If you are looking for a quality nootropic supplement, you might agree with this statement:
With all of the options out there, finding the best nootropic supplement for your needs without the breaking the bank can be a difficult task.
In preparing a report on the effects of nootropic supplements for clinicians that I work with, I discovered major differences in how the ingredients work and the quality of the nootropic supplements out there. This article is a summary of my notes and hopefully readers like you will have a better understanding of the best nootropic supplement options out there in case you are looking to buy some nootropic supplements in the near future.
Best Nootropic Supplements – 2018 Guide
There are so many questions that come up when considering taking nootropic supplements. What ingredients are important? What effects (and side effects) will they have? Will they help with studying, social anxiety or other specific symptoms? With luck, these questions and more will be answered as you review this list of the top nootropic supplements on the market.
|Supplement||Key Ingredient||Serving Size|
|1 / day|
|Onnit Alpha Brain|
|Bacopa||2 / day|
|Neuro-Peak Brain Support||DMAE||1 / day|
|Focus Elite||Ginkgo||2 / day|
|Neuro Clarity||Ginkgo||2 / day|
(Best for Studying)
|Glutamic Acid||2 / day|
|4 / day|
1. NeuroIgnite – Editor’s Choice
NeuroIgnite nootropic supplement currently tops our list of the best nootropic supplements out there. NeuroIgnite offers a powerful combination of high-quality ingredients. Designed to balance your mood, unlock your mental performance and improve your natural energy levels, NeuroIgnite is a well-constructed nootropic stack. Delivered in a once daily format, a bottle of NeuroIgnite lasts one month for most people.
NeuroIgnite nootropic supplement is made in the USA. The company states that its facility is FDA-approved and uses Certified Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) in its facility.
NeuroIgnite nootropic supplement is caffeine free. Ingredients featured in this nootropic supplement include Ginkgo Biloba, Bacopa, St. John’s Wort and Phosphatidylserine. The mighty Ginkgo biloba has been used medicinally to improve circulation (and subsequent perfusion) to the brain which theoretically helps with alertness, concentration and vision. Bacopa monnieri is an herbal marshy plant that improves mood and helps with neuron and liver health. St. Johns Wort is thought to help enhance mood as well as reduce anxiety. Phosphatidylserine is a membrane component that is thought to improve cellular health and help with overall cognition and memory.
People report a number of positive effects and feelings after taking NeuroIgnite nootropic supplements. Commonly, people report more energy. Rather than having an energy surge that leads to a jittery feeling (like if you drank a lot of coffee at once), many people experience a more natural, internally driven energy. The increased energy is subtle and “clean” because it does not lead to an energy crash in most cases.
Another highlight is an improved sense of mood and well-being. This improved mood and sense of relaxation from this top nootropic supplement carries through in all types of situations – from public speaking to private personal engagements. For many people, the long-term effect of this improved performance is confidence which is a great ancillary benefit of NeuroIgnite nootropic supplement.
From a classical nootropic supplement benefit standpoint, NeuroIgnite nootropic supplements are typically helpful in improving mental stamina and attention span. Reported effects also include a sharper memory and capacity to retain information. Infrequently, some people have noted that the supplement improves sleep quality and also led to appetite reduction. Many people experienced benefits from these nootropic supplements in as quickly as a few days.
One of the best aspects of the NeuroIgnite nootropic supplement is the company standing behind it. First of all, this nootropic supplement has historically come with a 60-day, 100% money-back guarantee – one of the best in the business. Not only that, but, from what we hear, management is actively involved in communicating with customers who have issues with their NeuroIgnite product.
Some other benefits of the NeuroIgnite nootropic supplement is that it only requires 1 pill per day and is reasonably priced when looking at the alternatives out there. The pills are on the larger size which can be problematic for people who cannot swallow larger pills.
Unfortunately, some might find that any positive effects from NeuroIgnite nootropic supplements might wear off quickly (depending on your metabolism). Because of the energy improvements, it is probably better not to use NeuroIgnite nootropic supplements in conjunction with caffeine which may be a problem for people who need a cup of coffee to kick off their days.
Additionally, headaches and nightmares were infrequently reported side effects. It is possible that the headaches are a result of the St. John’s Wort in this nootropic supplement and one will have to make a personal determination to see if they are one of the afflicted.
NeuroIgnite nootropic supplement is a quality nootropic supplement at a good price and currently tops our list as the best nootropic supplement of 2017.
- Long, money-back guarantee.
- Once daily dosing.
- Larger pills may be difficult to swallow for some.
- In rare cases it can cause headaches and nightmares.
2. Onnit Alpha Brain – People’s Choice
Onnit Alpha Brain nootropic supplement wins the People’s Choice award for the best nootropic supplement. Promoted by celebrities such as Joe Rogan and Brian Cushing, Onnit Alpha Brain nootropics supplements are a high-quality and effective addition to one’s mental arsenal.
The company behind Onnit Alpha Brain nootropics states that they use pure ingredients in creating their supplements and that they are certified by a professional sports certification program known as the Banned Substances Control Group. These nootropics are made from non-GMO products and are free of caffeine and gluten.
Key ingredients making up this nootropics stack include B vitamins, Alpha GPC, Huperzia Serrata, Vinpocetine, AC-11, Phosphatidylserine, Bacopa, Pterostilbene, L-Tyrosine, L-Theanine, Oat Straw, L-leucine and Bamboo Silica.
Users of this nootropic supplement swear that it helps improve clarity and focus. Like most effective nootropics supplements, Onnit Alpha Brain also helps maintain longer endurance during reading and studying periods and improve verbal recall which makes it a good choice as a nootropic stack for studying. A nice alternative to caffeine and your standard ADHD medications, Onnit Alpha Brain is also reported to help with social anxiety for people who make public appearances. Some people report using it to lift out of any afternoon fog and get a mental focus boost although taking it too late in the day can cause lucid, vivid dreams.
Onnit Alpha Brain do come with some drawbacks which keep them from the top of our list of the best nootropics supplements. Many people experience jitters from the mental boost as opposed to the more subtle energy released by other nootropics. Some people also report nausea and headaches while others say they are not effective at all. Symptoms like these may exist with any nootropics supplement and we recommend taking any such comments with a grain of salt as every person is unique in their experience of them. Additionally, if you are a lucid dreamer, be vigilant with Onnit Alpha Brain nootropics as they can cause one to feel exhausted after a night of sleeping given their effects during sleep.
Onnit Alpha Brain nootropics supplements are also on the more expensive side of nootropics for people who are more price sensitive. They also recommend two pills a day and, all things being equal, we always prefer nootropics supplements that only require one pill per day. Finally, some people say the ramp up period to feel the full effects can be on the order of 60 days or more but, again, that is a personal experience. Nonetheless, Onnit Alpha Brain nootropics supplements are a good choice for mental enhancement supported by a popular following.
Onnit Alpha Brain nootropics supplement are a popular nootropic supplement which are typically highly effective in cognitive enhancement and mood stabilization.
- Well-regarded by its popular following.
- Potent ingredient blend.
- Can cause jitters and lucid dreams.
- Requires multiple servings.
3. Neuro-Peak Natural Brain Function Support – Neurotransmitter Emphasis
Neuro-Peak Natural Brain Function Support is a nootropic supplement that presents an interesting nootropic stack that includes some unique ingredients. The primary focus is on memory and focus and several of the ingredients in the Neuro-Peak nootropic supplements are specifically thought to enhance neural health.
Active ingredients in Neuro-Peak Natural Brain Function Support nootropics include Bacopa Monnieri, DMAE (Dimethylaminoethanol), Ginkgo biloba, Phosphatidylserine and Rhodiola. Bacopa Monnieri is thought to help refresh brain signaling and old neurons. DMAE is helpful with the production of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter in the brain that is essential for optimal neural communcation. Phosphatidylserine is a special type of compound known as a phospholipid that helps preserve the integrity of cell membranes. In doing so, many think it helps protect the health of the nerves in specific parts of the brain. Rhodiola hails from Russia and has historically been used by athletes to help balance neurotransmitter levels in the brain and improve focus.
Neuro-Peak Natural Brain Function Support nootropic supplements only require one capsule daily to benefit from this stack. The ingredients in this nootropic stack place an emphasis on improving clarity and focus and people report these effects after taking this supplement. The focus is described as more natural and enables some people to stay in the flow of their zone for longer periods of time. Some also report feeling less of a brain fog although effects were wider ranging in this regard. Other reported effects include heightened creativity and awareness.
Many people noticed an impact within days and were able to replace their daily caffeine intake without the jitters. Also, if you happen to stop taking Neuro-Peak Natural Brain Function nootropic supplement after a period of using them, it is unlikely that you will experience withdrawal symptoms.
Unfortunately, people report a wider range of experiences with Neuro-Peak Natural Brain Function Support nootropic supplements than some of the other nootropics out there. Many people felt that the nootropics stack in this supplement had no effect on them. In fact, some people reported that they experienced even greater fogginess but, again, this type of experience varies from person to person. To be fair, reports are that the company has addressed some of these issues and refunded people who had an adverse experience.
Neuro-Peak Natural Brain Function nootropics supplements also have a taste that is strange to some. It is good that it comes in a once daily format but try not to burp after taking them as the aftertaste might bother you. All in all, Neuro-Peak Natural Brain Function is a good choice for a nootropics supplement with a unique nootropic stack that works to rebalance neurotransmitters and improve neural health.
Neuro-Peak Natural Brain Function supplement is a useful nootropic supplement for neurotransmitter rebalancing.
- Focused blend that often results in heightened mental clarity.
- Frequent reports of improved flow states.
- Can cause mental fogginess in some.
- Undesirable taste and aftertaste.
4. Focus Elite Brain Booster Nootropic – Memory Focus
Focus Elite Brain Booster nootropic supplement is another high-quality supplement with the purpose of improving mental acuity and memory. The Focus Elite nootropic supplement has some standard ingredients which form a nice nootropic stack but also features a less commonly used ingredient called vinpocetine seed extract. Vinpocetine has traditionally been utilized to improve feelings of weariness but it also is thought to play a role in expanding cognitive and memory capacities.
Other active ingredients in the Focus Elite Brain Booster nootropic supplement include Bacopa monnieri for memory support, Ginkgo biloba for brain perfusion, and St. John’s Wort for mood stabilization. Focus Elite Brain Booster nootropic supplement is used by busy entrepreneurs, students and new moms alike and for anyone who is trying to improve their cognitive capacity. A fair number of older people also favor Focus Elite Brain Booster nootropic supplement to help give them an edge when their memories and sharpness feel a little dull.
The biggest effect noted by regular users is improved focus and concentration. More specifically, some people feel that their mental acuity and clarity on specific subjects was dramatically improved (your classic “fog lifting” response). Secondary benefits include a more stable mood with a subtle calmness and amplification of effectiveness with daily tasks. Effectively stacked, people rarely experience side effects like headaches while using this nootropic supplement. Whether you are a healthy person who exercises or eats well or you indulge in multiple coffees per day to keep you going, Focus Elite Brain Booster nootropic supplement might be the right solution for you.
It was not an infrequent complaint from some people that Focus Elite Brain Booster nootropic supplement had little to no effect on them. And, although moods did improve with use of this nootropic stack, very few people experienced improvements in their energy levels. All in all, Focus Elite Brain Booster nootropic supplement is a nice choice for people who want a nootropic supplement option with a focus on, well, focus.
Focus Elite Brain Booster nootropic supplement places a sharp emphasis on improving memory and focus in its nootropic supplements
- Includes vinpocetine to enhance mental capabilities.
- Often used as a coffee replacement for focus.
- Many reports of little to no energy boost.
5. Neuro Clarity – Energy Booster
Neuro Clarity nootropic supplements offers another option for a potent nootropic stack. Featuring key ingredients such as Bacopa, Ginkgo Biloba and St. John’s Wort, Neuro Clarity offers a nice combination of ingredients with the purpose of improving mental clarity and focus. The company behind Neuro Clarity nootropic supplements takes manufacturing seriously and the supplements have historically been made in a CGMP, FDA-certified facility.
Users of Neuro Clarity nootropic supplements report improved focus, mental agility and clarity. Secondary benefits included higher energy levels (like drinking a pot of coffee) and a reduced urge to eat. The combined effects were helpful to some in also boosting confidence throughout the day.
Unfortunately, Neuro Clarity is not for anyone who is sensitive to pills. First of all, it requires 2 capsules per day to get the full effect. The Neuro Clarity nootropic capsules are large and also have a bitter taste which makes them even more unpalatable. Anyone who wants to give this brand a spin should definitely consider crushing up the capsules if they are at all sensitive.
While some people reported no effect while taking Neuro Clarity nootropic supplements, other people reported anxiety. As with all nootropic stacks, it is important to test it out and see how they work for you and your body. Interestingly, some people did notice building up some tolerance with long-term use as well. And, like most nootropic supplements, it is not recommended to use these with alcohol and the negative effects of Neuro Clarity nootropic supplements and alcohol may be more pronounced when compared to other nootropic stacks.
Neuro Clarity nootropic supplements are another good choice featuring a solid nootropic stack.
- Historically made in a cGMP, FDA-certified facility.
- Most people notice a nice energy boost.
- Some reports that it increases anxiety levels.
- Requires multiple pills per day.
6. Scholar’s Secret – Study Booster
Scholar’s Secret nootropic supplement is a popular supplement which, as it name suggests, was designed and marketed to assist the student market. Scholars looking for a good nootropic stack to help with studying have utilized Scholar’s Secret nootropic supplement as a boost to help with memory retention, focus and overall clarity while attempting to absorb large amounts of information. Mental clarity and improved memory are key effects reported by a number of users of this nootropic stack.
Active ingredients in the Scholar’s Secret nootropic supplement include Bacopa, DMAE, Glutamic Acid and Green Tea extract. Glutamic Acid is an amino acid that helps improve the functioning of neurons in the brain. Green tea is thought to maintain healthy brain function over time. Other important ingredients in the Scholar’s Secret nootropic supplement include B vitamins and minerals and bonuses such as choline and inositol, bilberry fruit extract, gaba grape seed extract, grape fruit extract, olive leaf, cinnamon bark extract, licorice root and phosphotidylserine.
We really like the fact that the company stands by its product. In fact, Scholar’s Secret nootropic supplement historically has offered a 100% money-back guarantee that includes return shipping.
Some people have noted little to no effect with Scholar’s Secret nootropics supplements. Additionally, its usage is not as widespread as some of the other top nootropic supplements out there which leaves us a bit wary of recommending it wholeheartedly. Nonetheless, we are encourage by the early reports and hope that they continue to deliver good results to their customers over time.
Scholar’s Secret nootropic supplement is one to watch, particularly for students looking for an edge with their studying process.
- Reports that it provides a good boost to mental focus.
- 100% money-back guarantee.
- Effectiveness not well-known given it is not as widely used as other nootropic supplements.
7. Genius Joy Serotonin Nootropic Stack – Mood Enhancer
Genius Joy is made in the USA and contains no gelatin, caffeine or other additives. Capsules are similar in size to an over-the-counter pain medication and the recommended serving size is four capsules per day. Vitamins in Genius Joy include B-complex (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12) and Vitamin D3. The more active ingredients in Genius Joy in respects to its nootropic and mood enhancing effects include 5-HTP, N-Acetyl L Tyrosine, Red Panax Ginseng, Rhodiola rosea, S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe) and L-theanine.
Genius Joy also features a patented product called NeuroFactor Coffee Arabica extract. This compound is extracted from the fruit of the coffee bean and research suggests that it increases the level of BDNF, or brain-derived neuropathic factor. BDNF is a protein that is thought to protect the brain and nerves from damage and also help with cognitive functions.
Genius Joy has led to a wide range of reported effects in users but the most notable is that has had significant improvements in specific people who have had borderline symptoms of depression and unhappy mood. Surprisingly, Genius Joy has even helped people, with the help of their doctor, get off of antidepressants completely. The mechanism behind the mood boost is an increase in the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain. Serotonin improvements are attributed to the combination of B vitamins, SAMe and 5-HTP is the Genius Joy nootropic stack.
The added Vitamin D helps replenish levels of this important vitamin while the L-theanine may provide added relaxation. Most people notice effects within one week of starting the Genius Joy nootropic supplement although it might take longer in some people.
As one might expect given the high-quality, potent ingredient blend, Genius Joy is more expensive than some of the other nootropic supplement stacks out there. Also, as with all nootropic supplements, a small percentage of people will notice no improvement at all. In this case, a lack of effect might sting a little more given the higher price point. Also, some people have anxiety when taking SAMe and that is something to pay attention to when you start taking this nootropic stack.
Genius Joy is a popular serotonin and nootropic stack whose users vigorously support its mood-enhancing properties in addition to its other benefits.
- Many reports of high-quality mood boosting effects.
- Can also boost energy and contains Vitamin D
- Genius Joy is on the expensive side of nootropics but, if it works for you, might be more than worth the price.
What Are Nootropics?
With all the discussion of the best nootropic supplements out there, it is a good idea for one to have a solid understanding of what a nootropic supplement is before trying one out.
Nootropics are special compounds that are thought to help improve brain functions such as memory and creativity. Nootropics are sometimes called cognitive enhancers or intelligence / smart drugs. Recently, nootropics have become more popular as they have been promoted by celebrities and were also referred to in the movie, Limitless.
With the increasing pace of life and the associated mental demands, nootropic supplements have found a role as an alternative to prescription medications used to treat ADHD and, secondarily, enhance cognitive performance. In contrast to prescription medications, nootropic supplements do not require a prescription from a doctor and can be compounded in various ways to achieve a desired effect. Generally speaking, the best nootropic supplements and nootropic stacks have favorable side effect profiles when compared to prescription drugs.
How Do Nootropics Work?
The exact mechanisms through which nootropics work are not clear but they do seem to have similar effects.
1. Rebalance neurotransmitter levels. Neurotransmitters are special chemicals in the brain that help nerves communicate with one another. When a nerve has a signal that it wants to pass on to another nerve, it uses a neurotransmitter to pass that signal to the next nerve. Nootropics are thought to help rebalance neurotransmitter profiles in the brain to optimize neuron-neuron signaling.
2. Improve brain perfusion. With all of the functions that the brain performs, it is a heavy user of both oxygen and energy in the body. As a result, any disruptions in the amount of nutrients carried to the brain can have significant consequences (an extreme example of this is when someone has a stroke). On a less severe level, most people can have temporary changes in the flow to their brain from things like stress and blood pressure changes. Nootropic supplements are usually designed to help balance this flow of nutrients to the brain to optimize its performance.
3. Neuron remodeling and plasticity. While many traditional medical practitioners believe that new neurons typically do not remodel or grow once a person hits a certain age, believers in nootropics feel otherwise. In fact, some people believe that the best nootropic supplements can actually help remodel the structure of nerves in the brain to optimize its performance. Even more, there are theories that nootropics can help new neurons form in the brain and actually accelerate performance above the baseline. While these are still theories and are largely untestable, it is fascinating to consider that the proper use of a nootropics stack might have such powerful effects on the brain.
4. Slow down neural aging.. As a consequence of some of the effects described above, many people believe that good nootropic supplements can actually slow down the mental aging process. In doing so, people using nootropic supplements for a longer period of time may retain their mental acuity and processing capabilities above and beyond what they would have retained without the supplements. Unfortunately, it is not possible to run a side-by-side experiment to assess how a person would age with and without nootropics but it is interesting to consider these potential neuroprotective effects.
Why Use Nootropics?
In an age of bombardment of constant media, technology like mobile devices, and multitasking, the need for focus and mental acuity is greater than ever. As a result, nootropic supplements have become increasingly popular as a way for people to gain or restore the mental edge.
Nootropics have become popular among students, especially in the United States. As competition for placement in top schools and for ranking within the top schools has become more prevalent, students are constantly looking for an achievement edge.
Nootropics are also popular among the elderly (typically 60 and older). With age, memory and cognitive declines can impact one’s lifestyle. Nootropics can help some bring back that mental sharpness and lead to greater enjoyment of activities that require higher cognition and focus.
Nootropics for Social Anxiety
Increasingly, users of the best nootropics are reporting that nootropic supplements help with social anxiety. While there is no clear scientific evidence for this, it is clear that social anxiety affects almost everyone and getting a bit of help when in a large group is almost always helpful. Specifically, nootropic supplements have been reported to reduce nervousness, make conversations easier, and make group situations in places like college or work less anxiety provoking. With nootropic supplements, it does always come back to one’s own experience with how they work to ultimately determine whether social anxiety is reduced with the use of nootropic supplements.
The Nootropics Stack Explained
Many people hear the phrase “nootropics stack” but are not exactly sure what that means.
Generally speaking, the idea behind any kind of supplement stack is to combine different supplements intelligently to create a complementary and often synergistic effect. Said another way, supplements used in a stack combination can lead to a fuller, and potentially more amplified version of, desired effect. Stacking supplements does not mean that the supplements need to be taken at the same time although they often are.
In many cases, the supplement stacks are already pre-formulated so that the supplement has all of the relevant complementary ingredients in one compound. The benefit of this process is that you can benefit from the combination without having to assemble it yourself.
Side Effects of Nootropics
Because extensive clinical experience with nootropic supplements is not yet available, regulators have become more attentive at finding ways to evaluate potential side effects of nootropics.
Many nootropics utilize an ingredient class known as racetams. In fact, the term “nootropic” was coined by scientists who created a compound called piracetam, a type of racetam nootropic. Piracetam is a synthetic nootropic that is not approved for sale in the US.
Fortunately, a number of herbs and plants naturally simulate the effects of synthetic nootropics. As one can see from the ingredients referenced in the top nootropics supplements above, ingredients like Bacopa Monnieri, Gingko Biloba and St. John’s Wort all have a natural place in a nootropic stack.
While more robust studies on nootropics have not yet been performed, initial experiences suggest that quality nootropic supplements have minimal side effects.
Nootropic Supplements – Final Thoughts
We hope that you enjoyed our review of the best nootropics supplements. It is our hope that this nootropics stack review guide provided you with helpful information that you can use to find the nootropics supplements that are right for you. Good luck and good health from BestNutrient.
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Nootropic Supplements – References
Stanek K et al. J Nutr Health Aging. 2008 Mar;12(3):183-5. link