Last Updated on September 23, 2020

The Best Nootropics of 2020 – Reviews, Results, and Much More

I need your attention and focus stat…wait, you made it to my Top 5 Best Nootropics of 2020 list because focus is exactly what you are struggling with. It is normal for memory, focus, and concentration to suffer the consequences of living in a modern society that tends to push our brains to the absolute limits of the universe.

My guide points to 5 pretty solid nootropics this year. You can’t go wrong with any of them, however, the top spot is, well, the top spot.

*2020 Update: The rankings themselves were not altered because we still believe that these are the top 5 best nootropics. With that being said, we did make an important change. We added star ratings (out of 5) to each product, and these star ratings are significant because they were determined based on many important factors including user feedback, potency, efficacy, formulation, company reputation, and more.


#1 NooCube

RATING: 4.8/5.0 

NooCube is a brain supplement that’s possible the most popular on the list. I don’t think it has enough steam in its formula to compete too hard with Mind Ignite, however, its a very solid play for those looking to improve their productivity.

NooCube has had the assistance of rather large advertising budgets to help them find their way to being such a big brand. However, its a well deserved popularity in its own right. Learn more about NooCube below.

There is a lot to learn when it comes to NooCube, so check out our review.


mind lab pro

#2 Mind Lab Pro Review

RATING: 4.0/5.0 

“Powerful” and “robust” are two words we often hear associated with Mind Lab Pro,  our number 3 ranking nootropic. I don’t believe Mind Lab Pro‘s formula warrants it overtaking the #2 spot anytime soon, however, its a worthy top 5 nootropic.

Its a clean, natural brain supplement found at a reasonable, fair price. This is certainly a formula worth trying if you’ve already purchased it. Otherwise, heavily consider the higher ranking insertions on my list.


lumonol review

#3 Lumonol Review

RATING: 3.5/5.0 

Yes, the name sounds like something CSI Miami would use to figure out if a murder took place in a dingy apartment. The good news is, it isn’t THAT type of chemical. In fact, Lumonol is no chemical at all, rather its a natural formula that serves to help people increase their memory and focus.

And it pretty much does just that. Its basic, but it isn’t bloated with junk fillers, either. You will save a little money with Lumonol as well if you decide its “good enough” for your needs. If you aren’t experiencing massive lapses in your focus or memory, Lumonol might be just fine for you.


geniux review

#4 Geniux Review

RATING: 3.2/5.0 

Expect good things, but not great things, from Geniux. Much like its predecessor on our top nootropics list, Geniux is a good formula that does above average things. It is composed of natural ingredients and has pretty good reviews online. Again, if you aren’t struggling with severe memory or focus issues, purchasing Geniux could most certainly be a budget play for you.

Learn more below.





Noocube is the clear winner of the best nootropics of 2020, but there are other very solid options listed above. Depending on your “needs,” you could go with a more budget nootropic formula and do just fine. All of the ones listed above are natural and non-pharmaceutical. It’s a solid list of TSR approved manufacturers. Be careful buying just any “smart pill,” there are lots of scams online looking to take advantage of people who aren’t super versed in how nootropic formulas work.

How To Evaluate Nootropics – The ULTIMATE Guide

Guide to Nootropics - Brain PillsCongratulations, you’ve just found the most accurate and informative nootropics guide in the entire universe!

This is Bradley Cooper from Limitless, and I’m actually on NZT while I’m writing this guide right now…

Okay, I’m not Bradley Cooper, and I’m not on NZT…but I AM a certified Nutrition & Wellness Consultant, and I AM currently on the most effective natural nootropic I’ve ever tried while writing this.

Let me be 100% transparent with you all about my goal with this guide…this is NOT going to be just another list of product recommendations like you’d find on any other website.

This guide is going to make YOU the expert on nootropics so that you don’t have to read third party reviews or take advice on nootropics from some random guy on the internet…

As a certified NWC, I know supplements better than just about anyone, and I’ve personally tried just about everything there is to try…

I’m going to teach you how to evaluate nootropic supplements, which ingredients work, why those specific ingredients work, what to look for on nootropic supplement nutrition labels, and much more…

This guide is designed to eliminate the need for you to take my word or anybody else’s word when it comes to nootropic supplements…I’m going to show you how to decide whether a nootropic is worth your money or not without help from anyone else.

By the time you finish this guide, you will become the expert. Your friends will think you majored in neuroscience in college when they hear you talking about nootropics…

If you want to feel like Bradley Cooper on NZT, you are in the right place…I feel that way right now and I’m going to show you what I take and why it works in the following sections.

Let’s do this!

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: What Are Nootropics?

Chapter 2: Natural Nootropics Vs. Prescription Medications

Chapter 3: Low Productivity Levels & The Benefits of Nootropics

Chapter 4: The Science Behind Nootropics

Chapter 5: How To Read Nootropic Supplement Nutrition Labels

Chapter 6: Nootropic Supplement Side Effects

Bonus Chapter: How We Arrived At Our Decision For Our #1 Ranked Best Nootropic

Chapter 1: What Are Nootropics?

Natural Nootropics vs PrescriptionsIf you didn’t understand the references to the Limitless movie in the intro and you don’t know what NZT is, no need to worry…although, you should definitely watch that movie.

NZT was a pill that Bradley Cooper took in the movie, and it essentially transformed him into a genius by maximizing his brain function and optimizing his neurochemistry…

People thought that this was just a movie and the results he experienced were impossible to achieve…well, turns out those people were wrong.

That’s right, supplement science is so advanced nowadays, that supplement companies have been able to create products that function similarly to NZT in the movie Limitless.

Now, don’t get me wrong, these supplements will not actually turn you into a genius. And more importantly, they are not illegal, addictive chemicals like NZT was in the movie.

Nootropics are supplements that optimize your neurochemistry and enhance your brain function through the use of natural, clinically tested, safe, non-addictive ingredients…

The problem is, there are about a million of these supplements on the market, and only about 2% of them actually work…most companies used the nootropic craze as an opportunity to make a bunch of cash off of a scam pill.

BUT, there are a few companies out there that actually wanted to create nootropics that work, and a couple of them succeeded….

We’re going to talk about what the effective supplements contain that makes them work, but first, let’s discuss the differences between nootropics and prescription drugs…

Chapter 2: Natural Nootropics Vs. Prescription Medications

Option #1: Prescription Chemicals

Natural Nootropics vs. medsMany people who are seeking to enhance their brain function for whatever reason (better performance at their jobs, improved ability to study and retain information, enhanced performance on exams, etc.) unfortunately turn to prescription drugs.

If you’re someone who was actually diagnosed with a condition, that’s a different story, and you should only take advice on this subject from an actual doctor.

But if you buy prescription drugs from friends or co-workers in order to boost your productivity levels, this section is important for you to read…

If you use prescription drugs without a prescription, so in other words, you do not actually need those drugs, you could experience pretty rough side effects both in the short term and the long term.

Here is a list of side effects people experience when using performance enhancing prescription drugs

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Lack of appetite
  • Dizziness
  • Nervousness
  • Anxiety
  • Headaches
  • Stomach aches
  • Sweaty palms

I’ll never understand why a person would ever take these drugs if they’re not prescribed them…unless they simply don’t know that natural alternatives exist.

Yea, prescription drugs are super effective, but at what cost? And did you know that several safer alternatives have been clinically tested and proven to be just as effective, if not more effective in some instances?

Option #2: Natural Remedies

Clinical testing of natural remedies for enhancing brain function has produced a lot of very compelling data…in chapter 4, we’re going to talk about specific ingredients and we will reference clinical studies that have proven those ingredients to work.

Supplement companies have created what are now widely known as nootropics, which usually consist of several natural ingredients combined into one comprehensive formula.

The primary goal of these supplements is to boost your Acetylcholine levels because Acetylcholine plays a crucial role in learning, memory, and overall brain function…

But is there one ingredient you can take that will produce this effect, or do you need to create what’s commonly referred to as a “nootropic stack.”

Nootropic Stacking vs. Comprehensive Supplements

Some people choose to take single ingredient nootropics, but we do not recommend this method for a very simple reason…why would you supplement with just one effective ingredient when you could be combining it with several other effective ingredients?

What do you think would work better…one clinically proven ingredient, or seven?

The only situation in which taking one ingredient instead of a comprehensive supplement makes sense is if you can only afford to buy one ingredient…

So, moving on from single ingredient nootropic supplementation, let’s talk about nootropic stacks and comprehensive supplements.

Nootropic stacking is when you buy several individual ingredients and combine them together in attempt to essentially create your own nootropic formula…

Stacking can be fun to mess around with, and it definitely can be effective.

However, why would you do all that research and spend all that money when you can just buy a comprehensively formulated nootropic supplement that was created by a company who has already done all of the research for you?

Not to mention, these companies have a lot more money than you, so they get the ingredients at much lower costs, which means it’s much cheaper for you to buy one of their supplements than to try to create your own.

In conclusion…single ingredient solutions are weak and pointless, nootropic stacking is tedious and expensive, and comprehensive nootropic supplements are the way to go.

Chapter 3: Low Productivity Levels & The Benefits of Nootropics

Could You Use A Nootropic?

If you struggle with paying attention, studying, learning information, retaining information, memorization, or you have any other symptoms that ultimately impede your brain function and prevent you from being productive, then you can benefit from using a nootropic.

Any person on the planet who wants to boost their brain function and elevate productivity levels can benefit from a nootropic, but it’s still important to make sure you don’t actually have a medical condition first.

If you do, you should certainly consult your doctor before trying nootropics.

Here is a list of the most common symptoms nootropics can help alleviate…

  • Impulsivity
  • Aggressiveness
  • Hyperactivity
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Short attention span
  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability

The Benefits of Nootropic Supplements

Now that we’ve discussed the issues and symptoms that come with actual medical conditions, let’s talk about what nootropics can do for you…

I want to stress once more that nootropics can benefit anyone!

If you’re a student looking to get better grades or perform better on exams, nootropics can be an absolute game changer for you…I know they certainly were for me when I was studying to become a Nutrition & Wellness Consultant.

Nootropics are also used by wall street guys and business men in order to maximize their productivity levels and boost energy…now that nootropics have become immensely popular, they’ve begun to replace prescription drugs and other illicit substances that these people used to enhance performance back in the day.

Here’s a list of the most commonly reported benefits of supplementing with a nootropic…

  • Enhanced focus
  • Improved cognitive function
  • Better short term memory
  • Increased energy levels
  • Improved information retention
  • Higher productivity levels
  • Greater mental output
  • Mood improvements
  • Sense of enlightenment

So, here’s the point in the article where most of you are probably thinking that this has to be too good to be true…it really sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it?

Well, we’ve got good news for you…you don’t have to take our word for it!

Advanced laboratories and supplement manufacturers have really mastered the science behind nootropics, and in the following section, we’re going to go over the science and provide you with links to clinical studies proving the science is legit.

Chapter 4: The Science Behind Nootropics

What is the science behind nootropicsWe don’t believe in making our readers “take our word for it” when it comes to supplements, so here we are giving you all the scientific data you need to be confident that what we’re saying is true…

This is really the turning point of this guide…this is where the speculation stops, and the science begins.

In this chapter, we’re talking strictly about facts, clinical data, reported benefits from actual users of the ingredients, and last but not least, we will provide reference links to the scientific studies our conclusions are based on.

We are NOT going to be talking about any nootropics or nootropic ingredients that do NOT work…

This chapter will cover the 7 most clinically proven, scientifically supported nootropic ingredients known to man.

Here is a list of the top 7 most research backed nootropic ingredients…

  • Beta Phenylethylamine HCL
  • Alpha GPC
  • Phosphatidylserine
  • Huperzine
  • Bacopa Monnieri
  • Rhodiola Rosea
  • Ginkgo Biloba

In my opinion, the most effective nootropic stack you could make for yourself would be these 7 ingredients combined into one stack…that would be a super kickass nootropic stack.

The thing is, some of these ingredients can be hard to find, expensive, and trying to find out what dosage for each one is a daunting task…

There’s only one supplement out there that contains all 7 of these ingredients, which is the one that I personally take every morning.

There are certainly other high quality nootropic supplements out there, but this is just the only one I know of that contains every ingredient on my checklist. However, the best nootropics out there will contain at least a few of these ingredients…

Anyways, let’s talk about the science…

Beta Phenylethylamine HCL has been shown to enhance overall brain function, improve concentration, and boost productivity levels when taken on a regular basis and properly dosed. The reason it is perhaps the most effective nootropic ingredient out there is the effect it has on dopamine and norepinephrine levels in the brain.

These neurotransmitters play a crucial role in boosting attentiveness, alertness, and cognitive function. No other nootropic ingredient can directly increase your dopamine and norepinephrine levels simultaneously, which is what makes Beta Phenylethylamine such an attractive option when it comes to nootropics.

Here are some clinical studies that show how Beta Phenylethylamine works…

Study: Action of Beta Phenylethylamine on Nigrostriatal Dopamine Neurotransmission

Study: Psychopharmacological and Clinical Aspects of Beta Phenylethylamine

Alpha GPC (Alpha Glycerylphosphorylcholine) is an extremely powerful neurotransmitter that allows brain cells to efficiently communicate with each other. Supplementing with Alpha GPC has been shown to boost Acetylcholine production in the brain, which has an extremely potent effect on the user’s mental performance.

Acetylcholine is believed to be the most important neurotransmitter when it comes to any processes involving memory, learning, or information retention, which is why boosting Acetylcholine levels is the key to enhancing brain function.

Here are some clinical studies that show how Alpha GPC improves brain function…

Study: The Effect of Alpha GPC on Cognition and Brain Acetylcholine

Study: The Effect of Alpha GPC on Cognitive Function, Mood, Speed, and Agility

Phosphatidylserine is the cornerstone of any effective nootropic supplement. If you don’t see this one on the label, I’d recommend just avoiding that supplement entirely. Phosphatidylserine plays a role in the production of Acetylcholine and Dopamine, and therefore can already be found in your brain.

However, when you supplement with it and thereby provide your brain with more of it, studies show it may speed up mental recall, improve concentration, and counteract many of the symptoms that come with ADD/ADHD.

Some studies even show that Phosphatidylserine may prevent cognitive decline that most people believe inevitably comes with age.

Here are some clinical studies supporting Phosphatidylserine as an effective nootropic…

Study: The Effects of Phosphatidylserine Supplementation on Cognitive Functioning

Study: Phosphatidylserine and The Human Brain

Huperzine plays an extremely important role when it comes to nootropics. While it does not directly boost Acetylcholine levels, which again is the primary goal of nootropic supplements, it does inhibit acetylcholinesterase, which is the enzyme that breaks down Acetylcholine.

By inhibiting this enzyme, Huperzine is able to prevent Acetylcholine from being destroyed. Therefore, if you combine Huperzine with ingredients that boost Acetylcholine levels, this will produce a synergistic effect. The other ingredients will boost Acetylcholine, and Huperzine will ensure your newfound Acetylcholine does not get destroyed.

Here are some clinical studies on the effects Huperzine has on brain function…

Study: Huperzine A For Treatment of Cognitive Impairment

Study: Neuroprotective Effects of Huperzine A

Bacopa Monnieri contains a high concentration of the active compound Bacosides which has been shown to increase blood flow to the brain. The effect it has on the brain is especially significant when it comes to learning new information, processing new information, and memorization.

Bacopa has also been shown to reduce stress and anxiety levels, which can be a much needed additional benefit for a lot of people.

Here are some clinical studies about how Bacopa Monnieri effects the brain…

Study: Neuropharmacological Review of the Nootropic Herb Bacopa Monnieri

Study: Effects of Standardized Bacopa Monnieri Extract on Cognitive Performance, Anxiety, and Depression

Rhodiola Rosea has been shown to play a role in the production of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. When standardized to a high enough percentage of Salidroside and Rosavins, it has been shown to produce anti-agining effects in the brain due to its antioxidant properties.

Studies have also shown that it improves the brains resistance to high levels of stress, which makes it a perfect fit in the context of a nootropic formula. Most people who use nootropics are under a high level of stress, which is why ingredients like Rhodiola can be super helpful.

Here are some clinical studies showing the effects of Rhodiola Rosea on the brain…

Study: Rhodiola Rosea for Physical and Mental Fatigue

Study: Neuroprotective Effect of Rhodiola Rosea

Ginkgo Biloba has been shown to increase blood flow to the brain, which produces a wide array of cognition related benefits for the user. Ginkgo contains what are known as Flavone Glycosides, which have been shown to be extremely beneficial for the brain when regularly supplemented. Users have reported better concentration and many other benefits related to improved cognition.

Here are some clinical studies about how Ginkgo Biloba effects the brain…

Study: Examining Brain Cognition Effects of Ginkgo Biloba Extract

Study: Effects of Ginkgo Biloba on Cerebral Blood Flow

Chapter 5: How To Read Nootropic Supplement Nutrition Labels

how to read nootropic labelsAfter reading chapter 4, you now know exactly what ingredients to look for on the nutrition labels of nootropic supplements, and more importantly, you know why those specific ingredients are what you should be looking for.

Now, let’s talk about some other aspects of the label you need to pay attention to in order to really determine the quality and efficacy of a supplement before spending your money on it. After all, who’s interested in anything less than the absolute best nootropics? Not me…

Overall Potency

Overall potency is simple…you want to get the most bang for your buck as possible, right? That means you want as many nutrients to be packed in every serving as you can get, which is why it’s important to be able to calculate overall potency.

All you have to do is add up the dosage sizes of each individual ingredient per serving, and then you will have the overall potency…or in other words, you’ll know how many milligrams of nutrients you are being given in every serving.

With nootropics, we tend to look for an overall potency of at least 1,200 milligrams per serving. 1,200-1,500 milligrams per serving is the sweet spot in our opinion.

So, what do you do if the individual dosages for each ingredient are not on the label?

Proprietary Blends (Bad News)

If you don’t see the individual dosages on the label, that means the supplement uses a proprietary blend.


The use of a proprietary blend allows the supplement company to leave the dosage sizes undisclosed, which is a huge problem for us…

I don’t know about you, but I like to know exactly what I’m putting into my body, and I can’t know that if a proprietary blend is present…therefore, I always recommend avoiding proprietary blends.

Chapter 6: Nootropic Supplement Side Effects

Side Effects of brain pillsUnlike prescription medications, nootropic supplement side effects are generally very rare. Most people don’t report side effects IF they are using a supplement that uses the right ingredients in the proper dosages.

When people take bad supplements, or exceed the recommended dosage to experience more benefits, that’s when they experience side effects.

Therefore, we recommend never exceeding the recommended dosage, and making sure you evaluate the quality of a nootropic supplement before investing in it.

Last but not least, it can’t hurt to show the supplement to your doctor and see what he/she thinks…this is always a good idea.

With all that being said, here is a list of some side effects people have reported when using nootropic supplements…

  • Restlessness
  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Jitters (usually only if the caffeine dosage is too high)
  • Anxiety (is the supplement lacks an anti-anxiety component)

Bonus Chapter: How We Arrived At Our Decision For Our #1 Ranked Best Nootropic

the best nootropic brain pill supplementAt this point, you can evaluate our top ranked nootropic on your own, but we’ll give you a brief overview of why it’s our favorite nootropic.

Here’s a list of qualities that make it our top choice…

  • Contains all 7 of the most clinically proven nootropic ingredients
  • Does not use a proprietary blend
  • High overall potency
  • Users do not report side effects
  • Consumer feedback is positive
  • Clinical dosage sizes are used
  • Formula is completely natural
  • Ingredients are properly standardized

We hope you got a tremendous amount of value out of this guide, and we wish you the best of luck on your journey into the world of nootropics.

If you want to learn more about our top ranked nootropic, click the link below…

#1 Ranked Nootropic Supplement of 2020 Review

Did You Know The Movie ‘Limitless’ is Based on Real Nootropics?

smart drugs

In the movie Limitless, the down-and-out main character, played by Bradley Cooper, is introduced to a drug that allows him to release the full potential of his brain. He becomes an overnight success—for better or for worse. (If you haven’t seen the movie, we won’t ruin it for you by dishing more details.)

While we’re nowhere near the magic bullet that Cooper’s character experiences, more people than ever are turning to brain boosters to help them get the edge in an overly competitive world. The market for brain-enhancing supplements is expected to hit a staggering $11.6 billion worldwide by 2024, fueled by the rise of nootropics and other brain boosters.

Here’s what you need to know about the growing demand for brain health supplements.

Are Nootropics Really “Smart Drugs”?

For those who think the plot of Limitless is a feasible option, rein it in. Nootropics, or smart drugs, are supplements that improve mental health. They’ve been shown effective in many cases, but they won’t make you some kind of genius overnight. Let’s take a look at what nootropics can actually do for you.

Corneliu Giurgea, a Romanian scientist, created the first nootropic, piracetam, in the mid-1960s. It’s said to help sharpen focus and improve your memory and immune system.

Since then, the market has been flooded with a plethora of nootropics. “Stacks” are carefully synthesized formulas that often include piracetam, amino acids, herb extracts and a brain chemical called citicoline. Other nootropics products even offer coffee in a gummy form, garnering interest from consumers and Silicon Valley venture capitalists alike.

But gummy bears aside, many nootropics blends are safe alternatives to common brain-enhancing pharmaceuticals. Nootropic ingredients to look for include caffeine, which has obvious energy-boosting properties; rhodiola rosea, which helps release serotonin and other feel-good chemicals into the brain; ginkgo biloba, one of the most well-known nootropic ingredients; and beta phenylethylamine, which can trigger the release of dopamine and norepinephrine. Some nootropics contain AC-11, an extract from an Amazonian vine that has clinical evidence backing its DNA repair capabilities.

When taken in small doses, nootropics tend to be relatively safe—definitely more so than prescription drugs. Still, not all supplements are created equal, and it’s best to go with trusted nootropic supplements that contain formulas backed by research.

Other Nutrients that Keep the Brain Healthy

Aside from nootropics, there are some nutrients that assist neurochemical activities when taken in the form of single supplements. Here are a few vital nutrients that are known to keep the brain healthy. (Keep in mind that a whole-food diet alone can’t cure a mental disorder, and shouldn’t be taken along with, or instead of, your medications without talking to your doctor first).

  • Omega-3 fatty acids: When you consume the right amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, your body’s inflammatory pathways operate at a peak level, which is a fancy way of saying that your central nervous system and brain are getting the support they need. While oily fish like salmon and mackerel have the right amounts, the latter contains a higher percentage of mercury. Omega-3 supplements could do the trick.
  • Folate and B12: It’s interesting to note that a number of people suffering from depression have folate (B9) deficiencies. Residual symptoms of depression can be reduced with the right dosage of folate supplements. This B vitamin helps synthesize dopamine and serotonin, the so-called happy hormones. In the landmark study released last month, folic acid and the B vitamins were two of the only major vitamins shown to be clear winners. The B vitamins also appear in many effective nootropic blends.

Folate and B12 work together to maintain your nervous system. B12 is also vital for overall neurotransmitter health. It could be that a folate/B12 supplement is your new go-to morning upper instead of that cup o’ joe.

If you do decide on a nootropic, go for one that’s extracted instead of synthesized. This way you know you’re not getting any unwanted toxins in your system. Remember that genetics and physiological changes play a massive role in how your brain functions. If you’re trying to stay alert through the day, give nootropics a shot before turning to less-natural alternatives.

Instead of making a decision based on blind faith—which wouldn’t be very smart—read quality, in-depth reviews of brain health supplements. After all, the term nootropic is the combination of the Greek words for “mind” and “bending,” and you don’t want to bend your mind too far from its axis like the main character in Limitless.

Are Nootropics Better Than Pharmaceuticals?

adaptogenic herbs

Prescription pharmaceuticals have quickly become the drugs of choice for college students around the nation. The prescription stimulants have been making their rounds on campuses over the last few years. And from all appearances, the popularity—and problem—is only growing.

A 2012 study revealed that nearly one-third of college students were abusing brain enhancing prescription drugs. There’s no denying that prescription brain boosters are popular. But why is that a problem?

The Health Risks of Brain Boosting Pharmaceuticals

These stimulants are increasingly abused by the 18-25 year old crowd as a way of boosting memory, concentration, alertness and motivation. The number of non-medical uses has risen by 67%; emergency room visits due to misuse of these prescription drugs have increased by 156%. All this despite the number of written prescriptions remaining the same.

A growing body of research suggests these drugs is an unsafe way of boosting your cognitive function. Because it’s still a drug, it can have some particularly dangerous effects when used outside of its intended and prescribed use—especially when users obtain it from people other than their doctor.

In the short-term, these types of pharmaceuticals include side effects such as poor sleep, high blood pressure, stroke and increased risk for mental health problems like depression, aggression and bipolar disorder. Research has shown that long-term effects can be even more severe, even including major cardio repercussions.

Why Adaptogenic Herbs are a Better Bet

Pharmaceutical use is growing. But students (and anyone else) looking for greater memory, mental function, alertness and vitality don’t have to turn to the pill.

A growing stack of research shows that supplements like adaptogenic herbs and nootropics share the positive benefits of pharmaceuticals, without the same risk. Here’s what you need to know about adaptogens and how they can boost your brainpower, your mood, your energy and your wellbeing.

What exactly are they? Adaptogens are a natural substance that acts as a thermostat for the body. It essentially monitors, balances and regulates the fluctuations of hormones, including cortisol, the “stress hormone.” Although many of them share the same qualities—enhanced cognitive function and focus—each adaptogen also has its own unique qualities, making adaptogen cocktails the next big thing. Adaptogens have been an integral part of both Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years, and are now being touted by celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow, who swears by them as part of her health routine.

Researchers have also explored the benefits of adaptogens. Studies have shown that adaptogens actually do decrease cortisol levels and have anti-fatigue, anti-depressive, nootropic and neuroprotective qualities. Clinical trials also confirmed that they boosted alertness and stress tolerance and decreased mental exhaustion. Pharma studies that dove deeper into the molecular side of adaptogens confirmed these findings.

Said David Hoffman, author of the Herbal Handbook: “An adaptogen enables (the body) to avoid reaching a point of collapse or over-stress because it can adapt ‘around’ the problem. … The core of their action appears to be in helping the body deal with stress.”

Popular Adaptogens for Focus and Brain Function

The demand for cognitive-enhancing, mood-moderating products like adaptogens is growing, and 2020 will see new adaptogen and nootropic products hitting the market. Here are a few popular adaptogens to keep on your radar:

  • Ashwagandha is used to decrease stress and anxiety while improving memory. This adaptogen is also used as a cognitive-enhancing nootropic.
  • Rhodiola rosea reduces adrenal (and mental) fatigue and exhaustion, cuts stress and helps you be more focused and alert. One study showed that rhodiola caused a 20% boost in performance among doctors working late-night shifts. It’s also used as a nootropic. The Soviets first began studying rhodiola as a way to improve the performance of their Olympians and soldiers during the Cold War.
  • Bacopa monnieri is also used as a natural nootropic and cognitive enhancer. It’s often taken for longevity and to reduce anxiety, stress and depression. It can also improve your memory.

As always, if you’re taking any medications or are under a doctor’s care, it’s crucial to check with your physician before incorporating any supplements into your diet. This will help reduce the risk of negative interactions between supplements and drugs.

Once you have the okay to incorporate them into your life, adaptogenic herbs can be a great way to improve your cognitive abilities—without the risks of prescription drugs.

Closing Thoughts

When using a nootropic, always make sure to follow the instructions on the nutrition label, and never exceed the recommended dosage as it reads on the label.

Additionally, you should always consult with your primary care physician before starting a nootropic, or any other supplement for that matter.

Last but not least, don’t forget how important it is to choose a high quality, top of the line nootropic. There are a lot of really scammy, low quality nootropics out there, so remember to choose wisely.


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Joe Costello
Nutrition & Wellness Consultant
Joe Costello is a Nutrition & Wellness Consultant, certified by the American Fitness Professionals & Associates (AFPA), author, and internet blogger. Joe has more than 9 years of experience in the sports nutrition industry and over 3 years of experience as a supplement and nutrition blogger. As a certified NWC who specializes in dietary supplements, Joe strives to deliver accurate, comprehensive, and research-backed information to his readers. You can find more of Joe’s work including his E-Books about fitness and nutrition at his official website, or connect with him on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Vimeo, or YouTube. Joe Costello is one of the founders of and years after the creation of the site, partnered with TEK Naturals, a nutritional supplement company.