While in-store retailers sell a common range of "brain health" multivitamins and antioxidant stacks, the bio-hacking sort of cognitive enhancers (i.e., nootropics) have yet to completely take over the supplement shelves at local grocers, sports nutrition shops, etc. It seems for now that nootropics are primarily and predominantly an internet phenomena.
And one of the big online retailers taking part in the nootropics game is Amazon, the multinational leader in e-commerce.
So what might you expect when you buy nootropics on Amazon? Are they much different from, say, the brain health supplements sold at Walmart? Or, on the flipside, does Amazon sell risky, synthetic cognitive enhancers on par with pharmaceutical smart pills? For the most part, Amazon sells only natural nootropics with a few exceptions for synthetic, yet generally safe, cognitive enhancers. But they also sell really, really bad nootropic supplements that don't do much of anything for cognitive health or performance.
In this guide we cover the online world of nootropics, why you might want to (or not want to) buy nootropics through Amazon, and the best nootropic ingredients available on Amazon. Let's get to it.
The Digital World of Nootropics
Many supplement manufacturers try to distinguish quote-unquote "brain health" supplements from their nootropic stacks, and for good reason: in-store bought brain health supplements, especially those typically advertised to the elderly community, do not work very well, if at all. More often than not, brain health supplements are overglorified, overpriced multivitamin pills, and they've rightfully received a reputation as such.
Thanks to the internet, we're no longer limited to local retailers and grocery stores. The world wide web has opened Pandora's box on our buying options, for better or worse, granting even small towns access to unique, and even illicit, substances. For the more substance savvy individuals, this means greater access to bio-hacking nootropic cognitive enhancers, a supplement genre that used to only comprise a small niche market, and which now has ascended to the mainstream ranks of Amazon, GNC, and other big-time retailers.
However, because nootropics still hold an "alternative" status (in substitution of cheap "brain health" stacks and unhealthy prescription drugs), questions of nootropic regulation and legality still remain an issue, especially for lab-synthesized nootropics. Because of this, many mainstream online retailers shy away from synthetic nootropics, even mild synthetics such as picamilon (an ingredient comprised of niacin and GABA), while advanced nootropic enthusiasts turn to subreddits and forums for information on what's essentially an online underground of cognitive enhancement gurus and sellers.
But where does Amazon fit within the world wide web of nootropic brain boosters? Let's see how nootropics on Amazon work.
The Amazon Buyer's Guide to Nootropics
Initially a small company from Seattle that sold books online, Amazon has since expanded from the book market into dominating the market of everything -- or at least almost everything. While Amazon offers a slightly more risqué selection of nootropics than, say, GNC or Walmart by supplying lab-synthesized nootropics such as phenylpiracetam or Noopept, Amazon still refrains from risky, controversial cognitive enhancers such as Semax or Modafinil.
For the most part, Amazon only lists cognitive health supplements that feature generally natural, safe ingredients. You won't find any ingredients that interfere with FDA regulations or the DEA controlled substance's lists. Even so, Amazon provides an impressive selection of brain healthy cognitive enhancers.
What are the best ways to buy nootropics on Amazon? First we'll need to distinguish the differences between Amazon's Choice, Best Seller, and Sponsored tagged supplements:
"Amazon's Choice" Nootropic Supplements
While Amazon has yet to fully reveal their selection process in determining which products earn the coveted "Amazon's Choice" label or not, the "Amazon's Choice" tag indicates a product endorsed by the Amazon company as a whole. Remember that Amazon lists products sold by third-party companies. And while Amazon does sell its own brand of electronics, such as the Fire tablets and Alexa services, the megabrand has yet to tap into brain health supplements. "Amazon's Choice" indicates Amazon endorsement, not Amazon manufacturing.
"Best Seller" Nootropic Supplements
Products that sell well carry the "Best Seller" tag. Again, the simple presumption is that any product that sells well on Amazon earns the "Best Seller" tag; yet, as to how that product earned that best seller status remains unclear. Was the product elevated by its own merit, through the exposure brought by the "Amazon's Choice" label, or through sponsorship? Regardless, Best Seller tagged nootropics sell well on Amazon, whether by merit or promotion -- or both.
"Sponsored" Nootropic Supplements
Simply any product that spent money to temporarily rank high on Amazon's search lists for any given keyword search. Ideally for supplement companies, sponsorship may grant a supplement stack the exposure necessary to achieve "Best Seller" status. Whether or not paid sponsorship influences the "Amazon's Choice" selection is unknown.
Additionally, many supplements offer One-Time Purchase or Subscribe & Save order options. Typically, One-Time Purchase orders sell the supplement at full price, whereas Subscribe & Save orders save the customer 5% per shipment -- or 15% per shipment if subscribed to five or more products.
Amazon Customer Reviews
Ideally, customer reviews indicate to other potential buyers the quality of a product, the reliability of the seller, and any other important consumer considerations. While the general scores of customer reviews may offer a general consensus on a product, the system is easily abused by clever marketing teams and devious competitors. However much importance you place on Amazon customer reviews is up to your own discretion.
Why Buy Nootropics on Amazon?
The obvious answer: convenience. Amazon took over the global market of selling everything by creating a convenient hub for buying and selling while also minimizing shipping and handling costs. If you already have an Amazon Prime account, that's reason enough to buy nootropics through Amazon.
For most mainstream nootropic options, Amazon provides and they provide quickly.
Typically, Amazon also makes returning items easy, and the better supplement companies listed on Amazon may also further extend satisfaction guarantees and additional compensations for unsatisfied consumers. Even so, because Amazon sells so many supplements, it's difficult to distinguish the best nootropic supplements from the worst; especially considering how the platform allows companies to artificially increase their search rankings through "Sponsored" supplements.
Yet, thanks to Amazon's rather conservative adherence to FDA guidelines and legal dietary restrictions, most supplements sold on Amazon are safe and legal (with exception to a few mild ingredients banned for competitive use -- e.g., phenylpiracetam). This comes with the negative flipside: many Amazon sold supplements fail to do much of anything for cognitive performance by playing it a little too safe.
Which begs the question: what are the best nootropic supplements on Amazon?
Best Nootropic Supplements on Amazon
Nootropics on Amazon range from single-ingredient pills and powders to comprehensive, multi-ingredient stacks. Strangely, many brain health supplements on Amazon sport the same proprietary blend formula, despite varying by price and seller. Some of the more unique, recognizable cognitive enhancers on Amazon include:
Genius Consciousness is a stim-fueled cognitive enhancer featuring several brain healthy natural nootropics stacked with caffeine and the unique, yet risky, methylliberine. The Genius Brand splits its nootropic stacks into three separate supplements, requiring separate purchases to achieve comprehensive cognitive support.
As the simplified version of Qualia Original Stack, Qualia Mind packs an ingredient-heavy formula into a single stack, as opposed to Qualia Original Stack's two-formula supplement design. While negative ingredient interactions might be a concern with Qualia Mind's jam-packed stack, the ingredients individually work for cognitive health and performance.
The popular brain booster from Onnit, Alpha BRAIN aims to improve cognitive function without resorting to caffeine or other synthetic stimulants. The "Earth grown" design values natural nootropics over lab-synthesized drugs. Alpha BRAIN Instant seems to pack greater dosages per serving, albeit to an unknown, proprietary-hidden number.
HVMN Rise + Sprint + Yawn
Formerly known as Nootrobox, HVMN splits its nootropic stacks into three supplements: Rise, Sprint, and Yawn -- as well as a Keto option by the name of Kado. While each individual stack narrowly focuses on only a few specific brain targets, altogether the total package improves morning-time, late-afternoon, and nighttime brain health.
As one of the more riskier nootropics on Amazon, truBrain resorts to synthesis cognitive enhancers, such as Noopept and oxiracetam, for its brain boosts, in addition to caffeine that's smartly complemented by the cognition calming amino acid L-theanine.
While more multivitamin than nootropic cognitive enhancer, Thrivous Clarity does supply two great herbal adaptogens: Bacopa Monnieri and Rhodiola Rosea extracts. Want to know which nootropic adaptogen is better? Read our "Bacopa monnieri vs. Rhodiola rosea" comparison.
Are Mind Lab Pro® Nootropics on Amazon?
As stated on the Mind Lab Pro® FAQ page, Mind Lab Pro® does not sell on Amazon for a few reasons:
"Amazon is not always discerning about which nootropics can be featured on its site, and we do not want Mind Lab Pro® to appear alongside (and therefore be associated with) low-quality junk products. Amazon is also a ”Wild West” environment in ways, where reviews are easily manipulated by jealous competitors. Finally, our MindLabPro.com website is just a far better place to buy Mind Lab Pro®, since this is the home of all the information customers are looking for to understand our formula – far more information than would be allowed on Amazon."
Given the limited space and SEO-obsessive atmosphere of Amazon listings, nootropics on Amazon fail to deliver nootropic information that's actually helpful to customers but rather instead focus on keyword terms and search topics to generate views and clicks.
The Mind Lab Pro® website, on the other hand, offers more information on Mind Lab Pro® nootropics and nootropics in general than any other retail store online.
Amazon offers incredible convenience and instant gratification when it comes to shopping, yet their website is incredibly limited when it comes to providing user-friendly information. Not to mention the customer reviews on many products often seem suspect and easily manipulated.
Information on Mind Lab Pro® Nootropics
Mind Lab Pro® is not sold through Amazon or other retail locations -- online or in-store. You can only buy Mind Lab Pro® here, at the official Mind Lab Pro® website.
By escaping Amazon's limited, keyword-obsessed product listings, the Mind Lab Pro® website offers a more comprehensive wealth of information on brain-boosting nootropics, nootropic usage, nootropic stacking practices, and more, including:
- Big lists of nootropics, covering 85 brain-boosters and the 11 Best-in-Class used by Mind Lab Pro®
- Detailed guides on how nootropics work, as well as a separate piece on how Mind Lab Pro® works
- In-depth guides on nootropics for beginners explaining all you need to know to boost brainpower fast
- Analyses of the best nootropic supplements available in 2018 and 2019, and why they are the best
- Transparent info on Mind Lab Pro® manufacturing practices, including quality control details
- Numerous reviews from real consumers sharing their experiences with Mind Lab Pro®
Mind Lab Pro®'s well of information promotes well-informed consumers. And in addition to descriptions of over 85 brain-boosting nootropics, Mind Lab Pro® supplies more information, research references, and stacking advice for each of its 11 well-informed ingredient selections. Let's take a look at them.
B Vitamins (as BioGenesis™)
As essential nutrients, B vitamins play incredibly important roles in sustaining healthy circulation, emotional balance, and cognitive energy. By reducing homocysteine damage in cerebral blood vessels and co-facilitating neurotransmitter syntheses, B vitamins not only help protect against age-related cognitive damages but may improve cognitive performance in the short-term.<1>
Because B vitamin levels naturally deplete over time, B vitamin supplementation increases in importance as we age. Not to mention that certain dietary lifestyles, namely veganism, often come with B vitamin-deficiency risks. By supplying a B vitamin complex as the premium, potent BioGenesis™ form, Mind Lab Pro® helps maintain healthy B vitamin levels for optimal cognitive performance across the board. Many Amazon sold supplements supply B vitamins but not in any comparable form to BioGenesis™.
Citicoline (CDP Choline)
One of the best nootropics for all-around brainpower, Citicoline (or CDP Choline) outperforms other cholinergic nootropics by bind brain healthy choline to energy boosting cytidine. Individually, these two compounds improve cognitive healthy by:
- Citicoline - converting to neurotransmitter acetycholine, the brain chemical associated with memory, learning, and other high-order cognitive processes.
- Cytidine - converting to nucleotide uridine, a nootropic compound with significant improvements on energy production and synaptic plasticity.
Many nootropics on Amazon supply a raw choline donor either in the form of alpha-GPC or citicoline, as it's well understood within the nootropic community the importance of choline to sustaining healthy cognitive processing and longevity.<2> Likewise, sustaining healthy energy levels without also resorting to cheap stimulants, such as caffeine, is important to cognitive well-being. Citicoline may improve frontal lobe brain energy levels by 13.6%, as well as new brain cell formation by as much as 26%.<3>
Mind Lab Pro® supplies the premium, well-researched form of citicoline: Cognizin®. For the racetam uses, citicoline's cholinergic supply may help mitigate the negative side effects of racetams.
Another highly popular nootropic go-to, Bacopa monnieri is an herbal adaptogen of the Ayurvedic health tradition, and one that comes with a multitude of brain health benefits<4-6>:
- Antioxidant Neuroprotection - Bacopa's antioxidant bacosides help regenerate other natural antioxidants, including the brain-protective enzymes superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione peroxidase (GPx).
- Cerebral Circulation Support - animal research suggests that Bacopa supplementation may improve cerebral blood flow by 25% (in rats), having a "pro-cognitive" effect as described by the study's researchers.
- Cholinergic Enhancement - Bacopa seems to improve acetycholine activity, having a positive effect on memory and learning.
It's important to note that Bacopa monnieri often requires long-term, ongoing supplementation to reach peak effect. Many nootropic users abandon Bacopa after only a few servings, as they're unaware of the botanical's gradual build-up process.
Fortunately, Mind Lab Pro® Bacopa monnieri comes in a potent extract form, supplying 9 bio-active bacosides at a standardized 24% potency. This Bacopa extract may absorb more readily and to a greater effect than your standard, plain powder Bacopa format.
Lion's Mane Mushroom
Only a handful mushroom ingredients sell as health supplements, and of those only Lion's Mane Mushroom seems to improve cognitive health and performance to a significant neuroregenerative degree. Known for its bushy "lion's mane" appearance, Lion's Mane Mushroom seems to improve brain health by stimulating nerve growth factor (NGF) activity. NGF helps promote healthy cognitive function in various ways, including<7,8>:
- Promoting neuronal growth, connection, and specialization
- Enhancing cell-to-cell signalling via long-term potentiation (LTP)
- Supporting synaptic plasticity within the hippocampus
- Regulating myelination of nerve cells
Low NGF levels correlate with emotional disturbances and age-related cognitive decline. Lion's Mane Mushroom's NGF support may help prolong cognitive health and performance in ways not otherwise observed in other nootropics -- fungal or not.
Mind Lab Pro® Lion's Mane Mushroom comes in a unique "full spectrum" extract form for greater nootropic benefits.
Phosphatidylserine (PS) is a phospholipid required for the formation of the cellular bilayer membrane. Highly concentrated in the brain, phosphatidylserine plays a key role in neuron membrane formation and fluidity to ensure proper inflow/outflow of neuronal nutrients and wastes. As we age, PS depletes and, likewise, so does our cognitive processes and memory.
Phosphatidylserine seems to facilitate a number of cognitive functions, as suggested by a literature review published in 2015<9>:
- Short-term memory formation
- Long-term memory consolidation
- Memory recall
- Attention and concentration
- Reasoning and problem-solving
- Language and communication
Many Amazon supplements supply phosphatidylserine in standard soy-derived form. The Sharp-PS® Green phosphatidylserine, on the other hand, found in Mind Lab Pro® supplies sunflower-derived phosphatidylserine for a cleaner, greener ingredient profile.
N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine (NALT)
Directly involved in the catecholaminergic pathway, N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine (NALT) is a precursor amino acid required for the syntheses of catecholamine neurochemicals, such as dopamine and norepinephrine. Under conditions of heavy stress and activity, the brain burns through natural L-tyrosine reserves to maintain sufficient catecholaminergic brain activity. When L-tyrosine levels drop, so does mental performance as brain burnout emerges.
Supplementing NALT may help mitigate cognitive performance decline under research conditions of<10-12>:
- Loud, stressful, distracting noise exposure
- High-demanding multi-task environments
- Extended sleep deprivation (i.e., pulling an all-nighter)
And more. For clutch cognitive performance and as-needed mood boosts, NALT works quickly and reliably.
Often paired with caffeine for its complementary calming effects, L-Theanine is the anxiolytic amino acid responsible for green tea's relaxing, yet focus sharpening, benefits. By uniquely promoting alpha brainwaves, the electrical brain frequencies associated with calm, meditative thinking, L-theanine may help reduce anxiety while improving focus and concentration.<13> Stacking L-theanine with caffeine at a 2:1 ratio (favoring L-theanine) seems to enhance each cognitive enhancer's effects beyond what they may accomplish individually.
Whereas many nootropic supplements on Amazon stack L-theanine and caffeine in their formula, Mind Lab Pro® keeps its L-theanine stim-free, allowing users the option to stack their L-theanine with an external source of caffeine or not. Given how over-caffeinated the modern diet is, odds are Mind Lab Pro® users don't necessarily need more caffeine than what they're already consuming; hence the advantage of an L-theanine source that's not overstimulated by more caffeine.
As one of the more powerful herbal adaptogens, Rhodiola rosea is preferred by physical and mental competitors, whether athletic or academic. The reliable, fast-acting results of Rhodiola are undeniable, making it one of the more popular nootropics at large.
By regulating the HPA (hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal) axis release of stress hormone cortisol, Rhodiola has a direct impact on hormonal stress. For those suffering from chronic or acute stress, Rhodiola may help redirect mental composure and emotions towards a more healthy, constructive mindset. Not to mention that Rhodiola also seems to improve neurotransmitters norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin for better processing speed and mood.<14> This is a major advantage for those who rely on quick-time thinking.
Mind Lab Pro® Rhodiola rosea outperforms other standard, plain powder Rhodiola forms by using the well-researched Rhodiola extract standardized at 3% rosavins, 1% salidrosides.
Maritime Pine Bark Extract
An uncommon nootropic to many mainstream brain health supplements, Maritime Pine Bark Extract supplies a surprisingly potent complex of antioxidant proanthocyanidins, which possess a greater antioxidant capacity than vitamin C and vitamin E.<15> By crossing the blood-brain barrier, maritime pine bark extract's proanthocyanidins may help reduce cerebral oxidative stress while also promoting brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) activity for greater neurogenesis.
Mind Lab Pro® Maritime Pine Bark Extract supplies a standardized extract of min. 95% proanthocyanidins for maximum effect.
Mind Lab Pro® does not sell on Amazon to offer more information and helpful nootropic advice through the Mind Lab Pro® website.
Due to the wild state of online media, buyers are reasonably skeptical about internet information. Amazon might offer an incredible listing of many, many nootropic supplements, but with this comes an incredible range of cheap, ineffective products. It's a game about optimizing SEO and exploiting keyword searches as much as providing a quality supplement. Mind Lab Pro® doesn't play games, instead reserving all of its focus on creating a Universal Formula™ for 100% Brainpower™.
Perhaps with the right mix of nootropic supplements sold on Amazon, a buyer may achieve optimal cognitive performance. Mind Lab Pro® instead mixes the best nootropics for the job, creating a comprehensive cognitive health stack in a single pill. Likewise, Mind Lab Pro® ships within 24 hours of your order to anywhere in the world. Convenient cognitive enhancement -- Amazon offers this in various, fragmented supplements; Mind Lab Pro® supplies it in a single stack.
- Smith AD, Refsum H. Homocysteine, B Vitamins, and Cognitive Impairment. Annu Rev Nutr. 2016 Jul 17; 36: 211-39.
- Secades JJ, Frontera G. CDP-choline: pharmacological and clinical review. Methods Find Exp Clin Pharmacol. 1995 Oct;17 Suppl B:1-54.
- Silveri MM et al. Citicoline enhances frontal lobe bioenergetics as measured by phosphorus magnetic resonance spectroscopy. NMR Biomed. 2008; 21(10): 1066-75.
- Bhattacharya SK, et al.Antioxidant activity of Bacopa monniera in rat frontal cortex, striatum and hippocampus. Phytother Res. 2000 May; 14(3): 174-9.
- Kamkaew N. Scholfield N. Ingkaninan K. Taepavarapruk N. Chootip K.Bacopa Monnieri increases cerebral blood flow in rat independent of blood pressure. Phytother Res. 2013; 27: 135–138.
- Goswami S, Saoji A, Kumar N, Thawani V, Tiwari M, Thawani M. Effect of Bacopa Monnieri on Cognitive functions in Alzheimer’s disease patients. International Journal of Collaborative Research on Internal Medicine & Public Health. 2011; 3(4): 285-293.
- Conner JM, et al. NGF is essential for hippocampal plasticity and learning. J Neurosci. 2009 Sep 2; 29(35): 10883-9.
- Kolotushkina EV, et al. The influence of Hericium erinaceus extract on myelination process in vitro. Fiziol Zh. 2003; 49(1): 38-45.
- Glade MJ, Smith K. Phosphatidylserine and the human brain. Nutrition. 2015 Jun;31(6):781-786.
- Deijen JB1, Orlebeke JF.Effect of tyrosine on cognitive function and blood pressure under stress. Brain Res Bull. 1994; 33(3): 319-23
- Thomas JR, et al.Tyrosine improves working memory in a multitasking environment.Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 1999 Nov; 64(3): 495-500.
- Neri DF, et al.The effects of tyrosine on cognitive performance during extended wakefulness. Aviat Space Environ Med. 1995 Apr; 66(4): 313-9.
- Nobre AC, et al. L-theanine, a natural constituent in tea, and its effect on mental state. Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 01/2008; 17 Suppl 1: 167-8.
- van Diermen D et al. Monoamine oxidase inhibition by Rhodiola Rosea L. roots. J Ethnopharmacol. 2009 Mar 18; 122(2): 397-401.
- Shi J, et al. Polyphenolics in grape seeds-biochemistry and functionality. J Med Food. 2003 Winter; 6(4): 291-9.