Welcome to our guide on the best nootropics on offer today in the UK.
This article take an in-depth look at what makes a nootropic, how they work and what you should look for (and look out for) when buying one.
Before we start, it’s important to realize that nootropic supplements can’t make up for the basics. Exercise, sleep, diet, and a healthy lifestyle should be your starting point when looking to reduce stress and keep your brain healthy.
But, just as you might take a multivitamin to nourish your body, you might also want to look into a ‘nootropic‘, a type of supplement that can improve your mental function.
When talking about nootropics, most people either refer to: individual nootropic ingredients (e.g. caffeine, Ginkgo Biloba), or nootropic stacks. Nootropic stacks combine multiple nootropics that deliver more powerful benefits than just one nootropic alone.
We have extremely strict criteria for ranking nootropics. In our eyes, the best brain health supplement needs to have:
100% safe and natural ingredients proven to work in large-scale, reputable clinical studies
A formula that covers all aspects of mental performance, from focus and mood to memory and long-range brain health
Basic supporting ingredients (such as vitamins, minerals and antioxidants)
No fillers or unnecessary ingredients. In other words, no impurities.
Extremely low risk of side effects
Below, we’ll show you the three leading nootropic formulas on the market right now, plus a more in-depth guide to the best nootropic supplement
The following supplements are suitable for both younger adults, as well as older folks who’re looking to enhance their brain health in an affordable, natural and safe way.
What Are Nootropics?
A nootropic is a form of natural supplement that is shown to have beneficial effects on our mental performance.
By definition, a nootropic is a safe compounds that can make you cognitively sharper, improve your focus, and make it easier to remember information and deal with everyday stress.
Some nootropics also provide structural support, which means they protect your brain from toxins and inflammation, while also boosting nerve growth.
Common problems nootropics can help you address include:
Lack of focus
Inability to retain information for longer than a few minutes
Inability to concentrate on what other people are saying
Losing track of what you’re doing
Chronic stress and overthinking
That said, it can take quite a bit of research to find the right nootropic for your goals. Just like any food supplement, nootropics aren’t regulated by the FDA which means you need to be wary when buying one. Caveat emptor!
We’ve listed the best nootropics and their optimal doses below to make your life easier.
Individual Nootropics vs Nootropic Stacks
As we saw above, nootropic stacks offer some advantages over individual ingredients. They work better. They’re cheaper. And they’re more convenient. You only take one capsule with the best ingredients instead of having to remember to take half a dozen supplements.
For example, the ready-made professional stack Mind Lab Pro (analyzed below) takes all the guesswork out of the picture.
You can also make a stack yourself, but this opens you up to the possibility of side effects that come as a result of not knowing how different nootropic compounds interact with each other.
So unless you’re highly experienced, we don’t recommend stacking nootropics on your own.
How We Rank Nootropic Supplements
In order to pick out the best product, we have different ranking criteria that we use. These include:
Low Stimulant Load – Stimulants like caffeine are common in brain supplements. These might work for you but reducing your overall stimulant intake to healthy levels is important for your heart.
A product that doesn’t have any stimulants is great because it allows for greater control. A nootropic supplement shouldn’t contain more than 150mg – anything higher than that risks both short-term and long-term side effects.
You also want to ensure you aren’t drinking additional caffeine on top of your intake from supplements.
This is why we prefer and recommend products that are caffeine and stimulant-free.
Clean, Premium Formulas – The best product is the most transparent product. You should know exactly what you’re taking, and in what amounts. Clean formulas are a sign of a responsible manufacturer with a genuine concern for your wellbeing.
We believe that products should be free of fillers or common allergens. A product that reduces or eliminates them scores higher.
Brand Authority – The reputation of a brand is very important when buying a product. A brand with a clean and positive track record is a trustworthy place for investing your money.
This also includes honesty: no aggressive marketing tactics, no shady formulas with proprietary blends, and avoiding companies with a history of hidden recurring charges or scams.
A company should be proud of their products. Hiding ingredients and their doses is a big red flag. It shows that they don’t believe in what they’re doing, and just want to earn a quick buck.
Customer Reviews & Testimonials – Take your time when researching products. We can give you great examples and advice but learning how to tell a good product from a bad one for yourself is important.
Visit websites and read what other people are saying about their supplements, ingredients, and the experiences they had with a company.
There’s no point in buying from someone you know nothing about. Sure, you might be lucky and have a great experience, but it’s best to get information from brands that are happy to discuss their services, products, and money-back guarantees with you!
Why Should You Take a Nootropic Supplement?
Why take nootropics? Because they can help offset some of the issues that might be hindering your mental performance.
These are just some of the underlying issues that could lead to poor memory and cognitive decline. Natural brain health supplements shown in this article have the potential to counter these issues – resulting in better mental performance.
What’s more, it’s never too early to start reaping the benefits of optimal nutrition: these food supplements are a popular choice among young adults and older people, and everyone in between who wants to be at their sharpest mentally.
The Importance of Brain Health
Every thought that arises and every action you take is the result of what happens in your brain.
This incredible 2kg organ consists of over 100 billion neurons that act within a fraction of a second of being stimulated.
Your brain is made to store and process a virtually infinite pool of information. Skills, emotions, knowledge, and memories – it’s all stored in there somewhere.
The brain is a key part of your central nervous system. The CNS processes all external and internal information and coordinates your thoughts, movements and emotions.
So if you want optimal health, you should put your brain first.
Doing exercise and eating clean on a regular basis is important to ensure the optimal quality of your life. But that’s only half of the battle – you need to look after the master computer in your head too.
This is where nootropics come into play.
Are There Any Nootropics That Actually Work?
The answer is yes. However, you’ll need to look for nootropics that are backed by recent clinical evidence. Many supplements boast aggressive marketing but the studies behind them are very thin – and often only performed on rats.
Obviously, different nootropics will come at different doses, in different forms, so you’ll need to keep an eye on what you’re getting.
Handily we’ve listed the best nootropic ingredients and their optimal amounts in this article for you, so you can make an informed choice.
Executive functions such as reasoning and planning
Moreover, the benefits of these supplements can be categorized into short-term and long-term depending on how they work.
So, for some nootropics, you don’t have to wait months to feel them working. Some, like L-Tyrosine, start working within 30 minutes of ingestion.
Some of the short-term benefits include: cognitive power, clear headspace, optimized energy. These effects might help improve everything from sports & gaming performance to work project revision and stress reduction. ‘Noots’ can even help you manage anxiety and mood swings.
Long-term benefits include: healthy brain aging, improvement in neural tissue integrity and health, retention of memory
According to studies, your brain shrinks in size over time. As your neuronal structure changes, the risk of cognitive decline increases.
Nootropics can be a great way to help protect your brain health from declining and provide support for a happier, healthier life.
What is the Most Effective Nootropic?
The answer to what is the most effective nootropic is it depends.
We know, it sounds cliché, but it all boils down to your individual brain chemistry, as well as your lifestyle, goals and environmental factors.
Generally speaking, the most effective nootropic overall is citicoline. The second place goes to Phosphatidylserine. Together, these two nootropics cover brain cell health, information processing, motivation and focus, stress resistance and memory.
But again, it all depends on what you’re looking for out of nootropic. For example, if you want to feel less anxious and stressed, then citicoline is far from the most effective nootropic. For that purpose, something like Ashwagandha or Bacopa Monnieri is much better.
Bacopa Monnieri – memory and learning benefits for improved matchday performance.
With the addition of Bacopa Monnieri, this mini-stack can give you a highly effective, yet totally safe and legal competitive edge.
Stress, exercise, and high-performance thinking all deplete brain chemicals needed for mental focus.
The stack best for offsetting this is:
N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine – Supports the creation of stress-depleted neurotransmitters.
L-Theanine– Promotes healthy alpha brainwaves which are beneficial for relaxation and deep sleep, which in turn helps your brain recover and repair.
Mental Performance Under Pressure
The combo of Rhodiola Rosea and N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine is very effective for boosting cognitive function under stressful, distracting and demanding scenarios.
N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine – maintains healthy levels of catecholamine neurotransmitters that are needed for high-intensity cognitive tasks.
Rhodiola Rosea – its adaptogenic activity makes you more resilient to stress, enabling you to maintain a ‘cool’ head when things get hot.
Vitamin B6 and L-Theanine is an excellent mini stack for a positive mental outlook.
Vitamin B6 – It helps your brain make serotonin, dopamine, and other mood-balancing brain chemicals.
L-Theanine – Promotes the GABA neurotransmitter, as well as calming Alpha Brain waves.
Memory, Learning, and Information Retention
DHA, PS, Bacopa and Lion’s Mane is an amazing stack for helping you to encode and recall crucial information in the short-term, as well as improving the consolidation of that knowledge in your long-term memory.
Phosphatidylserine (PS) – Helps your brain cells communicate more efficiently.
Bacopa Monnieri – Sustains the retention of newly acquired information, making it the best nootropic for long-term memory.
Lion’s Mane – Supports neuron growth and brain plasticity that underlie new learning.
DHA – Foundational component of your brain cells which is needed for their healthy function.
This stack is a very smart choice for students and learners of all age groups to recall and retain newly acquired information.
What Nootropic is Most Like Adderall?
Adderall is undoubtedly one of the most used cognitive enhancers ever made.
Students around the world use Adderall to learn information faster during finals.
Adderall use is also highly prevalent in big companies and corporations.
This productivity drug is most popular in the US, where it seems to be prescribed to anyone and everyone who asks for it!
The thing about Adderall is that it most definitely works. Anyone who’s used it will tell you the same thing – you really feel it kick in once you take it.
There’s currently no natural OTC replacement for Adderall that can give you the same effects.
The effect of amphetamine salts is too powerful to be compared with natural nootropics.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t get a natural alternative to Adderall. Plenty of nootropics on the market offer safer, more reliable, and more effective long-term results.
So, what are some of the best nootropics to use as an Adderall alternative?
Best OTC Natural Adderall Alternatives
Professional stacks like Mind Lab Pro deliver complete brain optimization in a way that’s safe, natural and non-addictive.
Other formulas, such as Performance Lab Mind and Alpha Brain, can be combined with caffeine to give you the ‘boost’ people want from Adderall.
Of course, you can also try to create your own stack, depending on how experienced you are with nootropics. We’ve shown you a simple stack example for brain energy and focus above. Now it’s up to you to experiment and find what works best for your goals!
How to Build Your Own Nootropic Stack – Top Tips
Here are 5 tips for building your ultimate nootropic stack tailored to your unique wants and needs.
Define your goal – Know what it is that you want to achieve. Is it better memory? More mental energy? Long-term brain health and support? Mood & anxiety? Don’t just rush into buying a supplement. Thinking about what your goals are in advance will help you make a better choice.
Do proper research – Make sure to do a lot of reading before buying any supplement. Take your time and read through all the major studies about the nootropic. You might find that some nootropics are very popular, but don’t have clinical evidence to back the hype up.
Always start low – You don’t want to push pedal to the metal with nootropics. If you’re new to them, make sure to start with the lowest recommended dosage; maybe even half of that is possible. This way, you’ll see how little of the compound you need to notice a difference, and you’ll dramatically cut down the risk of side effects.
Try a simple stack first – If you’ve never dabbled in the world of nootropics before, it’s best to start simple. Most people will see an improvement in their focus and memory from a DHA and vitamin B complex stack. Adding in some Ginkgo Biloba and caffeine is typically enough to bring about a notable boost in your cognitive function.
Try different types of the same nootropic – For example, Citicoline (or CDP-Choline) is far more bioavailable and effective at boosting your brain function than plain choline powder. Some forms of minerals (i.e. magnesium) are better absorbed by your body than the others. Another example is Bacopa Monnieri. You’ll generally find two different Bacopa extracts on the market – Bacognize and Synapsa. Each one has a different effect. For some, one form of Bacopa is more calming and for others, it’s more energizing.
Don’t forget about the essentials – Diet, exercise, sleep, water, reading, socializing, cutting back on alcohol. These are just some of the things you should ensure you’re doing right in order to really get the most out of nootropic supplements.
Do Nootropics Have Side Effects?
The pioneer of nootropics, Dr. Corneliu Giurgea, said that by definition they must be free of side effects.
Therefore, true nootropics are naturally risk-free.
Obviously, there’s a lot of different nootropics on the market right now, and each one was made differently.
All the variables that can happen between when a herb is picked from the ground and when a person takes it in a capsule can increase the risk of side effects.
Before trying a nootropic, consider some of the following risk factors:
Formula – Not all nootropics should be taken together. This is why it’s best to choose a pre-made professional nootropic stack from a reputable company. That is, unless you’re highly experienced with stacking and know what you’re doing.
Usage history – This is arguably the most important way you can determine if a nootropic is safe and worth a go. This includes both anecdotal (of other people) and clinical evidence.
Manufacturing quality – The supplement should be made in a cGMP certified facility.
Ingredient quality – Some nootropics are grown in polluted environments. Other nootropic ingredients might come in their synthetic forms. Take B vitamins for example. Look for branded nootropics that have a trademark on their name and are standardized to a precise dose.
Fillers – These are the “other ingredients” you see on the product’s label. These might include gluten, soy, artificial colorants, or other added ingredients that do nothing except adding to the dead weight of the product. The fewer “other” ingredients, the better.
Other Nootropic Risk Factors
Even if your nootropic passes all of the criteria from above, you might still be at risk of side effects.
How? By taking the supplement the wrong way.
Some of the following examples show how misusing or abusing the supplement can lead to unwanted consequences.
Taking too many servings too many times is one way to overdo it with nootropics.
The upper safe limit is different for every nootropic, for example:
Caffeine – Anything over 400mg per day can lead to side effects. In intolerant users, as little as 100mg can result in adverse consequences.
Citicoline – Anything between 250mg-2000mg is safe to take every day.
Follow the manufacturer’s (or your doctor’s) instructions, watch your daily intake, and consider cycling the supplement ‘on’ and ‘off’ if that’s required.
This is perhaps the biggest reason why so many nootropic users experience side effects. They’re taking too much at once.
In most cases, more isn’t better with nootropics. You need to make sure to stick to the recommended “serving sizes” on the label and proper dosage levels, in order to avoid painful visits to the bathroom!
Genetics & Lifestyle Factors
This is the most unpredictable nootropic risk factor.
Each one of us will react to a different compound in a different manner. This all comes down to your genetics, diet, medications, exercise activity and so on.
Some users might experience side effects from a nootropic, while many other people report positive, amazing results. On the other hand, some users might not feel anything at all.
These stark differences only highlight the need for robust, large placebo-controlled clinical studies. These allow us to gauge how effective and safe a nootropic truly is for the majority of people.
Are Nootropics Addictive?
This is a common question that we’ll always answer the same: a true nootropic is non-addictive.
Obviously, some nootropics can lead to “physiological withdrawal-like symptoms,” the best example of this is caffeine.
But for the most part, it’s the non-addictive nature of nootropics that makes them so popular around the world.
How to Get Started If You’re New to Nootropics
There’s a lot to take in from this nootropics guide.
If you’re completely new to nootropic supplements, you might want to start with fish oil + caffeine + theanine for focus and productivity. You’ll want to use a lower dose of caffeine (50-100mg) and twice as much l-theanine, with your first meal of the day.
For mood and stress, we suggest trying Rhodiola and Bacopa Monnieri with your breakfast.
For sleep, you might want to consider melatonin, Phosphatidylserine and L-Theanine.
And for mental energy, memory and long-term brain health, a mini-stack consisting of Lion’s Mane Mushroom, DHA, and Citicoline is a good starting point.
Nootropics are no different from other supplements. As cliche as it might sound, they’re addons to your healthy lifestyle, not a replacement for it!
Following a regular exercise routine, eating a varied diet and ensuring you sleep well for 7-9 hours every night will do more for your mental health than any supplement can.
That said, a good nootropic – particularly the one that is proven by reputable scientific studies – can provide amazing support to your lifestyle.
A good nootropic can help you with:
Focus and productivity
Long-term brain health
There are many nootropics available over the counter in the UK. Each one works in its own way.
However, if you want to support your brain health from all angles, you should look into nootropic stacks. These combine multiple nootropic ingredients which address different areas of your cognitive function.
Our current favorite nootropic stack is Mind Lab Pro, which uses 11 natural ingredients, is of the cleanest quality and made by professionals.
Alpha Brain is another good option that provides some of the best nootropics in safe and effective doses.
Performance Lab Mind is a smart choice for those that want to build their own custom nootropic stack, and can be safely used together with other supplements without any issue.
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