Our minds are a powerful tool being used in every waking moment of our lives. Unfortunately, there will come moments when we wish it could do more. We might have an intense project to finish, a test to study for, or simply need a mental boost each and every day.
Whatever the case may be, nootropics have emerged as the go-to supplement for improving our cognitive function. These will normally come in a capsule or powder form that can be taken daily or as you need it.
When shopping for the right nootropic supplement for you, there will be some research involved. Nootropics can have various different benefits depending on the ingredients used. Some nootropics are designed to enhance focus, while others target our memory, mood, stress, energy, and brain health.
Luckily, we’re here to assist you in finding the nootropic best suited to fit your needs. Learn more about it below.
How Can Nootropics Help Focus?
For those of you interested in enhancing your focus, there are several ingredients you should be on the lookout for. Before we dive into that, it’s important to first understand how our mind works and what causes us to focus.
It’s common to have our minds drift off on their own. They are constantly working and we sometimes find ourselves needing a break. This is known as mental fatigue or brain fog. Unfortunately, our schedules and to-do lists won’t always allow for a break.
Inside our brains, there are over 50 known neurotransmitters responsible for our cognition and behavior. When it comes to focusing, there are 4 key neurotransmitters doing a majority of the work — dopamine, glutamine, acetylcholine, and norepinephrine.
Let’s take a closer look at how each of those neurotransmitters affects our focus.
- Dopamine – Our bodies produce dopamine by turning Tyrosine (amino acid) into dopa, which is then turned into dopamine. It’s responsible for how we feel pleasure and can help us zero in on things we are interested in.
- Glutamine – When we are faced with a complex obstacle or task, we will end up using more glutamine than we can produce. Nootropics can help replenish our glutamine levels so we can stay on task without fatigue.
- Acetylcholine – Known as one of the most abundant neurotransmitters in our nervous system, acetylcholine can be found throughout the brain. It’s essential to a lot of our brain activity and cognitive behavior. It can also help regulate the speed of your neurotransmitters when necessary.
- Norepinephrine – Acting as an excitatory neurotransmitter, meaning it helps to stimulate our cognitive activity. Low levels of norepinephrine can result in a lack of mental flexibility, causing us to lose focus easily.
Many people will resort to popular “study drugs” like Adderall, Ritalin, or concerta, but these can be extremely dangerous to your overall health. These medications can be great when prescribed by a doctor and followed meticulously, but they aren’t intended to be used as a daily supplement.
Instead, nootropics will provide a safe alternative to this when you know what to look for. They help to improve the function of your neurotransmitters, more specifically the dopamine, glutamine, acetylcholine, and norepinephrine neurotransmitters.
Best Nootropic Ingredients for Focus
In the world of nootropics, there are plenty of “posers” and “phonies” claiming to improve your focus. Unfortunately, those claims are supported by a lack of evidence and scientific research. They’ll often make it seem like they’ve invented some new state-of-the-art blend, only leading to disappointment and potential harm to the consumer.
Don’t let them fool you. There are plenty of proven ingredients and nutrients that will improve your ability to focus, concentrate, and pay attention. We’ve compiled a list of those ingredients for you, along with proper doses and side effects.
When shopping for a nootropic for focus, search for these ingredients above all:
- What It Is: Citicoline is essential for transporting choline to the brain, which is then formed into acetylcholine. It can also help transport uridine, which is essential for our RNA, and dopamine. Research suggests that it can amplify the effects of other nootropics.
- Recommended Dose: 250mg per day (Look for a pure form of citicoline, like Cognizin)
- Side Effects: High doses can lead to GI disturbances, hypotension, headaches, and restlessness, but this is only in extreme cases.
- What It Is: Alpha-GPC is similar to citicoline in that it helps transport choline to the brain, but it will also increase the amount of acetylcholine being produced. It can also increase dopamine levels and calcium levels, which can help our brain transport messages throughout our body.
- Recommended Dose: 300-400mg per day
- Side Effects: Alpha-GPC is well-tolerated in most people, but extreme cases can result in headaches, nausea, diarrhea, dizziness, and low blood pressure.
- What It Is: A nootropic supplement won’t be complete without some form of caffeine or stimulant. Caffeine, as we all know, will increase your energy levels and allow you to stay focused for longer periods of time without fatigue.
- Recommended Dose: 100mg (depending on how much caffeine you consume already)
- Side Effects: Some known side effects of large doses involve restlessness, nausea, sleep disorders, increased heart rate, and stomach issues.
- What It Is: Tyrosine is very important when it comes to focusing because it acts as a precursor to both dopamine and norepinephrine. N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine is a form of Tyrosine that is known to be easily absorbed by our bodies. Tyrosine is most beneficial in stressful situations.
- Recommended Dose: 200-250mg (more is better in this case)
- Side Effects: Relatively safe for adult use, some have reported nausea, heartburn, headache, and joint pain when taken in high doses.
- What It Is: There are plenty of B Vitamins out there and they are all essential for overall brain function and health. Specifically, B3, B9, and B12 are known as the best focus-enhancing B-vitamins.
- Dose: B3 (16mg), B6 (1.3mg), B12 (2.4mcg)
- Side Effects: Overdosing can result in skin conditions, thirst, blurry vision, cramps, and nausea
To summarize here, there are 4 major nootropic ingredients that have scientific backing as a focus-enhancer.
Citicoline and Alpha-GPC will target your dopamine and acetylcholine neurotransmitters. Tyrosine will target your dopamine and norepinephrine neurotransmitters. Finally, caffeine will do what we all know it will.
Best Nootropic Products for Focus
While there will plenty of nootropic products containing the ingredients above, they will often come stacked with a variety of other harmful or unnecessary ingredients. You can always buy the ingredients above separately, but you won’t get the same results as a scientifically-made formula.
Below, we’ve listed four of our top nootropic supplements for those interested in laser focus and heavy concentration. They’ll also come with other ingredients that can give you a better overall cognitive experience.
Mind Lab Pro
Mind Lab Pro is hands down one of the most popular and effective nootropics on the market. They include quite a few ingredients, none of which pose any harm with daily use in adults. In terms of focus, it will have Citicoline (Cognizin) and N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine, targeting all the major neurotransmitters.
The 250mg of Citicoline and 175mg of Tyrosine are perfect doses to receive the cognitive benefit. A little more Tyrosine wouldn’t hurt, but there’s plenty in it.
In addition to that, it also has Vitamins B6, B9, and B12, Bacopa Monnieri, Lion’s Mane Mushroom, Phosphatidylserine, L-Theanine, Rhodiola Rosea, and Maritime Pine Bark. What you get is a powerful stack of ingredients that will target your focus, memory, stamina, energy, mood, brain health, and stress.
Performance Lab Mind
This nootropic product is similar to Lab Mind Pro, but not as powerful. With much fewer ingredients, this makes for a great nootropic for stacking (meaning you can add other nootropic ingredients into it).
Performance Lab Mind contains 250mg of Citicoline but will bring more N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine to the stack with 300mg. Remember, the more Tyrosine the better! You’ll also receive Phosphatidylserine and Maritime Pine Bark, both found in Lab Mind Pro.
If you want a simpler blend than Lab Mind Pro, this is perfect. It’ll still mark off all the boxes when it comes to a good overall nootropic, just not as powerful as what’s above.
HVMN Rise contains 250mg of Citicoline (CDP Choline), falling in line with the doses above. I do like Cognizin more when it comes to sources of choline, but CDP Choline is a fine alternative.
This nootropic will also contain Bacopa Monnieri and Ashwagandha, both of which act as a powerful antioxidant, important for inflammation, overall brain health, reducing stress, and relieving anxiety.
The main difference between this one and the other two is the lack of power as a memory-enhancer and mood-booster. It is great for focus and brain health, though.
Last on our list is formed EDGE, another great nootropic that can improve focus — among other things. It is the only one in this list containing Alpha-GPC with a healthy dose of 150mg. It’ll also give you safe doses of Bacopa Monnieri, Phosphatidylserine, and Ginkgo Biloba, helping improve the overall function and health of our brain.
That’s not all, it will also have BioPerine, which helps to increase the bioavailability of nutrients. I love the inclusion of Vitamins B1, B3, B6, B12, B5, which are used to help reduce fatigue, weakness, and poor brain function.
This product would be rated higher if the Iodine was removed and if Tyrosine or Citicoline were added.
When you want to increase your mental focus and concentration, there’s a supplement for that. In fact, there are specific ingredients out there that will enhance these cognitive behaviors and they can be found everywhere.
In order to boost your focus, you need to target four main neurotransmitters essential to our ability to pay attention — glutamine, dopamine, acetylcholine, and norepinephrine. Nootropic ingredients like Alpha-GPC, Citicoline, N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine, Caffeine, and B-Vitamins can help replenish or produce more of the right neurotransmitters.
If you’re looking for the perfect nootropic for you, start your search with either Mind Lab Pro or Performance Lab Mind. Those two products will stand out above the rest and will have your laser-focused when you need it most.