What are the best nootropics on the market today?
Which of them actually work, and don’t cost a fortune?
Run a quick search in Google and you’ll see a variety of websites listing hundreds of nootropics, all ranging from herbs, to stacks, to synthetic nootropic compounds.
While these lists are comprehensive, they usually leave you with a sense of complete overwhelm, not knowing where to start or what to choose.
Personally, I don’t have the time (or money) to learn about, let alone test hundreds of different nootropics.
So, I took a different approach.
Instead of creating another monster list of the best nootropics (this has been done plenty of times), I decided to go straight to the source and asked over 200 experts a simple question:
Which nootropics do you take, and why?
These experts are human lab rats, testing hundreds if not thousands of nootropics on themselves, and building companies to create the nootropic stacks that work best.
I wanted to see which one would rise to the top…
Here are the best nootropics recommended by 16 leading experts in the nootropics industry.
We asked: Which nootropics do you personally take?
Dr. Thomas Shea
Ben is a co-founder of Natural Stacks LLC. Natural Stacks is a rapidly growing dietary supplement company and the creators of the world’s first and only CILTEP Nootropic Stack for optimal mental performance.
Use MagTech and CILTEP for a memory boost
- For memory we like to use a 3 product stack Krill Oil, Magnesium and CILTEP. DHA which is in our Krill Oil makes up 33% of the liquid contents of the brain so when depleted in good fats you are running a dehydrated nervous system.
- That alone will improve memory, but to really set a solid ground work for the neurons and circadian rhythm you must get those to components to work in sequence.
- The best way to do that is with MagTech at 4 capsules before bed and 3 CILTEP upon waking.
Michael along with Geoff Woo are co-founders of Nootrobox, which produces nootropics, compounds known as cognitive supplements or smart drugs, which give your brain better cognitive abilities.
How to protect ourselves against neurodegeneration
- Two of the most potent memory enhancers that are FDA approved for sale as supplements are Bacopa Monnieri and Alpha-GPC.
- Several studies have suggested that Bacopa Monnieri extracts may have protective effects against neurodegeneration and preliminary clinical studies (including double-blind placebo-backed trials on healthy humans) suggest improvement of cognitive function, notably memory, in humans.
- Alpha-GPC is a high quality source of choline, a chemical precursor or "building block" needed to produce acetylcholine, and research suggests that memory, intelligence, and mood are mediated at least in part by acetylcholine metabolism in the brain.
- For both compounds, it's important to intake a high quality source to ensure efficacy as well as safety. High quality, laboratory-verified Bacopa and Alpha-GPC are found in the RISE stack by Nootrobox.
Geoff is a co-founder of 33rdsquare.com, a website that deals with science, technology, futurism and other highly innovative ideas.
The future of brain supplements looks optimistic
- While some drugs like Adderall or Modafinil offer the hope for improved memory and expanded intelligence to some today, the real beacon for those interested in expanding their brain power comes from the not-to-distant future.
- Advances in neuroscience, including the work done by researchers to simulate our brains in silico, could unlock wholly new ways for us to think, learn, work and communicate.
- The research being done today could unlock new brain supplements, technologies and more that will help us achieve unheard of heights.
Debbie is a co- founder of the website The Best Brain Possible, where she shares her life experiences and how she made a miraculous recovery from brain injury.
Supplements Can Help Recover From Brain Injury
- Because I had a brain injury, living a brain healthy lifestyle and taking a brain supplement is a top priority for me.
- It's important that a supplement provide scientifically proven benefits without a bunch of harmful chemicals.
- I like EHT which has all the regular stuff: Huperzine A, Alpha Lipoic acid, vitamin D and Bs, folate, magnesium, selenium, but it also includes the ingredient EHT. EHT is a proprietary extract consisting of naturally occurring bio-active molecules isolated from coffee which protect and strengthen neuronal synapses - so important for our ageing brains. This stuff is the real deal.
Dr Andrew McCaddon is the Director of Cobalz Ltd,a UK company that has successfully launched the drug Betrinacin the UK. Betrinac fights against memory impairments.
“Vitamins are the key to a healthy brain"
- It’s now well known that using high dose B vitamins to lower blood homo-cysteine levels in patients with mild memory impairment slows brain shrinkage and cognitive decline. Interestingly, B vitamins show the most protective effects in those areas of the brain known to be affected in Alzheimer’s Disease. It’s also known that oxidative stress plays a key role in neurodegenerative diseases.
- There is some evidence that giving an antioxidant, such as N-acetyl-cysteine, along with B vitamins can provide additional benefit. Betrinac contains high doses of three B vitamins (B12, folic acid and B6) together with N-acetylcysteine.
- It helps maintain normal blood homo-cysteine levels and can support brain performance and memory as you get older.
Kris, one of the co-founders of Authority Nutrition, a site that helps people make informed decisions about their health based on the best scientific evidence available.
Optimize your body and your brain will follow
- In my opinion, the most important ways to optimize brain health are to sleep well and exercise.
- Given that these factors are optimized, I've personally gotten decent results with a supplement called Ginkgo Biloba.
- Creatine monohydrate can also have major benefits, especially for people who eat little or no meat.
Roland is the owner of Paneuromix.com, a website that provides highly effective and high quality products for people in a convenient and simple way to improve their lives.
Ginseng and Ginkgo are an excellent combo for memory
- It might be a bit conservative but I like a really fine combination in ratio 2:1 of Ginseng and Ginkgo Biloba. In research from the University of Northumbria Ginseng has been shown to improve memory but in a trade-off with response speed and accuracy.
- This is probably due to its inhibitory effects on the CNS. Contrary to what the common knowledge about Ginkgo Biloba says it doesn't really benefit memory, but boost response time.
- In combination with Ginkgo it was shown that the trade-off for Ginseng in response accuracy could be compensated and even become faster! In my daily life I love this combination. I feel more clarity, peace of mind, yet I have the ability to sharply focus when asked also on memories.
- I can zoom in on memories and creatively associate them. Without this combination or without NZT.2 my memory works sluggish unfortunately. Too boost it even more I take my own NZT.2 with ingredients that further speed up cognition and add noopept to this. Drs. Roland Verment (Neuropsychologist)
David is a co-founder at Braintropic.com, an online portal that gives you information and reviews about all types of nootropics that are available.
Short- and long-term cognitive enhancement
- For immediate cognitive enhancement, my personal favorite nootropic is Aniracetam. It's effects are subtle yet effective enough that I can feel my memory and cognitive functions improve almost immediately, allowing me to get in the zone and tackle any mental task. Stacking Aniracetam with a choline source such as Alpha GPC, along with Noopept, another popular nootropic supplement, is one of my quick go-to stacks for days that need a little extra boost.
- For a supplementation regimen that will have long-lasting effects on improving memory, an ideal stack would include fish oil, uridine, Alpha GPC, and Lion's Mane mushroom extract. These supplements should help maintain and improve overall brain health and there is evidence that they may even potentially allow your brain to create stronger and more abundant neural connections.
Paul is a co-founder at Family Nutraceuticals who use Orthomolecular Medicine as the inspiration for our products to allow your own body to achieve its health potential with natural ingredients.
For a Powerful Mind, focus on more than stimulation
- Here at Family Nutraceuticals we teamed up with Dr. Richard Kunin to formulate the original Powerful Mind and now our more popular Powerful Mind Plus. Dr. Kunin, who pioneered vitamin deficiency testing and supplement therapy in the United States back in the 60’s along side Linus Pauling, intended for these formulations to work as a therapeutic tool in medical practices.
- The focus of Powerful Mind Plus is to provide your body the necessary ingredients it needs so you can reach your optimal health potential. You will find that many brain supplements focus on stimulation.
- Powerful Mind Plus is formulated to help your body do the following:
1) Optimize blood flow in order to provide better oxygen and nutrient delivery to the brain.
2) Control free radical damage and inflammation while aiding in nerve cell structural support.
3) And of course, provide the brain with the tools it needs to help create and regulate key neurotransmitters for optimal signal transmission. With that being said, we do realize there is a 1/4 cup of coffee (caffeine) in each serving. This does help gently “jump start” the central nervous system. But the real focus is long term health and mental agility.
Dr. Thomas Shea
SCIENCE ADVISOR AT
Dr. Thomas is the science advisor to thinkperceptiv.com who have developed PERCEPTIV, a patented nutraceutical formula clinically proven to protect the brain against the normal cognitive decline.
A science-backed blend to improve mood and memory
- Consistently positive results have been observed with a drug‐free nutraceutical formulation, which consists of 3 vitamins (folic acid, B12, vitamin E) and 3 nutraceuticals (S‐adenosyl methionine, N‐acetyl cysteine, acetyl‐L‐carnitine). This formulation improves memory, cognitive performance and mood for individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or Mild Cognitive Impairment, and improves memory and focus for individuals without cognitive difficulties.
- It is important that clinical data support the complete formulation. Some products “borrow” single ingredient tests. However in our research, we always tested the complete formulation. It is also vital that the clinical research be independent of any company to ensure non‐biased results.
- Our results were consistent in 7 independent university‐conducted studies, none of which had any corporate support. Our phase II results can be viewed at (http://content.iospress.com/articles/journal‐of‐alzheimers‐disease/jad142499). Published laboratory studies demonstrate that this formulation provides antioxidant protection to brain tissues and supports neurotransmitter production.
Howie is the owner Focus Here and Now which gives readers alternative methods of treatment for various mental problems like ADHD.
Keep it simple, find out what works best for you
- While, I feel there are certainly some admirable pre-formulated nootropic supplements like, OptiMind, Nitrovit, truBrain, Ciltep, etc. that may be a good place to start for beginners and have elements that can improve memory, the most effective way to truly address specific cognitive enhancement is through building your own nootropic stack. Essentially, you are customizing your cognitive enhancement around your own specific needs and goals.
- The best way to improve memory is to increase your acetyl-choline levels. The best way to achieve this has been to utilize a stack involving nootropics from the racetam class, which contain some of my favorites that we continue to grow inside our very own Nootropics City at Focus Here and Now. Improving memory is achieved by raising levels of glutamate and increasing oxygen flow to the brain. Nootropic supplements in the racetam class including, Piracetam, Pramiracetam, Oxiracetam, and Aniracetam achieve this quite well.
- My suggestion of a simple stack to improve memory would be stack Aniracetam or Oxiracetam with a CDP Choline and noopept. The difference between our nootropics and others, outside of being 100% GMP certified with Certificates of Authenticity and some of the highest purity levels is all of our nootropics come pre-measured and encapsulared to provide the safest, most accurate way to create your own nootropic stacks without messy powders or potential for inconsistencies.
- Focus Here and Now was created to help those struggling with ADHD and provide alternative and natural ADHD treatments, as well as assist any and everyone looking to enhance cognition through the use of nootropic supplements, brain foods, meditation, and more. We are always open to suggestions and feedback and truly love and appreciate our loyal readers and customers.
Dave Asprey, founder of Bulletproof and author of New York Times bestseller The Bulletproof Diet, is a Silicon Valley investor and technology entrepreneur.
Start with choline, add a racetam and supplement with a healthy oil
- Start with a choline source like Alpha GPC or Choline Bitartrate (if you get jaw tension from it, then stop). Then look into adding Aniracetam or Piracetam. CILTEP also works for long term memory. Krill Oil, Brain Octane Oil can also help.
Nootriment.com is an exhaustive collection of all types of nootropics available today. It has news, reviews, information which can be useful to beginners and experts alike.
A comprehensive approach to improve memory retention, storage and overall brain health
- At Nootriment, we advocate a three-pronged approach to supplementation for improved memory function. Best results over the long-term will be achieved by taking supplements that address each of these goals:
- Increase alertness and concentration to enhance comprehension and retention of new information.
- To increase alertness and concentration, supplements like Aniracetam, Tyrosine, Creatine, or a Caffeine and L-Theanine stack are recommended. Modafinil is another alternative for those who have a prescription from their doctors. Or for those who prefer the herbal approach, Vinpocetine and Ginkgo Biloba can boost circulation to the brain to enhance focus and attention.
- Support adequate neurotransmitter levels to promote memory encoding and long-term memory storage.
- To support neurotransmitter levels, a healthy diet and daily multi-vitamin regimen is a must. We also recommend that most people use Alpha GPC or Citicoline to increase acetyl-choline levels. Huperzine A or Galantamine can further increase cholinergic activity by preventing the breakdown of acetyl-choline.
- Boost overall brain health to heighten neuroplasticity and cellular communication.
- To boost brain health, we recommend taking supplements like Acetyl L-Carnitine, Omega 3's such as Krill Oil, and anti-oxidants such as Pterostilbene and Idebenone. The racetams also have neuroprotective effects and a supplement like Noopept can increase BDNF levels. Centrophenoxine is another great supplement shown to decrease lipofuscin (waste product) buildup in neurons.
Josh is the founder of Absorb Health, which grew into one of the largest online retailers of nootropics today. They have a huge range of nootropics on their website.
The right nootropics stack synergistically to give maximum results
- We at Absorb Health are fans of the Mr. Happy Stack. We sell a variation of this as the Brain Repair Power Pack. It's Uridine, Krill Oil, Choline Bitartrate and Acetyl L-Carnitine. The premise is that as we age we lose choline from our neuron shealths, which can lead to decreased cognitive performance. One animal study showed that Choline, Omega 3 and Uridine acted synergistically to increase in phosphatidylcholine levels in the brain by 45% (Wurtman, 2008). These is one case where you definitely need the supplements together to get their full effects!
Powdercity.com has a number of different nootropic drugs and supplements for sale. You can find great deals on them when you visit their website.
Natural products like Bacopa help improve long-term memory
- Anecdotally, we haven’t found a surefire supplement to provide lasting memory improvement. That being said, Bacopa has research behind it for improving long term memory.
- Here are some products we recommend for increasing attentiveness and focus, thereby influencing the perception of memory:
- Caffeine/l-theanine 1:2 ratio
- Noopept or Piracetam and Alpha-GPC
- Rhodiola Rosea
THE BIG TAKEAWAYS
Thanks to the nootropics experts for their informative responses. Reading through them has added to our understanding of nootropics and memory science. Here are some of the main takeways from their answers:
1. Taking the best nootropics improves cognitive function
Most experts have agreed on the fact that nootropics DO provide significant and noticeable improvements in memory. From the data gathered here, we find that there are numerous ways whereby you can stimulate the brain with (or without) nootropics.
Some people swear by synthetic nootropics like
2. Nootropics help curb neurodegeneration
Another useful by-product of nootropics is their ability to slow down, or in some cases stop, the degeneration of the brain due to various ailments like Alzheimer’s disease, dementia or Parkinson’s disease. Most people agree that although nootropics are not able to reverse the effects, they can definitely attenuate the negative symptoms.
Some experts here have suggested an all-natural route to recovery from injuries to the brain. This consists of Huperzine, Alpha
3. Optimize your body, your brain will follow
An interesting point of view was that, if you were able to keep your body fit and healthy, your mind would quickly follow suit. This is a valid point, as healthy habits like sleeping on time, exercising, and maintaining a healthy diet improve brain chemistry, reduce stress, and fight symptoms of depression. A secondary effect of diet and exercise is the increased absorption of nootropic supplements.
Furthermore, a healthy lifestyle can have advantages that give you a better outlook generally. And best part is you get a toned physique with regular exercise. There are literally no downsides to this so this is the first thing you should try.
4. Seek short and Long term cognitive enhancement
Some people live in the moment and others take a long-term view. Most of us fall somewhere in between, oscillating between the two. As far as nootropics are concerned, these are two entirely cognitive benefits.
Let’s take students as an example. They have immediate requirements that need to be satisfied. This means that the kind of ‘zone’ they are looking for has to be immediate and has to last through long study sessions. These are the kind of people who prefer racetams, Noopept and the like.
On the other hand, people who want to stay at their cognitive best for a longer time frame would prefer to take in natural nootropic substances or gentler pre-made stacks which also incorporate these natural ingredients. The effects are not as noticeable from the get go, but rather work towards the betterment of the brain over a period of time.
So as you can see, there are lots of ways by which you can approach the problem of getting a more improved cognitive response from your brain. Some people prefer going the nootropics route, others opt to take natural nootropic substances, while many believe (and rightly so) that when you exercise you prime your mind to be at its best.
Regardless of the path you take to improving your brain, getting results is a matter of personal preference. Try a few of the best nootropics, then work outward from there. Through experimentation, you'll find which ones work best for you, and have fun in the process.