Nootropics are now a multi-billion dollar market in the United States and more and more people are taking these supplements.
But how do you tell if the nootropics you buy are any good?
You use our list of the best nootropics which we’ve hand selected (along with our team of testers) from the hundreds available out there, because they really do work.
How We Chose Our Best Nootropics
There are a lot of nootropics out there to choose from. Here’s how we narrowed down our selections to this list:
- Natural ingredients. We want our recommendations to be completely safe to consume, side-effect free (except for potential allergies) and non-habit forming. This is easy when the ingredients are naturally occuring.
- Real results. Not just for our testers, but also for other users who’ve reviewed the products online. There’s no point paying for something that doesn’t work, right?
- Value for money. We won’t sugar coat it (and not just because nobody needs more sugar in their diet), some nootropics are quite expensive. So, the benefits they provide have to be worth the investment in them. We don’t want anyone pouring their cash down the drain.
- Brand reputation. The supplements market can be something of a nightmare with fly-by-night low reputation brands everywhere, so we wanted to be sure that you could rely on the brand to keep producing high quality products.
- Vegan/vegetarian. There’s only one exception to this criteria on this list. We really prefer our supplements without cruelty.
Our Best Nootropics
Mind Lab Pro – 100% BrainpowerTM
We completely respect the efforts that Mind Lab Pro has gone to demonstrate the potential efficacy of this nootropic, it’s not just a bunch of scientifically proven ingredients.
Instead, they conducted double-blind trials using placebos to ensure that the benefits were real and measurable.
We were also very happy to learn that they are 100% vegan because our plant-based diet is important to us and there’s no good reason for animals to be harmed to make a nootropic.
It’s not just us that finds Mind Lab Pro effective, either, in fact, we could find plenty of online reviews that spoke to the impact it had on other user’s lives. Highly recommended.
1. This is made for a range of top quality ingredients that are healthy for you
2. It has a substantial impact on your memory improving short and long-term capacity
3. It also allows for better abstract thinking
1. You have to buy this from Mind Lab Pro, you can’t buy it elsewhere online or in stores
2. It’s quite expensive, though you can get discounts for buying multi-month supplies
3. It contains L-Theanine, which, while proven to work, shouldn’t be used for more than a few months at a time
Noocube – Brain Productivity
Noocube uses a wide-range of nootropic products to deliver substantial benefits to cognitive function and, in particular, it boosts concentration and focus.
They have over 100,000 users that report positive results, and we can concur with those users, there’s no doubt that Noocube made us feel smarter overall and our memories really improved.
These capsules are also fairly fast-acting with noticeable effects after just 30 minutes, though taking two capsules at a time is not ideal.
Our only real complaint with this brand is that the ingredients while vegetarian friendly are not 100% vegan.
1. Offers a 100% money-back guarantee if you don’t see results
2. Shipping and handling is included in the price
3. Demonstrable and tangible benefits for memory, focus and attention
1. It is expensive in individual bottles but you can get very good volume deals
2. It’s not vegan, we hope that this changes over time
3. Need to talk to your physician before using this with any OTC medication
truBRAIN – Personalized Neuro Drinks
There’s a lot to like about truBRAIN, apparently Joe Rogan (our favorite podcaster) uses them, and they certainly deliver real and appreciable results.
They are the only nootropic on our list where you can tailor the individual formulation to your needs and they come as a pouch of liquid rather than a pill or a capsule.
However, there’s no doubt that on a day-to-day basis, truBRAIN is just about the most expensive way to use nootropics, so you really need to be positive you’re getting benefits from it to get a return on your investment.
1. You can customize the formula to your exact needs
2. It tastes very nice and it really does work (at least for us and Joe Rogan)
3. We like the option to leave out caffeine if you want too
1. This is really expensive and you will want to order a small number to try before committing to it
2. The pouches aren’t as convenient as pills when you’re traveling for several days at a time
3. Have to be ordered direct from truBRAIN if you want the personalized approach
Optimum Nutrition Micronized Creatine
This creatine has been optimized for nootropic potential but you might also see if you get similar benefits from our other favorite vegan creatine supplements, we certainly did.
If you’re looking for a supplement that doesn’t require large doses and still produces results, then creatine could be what you’re looking for.
It certainly increases mental and physical performance and can help build muscle if you’re undergoing strength training too.
It has absolutely no side effects as our bodies naturally produce creatine anyway.
The downside? It’s very bland tasting.
1. You don’t need to take a lot of this to get good results from it
2. Has both physical and mental benefits particularly for muscle strength
3. Guaranteed to be side-effect free
1. One of the most bland tasting supplements there is
2. They could have included a scoop in the packaging, but they didn’t, grrr…
3. Doesn’t mix very well, but then creatine supplements, generally, don’t
New Chapter Rhodiola ForceTM
This is a pleasant and purely herbal stress relief nootropic that can really help the user to focus better when studying or doing other mentally taxing work.
It’s also been shown to have some impact on general health, this is probably due to a reduction in anxiety which has been shown to cause problems in many systems of the body.
It is completely vegetarian (as well as certified vegan) and contains 2,500 mg of Rhodiola rosea root which is picked in Siberia of all places.
In Eastern Europe and Asia this herb has been called “the elixir for life” and it has been used in traditional medicine for many years.
1. Completely herbal and vegan which is awesome news
2. It works all day long and there’s no need for a second dose
3. It helps to make you feel relaxed and less anxious
1. It can make you so relaxed that you fall asleep more easily than you might otherwise
2. It is said to cause headaches in some users, though we didn’t experience this
3. Perhaps a little expensive though there are some cheaper but lower dose capsules available
Hunter – Focus
If you’ve been working on building mental strength then you may well appreciate the bonus that Hunter’s Focus can bring to the quest for toughness of the mind.
The formula here is specifically tailored to men’s use and for those over the age of 30, in particular, as this is a period in which most of us see a drop off in mental performance.
One thing we noticed, and other users have reported, is that Hunter’s Focus doesn’t just make you smarter, it also makes you happier and we think that’s a pleasant side-benefit.
It does take several weeks to deliver maximum benefits though and you shouldn’t expect an “instant hit” from it.
1. The formula is all natural and aimed specifically at improving your mental functions
2. Hunter is a well-known and highly-trusted brand
3. The formula and all ingredients are clearly broken down so you know what you’re taking
1. This is an expensive formula compared to some of the others
2. It’s aimed at men – so women may want to try other supplements first
3. It’s aimed at the over 30s – so students might also want to try something else first
Double Wood Supplements – Adrafinil
Double Wood says their Adrafinil is one of the strongest commonly available natural nootropics that doesn’t require a prescription.
This may be true but our experience was that this was a decent remedy for focus and concentration issues but not as impactful as some of the other nootropics we tested.
However, it’s definitely kind to your stomach and can be swallowed on an empty stomach each morning without a problem, making it ideal if you like to skip breakfast.
The big downside with Adrafinil is that they use real gelatine in the manufacture of their capsules, which means it’s no use to vegans and some vegetarians too.
1. A solid, reliable brand which has produced a robust nootropic
2. Really improves concentration and at relatively short notice
3. Has a real impact on retention of learning and memory in general
1. The gelatine capsules are not going to make many users very happy
2. Some users report needing to “double dose” to get the desired effect
3. Not as powerful as some other nootropics
Host Defense – Lion’s Mane
We love mushrooms and we’re very keen on mushroom-based products, as they’re almost always vegan-friendly (like Host Defense from Lion’s Mane is) and gluten-free.
Joe Rogan has tried the Lion’s Mane himself and he too recommends the benefits for anyone seeking better memory, mental focus and overall clarity of mind too.
The ingredients here are picked fresh, made into capsules fast and are all organic and completely sustainable, which is really good.
Best of all, they deliver the benefits they claim to.
However, some users report allergic reactions to these mushrooms.
1. Vegan friendly and 100% organic that’s our kind of supplement
2. Very good at improving focus and memory
3. The ingredients are also said to support the central nervous system
1. Some people get itchy allergic reactions to it
2. Also contains brown rice which some users don’t like
3. Could be more transparent about the origins of the mushrooms and how they are grown
Jarrow Formulas – Theanine
Theanine is an active ingredient in different types of tea and, primarily, green tea and it’s been scientifically demonstrated to reduce stress.
This means that when you pop these Jarrow Formulas theanine capsules, they head straight off to the dopamine receptors in your brain to help you chill.
You will feel noticeably calmer within minutes of taking this and the good news is… it won’t leave you feeling super drowsy, so you can take it at work.
However, a big warning for this product – it can interfere with the action of certain blood pressure medication and thus, if you use blood pressure medication at all – you MUST talk to a doctor before using this.
1. It will leave you feeling calmer and less stressed
2. It can help to promote concentration and learning
3. Non-drowsy formula means it’s OK for use at work
1. It tastes horrible, really horrible – have something nearby to wash it down with
2. Non-drowsy formula, means non-drowsy – this is not a product to help you sleep
3. Some users report needing to take a higher than recommended dose to get the benefits
Final Thoughts On The Best Nootropics
Nootropics are a relatively new field and we believe these are the best natural nootropics on the market today.
There are other forms of nootropic which require a doctor’s prescription and even some that are straight up illegal to use, we advise against using these unless prescribed to you because they may all have harsh side-effects.
The nootropics on our list shouldn’t have any side-effects at all, beyond, perhaps, a mild allergic reaction.