The world is becoming more competitive by the day. The more competitive the environment, the more you need a mental edge. Curing brain fog is the difference between accomplishment and the proverbial “writer's block.” Are brain supplements and nootropics the answer to enhancing productivity? It's possible. What can we expect from supplements that claim to boost mental performance?
You won’t find a real-life limitless pill out there. No such drug exists that turns you into a genius or a millionaire overnight. But, there are many supplements and brain pills that can increase cognitive function. These brain boosters may be enough to kickstart your new path to success. Enhance your focus, energy, and motivation. Improve your memory retention, mood, and more with our list of nootropics below.
In this post, we’ll cover the 12 best supplements for brain health in 2018. Our list includes the following natural brain enhancers: Omega-3 Fish Oil, Phosphatidylserine, Alpha GPC, Huperzine A, Caffeine, Acetyl-L-Carnitine, Vinpocetine, Ginkgo Biloba, Bacopa Monnieri, Rhodiola Rosea, Panax Ginseng, and Turmeric Curcumin.
Your brain is a machine. These natural supplements help you optimize its performance. There are several nootropics out there. But we’re only covering the best performing and most popular supplements. We’ve excluded racetams and other prescription brain-enhancing drugs from this conversation. Modafinil, Adderall, and the likes are topics for another post.
You can learn more about these cognitive enhancers on our smart drugs list. All the brain booster pills in this article are obtainable from a drug store or the internet. They are legal and safe for students and adults. These nootropics are all natural and do not need a prescription.
Best Brain Boosting Supplements & Pills 2018
1. Omega-3 Fish Oil
Even if you are new to brain supplements, you’ve most likely heard the buzz surrounding omega-3 fish oil. It may be the most studied and research-backed brain-boosting supplement out there. The benefits of omega-3 fish oil stem from two fatty acids. They are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). EPA is best known for its effect on mood improvement and reducing inflammation. DHA is the fatty acid responsible for improving cognitive function and brain development.
Fish oil offers numerous mental health benefits. This brain pill can lower cortisol levels while increasing cerebral blood flow. It also clears brain fog, fights cognitive decline, and improves memory. Studies show that fish oil can also decrease anxiety and depression. It lowers aggression, reduces stress, and even helps your mental processing accuracy. Due to its effectiveness, fish oil is a mainstay in most daily nootropic stacks. Omega-3s have a synergistic effect on brain function when taken with vitamin D.
Phosphatidylserine (PS) is a natural fat-soluble amino acid derivative compound in neural tissue. Often, we consume PS through a healthy and balanced diet. But, further benefits occur when supplemented. This phospholipid is a vital constituent of cell membranes. It provides the necessary structure and support for our cells. Thus, PS is crucial for the growth and maintenance of neurons. Besides neuroprotection, PS plays a significant role in holistic brain function. It aids memory, cognition, reaction time, cortisol control, attention, and mental capacity.
This brain health supplement serves as an effective natural ADHD remedy in children. Due to extensive definitive studies, doctors often recommend PS before other ADHD medications. Phosphatidylserine can improve processing speed and accuracy in healthy adults. Studies show that cell-to-cell communication increases as well. This nootropic is an excellent brain supplement for children, adults, and seniors.
3. Alpha GPC
Alpha GPC is an high-quality choline source and one of the best supplements for the brain. If you’re on a budget, the less bioavailable choline bitrate is often available at your local drug store. But, if you want cognitive enhancement benefits, stick with Alpha GPC or CDP-Choline. While supplementing choline, expect diminished symptoms of age-related cognitive decline. Choline also reduces some of the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease.
The nootropic community seems quite united behind this brain booster. The best nootropic stacks always contain a powerful bioavailable choline source. Alpha GPC has become a staple ingredient for many enthusiasts. Choline enhances attention, mental and physical endurance, memory, and cures brain fog. Besides its ability to improve cognition, it can also increase HGH production. Alpha GPC even improves power output in training athletes. These features make it well-rounded for brain health in all age groups.
4. Huperzine A
Huperzine A is one of the top brain supplements for mental function. It has neuroprotective abilities that prevent age-related memory impairment. Derived from Chinese club moss, this nootropic is an acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitor. This distinction means it helps preserve acetylcholine (ACh) levels. Acetylcholinesterase handles breaking down acetylcholine, your brain’s most prominent neurotransmitter. By inhibiting the activity of AChE, choline levels increase.
Unlike Alpha GPC, Huperzine A is not an actual choline source. But, both supplements work together to improve ACh levels. Alpha GPC adds more usable choline while Huperzine A prevents its breakdown. Acetylcholine is an essential chemical for the communication between neurons in the brain. It acts as nourishment for new nerve cells and promotes neurogenesis. ACh also helps shield neurons from oxidative damage. For nootropic users, Huperzine A enhances learning, memory, alertness, and mental clarity.
Caffeine is the lifeblood of the working masses. It's also one of the best brain supplements for cognitive enhancement. Sometimes boosting brain power is as simple as getting a cup of coffee or brewing up a strong tea. Most of us can't imagine starting our days any other way. Unfortunately, caffeine receives a lot of bad press lately due to energy drink abuse. In moderation, it has some remarkable mental and physical health benefits.
For almost all supplements, excess consumption is a bad idea. Stick to a small amount of caffeine to avoid tolerance issues or an unsafe increase in heart rate. Caffeine can improve reaction time, wakefulness, sharpen memory, and increase oxygen uptake. It even makes for an excellent pre-workout energy booster. Additionally, caffeine can decrease mental fatigue, clear brain fog, and improve subjective well-being.
Mitochondria are the energy producers residing within every cell in the human body. As we age, mitochondria deteriorate in quantity and effectiveness which hastens cell death. Carnitine can slow down and reverse this aging process. This helps restore energy production and cellular function within the body. Restoration of mitochondria is crucial for maintaining physical vitality and peak cognitive function.
The body produces Carnitine in its natural form, but it's often not enough. Carnitine is also consumed through food, or taken as a brain enhancing supplement. L-Carnitine provides enhanced blood flow and a reduction in oxidative damage. Like the brain supplements before it, Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALCAR) can also clear brain fog. Many of ALCAR's health benefits derive from exercise of some kind. Since exercise is the best thing you can do for your body, it's not surprising to find cognitive benefits as well.
Vinpocetine is another promising nootropic supplement to fight cognitive decline. This popular brain pill ingredient originates from the Periwinkle plant. Europeans often use Vinpocetine for epilepsy, stroke recovery, and cognitive enhancement. It may also enhance memory formation while improving reaction time. Though, the studies on memory retention are not yet definitive. Further anecdotal evidence suggests Vinpocetine can increase mental clarity in healthy individuals.
The improvements in brain power arise from increased cerebral blood flow after ingestion. Improved delivery of oxygen and nutrient-rich blood can boost focus and concentration. Poor blood-brain barrier permeability is a slight downside of Vinpocetine. But, the amount that does get absorbed quickly goes to work on cognition. Early indications are favorable for this brain health supplement. As far as nootropics go, Vinpocetine is still somewhat “experimental.”
8. Ginkgo Biloba
Ginkgo biloba is one of the best supplements for brain function. Its use dates back to traditional Chinese medicine. In fact, Ginkgo may be the oldest and most researched herbal nootropic on the planet. Studies have confirmed our ancestors may have been on to something. Doctors used to prescribe Ginkgo to patients as a natural remedy for memory problems. But, it's not only useful in elderly populations. Ginkgo can provide a mental boost in young adults as well.
When discussing nootropics, Ginkgo is often the first brain enhancement pill mentioned. This brain booster slows age-related cognitive decline and the progression of Alzheimer's Disease. Ginkgo also improves memory and cerebral blood flow. Another benefit is Ginkgo's ability to lower cortisol and stress levels. This promotes a smooth, focused, and relaxed state of mind.
9. Bacopa Monnieri
Bacopa Monnieri derives from Ayurveda, a branch of natural medicine originating in India. This brain supplement makes a strong case for the effectiveness of natural remedies. It is well-studied, and the results on brain enhancement are promising. Bacopa Monnieri works by sharpening the communication between neurons. It also contains antioxidant properties that impact brain power and mental health.
If you want to improve memory formation and attention span, Bacopa Monnieri can help. It can also reduce stress and anxiety, and increase mental cognition. Some patients noted decreased symptoms of ADHD through Bacopa supplementation. Most studies involved elders or individuals exhibiting cognitive decline. Still, young nootropic users vouched for similar benefits while using this brain booster.
10. Rhodiola Rosea
Most herbal nootropics come from natural branches of medicine around the world. Rhodiola Rosea is no different. Rhodiola originates from traditional Chinese medicine, which is like Ayurveda. When describing this brain enhancing supplement, clarity and stress reduction come to mind. Since Rhodiola is an adaptogen, it can reduce fatigue and boost energy. It is especially useful during stressful situations when we need calm mental focus.
There are many noteworthy studies on Rhodiola's impact on fatigue and cognitive function. All studies show significant improvements in these key areas. Used in many of the best brain pills, this nootropic can reduce symptoms of stress and depression. Rhodiola Rosea can even improve reaction time and is an excellent natural fix for brain fog. Many brain supplement stacks recommend Rhodiola as an effective way to boost cognition.
11. Panax Ginseng
If you're looking for a boost in mood, cognition, and immunity, give Panax Ginseng a try. Also known as “Asian Ginseng,” this nootropic seems to be effective for a variety of ailments. Ginseng is a perennial plant most often found in the mountains of Eastern Asia. It is a protected plant species in Russia and China. But, most commercial Ginseng comes from these countries.
Many studies of Panax Ginseng were able to link supplementation to enhanced cognition. There also appears to be an improvement in subjective well-being. This herb possesses adaptogenic properties like Rhodiola Rosea. Thus, it promotes an anti-stress and anti-fatigue state benefiting brain function. Studies also suggest Panax Ginseng can increase blood flow and improve sleep quality. It may even reduce blood glucose levels and fight depression. Ginseng's versatility makes it an excellent brain supplement.
12. Turmeric Curcumin
Turmeric is the primary spice in the Indian dish, curry. It derives from the ground up roots of the Curcuma longa plant. Many believe it's the most potent herb for fighting and reversing disease. It can even enhance cognition and mental health. Turmeric powder contains a powerful group of antioxidants known as curcuminoids. Curcumin is the bright yellow curcuminoid responsible for the majority of turmeric's benefits.
When taken through pill or capsule form, turmeric supplements often have low bioavailability. To enhance absorption, make sure your supplement contains black pepper extract (piperine). Turmeric is an excellent anti-inflammatory that reduces arthritis and supports weight loss. Studies also confirm turmeric can fight fatigue, enhance cognition, and stabilize your mood. Curcumin is a great brain supplement and a reliable way to maintain good health.
Final Thoughts on Brain Booster Supplements & Pills
That’s our list of the 12 best brain supplements and pills for cognitive enhancement in 2018. There are many natural nootropics and substitutes for Adderall that boost brain power. Results will vary between individuals. But, each of the supplements above is worth trying. These are the most researched and discussed medicinal herbs and supplements in science. Give them a try and let us know how your focus and energy levels have improved.