Top 8 Proven Brain Supplements

I am going to teach you about supplements that can improve memory, mood and productivity. WHILE protecting against mental decline, depression, anxiety and dementia

Bodybuilders take supplements to give themselves a leading edge on “natural” fitness enthusiasts. So why don’t those of us take some NATURAL supplements to give US a leading edge over those not as committed to peak performance?

We are should and here I will recommend my favorites. Picking the best one(s) can be a challenge but I’m here to do the thinking for you!

There are HUNDREDS of individual nutrients to choose from – minerals, herbs, amino acids and vitamins. Then of course there’s THOUSANDS of combinations of these to choose from.

The best one for you is not the best one for everyone. Supplement selection depends on each of our goals.



Citicoline – Brain Health

Naturally occurring in every cell of the human body


Helps to build healthy brain cell membranes

Elevates blood flow to the brain and brain plasticity (brains ability to change throughout life.

Raises Acetylcholine a neurotransmitter which is the primary brain chemical involved with memory and learning


Take 1,000 to 2,000 mg/day and spread doses into morning and evening

Side Effects + Warnings:

Effects have included insomnia, headache, diarrhea, low or high blood pressure, nausea, blurred vision and chest pains

Curcumin – Brain Health

Main active ingredient in Tumeric


Increases levels of dopamine and serotonin (the brains happyness chemical)

Is as effective for depression as the popular antidepressant Prozac

Increases blood flow to the brain to the same degree as physical exercise


The University of Maryland’s Alternative Medicine guide recommends:

Cut root: 1.5-3 grams per day

Dried, powdered root: 1-3 grams per day (approximately 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon)

Side Effects + Warnings:

When consumed in food it is very safe. Supplementation can cause nausea and diarrhea.

Some serious side effects can occur if taken alongside medicines like aspirin, NSAID painkillers, statins, diabetes drugs, blood pressure medicines, and blood thinners.

Acetyl-L-Carnitine – Brain Energy

A naturally occurring amino acid which increases both mental and physical energy


It is a strong antioxidant which protects your brain from free radical damage

A fast acting, natural antidepressant which usually brings some relief within a week.

It improves thinking power/mental clarity + focus, mood and memory.


The recommended range is 1000 mg – 2500 mg

Side Effects + Warnings:

Its considered very safe and there are only a few minor side effects: digestive upset, restlessness, or a fishy body odor.

I personally have experienced restlessness from taking too large of a dose too soon. The benefits are worth it but start with a low dose and work your way up!

Bacopa – Memory

This is a traditional Indian (Ayurvedic) herbal supplement.


Is used as a brain+nerve tonic for improving memory and concentration

Increases brain blood flow (ie. delivers more oxygen/nutrients to the brain)

Is proven to be more effective than ginseng and the popular drug Modafinil.


A standard dose is 50 to 100 mg of bacopa, with meals, three times a day.

Side Effects + Warnings:

Very safe. Side effects are dry mouth and digestive upset, both of these can be avoided when Bacopa is taken with meals.

American Ginseng – Brain Energy

Same family as Asian ginseng, but a unique and more powerful species. Asians now prefer the North American version.


Works quickly to improve memory, mental clarity within a few HOURS of taking a dose!

It is less stimulating than its Asian counterpart

Acts as an adaptogen, which promotes physical strength and mental energy while decreasing stress levels


Typical dose is 100 to 200 mg daily

Side Effects + Warnings:

Can cause some side effects including diarrhea, itching, insomnia, headache, and nervousness.

Lions Mane – Memory

An edible mushroom, also known as Yamabushitake. Native to parts of Asia, North America and Europe


Is know to create “nerves of steel” and develop the “memory of a lion”

A powerful nootropic (improves mental functions such as memory, intelligence, motivation, attention and concentration.

Excels at improving cognitive function


Typical dose is 1000 mg, three times a day

Side Effects + Warnings:

Incredibly safe, only known side effect is itchy skin, which is probably a result of the increase in nerve growth factor

Tryptophan – Mood

An essential amino acid which is a precursor to serotonin


Serotonin, which plays a large role in mood, sleep and learning, can be increased naturally with tryptophan.

Low levels of tryptophan are associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

Studies have found it to be as effective at battling depression as antidepressant drugs


As little as 250 mg is known to improve sleep quality

Up to 12 grams a day has been suggested for depression

Start with 500mg and work towards the recommendation of 1000 to 1500 mg / day

Side Effects + Warnings:

The most common tryptophan side effects are digestive upset, loss of appetite, headache, and drowsiness.

Huperzine A – Memory

Small plant native to parts of Asia, a traditional Chinese treatment for memory, circulation and reducing inflammation.


Works mainly by raising acetylcholine levels. ( A neurotransmitter involved with learning, memory, sleep cycle regulation, and other brain functions.)

Protects the patient’s brain against free radical damage and environmental toxins while promoting new brain cell generation.

So effective that is has been given the status of an approved drug for treating vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s in China.


Typical dose is 50 to 200mg, taken twice a day.

Side Effects + Warnings:


Some side effects are significant and include insomnia, anxiety, nausea, diarrhea, blurred vision, slurred speech and restlessness.



In conclusion:

There are many great supplements to take advantage of to get more out of your brain. Stick with a few that I have listed, they are proven to work!

Single ingredient supplements are great but just because a supplement is NATURAL doesn’t mean it won’t have side effects!

Talk to your doctor before starting any brain supplements if you are in any doubt