Best Nootropics For Motivation: Our Top List Of Supplements

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Motivation is the driving force that prompts people to make a change. In other words, when you are motivated, you move and take action. But what about when you want to make a change but can’t get yourself to do anything about it? That’s where nootropics for motivation come into the game.

nootropics for motivation

Table of Contents

How Can Nootropics Help?

Nootropics for motivation (or so-called motivation pills) help by boosting the production of important neurotransmitters like dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is responsible for controlling the brain’s pleasure and reward centers. [1] Another neurotransmitter, serotonin, sparks pleasurable emotions while epinephrine boosts energy levels and optimism. [2]

Among these, dopamine happens to be the key player in boosting motivation, as well as mental energy. Without sufficient dopamine, it can become really hard to take any sort of initiative to really do anything. It can become hard to start working out, or simply working, studying, performing well at your job and so on. You will notice that your mood and motivation are lower. Even cognitive function is suffering. If you want to increase dopamine, taking nootropics for motivation can help. 

Given this situation, many people do turn to solutions like stimulants and even prescription medication to increase motivation, but these are only short-term fixes. You can hope to get instant results and nothing that will fix your chronic lack of motivation. And when doing so, it’s not exactly hard to find tolerance developing to stimulants and such.

However, you can hope to increase mood and motivation levels naturally by looking into some nootropics for motivation.

The Neuroscience of Motivation

Motivation is not something we inherently have. Contrary to common belief, it is not entirely based on your experiences and personality – although these factors can influence motivation levels. There’s science behind motivation. Dopamine is involved in motivation.

Neurotransmitter called dopamine influences motivation. Often referred to as a chemical messenger, dopamine goes through the nervous system, and uses it to send messages to thousands of nerve stems.

How Dopamine is Made 

Dopamine is made in the brain. The process involves two steps. Amino acid tyrosine is transformed to dopa, which is then turned into dopamine.

Dopamine neurons are responsible for delivering phasic signals. Dopamine receptors, on the other hand, have five types. These are D1, D2, D3, D4, and D5. D1 is can enhance memory and influence locomotion, impulse control, and attention. D2 affects sleep and learning. D3 and D4 are for cognitive function and impulse control. Lastly, D5 is for decision making. There are four dopamine pathways – mesolimbic or reward pathway, mesocortical, nigrostriatal, and tuberoinfundibular. [3]

If you are suffering lack of motivation, low energy levels, mental fatigue and, poor cognitive performance, and memory formation, your body may need extra help to boost dopamine release. Taking nootropics for motivation can help increase dopamine levels, which in return can increase motivation. What are best nootropic for motivation?  

Nootropics For Motivation

If you feel that you could benefit from some additional motivation to get moving, know that nootropics for motivation can help. Those recommended for motivation all have to do with improving brain health primarily for a healthy brain will have optimal levels of neurotransmitters and brain chemicals. Such an equilibrium, in turn, will help foster the motivation you need to get things done.

But motivation as a result of dopaminergic activity cannot be viewed in isolation alone. Instead, it is often accompanied by a host of other complimentary effects such as improved focus and attention, better productivity, and more energy.

Here are a few of the best nootropics for motivation that could give you exactly the boost you need.


Citicoline is often taken on a regular basis for long-term brain development and memory benefits. Its working mechanism creates the learning neurotransmitter acetylcholine and builds and repairs neurons. It also plays a vital role in improving brain connectivity and encourages the release of the motivation neurotransmitter, dopamine.


Acetylcholine is the brain chemical associated with memory and learning and is required to turn short-term memories into long-term ones. Dopamine, on the other hand, is your motivation neurotransmitter, boosting your motivation, productivity, and focus. Any dips in dopamine levels and you’re left feeling depressed and bland with no or little excitement for life.

It comes as no surprise then, that people low in this brain chemical often resort to self-medication with sugar, caffeine, and other stimulants to get their dopamine boost. However, citicoline is a better choice since it comes without the many side effects associated with stimulants and such.

Because citicoline is a precursor to both choline and dopamine, it also gives you the right boost you need to improve your mood. This dopaminergic activity becomes apparent as increased energy, productivity, motivation, and focus.

Another way citicoline benefits the brain is by providing it with a constant source of energy. The brain needs a consistent supply of energy but is unable to store it. In this case, since the use is consistent, so should the supply be. Thus, you can enjoy better brain function.  

Citicoline provides this energy by improving glucose metabolism and enhancing cerebral circulation. This results in improved connectivity within the brain. At the same time, it promotes brain health by regulating movement across brain cell membranes. This means letting in important substances like water, oxygen, and nutrients to cross the membranes but preventing toxic and harmful ones from doing so.

Plus, citicoline has been studied extensively for its mood-enhancing properties. Clinical data shows that depression scores improved significantly from baseline in patients diagnosed with the major depressive disorder who received citicoline during their treatment.

Tie these factors in with motivation and you have a dopamine boost, a constant supply of energy, improved connectivity and mood-enhancing potential; all vital aspects to drive up motivation levels.


L-Theanine is an amino acid sourced from tea leaves in small amounts. It has been studied to promote relaxation and a sense of calm without causing drowsiness. So, how does this fit into the motivation equation? There are a few different ways to go about it.


First off, L-theanine like its citicoline counterpart may affect levels of certain chemicals in the brain. Primary among these are dopamine, serotonin, and cortisol. The first two affect mood, sleep, and emotion while cortisol assists the body in dealing with stress.

Any change in the balance of these chemicals can cause a person’s mood or stress levels to change as well.

Alongside regulating chemical imbalances, L-theanine is believed to improve a person’s cognitive performance. [3] It does so by being absorbed in the small intestine from where it gets absorbed into the bloodstream. Once in the bloodstream, it can then cross the blood-brain barrier and enter the brain to exert its nootropic effects.

Its primary mechanism seems to be improving brain wave frequency by enhancing alpha wave activity. This activity also helps increase dopamine levels which, once again, has an important part to play in reward-motivated behavior.

Alpha brain waves are dominant during quietly flowing thoughts while beta waves indicate a more excited mental state. The latter can also be suggestive of high excitement, engagement, and even high anxiety. L-theanine balances these two critical brain waves and encourages the brain to relax. But relaxation does not imply less motivation. If anything, it quiets the brain to think more efficiently and promote motivation.

Another way that this amino acid helps is by reducing cortisol levels and lowering anxiety. Stress can hamper motivation in many ways and L-theanine can counter that effect by lowering stress-associated cortisol levels in the body.

And finally, L-theanine is helpful in releasing nitric oxide which helps with vasodilation and increases cerebral blood flow. Adequate circulation to the brain delivers vital nutrients and oxygen which are important for mental performance and cognitive processes including motivation.

But perhaps the biggest upside to using it is that it doesn’t cause any drowsiness, unlike other relaxants. And when used with caffeine it potentiates the other really well. First, by improving blood flow to the brain L-theanine facilitates more caffeine to reach neurons. Plus, it counters the vasoconstrictive effects of caffeine along with some others.

For instance, caffeine increases the heart rate, blood pressure and causes energy crashes. L-theanine prevents this and reduces jitters.

To get the most benefits is to take it in supplemental form rather than as a tea. Studies done on the subject recommend a dose of 100-200 mg alongside caffeine. The best time to take it depends on the reason you want to use it.

If you want to experience its overall calming effects, then take it in the morning with a cup of coffee. For enhancing your sleep experience, take it an hour before bedtime or if you’d like to take it for focus, motivation, and performance before a workout, then take it before your workout session to reap benefits.


B vitamins have long been associated with boosting energy and motivation given their synergistic role. [4] These are vital in the chain reaction of energy production along with converting nutrients into serotonin. B vitamins are necessary for the basic upkeep of healthy blood and nerve cells. And with respect to the production of neurotransmitters, B vitamins are essential ingredients to the production of dopamine.

The benefits and functions of dopamine have been discussed already so we’ll move along. B vitamins yield more:

  • Energy
  • Improved cognitive abilities,
  • Resilience

Among this group B6 ranks as the most important one for brain function providing motivational neurotransmitter pathways such as converting L-dopa to dopamine, 5-HTP to serotonin and tryptophan to serotonin.

Another energy booster in this group is B12 which helps form red blood cells. This function transports oxygen in the blood throughout the body. Once oxygen arrives in the cells, it is then utilized for energy production.

B12 is also instrumental in improving mood and reducing symptoms of depression. This is because it has a role in synthesizing and metabolizing serotonin, the chemical responsible for regulating mood.

Studies support the use of this vitamin for improving depressive symptoms in individuals who are deficient in B12.

When presented as one group, B vitamins are available as B-complex vitamins. Many people use this to reduce fatigue and improve mood with some studies suggesting that it can lift the spirits and enhance cognitive functioning.

The same has also been studied to improve depression or anxiety symptoms. [5] However, given that B vitamins are an entire group and not one ingredient on its own, it is important to determine dose varying on age, nutrient demand, overall health, and gender.

Rhodiola Rosea

Rhodiola boasts an impressive history of health benefits such as lowering stresscombating fatigue, and reducing depression. Collectively, all these improvements play a part in how you act and feel. For instance, the more fatigued, stressed, or depressed you are, the less you feel like doing anything and so the lower your motivation.

Rhodiola Rosea

And the opposite holds true if you can overcome the debilitating symptoms of stress, fatigue, and depression.

And while Rhodiola Rosea, unlike our other mentioned nootropics, doesn’t have anything to do with dopamine directly, it is able to fortify the central nervous system to fatigue induced by all kinds of stressors that can stifle your creativity, mental clarity, and motivation.

Classified an adaptogen, Rhodiola Rosea is able to help the body adapt to stress when consumed. Like other adaptogens, Rhodiola can counteract the harmful effects of stress whether it is physical, chemical or biological in nature. In doing so, it allows the body’s physiological functions to remain normal while improving others it targets. So, as a point of reference, when it regulates cortisol, also known as the stress hormone, it can improve motivation levels simultaneously.

The active compounds that lend Rhodiola its potency include rosavins and salidrosides which cause a mild stress response allowing the mind and body to become more mentally and physically resilient. It can help improve mood by influencing serotonin and norepinephrine levels in the brain and feel-good opioids like beta-endorphins.

In addition to its anxiolytic properties, Rhodiola also possesses nootropic benefits by offering neuroprotection, improving cognition, and enhancing memory and learning. In terms of neurogenesis, Rhodiola helps repair and grow new neurons. Its active compounds activate ATP synthesis and re-synthesis while salidrosides shield neurons from oxidative-induced cell death.

Also, studies show Rhodiola to improve mental performance under stress.

Rhodiola is available in tea form but taking it like this can make dosing tricky. Instead, supplemental forms of tinctures, pills, extracts, and powders come in standardized forms. The ideal standard is s supplement that contains 3% rosavins and 1% salidrosides which is the same ration these compounds occur naturally in the Rhodiola root.

As compared to some other nootropics, Rhodiola Rosea is not something that provides instant results. Instead, it takes a while before its effects become noticeable. The earliest reported time span for Rhodiola effects to become observable is a few days. Others report feeling the effects kicking in after 3 weeks while it’s taken some clinical studies to observe effects after 30-40 days.

But if no effects are noticed within 40 days, then this nootropic may not be for you.

Best Motivation Pills

Nootropics that boost dopamine production are the way to go when you want to look for ways to boost motivation in a safe and non-synthetic manner. These will provide you with dopaminergic and metabolic pathways in a more natural way minus any of the side effects, or addictive tendencies associated with other products.

However, instead of buying them individually, we suggest buying a supplement that contains all the mentioned supplements combined together.

That’s how you will get multiple benefits and great user experience.

Check below to find the best nootropics for motivation.


There are a few great nootropics for motivation on the market that contain all (and even more) of the mentioned nootropics for improving motivation. What’s great is that those supplements contain also other great nootropic compounds that can enhance your energy, focus, attention, and have a positive impact on cognition and brain health.

To find the most reliable, effective, and safe supplements, click on the button below, and check our list of top-rated nootropic supplements.

Grega Gostincar

Grega Gostincar

Grega Gostincar, MSc, is the founder of Your Inception. He has been researching, testing, and experimenting with nootropics since 2015. Greg, a certified expert in nutrition and brain biohacking from Emory University, is one of the most recognized researchers in the field of nootropics.

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