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Best nootropic supplements 2023: Boost your brain power

The best nootropic supplements claim to improve your memory, focus and mood for better cognitive performance

Brain fog, fatigue, anxiety – almost everyone experiences one or more of these issues at some point in their lifetime. And when you’re experiencing this cognitive malaise, it can be difficult to know how to manage it. While there are no definitive over-the-counter drugs available to improve cognitive function, some believe that nootropic supplements can help. 

The term “nootropic supplements” tends to cover a wide range of substances, including products such as coffee and nicotine, for example. Said to improve memory, motivation, focus and more, they’re also sometimes called “cognitive enhancers” – although they certainly won’t make you any smarter than you already are! Instead, they’re intended to increase your focus and alertness for the length of time that the supplement is in your system.

Note that if you regularly struggle with brain fog, insomnia, anxiety or some other cognitive issue, nootropics should be considered only after seeking the advice of a medical professional. There is no one-size-fits-all cure to any health issue, and it’s always best to speak to your GP before taking any over-the-counter supplements such as nootropics, as even natural supplements can interact with other medications. 

To find out more about nootropics, read on. 

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Best nootropic supplements: At a glance

How to choose the best nootropic supplements for you

What types of nootropics are available?

Nootropics can fall into one of three different categories: Eugeroics, ADHD medications and nootropic supplements. Eugeroics keep you awake and alert, and can only be prescribed to an individual by their doctor. The same is true of ADHD medications, such as Adderall or Ritalin. In this article, the focus is nootropic supplements. 

Nootropic supplements can help with cognitive enhancement, and are typically available over the counter. Whether they’re naturally harvested or synthetically crafted, these supplements deliver a boost in substances your body probably already needs – vitamins, for example.

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What ingredients should I look for in a good nootropic supplement?

There are a variety of ingredients that are considered nootropic. If you’re looking for a cognitive booster, a combination of some of the ingredients below may help.

Caffeine – This is the most well-known and most commonly used nootropic. According to a study, the full effects of caffeine on cognitive function are still under debate, but it is said to “increase the perception of alertness and wakefulness”. This study also linked to a clinical trial in which it was reported that a dose of 150mg of caffeine can enhance cognitive performance for at least 10 hours.

Ginseng – A well-known ingredient in traditional medicine, ginseng is said to have therapeutic value against some diseases and disorders. According to this article, healthy volunteers showed cognitive-enhancing effects from taking Korean ginseng when compared with a placebo group. The article concludes that it shows potential for beneficial effects on cognitive function, but notes that more studies are needed.

L-Theanine – This is an amino acid found in green tea and mushrooms. This study reported that those who drink green tea display less cognitive dysfunction with age. A more recent study tested the effects of L-Theanine specifically, and found that a dose of 100.6mg “reduced reaction time in the attention task, increased correct answers and decreased the number of omission errors in the working memory task. This suggests that L-Theanine may improve working memory and executive function based on the improvement in attention.”

Bacopa Monnieri – Commonly used in traditional medicine, bacopa monnieri is a herb from Southeast Asia. This article compared 11 different clinical studies, and found that “all but one found at least one of their test subjects to have a statistically significant improvement in at least one of the neuropsychological tests used”. Note that the test subjects also experienced side effects such as “diarrhoea, increased stool frequency, nausea and cramps in the abdomen”.

Lion’s Mane – This mushroom has become a very popular supplement in recent years. In terms of cognitive function, a 2017 study found that 50- to 80-year-old adults diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment showed improvement on regularly taking a 250mg dose three times a day for 16 weeks. 

This isn’t an exhaustive list of the nootropics supplements available, but those that you’re likely to come across most commonly. Always consult with a doctor before adding new supplements to your daily regimen. 

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The best nootropic supplements you can buy in 2023

1. Noocube: Best overall nootropic supplement

Price: £55 | Buy now from Noocube

Noocube calls its “Brain Productivity” capsule an all-in-one nootropic for those with deadlines. It claims to deliver sharper focus, improved problem-solving skills, a boost in memory and alertness, and a reduction in brain fog. It also claims to help protect eyes from blue light exposure from using electronic devices. 

The formula includes Lutemax® 2020, which comes from the marigold plant. Containing critical nutrients, it strengthens the eye-brain connection, helping support information processing. It also includes huperzia serrata, harvested from a Chinese moss, and bacopa monnieri to slow the effects of cognitive decline. The lack of caffeine here also means it will suit anyone who wants to avoid feeling jittery. 

Noocube is available as an individual bottle, or in bundles of three or six bottles. The website offers free worldwide shipping, and if you’re not satisfied with the results, you can take advantage of the 60-day money-back guarantee.

Key details – Size: 60 capsules; Key ingredients: Bacopa monnieri, Lutemax® 2020, huperzia serrata; Caffeine: No; Money-back guarantee: 60 days

Buy now from Noocube

2. London Nootropics: Best coffee-based nootropic supplement

Price: £16 | Buy now from London Nootropics

For those who would rather take their supplements in drink form rather than capsules multiple times a day, London Nootropics has you covered. The company offers three caffeinated, mushroom-based coffees, all with nootropic ingredients that help in different ways. 

The Flow blend includes lion’s mane and rhodiola for improved focus, mental clarity and concentration. The Mojo blend uses cordyceps mushroom and Siberian ginseng to boost energy, endurance and brain health. The Zen blend includes CBD and ashwagandha to calm your mind while delivering clarity and improving brain health. These coffees are of barista quality, but simple to make: simply pour the powder into a cup and add boiling water.

The coffees are available individually or in a combination pack of all three. The Starter Pack is the best option to test each type to see which coffee delivers the best benefits for you. All of the products use natural ingredients and are made in London. 

Key details – Size: 12 sachets; Key ingredients: Lion’s mane mushroom, rhodiola rosea, ginseng, ashwagandha; Caffeine: Yes; Money-back guarantee: None

Buy now from London Nootropics

3. Mind Lab Pro: Best vegan nootropic supplement

Price: £49 | Buy now from Mind Lab Pro

Mind Lab Pro is a capsule supplement comprising natural and botanical ingredients. Unlike some other supplements, Mind Lab Pro avoids lab-created synthetic ingredients such as racetams. The company’s priority is to produce a natural, stimulant-free supplement using scientifically backed ingredients. 

The company uses standardised herbs, meaning these are determined in a lab to have the exact potency needed for the health-promoting compounds to function properly. It’s a clean label product, so uses premium ingredients without unnecessary additives. These Mind Lab Pro supplements are also free of allergens, gluten, caffeine, synthetic additives, artificial colours and preservatives, and they’re non-GMO. 

Formulated in the United Kingdom, Mind Lab Pro was subject to placebo-controlled human trials that were conducted independently at the University of Leeds. According to Dr. Andrea Utely, the results “are impressive,” and they were surprised by “the degree of statistical significance.” The company claims that the product starts working in as little as 30 minutes, and results continue to improve over time. 

Key details – Size: 60 capsules; Key ingredients: Lion’s mane mushroom, rhodiola rosea, bacopa monnieri, L-theanine, citicoline, phosphatidylserine, N-acetyl L-tyrosine, Maritime pine bark extract, vitamins B6, B9, B12; Caffeine: No; Money-back guarantee: 30 days

Buy now from Mind Lab Pro

4. Neat Nutrition Focus + Energy: Best nootropic supplement for brain fog

Price: £20 | Buy now from Neat Nutrition

The Neat Nutrition Focus + Energy nootropic is a supplement designed to help people more easily navigate their busy lives. Said to improve cognitive function, while reducing stress and fatigue, it’s made using 100% natural ingredients – such as rhodiola for improved memory, cordyceps for improved clarity, and vitamins B12 and B6 for alertness. 

Neat worked with the British Holistic Medical Association and the British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine to develop these supplements. The ingredients work together to invigorate your neurotransmitters, regulate brain activity and boost the nervous system. Together, this improves your memory, attention and focus. 

Featuring L-taurine, bacopa monnieri, iron and iodine, the formula is vegan friendly and comes in sustainable packaging. With daily use they promise greater clarity and better concentration.

Key details – Size: 60 capsules; Key ingredients: Rhodiola rosea, cordyceps, vitamin B, ginkgo biloba; Caffeine: No; Money-back guarantee: None

Buy now from Neat Nutrition

5. indi Mind: Best powdered nootropic supplement

Price: £45 | Buy now from indi

Indi supplements are made from real food that’s been ground into a powder, so they can deliver all the benefits of each ingredient in its bioavailable form. The company sources its ingredients from around the world, making clear where each is from. 

Alongside the common ingredients mentioned previously in this article, Mind’s formula includes haskap berry, to help improve working memory, and magnesium, which supports brain signalling to improve memory formation, learning and brain development. Aldo included are beetroot, guarana and cocoa, plus Coenzyme Q10, which may protect the brain against neurodegenerative decline. 

Simply mix one scoop of Indi Mind into your milk of choice (the company recommends coconut milk for its sweetness) for a drink that tastes of bitter chocolate and berries. According to the website, users will feel its effects in as little as 10 minutes, and results will last as long as four hours.

Key details – Size: 28 servings; Key ingredients: Rhodiola rosea, lion’s mane mushroom, bacopa monnieri, tyrosine; Caffeine: No; Money-back guarantee: 30 days

Buy now from indi

6. Motion Nutrition Power Up: Best nootropic supplement for a jitter-free morning

Price: £28 | Buy now from Motion Nutrition

Everyone knows that the major downsides to taking caffeine as a nootropic are the jittery energy levels, and the inevitable crash that comes once it wears off. So, Motion Nutrition created Power Up in an effort to deliver the cognitive boost associated with an intake of caffeine, but without the side effects.

Power Up focuses on the long game. Following a week of use, vitamin B brings improvements to your mental energy, and after three weeks, you’re likely to be much less reliant on that extra cup of coffee. The company claims you’ll see incremental improvements until around six months, when all the downstream benefits have been realised, and you’re more energetic and healthy.

The formula comprises several common cognitive-boosting ingredients, as well as anti-fatigue ingredients such as ginseng, minerals such as iron and manganese, biotin and folate.

Key details – Size: 60 capsules; Key ingredients: Boron, lion’s mane extract, L-tyrosine, vitamin B, vitamin D; Caffeine: Yes; Money-back guarantee: 30 days

Buy now from Motion Nutrition

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