When the crunch is on and you have a big presentation or exam, your brain needs to perform at its best.
There are a lot of ways to improve your memory, concentration, and overall cognition but this article will focus on the best supplements for improving your brain function. And, best of all, these findings are backed up by research.
So without further ado here are the best brain supplements to improve your memory, mood, and boost your cognitive functioning:
1. Phosphatidylserine – Improve Concentration
Benefits associated with phosphatidylserine include improved thinking, memory, and concentration.
Phosphatidylserine is a popular supplement for students. It has also has a positive impact on children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (2).
2. L-Theanine – Relax the Mind
In combination with caffeine, L-Theanine may help boost cognitive abilities. It is recommended patients take 100-200 mg of L-Theanine along with some caffeine for optimal impact (9). Some patients have reported dizziness and headaches associated with taking this in combination with caffeine in large quantities (10).
The most well-known sources of L-Theanine are green tea and black tea, however, you would need many cups to get 100mg of L-Theanine.
3. Creatine – Boost Your Brain
Creatine is a popular supplement among bodybuilders and workout enthusiasts – and for good reason. It not only helps with increased muscle mass but also boosts memory and brain function.
The dosage amount of creatine differs per person and is best accomplished through a staggered loading process. To begin, take 0.3 grams per kilogram of body weight per day for 5–7 days, then follow with at least 0.03 g/kg/day either for three weeks (if cycling) or indefinitely (without additional loading phases) (11).
Pregnant women should avoid taking creatine due to the limited information about its impact on pregnancy (12).
4. Acetyl-L-Carnitine – Increase Energy
It has shown efficacy in improving mentality clarity but also has anti-ageing properties as well as mood-boosting effects (14).
In addition, ALCAR is a powerful antioxidant, protecting your brain against environmental free radicals (15).
A dosage of 500 mg, either all at once or spread throughout the day, is recommended for adults (16). Side effects from taking ALCAR are rare and normally associated with extraordinarily large doses (17).
5. Ginkgo Biloba – An All-Time Favorite
It is one of the best-selling supplements in the world and has even had a positive impact on patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
Aside from fish oil, gingko biloba is probably the most popular supplement consumed on the market today.
6. Fish Oil – For Brain Power
Among the most popular brain supplements in the world, fish oil has a host of benefits for your body as well.
Fish oil is laden with DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), an omega-3 fatty acid – an essential building block for your brain (21).
Usually found in cold water fatty fish, there are many fish oil supplements on the market that are perfect for boosting your cognitive function.
You can eat salmon or take a supplement, whichever is easier for you to access. People on blood-thinning medications, aspirin, warfarin or clopidogrel should exercise caution when using fish oil supplements (22).
250 mg of combined EPA and DHA is the recommended minimum dose according to research while doses of 500 mg of fish oil have also shown effectiveness in treating metabolic disorders and in boosting brain functioning (23).
7. Huperzine A – Better Memory
A small plant native to Asia, Huperzia Serrata has shown effectiveness for improving memory and circulation according to research (24).
Patients receiving anticholinergic drugs, acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, or cholinergic drugs should consult with their doctor before beginning a course of Huperzine A (28).
8. Citicoline – Healthy Brain Cells
A brain chemical located throughout your body, citicoline is one of the most powerful brain-boosting supplements available on the market today and works by helping your build healthy cell membranes (29).
9. Brahmi – An Ancient Brain Tonic
Used in the ancient healing science of Ayurveda for its supposed aid in memorizing religious texts, Brahmi (Bacopa Monnieri) has been used for the past 3000 years as a “brain tonic” to help improve memorization and learning (32).
Brahmi’s effective mechanism is that it increases cerebral blood flow, providing more oxygen, nutrients, and glucose to the brain so it can function more efficiently (33).
When compared to a pharmaceutical drug Modafinil and the more traditionally used ginseng, brahmi came out on top (34).
Pregnant women should be careful when taking brahmi (36).
10. Curcumin – Increase Serotonin and Dopamine
Some patients have reported dizziness, nausea, and diarrhea after taking too much curcumin, so be judicious in your supplementation (40).
Read Also: 10 Foods That Keep Your Brain Young
Photo: Ivan Kurmyshov