Are you constantly forgetting important deadlines and meetings? What about having issues concentrating on your work and being productive? You’re not alone, and you have options for how to improve your memory and focus.
The best nootropics for memory and focus include red ginseng, ginkgo biloba, and bacopa monnieri. These nootropics can help improve your cognitive processing and can prevent fatigue and distractions. Other useful nootropics include caffeine, creatine, and noopept.
If you have trouble focusing or remembering things, you may wonder what’s wrong with you. However, many people will struggle with memory and focus at some point. Keep reading for some of the best nootropics for memory and focus.
When looking at the best nootropic for memory and focus, you should consider natural options. You can find these as supplements or even in certain products. That makes them easy to get, so you can start taking them immediately.
You don’t usually need a prescription to take these nootropics, and you can enjoy the memory and focus benefits. Here are some popular natural nootropics to help you concentrate.
Red ginseng has many names, so you may see it as Panax ginseng or Asian ginseng. No matter what the label says, it’s a great option for helping your focus and memory. It is an ancient plant, and the root is what you should consume.
You can take 200 to 400 mg (milligrams) of it per day, and you may experience better performance on complex tasks. The plant can help reduce brain fatigue and overall function. However, scientists aren’t sure how it works.
One theory is that it offers anti-inflammatory benefits, which reduce oxidative stress on your brain. It can be very effective for occasional use, but research shows your body may adapt and thus require more ginseng for the same effects.
Another natural nootropic to consider is ginkgo biloba. The plant’s leaf extracts can improve your mental processing if you take it each day for a few weeks. It can also help lower your stress levels if you take it before a stressful event.
Some scientists believe ginkgo biloba helps increase blood flow to your brain, and that’s how it has its effects. However, some studies show mixed results about using it to improve brain function.
If you’re looking for a little help, it can be a useful thing to try. You don’t have to worry about the effects of caffeine, so you can take it at any time. However, you may need to take it for multiple days before seeing results.
Bacopa monnieri is an ancient herb, and it has been used to improve brain function. You can take it as a supplement to improve your memory and reaction time. It also helps you process information more quickly.
The herb contains bacosides, and those help improve signaling in your hippocampus, which helps with memory. Bacosides also reduce oxidative stress on your brain, so you can focus better on your projects or tasks.
Unfortunately, you may need to take 300 to 600 mg of Bacopa monnieri for a few months before you see significant changes. However, it can work if you take it consistently over time. So, it can be good if you usually struggle with concentration and memory.
Most people know that caffeine can wake you up. It inhibits your brain’s adenosine receptors, and those are what make you feel tired. Many people enjoy caffeine as part of a cup of coffee or tea, but it comes in a lot of things.
You can get caffeine by drinking soda, energy drinks, and some chocolates. Caffeine is natural, and its wide availability makes it an excellent nootropic to use. It occurs naturally in some drinks and foods, but you can get drinks with added caffeine.
You only need about 40 to 300 mg of caffeine to improve your alertness and reaction time. Caffeine is fantastic if you already feel fatigued, but you don’t have to feel tired to take it. However, try not to take it too close to bedtime or you may have trouble sleeping.
Creatine is an amino acid, and it can help with bodybuilding. However, it works by bonding with phosphate. That combination helps your brain fuel its cells quickly and efficiently. As your body absorbs creatine, it can help improve your short-term memory.
It can also help with your reasoning skills, and it’s great for when you’re stressed. Oddly enough, vegetarians can get the biggest benefit from creatine, but meat-eaters can also enjoy its effects.
You can take 5 grams (0.18 g) of creatine per day, and it’s safe to consume long-term. There isn’t enough research to show if taking more than that is safe over many months. Still, it’s a good option if you have a lot of stress in your life.
Another amino acid that works as a nootropic is L-theanine. It occurs naturally in some teas, but you can also take an L-theanine supplement. The amino acid can make you feel calmer and less agitated, so you can focus on your tasks rather than what’s stressing you out.
You can take about 50 to 200 mg of the supplement without feeling drowsy, but you can still feel calmer. Another benefit you can get is a bit of extra creativity. L-theanine can increase alpha-waves in your brain, which helps with being creative.
The acid is even more effective if you take it with caffeine, and some supplements have both in one. But you can also consume both nootropics by drinking certain teas. However, you don’t need a lot of tea to benefit from L-theanine.
If you struggle with anxiety, consider Rhodiola rosea. It can improve your mood and reduce the effects of burnout if you have anxiety or high levels of stress. It’s an adaptogenic herb that can help you handle stress, which is important for anyone.
You can take a small dose each day to feel better and reduce mental fatigue. Research shows it can help college students get through exams without being as stressed, and you can find the herb without any prescription.
However, you should stick to other options when you aren’t facing much stress. Rhodiola rosea works best under intense conditions, so choose another nootropic for other times. Still, it’s a great option to have on hand.
This is probably on the more controversial side of nootropics, but nicotine does fall into this category. You can find nicotine in tobacco as well as gum and patches that people use to stop smoking.
Nicotine is very addictive, and it can be harmful if you take too much of it. However, if you’re also trying to stop smoking, it can be a useful tool. Taking nicotine can help lengthen your attention span, and it can make you more alert.
You may also have a better motor function when taking nicotine. However, you need to be very careful about how and when you take it. It shouldn’t be your first choice nootropic, and you should consult a doctor before starting it if you aren’t already a smoker.
Synthetic and Prescription Nootropics
While natural nootropics are great, you also have some synthetic options. Some of them require a prescription, so you should visit your doctor if you want to try any of these. However, you may need a relevant diagnosis before a doctor gives you a prescription.
Still, if you have access to these nootropics, they can be good alternatives. Here are some synthetic and prescription nootropics to consider.
If you need a nootropic with a quick effect, try noopept. You can buy it as a supplement, and you don’t need a prescription. After you take it, you may feel more alert within a few minutes, so it can help if you need to cram for a deadline or exam.
Noopept can help increase levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which helps your brain cells grow. It can also help if you recently suffered a brain injury. However, it may not be as effective in healthy adults.
Still, noopept works quickly, and its effects can last for hours. It’s not as addicting as caffeine or nicotine, and you can take it whenever you need it. However, you shouldn’t overdose on it, even if you do need extra help focusing.
Piracetam is another synthetic nootropic, and it’s part of the racetam family of smart drugs. It was the first nootropic we discovered, and it can help improve brain cognition. Piracetam derives from a popular neurotransmitter in the brain.
It can help improve your mood and reduce symptoms of attention deficit disorder (ADD). Piracetam may also help increase blood flow in the brain, and it can have antioxidant properties.
Tests on rats show it can improve cognitive deficits in some individuals. The nootropic can also help with memory in older rats. There aren’t standard doses for piracetam, and you may need a prescription, so ask your doctor before taking it. Then, you can make sure you take it safely.
Another name for phenotropil is phenylpiracetam, and it’s part of the same family of drugs. It can help your cognitive function if you have immune stress. You can find it over-the-counter, and it can help your brain recover from seizures, strokes, and trauma.
The drug has some evidence that it can improve your memory, but the effects on healthy adults aren’t as clear. However, if you have epilepsy or have recently had a stroke or brain trauma, you may benefit from it.
Like with some other nootropics, you should consult a doctor first. That way, you can determine if it’s the right nootropic for you, and you can figure out the right dose. Then, you can take it like you would any other drug.
A popular prescription nootropic is methylphenidate, which many people know by the brand name Ritalin. It can treat ADHD symptoms, and it works as a stimulant. Ritalin increases noradrenaline and dopamine in your brain, and it can help you process information.
It also helps with attention and short-term memory. Many people can take small doses of it, and it can help healthy adults concentrate and retain information. However, you have to be careful. Young adults need to take even more care because it’s not uncommon for them to abuse Ritalin.
Anyone taking it may experience sleep problems, high blood pressure, and other side effects. If you take too much of it, you can worsen your memory and focus, and side effects become more common.
Amphetamines, more commonly called Adderall, is another popular prescription nootropic. ADHD patients take the drug to help their symptoms, but healthy adults can take it to help with their focus and attention levels.
Adderall can reduce your appetite, and it may make you feel more awake and optimistic. Its effects can last for about 12 hours, depending on the dosage. Like Ritalin, many college students will take or even abuse Adderall at some point.
You may experience side effects like sweating and anxiety. And while you may be able to get your hands on it from a friend, you should get a prescription. That way, you have your doctor’s supervision regarding the dosage and timing of the medication.
Modafinil is another prescription drug, and it can treat narcolepsy symptoms. The brand name Provigil is one way you can take modafinil, but you can also take a generic. Either way, it can help sleep-deprived adults with their memory.
It can also reduce fatigue, and it features the same stimulating effects of amphetamines. However, you don’t have as much of a risk of getting addicted to it. Modafinil can even help with your brain’s executive functioning, and that helps with time management.
Most countries only offer it with a prescription, so you need to visit a doctor before starting modafinil. Make sure you don’t take too much because it can become addictive at high doses. But most doses shouldn’t cause problems.
Are Nootropics Safe?
Because of the side effects of drugs like Adderall and Ritalin, you may wonder if nootropics are safe. In most cases, they are safe to take as long as you’re healthy or have a prescription for the drug.
You should avoid taking large doses of nootropics like prescription options. It’s also important to be careful when taking caffeine or nicotine to control any potential addictions.
And if you start taking red ginseng, you may want to alternate it with another nootropic. That way, it can be effective for longer than if you only took it.
However, children, pregnant women, and people on prescription drugs may want to avoid nootropics. Nootropics may not be for you if you take medications for brain conditions. Also, try not to take nootropics right before having surgery.
Depending on your condition, you may be able to take small doses, but consult your doctor for specific information.
Can You Take Too Much Nootropics?
If you take more than the recommended dose, you may experience side effects. At really high levels, some nootropics can cause a lot of problems. When taking a prescription-based nootropic, follow your doctor’s orders.
If you take an over-the-counter or herbal nootropic, read the package for serving size and other information. Don’t be afraid to take less to avoid side effects. You can start small and slowly increase your dose to find what’s most effective for you.
Should I Take a Natural or Synthetic Nootropic?
With all of the hype around all-natural products, you may not want to consider synthetic nootropics. However, natural and synthetic options can be equally effective. You should consider your current prescriptions and lifestyle to determine which is right for you.
For some people, a bit of caffeine is all they need to focus and retain information. However, other people may need a prescription to get the same results. If you’re unsure, ask your doctor what they would recommend, even if it’s not a prescription.
You can always switch nootropics, so you can start with one to see if it works for you. If you aren’t getting the affects you want, you can try another nootropic. But be careful to avoid potential drug interactions, and try not to take too much of any nootropic at once.
Where Can I Get Nootropics?
Once you have a prescription for the prescription-based nootropics, you can send it to your local pharmacy. You should be able to pick it up like any other medication, or you can use a mail-order pharmacy to deliver it.
If you choose an over-the-counter option, you can go to your local pharmacy or grocery store. You can find some nootropics in the supplements section, and you can buy right away. If you can’t find your chosen nootropic locally, you can also look online.
However, you can get caffeine, L-theanine, and herbs from tea and other natural sources. So consider what type of nootropic you want to take. Then, you can shop around to find the best deal.
If you’ve ever struggled to concentrate or remember facts, you know how hard it can be. Fortunately, nootropics are an effective solution if you have trouble focusing on your work. Consider the nootropics above to get a little brain boost.
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- Healthline: The 14 Best Nootropics and Smart Drugs Reviewed
- National Library of Medicine: Effects of Panax ginseng on quality of life
- Verywell Mind: What Is the Hippocampus?
- Conduct Science: Racetams: A Class of Nootropics for Behavior and Cognition
- Mind Lab Pro: Are Nootropics Safe? How to Minimize Risk and Maximize Brain Power
- Brainzyme: Natural Nootropics: Are They Better Than Synthetic Nootropics?