8 Best Nootropics For Flow State In 2023

Written on January 17, 2023 by | Reviewed by William Gallagher, MNeuroSci

In this article, I'll look at the 8 best nootropics to achieve flow state. I'll cover the potential risks and side effects you may run into and the benefits you can expect.

A flow state is a state of peak mental performance and increased creativity. It is a euphoric feeling that can help you achieve more in less time. Many people use nootropics to achieve this state, but choosing the right ones is important.

So today, I'll look at the 8 best nootropics to achieve a flow state. These supplements have been carefully selected based on their ability to increase focus, improve cognitive performance, and enhance creativity.

So without further ado, let's dive in.

The 8 best nootropics for flow state, according to scientific evidence, are:

  • Mind Lab Pro
  • Modafinil
  • Armodafinil
  • L-Theanine
  • L-Theanine + Caffeine Stack
  • Bacopa Monnieri
  • N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine (NALT)
  • Maritime Pine Bark Extract

1. Mind Lab Pro

Mind Lab Pro is a nootropic blend. It contains 11 well-researched ingredients designed to increase focus, improve cognitive performance, and help you achieve a flow state.

The nootropic ingredients in this blend are:

  • Citicoline
  • Phosphatidylserine (PS)
  • Bacopa Monnieri
  • Organic Lion’s Mane Mushroom
  • Maritime Pine Bark Extract
  • L-Tyrosine
  • L-Theanine
  • Rhodiola Rosea
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin B9
  • Vitamin B12

Citicoline is especially interesting as it helps increase the production of acetylcholine (ACh), a neurotransmitter connected to improved focus and concentration. When the ACh level is increased, your brain can work faster and better [1]Kim, J H et al. “Acetylcholine precursor, citicoline (cytidine 5'-diphosphocholine), reduces hypoglycaemia-induced neuronal death in rats.” Journal of neuroendocrinology vol. 30,1 (2018): … Learn more.

This can help you reach a flow state more quickly and sustain it for longer. Mind Lab Pro also contains natural ingredients that can help reduce stress, improve mood and focus, and enhance creativity.

Mind Lab Pros

  • It contains 11 high-quality, powerful nootropic ingredients
  • Supports cognitive and brain performance in numerous ways
  • It helps improve memory and concentration
  • It doesn't contain caffeine
  • Affordable price point
  • Perfect for people who want to achieve flow state

Mind Lab Pro Cons

  • Shipping can take up to 2 weeks

Mind Lab Pro in Summary

Mind Lab Pro is a great choice for those looking to achieve a flow state. It contains 11 high-quality, powerful nootropic ingredients that have been scientifically proven to improve cognitive and brain performance in numerous ways. Additionally, it helps improve memory and concentration without containing any caffeine.

2. Modafinil

Modafinil (Provigil) is a eugeroic drug, meaning that it is designed to promote wakefulness. It helps improve alertness and focus, making it a great choice for those looking to achieve a flow state. Modafinil has been studied extensively, and numerous clinical trials show its effectiveness in improving mental performance [2]Cope, Zackary A et al. “Modafinil improves attentional performance in healthy, non-sleep deprived humans at doses not inducing hyperarousal across species.” Neuropharmacology vol. 125 (2017): … Learn more.

Modafinil increases dopamine, norepinephrine, and orexin levels in the brain. This increases alertness, focus, and concentration, allowing you to stay on task for longer. This is ideal for achieving a flow state [3]Gerrard, Paul, and Robert Malcolm. “Mechanisms of modafinil: A review of current research.” Neuropsychiatric disease and treatment vol. 3,3 (2007): 349-64..

It's a nootropic that has been proven effective and safe but has minor side effects, such as headaches, nausea, and anxiety. It's also a prescription drug, so you'll need to get it from your doctor.

Modafinil Pros

  • It increases alertness and focus
  • It has been studied extensively
  • It is proven safe and effective

Modafinil Cons

  • Prescription drug only

Modafinil in Summary

Modafinil is a wakeful-promoting drug that is designed to increase alertness and focus. It has been studied extensively, and numerous clinical trials have proven its effectiveness in improving mental performance. Modafinil increases dopamine, norepinephrine, and orexin levels in the brain, which helps you stay on task for longer.

3. Armodafinil

Armodafinil (Nuvigil) is the enantiopure compound of Modafinil, meaning that it is the single-enantiomer form of Modafinil. It has similar effects on the brain as Modafinil but has a longer half-life, meaning it can stay active in the body for longer.

It is also considered more potent than Modafinil, meaning that you need smaller doses to achieve similar effects. Similarly to Modafinil, Armodafinil works by stimulating orexin neurons, increasing alertness and focus. This helps you reach a flow state more quickly and sustain it for longer periods.

Unlike traditional stimulants, Armodafinil doesn't cause jitteriness or anxiety. This also means you won't experience crash effects when the smart drug wears off.

Armodafinil Pros

  • Longer half-life than Modafinil
  • More potent than Modafinil
  • It doesn't cause jitteriness or anxiety
  • No calm downs

Armodafinil Cons

  • Prescription Drug only

Armodafinil in Summary

Armodafinil is the single-enantiomer form of Modafinil and is considered to be more potent than Modafinil. It has a longer half-life, which means it can stay active in the body for longer periods. Armodafinil stimulates orexin neurons, increasing alertness and focus, allowing you to reach and sustain a flow state.

4. L-Theanine

L-Theanine is an amino acid found in green tea and some mushrooms. It is a nootropic that has been scientifically studied for its ability to reduce stress and anxiety, improve focus, and promote relaxation [4]Hidese, Shinsuke et al. “Effects of L-Theanine Administration on Stress-Related Symptoms and Cognitive Functions in Healthy Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” Nutrients vol. 11,10 2362. 3 … Learn more.

It works by increasing levels of GABA, serotonin, dopamine, and other neurotransmitters. This helps reduce stress levels and improve concentration, allowing you to reach and maintain a flow state.

L-Theanine has also been shown to significantly increase activity in the alpha frequency band, which indicates that it relaxes the mind without inducing drowsiness. This makes it an ideal nootropic to take when aiming for a flow state [5]Nobre, Anna C et al. “L-theanine, a natural constituent in tea, and its effect on mental state.” Asia Pacific journal of clinical nutrition vol. 17 Suppl 1 (2008): 167-8..

L-Theanine Pros

  • It reduces stress and anxiety
  • Improves focus and concentration
  • Boosts alpha brain waves associated with creativity and flow
  • No crash effects

L-Theanine Cons

  • Not as effective for all people

L-Theanine in Summary

L-Theanine is an amino acid found in green tea. It has been studied for its ability to reduce stress and anxiety, improve focus, and promote relaxation. It works by increasing levels of GABA, serotonin, dopamine, and other neurotransmitters. This helps you stay relaxed while still being able to maintain a flow state.

5. L-Theanine + Caffeine Stack

L-Theanine is an effective nootropic for reaching and sustaining a flow state on its own, but it really shines when stacked (combined) with Caffeine. A study has shown that combining the two helps focus, concentration, and alertness while also reducing the jitteriness and anxiety often associated with Caffeine [6]Giesbrecht, T et al. “The combination of L-theanine and caffeine improves cognitive performance and increases subjective alertness.” Nutritional neuroscience vol. 13,6 (2010): 283-90. … Learn more.

Caffeine works by blocking the action of the inhibitory neurotransmitter adenosine, thus increasing levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain, thus improving focus and concentration. It also helps increase alertness and wakefulness, allowing you to reach a flow state more quickly and sustain it for longer periods.

L-Theanine helps balance out Caffeine's stimulating effects by reducing anxiety and jitteriness while still providing the focused energy of Caffeine. This allows you to stay awake and alert while still being relaxed and focused.

The L-Theanine + Caffeine stack is an incredibly powerful combination for reaching a flow state, allowing you to stay alert and productive without the side effects of jitteriness or anxiety.

L-Theanine + Caffeine Pros

  • Increases focus and concentration
  • Increases alertness and wakefulness
  • Reduces jitteriness and anxiety

L-Theanine + Caffeine Cons

  • It can interfere with sleep if consumed too late in the day

L-Theanine + Caffeine in Summary

The combination of L-Theanine and Caffeine is an incredibly powerful nootropic stack for reaching and maintaining a flow state. Caffeine increases alertness and focus, while L-Theanine reduces jitteriness and anxiety, allowing you to stay relaxed and productive without the side effects of either one in isolation.

6. Bacopa Monnieri

Bacopa Monnieri is considered an adaptogen. An adaptogen is a herbal remedy that helps the body resist physical and mental stress. It has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries to improve memory and cognitive performance.

Regarding flow states, this nootropic has been shown to improve cognitive performance [7]Sukumaran, Nimisha Pulikkal et al. “Neuropharmacological and cognitive effects of Bacopa monnieri (L.) Wettst - A review on its mechanistic aspects.” Complementary therapies in medicine vol. 44 … Learn more. It is believed that Bacopa Monnieri helps sustain a flow state by improving concentration, focus, and attention. It also reduces anxiety and stress, allowing you to stay relaxed while still being productive.

Bacopa Monnieri Pros

  • Improves cognitive performance
  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • Improves focus and concentration

Bacopa Monnieri Cons

  • Not as effective for all people
  • It takes some time to work (weeks or months)

Bacopa Monnieri in Summary

Bacopa Monnieri is an adaptogen used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine. It has been found to improve cognitive performance and reduce stress and anxiety, which makes it an effective nootropic for sustaining a flow state.

7. N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine (NALT)

N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine (NALT) is an amino acid that helps increase neurotransmitters dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine levels. These neurotransmitters are associated with alertness and wakefulness, which makes NALT a great nootropic for maintaining a flow state [8]Jongkees, Bryant J et al. “Effect of tyrosine supplementation on clinical and healthy populations under stress or cognitive demands--A review.” Journal of psychiatric research vol. 70 (2015): … Learn more.

NALT works by providing the body with a precursor for dopamine and norepinephrine synthesis, which helps increase their levels in the brain. It also reduces stress and anxiety, allowing you to stay focused and productive while still being relaxed.

NALT Pros

  • Increases alertness and wakefulness
  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • Improves focus and concentration

NALT Cons

  • It can interfere with sleep if consumed too late in the day

NALT in Summary

N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine (NALT) is an amino acid that helps increase neurotransmitters dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine levels. It works by providing the body with a precursor for dopamine and norepinephrine synthesis, which helps increase their levels in the brain.

8. Maritime Pine Bark Extract

Maritime Pine Bark Extract is an antioxidant found in the bark of the Maritime pine tree. It has been used in traditional medicine for centuries. More recently, it has become popular as a cognitive enhancer and nootropic [9]Nishioka, Kenji et al. “Pycnogenol, French maritime pine bark extract, augments endothelium-dependent vasodilation in humans.” Hypertension research : official journal of the Japanese Society of … Learn more.

Maritime Pine Bark Extract supplies a natural complex of active proanthocyanidin nootropics that enhance antioxidant status, cerebrovascular function, and brain regeneration to promote mental clarity and long-range brain health. It also helps to reduce stress and anxiety, allowing you to stay relaxed while still being productive.

Maritime Pine Bark Extract Pros

  • Enhances antioxidant status
  • Improves cerebrovascular function
  • Reduces stress and anxiety

Maritime Pine Bark Extract Cons

  • It may cause minor gastrointestinal side effects

Maritime Pine Bark Extract in Summary

Maritime Pine Bark Extract is an antioxidant found in the bark of the Maritime pine tree. It supplies a natural complex of active proanthocyanidin nootropics that enhance antioxidant status, cerebrovascular function, and brain regeneration to promote mental clarity and long-range brain health. This makes it a great nootropic for achieving and maintaining a flow state.

What Are the Best Nootropics for Flow State?

best nootropics for flow state

The best nootropics for flow state, according to my research, are:

  1. Mind Lab Pro
  2. Modafinil
  3. Armodafinil
  4. L-Theanine
  5. L-Theanine + Caffeine Stack
  6. Bacopa Monnieri
  7. N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine (NALT)
  8. Maritime Pine Bark Extract

The list above contains a mix of natural and synthetic nootropics, all of which have been found to improve cognitive performance, reduce stress and anxiety, and increase alertness and wakefulness.

It's worth pointing out that synthetic nootropics like Modafinil and Armodafinil are prescription-only drugs, so before taking them, please consult your doctor.

Also, nootropic supplements may interact with other medications and supplements you're already taking, so it's important always to research and check with a healthcare professional before beginning any new supplement regimen.

What Are the Benefits of Nootropics for Flow State?

The benefits of using nootropics to achieve a flow state are numerous. Not only do they help improve your focus and concentration, but they also reduce stress and anxiety levels, making it easier to stay relaxed while still being productive.

Nootropics can also increase alertness and wakefulness, allowing you to enter a deep flow state more easily and quickly. The natural nootropics on my list will also enhance overall brain health and longevity, ensuring that you have the cognitive energy to stay in a flow state for extended periods of time.

If you're brand new to the jungle that is nootropics, I suggest starting with a natural nootropic blend like Mind Lab Pro as a foundation. This will give you the best chance of achieving a long-lasting flow state without encountering any significant side effects.

What Are the Side Effects of Nootropics for Flow State

The most common side effects of nootropics are typically mild headaches, nausea, gastrointestinal distress, and dizziness.

Some supplements can also cause an increase in heart rate and blood pressure. However, most of the nootropics on my list are generally well-tolerated by most people without any significant side effects.

That said, Modafinil has been linked to a rare skin condition called Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, so if you plan to take it, make sure to consult with a doctor first.

Final Thoughts: Do Nootropics Really Work for Flow State?

So do I personally think that nootropics can help you achieve a flow state? Absolutely.

Nootropics have been found to reduce stress and anxiety, increase alertness and wakefulness, improve focus and concentration, and enhance overall brain health – all of which are key components of a successful flow state.

The literature is clear: nootropics can help you achieve a flow state if you use them correctly. So if you're a student, entrepreneur, or creative looking to get more out of your day, give nootropics a try. I'm confident you won't be disappointed!

Good luck, and keep striving for that flow state! You got this.

References

References
1Kim, J H et al. “Acetylcholine precursor, citicoline (cytidine 5'-diphosphocholine), reduces hypoglycaemia-induced neuronal death in rats.” Journal of neuroendocrinology vol. 30,1 (2018): 10.1111/jne.12567. doi:10.1111/jne.12567
2Cope, Zackary A et al. “Modafinil improves attentional performance in healthy, non-sleep deprived humans at doses not inducing hyperarousal across species.” Neuropharmacology vol. 125 (2017): 254-262. doi:10.1016/j.neuropharm.2017.07.031
3Gerrard, Paul, and Robert Malcolm. “Mechanisms of modafinil: A review of current research.” Neuropsychiatric disease and treatment vol. 3,3 (2007): 349-64.
4Hidese, Shinsuke et al. “Effects of L-Theanine Administration on Stress-Related Symptoms and Cognitive Functions in Healthy Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” Nutrients vol. 11,10 2362. 3 Oct. 2019, doi:10.3390/nu11102362
5Nobre, Anna C et al. “L-theanine, a natural constituent in tea, and its effect on mental state.” Asia Pacific journal of clinical nutrition vol. 17 Suppl 1 (2008): 167-8.
6Giesbrecht, T et al. “The combination of L-theanine and caffeine improves cognitive performance and increases subjective alertness.” Nutritional neuroscience vol. 13,6 (2010): 283-90. doi:10.1179/147683010X12611460764840
7Sukumaran, Nimisha Pulikkal et al. “Neuropharmacological and cognitive effects of Bacopa monnieri (L.) Wettst - A review on its mechanistic aspects.” Complementary therapies in medicine vol. 44 (2019): 68-82. doi:10.1016/j.ctim.2019.03.016
8Jongkees, Bryant J et al. “Effect of tyrosine supplementation on clinical and healthy populations under stress or cognitive demands--A review.” Journal of psychiatric research vol. 70 (2015): 50-7. doi:10.1016/j.jpsychires.2015.08.014
9Nishioka, Kenji et al. “Pycnogenol, French maritime pine bark extract, augments endothelium-dependent vasodilation in humans.” Hypertension research : official journal of the Japanese Society of Hypertension vol. 30,9 (2007): 775-80. doi:10.1291/hypres.30.775