Have you ever found yourself walking into a room and just standing there having completely forgotten what you were looking for? For me, it was a common experience, so when I heard that nootropics might be able to help, I was determined to find out more.
Nootropics are substances that can boost your brainpower by improving your memory, removing brain fog, increasing focus and reducing stress. The best nootropics are found in the natural world and can be added to your diet through food or supplements.
Having now tried numerous different nootropics, I’ve discovered that some are significantly more effective than others. I also found that your own needs and brain chemistry play a significant role in which ones will work for you.
In this list, I’ve included the best products I’ve used and will highlight key information to help you quickly find which one will suit you best.
The word nootropic has now become a general term that means any product that can help your brain to work at its best. However, it was originally created by Professor Corneliu Giurgea who set out several criteria to define genuine nootropics. They include the ability to enhance memory, learning, general brain function under stress and focus. He also stated that nootropics must possess few, or no, side effects.
Numerous natural substances can be classed as nootropics, but they can also be made synthetically. I’ve chosen to use supplements with naturally sourced ingredients that have useful properties verified by science.
Why do people use nootropics?
Nootropics are often used to provide a general boost of brain function but they are sometimes used to produce specific results. For me, I specifically wanted better focus when working and to improve my short term memory. Others use them to enhance their performance in the workplace or to help them prepare for situations like presentations, large projects or assessments.
Following using several different nootropics for well over a year now, I’ve found that they can be incredibly useful but often don’t provide an instant effect. It usually builds slowly until you look back and realise that you’ve just had the most productive month ever. Some do create fast, noticeable results but most are at their best after several weeks of use.
What are the best natural nootropics?
The best nootropics in nature can be found all over the world in a variety of plants, microorganisms and fungi:
Green tea contains polyphenols which act as powerful antioxidants and have a protective effect on your brain cells.
Chaga is a mushroom that doesn’t improve your thinking ability but helps you retain your focus in stressful situations. It’s thought that it does this by restoring the levels of an important neurotransmitter called acetylcholine.
Cordyceps are incredible parasitic fungi that take over the bodies of caterpillars. They are known as a powerful vitality supplement, but studies have also found that they can improve your ability to learn and even boost your memory.
Pine bark extract is a powerful, fast-acting nootropic that can improve blood flow to your brain and produce a full-range of nootropic effects including improved processing, focus and memory.
L-theanine is found in green tea this is an amino acid that has been linked to improvements in memory and enhanced relaxation.
Choline is a nutrient that allows your brain to produce other substances that are essential to all of the brains’ thinking’ structures membranes and neurons.
Gotu kola is a beneficial herb that is used to improve memory and focus.
Ashwagandha is a root used in Ayurveda that has been found to have numerous positive effects and is taken to improve brain function and protect its health.
Will there be any side effects?
The nootropics mentioned here are all generally well tolerated with occasional minor side effects, including headaches and nausea. Because each of the supplements listed here includes a range of ingredients, it’s essential to look carefully for anything you may be allergic too.
If you experience any side-effects, stop taking the supplement and talk to your doctor. Some of those listed here will likely affect you better than others.
The best nootropic supplements available in the UK
According to our experience and rigorous selection criteria, we’ve carefully selected the best nootropic supplements available in the UK:
1. Living nutrition cognitive blend
These capsules contain an incredible blend of active ingredients that work in synergy to promote brain health and cognitive function. These were the first nootropic I tried several years ago, and they remain my favourite. In each vegetable cellulose shell, there is 66mg of organic, full-spectrum lion’s mane mushroom and a fermented blend of six organic ingredients, including holy basil root, Gotu kola leaf, green tea leaf, baobab fruit, turmeric root and ginger root.
They are packed in a base of dandelion, ginger, fennel and nettle and then freeze-dried to lock in all the active nutrients. In a bottle, you get 60 capsules, which is a 60 day supply if you take the minimum recommended daily amount or a 20 day supply if you take the maximum of three a day.
Living Nutrition is an experienced supplement brand who’ve been supplying biologically activated blends for many years. To ensure that their customers get the best from every ingredient they’ve developed their own kefir-kombucha style fermentation technique. This makes the substances in them easier for your body to digest and absorb. What makes their products particularly stand out for me is that instead of relying on one superfood or ingredient, they’ve used the latest research to create fermented blends that work together to give you the best possible results.
This is a nootropic that I was introduced to more recently, and I’m genuinely impressed by the incredible blend of active ingredients and its potent effect. OptNutra who produce Mind Lab Pro has used the latest research to create what they call a ‘Universal Nootropic’. Instead of just focusing on one or two areas of brain performance, this supplement aims to boost the health and activity of all areas.
In each capsule, you’ll find active ingredients that have been scientifically developed using lab techniques to make them nature-identical and bioavailable. This means that your gut recognises them as nutritious foods and digests them quickly and allows for maximum absorption into your blood. The precisely formulated ingredients are a collection of 11 nootropics including lion’s mane mushroom, maritime pine bark extract, L-theanine and B vitamins.
These capsules contain no additives or artificial fillers and are suitable for vegans. During production, every batch undergoes rigorous testing at various stages. Third-party testing verifies the nootropic content and certifies them free of allergens, GMOs, microbes, pesticides, and herbicides.
These choline capsules have been carefully designed to provide your body with alpha-glycery-phosphoryl-choline, which is a crucial building block of acetylcholine. This particular preparation can cross the blood-brain barrier in a way that food sourced choline can’t.
Brain feed aims to use the latest scientific data to create naturally sourced supplements that improve your health and wellbeing. Newcastle University, world leaders in medical research, supported their launch and remained as stakeholders.
Brain feed’s choline also contains vitamin B12 which studies show also has a role in brain activity and recall. Each packet of choline capsules includes a 60 day supply when you take the recommended once a day. They are suitable for vegans and vegetarians, and the shell is made from vegetable cellulose. In each one you can find; alpha GPC, vitamin B12, brown rice flour, silicon dioxide and magnesium stearate.
Motion Nutrition has two excellent nootropics that work together to provide the best support for your brain, day and night. The first is ‘Power Up: Day Time Nootropic’ and the second is ‘Unplug: Night Time Nootropic’. They each contain a carefully selected blend of plant substances and minerals to give your brain a boost and a rest, respectively.
Both are made with organic ingredients and suitable for vegans and vegetarians. One bottle of either blend contains 60 capsules which is a months supply when taking the recommended two every morning or evening.
The active ingredients of Power Up include lion’s mane mushroom, L-taurine, Gotu kola, ginseng extract, L-tyrosine, acetyl L-carnitine, vitamin B3, vitamin B6, vitamin B5, black pepper extract, boron, vitamin B12 and vitamin D3.
In Unplug, you will find active ingredients including L-theanine, brahmi powder, ashwagandha Root, magnesium, zinc and black pepper extract.
Day time and night time products to choose from or use together.
A range of brain supporting ingredients
Suitable for vegans and vegetarians
Made with organic ingredients
Unplug contains 50mg of ashwagandha per capsule
Power Up contains 33mg of lion’s mane mushroom per capsule
To get all the benefits, you need to buy two sets of supplements.
5. Organic Multi-mushroom 8 extract blend – Kiki Health
Mushrooms are a fantastic source of brain-boosting nutrients. This eight extract blend from Kiki Health provides a range of brain-based benefits from fungi, including cordyceps, reishi, chaga, lion’s mane, auricularia, maitake, shiitake and agaricus. These capsules contain full-spectrum extracts from the fruiting bodies of mushrooms grown on wood-rich substrates.
Each of these mushrooms has incredible reputations for their varied health-giving effects. They’ve been combined to give your body everything it needs to help your brain to work at its best.
Each capsule contains 400mg of mushrooms and is suitable for vegans and vegetarians. A bottle holds 60 capsules, and the recommended serving is between 2 to 4 per day. They are free from gluten and have no artificial colours, preservatives, sweeteners or fillers.
Full-spectrum extracts of the fruiting bodies of 8 mushrooms
Suitable for vegans and vegetarians
Certified organic by the EU organic authority and the UK Soil Association
400mg of mushrooms per capsule
No artificial additives or fillers
I’d like to know precisely how much of each mushroom they contain.
Nootropic – Mind Lab Pro contains eleven natural nootropics that have been proven to support cognitive function and brain health. Read my review.
Collagen – Edible Health Bovine Collagen. This excellent bovine collagen powder is completely tasteless and absorbs quickly into any liquid. It’s third-party lab tested and provides 13g of collagen per serving. Read my review.
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