supplements together.

The top 13 brain nootropics are:

  1. Lion’s Mane
  2. Rhodiola Rosea
  3. Bacopa Monnieri
  4. Citicoline
  5. Alpha GPC
  6. Ginseng
  7. Huperzine-A
  8. ALCAR
  9. L-Theanine
  10. Phosphatidylserine
  11. Ginkgo Biloba
  12. Curcumin
  13. Magnesium


When it comes to brain nootropics, the main question you should ask yourself is: “What nootropics are good for your brain health?”

Once you know that, you know where to start. The primary role of brain nootropics is to ensure a healthy brain. Once this is achieved, your cognitive performance will improve. You will get more focused, you will have a better memory, and you will be more productive. More importantly, brain nootropics will ensure that you will be able to work longer and better compared to the majority of people.

Having said this, it takes some time to feel the benefits of most brain supplements. If you are in for the long game, they will help you win. And if you only care for short-term benefits, then we’d suggest you rethink the whole game

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are brain nootropics?

Brain nootropics are natural compounds that can improve your cognitive function and ensure better brain health.

2. Are there any nootropics that help people with brain damage?

Yes, most nootropics on the list help people with brain damage. To get the most out of nootropics, do consult your doctor in case you suffer from brain damage.


Grega Gostincar

Grega Gostincar

Greg Gostincar, MSc, is the creator of Your Inception. He is an online entrepreneur creating content that will help you become more productive and mindful. Greg is a certified expert in biohacking from Emory University & a productivity guru.

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