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Supporting cognitive health is key when you feel your focus, clarity and energy is lacking. While it’s true that a healthy diet and lifestyle are important for overall brain health, research indicates that certain supplements can help support and maintain brain and cognitive health.
The best brain supplements and vitamins may help boost and support healthy cognitive function. Different brain supplements can be targeted for different benefits, such as improving focus, boosting memory, promoting motivation and alertness and supporting general cognitive function.
Finding a quality brain supplement can be difficult when the market is saturated with so many options. We’ve researched dozens of the top supplement brands to find the best brain supplements to help potentially optimize your cognitive health.
- Best Overall Brain Supplement: Oweli Neuro
- Best Brain Supplement for Focus: Natural Stacks Dopamine Brain Food
- Best Brain Supplement for Memory: Organixx Brain Health 8
- Best Brain Supplement for Learning: MindBodyGreen Brain Guard+
- Best Brain Supplement for Neuroprotection: Akasha Naturals Cereguard Plus – Brain Food
Benefits of Brain Supplements
Brain supplements are natural dietary supplements that may help boost cognitive function and overall brain health. Popular brain-boosting ingredients found in supplements include:
- B-vitamins, such as vitamin B1 i.e. thiamine, which is associated with improved communication within the brain and vitamin B9 i.e. folic acid which may help preserve brain health and boost mood.
- Vitamin D plays a role in hundreds of functions in the body and brain, including supporting brain development and maintaining cognitive function.
- Choline is an essential nutrient that helps the brain make acetylcholine, which is a neurotransmitter vital for memory and general cognition.
These natural supplements are known as nootropics, a term used for compounds that can have beneficial effects on cognitive function, including:
- Improved memory and learning
- Boosted concentration and focus
- Boosted mood and motivation
- Neuroprotection and better long-term brain health
- Reduced brain fog
As with any dietary supplement, you should always consult with your doctor before you start taking a brain supplement.
Best Brain Supplements in 2023
Best Overall Brain Supplement: Oweli Neuro
- Advanced nootropic complex
- Lab-tested and cGMP compliant
- 100-day guarantee
- Size – 60 capsules
- Capsule Type: Veggie
- Active ingredients – 8 evidence-backed ingredients including B vitamins, Inositol and DMAE
Neuro from Oweli features a synergistic nootropic formulation specifically designed to support optimal brain health. Each capsule contains a potent blend of eight evidence-backed ingredients that may help cognitive function in several ways including:
- Promoting calm and focus
- Supporting improved memory and learning
- Helping to enhance the ability to multitask
- Boosting mood and alleviating stress
- Supporting neuroplasticity
- Helping to help fight age-induced cognitive decline
The science-backed formula includes B vitamins which support healthy homocysteine levels that can help balance mood and enhance mental energy; DMAE, which is a building block for choline and acetylcholine, which are essential for optimal brain health; and Huperzine A, a plant extract, that can help protect acetylcholine levels to promote improved mental clarity and concentration.
Safety comes first for Oweli, so Neuro is manufactured in FDA-registered facilities and is cGMP-compliant. Furthermore, via lab testing, the brand ensures the entire product line is free of pesticides, heavy metals and any other contaminants or pathogens. However, if you’re unhappy for any reason, you’re protected by a 100-day guarantee.
Best Brain Supplement for Focus: Natural Stacks Dopamine Brain Food
- Natural ingredients
- Third-party tested
- Subscribe and save
- Size – 60 capsules
- Flavor – N/A
- Active ingredients – L-tyrosine, TMG, L-phenylalanine and various vitamins
If you’re regularly struggling with brain fog, the Dopamine Brain Food capsules from Natural Stacks may help support focus and improve mental clarity. The multi-ingredient formulation helps naturally support dopamine production to improve mental drive and cognitive function, as well as maintain healthy neurons over the long term. Ingredients include:
- Vitamin B12, which is crucial for the maintenance of normal cognitive function and memory recall.
- Tyrosine, which is converted into L-Dopa, which is the direct precursor to dopamine.
- TMG, also known as betaine, is known to help lower homocysteine levels, which can help maintain cognitive function and prevent damage to brain cells.
- Vitamin C is a well-known neuroprotective antioxidant.
Just 2 or 3 capsules taken in the morning provide a variety of vitamins, minerals and amino acids that are essential for the proper functioning of the central nervous system. The formulation is completely natural and vegetarian-friendly.
The “Open Source” transparency program of Natural Stacks provides ingredient traceability and third-party lab test results for every batch, so you know you’re getting quality.
Best Brain Supplement for Memory: Organixx Brain Health 8
- 8-in-1 brain health supplement
- All-natural and organic ingredients
- Subscribe and save 15%
- Size – 60 capsules
- Flavor – N/A
- Active ingredients – 8 natural ingredients including cat’s claw powder, cinnamon and pau d’arco.
Brain Health 8 from Organixx as the name suggests features eight brain-boosting ingredients designed to support memory and focus, as well as promote clarity, concentration and recall. The active ingredients are all-natural and organic and include:
- Cat’s Claw Powder – Studies have shown this powerful antioxidant can help repair damaged DNA, strengthen the communication between neurons and help grow new brain cells.
- Bacopa Monnieri Powder – This natural brain booster may help speed up reaction time, improve memory and reduce feelings of depression and anxiety.
- Pau d’Arco – This powerful antifungal also has anti-inflammatory properties that help protect brain cells by blocking the enzymes that can contribute to inflammation of the brain.
- Dragon’s Blood Resin Extract – Believed to be beneficial in banishing brain fog, research has shown this tree sap helps protect the brain by keeping brain inflammation at bay.
The formulation is completely non-GMO, as well as free of artificial colors, preservatives, fillers, or additives. All ingredients are responsibly sourced from a nature preservation area in the Amazon rainforest. Furthermore, third-party testing ensures that the capsules are free from heavy metals, pesticides and glyphosate.
Best Brain Supplement for Learning: MindBodyGreen Brain Guard+
- Advanced nootropic formula
- Vegan and major food allergen free
- Subscribe and save 15%
- Size – 60 capsules
- Flavor – N/A
- Active ingredients – Citicoline, kanna and resveratrol
The advanced nootropic formula of Brain Guard+ from MindBodyGreen may benefit your cognitive function in several ways including, enhancing learning speed, boosting mental clarity and recall and promoting lifelong brain support. The nootropic ingredients are:
- Citicoline – Essential for neurotransmitter production and neuron health and function. It has also been shown to benefit learning and cognitive performance by increasing mental ATP energy.
- Kanna – Responsibly sourced from South Africa, this nootropic botanical helps balance key neurotransmitters and brain waves. Kanna has also been shown to improve cognitive flexibility and enhance mental well-being and mood, by strengthening our resilience to stressors.
- Resveratrol – This neuroprotectant is a potent antioxidant known to increase blood flow to the brain, as well as enhance processing speed, verbal memory and general cognitive function.
Formulated, manufactured and packaged in the USA, Brain Guard+ is GMO-free and contains no preservatives, binders, colors, flavors, or MSG. Furthermore, the brain supplement is suitable for several dietary requirements as they are 100% vegan, gluten-free and free of many major food allergens including soy and peanuts.
Best Brain Supplement for Neuroprotection: Akasha Naturals Cereguard Plus – Brain Food
- Potential benefits for both heart and brain
- Subscribe and save 15%
- Size – 90 capsules
- Flavor – N/A
- Active ingredients – Gingko extract, vinpocetine and grape seed extract, plus various amino acids, vitamins and minerals
Cereguard from Akasha Naturals contains two key amino acids — acetyl-L-carnitine and N-acetylcysteine — that are essential for proper brain function, playing a role in energy production in the brain.
The formulation also includes several B vitamins, vitamin C and botanical extracts that may help improve cognitive and endocrine function, by reducing oxidative stress throughout the brain and body.
Akasha Natural’s entire product line is developed by a multidisciplinary team of physicians and licensed practitioners in alternative medicines, so you know you’re getting a supplement you can’t trust.
How We Picked the Best Brain Supplements
We pride ourselves on only recommending the best supplements to our readers. We researched dozens of premium brands to find the best brain supplements on the market right now that met our criteria in terms of quality, reputation and customer satisfaction.
Nutritional supplements are not regulated by the FDA and therefore it can be difficult to determine if you’re getting quality. One way of determining that we’re recommending safe supplements is by checking the manufacturing processes a supplement brand use.
While the FDA doesn’t regulate supplements they do approve manufacturing facilities, so we favored brands that use such facilities. Furthermore, we checked that supplements were made in facilities that are cGMP (Current Good Manufacturing Practices), which provide systems and processes that assure the quality and purity of products.
Verified Customer reviews provide key insights into the effectiveness of a brain supplement. Therefore, we examined reviews to see how real users benefited from taking our short-listed brain supplements, as well as checking for any potential side effects and issues with customer service.
Artificial ingredients, such as fillers, preservatives, colors and flavors can increase the risk of adverse or allergic reactions. Therefore, we favored brands that utilize natural formulations without bulking agents or fillers. Furthermore, we looked for supplements that were vegan/vegetarian and were free of major allergens, GMOs, etc, to ensure they were suitable for a wide range of dietary requirements.
Additionally, we checked to see if a brand sent their supplement for testing in independent labs to ensure the active ingredients are as advertised and that the products are free of contaminants, such as heavy metals, pesticides, microbes and other impurities.
What to Look For When Buying Brain Supplements
Brain supplements are not regulated by the FDA. Therefore, brands can make unsubstantiated claims about their products, without clinical evidence. Be careful to choose supplements from brands that quote scientific evidence when making any claims and include a disclosure about any statements that have not been evaluated by the FDA.
While we don’t expect you to be experts in nootropics, it’s important to make sure you choose a brain supplement that contains evidence-backed ingredients, such as B vitamins and certain amino acids. Check the product description carefully for information on why ingredients have been selected and that the potential benefits match up with your needs.
As opposed to looking at the price of an entire bottle of supplements, figure out the cost of a daily dosage. This will give you a better indication of the value-for-money of a supplement and a figure that you can compare when it comes to similar products.
How do brain supplements work?
For the brain to develop and function properly it requires essential nutrients. While we can get a lot of the essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants from a healthy and balanced diet, brain supplements can up our intake of these brain-boosting nutrients. This can potentially boost focus, memory retention and clarity.
Are there any side effects of brain supplements?
More research is needed on the whole to determine if there are any significant side effects of brain supplements. Furthermore, individual ingredients of a supplement could be associated with different side effects e.g. too much vitamin B1 (thiamine) can cause nausea, excess sweating, hives and restlessness.
As brain supplements contain a wide range of ingredients, it’s important you speak to your healthcare provider before you start your supplementation journey. This will ensure you’re not ingesting something that may interact with pre-existing medical conditions or any prescription medication you’re taking.
When is the best time to take brain supplements?
The majority of brain supplements come with recommendations to take more than once a day for optimal performance. However, for best results, take your brain supplement before or after breakfast and again in the afternoon to boost cognitive function throughout the day.
The nutrients needed to support proper brain and cognitive function typically come from a balanced diet. However, if you need a little boost in brain power, you may benefit from a brain supplement, which contains a blend of nutrients associated with improving focus, mood and memory, as well as reducing brain fog.
When choosing a brain supplement, look for evidence-backed ingredients, such as B vitamins and resveratrol, as well as an all-natural formulation to reduce the risk of an adverse reaction.
As there is minimal research on the potential side effects of dietary brain supplements, it’s best to consult with your doctor before you start taking a new supplement.
Disclaimer: While we work to ensure that product information is correct, on occasion manufacturers may alter their ingredient lists. Actual product packaging and materials may contain more and/or different information than that shown on our website. We recommend that you do not solely rely on the information presented and that you always read labels, warnings and directions before using or consuming a product. For additional information about a product, please contact the manufacturer. Content on this site is for reference purposes and is not intended to substitute for advice given by a physician, pharmacist or other licensed health-care professional. You should not use this information as self-diagnosis or for treating a health problem or disease. Contact your health-care provider immediately if you suspect that you have a medical problem. Information and statements regarding dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or health condition. Us Weekly assumes no liability for inaccuracies or misstatements about products.