Top 16 Best Nootropics 2023 (Smart Drugs & Brain Supplements)

Updated on March 3, 2023
 by — reviewed by Jason Williams, PhD (Contributor: George Collins / Editor: Yoko Hill)

In this in-depth review, we look at the best nootropics and smart drugs for your brain, how they work, and what they are used for. We go over the benefits of the best brain supplements, the optimal dosage, where to buy the top nootropics online, and what potential side effects you may run into.

Nootropics are a new class of brain enhancers that can increase focus and productivity, enhance memory, and improve mood.

There are a number of good brain supplements and smart drugs that have been proven to increase mental performance, cognitive health, and help you reach your brain optimization goals.

But how do you know which are actually the most effective nootropics on the market today?

We’ve compiled a list of the most powerful brain-boosting nootropic supplements that will help you achieve noticable results and give you a better idea of what to look for.

The Best Nootropic Supplements of 2023

According to scientific evidence, studies, and customer reviews, the best nootropics are:

1. NooCube: Best Nootropic Overall for Cognitive Function

According to our in-depth research and testing, NooCube is the best nootropic on the market. NooCube is a well-rounded formula that's safe for daily use and only contains high-quality natural ingredients, such as Bacopa Monnieri, L-Tyrosine, and Huperzine A, that are scientifically proven to be effective.(1)

The benefits of NooCube include enhancing memory and cognitive function, improving mental clarity and focus throughout the day, and boosting overall brain health and brain cell health for greater durability over time.

It is good to note that NooCube improves cognitive performance, signaling, mental function, and heightens focus without caffeine to give you jitters. There are no known side effects associated with this high quality product.


  • Improves communication between brain cells
  • Improves memory and overall cognition
  • Protects your brain from oxidative damage (OS)
  • Repairs damaged neurons
  • All-in-one natural nootropic supplement stack
  • Promotes new cell generation
  • Decreases stress levels, anxiety, and fatigue
  • Contains B vitamins important for the human brain


  • Might be too pricey if you're on a budget

2. Vyvamind: Great for Motivation (Contains Caffeine)

According to our research, Vyvamind is the most effective nootropic for motivation. It's a simple, potent, and effective blend suitable for daily use.

Vyvamind is one of the purest stacks as it only contains 6 active ingredients:

  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin B12
  • L-Tyrosine
  • Citicoline (CDP Choline)
  • L-Theanine
  • Caffeine Anhydrous

Citicoline has been scientifically proven to increase mental energy levels to keep you alert throughout the day.(2) It also improves focus so you can pay attention to the task at hand, and it even reduces symptoms associated with anxiety and depression.

Overall, it's a good nootropic product that helps you improve mental performance, find motivation, focus, and maintain your mental clarity.


  • Scientifically proven to increase mental energy levels
  • Will keep you alert throughout the day
  • Contains 6 active ingredients including vitamins
  • Boosts your motivation and focus similar to Adderall


  • Can cause headaches in high dosages
  • May not be suitable for people sensitive to caffeine as it contains a bit more caffeine than a cup of coffee

3. Mind Lab Pro: Boosts Focus & Concentration (Contains Citicoline)

According to our in-depth review of Mind Lab Pro, it's one of the top nootropic supplements for focus and concentration. As an all-in-one natural smart drug stack, Mind Lab Pro will give you the cognitive abilities you need as well as an intense brain performance.

The nootropic formula promotes focus and a stress-resistant success mindset and helps reduce mental fatigue.

Mind Lab Pro's enhanced cognitive function output is due to the 11 ingredients.

Bacopa Monnieri fights cognitive decline(3) and Rhodiola Rosea improves work capacity, focus and prevents fatigue.(4)

L-Theanine helps produce alpha brain waves that you need for better concentration.(5) Studies have shown that the Phosphatidylserine (PS) in it improves short-term memory and also aids in long-term memory formation.

Mind Lab Pro contains no stimulants which make it safe to consume and prevents crashes. There were no reported negative side effects or adverse reactions associated with any of the 11 active ingredients in this potent nootropic that helps optimize brain activity, as well as memory and learning.


  • Contains 11 active and proven ingredients
  • Enhances cognitive function and fights cognitive decline
  • Helps produce alpha brain waves for better concentration
  • Contains N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine instead of plain L-Tyrosine
  • Contains brain boosting Lion's Mane mushroom (Hericium erinaceus)
  • Contains Maritime pine bark extract like Performance Lab Mind
  • Long-term health benefits
  • Contains no stimulants


  • Might not be ideal if you're only looking for a single ingredient

4. Nooceptin: Improves Memory & Recall (Contains Panax Ginseng)

Nooceptin is a premium nootropic product that has been clinically proven effective in improving memory retention and recall, sharpening focus, reducing stress and anxiety, supporting learning and problem solving, and more.

Nooceptin's unique combination of seven natural ingredients provides an ideal balance of nootropics that work synergistically to enhance cognitive function and promote overall brain health.


  • Potent combination of safe and effective nootropic substances and extracts
  • Effectiveness of ingredients clinically confirmed with 20 scientific studies
  • Reduces tension and anxiety while improving attention
  • Improves memory and recall in the long-term


  • Slow shipping because of the high demand
  • Expensive for people on a tight budget

5. Onnit Alpha Brain: Top Nootropic for Athletes

Our research and testing have shown that Alpha Brain is one of the best nootropic supplements for memory. The potent ingredients in this brain supplement help improve memory, recall, and overall mental performance.

Alpha Brain also promotes body and DNA repair thanks to ingredients such as Cat's Claw extract(6) and L-Leucine. The Alpha GPC in it isn't only a good choline source, but also improves physical performance.(7) This makes Alpha Brain one of the most popular products for people who live an active lifestyle.


  • Great blend for improved memory
  • Helps overall cognitive function
  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • Promotes body and DNA repair
  • Improves physical performance
  • Excellent choice for people who live an active lifestyle


  • Is expensive compared to other products

6. Brain Pill: For Studying & Learning

Our analysis has shown Brain Pill to be one of the top nootropics for studying and learning abilities. Brain Pill is a scientifically proven supplement that helps to improve memory recall and retention abilities, and boosts the ability to focus on the task at hand without distractions.(8)

Brain Pill also improves learning capacity, reduces symptoms of anxiety or depression, and reduces brain fog caused by lack of sleep, stress, or poor diet.

In short: it's one of the best nootropic supplements for students!


  • Helps overall cognition
  • Improves memory
  • Improves brain fog and retention abilities
  • Reduces symptoms of anxiety and stress
  • No jitters
  • Perfect choice for students
  • Contains Bacopa


  • Shipping can take up to 2 weeks if you live outside the US
  • Not as effective as synthetic nootropics

7. Phenylpiracetam: Increases Energy

According to our own research and customer reviews, Phenylpiracetam is the best nootropic for energy and performance. It's both a mild stimulant and a real nootropic of the well-known Racetam family.

Phenylpiracetam is a powerful nootropic that is more potent than its parent Piracetam. In Russia, it's being sold under the brand name Nanotropil Novo and there have been several human studies that have shown improvements in cognition.(9)

If you're looking for a nootropic smart drug that gives you a boost in both energy and cognition, Phenylpiracetam is a great choice.


  • Boosts overall brain function
  • Reduces dyslexia symptoms
  • Reduces anxiety, stress, depression, and fatigue
  • More potent than Piracetam
  • Boosts energy levels
  • No jitters


  • Can be hard to get your hands on

8. Qualia Mind: Good for Creativity (Contains Ginkgo Biloba)

We've found Qualia Mind to be one of the top nootropics for creativity. It's a powerful nootropic supplement that contains 28 ingredients that are designed to improve cognitive functions as well as creativity.

Although Qualia Mind is an expensive dietary supplement, it's the one that has the most components in it, including Ginkgo Biloba. If you take it, you can be certain you aren't missing out on any natural compound that's proven to improve brainpower.


  • Boosts brain power, focus, memory, and mental clarity
  • Supports neural pathways important for optimal cognitive function
  • Contains 28 scientifically proven ingredients
  • Amplifies drive, productivity, and creativity


  • The most expensive nootropic product on the market (not suitable for people on a budget)

9. Modafinil: Helps with ADHD

According to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) patients and our research, Modafinil is the best nootropic for ADHD and the only real alternative to Adderall.

Modafinil is a stimulant used to treat narcolepsy and shift work sleep disorder. It is also used as a wakefulness-promoting agent. It's also a powerful cognitive enhancer that can improve focus and energy levels(10) and increase mood and sense of well-being.

Mild headaches, nausea, low blood pressure, anxiety, nervousness, elevated heart rate/blood pressure, loss of appetite, and insomnia are some of the possible adverse effects of this drug. Also, it is known that Modafinil can cause depression in long-term users who stop taking it. So be careful with this smart drug!


  • Excellent smart drug that will keep you awake and alert
  • Boosts mental clarity and focus
  • Extremely potent
  • Increases mood and sense of well-being
  • A great choice for people with ADHD


  • Can put a strain on the liver in high dosages
  • Can cause imbalances of brain chemicals if used too often

10. Aniracetam: Calms (Social) Anxiety

Aniracetam has been found to be the best nootropic for anxiety and social anxiety. Users report calm focus and improved sociability after taking it. Being a Racetam, it also improves cognition.(11)

Aniracetam is a prescription drug in Europe that can be used to treat cognitive decline. The supplement helps to increase mental clarity and energy levels. It also helps to improve mood, which is necessary for Alzheimer's patients who are struggling with depression. Many users report feelings of energy and euphoria after using Aniracetam, which is ideal for socializing and dealing with anxiety.


  • An amazing nootropic for social anxiety
  • Helps increase mental clarity, energy levels, and sense of well-being
  • Improves mood and combats cognitive decline


  • Hard to get your hands on
  • Some companies use low-quality Aniracetam

11. Sulbutiamine: Improves Mood & Depression

Sulbutiamine is one of the top-rated nootropics for mood and reducing symptoms of depression. It's a natural, safe alternative to traditional anti-depressants. It has been proven to be effective in treating depression and anxiety.(12)

Sulbutiamine is synthetically derived from the amino acid thiamine (vitamin B1). Thiamine is an essential nutrient for the body. It's important for the conversion of carbohydrates into blood glucose, which in turn produces energy. Sulbutiamine also has neurotrophic effects on brain cells, meaning that it encourages the production of neurons in the brain.

Increased energy, mood stabilization, improved mental performance, and a more regulated appetite are some of the benefits of this top nootropic supplement.


  • Increases mental energy and performance
  • Stabilizes mood
  • Reduces the symptoms of depression
  • Combats fatigue
  • Improves brain energy metabolism


  • Hard to find high-quality Sulbutiamine

12. L-Theanine: For Better Sleep & Relaxation

L-theanine is a naturally occurring amino acid found in green tea that has been shown to help improve sleep. It relaxes the mind and helps to promote deep and restful sleep. L-theanine can be taken in supplement form or simply enjoyed as part of a cup of green tea before bedtime.

In one study(13) 30 healthy adults were given either 200 mg L-theanine or a placebo daily for four weeks. The participants taking theanine took less time to fall asleep, had fewer sleep disturbances, and took fewer sleep medications compared to the placebo group. L-theanine has also been found to raise alpha brainwaves.


  • An amazing nootropic for sleep (especially if stacked with Melatonin)
  • Reduces stress and relaxes the mind
  • A natural amino acid found in green tea


  • L-Theanine might not be as effective for everyone

13. Semax: Clears Brain Fog

According to our research, Semax is an excellent nootropic for brain fog. Semax increases motivation, and working memory(14) improves mood, and protects against mild oxidative stress.

Semax causes the increase of dopamine and serotoninergic systems of the brain to encourage activity-dependent AMPA trafficking, which means the circuits in heavy use get cognitive priority.

It can be used for neuroprotection against glutamate neurotoxicity(15) amplifying the effects of dopaminergic stimulants, and treating depression, mental stress, and ADHD.

Semax is also one of the favorite nootropics of neurohackers who want to increase brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and improve neurotransmitters. Studies have found that it increases BDNF by 40% in rats(16) while nerve growth factor (NGF) expression was also enhanced(17).

Side effects are usually rare but may include drowsiness, headache, and dizziness.


  • Semax improves the trophic supply of the brain
  • It increases working memory and motivation
  • It increases dopamine
  • Semax protects the nervous system and prevents glutamate neurotoxicity
  • Increases BDNF and NGF


  • High-quality Semax is hard to find online (not sold in stores either)

14. P21: May Treat Dementia & Alzheimer's

Although a research chemical, P21 is the first choice for Alzheimer's disease and dementia, according to our analysis. P21 is a highly modified peptide nootropic, which was designed from CNTF antibodies, not Cerebrolysin.

Cerebrolysin was the motivation to research CNTF antibodies, as it was shown to be responsible for its neurogenesis elements. The ambition with the P21 nootropic drug was to "incorporate new neurons into already existing neural networks".

The P21 nootropic peptide has been studied in humans for over a decade. There are many anecdotal reports of its benefits for cognitive impairment, but no clinical trials have been done to confirm this.


  • Prevents DNA damage
  • Inhibits the growth of malignant cells
  • Slows down the progression of Alzheimer's disease and cognitive impairment
  • Great for brain repair


  • Needs more clinical trials to confirm the efficacy
  • Only a few vendors sell P21 online

15. Hunter Focus: Good for Gaming

Our research revealed Hunter Focus as the perfect nootropic for gaming due to its powerful effects on cognitive performance and speed.

Hunter Focus is a powerful cognitive enhancer with a focus on memory, concentration, and mood.

Hunter Focus is one of the most effective nootropics for older adults and professional gamers because it speeds up mental processing and improves executive brain functions.

You get all-natural ingredients that are free from soy and gluten and enhance focus. It is also safe to consume as it has no noticeable side effects like headaches and stomach upsets that you typically get from other nootropics.


  • Boosts focus, memory, and mental energy for gamers
  • Elevates mood and overall sense of well-being
  • Great nootropics for enhanced learning and creativity
  • All-natural nootropic ingredients


  • Too pricey for people on a budget

16. Bacopa Monnieri: Best Natural Nootropic Supplement

In our opinion, Bacopa Monnieri is one of the best natural nootropics available. It's often used as an ingredient in natural nootropics blends, such as NooCube and Mind Lab Pro.

Bacopa Monnieri has a long history of being used as a brain enhancer.(18) and supplement for overall brain health.

If you're looking for an all-natural smart drug, then Bacopa Monnieri is a great choice.


  • A powerful antioxidant
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Boosts brain function
  • Relieves anxiety and stress
  • Reduces ADHD symptoms


  • Might not be suitable for people with allergies
  • Some products use low-quality Bacopa Monnieri

Top 11 Best Nootropics According to Reddit

According to Reddit users, the top smart drugs are:

Top 3 Best Nootropic Stacks for Focus and Memory

We've found the best nootropic stacks to be the following:


NooCube is a nootropics stack that contains 9 natural ingredients to boost your brainpower and productivity. It's the best nootropic stack on the market today.

If you're looking for an all-natural stack, this is the one we recommend.

Phenylpiracetam + Sulbutiamine + Alpha GPC

This stack is perfect if you're looking for a boost in energy and motivation.

  • Phenylpiracetam (100 mg): Phenylpiracetam acts as a mild stimulant and cognitive enhancer.
  • Sulbutiamine (400 mg): Sulbutiamine eliminates fatigue and lifts your mood.
  • Alpha GPC (300 mg): Alpha GPC acts as a choline source increasing acetylcholine in the brain and increasing physical performance.

Noopept + Creatine + Citicoline

This stack is perfect if you want to be in a good flow state and improve focus and concentration.

  • Noopept (10 mg): Noopept (N-Phenylacetyl-L-prolylglycine ethyl ester) enhances alpha brain waves, memory, and recall.
  • Creatine HCL (500 mg): Creatine improves mitochondrial efficiency, acting directly as an antioxidant and a neuroprotectant boosting brain function.
  • Citicoline (250 mg): CDP Choline increases acetylcholine and improves cognitive function.

What are Nootropics?

Nootropics are substances that can improve brain function and enhance mental capabilities, including memory and cognitive performance. The word comes from the Greek noos meaning "mind" and trope, meaning "to turn." These brain pills may have more potential than ever before, thanks to scientific advances in the study of the human brain.

what are nootropics

However, brain health supplements carry some risks. There are over 1,000 nootropics on the market, and these aren't just harmless caffeine-like compounds.

How to Choose the Best Nootropic?

Choosing the perfect nootropic supplement can be a difficult task. There are many different nootropic supplements on the market, and it can be hard to know which one is right for you.

Here are a few tips to help you choose a good brain supplement:

  1. Know what you want to improve. There are many different supplements that claim to improve memory, focus, or energy levels. Figure out which of these nootropic benefits you’re looking for before you start shopping for cognitive enhancers online.
  2. Do your research. Once you know what benefit you’re looking for, take some time to research the different options available. Read reviews, compare ingredients, and look for independent studies that support the efficacy of the specific nootropic.
  3. Start with a small dose. When you’re first starting out, it’s always good to start with a lower dose and see how your body reacts. You can always increase the dosage if you find that the initial dose isn’t giving you the desired results.
  4. Be patient. Nootropics are not overnight miracles. It can take weeks or even months of consistent use before you start to see the full cognitive boost of the supplement.
  5. Be careful with combinations (stacks). Some of the best nootropic supplements work well together, but others can cancel each other out or have negative side effects when taken together. If you’re unsure about which nootropics to take together, it’s always a good idea to consult with a doctor or certified nootropics expert.

What are the Benefits of Using Nootropics?

There are many potential benefits to using nootropics, also known as “smart drugs.” Nootropics are substances that can improve cognitive function, memory, and focus.(19) They may also help to increase intelligence and creativity. Some people use nootropics to boost their productivity, while others take them to enhance their mood or reduce stress levels.

what are benefits of nootropics and smart-drugs and how do they work

Nootropics are thought to work by modulating neurotransmitter systems in the brain. This can lead to increased concentration and improved brain function. Also, they may help protect the brain from damage caused by free radicals and other toxins.

While more research is needed to substantiate the claims about the efficacy of nootropics, there is some evidence to suggest that these substances can offer benefits for cognitive function.

Some of the potential benefits of using nootropics include:

  • Improved memory
  • Enhanced focus
  • Increased concentration
  • Improved brain function
  • Protection from brain damage
  • Reduced stress and anxiety
  • Enhanced mood
  • Increased intelligence
  • Creativity boost

What are the Side Effects of Nootropics?

The side effects of cognitive enhancers vary depending on the nootropic being taken.

Some common side effects of cognitive enhancers include:

  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea

While most side effects are mild and temporary, some nootropics can cause more serious side effects or interact with other medications you are taking.

Be sure to talk to your doctor or healthcare provider about any potential risks before taking a cognitive enhancer.

What are the Different Types of Nootropics?

Nootropics can be split into four classes: blends/formulas, racetams, prescription drugs, and research chemicals.

Nootropics Blends & Formulas

A nootropic blend or formula is a combination of several different types of nootropics, such as caffeine or vitamins and amino acids, which can be taken at any time throughout the day.

Natural nootropics blends can help with energy, focus, creativity, memory, increase blood flow to the brain and help you sleep better. They work to enhance your brain function and boost your overall cognitive performance. Typically they're natural supplements with cognitive benefits that boost memory retention and improve cognitive function. They're the number one choice for safe cognitive enhancement.


The racetam family of cognitive enhancers is well known in the nootropics community. Racetams are synthetic compounds first discovered by Russia many decades ago. Piracetam is considered the "parent racetam" on which most others are based on. Today, some are over-the-counter, some are prescription drugs, and some are research chemicals.

The most popular racetams are:

  • Piracetam
  • Phenylpiracetam
  • Aniracetam
  • Oxiracetam
  • Coluracetam
  • Fasoracetam
  • Pramiracetam

Prescription Drugs

Some prescription drugs are considered to be smart drugs. The most popular ones are Modafinil and Armodafinil, as well as Galantamine. In Russia, you can also get a prescription for Noopept, Piracetam, Semax, and others. People also often confuse prescription stimulants with nootropics, although they're not. Popular nootropic prescription drugs include:

  • Amphetamine
  • Adderall
  • Methylphenidate
  • Dextroamphetamine
  • Lisdexamfetamine
  • Bupropion

Research Chemicals

Research chemicals are substances that are sold for research purposes only and aren't meant for human consumption. Whether a compound is considered a research chemical, over-the-counter supplement, or a prescription drug, largely depends on where you live in the world. Some of the most popular nootropic research chemicals include:

  • Piracetam
  • Unifiram
  • Sunifiram
  • P21
  • 9-Me-BC
  • L-655,708

How to Use Nootropics?

How you should use nootropics entirely depends on the type of nootropic you're taking. In general, they're ideally taken in the morning with some fat (such as Omega-3 fatty acids or coconut oil) on an empty stomach with a glass of water.

Depending on which of these nootropic substances you use, you might have to cycle them to avoid tolerance.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Your most pressing questions about nootropics answered.

Are Nootropics Worth It?

Are nootropics worth it?

Most nootropic supplements have been scientifically proven to be safe and effective. However, some may cause negative side effects. Make sure you discuss any potential risks with your doctor.

Where Do I Start With Nootropics?

Where do I start with nootropics?

If you're just starting out with brain boosters, Citicoline (Cognizin®) is the best nootropic supplement for beginners to try first. A lot of clinical research supports the benefits of this multitasking nootropic for mental energy and attention.

How Fast Do Nootropics Work?

How fast do nootropics work?

The time it takes to see results depends on the nootropic supplement, dosage, and the individual. In general, people report noticeable effects after two weeks of use, while some smart drugs show immediate effects after just 30 minutes to an hour.

Can You Take Nootropics Every Day?

Can you take nootropics everyday?

Yes, you can take most smart drugs every day. Nootropics are supplements that help boost brain function, memory, and concentration. They're safe and effective, so you can take them daily as part of a healthy lifestyle.

Can Nootropics Cause Brain Damage?

Can nootropics cause brain damage?

In short, no. The vast majority of nootropics by the top brands are not toxic to the human body and brain. Some studies have shown that nootropic supplements can help improve focus and memory, but they have no serious side effects at recommended dosages. However, some smart drugs should be cycled.

Which Nootropic Is Most Like Adderall?

Which nootropic is most like Adderall?

Vyvamind is a nootropic supplement that is similar to Adderall but doesn't cause the same negative side effects as Adderall. Vyvamind is well known for its ability to increase focus, motivation, and productivity.

What Is the Most Effective Nootropic?

What is the most effective nootropic?

1. NooCube
2. Vyvamind
3. Mind Lab Pro
4. Nooceptin
5. Onnit Alpha Brain
6. Brain Pill
7. Phenylpiracetam
8. Qualia Mind

How Long Do the Effects of Nootropics Last?

The effects may last from a few minutes to a few weeks depending on the person and the type of nootropic taken. Fast-acting nootropics may have effects lasting one to two hours, whereas effects from Bacopa monnieri may take several weeks to build up. Synthetic nootropics may last up to 12 hours depending on dosage and type of pill.

Can Nootropics Be Used to Treat Conditions Like ADHD and Alzheimer’s Disease?

Clinical studies have found that natural brain-enhancing supplements may help manage ADHD symptoms. Nootropics are also used for other conditions related to cognition deficits such as Alzheimer's disease and psychiatric disorders.

Are There Any Long-Term Risks Associated With Nootropic Use?

There are potential long-term risks associated with their use. Taking higher than recommended doses of a nootropic can be toxic to the brain and lead to headaches, brain fog, confusion, loss of focus and motivation, lethargy, mental fatigue, migraines, stomach cramps, diarrhea, and constipation. There is also some evidence that people who take prescription nootropics to improve brain function may have a higher risk of impulsive behaviors.

Conclusion: The Top Nootropics on the Market

the best nootropics and brain supplements to enhance cognition

When it comes to finding the best nootropics, many different supplements are on the market. However, not all of these supplements are created equal.

Some nootropics may be more potent than others, and some may have more side effects.

We found that the market's most effective and top-rated nootropic blends are: NooCube, Vyvamind, and Mind Lab Pro.

These most powerful nootropic supplements contain a blend of effective nootropic ingredients clinically proven to boost cognitive function. Additionally, most nootropic supplements are well-tolerated and have minimal side effects.

If you’re looking to improve only a specific aspect of your cognition, then you may want to consider taking a listed single-ingredient nootropic such as L-theanine or Bacopa Monnieri.