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Benefits of Nootropics - Research-Backed Results from the Smartest Brain-Boosters

By Dr. Ramon Velazquez Ph.D.

Nootropics do many great things for brain function. Memory, focus, concentration, attention, processing speed and more. This guide discusses the best research-backed benefits of nootropics and how you may achieve them with the right supplements.

What Kind of Brain Benefits Can Nootropics Offer?

Nootropic supplements (sometimes called "smart drugs") are natural or synthetic compounds that can be used for diverse aspects of mental function.

Nootropic benefits generally fall under two categories:

  1. Short-term benefits: Performance-driven functions like focus, attention, short-term memory, stress resistance and others that help with productivity, intensity, competition, deadline, exams, etc.

  2. Long-term benefits: Promotes overall brain health and function during the aging process, including support for memory, age-related cognitive decline, mood, and mental clarity well into senior years.

Let's take a closer look at short- and long-term benefits of nootropics, and learn how a scientifically proven nootropic stack supplement may deliver the best of both worlds.

Short-Term Nootropic Benefits


Many seek out cognitive enhancers for various aspects of mood, including anxiety, depression, stress and others. This is a good move.

Mood issues are linked to unbalanced brain functions including brain circulation, unbalanced neurotransmitters, low brain energy and poor stress resistance.

Nootropic supplements with potential to help with mental health include:

  • L-Theanine - Amino acid modulates Alpha brainwaves to encourage a relaxed, anxiety-free state; L-Theanine has been linked to a calmer heart rate and reduced stress markers.(3)

  • Bacopa Monnieri - Adaptogen stress-buster suggested to ease anxiety while sharpening mental performance; no sedating side effects.(4)

  • Lion's Mane Mushroom - Assists with Nerve Growth Factor (NGF), which may explain its clinically shown benefits for bright and balanced mood.(5)


Traditionally, brain boosters (such as ginkgo biloba) were taken to enhance memory, mostly by mature healthy adults experiencing age-associated memory impairment.(6)

Now, brain supplements are used to optimize performance-oriented memory functions in addition to addressing age-related memory concerns.

Memory functions that may benefit from brain boosting nootropics include:

  • Long-term memory - the specific memory stage that holds onto knowledge and experiences indefinitely, over years and decades

  • Short-term memory (working memory) - knowledge and experiences held up to about 30 seconds, and in limited quantity – 5 to 10 pieces of information only. Used in reasoning and processing.

  • Free recall - Ability to store a set of items, hold onto them for a few minutes, and then properly remember and express those items in any order

Since acetylcholine is a key neurotransmitter for memory formation and retrieval, nootropics that help with this neurotransmitter are believed to benefit memory performance.

Nootropic supplements with research-backed memory benefits include:

  • Phosphatidylserine (PS) - One of the best nootropics for brain health overall; helps with short-term memory, long-term memory, recall and more.(7)

  • Citicoline - Shown to help enhance cognitive function and memory performance in elderly people, possibly due to brain-energizing and regenerative nootropic properties.(8)

  • Bacopa Monnieri - Top memory-booster for students because it helps slow down the rate at which the brain forgets newly learned knowledge.(9)

  • Vitamin B6 - shown to help brain health and significantly improve storage of information in older adults.(10)

  • L-Tyrosine - shown to help enhance working memory performance in multitasking settings with additional benefits for mental agility and cognitive performance under stress.(11)

Of these nootropics, Phosphatidylserine (PS) appears to offer the most evidence-backed benefits for memory. Read more about PS


Some nootropic dietary supplements boost brain energy and neutralize mental fatigue by:

  • Supporting healthy blood flow to the brain, which supplies oxygen and glucose for energy

  • Optimizing brain cells' mitochondria power plants for efficient production of energy

  • Strengthening the brain's resistance to stress, which can otherwise leave the brain feeling exhausted

  • Tune brain waves to Alpha frequency, associated with revitalizing feelings of "wakeful relaxation"

Brain energy is linked to overall brain health. It is also associated with an energized mindset – the capacity to think quickly and have agile cognitive performance.

Nootropics with benefits for energy include:

  • Citicoline - Cognitive enhancer clinically shown to boost brain energy metabolism by 13.6%.(12)

  • Rhodiola Rosea - Suggested to increase brain ATP energy and minimize stress-induced fatigue.(13)

  • Vitamin B12 - A key cofactor in brain cell energy metabolism.(14)

  • L-Tyrosine - Shown to enhance mental performance under sleep deprivation.(15)

  • Caffeine - Alert mental state that feels like "energy"; reduce jitters by taking it with L-Theanine.

  • MCT Oil - Fuels brain cells when there is no glucose present, such as during intermittent fasting.(16)

  • Magnesium - Essential mineral for cell energy production but many people fail to get enough.(17)

  • CoQ10 - Compound required for energy in all living things, including the human body and brain.(18)

Read more about various nootropics that help with mental energy.

digital art of a blue human head with a silver brain and lightning bolt conveying brain energy


Attention and focus refer to the ability to concentrate one’s mind on a single task while ignoring other environmental stimuli over an extended period of time.

Nootropics may help with several different aspects of attention, including:

  • Focused attention - the ability to maintain focus on a specific sensory stimuli.

  • Selective attention - maintaining focus on one stimuli against the background of distraction.

  • Alternating attention - brain function flexibility; the ability to switch seamlessly from task to task.

  • Divided attention - classic multitasking, the ability to manage multiple cognitive tasks at once.

Several different types of nootropics have been linked to benefits for attention and focus:

  • L-Tyrosine - Amino acid suggested to activate cognition and boost markers of attention.(19)

  • Citicoline - Shown to enhance attentional performance in women and one for younger men.(20,21)

  • L-Theanine - Promotes relaxed alertness; shown to improve attention in human research.(3)

  • Rhodiola Rosea - Research-supported boosts for many aspects of attentional performance.(22)

Read more about benefits of nootropics for attention and nootropics for ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).

Stress Resistance

Stress can diminish mental performance in the short term and lead to more ongoing issues with your mental clarity, mental health, fatigue and burnout.

Nootropics for stress may enhance brain performance in a few different ways – including by strengthening the body’s resistance to stress, replenishing brain chemicals and promoting relaxation.

Research-backed benefits of nootropics for stress include:

  • L-Tyrosine - may assist brain performance and mental recovery by helping restore brain chemicals depleted by stress.(23)

  • Rhodiola Rosea - adaptogen that counters stress hormone, strengthens stress resistance and busts stress related fatigue.(24)

  • Bacopa Monnieri - Adadptogen suggested to prime the brain for active thinking under stress.(25)

  • L-Theanine - shown to have anti-stress benefits, attributed to its Alpha brain wave support.(26)


Learning involves conquering a challenging combination of cognitive demands in order to excel, including:

  • Mental energy

  • Focus and attention

  • Memory storage and retrieval

Many nootropics can contribute supportive activity for the memory and other cognitive functions that underlie all new learning, including:

  • Bacopa Monnieri - the most famous learner’s nootropic, shown to slow down the rate at which we forget new knowledge.(27)

  • Rhodiola Rosea - suggested to have potential for enhancing memory and learning ability.(28)

Read more about nootropic benefits that help college students improve brain function and studying in general.


Nootropics may help with motivation, potentially by regulating the brain chemical dopamine.

  • L-Tyrosine - supports brain chemicals and dopamine levels associated with healthy mental drive.(29)

  • Vitamin B9 - a foundation nootropic B-vitamin that is required for dopamine synthesis.(30)

  • Rhodiola Rosea - optimizes dopamine plus mind-clarifying, stimulating, energizing benefits that may offer cognitive benefits for motivation.(31)

Read more about nootropic benefits for motivation and some of the brain chemicals that are involved in mental drive and performance.

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Long-Term Nootropic Benefits

Smart drugs may help keep your brain healthy in the future. Long-range brain health-supportive bioactivities performed by nootropics include:


Cognitive performance tends to decline as we grow older. It may first be noticed as symptoms of mild cognitive impairment, age associated memory impairment or age-related cognitive decline.

Nootropics with antioxidant benefits that help protect the brain against the effects of aging include:

  • Maritime Pine Bark Extract - Potent complex of proanthocyanidin antioxidants that can cross the blood-brain barrier to help fight free radical damage in the brain.(32)

  • Bacopa Monnieri - Researchers suggest Bacopa's antioxidant activity may contribute to its beneficial effects, including its researched-backed ability to improve memory.(33)


Nootropic brain protectors (distinct from antioxidant brain protectors) include:

  • Vitamins B6, B9 and B12 - help protect blood vessels while supporting blood flow to the brain.(34)

  • Vitamin B12 - helps form myelin sheathing that protects neurons in the central nervous system.(35)

  • Citicoline - May protect the brain against degeneration by reinforcing brain cell structure.(36)

  • Lion's Mane Mushroom - promotes nerve growth factor (NGF) that supports brain structure.(37)

  • Phosphatidylserine (PS) - helps disposal of toxic brain cells, thereby protecting other brain cells.(38)

  • Omega-3 fatty acids - "good fats" that protect the brain by regulating inflammatory responses.(39)

Brain Regeneration

The brain is constantly growing new brain cells, repairing brain cell membranes, and remodeling itself. These brain repair bioactivities may be helped with nootropics:

  • Citicoline - shown in human research to boost brain regeneration by 26%.(40)

  • Maritime Pine Bark Extract - its flavonoids promote Brain Derived Neurotrophic factor (BDNF).

  • Lion's Mane Mushroom - Increases NGF (Nerve Growth Factor) for brain plasticity.

Tip: Prescription drugs available from a doctor address neurodegenerative diseases in ways that alternative medicine cannot. The nootropic drugs list includes prescription medications that are medically reviewed and backed by randomized controlled trials.

Mind Lab Pro® Nootropic Benefits

Mind Lab Pro® supplies all of the nootropics -- and all of the cognitive benefits -- discussed in this article.

Short-Range Mind Lab Pro® Benefits

Mind Lab Pro® short-range nootropic benefits improve mental performance in many ways, and flex to meet various cognitive demands with varied brainpower support:

  • If you’re working out, you may feel more motivated and driven to excel.

  • At the office, cognitive enhancement for multitasking or better single-task cognitive function.

  • Learners may improve studying capacity and calm clarity during exams.

  • In social settings, may feel like relaxation, bright mood and fluid verbal skills.

  • Others may notice sharper recall, faster processing, longer attention span.

  • Flexible support for memory, focus, attention, learning and more.

  • Adapts to shifting brain demands, assisting with stress, mood and relaxation as needed.

Long-Range Mind Lab Pro® Benefits

Mind Lab Pro® is also designed to nourish the brain over time. Mind Lab Pro® long-range nootropic benefits include:

  • Promoting sharp memory and mental functions during the aging process.

  • Helping manage symptoms related to age-associated memory impairment.

  • Supporting antioxidant defenses for healthy brain aging.

Mind Lab Pro® uses 11 safe, effective, premium-quality natural nootropics that target multiple brain pathways.

Unlike prescription nootropics, this formula is a dietary supplement that can be purchased online.

Mind Lab Pro® is Scientifically Proven.

It is the best nootropic stack because it's one of the only ones on the market that has been the subject of rigorous clinical human trials:

  1. Researchers reported that healthy individuals taking Mind Lab Pro for 30 days experienced significant improvements in performing information processing tasks.(1)

  2. A second study linked Mind Lab Pro to significant improvements across auditory, visual, visual working, immediate and delayed recall memory.(2)

Additional Top Nootropic Supplements to Consider

The makers of Mind Lab Pro® nootropic stack supplement also make the Performance Lab® line, which includes additional high-quality supplements offering loads of nootropic benefits:

Performance Lab® MCT: Fast brain fuel: Rapidly metabolized into ketones that can cross the blood-brain barrier and fuel brain cells' ATP energy that drives brainpower.

Performance Lab® Omega-3: Supplies vegan Omega-3 fatty acids from life’s™OMEGA Algal Oil, 2000 mg. Supplies DHA, the most important Omega-3 fatty acid for overall brain wellness.

Performance Lab® Energy: Targets brain cell mitochondria to boost mental energy. Includes Acetyl-L-Carnitine, Bio-Enhanced® R-Lipoic Acid, MicroActive® Q10 Coenzyme Q10, BioPQQ® and more.

Performance Lab® Caffeine +: Low-dose caffeine plus NutriGenesis® B-vitamins, Suntheanine® L-Theanine, Ajipure® L-Tyrosine. Supports calmer energy and alertness plus stim recovery.


Mind Lab Pro® unlocks nootropic benefits for short-term cognition and long-range brain health. Supporting far-reaching benefits for focus, learning, memory performance,, relaxation, stress resistance, brain health and more, it is the only nootropic supplement you will ever need.

Scientific references

  1. Utley A, Gonzalez Y, Imboden CA. The Efficacy of A Nootropic Supplement on Information Processing in Adults: A Double Blind, Placebo Controlled Study. Biomed J Sci & Tech Res 49(1)-2023.

  2. Abbott-Imboden C., Gonzalez Y., Utley A. (2023). Efficacy of the nootropic supplement Mind Lab Pro on memory in adults: Double blind, placebo-controlled study. Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental, e2872.

  3. Gomez-Ramirez M, Higgins BA, Rycroft JA, Owen GN, Mahoney J, Shpaner M, Foxe JJ. The deployment of intersensory selective attention: a high-density electrical mapping study of the effects of theanine. Clin Neuropharmacol. 2007 Jan-Feb;30(1):25-38.

  4. Bhattacharya SK, Ghosal S. Anxiolytic activity of a standardized extract of Bacopa monniera: an experimental study. Phytomedicine. 1998 Apr;5(2):77-82.

  5. Nagano M, Shimizu K, Kondo R, Hayashi C, Sato D, Kitagawa K, Ohnuki K. Reduction of depression and anxiety by 4 weeks Hericium erinaceus intake. Biomed Res. 2010 Aug;31(4):231-7.

  6. Crook T, Bahar H, Sudilovsky A. Age-associated memory impairment: diagnostic criteria and treatment strategies. Int J Neurol. 1987-1988;21-22:73-82.

  7. Glade MJ, Smith K. Phosphatidylserine and the human brain. Nutrition. 2015 Jun;31(6):781-6. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2014.10.014. Epub 2014 Nov 4.

  8. Alvarez XA, Laredo M, Corzo D, Fernández-Novoa L, Mouzo R, Perea JE, Daniele D, Cacabelos R. Citicoline improves memory performance in elderly subjects. Methods Find Exp Clin Pharmacol. 1997 Apr;19(3):201-10.

  9. Roodenrys S, Booth D, Bulzomi S, Phipps A, Micallef C, Smoker J. Chronic effects of Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri) on human memory. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2002 Aug;27(2):279-81.

  10. Deijen JB, van der Beek EJ, Orlebeke JF, van den Berg H. Vitamin B-6 supplementation in elderly men: effects on mood, memory, performance and mental effort. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 1992;109(4):489-96.

  11. Thomas JR, Lockwood PA, Singh A, Deuster PA. Tyrosine improves working memory in a multitasking environment. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 1999 Nov;64(3):495-500.

  12. Silveri MM, Dikan J, Ross AJ, Jensen JE, Kamiya T, Kawada Y, Renshaw PF, Yurgelun-Todd DA. Citicoline enhances frontal lobe bioenergetics as measured by phosphorus magnetic resonance spectroscopy. NMR Biomed. 2008 Nov;21(10):1066-75.

  13. http://cms.herbalgram.org/herbalgram/issue56/article2333.html?ts=1475715063&signature=12795091364a33cb6d2f7655704cec7f

  14. O'Leary F, Samman S. Vitamin B12 in health and disease. Nutrients. 2010 Mar;2(3):299-316.

  15. Neri DF, Wiegmann D, Stanny RR, Shappell SA, McCardie A, McKay DL. The effects of tyrosine on cognitive performance during extended wakefulness. Aviat Space Environ Med. 1995 Apr;66(4):313-9.

  16. Juby AG, Blackburn TE, Mager DR. Use of medium chain triglyceride (MCT) oil in subjects with Alzheimer's disease: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study, with an open-label extension. Alzheimers Dement (N Y). 2022 Mar 14;8(1):e12259.

  17. https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/minerals/magnesium

  18. Littarru GP, Tiano L. Bioenergetic and antioxidant properties of coenzyme Q10: recent developments. Mol Biotechnol. 2007 Sep;37(1):31-7.

  19. Dollins AB, Krock LP, Storm WF, Wurtman RJ, Lieberman HR. L-tyrosine ameliorates some effects of lower body negative pressure stress. Physiol Behav. 1995 Feb;57(2):223-30.

  20. E. McGlade, A. Locatelli, J. Hardy, T. Kamiya, M. Morita, K. Morishita, Y. Sugimura and D. Yurgelun-Todd, "Improved Attentional Performance Following Citicoline Administration in Healthy Adult Women," Food and Nutrition Sciences, Vol. 3 No. 6, 2012, pp. 769-773. McGlade E, Agoston AM, DiMuzio J, Kizaki M, Nakazaki E, Kamiya T, Yurgelun-Todd D. The Effect of Citicoline Supplementation on Motor Speed and Attention in Adolescent Males. J Atten Disord. 2019 Jan;23(2):121-134.

  21. Olsson EM, von Schéele B, Panossian AG. A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study of the standardised extract shr-5 of the roots of Rhodiola rosea in the treatment of subjects with stress-related fatigue. Planta Med. 2009 Feb;75(2):105-12.

  22. Lieberman HR. Food Components to Enhance Performance: An Evaluation of Potential Performance-Enhancing Food Components for Operational Rations. Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Military Nutrition Research; Marriott BM, editor. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 1994.

  23. Maslova LV, Kondrat'ev BIu, Maslov LN, Lishmanov IuB. [The cardioprotective and antiadrenergic activity of an extract of Rhodiola rosea in stress]. Eksp Klin Farmakol. 1994 Nov-Dec;57(6):61-3. Russian. PMID: 7756969.

  24. Chowdhuri DK, Parmar D, Kakkar P, Shukla R, Seth PK, Srimal RC. Antistress effects of bacosides of Bacopa monnieri: modulation of Hsp70 expression, superoxide dismutase and cytochrome P450 activity in rat brain. Phytother Res. 2002 Nov;16(7):639-45.

  25. White DJ, de Klerk S, Woods W, Gondalia S, Noonan C, Scholey AB. Anti-Stress, Behavioural and Magnetoencephalography Effects of an L-Theanine-Based Nutrient Drink: A Randomised, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Crossover Trial. Nutrients. 2016 Jan 19;8(1):53.

  26. Rai D, Bhatia G, Palit G, Pal R, Singh S, Singh HK. Adaptogenic effect of Bacopa monniera (Brahmi). Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2003 Jul;75(4):823-30.

  27. Petkov VD, Yonkov D, Mosharoff A, Kambourova T, Alova L, Petkov VV, Todorov I. Effects of alcohol aqueous extract from Rhodiola rosea L. roots on learning and memory. Acta Physiol Pharmacol Bulg. 1986;12(1):3-16.

  28. Jongkees BJ, Hommel B, Colzato LS. People are different: tyrosine's modulating effect on cognitive control in healthy humans may depend on individual differences related to dopamine function. Front Psychol. 2014 Oct 6;5:1101.

  29. Leahy LG. Vitamin B Supplementation: What's the Right Choice for Your Patients? J Psychosoc Nurs Ment Health Serv. 2017 Jul 1;55(7):7-11.

  30. Spasov AA, Wikman GK, Mandrikov VB, Mironova IA, Neumoin VV. A double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study of the stimulating and adaptogenic effect of Rhodiola rosea SHR-5 extract on the fatigue of students. Phytomedicine. 2000 Apr;7(2):85-9.

  31. Shi J, Yu J, Pohorly JE, Kakuda Y. Polyphenolics in grape seeds-biochemistry and functionality. J Med Food. 2003 Winter;6(4):291-9.

  32. Bhattacharya SK, Bhattacharya A, Kumar A, Ghosal S. Antioxidant activity of Bacopa monniera in rat frontal cortex, striatum and hippocampus. Phytother Res. 2000 May;14(3):174-9.

  33. Collaboration HLT. Lowering blood homocysteine with folic acid based supplements: meta-analysis of randomised trials. Homocysteine Lowering Trialists' Collaboration. BMJ. 1998 Mar 21;316(7135):894-8.

  34. Miller A, Korem M, Almog R, Galboiz Y. Vitamin B12, demyelination, remyelination and repair in multiple sclerosis. J Neurol Sci. 2005 Jun 15;233(1-2):93-7.

  35. Secades JJ, Frontera G. CDP-choline: pharmacological and clinical review. Methods Find Exp Clin Pharmacol. 1995 Oct;17 Suppl B:1-54. PMID: 8709678.

  36. Wong KH, Naidu M, David RP, Bakar R, Sabaratnam V. Neuroregenerative potential of lion's mane mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Bull.: Fr.) Pers. (higher Basidiomycetes), in the treatment of peripheral nerve injury (review). Int J Med Mushrooms. 2012;14(5):427-46.

  37. Schlegel RA, Williamson P. Phosphatidylserine, a death knell. Cell Death Differ. 2001 Jun;8(6):551-63.

  38. DiNicolantonio JJ, O'Keefe JH. The Importance of Marine Omega-3s for Brain Development and the Prevention and Treatment of Behavior, Mood, and Other Brain Disorders. Nutrients. 2020 Aug 4;12(8):2333.

  39. Silveri MM, Dikan J, Ross AJ, Jensen JE, Kamiya T, Kawada Y, Renshaw PF, Yurgelun-Todd DA. Citicoline enhances frontal lobe bioenergetics as measured by phosphorus magnetic resonance spectroscopy. NMR Biomed. 2008 Nov;21(10):1066-75.

These statements have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

This article is an opinion and explanation of current research given by the author. It is not an expression of a medical diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on as such.

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