This is our guide to the best nootropic supplements on the market. We’ve scoured the market to see what nootropics have the most evidence behind them to give you the most effective results for focus, memory, mood and more.
In this article, we’ll show our workings of how we decided the top nootropics, how to find the best option for yourself and the top brain supplements for maximum cognitive enhancement.
All the nootropics we’ll be suggesting in our best nootropic stack are all natural and not linked to causing any side effects of dangers, always speak to your doctor if you need further guidance.
- 1 How to choose the Best Nootropic for You
- 2 The Best Pre-Made Nootropic Stacks on the Market
- 3 The Top Rated Nootropics of 2021
- 4 Source Your own Smart Drugs Nootropic Stack
- 5 List of The Best Individual Nootropics
- 6 The 12 Best Natural Nootropics For…
- 7 1. Citicoline
- 8 2. Bacopa monnieri
- 9 3. Phosphatidylserine
- 10 4. DHA
- 11 5. Rhodiola Rosea
- 12 6. Tyrosine
- 13 7. Ashwagandha
- 14 The Top Nootropic Stack: What we recommend
How to choose the Best Nootropic for You
Everybody has different needs when it comes to the best nootropic or smart drugs. Some folks want a nootropic for better focus, others want to improve their memory or verbal fluency and some people want total cognitive enhancement which to boost all areas of their brain.
There is no ‘best nootropic’ that everyone can take. It depends on what you want to use brain supplements for.
The ‘best nootropic’ is something that meets your individual needs. It gives your brain the support it needs to improve areas of your cognition that need it most.
The best nootropics offer a natural support to what you already have, the best brain supplement doesn’t make you “smarter” it helps your brain run much more efficiently – which can improve how your learn, memorize and focus etc.
Brain supplements (smart drugs) give you the natural resources the organ needs to function at its optimum level.
You’ll starting noticing and feeling the difference in mental sharpness when you’ve found the best cognitive enhancers that work for you.
The Best Pre-Made Nootropic Stacks on the Market
If you don’t want to tinker, there are a variety of pre-made nootropic stacks which can work equally well, if not better than stacks you might make yourself.
They’re essentially a custom made nootropic stack which has been condensed into an easy to swallow capsule form. All natural, and made to a very high standard to support cognitive performance.
Below, we’ll only be viewing the best nootropics of these options. Stacks that have solid research backing them, overwhelming reviews, and reliable guarantees to ensure you see results.
For the best nootropic, we’ve ensured everything we recommend is:
- Safest possible option: nootropics with no reported side effects or risk to brain health.
- Great for cognitive function: backed by clinical studies to deliver effective results.
- Brain supplements we’ve used: We’ve tried and tested all pre-made nootropic stacks we recommend.
- Suitable for everyone; vegan, gluten-free, soy-free and exceptionally clean with the most purity, quality and effectiveness.
- Not synthetic; everything comes from natural sources with no unwanted additions.
- Supportive of all areas: any stack that’s pre-made we recommend benefits all aspects of cognitive enhancement.
Now without further-ado let’s see the nootropics that we recommend the most for maximum cognitive function.
The Top Rated Nootropics of 2021
The two top nootropics to choose for a pre-made stack are:
- Performance Lab Mind: Best foundation for stacking for cognition or better overall performance.
- Mind Lab Pro: Best standalone nootropic, nothing else needed!
These are both great nootropics, and for different reasons, one is ideal for stacking with other supplements and nootropics, the other already has most of everything you need.
1. Mind Lab Pro
For the top overall nootropic, we have to give it to Mind Lab Pro. This is for those who don’t want to do heavy stack – it’s something that works that you can take everyday for cognitive enhancement, it’s one of the best nootropics.
This supplement contains 11 best clinically-backed nootropics, which all support brain optimization in some way.
Mind Lab Pro works well to optimize your brain’s 6 pathways to promote:
- Energy – More working time out of your brain.
- Brain Chemicals – Optimize balance for maximum performance.
- Blood Flow – Better access for your brain to nutrients in your blood.
- Brain Waves – Help mindset, fighting stress and anxiety.
- Neuroprotection – Better preserve the brain’s neurological structure against cognitive decline.
- Neuroregeneration – Aid neuron growth and repair, and brain cell creation.
There’s no filler here. Every ingredient in Mind Lab Pro hits home for better overall cognition. It’s high quality with pure ingredients – and everything is vegan-friendly and caffeine-free to ensure everyone can use it.
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Best standalone nootropic!
$1.60 a day
We try all pre-made stacks and were very impressed with what we experienced with Mind Lab Pro. You can read our Mind Lab Pro review here.
2. Performance Lab Mind
Performance Lab Mind is potentially one of the top nootropics on the market, and the reason is how easily it can stack with other options.
Performance Lab Mind contains 4 heavily researched ingredients which are:
- Cognizin Citicoline® – Enhances focus, attention, brain health and energy.
- Sharp-PS® Green Phosphatidylserine – Boosts brain energy, one study shows 20.3% increase in basal ganglia/thalamus glucose metabolism.
- Ajipure® L-Tyrosine – Clinical evidence for overall cognition while suffering stress, sleep deprivation and multitasking.
- Maritime Pine Bark Extract – Potent antioxidant to help brain cell regeneration.
Potent, effective nutrients you need for enhanced cognitive function are in this nootropic supplement.
However, Performance Lab Mind has the unique point of being stacked with other products from the Performance Lab range.
It works exceptionally well with their L-Theanine / Caffeine supplement Stim, and their Energy supplement which powers up your body’s mitochondria (your cell’s energy producers) for focused, clean brainpower.
Combining it with the MCT oil is another benefit, it supports more of your brain’s mitochondria to give your brain and body a huge energetic boost.
The Performance Lab Multi also works well with Mind as it gives you nature-identical vitamins and minerals which is easier for your body and brain to absorb and use for maximum effect.
You should check out their site, it’s an exceptional nootropic.
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Great for any stack!
$1.50 a day
We take everything we recommend. If you want to know more about our experience with Mind, and what we take it with you can read our full Performance Lab Mind review here.
Source Your own Smart Drugs Nootropic Stack
10 Steps to the Best Stack
Making a great nootropic stack is challenging, but it’s also incredibly fun. However, without the proper guidance, it’s easy to go wrong fast.
In this section, we’re going to cover the 10 best steps you should take for building the best nootropic stack or smart drug pack.
- Know what you want – Do you want better memory, enhancing focus, more energy or just an overall boost? Different nootropics have different benefits. Define what you want to achieve first.
- Research everything – Cognition boosting is great – but demanding when it comes to research. Make sure you look as many studies of an ingredient before you decide to use it. Do your upmost to make sure you’re putting together the top nootropics supported by research.
- Deciding on nootropics that are natural or synthetic – Huge decision to make, and it depends entirely on how open you are to risk. We always recommend you stick to natural nootropic substances, but if you’re more interested in neurohacking with modafinil, piracetam, noopept, aniracetam or other synthetic brain drugs we can’t stop you. Nootropic substances that aren’t natural are incredibly risky and can go wrong fast.
- Your first batches should be a low dose – Potency is important, but you don’t want to do too much too quickly. The result could cause unwanted side effects if you overdo it. A good start is to make your stack in a low amount, assess your tolerance to the nootropics, and if you can feel you can do more – raise it.
- Keep it simple – Use more than one ingredient when forming a stack but don’t start with too many. Start with a handful and add/remove to between sessions and see which nootropics are giving you the best cognitive enhancement and build from there.
- Look after your health – Cognitive performance can be improved by a stack, but it can also be improved by healthy living. Make sure you’re eating right, dieting and exercising. The end result will give you much better overall effects.
- That includes sleep! – Although you optimize your stack for cognitive performance throughout the day, you should also put some focus into stacking to help you sleep better at night. Sleep stacks can better optimize your brain’s function and can help it to recover faster while you’re resting.
- Diversify your stack – Make sure there’s more one ingredient in your nootropics stack, this allows you to improve your cognitive function from different angles and give you more of a chance to see better results.
- Test different forms – There are different forms of the same nootropic, for example Citicoline vs Choline. There are huge differences by how your body and brain reacts to them. You should run cycles of testing both, and comparing notes on how each one performed. Trying and testing is key in the early stages.
- Give it time – This applies especially best if you’re putting together a natural nootropic stack. Your brain takes time to adjust what you’re giving it. Sometimes it can take a few weeks for you to find what are the top nootropics for you. Some ingredients will kick in pretty quickly, others may require constant flow in your system.
If you’re serious, we recommend keeping notes on everything you’re taking and a cognition diary on how well – or not well – it’s going. That avoids repeating previous mistakes and steps you closer to your goal.
List of The Best Individual Nootropics
Making the best nootropic stack can be hard work, and there are a lot of options which already have a lot of research on them. Below, we’re listing what we believe to be the best nootropic substances on the market at the moment for you to use in a custom stack.
Most of these are found in our high-level pre-made stack recommendations and all of them have a good amount of clinical evidence to vouch for them. For instance a lot that we mention in this list are already in our pre-made recommendations like Mind Lab Pro and Performance Lab Mind.
Idea: If you are new to nootropic stacks, we suggest you start with a simple base like Performance Lab Mind. It contains 4 of the top nootropics for you to test and build on with other options in our list. Don’t want to stack individually? Try other options from the Performance Lab range or go with a full stack like Mind Lab Pro.
They feature in these nootropic supplements and in our list because they are some of the most effective options on the market.
This doesn’t mean that these are the only nootropics you should be using in your smart drugs stacks. You may find other options that we haven’t covered and may want to research and include those.
Here is a summary of the top nootropics to take for specific goals.
The 12 Best Natural Nootropics For…
Focus – Citicoline, Alpha-GPC, Choline bitartrate, Caffeine, N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine
Stress and Anxiety – Tyrosine, Rhodiola rosea, Ashwagandha, Theanine
Energy – Caffeine, B6, B12
Memory – Bacopa monnieri, Lion’s Mane Mushroom, Phosphatidylserine, Ginkgo biloba, Citicoline, Alpha-GPC
Mood – Tryptophan, 5-HTP, Ashwagandha, Rhodiola rosea
Brain Cell Maintenance and Regeneration – DHA, Phosphatidylserine, Uridine, Citicoline, Lion’s Mane Mushroom, Bacopa monnieri, Reishi Mushroom, Pterostilbene, Maritime Pine Bark Extract, Vinpocetine, PQQ
These are some of the most effective nootropic substances that you can find without turning to synthetic alternatives. They’re also the best options to choose that have minimal risk of side effects while still containing a large amount of evidence for their effectiveness.
Also known as CDP-Choline, Citicoline is a powerful brain supplement which has been seen to help numerous areas of cognition including focus, memory and learning. It’s arguably one of the best nootropics for these tasks considering the steep amount of evidence for it (study).
Citicoline can boost focus and these other areas by helping deliver choline to your brain. This creates phosphatidylcholine (helps brain structures) and acetylcholine (key neurotransmitter). It also improves your brain’s levels of uridine, which is used to create RNA.
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The best form of Citicoline is Cognizin – the purest and most potent form, and definitely what you want to be supplementing. Start small, but work up to doses of 200 – 250 mg for the best effects and stack with an anti-stress noot like L-Tyrosine.
2. Bacopa monnieri
Bacopa monnieri is a great choice for supplementation. By increasing branching of dendrites in your brain, Bacopa supports more overall neuron connections. More connections = better access across your brain for a better overall memory.
In our opinion, it’s the best nootropics of the natural world.
However, not all Bacopa monnieri is created equally. The Bacosides are the active compounds that dictate potency and effectiveness. Mind Lab Pro’s Bacops uses the 9 bioactive bacosides which is why we highly recommend it for cognitive performance.
If you’re making your own stack, doses of 150mg seem to work best. Being natural, it takes time for it to give your body the full benefit – usually between 6 – 12 weeks for the top results particularly for memory retention (study).
Phosphatidylserine is a fantastic option for brain cell maintenance. It’s already found in high amounts in the human brain.
It’s a phospholipid which is a main part of your brain cell membranes.
Taking Phosphatidylserine can help promote healthy cognitive function, and in some cases doesn’t take long to start working.
It’s been seen to be effective for helping to regulate brain cells – chiefly by signalling your immune system whenever a brain cell is dying and needs replacing.
With this level of maintenance, it can help a lot in areas such as cognitive decline. In doing so, it’s a good stacking with a memory supplement like Bacopa monnieri.
Although most people think of Fish Oil when DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) gets mentioned – it’s a fat that actually makes up a lot of your brain. It’s also a killer nootropic.
The omega-3 fatty acid is one of the human brain’s main structure components and one of the key building blocks of your cerebral cortex.
The main sources of DHA are found in fish oil and algae – and deficiencies are more common that you think – which is why we recommend supplementing it. Low levels have been linked to causing brain problems long term as it ages and even has some links to Alzheimers disease.
If you don’t eat a lot of fish, or not supplementing omega-3s already, this may be worth considering in a stack.
5. Rhodiola Rosea
Rhodiola Rosea is a Scandinavian herb which works as a natural anti-stress aid as well as an anxiolytic. It’s a good nootropic for any stack that lacks mood/mindset boosters.
Numerous studies show it to help promote feelings of wellness and cognitive function to those suffering from stress. It allows you to stay focused while helping to reduce any uneasiness you may be experiencing. It’s also been seen to work effectively against fatigue too.
Aim for around 100mg of Rhodiola Rosea in your brain stack. You should be aware that you should not overdo it, studies show that going over 680mg has something of a bell-curve effect and may work against you. Stacking it with Citicoline and Bacopa would be a great cognition mix.
Tyrosine is an anti-stress aid amino acid that we have already mentioned in this list of top nootropics. It can can help to optimize brain performance by synthesizing catecholamine neurotransmitters which are used for mood, memory and mental processing.
Supplementation of this amino acid has been seen in clinical trials to work well for cognitive performance under stressful situations (study).
Many stores sell Tyrosine and for the best results we suggest looking for N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine (NALT) as research suggests this is the most effective form for cognition. Aim for doses of 200 – 300mg. One of our top recommended pre-made stacks Performance Lab Mind contains 250mg.
We’d also suggest stacking it with another mood/anti-stress booster like Rhodiola Rosea, as well as a more firm focus enhancer like Citicoline.
Ashwagandha is a long-standing traditional medicine and nootropic. This is down to how well it can manage your stress hormone cortisol via supplementation.
When cortisol levels are raised, you’re more stressed and may find it difficult to focus. Ashwaganhda has been seen in clinical trials to help reduce stress, improve mood and even lower your blood pressure. This is incredibly valuable to improving your working mindset.
It does all this by helping to manage and regulate your levels of cortisol. This can allow you to focus for longer without distraction from stress.
There’s plenty of research out there when it comes to Ashwagandha, it’s ability to help fight cortisol being it’s main benefit. We highly suggest supplementing it in a nootropics stack.
8. Lion’s Mane Mushroom
Lion’s Mane Mushroom is a traditional Chinese medicine, which is now recognized in the nootropics community.
In our opinion it is the best nootropic for cognitive enhancement if you’re looking for long-term benefits.
Clinical trials show that it helps support Nerve Growth factor in the human brain (study).
This is important as it controls growth and repair of your brain’s nerve cells. It’s a huge win for overall cognitive function. These benefits have even been seen in some cases after the subject stops taking it. Ideal dosages range anywhere from 300 – 1000mg. As always start small and work your way up.
Mind Lab Pro contains a 500mg dose of Lion’s Mane Mushroom, which is a good base for your to see how well it works for you.
It’s rare for another nootropic to have this ability, meaning that Lion’s Mane should fit in with most stacks.
9. B6, B9 and B12 – Vitamin Nootropics
B6, B9 and B12 are a good nootropic substance to add to your stack.
In combination they are great for mental function affected by cognitive decline and brain fog. As we’ve mentioned your overall brain-blood flow can decrease with age as your levels of homocyesteine rises.
High homocysteine comes with age and has been linked to brain degeneration, mood imbalances, cognitive decline and more. Vitamin Bs help increase the metabolism of it to regulate it down in your system.
Vitamin B6, B9 and B12 supplements also help brain cell energy metabolsim and forming myelin – the fatty sheath around your brain cells and nerves.
We recommend you supplement the three together. Although they seem ‘basic’ they do have nootropic properties you don’t want to miss for maximum cognitive performance. It doesn’t take much either, we recommend 2 – 5 mcg of B6, 75 – 150 mcg of B9 and 5 – 10 mcg of B12.
10. Maritime Pine Bark Extract – Brain Protection
Maritime Pine Bark has both long and short-term benefits and one of the best nootropic. Short term it promotes mental energy, attention, learning and focus, and long term it helps memory, mental clarity and brain cell repair and health.
It does this via proanthocyanidin antioxidants which help neutralize the effects of toxic free radicals on your brain. That’s we view it as one of the best.
The proanthocyanidins also release nitric oxide into your blood which dilates blood vessels and allows more nutrients to get your brain like oxygen and glucose which allows it to function more effectively.
There’s also some supporting evidence which shows Maritime Pine Bark’s nootropic properties to help multi-pathway brain regeneration to help prevent cognitive decline.
You won’t find this in many other nootropics – so either look into building a custom stack or choose a premium pre-made nootropic stack. Ideally you should be looking for doses of 50 – 100 mg, it doesn’t take much.
11. L-Theanine – Promotes Calmness, Fights Anxiety & Depression
L-Theanine is great for improving your overall state of mood. This nootropic has been seen to help promote calmness and tranquility while still keeping your mentally focused and alert.
L-Theanine helps promote your alpha brainwaves which help with relaxation. It also helps to promote feel good hormones like dopamine, serotonin and GABA.
It’s good for improving clear-thinking and a great addition to any best nootropics stack.
The secret benefit to L-Theanine is that it can help reduce jitters associated with caffeine. The result gives that caffeinated boost without any of the twitchy uneasiness you sometimes get. If you want a better nootropic combination – stack L-Theanine with caffeine.
We’ve always used L-Theanine as a staple to any of our stacks. If you’re going to build your own custom blend, this is what we’d recommend using first.
12. Caffeine – Top Nootropics Choice as a Stimulant
Caffeine isn’t just for energy – it’s one of the great nootropics when used correctly.
However, to get the most benefit, you need to find the dosage that works best for you.
You can use it to eliminate fatigue, improve focus, and general productivity just by using this potent stimulant with nootropic properties.
It doesn’t just give a boost in cognitive function, but also helps your body as well. Plenty of research is available detailing caffeine to be effective for promoting physical performance.
Sometimes it can be as simple as combing your stack with a cup of coffee – but if you’re serious we’d advise measuring some out to get that perfect balance.
As you can see, there’s a wide range of effective nootropics that you could incorporate into a fine stack. We’d advise that you look for a stack that has a little of each area covered (focus, energy, memory, anxiety and stress aid, mood and brain cell maintenance).
We love stacking nootropics and smart drugs, and making some of your own stacks is part of the fun – and satisfying once you get it right. However, if you don’t have time for that, you can’t go wrong with some of the pre-made stacks we’ve mentioned.
If that’s not for you and you want to hit one area hard, you have all the top nootropics to do so from this guide.
The Top Nootropic Stack: What we recommend
When it comes to the best possible nootropic stack on the market there are several options. You have to decide whether you want to make your own stack, use a pre-made version, or a little of both.
For most people new to brain supplements we think the answer you’re looking for is Mind Lab Pro.
We’ve tried it ourselves, and some of our staff take it daily. There are no side effects, and as far as we can tell nothing but great brain optimization, general cognitive enhancement and productive results. We recommend that you try coupling this caffeine to give it that extra boost.
It’s the best nootropic stack to get a taste of what a decent one should ‘feel’ like so if you do decide to make your own, you know what to shoot for. It’s something that’s been tested and works for most people’s cognitive enhancement.
However, if you want to dabble in stacking, or have a specific goal to achieve that’s more than cognitive enhancement – Performance Lab Mind is the best nootropic to start with.
Not only is it a great starting foundation for anyone wanting to make their own nootropic stack – you can use other products from the Performance Lab range to give it well-researched boost that has great compatibility with it.
Our main writer, Pablo Garduno believes Mind is the best nootropic and is currently the following Performance Lab products with it:
Performance Lab Energy – Boosts mitochondria across the body for maximum energy.
Performance Lab MCT – Delivers more ketone bodies to your system which is an additional fuel resource to your brain.
Performance Lab Sleep – Helps give your brain more phospholipids and energy overnight by improving sleep quality.
Performance Lab Stim – A great caffeine stack that adds a calm yet energized angle to this nootropic stack.
He swears by this nootropic stack, and you can read more about it in his review.
This is a huge stack, and only something you should look into if you’re serious about seeing huge overall results. It’s good for both improving the performance of your body and mind, while also making supporting a better night’s sleep.
That said, both Mind Lab Pro and Performance Lab Mind have enough within to manage:
- Cognitive Performance
- Brain Energy
- Blood Flow to the Brain
- Stress and Anxiety
- Brain Cell Health and Maintenance
- Mental Performance
- Brain Cell Nerve Growth
- Learning Speed
- Verbal Fluency
- Mental Clarity
- Brain Development and Cell Optimization
- Working Under Pressure
- Burnout Resistance
Nootropics are great for improving cognitive performance, fighting brain fog and getting the most out of your mind. Although it’s great experimenting, always make sure to follow are guidelines and ensure that you start in low doses. There are also several ways that can improve the effects, by giving yourself a healthy diet, plenty of sleep and exercise.
We’d also recommend sticking to a nootropic supplement that’s natural. We believe the best are ones that keep risk to a minimum. Pablo and the team have been experimenting with nootropics and supplements for several years and always choose natural over synthetic – especially if you’re looking to use them long term.
Now you should be well on your way to build the best nootropics stack!