Best Natural Nootropics for mental health and well-being

By Nootropicblend stuff

This review provides a vivid listing of the best natural nootropics. Each of this natural supplements may be of noticeable benefit to your cognitive health as well as balanced lifestyle in 2019. They are safe and supported with growing research, as well as made as bioavailable source of active ingredients. The products are best they can be.

You will recognize them in the formulas of some of the best known pre-made nootropic stacks. The brands will say it first, but it’s rather indisputable that nootropics work to enhance our cognitive performance and body well-being. In a measurable way. They are tested in many recent human trials where scientific papers persistently claim to have an positive impact.

After the long years of modern scientific and anecdotal use, but also known from historical papers (Egipt, India, China), the best natural nootropic ingredients are now finally crafted for growing number of people. 

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“Humankind is not going to wait passively for millions of years before evolution offers us a better brain. [Humankind] will directly, openly and consciously take part in evolution.”

– dr. Corneliu E. Giurgea (1923 – 1995)

Father of the Nootropic Concept

 

Who will benefit from nootropics?

Nootropics brought a passion in individuals that want to achieve results as well as high performance in their lives. 

They are primarily: 

  • students

  • hectic professionals

  • business owners

  • athletes and competitors

  •  active +55-ers

Hedonistic reasons for better looking and weight loss are also present.

Probably around 100 all-natural compounds with a host of brain-boosting effects are taken every day by the individuals around the globe. And many more not so well-researched that probably isn’t for consumption yet.

Nootropicblend.com list sums up a twenty or so best natural nootropics quite investigated by science and anecdotally confirmed by the buyers. These extracts, powders, and oils are standardized for main active ingredients. Their bioavailability is much better and therefore have all main and important active ingredients for the most beneficial effects you can get.

Let’s find out the best natural nootropics that match your security requirements as well as the budget.

the best natural nootropics

standardized extracts and powders

Form Brand Doses

Citicoline

250 mg

Bacopa

Synapsa

Bacognize® 

300 - 320 mg

Ashwagandha

Sensoril

KSM-66

125 - 300 mg

CBD hemp

Omega CBD™

Dream CBD™

300 - 450 mg

Mushrooms

Nootropics depot

full extracts and powders

Cocoa

Chocamine® 

powder 125g or 250g

NAC

Nootropics depot

500 mg

Rhodiola

Nootropics depot 

3% rosavins & 3% salidrosides

500 mg 

Creatine 

Nootropics depot

powder 500 g

L-theanine

Nootropics depot

capsules 200 mg

powder 125g or 500g

Caffeine & L-theanine

” The combination of L-theanine and caffeine improves cognitive performance and increases subjective alertness (1).”

These two ingredients are famous for its pronounced synergistic effects, making them one of the most recognizable natural nootropics. Caffeine and theanine even naturally occur together in green tea leaves.

The most popular and used nootropic caffeine is naturally-occurring stimulant found in several plants. L-theanine (or just theanine) is an nondietary amino-acid which is the biologically active constituent of green tea. Its great ability is to produce a calming effect and prevent over-stimulation. 

Stacking Theanine with a stimulant allows one to reap benefits that would not occur if consumed independently. 

Improved accuracy and alertness

“The combination of moderate levels of L-theanine and caffeine significantly improved accuracy during task switching and self-reported alertness and reduced self-reported tiredness.”

While caffeine puts the brain in the hyper mode, helping us to be more focused, productive and alert, L-theanine cares to relax the brain and reduce mental fatigue and stress.

Theanine has anxiolytic effects that counteract caffeine side effects which might bring anxiety, blood pressure and heart rate. So this combo is maybe all you need from cognitive boosting natural nootropics, for it is safest and has quite noticeable nootropic effect.

Editor’s ritual is the home-made morning cup ‘o Joe with L-theanine powder. You can also purchase this combo in many pre-mixed products as a two-ingredients pill of theanine and caffeine. As seen in Smart caffeine by Natural stacks.

Creatine Monohydrate

“Creatine has been used by athletes as an ergogenic aid since the 1970s…Given creatine’s impact on the immune system studies in models of autoimmune disease may be particularly applicable (1).”

Proven from the International Olympic Committee, National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), and professional sport, creatine is the number one supplement for sport nutrition as well as healthy lifestyle of the gym enthusiasts. 

Creatine empowers exercise performance by adding intensity and progress in sports that require sudden bursts of activity like sprinting and weightlifting. But, Creatine is not just the greatest post-workout supplement.

”In the same way that Creatine may store energy in our muscles, it may store energy in our brains and increase mental endurance without the crash of popular stimulants like caffeine.”

natural nootropic good for brain health

There is some early evidence that creatine may be a natural nootropic. It is, for example, highly used by college students as a form of improving their learning skills. It should be taken daily in order for its effects to be experienced.

Additionally, the other health benefits include protection from neurological diseases, decrease of brain fatigue, promotion of synaptic neurogenesis, short-term memory and cognition in people with low daily intake or vegetarians. 

Among natural nootropics, creatine is good for brain health and longevity due to its ability to preserve and recharge ATP and promote mitochondrial function

Various forms of creatine exist but we recommend the creatine monohydrate because it has the most scientific support and it is used in more than 1,000 clinical studies on creatine. Some other forms are only available in the multi-ingredient products

Adaptogens

“To date, various studies and practical applications have shown that plant-originated adaptogens are a kind of elite herbal medicine, playing an important role in human health and helping the human body resist various stress factors (1).”

Every one of these three adaptogenic herbs from our list are the ancient herbs that are the basis of traditional medical practices, especially ayurvedic. Their nootropic results are supported by some modern-day clinical research, as well as many anecdotal investigations of adaptogenic species.

They are the trinity of adaptogens.

Bacopa Monnieri

Bacopa monnieri is the one of the most known natural cognitive enhancers. It is typically used for enhancing memory and reducing anxiety. The applications is seen in Alzheimer’s illness and attention deficit-hyperactivity condition (ADHD), amongst numerous other uses. Some extracts and powders that are originated from Bacopa monnieri are made from carefully selected constituents of the plant and are aimed to offer stronger advantages.

We can recommend two standardized extract of Bacopa, depending upon what result interests you.

  • One study found that Bacognize® and its isolated constituents showed strong regulation at serotonin receptors that are key for higher cognitive functions such as memory, mood and focus.  Pharmacological research shows that these constituents regulate serotonin receptors in the brain, contributing to their positive effect on cognition.
  • With another clinically tested extract of Bacopa called Synapsa, this herb can also provide very calming and relaxing effects. Because It has ability to connect and enhance GABA receptors in your brain while improving nerve communication, Synapsa extract may sharpen your thought processes and benefit the sleep.

Rhodiola Rosea

With 140 beneficial compounds that Rhodiola Rosea contains, this high elevations perennial growing plant and ancient nootropic is rightly called the Golden Root. Today it is used in phytotherapy in Uzbekistan, China, and other Asian countries.

Rhodiola promote strength and vitality. Because of its adaptogenic properties it reduces fatigue and exhaustion that coming from prolonged stressful situations. The future research might be invested in Rhodiola neuroprotective qualities, too.

The only question with Rhodiola is do you want the extract to be standardized to Rosavins or Salidrosides? Because it basically boils down to these two active constituents in Rhodiola over whom the extracts and the effects are commonly made.

  • If you want to use an Rhodiola rosea extract standardized to 3% salidrosides, then its for an anti-fatigue and stimulating properties. 
  • If you are for a more holistic extract that provides general health benefits, then you will use an extract standardized to 3% rosavins which are an abundant antioxidants.

Ashwagandha

Known by names of Withania somnifera, or the ”Indian Ginseng”, this small woody herb has a fundamental place in the ayurvedic medicine as it promotes vitality, longevity, and happiness.

Ashwagandha root contains several bioactive compounds, but the withanolides (group of flavonoids) are of the main interest. It works on energy and focus, as well as reducing stress levels and boosting cognition.

  • Sensoril is the industry gold standard, used by many Ashwagandha brands for its mood-boosting and stress-reducing effects. As it reduces levels of cortisol, It is clinically tested to help relieve the negative effects of stress and to promote restful sleep
  • Another great extract and award-winning product of ashwagandha is KSM-66, a unique as the highest concentration full-spectrum extract. It promotes healthy cellular function and energy levels, supports healthy stress levels. It shown potential for improving general physical health, as well as joint and muscle health.

Wherever you buy ashwagandha extracts, try to look for the standardized to at least 4-5% withanolides.

CBD from hemp

“Make the most you can of the Indian Hemp seed and sow it everywhere.”

– George Washington

Among many cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, the 2nd most common active ingredient is cannabidiol (CBD). It does not produce the normal subjective “high” effect that is seen in marijuana THC content. 

Since the early studies on CBD in 1970s, scientists have confirmed that it decreases anxiety in rodents after either single or repeated administration. As of December 2015, the FDA relieved the governing regulations to enable researchers to perform more CBD tests. 

We found that CBD helps turn on endocannabinoid receptors in the brain and immune system, which are key regulators of numerous mental and physical processes. CBD has shown anxiolytic, antiepileptic, and antipsychotic properties, among other effects.

Derived directly from the hemp plant, which is a cousin of the marijuana plant, Cannabidiol (CBD)-based oil preparations are become very popular these days as it supports human health in a number of ways.

Host of CBD benefits

CBD, as one of best natural nootropics, can relieve pain, reduce anxiety and depression, alleviate cancer-related symptoms (not a cure-all for cancer), and might have neuroprotective properties and anti-inflammatory actions. In recent research, CBD has shown benefits for heart health and circulatory system, as it lowers high blood pressure.

Some CBD oils, like nextCBD hemp extract by Nootropics depot, are even 20x more bioavailable and fully water soluble unlike regular CBD. That means you can use less and get more from its effects. A really great product.

Omega CBD™ and Dream CBD™ formulas by Natural stacks are also great full spectrum hemp extracts. OMEGA CBD helps ease daily tension, soothes pains as well as discomforts, and keeps you calm, cool and collected. 

While DREAM CBD will assist you to fall asleep swiftly, to remain asleep all night as well as to get deep, restorative rest.

N-acetylcysteine (NAC)

”The sad consequence is that most aging individuals have never heard of it. Even many doctors remain unaware of its potential role as a frontline defense against some of today’s most deadly public health threats.”

– Dr. Julius Goepp, MD

For many natural nootropics followers, an encounter with N-acetylcysteine, or abbreviated NAC, was a serious surprise and love at first sight. NAC is a derivative of cysteine, an amino acid that is naturally produced in the body and participates in the general antioxidant activities which raises body’s natural defence system. 

The main antioxidant glutathione that our body makes might be diminished in a variety of health conditions. So the levels of NAC is used to enhance the production of glutathione when it is normally depleted. This ability is responsible for the many health benefits.

Because of powerful antioxidant properties, NAC also boost mood, lower anxiety and improve memory (both short-term and long-term).

Originally introduced as a mucolytic agent, NAC was used for chronic pulmonary diseases some 50 years ago. It is primarily inhaled to manage conditions in which mucus is abnormally thick and tenacious . 

In recent times NAC was widely sold out for its ability to help exorcise the hangover, eliminate urinary infection problems, and decrease the symptoms of galloping influenza. It is also typically used in dietary, bodybuilding and skin health supplements

powerful list of benefits

NAC, as a precursor of glutathione, works anti-inflammatory and is efficient scavenger of free radicals. Your brain is especially vulnerable to the free radicals attack intracellularly, which cause oxidative damage to the tissue. NAC thus affecting cognition, long-term potentiation, memory, and mood.

NAC modulates glutamate levels and dopamine release in the brain. Thus affecting the neuron health, cognition, memory and mood. NAC also control dopamine levels and function in your brain and protects dopamine receptors (13).

NAC increases your body’s antioxidant capacity, and balances excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters in your brain. Resulting in less anxiety and depression (14).

More than 20 clinical trials have employed NAC in various psychiatric disorders. Its effectiveness as a free-radical scavenger gave us promising novel studies.

Researchers believe NAC can help with mental health disorders such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), anxiety and depression. 

Learn more about NAC in our blog post alphabet of NAC benefits.

Medicinal Mushrooms

“It may surprise you to learn that mushrooms account for an astonishing 25% of the Earth’s total biomass. 92% of all plants are dependent upon mushrooms for their survival. 40% of all pharmaceuticals contain some form of mushroom. And, quite incredibly, 85% of human RNA and 50% of human DNA is shared with fungi.”

Often referred to as the “Forgotten Kingdom”, mushrooms have been used throughout thousands of years for their nutritional and medicinal values. They contain a diversity of bioactive compounds having many potential applications in health sciences.

Recently, they become very popular as powders we add to lattes, smoothies and vegetable stir-fry recipes. Although not a cure-all, mushrooms are excellent as a ‘preventive’ remedy and that is consistent with the main purpose of taking dietary supplements. 

“More than 130 medicinal functions are thought to be produced by medicinal mushrooms (MMs) and fungi, including antitumor, immunomodulating, antioxidant, radical scavenging, cardiovascular, antihypercholesterolemic, antiviral, antibacterial, antiparasitic, antifungal, detoxification, hepatoprotective, antidiabetic, and other effects (1).”

Let’s have a quick look at some of the best medicinal mushrooms:

Reishi – sleep, anxiety, depression, focus

Chaga – aging, inflammation, lowering LDL

Lion’s mane – cognition, memory, concentration

Shiitake – lowering cholesterol, heart health

Turkey tail – immune support, antioxidants, cancer prevention

Cordyceps – energy, athletic performance, muscle recovery

controversy over mushroom extracts

The main controversy of the mushroom extracts industry today is the prevalent use of mycelium content which is to a mushroom like what roots are to a tree. The beneficial effects of the mushrooms is related to a whole fruiting body and not just to a part of it. 

To make a profit vast majority of mushrooms producers speed-up the production process by standardizing to “polysaccharides” instead of “β-Glucans” content.

If you’re going to take a mushroom supplement, you want to look for a manufacturer that offers 100% organic whole fruiting body mushroom extracts and powders.

Omega-3 fatty acids

“Found in flaxseed (vegetable) oil and fish oils, omega 3 fatty acids can’t be made in the body but must come from our food. The omega 3 fatty acids are necessary in the manufacture of our hormones, important for our heart, and necessary for the development of our brain. They also play a role in preventing cancer.”

– Gary Null, author of Gary Null’s Power Aging

Fish and seafood naturally produce a kind of fats that makes the cell membranes in all tissues of the body flexible and structured. Scientists found that people with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids had increased blood flow in the brain, leading to better cognition and thinking abilities.

The omega 3 fats DHA and EPA are known to have anti-inflammatory effects and secure against different neurological and also metabolic illness. DHA is prevalent in the brain and has been shown to be helpful for memory and also cognitive deficits related to Alzheimer’s condition. 

Several other studies found that EPA had additional memory and cognitive benefits. In pre-clinical research studies, EPA has actually been revealed to be efficient in dealing with and also preventing clinical depression.

method to increase EPA levels

One recent neuroscience news show us how to increase an EPA intake into the brain:

“In order to do the trials to determine the proper dosage and how EPA works in regards to depression, we need to have a better way of getting it into the brain because you need to consume so much of it that its just not practical, at least for human trials,” said Papasani Subbaiah, professor of medicine and biochemistry and molecular genetics in the UIC College of Medicine. 

The solution is found by adding the lysophospholipid form of EPA into the diet. That way patients can significantly increase the levels of EPA in the brain and, therefore, reap its health benefits. Try to search for that kind of supplement if you are after these benefits or you are in the sports.

In editor’s point of view, Omega-3 is one of the best supplements for the brain as it helps build and repair your brain cells. I change it oftenly because there are many good omega-3 brands, as well as Krill oil softgels products.

Citicoline

“In spite of the negative results of pivotal studies in acute ischaemic stroke and traumatic brain injury, there is continuing interest in the neuroprotective properties of citicoline. The drug is non-toxic, and numerous preclinical data support the view that it displays neuroprotective properties. However, no adequate mechanistic explanation for these observations has ever been provided (1).”

 

Citicoline (CDP-choline) is naturally occurring brain chemical and neuroprotective compound that’s made up of choline and cytidine. It is a plentiful source of choline that is crucial to make the neurotransmitter acetylcholine as well as neuronal cell membranes. Choline also helps to transport dopamine and increasing its release into the brain.

While choline may help with the brain function, cytidine can also be useful once it is converted into uridine. It is observed in Citicoline nootropic supplements the boost in memory and cognitive viability, in addition to the decrease in indications of depression and anxiety. In essence, this compound could lead to a better focus and concentration.

“As a medication, citicoline has been proposed for use in traumatic brain injuries, stroke, vascular dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and brain aging. It has the function of stabilizer of cell membranes and reduces the presence of free radicals.”

powerful in synergy with nootropics

Many of its cell-and-tissue-specific function has been found to improve overall neuronal membrane integrity while also leading to a reduction in neuronal death. Citicoline can be quite powerful when work in synergy with other supplements, too.

Citicoline has safe toxicity profile, and side effects are rare and minimal. As with all effective nootropics, purchase only the best standardized extracts. Cognizin® is the patented form of the molecule CDP-Choline and is the only version in the world that is in the “free base” form that is bioidentical to the molecule as it is found in nature and synthesized in the body.

One study on healthy adolescent males who are receiving 28 days of Cognizin® citicoline showed improved attention and psychomotor speed and reduced impulsivity compared to adolescent males who received
placebo.

Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALCAR)

“ALCAR is a quintessential nootropic: an endogenous amino acid already present in the body and brain, it enhances cognition, protects against damage, and prevents or ameliorates many of the undesirable changes to the brain that occur as we age (1).”

Among the best nootropics on this listing, Acetyl L-Carnitine is in the class of its very own. Famous in the fitness forums, this amino acid can profit the body and also the mind similarly. People who need an energy boost or exercise regularly will love it.

ALCAR is not a stereotyped stimulant but a milder in nature. It enhances the energy profile of your brain and body. You will notice the effects while taking it but not as very stimulative.

It boosts energy by aiding the transportation of lipids from cellular membranes to the mitochondria. In doing so, it can improve metabolic energy of your brain cells and ATP production.

great for psysical and mental fatigue

Because of this qualities ALCAR is an indispensable pre-workout ingredient. It can increase work output and capacity by 11% by allowing muscle tissue to work in a full capacity.

By mildly increasing noradrenaline and serotonin, Acetyl L-Carnitine is commonly used to alleviate physical and mental fatigue symptoms.

As nootropic, ALCAR is for focus, increases short-term and long-term memory, and enhances your mood. The mood boosting properties are due to the lift in serotonin, which is also known as the happy hormone.

The high quality Acetyl L-Carnitine HCL  capsules are best known for supporting brain health and cognitive function, but it has many other potential uses.

Cocoa & theobromine extracts

“Chocolate was the ultimate man’s drink, drunk by warriors to stimulate aggression and sexual performance and sacrificial victims just before they had their chests cut open and their still-beating hearts pulled out. Conquered peoples had to pay the Aztecs tribute in beans (1).”

Cacao usage began in America and in the mid-sixteenth century it quickly infected Europe. Beyond just being the pleasant habit, scrumptious chocolate was taken into account as a good nutrient and medication.

The health benefits of cocoa have been related to its incomparable antioxidants content found in the Theobroma cocoa beans, but also the direct psychoactive effect due to methylxanthines in cocoa is notable. 

Caffeine in coffee and theobromine in cocoa are two structurally similar molecules and both belong to the methylxantines. They exert stimulant effects, only theobromine is weaker than caffeine.

benefit of standardized cocoa extract

Scientists believe theobromine is an cognitive modulator as well as great antioxidant. Theobromine is useful in asthma and in other respiratory tract problems such as cough. It is used as a vasodilator (a blood vessel widener), as an aid in urination, and as a heart stimulant. 

If you are interested in a full benefits of cocoa extract, try to look for a fully standardized blend of substances found in chocolate. Chocamine® use the whole extract of cocoa and is great for mood-related benefits, along with the increased focus and improved energy. 

That way you can rip off the benefits of the most notable compounds like theobromine, anandamides, flavanols, amino acids, nutritional minerals, and more. 

conclusion

It’s best to have a holistic approach when it comes to nootropics.

With standardized natural extracts that explore all main active substances, you will have many options and wonderful time with the best natural nootropics.

These nootropics sources will greatly benefit your overall body wellness:

  • adaptogens extracts

  • Omega-3’s

  • medicinal mushrooms

  • CBD

  • amino acids

  • antioxidants

  • choline donors

  • neuro-vitamins 

 

Stack them up

A term gaining momentum for nootropic users is “stacking nootropics“. This involves using a high list of nootropics to make the most benefits from the main active ingredients in the plant, mushroom, or other source.

In general good deal of nootropics are synergistic with each other, so that can greatly enhance the effects you are getting from them.

The best thing to do is to build up a strong foundation of doing healthy things, cherish healthy behavior, and then know what you’re trying to get. And what goals you want to use them for in DIY stacks.

Eating right and exercising, stretching, drinking enough water will be the bonus. Then you’re coming at it from a right angle.

Which of these best natural nootropics will you choose to improve your cognitive skills in 2019?

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