The Best Nootropics For Memory, Focus and Studying — Top Supplements of 2021

The surefire way to fuel your brain's memory full potential.

The best nootropics for memory can be your ticket to safely achieving optimal brain activity when you need to focus.

Nootropics, or smart drugs, are unique purpose-driven supplements that impact memory, learning, intelligence, recall, and focus via several pathways.

They can include everything from ancient herbs, potent vitamins, and even synthetic substances to yield these benefits.

However, given the wide variety available, it’s essential to have the correct knowledge and information before investing in a nootropic.

Some are used as standalone supplements, while some work best when stacked with others. Here we will look at some excellent nootropics to take your memory and focus to the next level.

6 Best Nootropics For Memory Reviewed

  1. NooCube — Best Nootropic For Memory Overall
  2. Mind Lab Pro — Best Nootropic For Memory and Studying
  3. Performance Lab Mind — Best Nootropic For Memory and Energy Improvement
  4. Qualia Mind — Best Nootropic For Focus and Mental Performance
  5. Alpha Brain — Best Nootropic For Cognitive Processing
  6. Zhou Neuro Peak — Best Supplement To Improve Memory For The Money

Best Nootropic For Memory Overall

If you find yourself struggling to remember things, suffer from low productivity, or consider yourself a scatterbrain in general, we’ve got you covered. Take a look at the best nootropic stack for memory and focus that is science-backed.

NooCube
Best for memory and focus

#1 NooCube

A quality nootropic for optimizing mental health, NooCube enhances cognitive activity like memory, focus, attention, and everything in between.

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NooCube boasts a premium formula using cleverly selected brain-boosting, sustainable ingredients. It is recommended for everyone who wants to achieve peak mental performance without caffeine’s stimulatory effects.

Its alpha GPC and l-tyrosine content do wonders for boosting neurotransmitters that optimize brain performance, improve mood, and regulate emotions.

Its potent antioxidant blend of cat’s claw, oat straw, resveratrol, and pterostilbene helps fight free radical activity and shield the brain from long-term damage.

Then you have the relaxing properties of l-theanine and bacopa monnieri to prevent over-stimulation in the brain and ensure that this supplement works on multiple levels.

Given the NooCube brand’s complete transparency for ingredient choice and its effects on memory enhancement, we consider it the best nootropic stack for memory and focus.

Read our NooCube review.

What We Like

  • Caffeine-free formula
  • No proprietary blends used
  • Money-back guarantee

What We Don’t Like

  • It should be cycled for the best results

Best Nootropic For Memory and Studying

Want instant energy but without the effects of stimulants? Yes, It’s possible with cleverly crafted nootropics for memory that target active thinking, fast mental processing, and quick recall. And we’ve got one right here for you.

Mind Lab Pro
Best for memory and studying

#2 Mind Lab Pro

Mind Lab Pro is the perfect memory aid to meet the demand for high-level performance when you need an instant memory boost.

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Mind Lab Pro is a nootropic designed to multi-task. It supports brainpower in every possible way covering vitality, circulation, neuroprotection, and brain waves.

Its potent blend of 11 ingredients is put together to give you the exact results you want. It makes good use of ingredients like phosphatidylserine to assist long and short-term memory.

It enhances brain support further when paired with stellar nootropics like bacopa monnieri, l-theanine, and Cognizin.

You get the correct dose of dopamine and acetylcholine-boosting potential that helps increase attention for immediate results.

So, anyone can use this supplement as their go-to option when they need a boost of instant yet sustainable energy.

Read our Mind Lab Pro review.

What We Like

  • Full spectrum nootropic
  • Addresses multiple areas of cognition
  • Boosts dopamine and acetylcholine
  • Boasts a clean label

What We Don’t Like

  • Some users experience delayed results

Best Nootropic For Memory and Energy Improvement

A boost of memory with a nudge of energy is what many people need to get their day started right. With our nootropic recommendation for improving memory and energizing the brain, you’ll get just that and more.

Performance Lab Mind
Best for memory and energy

#3 Performance Lab Mind

With nothing important left out and nothing extra added, Performance Lab Mind is a nootropic that is safe, clean, and brimming with brainpower.

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Performance Lab Mind is another powerful blend of cognitive enhancers packed cleverly into a potent formula.

Keeping things simple with its 4-ingredient formula, you get the best support to help improve cognitive functions paired with increased energy levels.

Catered to providing long and short-term memory support, clarity, and recovery, this supplement targets brain health on various fronts.

It boosts choline levels by including citicoline, supports brain health with phosphatidylserine, and reduces stress with l-tyrosine.

Add in maritime pine bark extract to round off the formula, and you get an antioxidant-rich ingredient that supports cognition through several brain pathways.

Think improved cerebral circulation, reduced free radical damage, and enhanced brain cell regeneration to yield clean, supportive brain energy.

What We Like

  • No caffeine or racetams
  • No unnecessary additives
  • Clean, vegan-friendly capsules
  • Money-back guarantee

What We Don’t Like

  • Only available from the official website

Best Nootropic For Focus and Mental Performance

If achieving robust brain energy and performance that will last is what you seek, turn to a nootropic that promises this two-in-one duo. We guarantee that you will end up with superior mental performance, focus, memory, motivation, and more with our recommendation.

Qualia Mind
Best for focus and mental performance

#4 Qualia Mind

A nootropic for active, dynamic individuals who want top mental performance and sharp focus, Qualia Mind is a well-calculated supplement to deliver long-lasting results.

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Qualia Mind contains a whopping 28 ingredients, this supplement from the Neurohacker Collective is the most comprehensive formula you’ll encounter.

It promises to deliver memory-boosting action that can also increase creativity, learning, memory and reduce the potential for memory impairment.

With a combination of nootropics like ALCAR, PPQ, Huperzine A, Ginkgo Biloba, and Rhodiola Rosea that boost neurotrophin levels, this supplement can help support synaptic plasticity. It also yields energizes the brain without feeling restless or jittery.

Other nootropics like mucuna pruriens, DLPS and NALT enhance dopamine production, which amplifies drive and productivity, while others like phosphatidylserine, uridine, and choline support long-term brain health.

Read our Qualia Mind review.

What We Like

  • Contains science-backed nootropics
  • Delivers short and long-term memory boosting results
  • All-inclusive supplement

What We Don’t Like

  • Seven pills per serving is a lot to take to have the effect
  • Very expensive

Best Nootropic For Cognitive Processing

Want a product that works like no other to optimize focus and cognitive processing? Then you have to look for what it packs in its formula. We recommend the following to get you on the path to reclaiming your cognitive skills.

Onnit Alpha Brain
Best for cognitive processing

#5 Alpha Brain

An expert in crafting solid nootropics, Alpha Brain from Onnit is a do-it-all brain supplement to support learning, memory, and cognition on several levels.

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Another contender for stimulant-free supplements, Alpha Brain, contains potent nootropics to help with the mechanisms of memory function, processing speed, and stress management.

This trifold approach of the brand is achieved when active compounds in Alpha Brain boost the production of key brain chemicals, stimulate alpha brain waves, and regulate cortisol levels.

Alpha Barin also has nervine properties that help users relax when used over time. In short, this is the supplement to look for, when you need to get through the day at the top of your cognitive game.

Read our Alpha Brain review

What We Like

  • Stimulant-free formula
  • Improves productivity
  • Yields quick results

What we don’t like

  • Contains proprietary blends
  • Not enough ingredient transparency
  • Expensive product

Best Supplement To Improve Memory For The Money

Who doesn’t love a good bargain that comes with the promise of quality? Get all the advantages of a premium nootropic without burning a hole in your wallet.

Zhou Neuro Peak
Best memory supplement for the money

#6 Zhou Neuro Peak

Zhou Neuro peak is your tool for improved brain functioning that comes at a value price.

Neuro Peak is Zhou Nutrition’s contribution to cognition and mood enhancement at a value price. The supplement includes several nutrients that are staples of the nootropic industry.

Featuring a nutrient profile with brain boosters like Ginkgo Biloba, bacopa monnieri, phosphatidylserine, and Rhodiola Rosea, it’s hard to go wrong with the supplement’s abilities to support brain well-being.

Zhou nutrition also packs in some Vitamin b12 to cater to individuals who may have a deficiency.

Other compounds like St.John’s wort, vinpocetine, and Huperzine A all cover different aspects of brain health and cognition. So, while the supplement uses on-point nutrients, we feel that some may be under-dosed.

What We Like

  • It uses some nootropic staples
  • No proprietary blends

What We Don’t Like

  • Low dosages for many nutrients
  • DMAE can cause side effects
  • Not suitable for vegans

Best Natural Nootropic Ingredients That Improve Memory

There are many healing herbs, vitamins, and amino acids that qualify as memory-boosting nootropics. All work in various manners to improve mental vitality, circulation, and cognitive skills to yield results.

Many are available as capsules, but you can also use others in extract form. Below we present some of the best and safest options to consider when looking to improve your memory.

CDP-Choline

Also known as citicoline, CDP Choline is a choline source that occurs naturally in the body. It is essential for synthesizing acetylcholine and improves signaling between neurons.

This process improves memory and learning, along with recall and general brain health. Once in the body, it splits into cytidine and choline.

Choline works on several mechanisms of improving neurotransmitter levels, enhancing energy production by increasing ATP and providing cardiovascular support by regulating homocysteine levels (1).

Memory-wise, this choline source is an excellent candidate for memory formation and support in people with age-related memory loss. It offers neuroprotection, so it holds the potential for inhibiting age-related memory loss.

Another area that citicoline covers is brain circulation. With impaired blood flow to the brain, people may experience issues like memory loss, fatigue, and the possible risk of stroke.

Given its regenerative potential of stimulating cellular growth and repair, citicoline is also used as a treatment to recover from brain injuries.

It is available in a patented form known as Cognizin that is suitable for vegetarians. Cognizin is also the only citicoline form that has been clinically tested in humans.

Phosphatidylserine (PS)

Phosphatidylserine is a substance found naturally in every cell in the body, although its concentration in the human brain is notably high.

Science confirms that phosphatidylserine supports optimal brain function as it helps create new brain cells and neurons.

This comes with neurogenerative and neuroprotective properties that have a direct effect on improved memory and learning. The same also helps improve overall cognitive function and lower the risk of cognitive decline.

Evidence-wise, most of these benefits have been established by studies involving age-related degenerative diseases.

But additional studies also indicate that younger people could benefit equally from phosphatidylserine supplementation.

Phosphatidylserine also manages brain chemical levels. One of these is dopamine which is linked to the sensations of motivation and pleasure.

Studies show that phosphatidylserine improves dopamine release, which can lower stress and improve mood (2). Both these mechanisms factor into improving working memory and information retrieval.

When combined with other potent nootropics like Ginkgo Biloba, phosphatidylserine supports healthy cognitive function in the areas of promoting mental acuity, reducing brain fog, and enhancing learning and memory.

Another stellar nootropic partner to phosphatidylserine is omega 3 fatty acids like DHA, where a combination of the two has been given serious consideration in treating Alzheimer’s disease.

L-Theanine

L-theanine is an amino acid most studied for its relaxant properties. But since it can easily cross the blood-brain barrier, it is also associated with several nootropic effects.

It is a compound present in green tea, with much of its potential from its high antioxidant concentrations. This effectively reduces oxidative stress that can be a significant detriment to optimal brain health.

A primary mechanism of l-theanine is its ability to increase alpha waves in the brain. This type of activity triggers a state of wakeful relaxation, alertness, mindfulness, and concentration without causing anxiety.

There is sufficient evidence to establish that l-theanine supplementation can stimulate alpha waves within half an hour of ingestion.

L-theanine ability also holds a strong potential for reducing stress. Studies show that this effect, in particular, may improve memory function as it is strongly linked to lower levels of stress and anxiety (3).

It is one of the safest nootropics on the market, with no severe side effects associated with its consumption.

N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine

N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine is a tyrosine amino acid in a more bioavailable form. It is often found in nootropics that aim to improve the learning and memory aspects of cognitive function.

It is important as it acts as a precursor to memory-enhancing brain chemicals like dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine.

Under stressful situations, these neurotransmitters get depleted real quick, and NALT is needed to create them. Low levels are most often associated with impaired learning capacity and memory decline.

Brain supplements will often use NALT to reverse this neurotransmitter depletion and restore memory functions under stress and other demanding conditions.

Some supplements may also stack it with other nootropics like Rhodiola Rosea to provide a complementary effect. While NALT works best under stressful situations, adaptogens like Rhodiola Rosea regulate the stress response.

Bacopa Monnieri

Bacopa Monnieri ranks highly in alternative medicine as a cognitive enhancer regulating the physical and chemical effects of stress.

Bacopa is a cholinergic compound that increases the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, important for memory and cognitive function.

This ancient herb also possesses antioxidative and anxiolytic effects that may help prevent the buildup of arterial plaque.

Bacopa is also linked with improving signaling between neurons which helps improve memory and prevent the onset of age-related cognitive decline.

As a memory aid, bacopa monnieri extract does not present immediate effects and needs to be taken continuously to feel its full potential.

Pine Bark Extract

Pine Bark extract is a nootropic used for its impressive antioxidant profile. The extract contains several compounds that prevent cellular damage, free radical formation, and oxidative damage.

In addition, it also improves blood flow to the brain, which is beneficial for improving memory and other cognitive functions.

Using pine bark in memory supplements has been linked to memory consolidation, improved attention, and positive mood, among other benefits.

To benefit from the full potential of pine bark, it’s best to continue using it for a few weeks.

Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo Biloba has been the topic of over 400 research studies and is perhaps among the most investigated nootropics ever.

The herb purports benefits for boosting mental health, including its ability to reduce brain fog and promote memory mildly impaired by aging.

Although this ancient herb shows many benefits, it is mainly known for boosting circulation to the brain. It does so by helping blood vessels relax to have a vasodilatory effect.

In terms of brain benefits, this improves nutrient and oxygen supply to the brain, which helps with cognitive enhancement, creativity, attention, learning and memory.

Ginkgo also provides neurotransmitter support by regulating acetylcholine, low levels of which are linked to different forms of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.

One human study involving older adults and some younger participants showed that ginkgo supplementation showed improvements in long-term memory in older adults. However, other aspects of cognition were not affected.

Another clinical study administered a placebo or ginkgo extract in different dosages to participants for two days. Evidence from the study showed that ginkgo administered in a form of 120 mg dosages presented maximum effectiveness for people in their 50s (4).

To experience the full benefits of ginkgo, it should be taken regularly for a couple of weeks.

Caffeine

Caffeine has a strong association with improvements in concentration, alertness, and focus. Some coffee drinkers also swear that it enhances their short-term memory.

One study with undergraduate students revealed that reading a book after taking a caffeinated drink showed a 30% improvement in memory as compared to the placebo group.

For older adults, some research indicates that caffeine may help counteract memory problems associated with age. One study showed that it lowered afternoon decline in memory experienced by “morning people” (5).

However, some other studies indicate that it may also enhance long-term memory.

Researchers from the John Hopkins University investigated the effects of caffeine on strengthening memories and making them resistant to forgetting.

The double-blind study recruited participants who were given 200 mg caffeine tablets to reveal a deeper interaction between memory and caffeine (6).

Findings from the study showed that caffeine could enhance certain memories for up to 24 hours after consumption.

But regardless of what type of memory it affects, caffeine presents its effects by interacting with adenosine receptors.

While most people can tolerate caffeine well, its consumption does hold the potential to present some side effects.

For such people, many nootropics are available without the use of any stimulants.

Panax Ginseng

There are many types of ginseng, with Panax ginseng, also known as Asian ginseng, among ancient elite adaptogens that have been used for their immense therapeutic potential for ages.

This ginseng type is a versatile adaptogen that helps memory in several ways. It works in all areas of recall, mood, energy, and relaxation.

Its active compounds are involved in different ways the body gets protected from oxidants, inflammation, and free radical damage.

Studies administered the adaptogen or a placebo to participants to see the ways it may enhance working memory, mood, and life quality. Findings showed that it could modulate working memory and improve mood and quality of life.

Other studies have looked at how it affects attention, processing, and reaction times, with findings showing an improvement in each psychomotor function (7).

To safely experience its full efficacy, only use this herb for up to 3 months at a time. While it is available in pill form, many users like to take it as an extract.

Huperzine A

The primary way that huperzine A works is by inhibiting acetylcholinesterase (AChE), an enzyme involved in the breakdown of acetylcholine.

By inhibiting AChE, huperzine A can help increase the duration of acetylcholine activity that can help improve memory, mental activity, and long-term brain health.

Another way it works is as an antagonist to glutamate receptors to prevent glutamate toxicity. This normalizes glutamate levels considered helpful in the treatment of neurodegeneration (8).

Neurohackers often stack huperzine A with Alpha GPC or piracetam. The former combination increases acetylcholine while the latter sensitizes glutamate receptors.

How Nootropic Supplements Improve Memory

Memory enhancement comes as a given with nootropic support. However, not all memories are created equal.

There are varying purposes, and nootropics will offer support differently when you want to prepare for a test instead of warding off memory loss in old age.

Short-term Memory

Short-term memory refers to a small amount of information the brain keeps ready to use for a short period of time. These memories stimulate the prefrontal cortex, are brief, and last only momentarily.

Their limited duration demands the help of nootropics with fast-acting results. Some excellent examples include phosphatidylserine, Cognizin, caffeine, bacopa, NALT, and b vitamins.

Long-term Memory

Long-term memory refers to information that is stored for an extended period. These memories usually stay put in the brain and are easier to recall than short-term memory.

Nootropics that help long-term memory usually do not provide an instant boost but yield steady, sustained support instead. These benefits can be seen as long-term memory recall, brain repair, and maintenance, enhanced oxidative and anti-inflammatory support, and stronger stress resistance.

Conclusion

The best nootropics for memory can be your ticket to safely achieving optimal brain activity. Yet, you may have to go through a bit of trial and error to get the desired outcome.

To make this process a little easier, we recommend NooCube as our premium choice to help you get the results you want. NooCube features a synergistic combination of nootropics to create the ultimate brain supplement.

We consider it a standout nootropic for peak performance and recommend it to everyone looking to boost memory and focus.