Best Nootropics 2023: Top OTC Supplement for Focus, Memory and Concentration

In today's increasingly competitive world, it's no surprise that 47% of people at major tech companies admit to using some form of cognitive enhancement to stay sharp and focused. 

If you're looking to join the ranks of high achievers, nootropics might be the answer you're seeking. 

In this article, we'll explore the best nootropics available to help you optimize your mental performance and reach your full potential.

What Are Nootropics?

Nootropics, often referred to as "smart drugs" or cognitive enhancers, are dietary supplements that can enhance various cognitive abilities, such as memory, focus, and creativity. These powerful compounds are designed to support mental performance and help you achieve peak cognitive function. People from all walks of life, including students, entrepreneurs, and even those dealing with age-related cognitive decline, have turned to nootropics as a way to combat brain fog, improve concentration, and keep their minds sharp.

The popularity of nootropics has surged in recent years, as more and more people discover their benefits for enhancing cognitive function. While some nootropics are prescribed to treat specific conditions like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), many are available over the counter, making them easily accessible for anyone looking to boost their brainpower. By targeting specific pathways in the brain, nootropics can help optimize the health and function of brain cells, leading to a more focused and efficient mind.

So, if you're ready to supercharge your cognitive abilities and stay ahead of the curve, read on to discover our top picks for the best nootropics on the market. We'll dive into the unique benefits of each, so you can make an informed decision about which one is right for you. Whether you're looking to enhance your memory, improve your focus, or simply maintain optimal brain health, there's a nootropic out there that can help you achieve your goals.

In this comprehensive guide, we'll break down the science behind these powerful cognitive enhancers and explain how they can support your mental performance. With so many options available, it's important to understand the different types of nootropics and how they work, so you can choose the one that best suits your needs.

From natural plant extracts to synthetic compounds, the world of nootropics offers an exciting array of options for those looking to optimize their mental abilities. So, let's dive into our top picks for the best nootropics to help you unlock your full cognitive potential and thrive in today's fast-paced world.

How Do Great Nootropics Work?

The best nootropics work through a variety of mechanisms to enhance cognitive performance, support brain function, and promote long-term brain health. In this section, we'll explore some of the main ways these powerful compounds work to improve mental processing speed, executive functions, memory retention, and memory recall.

Energy Levels and Cognitive Performance

One of the primary ways nootropics can enhance cognitive performance is by increasing energy levels in the brain. For example, compounds like Citicoline can boost the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the primary source of energy for brain cells ^1^. By increasing energy availability, these nootropics can improve mental processing speed and overall cognitive function.

Reducing Oxidative Stress

Oxidative stress is known to contribute to cognitive impairments and age-related declines in brain function ^2^. Some nootropics, such as antioxidants found in Ginkgo biloba and Bacopa monnieri, can protect brain cells from oxidative damage, thereby supporting mental health and preserving cognitive abilities over time.

Modulating Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factors (BDNF)

Brain-derived neurotrophic factors (BDNF) play a crucial role in the growth, maintenance, and survival of brain cells ^3^. Nootropics like Lion's Mane Mushroom and Rhodiola rosea have been shown to increase BDNF levels, which can lead to improvements in learning, memory, and overall cognitive function ^4^.

Improving Cerebral Blood Flow

Cerebral blood flow is essential for delivering nutrients and oxygen to brain cells, as well as removing waste products. Some nootropics, such as Ginkgo biloba and Vinpocetine, can enhance cerebral blood flow, which in turn supports brain function and mental health ^5^.

Modulating Brain Chemicals

Nootropics can also influence the levels of various brain chemicals, such as neurotransmitters, which are responsible for transmitting signals between brain cells. For instance, compounds like L-theanine and Bacopa monnieri can modulate levels of neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin, which are involved in mood regulation, attention, and memory processes ^6^. By modulating these brain chemicals, nootropics can enhance cognitive abilities and contribute to better mental health.

Enhancing Mental Processing Speed and Executive Functions

Mental processing speed and executive functions, such as decision-making, planning, and problem-solving, are vital components of cognitive performance. Some nootropics, like Citicoline and Panax Ginseng, have been shown to support these cognitive processes by boosting attention, working memory, and information processing ^7^.

Promoting Long-Term Brain Health

In addition to providing immediate cognitive benefits, many nootropics can also promote long-term brain health by supporting neuroplasticity and neurogenesis. For example, substances like Bacopa monnieri, Lion's Mane Mushroom, and Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to enhance the growth and development of new brain cells, as well as supporting the connections between existing neurons ^8^. This can lead to improved memory retention and recall, as well as protection against age-related cognitive decline.

In summary, the best nootropics work through a variety of mechanisms to enhance cognitive performance, protect against oxidative stress, modulate brain chemicals, support cerebral blood flow, and promote long-term brain health. By understanding these mechanisms, you can make more informed choices about which nootropic supplements may be most beneficial for your specific cognitive needs and goals.

Most Effective Nootropics According to Latest Clinical Studies


Citicoline, a choline precursor, is known to increase levels of acetylcholine, a crucial neurotransmitter involved in learning and memory processes. Studies have found that Citicoline supplementation can improve attention spans, mental energy, and overall cognitive performance Secades & Lorenzo (2016). Its neuroprotective effects make it an ideal choice for long-term use, particularly in individuals experiencing age-related cognitive decline.

Bacopa monnieri

Bacopa monnieri, a natural herbal nootropic, is known for its memory-enhancing properties. It has been shown to improve short-term memory, memory retention, and memory recall in various clinical trials Calabrese et al. (2008). Bacopa monnieri also exhibits neuroprotective effects, making it a promising option for long-term use in maintaining mental acuity.

Lion's Mane Mushroom

Lion's Mane Mushroom, a unique edible fungus, has been shown to support cognitive function, particularly in the areas of memory and learning. Research suggests that it promotes the production of nerve growth factor (NGF) and may enhance neurogenesis Lai et al. (2013). Lion's Mane Mushroom also demonstrates neuroprotective effects, which could help protect the brain from age-related decline.

Ginkgo biloba

Ginkgo biloba, an ancient tree species, has been used for centuries to improve mental function. Its nootropic effects are attributed to its ability to increase cerebral blood flow, thus enhancing oxygen and nutrient delivery to brain cells Ahlemeyer & Krieglstein (2003). Ginkgo biloba has been shown to improve memory, attention, and overall cognitive performance, making it a popular choice for those seeking a natural cognitive enhancer.

Rhodiola rosea

Rhodiola rosea, an adaptogenic herb, is known for its ability to help the body adapt to stress and enhance mental function. Research indicates that Rhodiola rosea can improve mental performance under stress, reduce mental fatigue, and increase overall cognitive performance Darbinyan et al. (2000). Its adaptogenic properties make it an excellent choice for individuals dealing with high stress levels or seeking to support mental resilience.


Theanine, an amino acid found in green tea, is known for its calming and relaxing properties. It has been shown to improve attention and cognitive performance, particularly when combined with caffeine Haskell et al. (2008). Theanine's ability to enhance focus without causing overstimulation makes it an attractive nootropic for those seeking a more balanced cognitive boost.


Tyrosine, another amino acid, is a precursor to important neurotransmitters such as dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine. Studies have demonstrated that Tyrosine supplementation can enhance cognitive performance under conditions of stress, fatigue, or sleep deprivation Colzato et al. (2013). Tyrosine's role in neurotransmitter synthesis makes it a valuable nootropic for supporting mental function during challenging situations.


Caffeine, a widely-consumed stimulant, is known for its ability to increase alertness and improve short-term memory and cognitive performance Nehlig (2010). Although caffeine can provide a temporary boost in mental function, overconsumption can lead to tolerance and negative side effects. When used in moderation and combined with other nootropics, such as Theanine, caffeine can be an effective component of a well-rounded cognitive enhancement strategy.


Vitamin B12 plays a critical role in maintaining brain health and supporting cognitive function. Deficiency in B12 can lead to cognitive impairments, particularly in older individuals Smith et al. (2010). B12 supplementation has been shown to improve memory and cognitive performance in individuals with low B12 levels, making it an important nootropic for maintaining optimal brain function.

Panax Ginseng

Panax Ginseng, a traditional medicinal herb, has been used for centuries to enhance mental performance and overall well-being. Research suggests that Panax Ginseng can improve cognitive performance, particularly in the areas of attention, working memory, and mental processing speed Reay et al. (2010). Its adaptogenic properties also help the body adapt to stress, making it a valuable nootropic for promoting mental resilience and overall brain performance.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids, particularly EPA and DHA, are essential for maintaining brain health and supporting cognitive function. These fatty acids play a crucial role in brain cell membrane integrity and have been shown to exhibit neuroprotective effects Gómez-Pinilla (2008). Omega-3 supplementation may help improve memory, learning, and overall cognitive performance, making it an important component of a comprehensive nootropic strategy.

By understanding the unique properties and benefits of each of these nootropics, individuals can create a tailored cognitive enhancement plan to meet their specific needs and goals. From improving short-term memory and attention spans to supporting long-term brain health and mental resilience, these nootropics offer a range of benefits backed by scientific research. Always consult with a healthcare professional before starting any supplementation regimen, especially if you are taking prescription medications or have existing health concerns.

Natural vs Synthetic Nootropics

When considering nootropics for cognitive enhancement, it's essential to differentiate between natural and synthetic options. Natural supplements, often derived from herbal extracts, have been used in traditional medicine for centuries to support cognitive function and overall brain health. These compounds usually have a long history of use and offer various cognitive benefits with minimal adverse effects.

On the other hand, synthetic smart drugs are laboratory-created compounds designed to optimize cognitive performance. While these substances can provide potent nootropic benefits, they may also be associated with a higher risk of side effects and complications, especially with long-term use.

Side Effects of Nootropics

Both natural and synthetic nootropics can have potential side effects, although these are generally more common and severe with synthetic compounds. Some common side effects associated with nootropics include:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Digestive upset
  • Insomnia
  • Increased heart rate
  • Elevated blood pressure

While natural nootropics are generally considered safer, they are not entirely risk-free. It is essential to follow recommended dosages and consult with a healthcare professional if any adverse effects are experienced.

Ultimately, natural nootropic stacks offer a more reliable, safer, and suitable option for long-term use compared to their synthetic counterparts. By harnessing the power of herbal extracts and active compounds that have been used for centuries, natural nootropics provide a well-rounded approach to cognitive enhancement without the risks associated with the use of a synthetic nootropic or synthetic smart drugs for extended periods.

Benefits of Stacking Nootropics

Stacking nootropics involves combining different compounds to maximize their cognitive benefits and enhance brain power. By using multiple nootropic ingredients that complement each other's effects, you can experience a more significant impact on cognitive function than by taking each substance individually. Scientific studies have shown that some nootropic compounds stack particularly well together.

For example, caffeine and theanine work synergistically to boost mental alertness while reducing the jitteriness and anxiety commonly associated with caffeine. The combination of Citicoline and Tyrosine helps increase the neurotransmitter acetylcholine and dopamine levels, respectively, resulting in improved focus and attention. It is essential to also include Vitamin B6 when taking Tyrosine, as B6 plays a vital role in converting Tyrosine into dopamine. Without adequate B6, the benefits of Tyrosine may be significantly reduced.

Another effective stack is Rhodiola rosea and Ginkgo biloba, which together can enhance mental performance, reduce the effects of stress, and promote healthy brain function. Rhodiola rosea is known for its adaptogenic properties, helping the body adapt to stress, while Ginkgo biloba improves cerebral blood flow, supporting healthy brain cells and cognitive function.

By carefully stacking nootropic supplements, you can create a personalized brain-boosting regimen tailored to your specific needs and goals, often with more significant benefits than using individual compounds.

What to Look for in the Best Nootropics

When choosing the best nootropics, it's essential to consider the following factors:

  • Clinically proven ingredients
  • High-quality, standardized herbal extracts
  • Transparent labelling (avoid proprietary blends)
  • No unproven, risky, or artificial ingredients
  • Positive user reviews

Avoid products that use proprietary blends, as they don't disclose individual ingredient dosages, making it difficult to determine their effectiveness. Stick to reputable brands with transparent labelling and high-quality ingredients to ensure optimal cognitive benefits.

What Is The Best Nootropic Stack On The Market Right Now?

So, based on everything we’ve talked about, what is the best nootropic for focus, memory and long-term brain health?

The answer is Nooceptin. 

Nooceptin was specifically made to enhance every aspect of executive cognitive function, promote brain health over the long-term, and to provide deep, lasting benefits by promoting neurogenesis. It was also created with the highest standards as a guide. 

The result is the most complete nootropic on the market and a clean, pure, transparent formula full of clinically proven ingredients at safe dosages.

The benefits of taking Nooceptin on a daily basis for several weeks include:

  • Sharper focus
  • Faster processing speeds and decision making
  • Increased motivation
  • Better memory retention and recall
  • Greater mental energy and stamina
  • Reduced stress & anxiety
  • Supports long-term brain cell health
  • Promotes neurogenesis and neuroplasticity

Nooceptin exclusively uses ingredients which have been proven to benefit cognitive function and brain health in robust clinical trials. They have all been deemed safe and side effect-free, especially at the doses used in the stack. So if you’re looking for a safe, reliable and potent natural nootropic, Nooceptin is the best around. 

How to Know When Nootropics Are Working

Recognizing the effects of nootropics can vary from person to person, but in general, you should notice subtle improvements in focus, memory, and cognitive function. It's important to remember that the best nootropics often take some time to start working fully. As your body adjusts to the ingredients and their beneficial effects accumulate, you'll gradually experience more significant cognitive improvements. Be patient and give your chosen nootropic stack a few weeks to reveal its full potential.

Best Nootropics FAQs

Do any nootropics actually work?

Yes, many nootropics have been clinically shown to improve cognitive function, memory, focus, and other areas of brain performance. However, it's important to do your research and choose high-quality, scientifically-backed supplements.

How Much Do Nootropics Cost?

The cost of nootropics varies widely depending on the brand, dosage, and specific ingredients. Some supplements can be quite expensive, while others are more affordable. It's important to consider the quality and effectiveness of a supplement rather than just the price.

Who Should Consider Taking Nootropics?

Anyone looking to improve their cognitive abilities, memory, focus, or mental energy can consider taking nootropics. Additionally, individuals dealing with age-related cognitive decline or neurological conditions may benefit from nootropics.

Can Brain Supplements Help Improve Memory?

Yes, some nootropics have been shown to improve memory and enhance cognitive function. Ingredients such as Bacopa monnieri, Citicoline, and Lion's Mane Mushroom are known for their memory-boosting properties.

Can Smart Pills Help with ADHD?

Some nootropics, such as stimulants like caffeine and Adderall, have been shown to improve symptoms of ADHD in some individuals. However, it's important to talk to a healthcare professional before using any cognitive enhancers to treat ADHD.

Are nootropic pills safe?

When used as directed, high-quality nootropics are generally safe and well-tolerated. However, it's important to avoid taking high doses or combining multiple supplements without first consulting a healthcare professional.

Are the Best Brain Supplements FDA-Approved?

The FDA does not approve dietary supplements, including nootropics. However, reputable supplement companies will follow good manufacturing practices and use high-quality ingredients to ensure safety and efficacy.