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Best Supplements for Focus and Concentration

By Patrick Dougherty

Best Supplements for Focus and Concentration in 2024

Are you struggling to maintain focus and concentration throughout the day? It’s time to discover the best brain supplements that can help.

In this guide, we will explore some of the top nootropics (brain-boosting nutrients) that can help you enhance concentration naturally.

Then, we will reveal some of today's leading dietary supplements that leverage these ingredients to maximum effect.

Quick Summary

  • This article explores supplements for concentration and focus, including natural nootropics, vitamins & minerals and herbal extracts.

  • We cover top picks including N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine, citicoline, phosphatidylserine, maritime pine bark extract, Omega-3 fatty acids, caffeine and more

  • The best overall brain supplement for concentration is revealed (Mind Lab Pro), which combines 11 individual nutrients into one powerful nootropic stack

  • Learn about other effective focus & concentration supplements like Performance Lab Mind, Performance Lab Caffeine+, Performance Lab Omega-3 and Performance Lab NutriGenesis Multi

Top Nootropics for Focus and Concentration

In 2024, the market for brain boosting supplements is more diverse than ever, offering myriad options for improving aspects of cognition -- including concentration and focus -- in many different ways.

What are concentration and focus?

In the context of cognitive performance, focus refers to making a choice to target one's attention to a specific and immediate task or topic. Concentration is a little deeper, referring to a state of being fully present in your focus, without exerting effort to do so, and sustaining that mind-set for a longer duration.(3)

Of course, when your mind shifts, concentration is broken -- and you must start working to establish your focus all over again.

an image of a bespectacled woman focusing and thinking hard while working on a laptop computer

Concentration, focus and attention are related, though not quite interchangeable. All are crucial for peak mental performance. And all are united by the brain bioactivities that drive them.

So what do you need to achieve a focused, peak-performing mental state?

  • Brain energy - High performance mental processing places high power demands on the brain

  • Brain chemicals - Namely, the catecholamines: dopamine, epinephrine and norepinephrine

  • Blood flow to brain - Delivers energizing oxygen and neuronutrients that support focus

  • Brain waves - The Alpha brain wave frequency is associated with clear, focused thinking

  • Overall brain health - Cognitive impairment takes a big toll on overall mental clarity

Let's now dive into some of the nootropics found in brain supplements that promote these pathways and more, helping to support brain health and improve mental focus.

Best Individual Nutrients for Focus & Concentration

Following are some of the individual best supplements for focus and concentration, as well as for many other aspects of cognitive function. Each may be effective when taken solo. However, their best potential may be realized in a multi-nutrient "stack" supplement, which we will discuss a little further down the page.

N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine

N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine is one of the amino acids that regulates brain chemicals you need for optimal cognitive function. Specifically, it serves as a raw material for the creation of catecholamine brain chemicals that drive dynamic, performance-oriented thinking including focus: Dopamine, epinephrine and norepinephrine.

Here's the challenge: Intense thinking burns through catecholamine brain chemicals faster. Low catecholamine levels are linked to brain fog, slow processing and distractibility.

That is where L-Tyrosine comes in. Its key role in supporting brain chemicals appears to sharpen the mind in conditions that would normally impair concentration.

Researchers in clinical trials have reported that N-Acetyl L-tyrosine may improve cognitive performance, including working memory and mood, in challenging scenarios such as being:

  • Dunked in cold water (4)

  • Blasted with loud (90 decibel) noises (5)

  • Sleep deprived with mental fatigue (6)

  • Bombarded with multitasking (7)

So if you are in settings filled with stress, distraction and multitasking, this amino acid is best to improve focus.

Citicoline

Citicoline (Cytidine 5'-diphosphocholine or CDP-choline) is a top brain-boosting nootropic with versatile benefits that appear promising for focus, as well as for healthy brain function overall.

It works in a few different ways; for focus, it may be especially valuable because it energizes brain cells and helps to support the catecholamine brain chemical dopamine. But really that is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this nootropic's potential for healthy cognitive function and improved brain health.

Many research studies support citicoline's potential for the brain. Some that may be relevant to concentration suggest citicoline may help to:

  • Enhance vigilance and visual working memory, while helping to protect brain cells from oxidative stress. (8)

  • Improve sustained attention, cognitive effort and reaction times in adults when consumed as a beverage combined with caffeine.(9)

  • Promote better attention and psychomotor speed while reducing impulsivity in adolescent males with attention problems.(10) (**please note that it is critically important that children and adolescents must only take supplements, including citicoline, under the direction of a doctor)

While we are just touching on dynamic brain functions in this article, citicoline may have many other brain benefits, including for cognitive decline. Read more about citicoline here.

L-Theanine

Found in green tea and top brain supplements, L-theanine is a soothing nootropic amino acid that may help to sharpen focus and attention via a unique pathway: Brain waves. L-theanine raises alpha brainwave frequencies (8-14 Hz), which in turn are linked to relaxed, clear-headed thinking.

This "wakeful relaxation" state helps you reduce stress, stay calm without feeling sleepy, and boost alertness without feeling overly stimulated.

Researchers have reported that Alpha frequency brain waves play an important role in critical aspects of attention.(11)

In one randomized controlled trial, researchers reported that L-theanine supplementation appears to play a general role in attentional processing, and may regulate the processes that sustain attention over a longer time when performing difficult tasks.(12)

If you use caffeine to sharpen your focus and concentration, L-Theanine may offer yet another benefit to you: It has been shown to help enhance caffeine's alertness benefits while reducing its jittery side effects. (13)

Maritime Pine Bark Extract

an image of pine bark next to a pine branch and pile of pine bark powder and a dropper bottle of alcohol extract

Maritime Pine Bark Extract is an antioxidant-rich substance that has been studied for its potential to help with attentional aspects of focus. It supplies proanthocyanidins, which are a type of cell-protective antioxidant (in the polyphenol class) that support healthy brain aging.

One placebo-controlled, double-blind study of children with attention problems, researchers reported that pine bark extract was associated with a significant reduction in symptoms of inattention and impulsivity.(14) (**children must only take dietary supplements under the direction of a doctor)

Some clinical studies suggest this substance may encourage healthy blood flow similar to ginkgo biloba. Both ginkgo biloba and maritime pine bark extracts are considered vasodilators that relax blood vessels. In addition, maritime pine bark extract may stimulate BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor), which is almost like "fertilizer" for brain plasticity.(15,16)

Phosphatidylserine

Phosphatidylserine (PS) is one of the most effective nutrients to support healthy brain function. While PS is most highly regarded for improved memory, even more effective than ginkgo biloba (read our full article on nootropics for memory here), it has also demonstrated some potential for helping with focus.

PS is a multitasking nootropic found in the best brain supplements. It supports human brain cell regeneration and plasticity, while also maintaining brain cells' fluid structure. It also helps support brain function by orchestrating brain cell membranes' many dynamic functions.

Researchers have reported PS may boost memory and help with reasoning, problem solving, communication, language, and yes, the ability to focus attention and concentrate.(17)

In one meta-analysis that parsed data from four different clinical studies, researchers reported that PS supplementation appeared to significantly impact symptoms of inattention and may be an effective option for children diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.(18) (**only administer dietary supplements to children under the direction of your doctor)

Rhodiola rosea

Stress destroys focus. Rhodiola rosea is an herb classified as an "adaptogen" that helps boost cognitive function and physical performance by countering the negative effects of stress.

To be a little more specific, researchers have defined adaptogens as herbs that promote improved cognitive function because they "increase tolerance to mental exhaustion and enhance attention and mental endurance in situations of decreased performance."(19)

It turns out that countering stress can enhance mental performance in a lot of different ways. In one study of 101 adults who were struggling with life stress, researchers reported that rhodiola rosea supplementation was associated with significant, consistent and steady improvement in concentration, mood, fatigue, and other markers of cognitive health.(20)

Rhodioa is legendary as an herbal dietary supplement. Its ability to boost brain power, increase mental clarity and improve mental performance has been lauded for centuries, with high-profile uses including helping Russian cosmonauts and Olympic athletes to maximize their cognitive ability under the most stressful and demanding of conditions.

Essential Vitamins and Minerals

Essential vitamins and minerals play a crucial role in supporting brain health and cognitive function. Some important brain vitamins and minerals for general brain function:

  • B-Complex - Vitamins B6, B9 and B12 are among the best brain boosting vitamins. Together, they promote cerebral blood flow that helps optimize cognitive abilities and slow cognitive decline, including in cases of mild cognitive impairment. They appear in some brain health supplements, or can be found in a good multivitamin.(21)

  • Vitamin C - Research indicates that vitamin C is generally beneficial for cognitive functioning, particularly in terms of attention.(22)

  • Vitamin D - The "sunshine vitamin" may help maintain brain health and aid in improving attention in older adults with mild cognitive impairment.(23)

  • Magnesium - This mineral is required for hundreds of biological reactions within the body, and is required for brain cells to produce energy.(24)

By incorporating these essential vitamins and minerals into your daily routine, whether from brain supplements, multivitamins or dietary changes, you can support optimal brain health and cognitive function, and possibly even improved focus.

Caffeine

Some will argue against its inclusion in brain supplements, as caffeine derives its benefits from stimulation. Regardless, when people reach for supplements for focus, a caffeine pill will always be among the top picks due to its tried-and-true benefits for mental alertness.

Some research backs caffeine's potential to enhance mental focus. In one cross sectional survey of over 9000 adults, researchers reported a dose-dependent improvement in all aspects of cognition that were tested, including verbal memory, reaction time, and visio-spatial reasoning -- suggesting a trend to improved performance.(25)

Remember that caffeine's beneficial effects may be enhanced when it is combined with L-Theanine and some other nutrients. For our full breakdown on the best caffeine pills on the market, read our article here.

Omega-3 fatty acids

The omega-3 fatty acids, especially DHA, are well-regarded for their ability to improve cognitive function. In fact, they are essential for healthy development of the brain and central nervous system in early life, and continue to support healthy cognitive function in more mature brains.

In the context of focus, researchers have suggested that the Omega-3 fatty acids have a positive effect on ADHD, with more success achieved in subjects with milder attention problems.(26)

Best Stack Supplement for Focus and Concentration: Mind Lab Pro®

Unlike other brain supplements, Mind Lab Pro® enhances several different brain pathways at the same time, including the most important pathways for sharp focus and sustained concentration.

As a result, Mind Lab Pro® can promote all types of cognitive benefits, including for:

  • All types of memory recall, short-term, long-term, and learning

  • Focus, concentration and attention

  • Mood balance and stress resistance

  • Motivation and inner drive

  • Clearing brain fog, promoting clarity

  • Information processing speed

  • Mental energy related cognitive functions

  • Multitasking and cognitive performance under pressure

  • Nourish the brain against age-related cognitive impairment

  • Improve brain function for long-

  • Overall cognitive benefits

Mind Lab Pro® Supplies Many Top Nootropics for focus and concentration.

Let's take a look at the full list of Mind Lab Pro®'s 11 ingredients:

  • Citicoline 250 mg

  • Phosphatidylserine, 100 mg (Sharp-PS® Green)

  • Bacopa monnieri, 150 mg (as full spectrum extract, 24% bacosides, 9 bioactives)

  • Organic Lion’s Mane Mushroom, 500 mg (full spectrum lion's mane mushroom extract from fruiting bodies, including hericenones and erinacines)

  • Rhodiola rosea, 50 mg (3% rosavins, 1% salidrosides)

  • L-Theanine, 100 mg (Suntheanine®)

  • L-Tyrosine, 175 mg (N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine)

  • Maritime Pine Bark Extract, 75 mg (95% proanthocyanidins)

  • Vitamins B6 2.5 mg, B9 100 mcg, B12 7.5 mcg (NutriGenesis®)

Read more about these ingredients here

Mind Lab Pro® is Backed By Research.

Mind Lab Pro® is one of the only brain supplements on the market that has been the subject of rigorous clinical human trials, and by far the best brain supplement overall.

In this research, it improved cognitive performance across several key 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)

This unique formula's quality delivery and clean label helps each nootropic contained in each capsule to improve cognitive function and promote brain health without adverse effects.

GET THE BEST MIND LAB PRO DEAL HERE

Additional Top Brain Supplement Picks to Consider

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

Performance Lab® NutriGenesis® Multi: Supplies foundational essentials for focus while nourishing the brain against cognitive decline

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 fighting age related cognitive decline and supporting overall brain wellness.

Performance Lab® Energy: Nourishes cells' mitochondria power plants, ramping up the energy you need for sustained concentration and sharp focus. 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: Similar to Mind Lab Pro, but more streamlined to enable higher doses of 4 key nootropics for sharp brain function: Citicoline, PS, maritime pine bark extract and L-Tyrosine.

Conclusion

The brain supplement Mind Lab Pro® is the top choice for unlocks nootropic benefits for short-term cognition and long-range brain structure and function. 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

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    BJSTR. MS.ID.007746

  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. https://doi.org/10.1002/hup.2872

  3. Sörqvist P, Dahlström Ö, Karlsson T, Rönnberg J. Concentration: The Neural Underpinnings of How Cognitive Load Shields Against Distraction. Front Hum Neurosci. 2016 May 18;10:221. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2016.00221. PMID: 27242485; PMCID: PMC4870472.

  4. Mahoney CR, Castellani J, Kramer FM, Young A, Lieberman HR. Tyrosine supplementation mitigates working memory decrements during cold exposure. Physiol Behav. 2007 Nov 23;92(4):575-82. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2007.05.003. Epub 2007 May 22. PMID: 17585971.

  5. Deijen JB, Orlebeke JF. Effect of tyrosine on cognitive function and blood pressure under stress. Brain Res Bull. 1994;33(3):319-23. doi: 10.1016/0361-9230(94)90200-3. PMID: 8293316.

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  7. 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. doi: 10.1016/s0091-3057(99)00094-5. PMID: 10548261.

  8. Al-Kuraishy HM, Al-Gareeb AI. Citicoline Improves Human Vigilance and Visual Working Memory: The Role of Neuronal Activation and Oxidative Stress. Basic Clin Neurosci. 2020 Jul-Aug;11(4):423-432. doi: 10.32598/bcn.11.4.1097.1. Epub 2020 Jul 1. PMID: 33613880; PMCID: PMC7878037.

  9. Bruce SE, Werner KB, Preston BF, Baker LM. Improvements in concentration, working memory and sustained attention following consumption of a natural citicoline-caffeine beverage. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2014 Dec;65(8):1003-7. doi: 10.3109/09637486.2014.940286. Epub 2014 Jul 21. PMID: 25046515; PMCID: PMC4517431.

  10. 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. doi: 10.1177/1087054715593633. Epub 2015 Jul 15. PMID: 26179181.

  11. Nobre, Anna & Rao, Anling & Owen, Gail. (2008). L-theanine, a natural constituent in tea, and its effect on mental state. Asia Pacific journal of clinical nutrition. 17 Suppl 1. 167-8.

  12. Gomez-Ramirez M, Kelly SP, Montesi JL, Foxe JJ. The effects of L-theanine on alpha-band oscillatory brain activity during a visuo-spatial attention task. Brain Topogr. 2009 Jun;22(1):44-51. doi: 10.1007/s10548-008-0068-z. Epub 2008 Oct 9. PMID: 18841456.

  13. Dodd FL, Kennedy DO, Riby LM, Haskell-Ramsay CF. A double-blind, placebo-controlled study evaluating the effects of caffeine and L-theanine both alone and in combination on cerebral blood flow, cognition and mood. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2015 Jul;232(14):2563-76. doi: 10.1007/s00213-015-3895-0. Epub 2015 Mar 13. PMID: 25761837; PMCID: PMC4480845.

  14. Hsu CD, Hsieh LH, Chen YL, Lin IC, Chen YR, Chen CC, Shirakawa H, Yang SC. Complementary effects of pine bark extract supplementation on inattention, impulsivity, and antioxidative status in children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder: A double-blinded randomized placebo-controlled cross-over study. Phytother Res. 2021 Jun;35(6):3226-3235. doi: 10.1002/ptr.7036. Epub 2021 Feb 8. PMID: 33559134.

  15. Cesarone MR, Di Renzo A, Errichi S, Schönlau F, Wilmer JL, Blumenfeld J. Improvement in circulation and in cardiovascular risk factors with a proprietary isotonic bioflavonoid formula OPC-3. Angiology. 2008 Aug-Sep;59(4):408-14. doi: 10.1177/0003319708321801. Epub 2008 Jul 15. PMID: 18628275.

  16. Vauzour D, Vafeiadou K, Rodriguez-Mateos A, Rendeiro C, Spencer JP. The neuroprotective potential of flavonoids: a multiplicity of effects. Genes Nutr. 2008 Dec;3(3-4):115-26. doi: 10.1007/s12263-008-0091-4. PMID: 18937002; PMCID: PMC2593006.

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  18. Bruton A, Nauman J, Hanes D, Gard M, Senders A. Phosphatidylserine for the Treatment of Pediatric Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. J Altern Complement Med. 2021 Apr;27(4):312-322. doi: 10.1089/acm.2020.0432. Epub 2021 Feb 4. PMID: 33539192; PMCID: PMC9208377.

  19. Panossian A, Wikman G. Evidence-based efficacy of adaptogens in fatigue, and molecular mechanisms related to their stress-protective activity. Curr Clin Pharmacol. 2009 Sep;4(3):198-219. doi: 10.2174/157488409789375311. Epub 2009 Sep 1. PMID: 19500070.

  20. Edwards D, Heufelder A, Zimmermann A. Therapeutic effects and safety of Rhodiola rosea extract WS® 1375 in subjects with life-stress symptoms--results of an open-label study. Phytother Res. 2012 Aug;26(8):1220-5. doi: 10.1002/ptr.3712. Epub 2012 Jan 6. PMID: 22228617.

  21. Wang Z, Zhu W, Xing Y, Jia J, Tang Y. B vitamins and prevention of cognitive decline and incident dementia: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Nutr Rev. 2022 Mar 10;80(4):931-949. doi: 10.1093/nutrit/nuab057. PMID: 34432056.

  22. Travica N, Ried K, Sali A, Hudson I, Scholey A, Pipingas A. Plasma Vitamin C Concentrations and Cognitive Function: A Cross-Sectional Study. Front Aging Neurosci. 2019 Apr 2;11:72. doi: 10.3389/fnagi.2019.00072. PMID: 31001107; PMCID: PMC6454201.

  23. Sultan S, Taimuri U, Basnan SA, Ai-Orabi WK, Awadallah A, Almowald F, Hazazi A. Low Vitamin D and Its Association with Cognitive Impairment and Dementia. J Aging Res. 2020 Apr 30;2020:6097820. doi: 10.1155/2020/6097820. PMID: 32399297; PMCID: PMC7210535.

  24. Fiorentini D, Cappadone C, Farruggia G, Prata C. Magnesium: Biochemistry, Nutrition, Detection, and Social Impact of Diseases Linked to Its Deficiency. Nutrients. 2021 Mar 30;13(4):1136. doi: 10.3390/nu13041136. PMID: 33808247; PMCID: PMC8065437.

  25. Jarvis MJ. Does caffeine intake enhance absolute levels of cognitive performance? Psychopharmacology (Berl). 1993;110(1-2):45-52. doi: 10.1007/BF02246949. PMID: 7870897.

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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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