The world is becoming more competitive by the day. The more competitive the environment, the more you need a mental edge. Are brain supplements and nootropics the answer to curing brain fog and enhancing productivity? Possibly. You won’t find a real life limitless pill out there. But there are plenty of supplements and brain pills that can kick your cognitive function into overdrive. Boost your focus, energy, motivation, memory, mood, and more with our list of nootropics below.
In this post, we’ll cover the best supplements for brain health in 2017 in no specific order, including: Omega-3 Fish Oil, Phosphatidylserine, Alpha GPC, Huperzine A, Caffeine, Acetyl-L-Carnitine, Vinpocetine, Ginkgo Biloba, Vitamin B12, Bacopa Monnieri, Rhodiola Rosea, Uridine Monophosphate, L-Tyrosine, and Blueberry.
Your brain is a machine, and these vitamins and supplements help you optimize its performance. There is a multitude of nootropics out there, but we’re only covering the best performing and most popular supplements. We’ve purposely neglected racetams, and other prescription brain enhancing drugs like Modafinil and Adderall. All of the brain booster pills on this list are easily obtainable from a drug store or the internet for students and adults. These nootropics are all natural and do not require a prescription.
Best Brain Boosting Supplements & Pills
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 is perhaps the most studied and scientifically backed brain boosting supplement out there. The benefits of omega-3 fish oil stem from two fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). EPA is best known for its effect on mood improvement and reducing bodily inflammation. DHA is the fatty acid responsible for improving cognitive function and brain development.
Similar to MCT oil and coconut oil, fish oil (DHA and EPA) offers numerous health benefits. This brain pill can lower cortisol levels, increase cerebral blood flow and oxygenation, fix brain fog, fight cognitive decline, and improve memory. It significantly decreases depression, lowers anxiety and aggression, reduces stress, and even helps your processing accuracy. Due to its effectiveness and global popularity, it is a regular guest in most daily nootropic supplement stacks. Omega-3s also have a synergistic effect when taken with a vitamin D supplement to further support cognitive function.
Phosphatidylserine (PS) is a naturally occurring amino acid derivative, similar to dietary fat (triacylglyceride), that is a vital component of cell membranes. Besides neuroprotection, PS plays a significant role in cell-to-cell communication. It aids memory, cognition, reaction time, cortisol control, attention, and overall mental capacity. This brain health supplement is a phospholipid that serves as an effective natural ADHD (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) remedy in children. Due to its substantial scientific backing, doctors often recommend phosphatidylserine before other ADHD medications.
3. Alpha GPC
Alpha GPC is an excellent 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. However, if you want cognitive enhancement benefits, stick with Alpha GPC or CDP-Choline. Symptoms of age-related cognitive decline, as well as Alzheimer’s Disease, are considerably decreased. It enhances attention, mental and physical endurance, memory, and cures brain fog. Overall, the nootropic community seems quite united behind this brain booster. The best nootropic stacks always contain a powerful and highly bioavailable choline source. Alpha GPC has become a staple ingredient for many enthusiasts.
4. Huperzine A
Derived from the Chinese plant called club moss, Huperzine A is considered one of the top brain supplements for mental function. It has neuroprotective abilities that prevent age-related memory impairment. This nootropic is known as an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor, which means it helps preserve acetylcholine. Acetylcholinesterase is responsible for breaking down acetylcholine, your brain’s most prominent neurotransmitter. By inhibiting the production of acetylcholinesterase, Huperzine A indirectly increases the concentration of acetylcholine in the brain. Acetylcholine is an important chemical for the communication between neurons in the brain. It can act as nourishment for new nerve cells, promote neurogenesis, and shield neurons from oxidation damage. Huperzine A has also shown to enhance learning, memory, alertness, and reduce brain fog.
Sometimes boosting brain power is as simple as getting a cup of coffee or brewing up some tea. Caffeine is no stranger to the working masses. While it receives a lot of bad press lately (due to unsafe consumption of energy drinks), it has some remarkable health benefits for the brain when consumed in moderation. For the vast majority of supplements, excess consumption is not always a good thing. Caffeine is one of the best brain supplements for cognitive enhancement. It offers improved reaction time, wakefulness, sharper memory, and increased oxygen uptake. Additionally, it can decrease fatigue, clear brain fog, and improve overall subjective well-being.
L-Carnitine is produced in the body, consumed through food, or taken as a brain enhancing supplement to improve mental function. Children diagnosed with ADHD and healthy individuals both experience increased focus and attention. L-Carnitine provides enhanced blood flow, a reduction in general oxidation, and lessened brain fog. Many of Acetyl-L-Carnitine’s health benefits are linked to exercise of some kind. Since exercise is the single best thing you can do for your body, it is not surprising to find benefits in cognition as well. You should try this nootropic if you are following an exercise routine, both aerobic or strength training. Users report a great sense of mental clarity afterward which is absent when exercising without this brain booster. Acetyl-L-Carnitine may also lower fat mass, improve insulin sensitivity, and reduce bodily inflammation.
This brain pill originates from the Periwinkle plant. Vinpocetine is another great nootropic supplement to fight cognitive decline. It may also enhance memory formation, improve reaction time, and reduce brain fog in healthy individuals. The improvements in memory arise from increased blood flow in the brain after ingestion. Vinpocetine shows significant promise for cognitive enhancement. However, it has been relatively understudied compared to some of the other brain health supplements that we’ve covered. Early indications are positive, but Vinpocetine is still considered mildly “experimental” as far as nootropics are concerned.
8. Ginkgo Biloba
Ginkgo Biloba, one of the best supplements for brain function, is perhaps the oldest and most researched nootropic on the market. Doctors used to prescribe Ginkgo to patients as a natural remedy for memory problems. Due to its wide availability, it is often the first brain enhancement pill people consider. Ginkgo has been shown to slow age-related cognitive decline and the progression of Alzheimer’s Disease. This natural herb also improves memory formation, sleep quality, and enhances cognition and cerebral blood flow. Studies also confirm Ginkgo’s ability to lower cortisol and stress levels and boost your mental processing speed.
9. Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 might come as a surprise to some people who do not associate it with nootropics. B12 is talked about when one lacks energy. But it has several other health benefits making it a powerful overall brain support supplement. Vitamin B12 is a vital component in numerous brain processes, including the functioning of neural communication. It provides optimal focus and concentration and can reverse early signs of Alzheimer’s. B12 is also a precursor in the biosynthesis of dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine, GABA, acetylcholine, and several other primary neurotransmitters. Vitamin B12, one of the best brain supplements for mood enhancement, may also help with brain fog reduction.
10. Bacopa Monnieri
While the word “Ayurveda” and things like “traditionally used herbs” usually face skepticism, Bacopa Monnieri makes a strong case for the effectiveness of natural remedies. It is surprisingly well-studied, and the results on brain enhancement are promising. Bacopa Monnieri primarily works by enhancing communication between neurons. The antioxidant properties of this brain power supplement can aid memory formation, attention, reduce anxiety and brain fog, and increase overall mental cognition. Some patients were also able to lessen their symptoms of ADHD through Bacopa supplementation. Most studies involved elders, but young nootropic enthusiasts vouched for similar benefits while using this brain booster.
11. Rhodiola Rosea
Rhodiola Rosea, a traditional Chinese medicine, is also associated with Ayurveda (the science of life). The one word that comes to mind when describing this brain enhancing supplement is “clarity.” There have been eight noteworthy studies on the effect of Rhodiola Rosea on physical fatigue and four on cognitive function. All studies show significant improvements in these key areas. This nootropic can also help reduce symptoms of stress and depression, improve reaction time, and is an excellent natural fix for brain fog. Rhodiola Rosea is a popular supplement in many daily nootropic stacks and warmly recommend by most cognitive enhancement enthusiasts.
12. Uridine Monophosphate
Uridine acts as a cognitive enhancer and memory booster, playing a vital role in neural membrane synthesis. This nootropic supplement is known for reducing symptoms of depression and bipolar disorder. Uridine has a synergistic effect with fish oil and choline. When combined, these three natural brain health supplements can increase synaptic function and formation. However, the results seem to depend highly on the individual. Success stories with this brain enhancing drug differ quite a bit, and the science behind it is rather limited. We do know the function and importance of Uridine in the body, but the efficacy of supplementation is not yet definitive.
The amino acid, L-Tyrosine, is used to produce dopamine and noradrenaline neurotransmitters. It is one of the best brain supplements for stabilizing mood during acute stressors. L-Tyrosine helps to maintain mental cognition and working memory, keeping you at peak performance in high demand situations. It is a popular all natural nootropic for students when taking finals. There are no miracle brain enhancing pills for straight A’s, but this nootropic cuts through brain fog, allowing you to stay mentally focused on the task at hand. More energy and motivation and less stress lead to a higher quality of work.
Oddly, the simple blueberry made our list of the best brain pills for cognitive enhancement. As it turns out, blueberries are highly beneficial for improving brain function. They are full of antioxidants and have a high anthocyanin content. Blueberries, or blueberry extract supplements, can slow down cognitive decline, improve memory, cure brain fog, and even significantly reduce DNA damage. Besides their protective abilities, they have shown significant nootropic qualities in healthy young people. Blueberries may also be able to enhance overall mental cognition and promote the growth of the nervous tissue. Be sure to grab a handful of this brain boosting snack. Your body will thank you.
Final Thoughts on Brain Booster Supplements
That’s our list of the 14 best brain supplements and pills for cognitive enhancement in 2017. There are lots of natural nootropics that can boost brain power, reduce brain fog, and support mental function. These are the most noteworthy supplements worth trying. Feel free to ask questions or to share your experiences in the comments below!
Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.
~ Lou Holtz
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