5 Best Nootropics for Athletes in 2024 (Enhancing Athletic Performance)

Updated on February 24, 2024
 by — reviewed by Jason Williams, PhD (Contributor: George Collins / Editor: Yoko Hill)
The impact of nootropics on enhancing athletic performance, focusing on improved mental and physical abilities for athletes.

What are the best nootropics for athletic performance?

As athletes, we’re always looking for ways to improve our performance and gain an edge on the competition. While diet and exercise are essential components, there’s another secret weapon that can take your athletic abilities to the next level – nootropics.

Nootropics, or cognitive enhancers, have been around for years, and they’re becoming increasingly popular among athletes. These supplements are designed to strengthen neurological health.

In this article, we’ll explore the best nootropics to help you enhance your athletic performance and gain a competitive advantage.

Best Nootropics for Athletic Performance

  • Vyvamind — Best for improving reaction time and decision-making
  • Phenylpiracetam — Great for enhancing focus, memory, and physical performance
  • L-Tyrosine — Best to reduce fatigue
  • Rhodiola Rosea — Best for reducing stress and increasing mental performance
  • Ginkgo Biloba — Great for improving blood flow and oxygen delivery to the brain and muscles

How to Choose the Best Nootropics for Athletic Performance?

Selecting the right nootropics for athletic performance involves careful consideration of how these supplements interact with your body and mind to boost your capabilities.

FactorDescriptionWhy It’s Important
Ingredient PurityThe quality and purity of the nootropic ingredients.Ensures effectiveness and reduces risk of contaminants.
EfficacyProven impact on athletic cognitive functions.Directly influences performance enhancement.
Side EffectsPotential adverse reactions associated with the nootropic.To avoid health risks and ensure compliance with regulations.
Mechanism of ActionHow the nootropic works in the body.Understanding this helps tailor nootropics to specific athletic needs.
LegalityCompliance with sports governing bodies.Ensures the supplement is permitted for use in competitions.
  • Ingredient Purity: Athletes should opt for nootropics with high-quality, pure ingredients to minimize the risk of side effects and maximize cognitive enhancements. Purity also ensures you’re not ingesting harmful contaminants that could impede your health or performance.
  • Efficacy: It’s crucial to choose nootropics backed by scientific research, demonstrating their effectiveness in enhancing cognitive functions that are pertinent to athletic performance, such as focus, reaction time, and decision-making.
  • Side Effects: Understanding the potential side effects is important to maintain both short-term and long-term health. Selecting nootropics with a safe profile ensures you can perform at your best without compromising your wellbeing.
  • Mechanism of Action: Knowing whether a nootropic boosts neurotransmitter levels, improves blood flow, or enhances brain energy metabolism can help you choose a supplement that aligns with your performance goals.
  • Legality: The legality of a nootropic is paramount, especially for competitive athletes. It’s important to ensure that any supplement you take is not on the banned substances list of your sport’s governing body to avoid disqualification or sanctions.

The Best Nootropics for Athletic Performance of 2024

According to our in-depth research and testing, the top nootropics for boosting athletic performance are:

1. Vyvamind

Vyvamind is considered one of the best nootropics for energy and focus, making it great for athletic performance. This supplement contains 100% natural ingredients that have been clinically proven to boost brain energy by 14% and improve performance in memory, visual tracking, and reaction speed tests. It also provides rapid onset brainpower and burnout protection, making mental fatigue and down days a thing of the past.

Vyvamind is perfect for anyone looking to rapidly increase focus, learning, and processing speeds without relying on harmful drugs or prescription stimulants. It has been trusted by high performers such as traders and financial analysts, entrepreneurs and business professionals, athletes, and professional gamers.

Pros:

  • Delivers rapid short-term improvements in cognitive function
  • Supports long-term brain health
  • Reduces stress levels

Cons:

  • Not recommended for individuals under 18 or nursing women
  • May interact with certain medications

It’s recommended to seek advice from a healthcare professional if you have any preexisting medical condition to ensure it is safe to take this product. Overall, Vyvamind is a top-to-bottom brain support supplement that helps boost athletic performance and mental energy levels.

2. Phenylpiracetam

This nootropic enhances physical performance and cognitive function simultaneously. First developed in Russia to help cosmonauts adjust to the physical and mental challenges of space travel, Phenylpiracetam increases stamina and endurance while also improving mental clarity, focus, and alertness. It does this by increasing dopamine levels in the brain, which enhances mood and motivation, and also by improving the brain’s tolerance to stress.(1)

Research has also shown that Phenylpiracetam can reduce feelings of fatigue and improve reaction times, making it a popular choice for athletes and gamers alike. In addition to its performance-enhancing benefits, Phenylpiracetam has also been shown to improve memory and learning ability.

Pros:

  • Increases energy levels
  • Boosts focus and motivation
  • Enhances learning and information processing

Cons:

  • Can lead to irritability or anxiety in some people
  • May cause headaches and jaw tightness
  • Tolerance can develop over time

However, it is important to note that Phenylpiracetam is a powerful nootropic and should be used with caution, as it can have side effects if taken in high dosages or for prolonged periods. It is also a banned substance in some athletic competitions. Therefore, athletes are advised to consult their doctor or a qualified healthcare professional before taking Phenylpiracetam.

3. L-Tyrosine

L-Tyrosine is a nootropic that is gaining popularity among athletes. It’s an amino acid that is naturally produced by the body and is also found in some foods. L-Tyrosine is believed to improve cognitive function under stress, making it an ideal supplement for athletes. It works by increasing the production of neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine, which can help with motivation, focus, and alertness.(2)

Additionally, L-Tyrosine may help reduce the effects of physical and mental stress that can come with intense training. Several studies have shown that L-Tyrosine can improve cognitive performance, especially in situations where stress might impair cognitive function.(3) It’s also known to improve mood and reduce anxiety.

Pros:

  • Elevates mood
  • Improves cognitive function under stress
  • Enhances focus and cognitive flexibility
  • Helps with memory processing

Cons:

  • May cause nausea, diarrhea, or stomach cramps in some users
  • Some people may be allergic to it

While L-Tyrosine is generally considered safe, it may interact with certain medications and should always be used under the guidance of a healthcare provider. Overall, L-Tyrosine is a promising nootropic for athletes looking to enhance their cognitive performance and handle stress during training and competition.

4. Rhodiola Rosea

Rhodiola Rosea is an herb that has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for physical and mental stress. This adaptogenic herb is believed to improve athletic performance by reducing fatigue and enhancing endurance. Rhodiola Rosea has been shown to increase the levels of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin in the brain, which can improve mood and reduce anxiety.(4)

It also enhances the function of mitochondria, the energy-producing units of cells, thereby improving the efficiency of energy production in the body.(5) Studies have shown that taking Rhodiola Rosea supplements before exercise can increase endurance, reduce the amount of perceived exertion, and improve recovery time after exercise.

Pros:

  • Helps reduce stress and anxiety
  • Enhances cognitive function, particularly in attention and memory

Cons:

  • May cause insomnia or jitteriness in some people
  • Can interact with some prescription medications

As with any supplement, it is important to speak with a healthcare professional before taking Rhodiola Rosea, especially if you have any underlying medical conditions or are taking medication that may interact with the herb. Overall, Rhodiola Rosea is a promising natural supplement for athletes looking to boost their performance and recovery.

5. Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo Biloba is a herbal supplement that has been used for thousands of years to improve brain function and circulation. It contains active compounds called flavonoids and terpenoids that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which help protect your brain from damage and improve blood flow to your muscles.(6)

Several studies have found that Ginkgo Biloba supplements enhance physical performance, endurance, and recovery in athletes, especially when taken in combination with other supplements such as creatine. One study showed that taking Ginkgo Biloba for four weeks improved endurance cycling performance by 13 percent.(7) Ginkgo Biloba is also beneficial for people with Alzheimer’s and dementia, as it improves cognitive function and memory. Moreover, it reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Pros:

  • Improves memory and cognitive function
  • Helps reduce anxiety and depression
  • Enhances blood flow to the brain

Cons:

  • Can cause stomach upset in some people
  • May interact with certain medication

It is essential to note that Ginkgo Biloba can interact with certain medications, such as blood thinners, so it is best to consult with your doctor before taking it. Moreover, it is recommended to take no more than 240mg per day to avoid side effects such as headaches, dizziness, and upset stomach. Ginkgo Biloba is a great natural supplement to enhance athletic performance, brain function, and overall well-being.

How Do Nootropics for Athletic Performance Work?

Nootropics, often referred to as “smart drugs,” can improve cognitive performance and enhance athletic abilities. For athletes, physical and mental endurance are key factors that can determine success. Nootropics can improve energy levels and stamina by enhancing the body’s natural energy synthesis pathways. Unlike caffeine or other stimulants, nootropics can provide sustainable energy and prevent brain burnout or fatigue. These supplements can also improve motivation levels by increasing the activity of neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine, which play a key role in sustaining mood and motivation.

Additionally, nootropics can strengthen cognitive capacity for task-related information processing, which improves focus and concentration during high-octane sports events. Furthermore, these supplements improve stress management by regulating the stress hormone response and decreasing the negative impact of oxidative stress caused by intense training.

Overall, nootropics can help push athletes’ bodies and minds to their limits, giving them the ultimate edge they need to succeed in sports and exercise performance.

What to Consider Before Buying Nootropics for Athletic Performance?

Before incorporating nootropics into your regimen, it’s wise to consider several factors to make an informed choice that aligns with your athletic goals and health.

1. Specific Athletic Needs

Assess the demands of your sport and your individual performance needs. This will guide you toward nootropics that target areas like endurance, mental clarity, or recovery times, ensuring you choose a supplement that complements your training and competitive demands.

2. Synergy with Other Supplements

Consider how a nootropic will interact with your existing supplement stack. Some nootropics synergize well with other supplements, potentially amplifying their effects, while others might interfere or cause imbalances.

3. Dosage and Timing

Evaluate the recommended dosage and the best time to take the nootropic for optimal effects. This could vary depending on whether you need a pre-workout boost, post-workout recovery, or overall cognitive support throughout your training cycle.

4. Reputable Brands and Quality Assurance

Research the brand’s market reputation, quality assurance practices, and customer reviews. Trustworthy brands with transparent practices and positive feedback are more likely to provide high-quality, effective nootropics.

5. Budget and Cost-Effectiveness

Consider the cost of the nootropic and how it fits into your budget. While you shouldn’t compromise on quality, there are cost-effective options that offer a good balance between price and potential benefits.

How We Picked the Top Nootropics for Athletic Performance

We employed a comprehensive review process to identify the best nootropics for enhancing athletic performance. Our selection criteria included effectiveness, active ingredients, brand reputation, transparency, manufacturing quality, user feedback, price, and value. By evaluating these factors, we have compiled a trustworthy and reliable list of the top nootropic supplements for athletes.

Effectiveness

We delved into clinical studies and user experiences to evaluate performance improvement, focusing on factors such as endurance, strength, mental focus, and recovery.

Ingredients

We examined each formula, prioritizing evidence-based, natural, and high-quality ingredients that boost athletic performance and improve mental acuity.

Scientific Evidence

We consulted peer-reviewed research and meta-analyses to confirm the effectiveness of key ingredients in supporting athletic performance.

Dosage

We evaluated optimal dosage levels and ingredient ratios, ensuring they comply with established research to maximize potency and benefits.

Safety

We reviewed the safety profile of each ingredient, considering potential side effects and interactions while adhering to regulatory guidelines. FDA-approved ingredients were a priority.

Brand Reputation

We assessed the brands’ credibility and trustworthiness through customer reviews, expert recommendations, and company background.

Product Transparency

We valued comprehensive disclosure of ingredients, including their sources and amounts, to promote well-informed consumer choices.

Manufacturing Process

We investigated manufacturing standards, prioritizing products manufactured in certified facilities and adhering to Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP).

User Reviews

We analyzed genuine customer feedback, placing importance on testimonials detailing improvements in athletic performance and mental focus.

Price

We compared product prices, ensuring competitiveness while considering the quality and effectiveness of the nootropic supplement.

Value

We assessed overall value, taking into account the balance of price, quality, and efficacy, guaranteeing the best return on investment for athletes.

Nootropics for Athletic Performance in Summary

For serious athletes, cognitive enhancement is just as important as physical enhancement. Unlike traditional pre-workout supplements that are often loaded with caffeine and other stimulants, nootropics provide natural, healthy ways to enhance cognitive performance.

Nootropic supplements improve cognitive function, including energy, stamina, motivation, focus, endurance, and stress management. By taking nootropics, you can improve your focus, concentration, memory, and decision-making during sports and exercise. Nootropics also help you cope with stress and fatigue, which can impair your physical performance and recovery. Moreover, nootropics support your cellular energy production, which is essential for optimal physical endurance and strength.

The top nootropics for athletic performance include Vyvamind, Phenylpiracetam, L-Tyrosine, Rhodeiola Rosea, and Ginkgo Biloba. Overall, nootropics help athletes overcome mental barriers and reach their full athletic potential.

FAQs About Nootropics for Athletic Performance

Are all nootropics effective in improving athletic performance?

Not all nootropics are created equal, and some may not improve athletic performance. However, effective nootropics that improve energy and stamina by naturally enhancing the brain and body’s natural energy synthesis pathways, as well as those that assist with motivation, attention, and stress management, can legally and safely improve athletic stamina while promoting a healthy anabolic metabolism.

Are nootropics legal for athletes to use?

For the most part, yes, nootropics are legal. Natural nootropics that are derived from plants and herbs are generally considered safe and legal for use by athletes. However, synthetic nootropics and those that contain banned substances may be prohibited for competitive use by organizations like the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). It is important for athletes to check with their governing bodies before using any supplements to ensure that they are in compliance with any anti-doping rules or regulations.

Can nootropics be used as a pre-workout supplement?

Yes, nootropics can be used as a pre-workout supplement as they improve focus, motivation, and overall cognitive function, which can translate to better physical performance. However, it is important to check with a healthcare provider before starting any new supplement regimen.

Can nootropics replace a healthy lifestyle and training?

Nootropics can help support and enhance athletic performance, but they should not replace a healthy lifestyle, proper nutrition, and regular training.


Sources, Studies, and Scientific Research
  1. Zvejniece, L., et al. “The cognition‐enhancing activity of E1R, a novel positive allosteric modulator of sigma‐1 receptors.” British journal of pharmacology 171.3 (2014): 761-771. 
  2. Slominski, Andrzej, Michal A. Zmijewski, and John Pawelek. “L‐tyrosine and L‐dihydroxyphenylalanine as hormone‐like regulators of melanocyte functions.” Pigment cell & melanoma research 25.1 (2012): 14-27. 
  3. Jongkees, Bryant J., et al. “Effect of tyrosine supplementation on clinical and healthy populations under stress or cognitive demands—A review.” Journal of psychiatric research 70 (2015): 50-57. 
  4. Mao, Jun J., et al. “Rhodiola rosea therapy for major depressive disorder: A study protocol for a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.” Journal of clinical trials 4 (2014): 170. 
  5. Ma, Gou-ping, et al. “Rhodiola rosea L. improves learning and memory function: preclinical evidence and possible mechanisms.” Frontiers in Pharmacology (2018): 1415. 
  6. Li, Linhao et al. “Bioactive terpenoids and flavonoids from Ginkgo biloba extract induce the expression of hepatic drug-metabolizing enzymes through pregnane X receptor, constitutive androstane receptor, and aryl hydrocarbon receptor-mediated pathways.” Pharmaceutical research vol. 26,4 (2009): 872-82. doi:10.1007/s11095-008-9788-8 
  7. Sadowska-Krępa, Ewa, et al. “Effects of six-week Ginkgo biloba supplementation on aerobic performance, blood pro/antioxidant balance, and serum brain-derived neurotrophic factor in physically active men.” Nutrients 9.8 (2017): 803. 
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