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Nootropics are natural supplements or drugs that have a beneficial effect on brain function in healthy people.
Many of these can boost memory, motivation, creativity, alertness and general cognitive function. Nootropics may also reduce age-related declines in brain function.
Here are the 10 best nootropic supplements to boost your brain function.
Fish oil supplements are a rich source of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), two types of omega-3 fatty acids.
The other omega-3 fatty acid in fish oil, EPA, has anti-inflammatory effects that may protect the brain against damage and aging (
Taking DHA supplements has been linked with improved thinking skills, memory and reaction times in healthy people who have low DHA intakes. It has also benefitted people experiencing a mild decline in brain function (
Overall, the best way to get the recommended amount of omega-3 fatty acids is by eating two portions of oily fish per week (20).
If you can’t manage this, then taking a supplement could be beneficial. You can find many supplements online.
More research is required to find out how much and what ratios of EPA and DHA are beneficial. But taking 1 gram per day of combined DHA and EPA is generally recommended to maintain brain health (
If you don’t eat the recommended amount of oily fish, consider taking a fish oil supplement to help promote good brain health and healthy brain aging.
Resveratrol is an antioxidant that occurs naturally in the skin of purple and red fruits like grapes, raspberries and blueberries. It’s also found in red wine, chocolate and peanuts.
It’s been suggested that taking resveratrol supplements could prevent the deterioration of the hippocampus, an important part of the brain associated with memory (
If this is true, this treatment could slow down the decline in brain function you experience as you get older (
Additionally, one study on a small group of healthy older adults found that taking 200 mg of resveratrol per day for 26 weeks improved memory (
However, there currently aren’t enough human studies to be sure of resveratrol’s effects (
If you’re interested in trying it, you can find supplements in stores and online.
In animals, resveratrol supplements have been shown to improve memory and brain function. It’s not yet clear if the treatment has the same effects in people.
Caffeine is a natural stimulant most commonly found in tea, coffee and dark chocolate.
Although it’s possible to take it as a supplement, there isn’t really any need when you can get it from these sources.
It works by stimulating the brain and central nervous system, making you feel less tired and more alert (
The amount of caffeine in one cup of coffee varies, but generally it’s 50–400 mg.
However, taking too much caffeine can be counterproductive and has been linked with side effects such as anxiety, nausea and trouble sleeping.
Caffeine is a natural stimulant that can improve your brain function and make you feel more energized and alert.
It’s been suggested that taking phosphatidylserine supplements could be helpful for preserving brain health (
You can easily buy these supplements online.
However, larger studies need to be carried out before its effects on brain function can be fully understood.
Phosphatidylserine supplements could improve your thinking skills and memory. They could also help combat the decline in brain function as you age. However, further study is needed.
Acetyl-L-carnitine is an amino acid produced naturally in your body. It plays an important role in your metabolism, particularly in energy production.
These supplements can be found in vitamin stores or online.
In humans, studies have found that it may be a useful supplement for slowing the decline in brain function due to age. It may also be useful for improving brain function in people with mild dementia or Alzheimer’s (
However, there is no research to show it has a beneficial effect in otherwise healthy people who aren’t suffering from a loss of brain function.
Acetyl-L-carnitine could be helpful for treating a loss of brain function in the elderly and people with mental disorders such as dementia or Alzheimer’s. Its effects in healthy people are unknown.
Ginkgo biloba is an herbal supplement derived from the Ginkgo biloba tree. It’s an incredibly popular supplement that many people take to boost their brain power, and it’s available in stores and online.
It’s thought to work by increasing blood flow to the brain and is claimed to improve brain functions like focus and memory (
Despite the widespread use of ginkgo biloba, results from studies investigating its effects have been mixed.
Ginkgo biloba may help improve your short-term memory and thinking skills. It may also protect you from age-related decline in brain function. However, results are inconsistent.
Creatine is a natural substance that plays an important role in energy metabolism. It’s found naturally in the body, mostly in muscles and in smaller amounts in the brain.
Although it’s a popular supplement, you can find it in some foods, namely animal products like meat, fish and eggs.
Interestingly, creatine supplements can improve memory and thinking skills in people who don’t eat meat (
In fact, one study found that vegetarians taking creatine supplements experienced a 25–50% improvement in performance on a memory and intelligence test (