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Best Nootropics 2023: Top Brain Supplements for 100% Focus, Clarity & Memory

By Dr. Ramon Velazquez Ph.D. | |

Nootropics are also known as brain supplements, cognitive enhancers or smart drugs. The best nootropics can do more for improving brain function than you might think. But finding the right nootropic supplements can be challenging. This guide is written to do help you do just that.

We'll discuss how you can figure out which nootropics work. Discussing the science behind nootropics, the forms and combinations that are most effective, and how the best nootropics stack may deliver everything you need for brain power in one formula.

What Makes a Nootropic the Best?

To be considered among the best, nootropics must be backed by scientific evidence showing they boost brain function in one (or many) ways, such as:

Improving mental performance: Direct support for memory, attention, focus, mental processing speed and concentration. Nootropics also support performance via motivation, mood and other indirect pathways.

Addressing specific cognitive concerns: For example, some may seek out the best nootropic for ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) specifically, the most effective for Age-Associated Memory Impairment (AAMI), the top nootropic for energy, the best to slow cognitive decline, etc.

Promoting overall brain health: If you want to improve brain health, nootropic substances can help protect brain cells' structure and function. Since brain health also helps improve cognitive function, supplements for overall brain wellness may also be considered "performance" nootropics.

Ideally, the evidence supporting these benefits will be "Gold Standard" quality science: Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled human clinical trials. Nootropics review studies are also helpful for getting an idea of what these natural substances can achieve.

In addition to scientific evidence and ability to meet user needs, in order to be the best, a nootropic must be safe to take.

Let's take a closer look at some of the best nootropic substances you'll find in supplements today that meet these criteria.

Experience a Scientifically Proven Nootropic Supplement

Mind Lab Pro® is the world's most effective brain supplement. It is scientifically proven to enhance brainpower.(1,2)

Mind Lab Pro® Universal Nootropic™

  • Focus, clarity, speed of thought

  • 100% safe, clean, plant-based

  • Enhances work, study and play

  • 30 day money back guarantee


*A quick word on nootropics and smart drugs

Although the terms "nootropics" and "smart drugs" are sometimes used interchangeably, it is important to remember that supplements are not the same as drugs. Smart drugs include pharmaceuticals prescribed by doctors. In this article, we focus on natural nootropic supplements available without a prescription.

Top Nootropics Ingredients

All of the following nootropic supplement ingredients are backed by science, with many featuring strong Gold Standard human research studies demonstrating their support for overall cognitive function.


Citicoline is the best nootropic for energy and top overall nootropic for healthy brain function and peak cognitive performance.

Citicoline may be most well-known as a clean and effective mental energizer. It powers up the brain on a cellular level – within healthy brain cells' powerhouse mitochondria – to enhance alertness, reduce mental fatigue and improve mental performance without the "crash" of a stimulant or a smart drug.

  • One human research study found that Citicoline may boost brain energy production by 13.6% and accelerate brain cell formation by 26%.(3)

Citicoline works in many ways to boost many aspects of brainpower – making it the best nootropic overall, and certainly the top source of choline you can find in brain supplements.

In terms of cognitive benefits, researchers have suggested that Citicoline may help with:

  • General cognitive function.(4)

  • Attention and reaction time.(5)

  • Memory performance.(6)

  • Verbal learning performance.(7)

  • Age-related cognitive and mental performance decline.(8)

Human research suggests Citicoline may improve cognitive function related to attention.

Citicoline is among the best nootropic supplements ingredients for the brain because it boosts focus and concentration, as shown in this study.

In addition to boosting performance-driven brain functions, Citicoline nourishes brain regeneration – so it also helps with long-range brain wellness. If you are a beginner at nootropics, then this is a great supplement to start with.

Phosphatidylserine (PS)

Phosphatidylserine (PS) is the best nootropic for memory. It has additional anti-stress effects and cognitive benefits that may help with competitive performance.

Phosphatidylserine (PS) is a phospholipid nootropic used in brain cell genesis, repair and maintenance.

It is especially important for brain cells, including their outer membranes and nerve-protective myelin. PS has additional roles in brain chemicals and brain cell energy metabolism.

PS supports overall cognitive function in many ways, with its greatest nootropic benefits in the area of memory retention.

Researchers have suggested PS promotes the formation and storage of short-term memoriesconsolidation of long-term memories, memory retention and memory retrieval (also known as recall).(9)

Additional mental performance benefits linked to PS supplementation include:

  • Stress reduction and mood balance.(10)

  • Improving cognitive abilities in age-related mental impairment.(11)

  • Increasing sports-oriented cognitive functions.(12)

  • Memory enhancement in elderly subjects.(13)

PS is one of the most important nootropics known. If you ask, "What is the best drug to improve memory?" Well, it can't be PS because it's not a "drug"... but we can say with confidence that PS is the best supplement to improve memory.

Bacopa Monnieri 

Bacopa Monnieri is one of the best nootropics for studying, with unique brainpower benefits that boost memory, learning and cognition under stress.

This traditional Ayurvedic herb supplies active nootropic bacosides, which regulate brain chemicals and brain circulation while supplying brain-protective antioxidant activity.

Bacopa Monnieri's versatile brain benefits deliver some of the best cognitive effects for students and learners, but may help anyone seeking a sharp mental performance edge without stimulants or a prescription drug.

Researchers have suggested that Bacopa Monnieri may help:

  • Memory retention, slowing the rate at which we forget newly acquired information.(14)

  • Significantly improve memory acquisition and retention in older adults.(15)

  • Supply neuroprotective activities that may be therapeutic in memory loss.(16)

  • Activate the brain for clear thinking under stress (animal research).(17)

Human research shows Bacopa Monnieri may boost memory, learning, recall and more.


In a study that included 81 healthy Australians over the age of 55, Bacopa Monnieri supplementation for 12 weeks appeared to significantly improve verbal learning, memory acquisition, and delayed recall.(18)

In another study, researchers linked Bacopa Monnieri supplements to significant improvements in delayed recall memory.

In weeks 0-12, a 36.5% improvement was noted with Bacopa supplementation. Over the study's 24-week duration, a 78% improvement in delayed recall was noted with Bacopa.(19)

Bacopa Monnieri  is popular in nootropic stacks because it is associated with so many different performance-oriented brainpower benefits.

In addition to learning, it supports short-term mental performance, long-range brain health, and stress resistance.

Lion’s Mane Mushroom 

According to scientific research, Lion’s Mane Mushroom is among the best nootropic supplements for Nerve Growth Factor (NGF).(20)

Healthy NGF levels in turn support several cognitive enhancement effects.

Lion's Mane Mushroom is one of the best mushroom nootropics. Its NGF-boosting bioactivity is rare, but highly significant for brain wellness and mental performance:

  • Healthy NGF levels support a range of brain bioactivities including plasticity, brain regeneration, cell-to-cell signaling and more

  • Suboptimal NGF levels have been linked to blue moods, poor memory issues and age-related mild cognitive impairment

Researchers have suggested Lion's Mane Mushroom's brain-healthy NGF support may boost brain power by:

  • Increasing cognitive performance scores in older adults with mild age-related cognitive issues.(21)

  • Potentially helping to clear brain fog, balance mood and ease anxiety.(22)

Lion's Mane Mushroom (Yamabushitake) has been shown to enhance cognitive performance in human research.

In one clinical trial, subjects took Lion’s Mane Mushroom or placebo three times a day for 16 weeks. Researchers found that the Lion’s Mane supplementation was associated with enhanced cognitive performance scores, and that cognitive testing scores dropped four weeks after supplementation stopped.(21)

Maritime Pine Bark Extract 

Maritime Pine Bark Extract is among the top natural nootropics because it combines potent brain anti-aging activity with natural support for brain blood flow and brain regeneration.

Antioxidants fight cell aging, including within the brain. Antioxidants work by neutralizing the cell-damaging, age-accelerating effects of toxic free radicals.

Maritime Pine Bark Extract is a strong antioxidant substance because it:

  • Supplies dozens of brain-protective flavonoid antioxidants in one complex.

  • Pine bark antioxidants are suggested to be 50X stronger than vitamin C.

  • One of the few antioxidants that can cross the blood brain barrier.

Maritime Pine Bark Extract emerges as the best nootropic antioxidant because it does far more than protect the brain.

The flavonoid antioxidants that are found in Maritime Pine Bark also:

  • Stimulate Nitric Oxide, which promotes blood flow to the brain(23), similar to ginkgo biloba

  • Help raise levels of BDNF (brain derived neurotrophic factor) for brain regeneration.(24)

Researchers have linked flavonoids’ brain-regenerative and anti-aging bioactivities to improvements in memory, learning and overall mental function, as well as a potential reversal of age-related cognitive decline.(25)

The best maritime pine bark to look for in nootropic supplements will be standardized to 95% proanthocyanidins. This is the strongest potency of the bark's most active compounds. Tip: nootropics ADHD researchers have investigated include Maritime Pine Bark Extract.


L-Tyrosine is the best nootropic for achieving peak cognition and clarity in challenging, pressure-filled situations – and then supporting mental recovery afterwards.

L-Tyrosine is an amino acid used to make brain chemicals involved in memory, mood and mental processing, including dopamine and norepinephrine.

Stress, multitasking and other intense cognitive functions deplete these performance-oriented neurotransmitters, which may lead to brain fog and attention problems.

By maintaining stress-depleted neurotransmitters, L-Tyrosine appears to enhance cognitive performance in stressful, distracting and demanding scenarios.

Researchers have suggested L-Tyrosine improves:

  • Working memory and learning speed during cold water immersion.(26)

  • Mental performance during loud 90 decibel noise exposure.(27)

  • Short-term memory during demanding multitasking activities.(28)

  • Cognitive performance and mood during sleep deprivation.(29)


L-Theanine's rare Alpha brain wave-boosting activity makes it the best amino acid nootropic for relaxed mental clarity, with additional support for sleep and healthy brain function.

One of the soothing amino acids from green tea, L-Theanine raises activity of Alpha brainwaves.(30)

By tuning the brain to an Alpha frequency (8-14 Hz) , it helps produce feelings of wakeful relaxation, mood enhancement, creative thinking and calm mental clarity.

Researchers have suggested that amino acid L-Theanine's nootropic benefits may include:

  • Activating and enhancing the brain's attention circuitry.(31)

  • Reducing stress during demanding multitasking tasks.(32)

  • Enhancing age-related cognitive performance and protecting the brain.(33)

  • Improving performance on math tasks in a stressful environment.(34)

  • Helping to reduce the side effects of caffeine, for alertness without jitters.(35)

If you want to try this nootropic, Suntheanine®, a 100% pure L-isomer form of theanine, is the best form to look for in effective brain supplements, and clinically shown to regulate Alpha brain waves.

Rhodiola Rosea 

Rhodiola Rosea is a great natural nootropic supplement for mind-body performance. It helps strengthen mental fortitude against stress. Great for mental energy, physical intensity, mood, work and more.

Rhodiola Rosea is one of the best nootropics and a must-have in performance-oriented brain supplements. Rhodiola Rosea is powerful brain-booster that works in a unique way:

Rhodiola Rosea modulates stress hormones -- including stress hormone cortisol -- to strengthen mental (and physical) resistance to various stressors.(36)

Rhodiola's anti-stress and brain support promotes far reaching brainpower benefits, including an anti-fatigue effect that improves concentration ability, clears brain fog, decreases stress responses and helps boost cognitive function.

Researchers have suggested this herb may help brain function in several ways:

  • Enhances mental and physical performance.(37)

  • Promotes a significant anti-fatigue effect.(38)

  • Supports mental energy and neuro-motoric testing scores.(39)

  • Reduces mental fatigue in stressful settings.(40)

  • Supports a bright, balanced mood.(41)

Rhodiola Rosea has been linked to dose-dependent mental energy benefits in human clinical research.


In a human clinical study investigating Rhodiola Rosea's impact on mental work capacity during stress and fatigue, researchers reported that rhodiola group study subjects showed a pronounced antifatigue effect.(38)

Vitamins B6, B9, B12

B-Vitamins get a special nootropic mention because they are among the best essential nutrients for the brain, but not everybody gets enough.

While the B-Complex as a whole is believed to support brain wellness, three Bs in particular are most important for a brain supplement:

Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 is one of the best nootropics to look for in brain supplements because it regulates synthesis and conversion of neurotransmitters involved in healthy cognition, mood and memory performance.

Researchers have suggested that Vitamin B6 may:

  • Significantly improve the brain's storage of information.(42)

  • Support brain chemicals associated with a bright, healthy mood.(43)

Vitamin B9

Vitamin B9 is a top nootropic supplement because it helps balance homocysteine levels, thereby optimizing blood circulation to the brain and production of cognition-critical neurotransmitters.

High homocysteine levels correlate to low B9 intake. Both are linked to cognitive decline and unhealthy changes to brain structure.(44)

  • Vitamin B9 supplementation has been shown to increase blood B9 levels by 576%, reduce homocysteine by 26%, and significantly improve memory and information processing speed.(45)

B9 also plays a role in the synthesis of the brain chemicals serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine.(46)

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is an important essential nutrient for the nervous system, including the brain. It supports brain cell energy metabolism and the formation of healthy, protective nerve sheaths.(47)

Low levels of B12 are associated with cognitive decline and mental imbalance. Researchers have suggested that as a nootropic, Vitamin B12 may help to

  • Maintain brain size against age-related shrinkage.(48)

  • Reverse age-related cognitive concerns in some older adults.(49)

  • Support healthy blood flow to the brain.(50)

Vitamins B6, B9 and B12 are the best vitamin nootropics for overall brain wellness.

When stacked together Vitamins B6, B9 and B12 unlock another benefit that makes them three of the best nootropics for long-range brain health: They help to regulate homocysteine levels. 

High homocysteine is a strong modifiable risk factor for cognitive decline because it interferes with circulation to the brain.

Vitamins B9, B6 and B12 for Healthy Blood Flow to the Brain

Vitamins B6, B9 and B12 are all involved in homocysteine metabolism, which in turn supports healthy cerebral circulation:


The best nootropic supplements to boost brain health may include Vitamins B6, B9 and B12 to help regulate homocysteine, thereby supporting brain chemical conversion and healthy blood flow to the brain. 

In a meta-analysis review of 12 human clinical trials including over 1,100 study subjects, researchers suggested that B-vitamin supplements help with homocysteine metabolism:(51)

  • Supplementation with .5 mg of Vitamin B9 appears to be associated with a 25% reduction in blood homocysteine concentrations;

  • Adding .5 mcg of Vitamin B12 to the regimen was associated with an additional 7% reduction in blood homocysteine levels.

NutriGenesis® is the best brand of vitamins and minerals to look for in a brain supplement.

NutriGenesis® vitamins are lab-grown via dual-organism cultivation in a state of the art laboratory, and complexed with absorption-enhancing cofactors like amino acids, prebiotics, enzymes and fiber. The patented NutriGenesis® process yields the cleanest, safest, most eco-friendly vitamins available.


Typically sourced from coconut oil, medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) serve as an efficient "alternative fuel" for brain cells' energy-generating mitochondria.(52)

Medium-chain triglycerides are converted into ketones, which cross the blood-brain barrier and are used as fuel by brain cells when glucose is not present.

By serving as a clean, efficient fuel source for the brain, MCTs may help to bust brain fog while promoting healthy cognitive function, mental energy and overall cognitive enhancement.

It all adds up to MCT oil fueling brain cells and uniquely supporting your performance, clarity and long-range health.

Also, this nootropic supplement has a liquid oil delivery form, so it is a little more versatile. You can add it to foods, coffee, smoothies, and dressings, making it a versatile tool for your healthy diet or to include in your own nootropic stack.


Prebiotic fiber boosts the probiotic colony (microbiome) that lives within the gut. The microbiome has been tied to many aspects of healthy mental function.

You've heard of the "second brain," right? The microbiome of beneficial bacteria that inhabits the gut can have a big impact on the brain. Taking probiotics can help, but taking a prebiotic may be even better.

Prebiotic fiber feeds your microbiome, helping beneficial bacteria to multiply and flourish. A healthy microbiome, in turn, impacts overall health in a lot of ways, including supporting digestion, immune function, energy levels and more.

In the context of the brain, the microbiome plays a role in producing brain chemicals. The gut creates roughly 95% of your serotonin supply.(53) Serotonin is linked to mood balance and relaxation.

Tip: Chicory root is a source of prebiotic fiber that boosts the Bifidobacterium strain of probiotics. Researchers suggest Bifidobacterium supports multiple brain chemicals, including dopamine, GABA and norepinephrine, and as a result may have some mood-regulating and anti-stress benefits.(54)


"Good fats" for the brain include the Omega-3 fatty acids, especially DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid), which help to modulate inflammation and nourish brain cell membranes.

Omega-3 fatty acids are known for supporting health across many body systems. As it turns out, these good fats may have nootropic properties that help with brain health, too.

The Omega-3 fatty acid DHA in particular is suggested to maintain flexible, fluid cell membranes throughout the body -- including brain cells. Dynamic, healthy brain cell membranes are important for overall brain function.

In one study that tracked nearly 900 people, researchers reported that those with the highest levels of DHA in their bodies appeared to have a 47% reduction in their risk of age-related cognitive dysfunction.(55)

While DHA may not be a performance-driving nootropic, its crucial role in overall brain health make it a must-have for any nootropic supplement regimen.


Caffeine may very well be the most popular brain booster in the world. Although it is not a true nootropic, caffeine can complement a nootropic regimen.

Caffeine works by sustaining the activity of brain chemicals that keep us awake and alert. It feels like brain energy, but it is really stimulation -- and while it may not clear brain fog or enhance cognitive abilities like more traditional nootropic supplements, caffeine remains a well-established brain booster.

One large meta-analysis found that caffeine does indeed have cognition-enhancing properties, including benefits for several brain functions like vigilance, memory, mood and reaction time.

However, it's worth noting that researchers reported that low- to-moderate caffeine intake had the best brain-boosting effects, so mega-dosing may not be the greatest strategy for peak results.(56)

Mind Lab Pro® is the Best Nootropic Stack Supplement

The above list covers some of the most effective single ingredient nootropic supplements on the market today. But many biohackers are looking for more cognitive benefits than a single ingredient or smart drug can provide.

Enter the "Nootropic Stack Supplement" that combines the best cognitive enhancers into one formula, order to improve human brain function in many ways.

Mind Lab Pro® selects the best brain boosters from a long list of possibilities, making it the greatest of all nootropic stacks.

It combines 11 research-backed natural nootropics, each of which has multitasking benefits to improve brain function and brain health in many ways.

As a result, this stack achieves broad-range brain optimization. It regulates more brain pathways and delivers more brain function benefits than any other nootropic stack on the market. It is designed to help:

  • Sharpen mental clarity
  • Nourish overall cognitive health
  • Enhance memory recall
  • Boosts brain energy
  • Promote focus, attention & concentration
  • Strengthen motivation and drive
  • Optimize studying and learning
  • Support creativity

Mind Lab Pro® is Backed By Research.

Finally, 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. In this research, it was shown to improve brain function across several key cognitive markers.

  1. In one study, researchers reported that subjects taking Mind Lab Pro for 30 days experienced significant improvements (when compared to those taking placebo) in performing information processing tasks involving simple reaction time (SRT), choice reaction time (CRT) and anticipation.(1)

  2. A second study found that subjects taking Mind Lab Pro demonstrated significant improvements across all memory functions that were tested, including auditory, visual, visual working, immediate and delayed recall memory.(2)

Mind Lab Pro® is Clean and Safe.

Are nootropics safe? Are smart drugs safe? Do they really work? The short answer: not always. To be the best, a nootropic supplement must be clean and high quality – for the best cognitive function results, fewest discouraging side effects, and greatest overall safety profile.

It is also the best because it is high quality, across the board:

  • Research-backed nootropic ingredients that have been shown to be safe and well-tolerated in multiple human clinical trials

  • No artificial colors, no preservatives, no GMO, no gluten, no caffeine or stimulants, no soy and no synthetic additives.

  • Premium vegan NutriCaps®: Clean, clear pullulan naturally fermented from tapioca; no unsafe or synthetic capsule ingredients.

This unique formula's quality delivery and clean label helps each nootropic contained in each capsule to reach their full brain-boosting potential.

Additional Top Nootropic Supplements to Consider

Mind Lab Pro® supplies most of the top-rated nootropics discussed in this article. The rest of them can be found at Performance Lab®, a supplement line by the creators of Mind Lab Pro.

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

Performance Lab® Prebiotic: Orafti® Synergy1 (Inulin-FOS) (FructoOligoSaccharides from Chicory Root) prebiotic fiber. Great for heart and digestive health; boosts microbiome "second brain" for mood support.

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.

Performance Lab® Mind: Stim-free cognitive enhancer with mental recovery and brain health support. Performance Lab Mind targets focus, mental speed, multitasking, motivation, memory and more.

Conclusion - What are the best nootropics?

Mind Lab Pro® is the best nootropic supplement source ever developed – supplying 11 superior nootropics in one premium-quality stack. It's even got a 30 day money back guarantee.

Whatever your cognitive goals may be, it is the best nootropic supplement you can take. It is one formula that optimizes the whole brain – unlocking a peak performing mind that helps you do everything better, no matter who you are or what your lifestyle may be.

Best of all, it delivers its life-enhancing brainpower benefits in a clean, superior-quality formula. It's not a synthetic smart drug. It is safe, side effect-free, and great for overall brain wellness– so you can achieve cognitive enhancement now while nourishing your brain for a bright, healthy future.

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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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