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Brain Health: Best Brain Supplement For Brain Health (Updated: 2020)

Brain Health: Best Brain Supplement For Brain Health (Updated: 2020)

Taking supplements for brain health is not a new thing, though it has been gaining a lot more popularity in the last two decades.

Living a busy life in this crazy busy world can have a great impact on your overall health - your brain health included, no doubt about that.

This is why many people have started to look into supplements that can help them preserve their brain health, boost their mental performance, or treat and sometimes reverse different conditions.

Whatever the reason, taking brain supplements is a great and sustainable way to keep those neurons fierce and feisty, and in turn, to be more active and feel more agile.

However, with so many different types of supplements on the market, picking the right one for your brain health can be tricky. That’s why in this guide, we’ll look at the best brain supplements at the moment, we’ll examine their exact properties and benefits for your brain health, and give you information about the recommended dosage.

We’ll also briefly touch upon the importance of these supplements and touch upon the factors you need to consider how to make an informed purchase.

Why Is The Health Of Your Brain Important?

Our brains are simply amazing. They perform numerous multifaceted tasks each minute of each day, and it’s no wonder that they’re called ‘the most complex computers’ - everything in our bodies is controlled by them.

They store our memories, help us organize our thoughts and emotions, enable us to coordinate our bodies, they control the work of our internal organs, assist us in learning new skills and in understanding complicated ideas, and much, much more.

And, since our brains are in charge of so many functions in our bodies, preserving their health is just as important as preserving our overall health. No surprise there.

Each one of us wants to be their best selves and perform to the best of our abilities, and a large chunk of this includes our mental performance and cognitive abilities.

The Role Of Brain Health Supplements

That said, brain supplements could be of great help to you. Though, you do need to remember that you can’t neglect the basics. Eating healthy, staying hydrated, getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, sleeping well, and avoiding unnecessary stress - these are all non-negotiables!

However, adding a little oomph to your daily nutrition is always welcome, especially because sometimes you just can’t get all the extra nutrients that you need for your brain through your daily diet or other basic dietary supplements.

The superpower of brain health supplements is that they can significantly boost your everyday cognitive performance.

What exactly do we mean? Let us explain.

The Benefits of Brain Supplements

These supplements:

  • work to increase blood flow in the brain;
  • strengthen bonds between neurons by promoting the production of neurotransmitters; 
  • increase energy and oxygen flow to the brain, enabling it to receive more nutrients.

Therefore, it can be said that brain health supplements aid your brain in performing its basic functions, but better, and at the same time are protecting it and making it healthier.

The result is an improved memory, mood, focus, energy, and overall mental clarity.

Despite their neuroprotective properties, many of these supplements have also shown significant promise in treating memory disorders such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease.

Tips For Choosing The Right Supplement For A Healthy Brain

Choosing the right supplement for the health of your brain largely depends on your needs and what your target is in terms of cognitive performance.

The most common areas of interest are: 

  • neuroprotection related to aging, 
  • reducing mental fatigue, 
  • and improving overall mood.

Bear in mind that most of these supplements have multiple different benefits for your brain health, not just one or two, so make sure you read carefully.

Here are some tips on what you need to consider:

  • Your age - the older you are, the more you will benefit from neuroprotective supplements;
  • Your diet - it’s harder to obtain Omega-3 fats with a vegan diet, for example;
  • Your lifestyle - if you have a very active lifestyle, you’ll need more energy;
  • Any medical conditions - some digestive disorders may prevent the absorption of some supplements or be made worse by them;
  • Food allergies - this is definitely important, always double-check the ingredients if you have any food allergy;
  • Medications - natural supplements are generally safe, but you should always do research if you’re taking any other medications regularly;
  • Pregnancy - check to see if there are any contraindications.

All in all, when choosing the right supplement for your brain, it’s vitally important to know your body and what you’re trying to achieve.

When it comes to brain supplements, there is no ‘one size fits all’, so you really need to consider your unique needs and your overall tolerance of certain ingredients in order to decide.

Start with that. Just identify what exactly you need and what has worked in the past, and then proceed with the research.

For more personalized information, you can take our brain assessment quiz to help you choose which supplements would be best suited to your cognitive needs.

The Best Supplements For Brain Boost

DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid)

DHA is a type of Omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acid, and it’s the primary structural constituent of the human brain.

Among other things, it plays a role in the growth and development of nervous tissue, the transmission of neuron impulses, and synaptic plasticity, which is the ability of brain synapses to change over time, depending on their activity.

However, it can’t be synthesized in the body and it must be obtained from dietary sources, like fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, anchovies, etc), or Omega 3 supplements

DHA is essential for brain development in babies in the last trimester of pregnancy and the first two years of the infant’s life, because that’s when the brain grows most rapidly. [1]

Consequently, it’s vital for pregnant women to take DHA supplements during their pregnancy and while breastfeeding, because DHA is often found in maternal milk. [2]

According to one study, the intake of DHA during the preschool years may be beneficial for the child’s learning capability, and may also reduce the risk of developing ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). [3]

DHA also shows promise in preventing Alzheimer’s disease. One study concluded that regular high-dose supplementation with DHS in adults who are at risk of developing this type of dementia can decrease the chances of onset of the disease. [4]

There’s also evidence that DHA supplements may make cognitive performance in young adults more effortless. [5]

In addition, this fatty acid has also shown some promising results in treating depression. According to the same study, it may also enhance the efficacy of antidepressant medications. [6

Recommended Intake:

The recommended dosage of DHA supplement is a minimum of 250-500mg. However, for certain medical conditions, the dosage can be increased. [7][8]

Choline

Choline is an essential nutrient necessary for brain function and healthy cellular growth in your whole body.

Your liver produces a small amount of choline, however, this is not enough to meet your daily needs, so the majority must be obtained through diet or supplementation.

Choline is vital for the function of your brain because it’s required in the production of acetylcholine, which is a neurotransmitter that plays an essential role in mood, memory, neural development (neurogenesis), and muscle control. [9]

Choline deprivation in the central nervous system leads to a reduction of acetylcholine, which in turn causes memory problems and reduced spatial cognition. In fact, Alzheimer patients have lower levels of the enzyme that converts acetylcholine into choline in their systems. [10][11]

In light of this, this nutrient has neuroprotective properties. It can protect the brain from the neural changes associated with Alzheimer’s, and it can also prevent memory decline related to aging. [12]

One study has also shown that choline can improve cognitive performance when taken in higher doses, while another study has shown that it can be very beneficial in the perinatal period, as it can help fetal brain development. [13] [14]

Foods that are rich in choline are mostly eggs, liver, and peanuts. However, legumes, wheat, spinach, beets, soybeans, potatoes, and rice are also very reliable sources.

If you want to experience the brain-boosting effects of this supplement, we’re happy to recommend the Acetylcholine Brain Food supplement for mental clarity, with added natural compounds,

Recommended Intake:

The recommended dosage for general health is between 250mg and 500mg once a day. [15]

L-Theanine

L-theanine is an amino acid most commonly found in tea leaves, such as green and black tea, and some mushrooms.

This compound is very potent in that it’s able to cross the blood-brain barrier and deliver its benefits.

Its most notable property is that it can both help you relax without making you drowsy, and at the same time promote mental alertness and gently improve cognitive performance. [16]

Experts suggest that using it together with caffeine (200mg each) may provide the best benefits for attention boost. [17]

This combination may also significantly reduce mental fatigue and lead to speedier mental performance and reaction time. [18]

One study has shown that it may also have the potential to reduce stress in the body by lowering the heart rate, as well as inhibiting the excitation of cortical neurons. [19]

In addition, due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, L-theanine has shown the potential to improve the pathophysiological changes and the neurodegeneration associated with Parkinson’s disease. [20]

For these reasons, L-theanine is a popular choice as a supplement for brain health, and because it works so well with caffeine and mellows down its immediate effects, it’s relatively safe for individuals who may be sensitive to the buzz that caffeine provides.

We recommend our Smart Caffeine capsules that are a combination of caffeine and L-theanine, for long-lasting energy and no crash.

Recommended Intake:

The general rule of thumb is 200mg to 400mg a day. [21] However, you could also start with as little as 50mg and then up the dosage if you feel you need to.

Creatine

Creatine is an organic compound naturally produced from amino acids and stored in the muscle cells. The body mostly produces it in the liver, but it’s also found in the kidney and pancreas.

Creatine is famous as the supplement for athletes because it provides better strength, energy, and decreases recovery time between training sessions.

However, creatine has also shown some amazing promise in aiding your brain health, particularly when it comes to its mental performance properties.

For example, one placebo-controlled study indicates that creatine has a notable positive effect on tasks that require speed of processing, more specifically, on working memory and intelligence. [22]

Other studies state the positive effects of creatine in situations when cognitive processes are stressed, such as sleep deprivation or cognitively demanding tasks.

The tests indicated that creatine supplements not only alleviated the negative effects of sleep deprivation, but they also improved the mood of the participants, and their brain function. [23] [24]

Creatine has also shown promise in aiding cognitive performance in older adults and improving their quality of life. [25] [26]

Our BioCreatine complex with Himalayan salt and fenugreek extract may be a great choice for you, if you’re interested in the positive effects that creatine has on brain health.

Recommended Intake:

Creatine monohydrate is the best form of creatine on the market. The recommended approach to start with a total of 20gr of creatine daily for 5-7 days. This is called ‘the loading phase’. But, you shouldn’t take it all at once. Instead, you should divide it into four 5gr servings and take it with a meal. [27]

After the loading phase, you can start slowly reducing your intake to between 2gr to 10gr a day. Also, remember to take it with enough water, as it may induce stomach cramping otherwise. You can even make a smoothie.

Lion’s Mane Mushroom

Lion’s mane mushrooms (Hericium Erinaceus), also known as Yamabushitake are dietary and medicinal mushrooms native to North America, Europe, and Asia.

They are considered a culinary delicacy in some Asian countries and can be eaten raw or cooked, and also can be dried and steeped as tea.

They contain many bioactive substances that are beneficial for your overall health, but especially for your brain health.

For example, its compounds are believed to stimulate the growth and repair of nerve cells. [28]

Lion’s mane is very popular in aiding cognitive function, and it’s known to improve focus and memory, aid intelligence and concentration, and also treat some neurological disorders.

In fact, one placebo-controlled trial on mild cognitive impairment sowed significantly improved cognitive function in subjects who were between 50-80 years of age. [29]

Lion’s mane is also thought to be effective in treating anxiety and depression. [30]

Recommended Intake:

The dosage should be 1000mg three times a day, accumulating at 3000mg. [31]

Curcumin

Curcumin is the bioactive compound found in the rhizome of the turmeric plant. It’s what gives its vibrant color and most of its health benefits.

Curcumin is present in very low concentrations in the rhizome itself, so that’s why curcumin supplements would be a great alternative to the turmeric spice.

The brain health benefits that curcumin offers are numerous. It has shown some neuroprotective potential, but where it really shines is when it aids mental health.

Numerous studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of curcumin in treating depression and anxiety, and one study even indicated that it was just as effective as the popular antidepressant Prozac, but with far fewer side effects. [32]

There is evidence that curcumin can also boost neuroplasticity, and even slow down brain aging by boosting the blood flow to the brain due to its antioxidant properties. [33] [34]

Another interesting fact about curcumin is that it has the potential to prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease because it acts as an anti-inflammatory and slows down the neural damage caused by oxidative stress. [35]

Recommended Intake:

The recommended daily dose is between 80mg and 500mg. You need to make sure that your curcumin supplements contain an ingredient that increases its bioavailability, like Bioperine or coconut oil, because otherwise it won’t get fully absorbed by your body.

We’re proud of our Natural Stacks Liquid Curcumin supplement with organic coconut oil for maximum bioavailability.

Panax Ginseng

Panax Ginseng is a perennial plant native to Korea, northeastern China, and Eastern Siberia.

It has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for years, and it’s known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

It is also known to improve cognitive function and mental clarity, as well as reduce brain fog.

In fact, it has been shown that the cumulative intake of ginseng supplements over the course of more than five years will be very beneficial to your overall cognitive power later in life. [36]

Panax Ginseng is also promising in treating neurological disorders like major depressive disorder and Alzheimer’s disease, even though more tests may be needed to prove this. [37]

This plant has also shown to be beneficial during an enhanced cognitive exertion. Two studies have confirmed that ginseng can improve performance and mental fatigue, as well as induce calmness. [38] [39]

Panax Ginseng also has some neuroprotective properties against damage caused by free radicals, due to the antioxidative properties of its compounds. [40]

Recommended Intake:

The best dosage for preventative use would be 200mg to 400mg daily, although 400mg would be optimal for most benefits related to brain health. [41]

Probiotics

Probiotics have only recently started gaining more attention as supplements for more than just your gut health.

It’s important to note how vital they are to the gut-brain axis. This means that your gut and your brain are deeply connected by the central and enteric nervous system, which links the emotional and cognitive centers of the brain to the gastrointestinal fact.

It’s true when they say that your gut is your second brain!

Probiotics are live microorganisms, usually bacteria or yeasts, that have many health benefits, the most notable being related to mental health.

It has been shown that probiotics can greatly help chronic fatigue syndrome, as well as reduce anxiety.

According to one study, patients with CFS had microbial alterations in their intestinal flora. First, they took the depression and anxiety assessment, and then they were divided into two groups: one was given placebo pills, the other was given probiotics to take daily for two months.

At the end of the trial, they took the mental health assessment as well, and upon second examination it was found that the participants who had a normalized intestinal flora had also decreased symptoms of depression and anxiety. [42]

In addition, according to another trial, probiotics are also effective in improving the symptoms of patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) over the course of 8 weeks of daily supplementation. [43]

A different study concluded that probiotics may also have positive effects on maintaining sleep quality during periods of increased emotional stress. [44]

If you’re convinced of how useful probiotics are for your brain health, we recommend the BrainBiotic premium blend of probiotic strands for optimum cognitive enhancement.

Recommended Intake:

This mainly depends on your goal, however, your daily intake for optimal health should be between 10-15 million CFU.

Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo Biloba is another plant used in traditional Chinese medicine. It’s also known as the maidenhair tree, and it’s one of the oldest species on earth, dating back 270 million years.

Ginkgo aids blood circulation and improves blood flow in the brain, so many of its brain-health benefits are related to this characteristic.

It also contains many antioxidants that may reverse the damage caused by free radicals.

One of its properties is that it lowers the level of the stress hormone cortisol by inhibiting the rise of blood pressure in healthy young individuals. [45]

Ginkgo is also beneficial in alleviating symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), especially in older individuals who may also have anxiety symptoms related to cognitive decline. [46]

Another study that focused solely on Ginkgo’s effects on cognitive impairment in the elderly found that its effects are very promising.

Its participants were non-institutionalized people aged 55-86 who either took a Ginkgo extract or a placebo pill for 24 weeks. At the end of the trial they were tested for changes in memory, attention, and concentration, and the conclusion was that this plant had worked its magic.

One study tested Ginkgo for its effects on ADHD symptoms in children. Even though it showed some effectiveness, it couldn’t surpass Adderall, but was tolerated much better. [47]

Recommended Intake:

For enhanced cognitive performance you should take 120-140mg one to four hours prior. For preventative measures in older adults, 40-120mg three times a day is the optimal dosage. [48]

Magnesium

Magnesium is an essential mineral necessary for more than 300 enzyme systems that regulate many different processes in the body.

Magnesium deficiency can cause brain fog, low mood, insomnia, low tolerance of stress, reduced focus, a tendency towards depression, and anxiety.

Taking magnesium supplements regularly can really help your central nervous system, as well as your overall mood and mental performance.

You can obtain magnesium through your diet, many foods have it: nuts, legumes, seeds, leafy greens, and some fruits. However, taking a supplement is a great way to ensure you’re not deficient, as this mineral is truly one of the most important nutrients you need.

Its benefits for brain health are numerous.

Starting with its role in protecting the brain from neurological disorders, the most common being Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, as well as depression and anxiety. [49]

In fact, one mouse model study has found that increased intake of magnesium had neuroprotective properties, and could possibly have therapeutic potential for Alzheimer’s. [50]

Another mouse model looked into how magnesium intake could enhance learning abilities, working memory, and long and short-term memory. 

The results indicated that there was an increase in neuroplasticity and that all these cognitive functions were improved as a result. [51]

Magnesium has also proved to be very effective in preventing brain aging by regulating neurotransmitters. [52]

This mineral can also be quite effective in treating the symptoms of ADHD in children. It was discovered that a daily intake of 200mg over the course of 6 months had significantly improved the symptoms in the children who were given magnesium, in contrast to the control group that didn’t receive magnesium. [53]

Recommended Intake:

The recommended dosage is 200-400mg daily, preferably before a meal.

We like the MagTech magnesium complex with three types of magnesium, for better sleep and a clearer head.

Rhodiola Rosea

Rhodiola Rosea (Lignum Rhodium), also known as golden root, is a perennial flowering plant found in the Arctic regions of Europe, Asia, and North America.

It has been used for centuries in traditional medicine to treat fatigue, anxiety, and depression. Today, it’s used as a nootropic supplement, even though more research is needed to prove its exact benefits related to brain health.

Its root contains more than 140 active compounds which give it its potency.

Rhodiola supplements may be effective in decreasing the effects of mental fatigue and exhaustion, as well as improving memory and learning function in the brain. [54] [55]

This herb has been tested many times for its effects on stress and anxiety. One study with participants who had mild symptoms proved that their symptoms of anxiety, stress, anger, and depression had alleviated after only 14 days, and they all experienced notable improvement in their overall mood. [56]

Another similar study confirmed the same, with even more certainty. Participants were given a 200mg Rhodiola supplement to take twice a day for 4 weeks.

Immediate improvements were observed as early as the third day since the beginning of the trial, and by the end, all subsequent tests showed notable improvement in regard to stress symptoms. The supplements were very well tolerated, with few to no side effects. [57]

Rhodiola has also been tested as a possible treatment drug for depression against the prescription drug sertraline, commonly known as Zoloft. The conclusion was that even though it didn’t produce the same effect, it was nonetheless effective to some extent and way better tolerated. [58]

Our Serotonin Brain Food contains Rhodiola extract and is designed to support the natural production of serotonin, to relieve stress and help you maintain a positive mood.

Recommended Intake:

Rhodiola may be effective with as little as 50mg daily, so you can start with that. Alternatively, the optimal daily dose should be between 288-680mg. [59]

Bacopa Monnieri

Bacopa Monnieri is a perennial herb native to Southern and Eastern India, Australia, Europe, Africa, Asia, and North and South America.

It is a traditional 3000-year-old Ayurvedic remedy, mostly used for reducing anxiety, improving memory, focus, and learning abilities.

  1. Monnieri has been shown to significantly improve the speed of processing visual information, memory retention, and speed of learning in healthy individuals when taken at daily doses of 300mg, with the effects becoming noticeable after 12 weeks. [60]

Another similar study, but with older adults of 60+ years, also showed that taking a daily dosage of 300mg and 600mg B. Monnieri supplement daily for the same amount of time (12 weeks), also greatly improved their overall memory, focus, and cognitive processing. [61]

  1. Monnieri is considered an adaptogenic herb, which means that it has the ability to increase your resistance to stress when you take it, by lowering cortisol, the stress hormone.

This property makes it possibly efficient in treating anxiety and depression, however, so far, evidence has been inconsistent and anecdotal, and the studies were mostly performed on mice.

Recommended Intake:

The recommended dosage is 300mg per day, and it should be taken with meals. It’s safe enough for children. [62]

Resveratrol

Resveratrol is a plant compound belonging to the group of polyphenols, and it acts as an antioxidant. Resveratrol is produced by plants as a response to injury or when under attack from fungi or bacteria.

It’s present on the skin of grapes, berries, and peanuts, and it’s also present in red wine, because the skin of grapes isn’t removed during the process of fermentation.

Resveratrol is thought to have many cardioprotective and neuroprotective benefits, including the protection of the neurons from oxidative damage and toxicity, which is promising for diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, and it also exhibits anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties. [63]

This compound can also lower the stress in the body, by blocking the enzyme that activates the stress hormone corticosterone. This, in turn, can be helpful for people who suffer from anxiety or depression and are under constant low-grade stress. [64]

In addition, one study suggests that resveratrol may improve memory performance in older adults. Participants ages 50-75 were given a 200mg resveratrol supplement to take for 26 weeks. By the end of the study, they found that their memory was greatly improved. [65]

Recommended Intake:

For healthy individuals, 150-445mg is usually recommended. For improved blood flow to the brain, it should be 250-500mg. [66]

Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha belongs to the snake plant family. It’s an evergreen shrub that can be found in India, the Middle East, and parts of Africa. The root and berry are used to make medicine.

It has been called the king of all Ayurvedic herbs because of its numerous uses, like for reducing stress, improving focus, and increasing energy levels.

One study focused on its effects on chronic stress. Subjects with a history of chronic stress were given pure ashwagandha supplements of 300mg to take twice daily over the course of 45 days.

The results indicated that the subjects’ cortisol levels were significantly reduced by the end of the trial. This means that ashwagandha can be very successful in managing daily stress. [67]

A different study focused on its therapeutic effects on anxiety. Subjects with moderate to severe anxiety were put into two groups, where one was taking ashwagandha supplements and learning relaxation techniques, while the other was taking placebo pills and receiving psychiatric counseling.

The study lasted for 6 weeks and the results were surprising. The group that was taking ashwagandha supplements demonstrated a notable improvement in overall mood and reduction of anxiety in comparison to the other group. [68]

Recommended Intake:

You should 300-500mg with meals. Lower doses of 50-100mg can also sometimes help.

Balancing It Out

If you’re new to taking brain health supplements, then you should start slow. Start with just the one that provides the benefits you feel would be the best for your current needs.

Then, if you’re pleased with the results, you can stack them, as many work very well together to give you the best mind boosting effects.

In Conclusion

You may be a tough cookie, but we think it’s safe to say that some circumstances in life can set you back sometimes, we have all been there. This may cause you to experience increased stress, a lower mood than average, brain fog, or difficulty concentrating. Or maybe at some point, you’ll just want to start taking something to possibly prevent future cognitive decline or brain changes related to aging.

This is when these brain health supplements come into play. The majority we’ve put on this list are naturally sourced, not synthetic, so you can rest assured that they’re much easier on your body, and provide the best brain-boosting effects.

Remember to always do your research before you decide to take any supplement, and consult with your physician if necessary.

And in the end, should you decide on one of these brain health supplements, prepare to meet yourself in v.2.0!

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