How To Choose the Best Brain Supplements for You

Brain supplements

Taking care of your body is one thing, but when it comes to leading a happy, healthy lifestyle—it’s only part of the puzzle.

When choosing the best brain supplements for your needs, considering your goals is essential. 

Why? Well, because in addition to supporting normal brain function, the right supplements can have a beneficial effect on your mental focus, energy, and memory.

So, whether you’re looking to become more focused, remember more or improve your overall mental wellbeing—our Smart guide has you covered.

The good news is…there are plenty of great supplements available to help you improve your physical health and fitness, but how about the mental health side of things?

Thankfully, there are also lots of options out there that have a beneficial effect on brain health, too. 

They’re called nootropics

Let’s take a look.

What are nootropics?

Nootropics are a range of different capsules, gummies, drinks, and other forms of supplements that can improve cognitive function, boost brain health or support the inner workings of your mind.

These are exactly what we’ll look at here.

We’ll walk you through what these brain health supplements are and what they can do, as well as the various options that are available.

So, are you ready to boost your brainpower? Of course you are. Now, let’s dig a little deeper.

What are brain supplements?

Your brain is incredibly powerful.

It may just be a 3lb blob of jelly-like substance that sits inside of your head, but its potential is almost limitless.

Yet, however amazing it may be, it can still use a little help from time to time to get the most out of those billions of neurons that make up such a remarkable organ.

This is where nootropics come into play.

What are brain-boosting supplements used for?

Nootropics go by multiple names. They’re often referred to as brain supplements, smart drugs, or cognitive enhancers.

All of these names sum up what they can do pretty well, as they improve or aid various mental functions and processes, including…

  • Memory
  • Attention
  • Mood
  • Clarity
  • Energy
  • Creativity
  • Focus
  • Sleep
  • Anxiety
  • Relaxation

As you can see, there is a huge variety of things that brain health supplements can be used to enhance or assist. So which type of nootropics you opt for will depend entirely on your personal brain-boosting goals.

And just as is it with fitness supplements, nootropics will produce different results based on the ingredients they contain.

That’s why the key things to look for when choosing a nootropic supplement are ingredients that are proven to be safe and effective while boosting your mental performance.

If this all sounds a bit much, don’t worry! We’re here to make it as simple as possible for you to choose the right nootropics for you.

We’ll go through some great options below and show you exactly how nootropics can enhance your cognition and maximise your mental performance.

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Brain food supplements

Another way of looking at nootropics is thinking of them as ‘brain food’.

The herbs, compounds, vitamins and minerals, and other ingredients that go into nootropics fuel the brain and provide what it needs to function optimally—just like certain types of food do for your body.

Many of these ingredients can also be obtained through a balanced diet. But, in some cases, it can be difficult to find nutritious sources or to consume enough for them to have beneficial effects.

That’s why it’s a good idea to combine healthy dietary choices with nootropics— you’ll get the best of both worlds. The food you eat and the supplements you take should complement each other.

Let’s look at some of these key ingredients that can elevate your mind, what they are good for—and where you can find them.

B vitamins

There are eight different vitamins that make up a full B-vitamin complex…

  • B1 (thiamine)
  • B2 (riboflavin)
  • B3 (niacin)
  • B5 (pantothenic acid)
  • B6 (pyridoxine)
  • B7 (biotin)
  • B9 (folic acid or folate)
  • B12 (cobalamin)

Each of these B vitamins plays a role towards enhancing your overall health in its own unique way. But finding them all in one place through a healthy diet alone can be tricky.

Fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fatty fish, meat, cheese, eggs, milk, nuts, and beans all contain some level of B vitamins, but in various quantities and not necessarily the whole complex.

That’s why you should also aim to take a daily brain supplement that contains additional, or even the full eight, B vitamins.

The range of B vitamins is crucial for countless body functions, including important cognitive processes [1] like enhancing concentration, reducing fatigue, and clearing brain fog. These powerful vitamins can also improve your metabolism, boost energy levels, and accelerate mental recovery.

If you’re looking to improve the health of your brain and nervous system, as well as increase your focus and mental energy—you can’t go far wrong with getting some extra B vitamins into your day.

Magnesium

You might remember magnesium from science experiments at school, but it’s actually an essential mineral that we all need to function at our best.

It plays a role in numerous biochemical reactions [2] and is crucial for bone health as well as nerve and muscle function. Magnesium can also regulate your heartbeat and blood pressure.

From a mental point of view, magnesium can aid focus and concentration, boost memory, provide extra energy, reduce brain fog, improve sleep quality, and bring about a sense of calm.

Good dietary sources of magnesium include bananas, avocados, dark chocolate, leafy green vegetables like spinach and kale, as well as nuts and legumes like cashews or almonds.

Resveratrol

You might have heard it said that a glass of red wine each night is good for you, and that’s because it contains resveratrol. 

But, let’s face it, drinking alcohol a little too regularly is not great for your overall health and fitness—or keeping your mind sharp.

Thankfully, you can still get a daily dose of resveratrol from certain supplements. This ingredient is a powerful antioxidant that has been shown to reduce inflammation in the brain, protect neurons, and even prevent neurodegeneration [3]

It also aids memory, improves your energy, and increases blood flow throughout your brain—leading to better overall cognition.

If you want to add more resveratrol into your diet as well as through supplementation, it can be found in blueberries and cranberries, peanuts and pistachios, and cocoa or dark chocolate.

Ashwagandha root
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Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is a herb that has been used in traditional medicine across the world for centuries.

This is due to its ability to promote rest and relaxation [4], as well as decrease stress and improve mood.

It also has antioxidant properties to help reduce inflammation in your brain and body.

From a dietary perspective, ashwagandha isn’t particularly appealing (most people who try it describe the taste as earthy or bitter). It’s also tricky to consume in large amounts as it usually takes a powder form.

Although there are some teas that are infused with ashwagandha, it can be much easier and more effective to experience the benefits from a capsule or gummy supplement instead.

Bacopa monnieri

Another great herbal nootropic is Bacopa monnieri.

Like ashwagandha, this ingredient has been used across the centuries to enhance mood and combat stress and anxiety, along with boosting powers of concentration and memory [5].

As with many of the ingredients included in nootropics, it is much simpler to consume effective amounts of Bacopa monnieri in a capsule than through food alone.

The main ways to eat Bacopa is to mix the leaves into curries, soups, or salads. Alternatively, you can boil them in water to make a healthy tea.

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Lemon balm

Although you’d be forgiven for thinking it, lemon balm is not related to lemons.

While the citrus fruit does provide plenty of health advantages itself, it’s the leaves of the lemon balm plant (an entirely different species) that we’re looking at here.

Meditation and mindfulness fans are probably already aware of lemon balm’s abilities to help you relax, de-stress, and keep your mind calm [6]. But it can also be used as a sleep aid, as a memory booster, and to promote focus, mental clarity, and general cognition.

The leaves of the lemon balm plant can be used in cooking in the same way as other herbs. 

Mixing it with butter or oil to create a rub for fish or vegetables is a popular way to get some into your diet. And, like some of the other herbs already mentioned, lemon balm can be used to make a relaxing and restorative tea when boiled in water.

Caffeine

As a stimulant, caffeine is used in lots of different nootropic supplements to provide mental and physical energy, enhance attention and focus, and improve alertness and cognitive stamina.

Coffee, tea, and energy drinks are the main ways to get caffeine into your life, along with dark chocolate. But caffeine supplements are becoming more and more popular as well.

Do be cautious, though, as too much caffeine, whether from supplements or not, can cause a drop in energy levels when the effects wear off. It can also disrupt sleep patterns.

Thankfully, there are lots of caffeine-free alternatives in the nootropic world, so you can up those concentration levels and get a burst of mental energy without the crash.

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Further nootropic ingredients

There are plenty of other great ingredients to keep an eye out for, such as L-tyrosine and L-theanine, zinc, chamomile, turmeric, lavender, piperine (black pepper), and vitamins C and D.

All of these provide additional cognitive health and mental performance benefits too—so make sure you keep an eye on our blog, as we’ll cover these in more detail in the future.

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What Kind of Brain Supplement Is Right For You?

The type of nootropic you choose will ultimately depend on your goals. Once you know what they are, you’ll be able to pick the best type of brain vitamins and nootropic supplements to help you achieve those goals.

What are the best supplements for focus and concentration?

Are you looking for a way to keep your focus at work? Or to help you concentrate while doing research or studying a tough topic?

If so, your ideal nootropic will be something that contains ingredients that sharpen the mind and keep your thoughts from racing. The best focus supplements contain ingredients like Bacopa monnieri and Panax ginseng to enhance your cognitive capabilities and elevate your mental performance.

Likewise, supplements for brain fog can also fuel your focus by promoting clarity and mental energy. B vitamins are your go-to ingredients here.

What are the best supplements for calming your mind?

If you want to relax more and keep your mind clear throughout the day, a soothing and stress-busting nootropic that contains ashwagandha could be just what you need to find your zen.

Ingredients like chamomile, lavender, and lemon balm also do an amazing job of relieving mental tension and bringing tranquillity to your brain so you can switch off and centre your mind.

What are the best supplements for mental energy?

If it’s mental energy that you struggle with, you could try a caffeine-based supplement to keep you perked up and alert.

If caffeine isn’t your thing, or you’d just prefer a caffeine-free alternative, ingredients like magnesium, resveratrol, and various B vitamins can all provide similar mental stimulation—but without the jitters or energy crashes that are associated with caffeine-heavy drinks and supplements.

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What are the best supplements for memory?

How about if you want to improve your memory or some other cognitive functions instead?

This is where ingredients like L-theanine, magnesium, and Bacopa can come in handy.

Supplements like these can increase your concentration, focus your attention, and enhance normal brain function to boost your memory capacity and your capabilities for learning and mental retention.

What are the best supplements for brain health in general?

Perhaps you just want to improve the health of your brain in general. Or maybe you don’t know what your goals are, or where to start with brain pills and vitamins for brain health.

And that’s OK. There are some great ways to take care of your brain and support normal cognitive function in general if you aren’t sure where to begin.

In fact, we’ve got just the thing for you.

Try taking our quick Smart Quiz to discover which supplements are the perfect fit for what you’re trying to achieve. It’s easy and will set you on your way to boosting your brain health and maximising your mind power.

supplements and brain graphic
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Choosing the Best Brain Supplements

There are lots of options when it comes to brain vitamins and cognitive supplements.

From concentration tablets and memory pills to vitamins for brain fog, calming nootropics, and many other kinds of brain-boosters.

It can be a lot to take in, and may feel a bit overwhelming when trying to decide which is the best brain food supplement for your goals.

If you are struggling to choose, or you have multiple mental performance goals, a great place to start is with The Focus Kit or The Calm Kit

These are our mind-elevating bundles that contain the best brain health supplements for fuelling your focus, enhancing mental clarity, and helping you stay calm and relaxed.

We’ve also got a great selection of nootropics and supplements to support brain health and upgrade your mental performance. 

Sources

Smart Protein is committed to sourcing only the best and scientifically-backed research in our articles.

1. NCBI

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4772032/

2. PubMed

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25540137/

3. NCBI

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6657254/

4. NCBI

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6979308/

5. PubMed

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11498727/

6. NCBI

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4245564/

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