Nootropics have recently become popular among entrepreneurs and CEOs of massive companies, along with many others who wish to increase their cognitive abilities. They have been commonly nicknamed “smart drugs” because they increase the brain’s ability to function efficiently. Nootropics can help you to focus, learn, solve problems, and remember thing better.
Nootropics were a topic of conversation for years long before they became popular among mainstream supplements. They do work to provide the benefits that they claim to offer, but they must be taken cautiously. There are many companies who are attempting to capitalize on the current popularity of Nootropics to rake in a profit, and they do so by offering subpar products that don’t work or can even be dangerous.
Top 10 Nootropics
We have reviewed some of the most popular nootropics currently on the market to give you a quick overview of your options.
NeuroFit is a nootropic supplement that includes a ton of vitamins and minerals, possibly to make itself look more effective than it really is. They use a proprietary formula to hide the exact amount of actual nootropics within the product, and with such a long list of active ingredients, it is unlikely that there is a sufficient dose of the ingredients that really matter.
2. Brain Boost
Brain Boost markets itself as a nootropic, but it’s really just a multivitamin with a few extra additives. It contains herbal extracts that are known to enhance some of the biological processes that affect your cognitive abilities. The product’s purpose is to help your body function at its best possible level overall.
All of the nootropic ingredients are wrapped up in a proprietary blend, so there is no way to know if they include enough to actually provide you with any benefits.
Every market has at least one product that tries to include every ingredient they can without any real design or intention behind what is included, and this product definitely qualifies as one of them. Clarity includes a mixed bag of herbal extracts, synthetics, vitamins and minerals.
This ingredient list shows that there really wasn’t any proper design or strategy implemented when the product was created. If you would rather ensure that you cover your bases than commit to one particular nootropic ingredient, this product might appeal to you.
TruBrain is designed to help make sure your brain has all of the building blocks that it needs to be healthy and focuses less on actual nootropic ingredients to boost it beyond regular performance levels. It contains caffeine, magnesium, and amino acids which are all put to use when the brain needs fuel.
While all of these ingredients are beneficial to your brain’s health and function, it doesn’t really qualify as a nootropic compared to other products that are available.
Most of the top-rated nootropics use the same short list of ingredients, but Clitep went a little off the reservation when they developed their ingredients list. They include less conventional options like forskolin and artichoke extract, which are not usually found
These ingredients don’t have much research investigating how effective they might be in enhancing cognitive abilities, and they are far from being proven effective. If you’re adventurous or more common ingredients are really working for you, this may be worth a shot.
6. Neuro Spark
Neuro Spark puts a lot of faith in some of the older herbal extracts like ginkgo biloba and St. John’s wort, but not so much that they don’t include other ingredients. It also contains many of the newer ingredients that are more common in today’s nootropics, like huperzine-A, bacopa monnieri, and vinpocetine.
It’s a pretty well-rounded option and doesn’t include any stimulants, which is a plus. It’s an effective option for improving your cognitive performance and for increasing your ability to perform mentally demanding tasks.
Neuro-Peak is made by Zhou Nutrition, and it is easily one of the most popular nootropics on the market. It provides users with a bunch of different herbal extracts and a huge serving of vitamin B12. The ingredient that stands out the most in Neuro-Peak is rhodiola rosea extract, which is an herbal extract that has shown some promise in warding against cognitive fatigue.
If you are someone who needs your nootropic to stick with you for the long haul because you do a lot of mentally challenging or tedious work for long hours, Neuro-Peak may be just what you need.
One of the first things the stands out about NeuroIgnite is that it does not make use of a proprietary formula. Instead, all of the ingredients are listed on the label alongside precise amounts per serving. This is a refreshing change from many other supplements and allows the user to have more control over what they put in their body. It also helps you ensure that the active ingredients that matter most are present in high enough quantities to actually do their job.
These active ingredients include DMAE, bacopa monnieri, and ginkgo biloba, all of which are very well-known in the nootropic market and have extensive research backing up their effectiveness.
9. Alpha Brain
Alpha Brain is am effective nootropic that gained popularity after it was endorsed by Joe Rogan, a famous comedian who knows a thing or two about staying at your mental best for his various roles, stand-up performances, and podcast.
Alpha Brain was the focus of a clinical trial in 2016 that was performed by researchers at the Boston Center for Memory and published in 2016 in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. The ingredients that are used to create this supplement give it a particular ability to improve your verbal skills, so if you are reading or writing a lot, this may be the right choice for you.
OptiMind is the most well-rounded and balanced of the top nootropic supplements, and it contains a good mix of the most well-proven effective nootropic ingredients. It provides a major dose of vitamin B12 and vitamin D, along with major nootropic supplements and herbal extracts like vinpocetine, ALA, bacopa extract, and L-tyrosine.
With the best ingredients available in the right doses, and without any added ingredients that get in the way, OptiMind is definitely the best overall nootropic on this list.
Benefits And Side Effects of Nootropics
Nootropic supplements were created to improve your cognitive abilities and help your brain function more efficiently when solving problems, recalling memories, and learning new things. Nootropics are widely used among college students to help them study with more focus and retain information more reliably. However, students aren’t the only ones who can benefit from the use of nootropic supplements.
If your job requires you to have any level of mental focus, agility, or endurance (which is to say, if you have a job that isn’t purely physical labor), then nootropics can help you, too. Nootropics are also helpful for aging users who want to keep their minds sharp and stop brain fog from rolling in, so to speak.
Many supplements make claims that are fairly difficult to prove from one product to another because of the nature of the benefits they provide, like multivitamins. With supplements like nootropics, it’s much easier to test their actual effectiveness.
Other supplements claim to improve your immune system or promote overall health and well-being, but improving cognitive abilities is a clear and obvious benefit that can be verified by testing a subject’s actually cognitive performance both before and after the use of a given nootropic supplement.
Alternatively, you can test 2 groups of subjects using the same methods while giving 1 group a nootropic and the other a placebo.
The tests that you might use to determine cognitive performance are as numerous as they are dissimilar, and often different nootropics perform well with different types of tests. This shows that different nootropic supplements have the ability to improve different areas of cognitive performance.
Some supplements may improve your memory, while others improve your language skills or decrease the advancement of mental fatigue, which is how much your performance is affected by long, tedious, or mentally challenging tasks. It’s basically your mental endurance.
The abovementioned study of Alpha Brain from 2016 is an excellent case study of the different testing methods to determine the effects of a nootropic supplement. Researcher in this study divided the subjects into 2 groups. The first group was given Alpha Brain and the other was given a placebo. They tested the cognitive abilities of both groups when the study began and then again after they had been taking their provided supplements for 6 weeks.
The varying types of cognitive tests that were used in the study to analyze performance included logical tests, spatial recognition, visual performance, memory, and verbal reasoning. Most of the metrics tested showed little to no improvement, except for the verbal reasoning and verbal memory tests. This is how we know that Alpha Brain is a particularly useful nootropic for those who do a lot of reading and writing.
There have been other tests which studied the potential benefits of individual nootropic supplement ingredients. It’s not a coincidence that the ingredients used most often and in the most popular nootropic supplements are also the ingredients that have the most conclusive scientific research backing them.
One such popular ingredient is an herbal extract known as bacopa monnieri that has been proven to provide very specific benefits to cognitive performance. Psychopharmacology published a study in 2002 which was performed in a very similar manner to the study on Alpha Brain, and which showed promising results.
The study divided healthy adult volunteers into 2 groups, one of which was given a placebo and the other of which was given bacopa monnieri extract in a 300 milligram dose. They were tested at the beginning of the study and were then tested again after a period of 12 weeks. The researchers discovered that bacopa has the ability to significantly improve the ability to learn faster, remember things better, and process visual information more effectively.
Vinpocetine and ginkgo balboa are both effective ingredients that work to improve your short-term memory and speed up recall. This was determined in a study that was published by Human Psychopharmacology, and which used the same method we have described in other studies to test the benefits of vinpocetine and ginkgo balboa for improving cognitive abilities. They discovered that the combination of these 2 supplements could significantly speed up your working memory with as little as 2 weeks of use.
It should be clear by now that selecting the right nootropic supplement for your needs will require you to be very particular about what kind of cognitive benefits you need to achieve. If you’re writing a book, editing sales pages all day, or continuously publishing new articles in an online magazine, Alpha Brain is your best choice to help boost your verbal memory and processing.
If you’re trying to study for a very important test or learn how to do something new, then you would be better off taking bacopa monnieri extract to increase your visual processing and boost your learning speeds. Flash cards are a great tool for studying when you are using this supplement.
If you’re performing a task that is tedious and requires attention to detail over long periods of time, like data entry, then a supplement that combines vinpocetine and ginkgo biloba is your best option.
The point is, when you’re trying to get the absolute best nootropic for what you need, you need to first research exactly what cognitive functions your prospective selections specifically enhance. If you’re doing data entry and the nootropic you are taking improves memory and problem solving, you’re probably not going to see a huge improvement in your productivity.
There are some nootropics that were originally thought to be a possible treatment for aging patients to help slow down the progression of dementia or halt cognitive decline, and many of those supplements that have been proven effective for this purpose are also beneficial for healthy young people, as well.
Huperzine-A is an herbal extract and is 1 of the nootropic ingredients that were found to be effective for this purpose. Research has proven for many years that huperzine-A is a powerful anti-dementia supplement, which was first proven in a study from 1999 that was able to actually reverse dementia in aging monkeys. The study also tested the effects on huperzine-A in younger monkeys and found that it was able to reverse cognitive decline in them as well.
More research is still needed to determine whether or not this supplement can actually increase the cognitive performance of humans, but what has already been discovered is enough to earn it a vote of confidence from many nootropic manufacturers and users.
There are some nootropics available that don’t actually push your brain all that much, and they focus more on providing the necessary nutrients for your brain to repair damage and build itself up to be stronger and perform more effectively. These nootropics contain building blocks like vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that the brain needs to function properly.
These types of nootropics don’t have as much research backing them, and this is mostly because their ingredients are just nutrients that our body gets from food or makes on its own. Using basic building blocks to improve cognitive maintenance isn’t as interesting as finding a magical substance that can make you smarter, but it is effective in its own right when it comes to actually improving the brain’s ability to do its job.
It is only recently that nootropics have become widely used and available, so there isn’t as much information out there about their possible side effects. There have not yet been any reports of serious negative effects caused by any of the active ingredients that most nootropics contain.
Many people are cautious about any substance that is designed to affect their brain, but nootropics seem to be much safer than many other formulated supplements on the market.
There are some nootropics that include caffeine in their formula, and this is 1 exception that should be noted as it does come with some side effects if consumed in large doses. It’s a commonly used stimulant that is very well-known for its ability to improve cognition, but too much of it can cause you to shake or become nauseated.
If the nootropic you are taking includes caffeine, you should note the dose and be careful not to overdo it, especially when including other significant caffeine sources in your diet, like coffee.
You should also be careful not to take such products at night as the caffeine included could make it difficult to fall asleep. Caffeine as an ingredient in nootropics is perfectly safe as long as you don’t take in too much caffeine overall.
Most nootropic doses aren’t laid out as common knowledge beyond the recommended dose listed on the label for the specific product you are taking. There are some supplements which have undergone enough studies to provide scientist with the understanding of their effects that is needed to establish a daily recommended dose for specific ingredients.
Based on the amounts used in studies:
- Ginkgo balboa seems to be effective in doses of about 40 milligrams or more.
- Bacopa monnieri has an effective dose of 300 milligrams.
- An effective dose of vinpocetine should be between 30 milligrams and 60 milligrams. The only research that has been done on vinpocetine was focused on the benefits it could offer dementia patients, so it’s not clear if these amounts would be effective if used for other purposes.
DMAE is another popular nootropic, but the only research that is available focuses on its effectiveness for inducing lucid dreams. The dosage for this purpose is around 100 milligrams, but it’s unclear whether the same dose is effective for use as a nootropic.
It’s obvious that more research is needed to determine the correct recommended dosage for many of the most popular nootropic ingredients, and this is something that we can only hope will become more available over time.
Final Words on 10 Best Nootropics 2018
The nootropic industry is a fairly new one, and it was only very recently that it experienced a major boom in market growth. Many people still believe nootropics to be dangerous while others simply think they are a hoax. While more research is needed, it is already clear that these products are indeed safe and effective at enhancing your ability to learn faster, retain memories better, focus for longer, solve problems more easily, understand visual information better, and improve verbal abilities.
Each of these benefits can be achieved from a different nootropic product, so there really is something out there for every situation. Because of this, it is important for you to know why you want a nootropic supplement before you actually start looking for the right one for you.
When you are ready to start looking for the right product to solve your specific problem, you’ll want to select something that contains the best proven ingredients at the right dosages to actually provide you with the results you are looking for.
When you are careful to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and have selected the right product for your specific needs, nootropics are very safe and are a great way to boost your mental power so that you can work smart and be more productive.
As always, be sure to check with your medical doctor before you make any changes or additions to your regular supplement routine. While any high-quality supplement is safe for use, it is always possible that you may have a pre-existing condition that does not react well to the components, are taking another medication that is not safe to take alongside your chosen nootropic supplement, or are even allergic to one of the ingredients.
Your doctor is the person who will know all of your medical information and be able to point out any possible problems before you start taking your supplement.