BDNF or Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor is a protein that stimulates the growth of neurons in the brain and helps to ensure the maintenance and survival of neurons we already have.
In layman’s terms, BDNF makes you smarter by creating more connections in the brain. It may also help to ward off Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases which are often present in people with low levels of BDNF.
It’s never been easier to boost your brain growth thanks to the availability of BDNF supplements and we’ve put them to the test for you, so you can be sure that they really work.
How We Chose The Best BDNF Supplements
If boosting your BDNF levels naturally isn’t working then BDNF supplements can be the way to go but they’re not all created equally.
So, we chose our BDNF supplements for the following reasons:
- They are scientifically demonstrated to improve BDNF. That doesn’t mean that each ingredient works equally well for everyone but it does mean that it works.
- They are made by a quality, reputable manufacturer. No, random gunk churned out in capsules in a low-budget factory in an unspecified corner of the word, thanks.
- They can be used in combination with other supplements. The best BDNF results tend to come from taking multiple supplements, you can use any or all of the supplements on our list in combination with each other, completely safely.
- All natural and ideally, vegetarian or vegan, ingredients. We like supplements to be as in tune with our preferred plant-based lifestyles as possible.
- Reasonable pricing. Not everything on this list is “cheap” but there’s nothing here that you’d need to mortgage your home for, either. Getting a brain boost ought to be within everyone’s budgetary reach.
- A good experience for us and other users. Our input is useful in determining if the claims on the pack are true, but if there are dozens of other happy users out there on the internet? Then we can be sure that we’ve got it right.
Our Top BDNF Supplements For Human Brain Growth
Bronson Ashwagandha Extra Strength
Ashwagandha is what’s known as an “adaptogen”, a group of compounds that are known to reduce stress and boost your mental fortitude.
It doesn’t just boost BDNF when you take it, research says regular consumption stops your natural levels of BDNF from falling off too.
1. Made from high-quality herbs to a decent level of strength
2. Completely suitable for vegans and vegetarians
3. Give a proven boost to BDNF levels in your brain
1. Need to take two capsules every day for maximum results
2. The dose may be higher than what is strictly necessary (bioavailability notwithstanding)
3. Also contains black pepper (which is for increased absorption but some may be sensitive to it)
Pure Science Bacopa Monnieri Extract
There’s some good research that shows consuming Bacopa monnieri helps improve your recall, focus, attention and helps to alleviate anxiety.
A recent study in India has also shown that it elevates BDNF levels in the brain and promotes an antioxidative barrier against stress too.
1. Fully standardized capsules to deliver exact dosages
2. Made in the USA and fully vegan friendly
3. Fully money back guarantee if you don’t get any benefit from taking it
1. Some users have reported getting headaches after using this product
2. Perhaps, a little expensive for the number of capsules but results are good
3. Can keep you awake at night, don’t take it before bed time
NATURELO Vegan DHA – Omega 3 Oil From Algae
DHA/Omega-3 is very well-proven to boost the BDNF levels in your brain, we prefer to get our nutrients from plants wherever possible and found the NATURELO product worked really well for us.
The soft-capsule design makes these among the easiest supplements to swallow that we’ve ever tested.
1. All-natural ingredients which are 100% vegan
2. No fishy burps when compared to non-vegan offerings
3. Good for boosting the brain development of unborn children and fine for pregnant moms
1. A little bit more expensive than the fish oil versions
2. Some customers report “fogging” of capsules
3. Capsules don’t smell great
High Strength Korean Red Panax Ginseng Capsules
Ginseng has been shown in animal trials to reduce stress substantially and boost BDNF as well as nerve growth in the brain.
1. Very high dose capsules which are great value for money
2. Scientifically balanced to give the maximum health benefits
3. Can also improve your immune system and overall energy levels
1. If a capsule splits open the contents taste like salty flour
2. Some users reported a mild allergic reaction to this product
3. Some users say this product made them sleepy when taken on an empty stomach
Greenbush Gotu Kola Liquid Extract
Gotu Kola is a big deal in the universities and colleges of Bali, Indonesia where it’s known as the “student herb” because of its proven impact on boosting memory and overall mental performance.
The Chinese have studied the interactions in the brain and determined that it significantly increased the levels of BDNF present.
1. 240 doses in the bottle makes this better value than it might first seem
2. 100% natural formula that is completely vegan and 100% gluten-free
3. Highly concentrated extract for the best results
1. It has an unusual taste that you may/may not enjoy
2. The sticker price is much higher than most supplements
3. Don’t lose the dropper as it seals the bottle
Hana Naia 100% Pure Coffeeberry Extract
If there’s one plant that seems to have an incredible effect on BDNF, so much so that they’re looking at it as a potential treatment for Alzheimer’s, it’s the coffeeberry.
Now, you can get decent results for BDNF by drinking coffee but taking coffeeberry extract takes things to a whole new level.
1. Made in the USA from a 100% pure Kona Coffee formula
2. The liquid formula gives 11 times the dose of a standard extract and is absorbed much faster
3. Easy to take as you just add it to any drink
1. Does contain caffeine, though not very much, so best not taken before bed
2. Quite expensive though you do get 900 drops per bottle
3. Not organic (though it is non-GMO)
Nature’s Trove L-Theanine 200mg Super Value Capsules
L-Theanine is an amino acid that occurs completely naturally in some forms of tea and while it doesn’t affect BDNF levels directly in your brain, it does, according to research, channel the BDNF to the parts of the brain that most benefit from it.
It is so powerful that it is said to reduce anxiety, boost learning, improve mood, make you focus better and even acts as an antipsychotic agent!
1. Brilliant value pack with 365 capsules in it, that’s enough for one a day for a year!
2. Completely vegetarian option with no common allergens, animal byproducts, soy, etc.
3. Made in the USA in a GMP NSF certified facility
1. May have long-term impacts on the uptake of serotonin in your brain
2. Can make you super relaxed and sleepy
3. If you take a lot of this product in a short-time scale it can induce headaches
Nature’s Bounty Brain HP Jelly Beans
This is a product designed for pro-gamers to boost their BDNF and to get into the perfect state to win gaming tournaments and it includes a Lutein supplement to help the body better filter blue light.
We’d note that these are among the most expensive supplements, but they were also highly effective for a night in front of the TV playing Call of Duty too.
1. They taste great and come in a watermelon flavor
2. They are all natural and non-GMO and are caffeine-free and suited to vegetarians
3. Give a noticeable boost in concentration
1. Very expensive for a BDNF supplement
2. Some gamers say that they didn’t find they improved their reflexes (though they did see other benefits)
3. They have a ridiculous amount of sugar in each packet – 11 grams (that’s 22% of your RDA)
Final Thoughts On BDNF Supplements And Brain Growth
So, there you have it, BDNF supplements that really work to improve brain growth by making sure your neurons and the network they create are in top shape.
They’re also super healthy for you and because they’re all natural shouldn’t cause any issues when you take them.
You might also want to give vegan creatine a try as it’s been shown to improve BDNF levels too and, of course, a multivitamin is never a bad thing when trying to keep your brain performing at its best, either.