Whether you’re looking for ways to enhance your brain for optimal wellness, or you have important exams coming up and need to optimize your cognitive functioning, using natural nootropics may be your answer. Natural nootropics offer a way of boosting your brain health, so you increase your concentration, focus, and mood, safely and effectively. For peak mental output, here are the best natural nootropics to use, as well as a natural stack you can consume for ultimate cognition.
What are Natural Nootropics?
Natural nootropics are supplements which increase your overall cognitive functioning, including mood, concentration, focus, motivation, and learning. Unlike synthetic nootropics, natural nootropics contain varying plant or herb compounds which are naturally derived from the earth. Natural nootropics have been proven to have a significant positive effect on your brain health.
How do natural nootropics work?
Natural nootropics have different mechanisms of action, depending on the type of nootropic consumed. However, they essentially work in one of the following ways to improve brain health;
- Reduce brain inflammation
- Enhance brain circulation
- Boost oxygen flow to the brain
- Reduce brain aging
- Protect from free radical damage
- Provide nutrients
- Stimulate the production of new brain cells
Let’s take a look at some of the very best natural nootropics.
The Best Natural Nootropics
L-tyrosine is an amino acid made in the body. It’s also commonly found in meat, dairy products, nuts, beans, and wheat. L-tyrosine helps the body to produce adrenaline and dopamine — neurotransmitters which play a role in the central nervous system and brain. This aids the body’s stress response and supporting cognitive functioning during stressful periods.1 As L-tyrosine influences dopamine production, it can also enhance mood.2
L-tyrosine should be taken in a 500–2000mg dose, ideally at least 30 minutes before any stressor. While L-tyrosine is not associated with any serious health risks, some users note experiencing headaches during use.
Panax ginseng is a species of plant grown in Korea. The extract is used to boost cognitive functioning. Panax ginseng is known to alleviate mental fatigue and enhance mental well-being. Studies have shown that users have experienced improved mood during consumption.3 Additionally, research has demonstrated that Panax ginseng has beneficial effects on learning, recall, and sleep. One study reported that enhanced word recall occurred with a dosage of 400mg Panax ginseng4, while the same dose also resulted in improved math skills.5 As Panax ginseng aids relaxation, it also offers benefits for improved sleep.
The ideal dose of Panax ginseng is 200 to 400mg daily. Side effects of this natural nootropic are limited, although some users do note feelings of nausea.
Huperzine A is a natural nootropic derived from a plant called Chinese Club Moss. Known for improving cognition, huperzine A is used to treat Alzheimer’s disease, as well as being commonly used by students who wish to enhance their memory and learning. Huperzine A helps to fuel brain cells and protect the brain from free radical damage. Research has shown that this nootropic can improve attention, mood, and orientation.6
The suggested dose of Huperzine A is 50 to 200 mcg daily. Side effects of this nootropic are rare, but those with epilepsy or heart problems should avoid usage as Huperzine A can slow heart rate and cause mucus in the lungs. Prime Mind also contains Huperzine A in combination with other natural cutting edge nootropics and adaptogens
As a nootropic, Rhodiola Rosea enhances alertness, memory, and mood. The extract is a herb from the plant of the same name, commonly used as an ancient remedy for fatigue, cold, flu, and to help alleviate stress and anxiety. Rhodiola Rosea boosts your mood by influencing endorphins in the brain. It has been also shown to improve mental performance when fatigued. A study revealed that this nootropic significantly enhances concentration and cognition in periods of stress.7
The ideal dose of Rhodiola Rosea is 150 to 200mg daily and no significant side effects have been reported. Although, some users experience nausea and a dry mouth.
Lion’s mane is a mushroom possessing nootropic qualities. For centuries, lion’s mane has been naturally used for its medicinal properties. As a nootropic, it helps to increase cognitive functioning by boosting the amount of nerve growth factor to relieve inflammation and enhance overall brain health. Clinical studies have shown that lions mane enhances learning and memory.8 Additionally, this nootropic has been found to be a significant neuroprotectant. In a study of mice, lion’s mane prevented cognitive impairment from a peptide known to cause memory impairment.9
The recommended dose of lion’s mane is 500 to 3000mg daily and has few side effects even at high doses. Only itching has been noted which may be associated with the increase in nerve growth factor.
Natural Nootropic Stacks
Natural nootropics can be stacked together (used in combination with each other) to provide optimal effects on cognition. One of the most popular natural stacks is caffeine and l-theanine. We also see these natural nootropics stacked in combinations with pre-developed formulations such as Prime Self’s supplement range.
Caffeine and L-Theanine
L-Theanine is an effective nootropic when used solely. But, when used in combination with Caffeine, its effects on focus and mental clarity are maximized. Theanine is an amino acid, usually found in green tea. Caffeine is well-known for its ability to enhance concentration and alertness; the only downside is its side effects of increased heart rate and jitters. As L-Theanine helps the body to relax, using these two substances together means you can achieve improved cognition without feeling anxious or having a caffeine ‘crash’.
The suggested dosage for this stack is 100 to 200mg of L-Theanine and 50 to 100mg of Caffeine.
Why Use Natural Nootropics?
Natural nootropics are an alternative to synthetic nootropics or ‘smart drugs’ which are man-made. Many natural nootropics have been used for centuries to aid a variety of ailments. If you’re looking to enhance your cognitive functioning, natural nootropics offer an effective method of aiding cognitive health without using pharmaceuticals. Synthetic nootropics often have more side effects — for example, modafinil can cause fever, hallucinations, and depression.
If you’re new to nootropics, consuming one of the best natural nootropics on our list can help to improve your memory, focus, and attention, in a safe and effective manner.