We all know that in this modern world, sometimes we can’t fulfill our brain’s nutritional needs.
That’s when brain enhancing supplements come in to ensure we fulfill our nutritional needs to enhance our brain.
The thing is, a lot of brain enhancing supplement companies are trying to sell us their products.
“Which one should I consume?”, you may ask.
Luckily for you, I’m here to provide you with a list of the most recommended and best brain enhancing supplements in the world available for adults.
Attention: Consult your doctor before taking any supplement.
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Types of Supplements
1. Fish Oil – The most popular brain supplement
Fish oil is no doubt the most popular supplement for brain performance.
It contains DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), an omega-3 fatty acid, an essential nutrition for our brain, but yet also the one we’ve been lacking.
The reason most people lack DHA is because not many people consume cold water oily fish on their daily diet. (1)
I personally prefer to eat salmon, because obviously it’s delicious and you can cook it in many different ways. But if somehow I can’t get any fresh salmon, fish oil is a good substitute.
See also: Best Fish Oil Supplements
If you don’t eat fatty fish regularly, consider adding a fish oil supplement into your diet.
Fish oil can reduce blood clotting and should be supplemented with caution if blood-thinning medications, aspirin, warfarin or clopidogrel are already present in the body. (4)
2. Huperzine A – A supplement for your memory
Huperzia serrata is a small plant native to Asia and used as a treatment for improving memory and circulation. (5)
It works mainly by raising acetylcholine levels, a neurotransmitter involved with memory, learning, and other brain functions. (6)
Furthermore, it protects the brain against free radical damage and environmental toxins while at the same time promoting new brain cell generation. (7)
But beware, there are side effects, such as insomnia, nausea, restlessness, and others. (8)
Use it with caution.
See also: Best Huperzine A Supplements
Since the plant itself is pretty rare, the only option most people got is to consume the supplement.
For improving memory in young people, Huperzine A can be taken at 100 mcg twice a day. (9)
Consult your doctor before using if you are currently taking any anticholinergic drugs, acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, or cholinergic drugs. (10)
3. Acetyl-L-Carnitine – Increase your mental and physical energy
Acetyl-L-Carnitine (or ALCAR) is an amino acid that increases mental and physical energy. (11)
It will improve mental clarity, focus, memory, and mood and also has strong anti-aging effects on the brain. (12)
Not only that, Acetyl-L-Carnitine also acts as a powerful antioxidant, protecting your brain from free radical damage. (13)
When buying the supplement, you should know that acetyl-l-carnitine and the cheaper l-carnitine are different.
See also: Best Acetyl-L-Carnitine Supplements
If you also happen to lift weights regularly, this supplement may provide you with a lot of benefits.
A dose of 500 mg per day, taken all at once or split into smaller doses, is considered a good starting point for most healthy adults. (14)
Side effects are rare; those that are reported are minor and are often associated with high dosage. (15)
4. L-Theanine – Put your mind into a relaxed state
L-Theanine is an amino acid found in green teas that work by altering your brain wave patterns. (16)
It puts you into an appealing relaxed state similar to that achieved during meditation. (17)
Not only that, L-theanine also raises the levels of several key neurotransmitters to promote recall, learning, and motivation. (18)
Furthermore, it also makes you more resilient to stress and helps to protect you from anxiety. (19)
See also: Best L-Theanine Supplements
Combined with caffeine, L-theanine may help you to perform mentally exhausting tasks better than caffeine alone.
L-Theanine tends to be taken in the dosage of 100-200mg, usually alongside caffeine. (20)
Some people report minor side effects, such as dizziness or headache, when taken with caffeine but are not widely reported. (21)
5. Bacopa – Used by ancient scholars
Bacopa monnieri (also known as Brahmi or Jalabrahmi) is a traditional Ayurvedic herbal medicine which—according to legend—was used by ancient scholars to help them memorize scriptures.
People has been using it for at least 3,000 years as a brain tonic for improving learning, memory, and concentration. (22)
Bacopa works by increasing cerebral blood flow, delivering more oxygen, nutrients, and glucose to the brain. (23)
Moreover, bacopa came out on top when tested against two different kinds of cognitive enhancers, the popular traditional ginseng, and the popular modern drug Modafinil. (24)
See also: Best Bacopa Monnieri Supplements
If you want to not only enhance your cognitive function but also reduce stress or anxiety, bacopa is a great choice.
Bacopa monnieri can be supplemented in a leaf or powder form. To achieve the ideal 10-20% of bacoside content requires a dose of 750-1,500mg of the leaf or powder. (25)
The most common side effects of bacopa are indigestion, dry mouth, increased bowel movements, and fatigue.
These are all minor and often disappear as the body becomes accustomed to bacopa.
There is insufficient research to determine the safety of bacopa monnieri during pregnancy, so pregnant women are advised to avoid it. (26)
6. Phosphatidylserine – A favorite supplements among students
Phosphatidylserine is a chemical found in high concentrations in the brain. (27)
The supplements were once made from cow brains but now are commonly made from cabbage or soy.
Furthermore, it is a popular supplement for improving thinking skills, memory, and concentration in students.
Not only that, Phosphatidylserine can also significantly improve attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children. (28)
See also: Best Phosphatidylserine Supplements
If you want to perform better on academic tests, this supplement might help you with that.
A standard dose of phosphatidylserine (PS) is 100mg, taken 3 times a day to total 300mg daily. (29)
It does not goes well with fat-blockers due to Phosphatidylserine’s fat solubility. (30)
7. Ginkgo biloba – All time favorite for natural brain tonic
Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) is one of the oldest living tree species known for being used in traditional Chinese medicine.
It increases circulation to the brain, protects the brain from free radical damage, and balances brain chemistry. (31)
Many people consider it so effective that it became the best-selling herbal supplements in the United States and Europe.
Moreover, studies suggest that ginkgo has a positive effect on memory and thinking in people with Alzheimer’s disease.
See also: Best Ginkgo Biloba Supplements
This supplement is probably the most popular natural herbal supplement beside fish oil.
For cognitive enhancement, take 120-240mg, one to four hours before performance. (32)
Women who are pregnant or nursing are advised to avoid ginkgo biloba, as there is little data on its effects in these situations. (33)
8. Citicoline – Help you build healthy brain cell membranes
This may surprise you, but Citicoline is a brain chemical naturally found in every cell of your body.
It is not as popular as the other brain supplements on this list, however, it’s one of the best brain boosters available today.
Citicoline works by helping your brain to build healthy brain cell membranes.
Not only that, Citicoline also reduces the harmful effects of free radical damage and inflammation, the two major causes of brain aging. (34)
See also: Best Citicoline Supplements
If you have long-term blood circulation problems in the brain, taking Citicoline supplements might help you to improve your memory.
For decline in thinking skills due to age: 1000-2000 mg of citicoline per day. (35)
There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking citicoline if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use. (36)
9. Curcumin – Very popular in Asia
Curcumin is the main bioactive compound in Asian spice turmeric (Curcuma longa).
It protects your brain in an many ways, such as by increasing the levels of dopamine and serotonin, the happiness brain chemical. (37)
Not only that, the researcher also found that curcumin can improve memory and attention in healthy adults within an hour after taking a single dose. (38)
The study participants also showed significant improvements in energy, mood, working memory, and stress after taking curcumin for one month.
See also: Best Curcumin Supplements
If you can cook Indian or Asian foods, chances are you already use turmeric as one of the ingredients.
I recommend you to cook the food instead of buying the supplements.
For any systemic purpose (requiring absorption from the intestines), then an oral supplementation of curcumin in the range of 80-500mg would be required assuming an enhancement. (39)
Turmeric usually does not cause significant side effects; however, some people can experience stomach upset, nausea, dizziness, or diarrhea. (40)
10. Creatine – Improve your brain and muscles at the same time
Creatine is one of the most popular supplements among bodybuilders and gym rats to help them improve muscle mass and strength.
But it turns out that creatine also happens to have benefits for our brain by enhancing memory and overall brain function.
Your brain, just like your muscles, uses ATP for energy, and creatine help with the ATP synthesis and energy formation.
Furthermore, studies have demonstrated creatine supplementation as an effective way to improve both short-term memory and reasoning skills.
If you lift weights regularly, this supplement is a good solution for both your brain and muscle.
Creatine monohydrate can be supplemented through a loading protocol.
To start loading, take 0.3 grams per kilogram of bodyweight per day for 5–7 days, then follow with at least 0.03 g/kg/day either for three weeks (if cycling) or indefinitely (without additional loading phases). (41)
There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking creatine if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use. (42)
Do You Know Any Other Brain Supplement? Share With Us!
Currently, I’m consuming fish oil daily to help me do creativity-inducing tasks.
Not sure whether it’s actually working or not, but I’m seeing results.
What about you?