The memory plays an important role in our lives. It goes a long way in helping us store information and retrieve it for different reasons, which is a key aspect in our livelihood. And it is always important to keep it at its optimal performance in order to keep things smooth for us.
There are many reasons why the memory starts to decline, some of them being brain injury and neurodegenerative issues like Alzheimer’s.
And while at times we may be able to control the occurrence of these causes, we may not always be able to prevent ourselves from all of them.
However, development in neuroscience has discovered a way we can enhance our memory through taking brain supplements (nootropics).
Many of them have been tested and experimented with and have shown constant abilities to improve the functioning of the memory.
Here, we take a deep look at the 25 best nootropics for memory that have shown efficiency in the area over the years.
1. Bacopa Monierri
Bacopa moneirri is among the ancient herbs that have kept their brain improvement fame growing through the years. Back then it was used as a memory enhancer but with the recent studies, it has proven to help with increasing the recall speed as well as with formation of the memory.
Other abilities it is known for as far as the memory goes are enhancing the quality of the memory, holding new informstiom for long and reducing the rate of forgetfulness, especially with new information.
It is also able to reduce high levels of stress and anxiety, increase learning abilities, protect the brain and there is a potential benefit of reducing the rate of aging, although this benefit is still under research.
Bacopa is able to improve the rate of growth of dendrites (the extensions of the nerve cell that look like branches in the brain) that make the path for neural impulses.
This way they enhance the neural communication in the brain as it comes with new changes in the structure of the brain that account for better learning abilities and memory.
The recommended dosage for bacopa moneirri is around 300mg and it is recommended that users work with the supplement whose total weight includes 55% bacoside.
Although, the amount of bacosides (in percentage) can differ with products and are mostly stated on the label of the supplement.
It can be taken in powder or capsule form with the powder form having a really strong taste especially when you mix it with a hot liquid.
To learn more about it, here is a detailed review of Bacopa Moneirri.
2. Citicoline (CDP Choline)
Citicoline, which is also known as CDP Choline or citidine diphosphate, is mainly used to boost the memory and provide protection for the brain against the loss of memory.
Other benefits it is known for are boosting mental energy, improving focus and increasing mental clarity.
Reports shows that it also improves the efficiency of other nootropics.
It works by increasing the release of Acetylcholine levels in the brain. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that is associated with memory and learning abilities. Other neurotransmitters that citicoline increases levels of are adrenaline, dopamine and norepinephrine in the central nervous system.
The standard dosage for it is 250mg to 1000mg taken once. If taken in 2 doses, the time difference between the first dose and the second dose should around 8 to 12 hours.
To learn more about this supplement, check out this fully detailed review on citicoline.
3. Alpha GPC
Alpha GPC is a well known supplement that improves the memory and cognition. It also protects the brain and boosts strength as well as reduces the time taken to recover after working out.
The main sources of alpha GPC are wheat germ, dairy products and organ meats.
It works by increasing levels of phosphatidylcholine that makes for strengthened structure of cells, ensuring neurochemical balance in the brain and supports signaling of the nerves.
It also increases the levels of the neurotransmitters linked to motivation and energy, which are dopamine and serotonin.
For improved memory and learning capacity, alpha GPC improves choline that in turn increases the levels of acetylcholine which handles the memory and learning.
For handling cognitive decline, the suitable dosage is 400mg in 3 doses, totaling to 1200mg. Studies show that doses of 300mg to 1200mg taken in 1 to 3 doses are effective and safe as well.
Here is a detailed review of alpha GPC.
4. Huperzine A
Huperzine A is made from a naturally occurring Chinese Club moss called Huperzine Serrata. Although most people buy it for its abilities to improve thinking abilities, learning abilities and for good recall, it is mostly used as a treatment for Alzheimer’s.
There are also studies that show its ability to protect the brain against the toxicity of glutamate, reducing depression symptoms and for brain protection.
Its mechanism of action is mainly to add to the levels of the acetylcholine neurotransmitter by preventing the production of an enzyme called acetylcholinesterase, that is known to lower the quality of acetylcholine.
For boosting the memory, a dosage of 100mcg has been found effective. For treating Alzheimer’s, 50mcg to 200mcg taken 2 times a day has shown good results.
Oxiracetam has been derived from another supplement of the racetam family called Piracetam, although it portrays more potency than the latter.
Other than increasing wakefulness and protecting the brain, it is used for heightening attention, memory, verbal fluency and learning abilities.
In the brain it works on the communication of neurons in the hippocampus. The hippocampus is the section of the brain that is responsible for controlling the autonomic nervous system, emotions and memory.
It is able to do this through the stimulation of d-aspartic acid production and metabolism of lipids.
Optimal dosage for oxiracetam ranges from 1200mg to 1400mg every day, divided into 2 to 3 doses.
This is quite a potent agent for slowing the aging process as well as for elevating the memory.
In the United States and Canada, it is sold over the counter as a diet based supplement for its abilities to improve cognitive performance. Although in Europe, it is sold as a prescription for treating memory loss caused by aging.
It has proven to slow cognitive decline and boost moods, learning, motivation and also protect the brain.
It boosts choline action, which is the forerunner for acetylcholine.
For cognitive enhancement benefits, a dosage of 250mg to 3000mg per day (divided in 2 doses) is required for adults who are healthy.
However, for the anti aging benefits, a higher dose is required.
In turmeric, there is a substance known to have biological effects called Curcumin. And it has shown high abilities to work on the memory as well as an antioxidant.
It actually works well when stacked with piperine as this increases its rate of absorption.
When taken on the long term by older people, it enhances the working memory.
A standard dosage of 500mg is required, mixed with 20mg of piperine.
Pramiracetam is another supplement that has been derived from piracetam, synthetically.
In young adults who have memory difficulties, it increases cognition and in older adults who are healthy, improves memory. There are studies that suggest that it could enhance the whole brain function, although the studies have not been verified yet.
Other benefits it is associated with are brain protection, increased alertness and successfully reversing amnesia, slowing the rate of forgetfulness and boosting recall.
In the United States, it not regulated, meaning it can be legally bought, possessed and used, even though it has not been approved by the USFDA.
In the hippocampus, it increases High Affinity Choline Uptake which regulates how acetylcholine is released. This allows new memories to be formed and long term memories to be retained.
When it comes to dosage, there is no established dose, although having 1200mg split into 2 or 3 doses each day has proven to help.
This is a drug that is used to promote wakefulness and is a stimulant. It also improves the memory, motivation, moods, reaction time, performance in exercises as well as sports.
Moreover, it has brain protection properties.
It works by regulating neurotransmitters like serotonin, histamine, dopamine, orexin systems and norepinephrine although the way it does that specifically has not been fully established.
It also activates neurons but in a very selectively way. Its primary focus is usually on amyglada and hypothalamus.
For brain boosting effects, there is no specific dosage that has been given even though the users have reported good results with doses that range from 50mg to 200mg per day.
This supplement was discovered about 5 decades ago by Cornelius. E. Giurgea as he was trying to make a compound that could improve learning capabilities and the function of the memory.
Very many trials and studies have been done on it and published and they have proven that it is able to treat depression, protect the brain, boost the memory, lower the severity of convulsions and even treat some disorders such as neuroinflammation, schizophrenia, cognitive decline caused by age and alcoholism.
Though the way it works has not been confirmed yet, it is believed that it regulates the production together with the activities of acetylcholine and glutamate receptors and increases the flow of cerebral blood.
A 400mg dose taken in 3 doses each day for adults who are healthy works well and research has also shown that taking 1200mg thrice a day has improving benefits on cognition.
Coluracetam was initially made for treating Alzheimer’s but later on was diverted to depression and anxiety.
With the animal studies done on it using rats, it exhibited abilities to boost cognitive function. The same effects are considered to be seen in humans as well.
People who have taken it have reported that it helped them enhance their recall and short term memory. It is also widely used for improving levels of motivation, moods and vision.
Coluracetam increases the rate at which choline gets into the nerve cells, therefore increasing acetylcholine levels which translate to improved memory and learning.
Since many of the trials done on this supplement were in animals instead of humans, the optimal dosage has not been proven. However, users reported 5mg to 20mg through sublingual or oral ingestion was well tolerated and safe.
Noopept is also the same as piracetam although research shows that it works 1000 times better, it’s absorbed faster and works longer than piracetam.
This was made around the 90’s in Russia and has since been used as treatment for brain related disorders such as cognitive decline cause by age, traumatic brain injury and cerebral vascular insufficiency there.
Other benefits associated with it are reducing anxiety, protecting the brain, improving learning abilities and the memory as well as increasing Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) and Nerve Growth Factor (NGF).
Its metabolism happens in the liver where the digestive system then absorbs it, and have it readily cross the blood brain barrier.
No proven reports have determined what happens when it gets to the brain but is it widely suggested that it makes acetylcholine processes sensitive that in turn improve response of neurons which boost cognitive performance.
It is best to take 10mg of noopept two times a day after having your meal. It is also allowed to raise the dosage to 30mg a day, only when necessary.
Another name for sunifarm is DM-235 and its synthesis happened first in Italy, in the University of Firenze back in 2000.
Very little research has been made on it and studies in animals suggest that it boosts the speed of learning, recall and memory retention.
Users have also said that it improves the learning and understanding process as well as boosting moods and energy. Some users have also reported an increase in perceptual and visual quality while others an increase in libido.
Other potential benefits include enhanced focus, mental clarity and motivation.
The way it works has not been fully understood although there is a strong possibility it raises the production of acetylcholine and also stimulates the activities of the glutamate receptors.
Low doses of 5mg to 10mg taken thrice a day is safe going by the reports from the users and results of animals studies.
Uridine is a nucleotide that occurs naturally in all organisms. It is actually one of the elements of the ribonucleic acid (RBA) that takes up and executes commands of the DNA for synthesizing protein in the whole body.
The benefits it brings are reducing inflammation and pain, overcoming bipolar disorder and depression, increasing focus, alertness, memory, learning abilities and cognition.
It is changed to CDP Choline in the brain, then to phosphatidylcholine. Some of the phosphtidylcholine becomes the layer of phospholipid that acts as a cover for new synapses while the rest become choline and used to produce acetylcholine.
Although a dose of 500mg to 1000mg taken daily is effective, there are some who encourage taking up to 2 grams to get optimal results.
More than just being crucial for cellular structure, health and protection, phosphatidylserine makes a good supplement for boosting focus, memory sharpening, endurance and performance in sports and thinking skills as well as problem solving skills.
It is also known to reduce depression, Parkinson’s diseases, Alzheimer’s and the symptoms of cognitive decline brought about by age.
It works in a number of ways including increases the levels of dopamine and serotonin which are responsible for moods and beating depression while lowering the release of cortisol.
It slows cognitive decline and improves the memory by keeping the decay of dendritic spines at bay. Dendritic spines are parts of the nerve cells that play an important role in storing information.
When it comes to dosage, it mostly depends health condition, age and the benefits wanted out of it. In the case of cognitive decline, the dose to take is 300mg split into 3 doses each day. While for young healthy people, doses of 200mg to 400mg work well.
16. Gingko Biloba
This is one of the oldest natural medications in the world. It was used in China centuries ago to treat health issues like asthma, infections and even to boost energy levels.
Futher research now shows it is also able to sharpen the memory, boost moods and cognition.
It is known to work in various ways. For instance, it controls the release of neurotransmitters such as acetylcholine, norepinephrine and serotonin.
Like many prescriptions for depression, it has properties of inhibiting MonoAmine Oxidase (MAO) which are natural, that help bring good balance to norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine that helps with mental clarity.
No specific dosage has been proven for optimal results but studies show that doses ranging from 120mg to 600mg (in a single dose or split to 2 to 3 doses) taken with meals can help with enhancing the memory.
Phenylpiracetam was developed in the Russsian Academy of Sciences back in 1983. Like other racetams, it was a better version of piracetam.
It was used in Russia as a prescription under the name Phenotrophil but in 2017 it was taken off the shelves due to disagreements between the invento, known as Valentina Akhapkina and a pharmaceutical company in the country.
In North America and other regions, it is taken as a nootropic for stamina, memory, productivity and focus.
It is known to work in different ways, many of which are based on regulating certain neurotransmitters in the brain. It stimulates the ampa receptors thus increasing the levels of glutamate.
It also activates the dopaminergic system as well as inhibiting the reuptake of dopamine that has positive effects on focus, mood and motivation.
A dosage of 100mg to 250mg taken 3 times a day together with food is safe. Taking beyond 750mg in a day is dangerous.
This is a micronutrient that occurs naturally in the body that helps with overcoming mental and physical fatigue, promoting cardiovascular health, improving focus, relieving pain, treating depression and slowing the aging process.
It is a forerunner for acetylcholine that is linked to learning abilities and memory.
It increases energy in the cells by working on the brain metabolism and also does neuroprotection work.
Doses of 1000mg to 3000mg have been found optimal. Users have said that taking it in the morning or splitting the dose into 2 or 3 doses and taking through the day has rewarding results.
This is another supplement in the family of racetams that is being studied for treating ADHD without having stimulating effects. The developers were allowed to carry out clinical trials on it with humans by FDA from the United States back in 2015.
The few studies done on it have come out very positive showing that it is possible for it to treat a specific type of ADHD in children.
Users as well as animal studies have reported abilities to reduce anxiety, improve the memory, reduce the symptoms that come with withdrawing from other drugs and enhancing sleep.
The way of operation has not yet been determined but it is said to control production and release of acetylcholine, GABA and glutamate.
The right dosage has not yet been documented completely so there is no recommended dosage. However, doses as little as 20mg taken in a single dose or 2 doses on a daily basis have shown good results.
This is one of the supplements that has raised eyebrows of scientists, but in a good way. Only one study has been done it and result showed that taking a single dose of it is able to improve the short term memory twice as much.
It was derived from phenylmethylamine and benzoyl acid and was made by the late neuropharmacologist, Nikolaus Hansi. Unfortunately, he passed on in 2011 and no further development was done, though it is available in the market for interested users.
The exact method of operation was not known but going by the one study, the late doctor said it increases the potency of dopamine while inhibiting serotonin’s production, partially. He also said it boosts the response of the brain to acetylcholine.
As for dosage, 5mg (taken once) was used in the human study conducted on it. There is no listed information of the effectiveness or dangers of having a dose other than the mentioned one.
Vinpocetine is a partially synthetic derivative of a plant called Periwinkle. In the eastern sides of Europe, it is used to treat memory issues linked to age and cerebrovascular disorders, as a prescription.
In the United States, it is not regulated and people use it a diet based supplement.
Vinpocetine is able to boost moods, improve mental clarity, enhance learning abilities, memory, focus and concentration.
Although it has many mechanisms of action, the main one is improve the utilization of oxygen and circulation of blood. This helps handle cognitive issues that are mild.
Doses of 15mg to 60mg taken in 3 doses together with meals have proven to be safe. Taking 40mg with food has helped with cognitive benefits..
This is a nootropic that’s derived from vitamin B1 (thiamine) synthetically, mainly to help with chronic fatigue and vitamin B1 deficiency.
Other related benefits that come with it are memory enhancement, mood improvement and boosting energy and alertness. Studies conducted in Russia in 2005 on sulbutiamine ability to treat erectile dysfunction came out positive making it a potential in the area,
It is able to cross the blood brain barrier and cause a stimulation that helps thiamine triphosphate to be formed. Thiamine triphosphate controls the synaptic transmission of neurotransmitters such as dopamine, glutamate and acetylcholine that help with the mentioned benefits.
Clinical trials and studies show that the optimal dosage is 600mg. Although, the sulbutiamine sold under the name arcalion encourages a dose of 400mg to 600mg for a month by adults.
This is one of the popular racetams that was made known by Swiss Pharmaceutical in the year 1970. In Europe, it is a prescription but there are no regulations in the UK and the United States.
The mains benefits it is known for are reducing anxiety and depression, increasing levels of concentration and focus, enhancing learning and memory capacity.
Also, human studies made on it have suggested that it could make a good treatment for dementia.
As with many supplements, the way it works has not been completely confirmed but research shows that it modulates the way a number of neurotransmitters like glutamate, dopamine, acetylcholine and serotonin are produced.
The dosage for this nootropic is 750mg to 1500mg taken each day. However doses of upto 3000mg have also been recorded as safe.
L-theanine is an amino acid that is found in tea leaves that makes it easy to relax the mind without causing any kind of drowsiness.
Other areas it helps with are memory, moods, attention, stress and anxiety, balancing blood pressure and sleep. Further studies reveal that it has the potential to help in cancer treatment as a chemopreventive agent.
It reduces levels of glutamate as well as increasing the levels of GABA, serotonin and dopamine.
It goes well with caffeine and a dose of 100mg to 200mg together with about 50mg to 100mg of caffeine brings good results.
25. Mind Lab Pro
Mind lab pro is a nootropic supplement that has been made with a number of well known brain enhancers like Bacopa Moneirri, Rhodiola Rosea, Citicoline, L-theanine and Phosphatidylserine.
It is one of the top nootropic stacks available.
The main benefits listed with it are better moods, memory and focus.
Its dosage is having 2 capsules a day.
And that is the list of the best nootropics you should consider when you want to improve upon your memory.
If you have used other nootropics or stacks that you found effective, please share with us below. We would love to hear from you.