Brain Supplements:
An Ultimate Guide

Benjamin Martin  - 8 August 2023

[Reading Time: 8 minutes]

bottle of brain supplements spilling out

Are you looking to improve your mental performance and boost your brain power? With the fast-paced and demanding world we live in today, it's more important than ever to take care of our brain health. And while there are many ways to do so, one increasingly popular option is using brain supplements.

But with so many options out there, how do you know which ones are the right fit for you?

In this expert guide, we'll break down the background of brain supplements, the different types of supplements, and just how effective these supplements are.

In the end, we'll tell you which supplements really work and give our recommendation for the best brain supplements out there. Plus, we’ll tell you all the information you need to choose the right one for you.

Contents

  • What are Brain Supplements?
  • What are the Different Types of Brain Supplements?
  • What are the Best Vitamins for Studying?
  • 5 Herbal Supplements for Brain Health
  • Are Amino Acids Good for Healthy Brain Function?
  • How Effective are Brain Supplements?
  • Which Brain Supplements Really Work?
  • Our Recommendation for the Best Brain Supplements
  • Conclusion

What are Brain Supplements?

The human brain is the most complex organ in the body. It’s responsible for our thoughts, emotions, and actions. So it’s no surprise that we want to keep it healthy and functioning at its best. One way to do this is by taking brain supplements.

Brain supplements are specifically created to help improve mental focus, energy, mood and memory. They help you think faster, concentrate better, and remember more. Some can also boost your energy levels and make you feel more alert.

These kinds of supplements have been around for centuries. The first recorded use of a brain supplement was by the Egyptians in 1500 BC. They used a mixture of ground-up crocodile brains and honey to treat insanity. The Roman physician Pliny the Elder wrote about using the crushed skulls of vipers to treat head injuries.

In the medieval era, early examples included rosemary and other herbs said to improve cognitive function. Students often wore rosemary sprigs in their hair whilst studying, believing it would help them remember what they had learned.

As our understanding of the brain continues to develop, so do the potential applications for brain supplements. With continued research, we may one day unlock more of the brain’s potential with these substances.

What are the Different Types of Brain Supplements?

There are many different types of brain supplements available on the market today. They can be categorised into vitamins, minerals, amino acids, herbals, and superfoods.

Vitamins and minerals are essential nutrients that the body needs to function properly. They are excellent at improving certain areas of mental function and can help reduce the risk of developing many diseases. They help to protect the brain from damage, support cognitive function and promote communication between cells.

One way to get vitamins and minerals is through a healthy diet that includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Getting enough of these nutrients can help to improve cognitive function and protect the brain from age-related decline.

Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and play a vital role in many biochemical processes in the body. 20 different amino acids are needed by the body to perform various functions.

taking supplements for brain health

These amino acids can be divided into two groups: essential and non-essential. Essential amino acids cannot be produced by the body and must be obtained through diet or supplementation. Non-essential amino acids can be produced by the body and do not need to be obtained through diet or supplementation.

Herbal remedies and superfoods have been used for centuries for healthy brain function. Today, science is beginning to catch up with what traditional cultures have known all along.

Certain herbs and superfoods contain compounds that can help to improve cognitive function, memory, and focus. They can also protect the brain from damage caused by free radicals and inflammation.

Some of the best herbs and superfoods for brain health include ginkgo biloba, panax ginseng, turmeric, matcha green tea, maca root, and dark chocolate. Incorporating these into your diet could help to keep your mind sharp as you age.

Take our Quiz to find out what’s the best brain supplement for you.

What are the Best Vitamins for Studying?

Most students know that a good diet and plenty of sleep are important for academic success, but they may not realise that vitamins can also play a role. Here are some of the best vitamins that can help students improve their focus and concentration while studying:

1. Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)

Vitamin B1 promotes the connection between the human brain and the nervous system, which helps to prevent a form of brain damage called Cerebellar Syndrome.

It also helps to prevent damage to the nervous system by strengthening the development of myelin, a protective covering around nerves. Vitamin B1 is known to increase concentration and focus, as well as improve memory.

2. Vitamin B3 (Niacin)

B3, also called niacin, is another brain vitamin, as it helps maintain psychological function and the function of the nervous system.

B3 is also a very effective vitamin for concentration. Taking B3 is a good way to increase your attention span and focus, which is especially important for those suffering from ADHD. B3 can be found in foods like sunflower seeds, salmon and eggs.

3. Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)

Another significant brain vitamin is pantothenic acid or B5. B5 is an essential vitamin that helps with brain function and synthesising some neurotransmitters whilst also aiding energy‐yielding metabolism and the reduction of tiredness and fatigue.

It can help your brain and body’s energy levels and is a very useful vitamin for your brain. B5 also helps with the growth and repair of cells which is vital for your brain to prevent degeneration and keep you young. B5 is found in a wide variety of foods, especially in animal proteins like eggs, chicken, fish and meat.

4. Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)

Vitamin B6 is crucial for stimulating the brain's production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that engages and improves mood. This water-soluble vitamin is essential for the manufacturing of serotonin, which affects your joy and improves your mood.

Vitamin B6 also helps the body produce haemoglobin, the part of your blood that carries oxygen throughout the body. It also helps your overall cognitive function.

5. Vitamin B9 (Folate)

Folic acid helps reduce tiredness and maintain psychological function, along with many other benefits.

When taken over time, dietary folate and folic acid supplements are especially important for pregnant women. They reduce the risk of neural tube defects in the foetus. It's found in foods like liver and dark green vegetables (broccoli, spinach and the much-maligned Brussels sprout).

6. Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)

Vitamin B12 plays a part in developing nerve and brain tissues. It is also necessary for the synthesis of neurotransmitters.

Research has found that eating a well-balanced diet, including vitamin B12 as a part of the total B-vitamin group, can be an effective and advantageous approach for maintaining brain health.

Vitamin B12 is also essential for brain function and mental development. It helps the brain process information, which benefits the general wellness of the nervous system.

Watch: Harvard Nutritionist: The #1 Vitamin To Keep Your Brain Sharp

7. Vitamin C

Vitamin C is another important vitamin for the brain that helps the nervous system function properly and contributes to psychological function. This brain vitamin also has numerous other benefits, including helping the immune system during and after exercise, helping to maintain normal energy-yielding metabolism and increase iron absorption.

Vitamin C also helps to reduce the symptoms of stress, such as anxiety. It is also an antioxidant that protects cells from damage and reduces the harmful effects of free radicals. Because of its ability to neutralise free radicals, vitamin C also helps fight cancer and heart disease. The body does not produce its own vitamin C, so it is important to get enough of this vital nutrient from food sources.

8. Vitamin D3

Vitamin D3 helps to protect the brain, immune function, and calcium balance. It is also involved with regulating the many genes that are crucial for brain function. Vitamin D3 is a neurosteroid that oversees the development of brain systems and stimulates the activity that will guard the brain.

It also contributes to hormone balance and melatonin production, which regulate your relationship to a regular sleep rhythm and human circadian rhythm.

Vitamin D3 deficiency is associated with various medical disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, autism, obsessive-compulsive disorder, sleep impairment, infectious inflammatory diseases, autoimmune disorders, and treatment-resistant depression.

9. Choline

Whilst not strictly a vitamin, choline is vitamin-like, according to academic sources. Choline is a good brain vitamin because it’s necessary to produce the neurotransmitter ‘acetylcholine’. Acetylcholine helps regulate mood, intelligence and cognitive processes.

It is also responsible for the function of memory and learning. Choline is also essential to developing healthy cell membranes and can be found in eggs, fish, poultry, meat and vegetables like spinach. We need choline to keep our brains active, alert and healthy.

10. Iron

Iron is crucial to keeping your brain cells healthy. Your brain takes 20% of the oxygen supplied through your bloodstream, and iron improves your blood's ability to move around oxygen and allow other tissues to use it.

When blood flow to the brain is sufficient, it stimulates your cognitive activity and strengthens neural networks that protect your brain function against dementia and Alzheimer's.

11. Magnesium

Magnesium is critical to maintaining energy in the brain because it consumes over 20% of the energy that is generated by the body. Therefore, magnesium is essential to brain health. A sufficient amount of magnesium provides proper nerve transmission and neuromuscular conduction and helps prevent excess neuron excitation and oxidative stress.

If magnesium is not at a proper level, it may lead to reduced cognitive performance. Research studies have also suggested that abnormal magnesium levels can lead to migraines, depression, chronic pain, strokes, seizures, and dementia.

12. Zinc

Zinc is a trace element that stimulates the development of neurons in your hippocampus. The hippocampus is much like a storage device that stores memories, emotions, and other feelings.

Having proper levels of zinc, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep helps preserve this excellent area of your brain. Besides supporting the formation of new memories, zinc helps your brain cells communicate with each other. When brain cells cannot communicate effectively with one another, this could lead to brain fog.

5 Herbal Supplements for Brain Health

Herbal supplements and superfoods make up the core ingredients of most brain supplements. They have been used for centuries in traditional medicine to treat many ailments and are known to be still as effective in treating various conditions today, including brain disorders.

A growing body of scientific evidence supports using these natural substances to support brain health. As they are safe and well-tolerated by most people, herbal supplements and superfoods can be taken regularly to improve cognitive function and protect against age-related decline.

Below we’ve listed five of the best herbal brain health supplements available.

1. Ginkgo Biloba

Increases blood flow to the brain, delivering vital oxygen to improve your brainpower. Ginkgo supplements help your mental performance and brainpower and may even support your memory. Other studies have found ginkgo to increase blood flow and improve mental alertness, mood, and concentration.

Ginkgo also has antioxidant properties and is believed to support the immune system. Ginkgo biloba has been used for centuries to help support healthy circulation, normal brain function and memory. Ginkgo is often found in supplements on its own or in brain supplement stacks.

2. Panax Ginseng

Has an invigorating effect on both brain and body, with some studies showing improvement in brain functions like memory and cognition whilst supporting social functioning and mood. Panax ginseng is a plant from China. The plant's root is used to make a popular herbal remedy that Chinese people have used for thousands of years.

It has a reputation for having many positive effects on brain health and general well-being.

herbal supplements for brain health

3. Matcha Green Tea

Matcha green tea is very good for your brain health: it is believed that people who drink green tea one to six days a week have less mental decline than people who do not drink green tea.

This is because green tea contains epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), a powerful antioxidant, and theanine, an amino acid with beneficial properties for your brain. This makes green tea good for boosting brain health.

It has also been shown to help reduce anxiety and promote relaxation without causing sedation. It improves attention span, memory, learning capacity and concentration.

4. Maca Root

Maca Root is a medicinal plant from Peru that is said to affect physical performance and mental resilience positively. It has been used for centuries in Peru to help relieve various ailments. Today, maca is gaining popularity for its potential brain-boosting benefits. Maca root is a member of the crucifer family and is related to broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower.

It is known for its many benefits, including its ability to help with energy levels, fertility, and hormone balance. One study showed that maca improved memory and cognitive function in menopausal women. Another study found that it improved mental performance in people with mild cognitive impairment. Studies have also shown that maca root can help reduce stress and anxiety.

5. Turmeric

Turmeric is often used as a herbal remedy for good digestion and can improve brain performance. Turmeric contains curcumin which is what gives turmeric its yellow pigment, and successive studies have shown that it is great for your body and brain.

Not only may it help alleviate symptoms of depression and act as an antioxidant, but it also helps soothe inflammation, a leading cause of brain fog. It may also improve memory and help delay brain diseases and age-related decreases in brain function.

To learn what supplements you should take, first, find out which brain supplements really work below!

Are Amino Acids Good for Healthy Brain Function?

Amino acids are essential nutrients that help the body build proteins. They also play important roles in metabolism and other biochemical processes. The body can produce some amino acids, but others must be obtained from the diet.

Amino acids are important for brain health. The brain uses amino acids to make neurotransmitters, which are chemicals that transmit messages between nerve cells. Neurotransmitters help regulate mood, sleep, appetite, and other vital functions.

Here are some of the most important amino acids regarding brain health.

Watch: Amazing Amino Acids for Mental Health

L-Theanine

L-theanine is an amino acid found in tea leaves. It's a natural relaxant that can alleviate stress and anxiety. L-theanine also has neuroprotective properties and can enhance cognitive function.

Studies have shown that L-theanine can help reduce stress and anxiety. It does this by increasing levels of GABA, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood. L-theanine also increases levels of serotonin and dopamine, which are feel-good chemicals in the brain.

In addition to reducing stress and anxiety, L-theanine has also improved cognitive function. One study showed that L-theanine improved reaction time and accuracy during a task that required participants to press a button as quickly as possible when they saw a light flash on a screen.

L-Tyrosine

L-tyrosine is one of the 20 essential amino acids our body requires to break down protein. Whilst it can be found in a multitude of foods such as avocados, fish, eggs, milk and more, some people do have a disorder where they can't make tyrosine on their own. These people will need to take tyrosine supplements.

Tyrosine is needed for the development of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine can help brain health and function. This is because it influences mood, performance, and motivation. As a result, tyrosine is helpful for brain health.

Furthermore, tyrosine is also extremely helpful for those under a high amount of stress or sleep-deprived, as it can increase alertness, memory and learning.

Acetyl L-Carnitine

Acetyl-l-carnitine, sometimes known as ALCAR, is an amino acid that functions as an antioxidant for the brain. As a result, it increases your brain health and keeps your mind clear of brain fog.

ALCAR can also boost metabolism in the brain and help brain cells. This, in turn, increases brain health, boosts alertness and helps cognitive function.

Its name comes from the Latin word for ‘meat’, as it was first isolated from meat products. It is also found in asparagus, avocado and other vegetables.

How Effective are Brain Supplements?

Whilst there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ answer to whether or not brain supplements are effective, some potential benefits have been associated with their use.

One of the most important is that they can help improve memory. As we age, our memory can start to decline. This can be frustrating and even scary. But by taking a brain supplement, you can help improve your memory and keep your mind sharp.

foods for brain health

Another benefit of health supplements is that they can help improve focus and concentration. If you have trouble focusing on tasks or find yourself easily distracted, a brain supplement may help. These supplements can also be helpful for people who suffer from conditions like ADHD or ADD.

Finally, brain health supplements can also help reduce stress and anxiety. Or even boost your mood and energy levels.

Which Brain Supplements Really Work?

There is no simple answer to the question of which brain supplements work. The efficacy of any given supplement depends on many factors, including the specific supplement being taken, the dosage, the individual's age, health, and genetic makeup.

Additionally, brain supplements may interact with other medications or supplements an individual takes, so it is always important to speak with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen.

However, when choosing a supplement for brain health, you should take a supplement stack rather than multiple supplement pills.

A supplement stack is a single supplement that contains many different individual ingredients, often working in synergy together. The advantage of using a supplement stack is that it allows you to get the benefits of all the ingredients without taking each one separately.

Our Recommendation for the Best Brain Supplements

Our recommendation for which brain supplements really work is the range of brain supplement stacks Brainzyme® FOCUS™.

Brainzyme® FOCUS™ contains 100% plant-powered ingredients that have been scientifically proven to support concentration, cognition, energy, memory and mental performance.

That means that if you suffer from brain fog, lack of focus or low energy and productivity, Brainzyme® FOCUS™ could help.

Brainzyme® FOCUS™ Starter Bundle

There are currently three Brainzyme® FOCUS™ formulas, each with ingredients that are 100% plant-powered through plant extracts, vitamins and minerals.

The Brainzyme® FOCUS™ formulas are based on ingredient research from leading neuro-cognitive and nutritional experts, including the 18-member panel at EFSA.

Each of the three formulas works differently to allow you to make a choice based on the level of focus you require and how you want to feel to get the most out of your day. Check out each one below.

Brainzyme® FOCUS PRO™ can provide you with a strong focus and energy boost with motivation and memory support.

Brainzyme® FOCUS ELITE™ can help relieve stress by providing you with a focus and energy boost with positive mood, memory and brain health support.

Brainzyme® FOCUS ORIGINAL™ can provide you with a calm sense of focus and an energy boost.

All Brainzyme® FOCUS™ supplements are

  • Gelatin free
  • Sugar-free
  • Vegan-friendly
  • Allergen-free
  • GMO-free
  • Gluten-free
  • Cruelty-free
  • Soy-free

Not to mention, most of the active ingredients in all three formulas have already been mentioned in this article. See the table below for a side-by-side comparison!

  • Brainzyme® FOCUS ELITE
  • Brainzyme® FOCUS PRO
  • Brainzyme® FOCUS ORIGINAL

Vitamin B1

(Thiamine)

Vitamin B3

(Niacin)

Vitamin B5

(Pantothenic Acid)

Vitamin B6

(Pyridoxine)

Vitamin B9

(Folate)

Vitamin B12

(Cobalamin)

Vitamin C

Vitamin D3

Choline

Iron

Magnesium

Zinc

Ginkgo Biloba

Panax Ginseng

Enhanced Matcha Theanine (EMT™) Blend

(Matcha Green Tea)

Maca Root

Curcumin

(Turmeric)

L-Theanine

L-Tyrosine

Acetyl L-Carnitine

If you are still unsure about which Brainzyme® FOCUS™ formula would be best for you, you can check out the Brainzyme® FOCUS™ Starter Bundle to try all three!

Brainzyme Focus Pro is a great nootropic alternative

You can get 10% off your very first purchase of the Brainzyme® FOCUS™ Starter Bundle! Use the code WELCOME10 when checking out.

Conclusion

In conclusion, brain supplements can be a great way to enhance your cognitive function and boost your memory. With the wide range of options available, individuals need to choose the right supplement for their own needs.

Vitamins like B6, B12 and C are some of the best vitamins for studying as they help to improve mental alertness and energy levels. Additionally, herbal supplements such as ginkgo and ginseng can have a positive effect on brain health.

Amino Acids are also effective and natural ways to improve brain health. This is due to their impact on neurotransmitters, hormones, and other processes in the brain.

Brain supplements are beneficial for overall brain health; however, it is important to research before investing in any supplement. Supplements with high-quality ingredients and a good reputation are more likely to give positive results than those without them.

That is why we recommend trying any of the three Brainzyme® FOCUS™ formulas to see which would fit your needs best. You can do that by buying the Brainzyme® FOCUS™ Starter Bundle today.

Benjamin Martin

Benjamin Martin is a nootropic and brain supplement enthusiast

Benjamin Martin

Benjamin Martin is a nootropic and brain supplement enthusiast who has tried every type of performance-boosting supplement under the sun. He uses his expertise to produce educational content for the Brainzyme® blogs.

Based in Edinburgh, Benjamin loves spending his free time in nature whenever he gets the chance.

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References

Balestrino, M. (2019) The risks and uses of dietary supplements - the Lancet neurology, The Lancet - Neurology. Available at: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/laneur/article/PIIS1474-4422(19)30292-3/fulltext (Accessed: November 29, 2022).

Fernstrom, J.D. (2004) Dietary amino acids and brain function, Journal of the American Dietetic Association. Elsevier. Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/0002822394920451 (Accessed: November 29, 2022).

Poddar, J. et al. (2018) Biochemical deficits and cognitive decline in brain ageing: Intervention by dietary supplements, Journal of Chemical Neuroanatomy. Elsevier. Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0891061817302028 (Accessed: November 29, 2022).

*Customers have anecdotally expressed that Brainzyme® FOCUS™ products have helped with “ADHD-like symptoms"

*Mood claims are anecdotal.

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