There are countless drugs and supplements that have been shown to improve at least one aspect of cognitive performance. Below is a list of the ones we have in-depth articles about.
- 1 5-HTP
- 2 Adrafinil
- 3 Aniracetam
- 4 Ashwagandha
- 5 Bacopa
- 6 Caffeine
- 7 Centrophenoxine
- 8 Choline
- 9 Creatine
- 10 DMAE
- 11 DHEA
- 12 Dihydromyricetin
- 13 Fish Oil
- 14 GABA
- 15 Galantamine
- 16 Ginseng
- 17 Ginkgo Biloba
- 18 Green Tea
- 19 Huperzia Serrata
- 20 Hydergine (Ergoloid Mesylates)
- 21 Iodine
- 22 Lion’s Mane
- 23 Melatonin
- 24 Modafinil
- 25 Noopept
- 26 Oxiracetam
- 27 Picamilon
- 28 Piracetam
- 29 Piperine
- 30 Pramiracetam
- 31 Pterostilbene
- 32 Pyritinol
- 33 Rhodiola Rosea
- 34 St. John’s Wort
- 35 Sulbutiamine
- 36 Theanine
- 37 Tyrosine
- 38 Uridine
- 39 Vinpocetine
- 40 Vitamin B6
5-HTP is an amino acid that is derived from the seeds of Griffonia simplicifolia. It is commonly sold over-the-counter in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada as a nootropic supplement. It is commonly taken as an antidepressant, sleep aid, and appetite depressant.
Benefits: reduces anxiety, treats insomnia and depression
Dosage: 50 – 100mg three times a day
Adrafinil is a mild stimulant which works on the central nervous system. It is most often used to stay awake and alert for long periods of time. Adrafinil is metabolized into Modafinil after being consumed, giving the two drugs nearly identical effects.
Benefits: improves mood and concentration, promotes wakefulness
Dosage: 300 – 600 mg when needed
Aniracetam is a nootropic drug which has similar effects to Piracetam. It was first recognized as a nootropic in 1979. After this, animal and human research were performed. Even though Aniracetam is only considered a dietary supplement in the United States, it is a commonly prescribed medication in Europe.
Benefits: improves many aspects of mental performance
Dosage: 1000 – 2000 mg twice a day
Ashwagandha is an herb that has been used medicinally for hundreds of years. Following its introduction to the west, it has become a popular nootropic supplement. It is used for a wide range of benefits such as reducing stress and anxiety, protecting brain cells, and improving memory and cognitive functions.
Benefits: improved stress tolerance, enhanced memory, neuroprotectant
Dosage: 200 mg – 1500 mg per day
Bacopa is a perennial herb which has a long history of use as medicine. Studies have shown it to be effective at reducing anxiety as well as having nootropic properties.
Benefits: lowers anxiety, improves memory, helps focus
Dosage: 100 mg – 300 mg once or twice per day
Caffeine is easily the most commonly used and accepted nootropic. Caffeine is an alkaloid that acts as a central nervous system stimulant. Because of caffeine’s popularity, it is the most studied nootropic in the world, yet many people still overlook caffeine’s benefits when constructing their nootropic regimen.
Benefits: improves mood and focus, clears mind, reduces fatigue
Dosage: up to 400 mg per day
Centrophenoxine (Lucidril) is one of the older nootropic drugs. It was developed in 1959 at the French Scientific Research Center. Since its creation, it has been the subject of countless studies and enjoys use as a medicine for the treatment of the symptoms of senile dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. In addition to its medical uses, it is often taken as a supplement for its nootropic benefits.
Benefits: heightened intelligence, mood, and alertness
Dosage: 250 mg, once or twice a day
Choline is a water-soluble nutrient grouped with B-complex vitamins. It is an essential nutrient and is necessary for survival. Even though choline is found in many different foods it is often taken as a supplement because of its plethora of benefits.
Benefits: brightens mood and enhances memory
Dosage: ~500 mg daily
Creatine is a naturally occurring organic acid which is used by the body to help supply cells with energy. Even though creatine is extremely popular for its physical benefits, it also has nootropic benefits that are rarely discussed. Studies have shown that creatine has a very beneficial effect on one’s memory and IQ.
Benefits: increases working memory, fluid intelligence, and muscle gain
Dosage: 750 mg, two or three times a day
DMAE is an organic compound related to choline that is produced naturally by the body. Structural differences between DMAE and choline allow DMAE to cross the blood-brain barrier more easily, making its effects stronger.
Benefits: increases alertness and focus, improv
DHEA is the most commonly found steroid in humans. When taken as a supplement, DHEA can help build muscle, boost energy levels, improve the immune system, and improve libido.
Benefits: boosts energy, helps build muscle, boost the immune system
Dosage: 5 – 25 mg per day
Dihydromyricetin is a supplement which is a potent antioxidant, prevents hangovers, and acts as a “sober pill.”
Benefits: neuroprotective, hepaprotective, prevents hangovers, reverses alcohol intoxication
Dosage: 300 – 400 mg when needed
Fish Oil contains the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Both of these fatty acids are known to have certain health benefits. Studies have shown Fish Oil supplementation to be extremely valuable for long term health.
Benefits: protects the brain, improves heart health, reduces cancer risks
Dosage: varies based on the desired effect
GABA is a neurotransmitter which plays an important role in the central nervous system. It is a popular supplement due to its ability to improve mood and lower anxiety. It has also been used commonly by body-builders because of its ability to increase levels of HGH.
Benefits: improves mood, raises HGH levels, fights anxiety
Dosage: 500 mg – 1000 mg daily
Galantamine is an alkaloid that is synthesized or extracted from the flowers of Galanthus Caucasius. Galantamine has been used for decades in Europe to treat a variety of conditions such as myopathy, myasthenia, and sensory dysfunction.
Benefits: helps induce lucid dreams, improves focus and memory
Dosage: 4 mg – 12 mg, once or twice a day
The name ginseng is used to describe a multitude of herbs that have a long history of medicinal use. Herbs described as Ginseng have enjoyed a wide popularity as a dietary supplement. Recent studies have shown them to provide an array of nootropic benefits.
Benefits: improves mood, memory, and cognitive performance
Dosage: 200 mg – 600 mg of extract
Ginkgo Biloba, is a unique species of tree with that has no close relatives. The leaves of Ginko Biloba have been heavily studied for medical usage. Ginkgo Biloba is one of the most prescribed medicines in France/Germany and is one of the most popular herbal supplements in the United States and Europe.
Benefits: sharpens memory, concentration, and attention span
Dosage: ~240 mg daily
Originating in China, Green Tea has been used in as a medicine to treat various problems including poor digestion, open wounds, and body temperature mis-regulation. It has recently become much more popular in Western countries and has become the subject of many scientific studies. Many of these studies have reported many health benefits from Green Tea.
Benefits: antioxidant, neuroprotectant, reduce cancer and heart disease risks
Dosage: 1 – 3 cups per day
Huperzia Serrata is a plant which yields an extract used to make Huperzine A. Huperzine A is an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor which has a number of positive effects on cognition.
Benefits: improves memory, learning, NGF levels
Dosage: 50 mcg – 100 mcg per day
Hydergine (Ergoloid Mesylates)
Hydergine is the brand name for a mixture of ergoloid mesylates which are used to treat many mental disorders and are popular as a nootropic supplement.
Benefits: improves memory, intelligence, is neuroprotective
Dosage: 1-5 mg, twice a day
Iodine is an element essential to a large amount of different biological functions. Getting insufficient Iodine in your diet can lead to iodine deficiency, which is a serious condition that affects over 1 billion people worldwide. Symptoms of iodine deficiency include mental retardation, depression, fatigue, and weight gain. Many studies have been performed to try and determine if Iodine supplements could be used to increase fluid intelligence.
Benefits: has a positive effect on IQ
Dosage: 90 mcg – 150 mcg per day
Lion’s Mane is an edible mushroom that has a variety of beneficial health effects. Most notably is the ability to increase one’s levels of NGF when taken as a supplement. NGF is a protein which is responsible for the creation and maintenance of neurons. This means that taking Lion’s Mane will help preserve existing neurons and will increase the rate at which new ones are created.
Benefits: increases NGF
Dosage: ~ 500 mg, once or twice per day
Melatonin is a bodily hormone that is naturally secreted by the pineal gland. It serves to regulate sleep and wake cycles. Levels of Melatonin in the body slowly rise throughout the day and peak at night causing drowsiness. Melatonin is commonly taken as a sleep aid, but studies suggest its use can have other nootropic benefits as well.
Benefits: helps treat insomnia, benefits memory
Dosage: ideally 1 mg or less
Modafinil is a drug used for the treatment of narcolepsy, shift work disorder, and excessive daytime sleepiness. When taken it acts as a mild stimulant and improves one’s ability to focus and concentrate. Unlike it’s cousin Adrafinil, Modafinil is a controlled substance in the United States.
Benefits: reduces need for sleep, improves mood and concentration
Dosage: 100 mg – 200 mg, once per day when needed
Noopept is one of the most potent ‘racetams available, and is said to be over 1000 times more potent than piracetam. Out of all the ‘racetams people report it as having the most noticeable effect and producing the most pronounced cognitive benefits.
Benefits: improves many aspects of cognitive performance
Dosage: 10 – 20 mg, one – three times a day
Oxiracetam is a nootropic drug in the ‘racetam family. Its effects are comparable to those of Piracetam and Aniracetam, however, users report its effects to be much stronger and faster acting then both Piracetam and Aniracetam.
Benefits: improves many aspects of cognitive performance
Dosage: 800 mg, 1-3 times a day
Picamilon is a nootropic drug that was developed in 1969 in the Soviet Union. It has been the subject of extensive study in Japan and Russia as a prodrug of GABA. Picamilon is currently sold in the United States as a dietary supplement and is sold in Russia as an otc drug.
Benefits: improves mood and memory, treats headaches
Dosage: 50mg – 100mg, one to three times a day
Piracetam is among the very first nootropic smart drugs. Its discovery dates all the way back to 1964 when the Belgian Pharmaceutical company UCB. The research was led by Dr. Corneliu E. Girugrea and upon his discovery of Piracetam he coined the term nootropic to describe its abilities. Piracetam now commonly known as Nootropil, was launched clinically in the early 1970′s and is currently now used in many European countries.
Benefits: improves multiple aspects of cognition
Dosage: 800 – 1600 mg, two or three times a day
Piperine is an alkaloid responsible for the spiciness of certain peppers. It was discovered in 1819 when the chemist Christian Orsted isolated it from Piper nigrum. Historically, it has been used in many forms of traditional medicine. It can be purchased commercially as a supplement and has a wide range of health and nootropic benefits.
Benefits: neuroprotectant, enhances memory and nutrient absorption
Dosage: 10 mg – 20 mg per day
Pramiracetam is one of the newer members of the racetam family. It is the most potent piracetam derivative and is over 15 times stronger than piracetam.
Benefits: improves multiple aspects of cognition
Dosage: 75 – 1000 mg per day
Pterostilbene is a substance which is naturally found in blueberries and grapes. It is known for providing some great health benefits such as reduction of cognitive decline due to aging, lowering cholesterol levels, and reducing cancer risks.
Benefits: neuroprotectant, slows cognitive decline due to aging
Dosage: 50mg – 125 mg, twice daily
Pyritinol is a water-soluble counterpart to vitamin B6. It was first created by Merck Laboratories in 1961. Since its inception, this nootropic has been used as prescription medication in several countries to treat cognitive and learning disorders.
Benefits: enhances reaction time, memory, decision-making ability
Dosage: 100 mg, one to three times daily
Rhodiola is a natural nootropic that grows in colder regions. Rhodilia has been used medicinally for hundreds of years to help people cope with stress and treat depression, it currently enjoys considerable use as a supplement today.
Benefits: brightens mood, improves focus, reduces effects of stress and fatigue
Dosage: 100 mg – 200 mg, once or twice a day
St. John’s Wort
St. John’s Wort is a perennial herb which is commonly prescribed in Europe for the treatment of depression. In the US it is available over the counter and may the most powerful OTC antidepressant available.
Benefits: treats depression, prevents dementia, antioxidant
Dosage: 600 mg or less, three times a day
Sulbutiamine is a derivative of vitamin B1, but is fat soluble and crosses the blood-brain barrier far more easily. When absorbed into the brain, Sulbutiamine causes upregulation of the reticular activating system in the brain, which is the center of arousal and motivation
Benefits: provides mental energy and stamina, improves mood
Dosage: 200 mg – 600 mg per day
Theanine is an amino acid found commonly in green tea. It is known for inducing a more relaxed and alert state of mind. In 1964 theanine was approved by the Japanese Ministry of Health and Welfare for universal consumption. It is currently available in the United States as a dietary supplement and is becoming more popular due to its nootropic benefits and lack of side effects.
Benefits: neuroprotectant, reduces the effects of stress, improves memory
Dosage: 200 mg – 300 mg as needed
Tyrosine is an amino acid used by cells to synthesize proteins. Tyrosine can be found in many food products including meats, fish, nuts, beans, oats, wheat, and dairy products. It is also commonly taken as a supplement for its nootropic benefits.
Benefits: improves many aspects of cognitive performance, reduces the effects of stress
Dosage: 500 mg – 1500 mg per day
Uridine is a precursor to RNA and provides significant nootropic benefits when taken as a dietary supplement. In addition to its improvement of memory and fluid intelligence, it also lowers the effects of aging on the brain and can be an antidepressant.
Benefits: improves memory and fluid memory, neuro-protectant
Dosage: follow advice on bottle
Vinpocetine is a nootropic created from the periwinkle plant. It is known to possess neuroprotectant and memory enhancing properties. Vinpocetine is used in Europe to treat those suffering from age-related memory loss and cerebral disorders resulting from lack of blood flow to the brain. It is commonly used as a supplement that improves blood flow to the brain and memory.
Benefits: neuroprotectant, increases blood flow to the brain, improves memory
Dosage: 2 mg – 5 mg per day
Vitamin B-6 is a water-soluble compound that can be found in a variety of foods including meats, whole grain products, vegetables, nuts, and bananas. Vitamin B-6 is sold as a dietary supplement all over the world due to its many benefits.
Benefits: better sleep quality, improved attentiveness
Dosage: varies depending on dietary intake