Best Nootropics — A Look at the Top-Rated Smart Drugs and Other Brain Supplements

Nootropics have taken the dietary supplement world by storm.

People from all walks of life are taking over-the-counter nootropic supplements in addition to prescribed pharmaceutical nootropics in order to improve focus, memory and other aspects of brain health.

Caffeine and nicotine are perhaps the most famous nootropics of all, and substances like caffeine and creatine absolutely work in this manner. When it comes to formulated supplements and synthetics, however, this discussion is a bit more polarized as clinical research still lags behind in many cases.

With that in mind, we set out to test more than a dozen of the most widely used best nootropics on the market. In the sections ahead, we share out research and opinions on five of those products.

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What Are Nootropics?

Nootropics—often known colloquially as smart drugs, brain boosters and cognitive enhancers—comprise various drugs, supplements and other substances believed to enhance cognitive function.

Many people take various brain boosters to improve memory, enhance concentration, make them more creative, provide motivation and to boost their moods and stave off depression.

There are two main types of nootropics:

  • Natural Nootropics: These products include all-natural ingredients, such as plant extracts, believed to boost cognitive function. As supplements, these items are not regulated by the FDA.
  • Synthetic Nootropics: These pharmaceuticals can have a potent effect on brain function. They are regulated by the FDA and often require a prescription and ongoing medical supervision.

Our Top Five Nootropic Supplements

  • NooCube—The Best Nootropic on the Market
  • NeuroActiv6—Top Option to Lower Oxidative Stress and Cortisone Levels
  • Mind Lab Pro—Best Memory Booster for Older People
  • Qualia Mind—The Most Clinically Tested Nootropic
  • Brain Powher—Nootropic Designed With Women in Mind

In-Depth Reviews of Our Top 5 Nootropic Products

1. NooCube: The Best Nootropic on the Market

NooCube is among the highest quality nootropics and is notable for being free of caffeine, gluten and GMOs, which makes it suitable for most people. It is also 100% organic and is designed to improve brain health through higher levels of acetylcholine, dopamine, glutamate and serotonin.


  • No caffeine
  • All-natural ingredients
  • Backed by clinical research
  • 100% money-back guarantee

  • Huperzine A
  • Shipping can take up to 3 weeks

Key Ingredients and Features

NooCube features Alpha GPC, which is one of the more common nootropic ingredients and a proven brain enhancer that improves both memory and cognitive function. The most unique ingredient in NooCube is Cat’s Claw, a vine from the Amazon that increases cellular regeneration. This product also has Huperzine A, which is very common in brain boosters but known to cause minor side effects in a small portion of the population, including headaches, nausea and sleepiness.

Our Results and Consumer Reviews

Our testing mirrored many of the most respected clinical trials, and NooCube was the only product the test group outperformed the placebo group across the board. This success is mirrored in the consumer reviews available online. We found very few consumers who were dissatisfied with their purchases.

Watch now: a critical report on NooCube that has just recently been released!

2. NeuroActiv6: Top Option to Lower Oxidative Stress and Cortisol Levels

NeuroActiv6 is similar to our choice for best nootropic supplement. It did not perform as well as NooCube but still functioned well. It also managed to distinguish itself in lowering cortisol levels and oxidative stress, which can cause brain fog and numerous other health issues that can difficult to pin down.


  • No caffeine
  • No Huperzine A
  • All-natural ingredients
  • 100% money-back guarantee


  • Not available outside the U.S.
  • Not available in capsule form

Key Ingredients and Features

The most notable ingredient in NeuroActiv6 is ashwagandha. It is a medicinal herb that is appearing in numerous dietary supplements because it provides a wide range of health benefits, including reducing blood sugar levels, reducing cortisol levels and reducing both stress and anxiety.

Our Results and Consumer Reviews

One reason we preferred NooCube is because it is faster acting. NeuroActiv6 tends to provide the intended results better over a longer period when taking on a consistent basis. That said, reviews from consumers who do take it as a regular dietary supplement are overwhelmingly positive.

Click here to Visit NeuroActiv6 Official Website

3. Mind Lab Pro: Best Memory Booster for Older People

Mind Lab Pro is the product we were most familiar with entering this process due to the nootropic benefits it has for older people who may be experiencing memory issues. It has also been used with some notable success to treat attention deficit disorder and similar issues in adults.


  • • No caffeine
  • • All-natural ingredients
  • • Backed by clinical research
  • • Excellent memory booster


  • Pricier than most nootropics
  • Limited refund policy

Key Ingredients and Features

Mind Lab Pro includes more than a dozen ingredients and all are listed on the bottle. The ingredients are focused on memory and mental clarity but also mood and relaxation. It does contain many vitamins as well, so you may need to adjust your vitamin intake to not exceed the daily recommended values.

Our Results and Consumer Reviews

We tested this across many different age groups and achieved success with all of them. However, none of the brain supplements performed better among people age 60 and up. We had particular success with people seeking to improve their memory, which is reflected in online consumer reviews as well.

Visit the official website of Mind Lab Pro here

4. Qualia Mind: The Most Clinically Tested Nootropic

Qualia Mind is another popular nootropic that we were well aware of entering the process. There is perhaps no natural nootropic drug that has had more clinical testing performed on it. While it did not perform quite as well in our testing, it is a proven product that you can use with peace of mind.


  • Creativity enhancer
  • Available with or without caffeine
  • One of the best refund policies
  • Substantial clinical testing


  • Huperzine A
  • Pricier than most nootropics

Key Ingredients and Features

Qualia Mind features Huperzine A, which is a potent modulator of synaptic signals but known to cause minor side effects in some people. It also includes uridine monophosphate in order to boost memory, and you can opt for this product in either a version with or without caffeine.

Our Results and Consumer Reviews

Qualia Mind has one of the higher dosages of the memory boosters we tested and an odd taste, which makes it one of the least user-friendly products on this list. Those issues aside, Qualia Mind is effective, fast acting and proven, and the online consumer reviews are mostly quite favorable.

Click here to see our Top Rated Nootropic Supplement on the Market

5. Brain Powher: Nootropic Designed With Women in Mind

Brain Powher is one of the newer nootropics. It is effective for both men and women, but we mention women because this is one of the few caffeine-based nootropics that sets the caffeine dosage based on the recommended daily values for the average women. That is a problem we encountered on a number of occasions, but this is also means it may not be enough caffeine for the average man who wants it.


  • Designed for women
  • All-natural ingredients
  • Fast shipping
  • 100% money-back guarantee


  • Caffeine
  • Few reviews available

Key Ingredients and Features

Brain Powher is a vitamin stack plus caffeine and ashwagandha. It also has Lion’s Mane, an edible mushroom known to repair brain cells and to help foster an optimal gut microbiome.

Our Results and Consumer Reviews

Brain Powher performed exceptionally well in our testing coming in behind only NooCube in most categories. The biggest issue with the product is that it is rather new. Clinical tests are underway but there are no studies available for review. The product also has few consumer reviews online.

Click here to order the top nootropic supplements at discounted prices online!

12 Natural Nootropics and Smart Drugs

You have a choice between either natural nootropics and smart drugs that are often synthetic and usually require a prescription from a doctor. Natural nootropics are not regulated by the FDA, but as long as you are aware of the ingredients and trust them, you can have great success with such products. Smart drugs can be much more effective, but they present additional hurdles, can be much more intense and can manifest side effects that are more severe than with natural options.

Adderall (Requires a Prescription)

Adderall is among the strongest of all prescription smart drugs. It works by increasing the availability of the chemicals that your brain uses to function. The problem with Adderall is that it presents a high risk of addiction and can lead to a wide range of side effects if not modulated correctly.


Ashwagandha is a plant that has long been popular in traditional medicine for a wide range of purposes and believed to be beneficial for systemic health in general. Recent research supports this belief. Studies have shown that ashwagandha has adaptogenic properties that reduce inflammation markers, cortisol levels and blood pressure. It also helps normalize hormones and reduce stress.

Bacopa Monnieri

Bacopa monnieri is an herb that has been used in traditional Indian medicine for centuries. Modern research supports the belief that it can speed up mental processing and reduce reaction times. This is due to bacosides that reduce oxidative stress and enhance synaptic signaling.


Caffeine is arguably the most common nootropic, and people have been using it for centuries as a brain booster. In addition to being a nootropic, caffeine is a stimulant and a psychoactive. Drinking too much coffee or otherwise taking too much caffeine can cause negatives that outweigh the positives. Users should be careful to modulate consumption based on how sensitive they are to the substance.


Cannabidiol—often abbreviated CBD—is a natural compound extracted from Cannabis sativa. CBD does not contain THC. The use of CBD oil has exploded in the U.S. now that it is legal in all 50 states, and it is even sold at many dentists’ offices. While clinical research is still ongoing, the currently available research is quite promising. CBD not only relieves pain but reduces stress, helps you sleep better and enhances your mental acuity.

Ginkgo Biloba

Clinical studies have shown that this natural extract from the leaves of the Ginkgo biloba tree can enhance mental processing and memory in adults when taking daily. The effect is cumulative. It often takes six weeks until the effects are fully realized, but then, those effects will persist as long as the supplement is taken daily. This substance also reduces stress, cortisol levels and blood pressure.

Lion’s Mane Mushroom

Lion’s mane has been used in traditional medicine for centuries. It comprises hericenones and erinacine, which stimulate nerve growth in the brain and have led to some promising results in preventing Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of dementia. Some studies suggest that the memory improvements experienced in older adults only persist as long as the subjects continued to take the supplement.


L-theanine is a naturally occurring amino acid that is often found in tea but can be taken as a supplement as well. This substance has a calming effect and is show to increase alpha-waves in the brain, and caffeine—also found in many teas—is known to enhance the effects of L-theanine.


Magnesium is an essential mineral found in most multivitamins. Almost half the U.S. population falls short of the recommended daily intake. The recommended amount is 300-350 milligrams for optimal brain function, and deficiencies can lead to brain fog, ADHD and other mental issues.

Modafinil (Requires a Prescription)

Modafinil is a prescription drug often sold under the brand name Provigil that is used to treat uncontrollable drowsiness. It has been shown to provide mental stimulation similar to that which occurs with cocaine use but without the risk of dependence. There is substantial research showing that people using Modafinil manage their time and achieve their goals with greater efficiency than normal.

Noopept (Requires a Prescription)

Noopept is a synthetic nootropic. The effects from Noopept can be felt within just minutes, which has led to claims that these are the best nootropic smart pills. However, many doctors are reticent to prescribe them due to the lack of clinical research involving human subjects.

Piracetam (Requires a Prescription)

Piracetam is a synthetic nootropic like Noopept, and the two are very close in both function and structure. Although it showed promising results in regard to mental decline due to age as far back as the 1970s, there still has not been much clinical research performed involving humans.

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Frequently Asked Questions

#1. Do Nootropics Work?

Yes. Nootropics absolutely work. Consider that Adderall is specifically prescribed for its nootropic effects. There is, however, less research concerning natural nootropics, but many people have had great success with them, including the people who participated in this review. When purchasing supplements not regulated by the FDA, just ensure that all ingredients are listed, and be sure to vet them.

#2. Are Nootropics Safe?

Yes, but be mindful that there is potential for misuse. You should never take a regulated nootropic without a prescription and oversight from a physician. When it comes to over-the-counter nootropics, we highly recommend maintaining a journal of how you feel and any side effects. If you are taking medications, you should discuss the use of any nootropics with your pharmacist. If you are taking multiple supplements, ensure that your vitamin and mineral doses are not too high overall.

#3. Are Nootropics Legal?

Yes, in the United States, they are legal, but this can vary from one country to the next. Be mindful that it is illegal to buy nootropics that are controlled substances without a valid prescription. Not all synthetic nootropics that are regulated require a prescription. Most natural nootropics are not regulated and can also be purchased over the counter as dietary supplements.

#4. Will Nootropics Improve Memory?

Yes. Be mindful that the best results have been experienced in older people who had memory degradation due to aging. That said, positive effects are experienced in younger people as well. Psychology Today—a prominent industry magazine—even lists many of the ingredients here as effective memory boosters, including ginkgo biloba, phosphatidylserine, omega-3 and grape seed extract.

#5. Will Nootropics Reduce Anxiety?

Yes. There are a number of nootropics that help people reduce anxiety levels, but be mindful it is important to target specific ingredients known to have this effect. L-theanine is an excellent example. There is a great deal of evidence that it encourages calmness and helps to reduce anxiety. NeuroActiv6 is recognized for this effect as well, and many people have had success with Mind Lab Pro.

#6. Will Nootropics Boost Energy Levels?

Yes, but again, this is a case where you will want to target ingredients and supplements that are known to provide this effect. Some people have positive results with nootropics that contain caffeine, but others crash or just feel a bit shaky. Most of the controlled nootropics listed in this review boost energy levels, but those require a prescription. If you want a natural solution that does not involve caffeine, you may want to target products with Rhodiola rosea, acetyl-L-carnitine and L-theanine.

#7. Will Nootropics Treat Brain Fog?

Yes, but be mindful that brain fog is a rather broad term that means various things to different people. What you consider to be brain fog may be different to the perception of someone else. That said, nootropics are effective at staving off those periods of not being able to think clearly, and many people who use these supplements on a regular basis do so because of how it makes them feel in this regard.

Dealing with brain fog? Check out these top nootropic supplements proven to beat it!

#8. What Is a Nootropic Stack?

A stack in the supplement world is a combination of compounds. In some cases, the manufacturer will combine the ingredients into a unique product, but in many other cases, a stack is simply a set that combines multiple products from the same brand. Our pick for the best nootropic stack is NooCube, which targets a broad range of brain health effects in a single convenient supplement.

#9. Are Natural Nootropics Better Than Smart Drugs?

This is a matter of perspective. Whatever works for you is best. Still, if the natural option is effective, then that is preferrable because there are none of the downsides that come with prescribed drugs.

#10. Which Is the Most Effective Nootropic?

Prescribed medications aside, all of the products and individual ingredients that we have listed in this review are effective options that are safe to use. However, there is a reason NooCube made it to the top of our list. We trust the company. It is sold at a fair price. You can feel the effects relatively fast, and those effects just get stronger and more consistent with continued use of the supplement.

#11. Do Nootropics Have Side Effects?

They can, and this is most common among prescribed and synthetic nootropics. It is less common with natural nootropics, and any side effects that do happen with natural supplements are generally minor. Still, if you experience side effects, stop using the product, and consult with your physician.

Final Thoughts: Best Nootropic Supplements

We had a number of team members who were quite skeptical when we began planning this project. To a person, they all shed those doubts by the conclusion of the process, and many now continue using nootropics.

This had a lot to do with the success we had with best nootropic products like NooCube, NueroActiv6, Mind Lab Pro, Qualia Mind and Brain Powher. Not every product we tried, however, was a success.

You can feel confident in the top nootropic supplements we have listed here. If you want to try other nootropics, just ensure that all of the ingredients are listed and that you can verify them.

Try our recommended NooCube supplement with an exclusive discount here!

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