8 Best Nootropics For Memory & Retention In 2022

Written on September 19, 2022 by | Reviewed by William Gallagher, MNeuroSci

In this article, I'll look closely at the 8 best nootropics for memory and retention. I'll also cover the potential risks and side effects you may run into and the benefits you can expect.

Are you looking for an edge in your studies or professional life? Do you want to be able to remember more of what you read and hear?

If so, then nootropics may be exactly just what you need.

Nootropics are substances that can improve cognitive function, including memory and retention. They're sometimes called "smart drugs" or "cognitive enhancers" and are available as supplements, while others are found naturally in foods.

Let's take a closer look at the 8 best nootropics for memory and retention down below.

The best nootropics for memory and retention, according to scientific evidence, are:

  • NooCube
  • Mind Lab Pro
  • Vyvamind
  • Piracetam
  • Modafinil
  • Alpha-GPC
  • Citicoline
  • Ginkgo Biloba

1. NooCube

NooCube is a nootropic blend. This means that it contains 13 different nootropics, all of which work together to support cognitive function.

NooCube includes well-known nootropics like Alpha-GPC, Cat's claw, and Huperzine A. It also contains several B-vitamins, which are essential for cognitive health.

Here's an overview of NooCube's ingredients:

  • Lutemax® 2020
  • Bacopa Monnieri 12:1 (20% bacosides) 250 mg
  • Huperzia Serrata (0.5% huperzine-a) 20 mg
  • Pterostilbene 140 mcg
  • Resveratrol 99% 14.3 mg
  • L-Theanine 100 mg
  • L-Tyrosine 250 mg
  • Alpha GPC (Glycerylphosphorylcholine) 50 mg
  • Oat Straw Extract 10:1
  • Cat's Claw 4:1
  • Vitamin B1 1.1 mg
  • Vitamin B7 50 mcg
  • Vitamin B12 2.5 mcg

I've chosen NooCube as the best nootropic for memory and retention because it contains a wide variety of nootropics that are effective in clinical studies. Especially Alpha-GPC has been shown to be particularly effective in boosting cognitive function, memory, and motivation in humans [1]Tamura, Yasuhisa et al. “Alpha-Glycerylphosphorylcholine Increases Motivation in Healthy Volunteers: A Single-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Human Study.” Nutrients vol. 13,6 2091. 18 Jun. … Learn more.

Plus, NooCube is one of the few nootropics that's backed by a money-back guarantee. So if you're unhappy with the results, you can always get your money back.

NooCube is also non-GMO, vegan-friendly, and has no artificial ingredients, so it's a great choice for health-conscious individuals.

NooCube Pros:

  • All-natural ingredients
  • Vegan-friendly and non-GMO
  • Money-back guarantee
  • Contains 13 nootropics, including Alpha-GPC
  • Boosts memory and retention

NooCube Cons:

  • Relatively expensive

NooCube in Summary:

NooCube is the best nootropic for memory and retention because it contains 13 different nootropics, all of which have been shown to be effective in clinical studies. NooCube is also vegan-friendly, non-GMO, and has a money-back guarantee.

2. Mind Lab Pro

Like NooCube, Mind Lab Pro is a nootropic blend containing 11 different nootropics. Mind Lab Pro includes well-known nootropics like Bacopa Monnieri, Lion's Mane Mushroom, and Maritime Pine Bark Extract.

An overview of Mind Lab Pro's ingredients:

  • 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

One study showed that Lion's Mane Mushroom promotes neurogenesis in the hippocampus in rats, which is the part of the brain that has a role in learning and memory [2]Ratto, Daniela et al. “Hericium erinaceus Improves Recognition Memory and Induces Hippocampal and Cerebellar Neurogenesis in Frail Mice during Aging.” Nutrients vol. 11,4 715. 27 Mar. 2019, … Learn more.

The great thing about Mind Lab Pro is that all the nootropic ingredients work synergistically, meaning they work together to boost cognitive function, memory, and retention.

Mind Lab Pros:

  • Contains 11 nootropics, including Lion's Mane Mushroom
  • Boosts memory and retention
  • Promotes neurogenesis in the hippocampus

Mind Lab Pro Cons:

  • Shipping can take up to 2 weeks

Mind Lab Pro in Summary:

Mind Lab Pro is one of the best nootropics for memory and retention because it contains 11 different nootropics, all of which have been shown to be effective in clinical studies. Instead of buying the ingredients separately, you can get them all in one convenient nootropic blend.

3. Vyvamind

Vyvamind is the new kid on the block. This nootropic blend was created by neuroscientists with to help people boost their memory, focus, and retention.

Vyvamind contains 6 clinically-proven nootropics:

  • Vitamin B6 (2.5 mg)
  • Vitamin B12 (50 mcg)
  • L-Tyrosine (300 mg)
  • CDP Choline (200 mg)
  • L-Theanine (150 mg)
  • Caffeine Anhydrous (75 mg)

L-Tyrosine has been shown to improve working memory in situations in which performance is compromised by stress [3]Thomas, J R et al. “Tyrosine improves working memory in a multitasking environment.” Pharmacology, biochemistry, and behavior vol. 64,3 (1999): 495-500. doi:10.1016/s0091-3057(99)00094-5. When you combine L-Tyrosine with CDP Choline and L-Theanine, you get a potent nootropic stack that can help you boost your memory and focus.

Vyvamind Pros:

  • Contains 6 clinically-proven nootropics
  • Boosts memory, focus, and retention
  • Non-GMO and vegan-friendly
  • Made by neuroscientists

Vyvamind Cons:

  • Not ideal for people on a budget

Vyvamind in Summary:

Vyvamind is in my top 3 of the best nootropics for memory and retention. If you're willing to pay a bit more for a high-quality product, then you're in for a treat. This nootropic blend was created by neuroscientists and contains 6 clinically-proven nootropics, all of which have been shown to be effective for memory, focus, and retention in clinical studies.

4. Piracetam

Piracetam is the oldest nootropic drug and was first synthesized in 1964. It is a derivative of the neurotransmitter GABA used as a cognitive enhancer to improve memory, attention, and learning. Piracetam works by influencing neuronal and vascular functions without acting as a sedative or stimulant.

Piracetam modulates acetylcholine, glutamate, and NMDA receptors in the brain. It also increases cerebral blood flow and oxygen consumption [4]Kessler, J et al. “Piracetam improves activated blood flow and facilitates rehabilitation of poststroke aphasic patients.” Stroke vol. 31,9 (2000): 2112-6. doi:10.1161/01.str.31.9.2112. Piracetam is great for people who want to improve their memory, focus, and attention span.

Piracetam Pros:

  • Modulates acetylcholine, glutamate, and NMDA receptors
  • Increases cerebral blood flow and oxygen consumption
  • Clinically proven to be effective for memory, focus, and attention span

Piracetam Cons:

  • Not approved by the FDA

Piracetam in Summary:

Piracetam is one of the best nootropics for memory and retention. It has been shown to be effective in clinical studies for memory, focus, and attention span. Piracetam also has the added benefit of increasing cerebral blood flow and oxygen consumption.

5. Modafinil

Modafinil is a wakefulness-promoting drug used to treat narcolepsy. A central nervous system stimulant, Modafinil increases alertness, reduces fatigue, and improves attention span and concentration.

While the exact mechanism of action is not fully understood, it is thought to work by inhibiting the reuptake of dopamine and increasing norepinephrine release.

These neurotransmitters are involved in wakefulness and attention. In addition, Modafinil has been shown to increase histamine release, which also contributes to its wakefulness-promoting effects [5]Ballon, Jacob S, and David Feifel. “A systematic review of modafinil: Potential clinical uses and mechanisms of action.” The Journal of clinical psychiatry vol. 67,4 (2006): 554-66. … Learn more.

While Modafinil is not explicitly approved for cognitive enhancement, it has improved memory and retention in healthy adults and those with cognitive impairments such as Alzheimer's disease [6]Daulatzai, Mak Adam. “Pharmacotherpy and Alzheimer's Disease: The M-Drugs (Melatonin, Minocycline, Modafinil, and Memantine) Approach.” Current pharmaceutical design vol. 22,16 (2016): 2411-30. … Learn more. As a result, Modafinil is often used off-label to help improve memory and focus.

Modafinil Pros:

  • Wakefulness-promoting drug
  • Improves memory and retention
  • Increases alertness, reduces fatigue, and improves attention span and concentration

Modafinil Cons:

  • A prescription is required in most countries

Modafinil in Summary:

Modafinil is a wakefulness-promoting drug that is often used off-label to help improve memory and focus. It works by inhibiting the reuptake of dopamine and increasing norepinephrine release. Modafinil has also been shown to increase histamine release, which contributes to its wakefulness-promoting effects.

6. Alpha-GPC

Alpha-GPC (alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine) is a natural compound that is found in the brain and other organs. It is a precursor to acetylcholine (ACh), a neurotransmitter that is involved in memory and learning.

Alpha-GPC supplements have been shown to boost levels of acetylcholine in the brain, leading to improved memory and cognitive function [7]Lopez, C M et al. “Effect of a new cognition enhancer, alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine, on scopolamine-induced amnesia and brain acetylcholine.” Pharmacology, biochemistry, and behavior vol. 39,4 … Learn more.

In addition, Alpha-GPC has been shown to protect the brain from age-related damage and improve blood flow to the brain [8]Tayebati, Seyed Khosrow et al. “Cerebrovascular and blood-brain barrier morphology in spontaneously hypertensive rats: effect of treatment with choline alphoscerate.” CNS & neurological … Learn more. These effects may help to explain why Alpha-GPC is often used as a natural treatment for Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia.

Alpha-GPC Pros:

  • A precursor to acetylcholine
  • Boosts levels of acetylcholine in the brain
  • Boosts performance on memory and cognitive tasks
  • Protects the brain from age-related damage

Alpha-GPC Cons:

  • The effects may not be long-lasting

Alpha-GPC in Summary:

Alpha-GPC is a natural compound that is found in the brain and other organs. It is a precursor to acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that is involved in memory and learning. Alpha-GPC supplements have been shown to boost levels of acetylcholine in the brain, leading to improved memory and cognitive function.

7. Citicoline

Citicoline is a nootropic supplement that has been shown to improve memory and cognitive function [9]Gareri, Pietro et al. “The role of citicoline in cognitive impairment: pharmacological characteristics, possible advantages, and doubts for an old drug with new perspectives.” Clinical … Learn more. Citicoline works by increasing levels of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that is involved in learning and memory.

Acetylcholine is responsible for sending messages between neurons, and it is thought that citicoline may help increase the number of acetylcholine receptors, making the brain more responsive to the neurotransmitter.

Citicoline has also been shown to increase levels of dopamine and noradrenaline, two other neurotransmitters that are involved in cognition [10]Wignall, Nicholas D, and E Sherwood Brown. “Citicoline in addictive disorders: a review of the literature.” The American journal of drug and alcohol abuse vol. 40,4 (2014): 262-8. … Learn more.

In addition, Citicoline has been shown to protect the brain from damage caused by oxidative stress [11]Aminzadeh, Azadeh, and Ayda Salarinejad. “Citicoline protects against lead-induced oxidative injury in neuronal PC12 cells.” Biochemistry and cell biology = Biochimie et biologie cellulaire vol. … Learn more. Oxidative stress is thought to be a major contributing factor to age-related cognitive decline, so the fact that Citicoline can help to protect the brain from this type of damage makes it a promising supplement for memory and cognition.

Citicoline Pros:

  • Improves memory and cognitive function
  • Increases levels of acetylcholine
  • Protects the brain from damage caused by oxidative stress

Citicoline Cons:

  • You need to take it regularly to maintain the benefits

Citicoline in Summary:

Citicoline is a nootropic that has been demonstrated to enhance memory and cognitive function. Citicoline increases acetylcholine levels, a neurotransmitter involved in learning and memory.

8. Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo Biloba is a widely-used supplement for memory and cognitive function. The active ingredients in Ginkgo Biloba are thought to be terpene lactones and ginkgolides, which have both been shown to improve blood circulation [12]Strømgaard, Kristian, and Koji Nakanishi. “Chemistry and biology of terpene trilactones from Ginkgo biloba.” Angewandte Chemie (International ed. in English) vol. 43,13 (2004): 1640-58. … Learn more.

One way Ginkgo Biloba works is by increasing blood flow to the brain, which in turn helps to deliver more oxygen and nutrients to the brain cells. This improved blood circulation may also help to remove waste products from the brain more effectively.

In addition, Ginkgo Biloba has also been shown to protect nerve cells from damage and improve communication between different brain regions [13]Oyama, Y et al. “Ginkgo biloba extract protects brain neurons against oxidative stress induced by hydrogen peroxide.” Brain research vol. 712,2 (1996): 349-52. doi:10.1016/0006-8993(95)01440-3. These effects are thought to underlie its benefits for memory and cognitive function.

Ginkgo Biloba Pros:

  • Improves blood circulation to the brain
  • Delivers more oxygen and nutrients to the brain cells
  • Helps to remove waste products from the brain
  • Protects nerve cells from damage
  • Helps the brain cope with stress

Ginkgo Biloba Cons:

  • High-quality evidence for its benefits is limited

Ginkgo Biloba in Summary:

Ginkgo Biloba is a popular supplement for memory and cognitive function. Ginkgo Biloba works by improving blood circulation to the brain, which helps to deliver more oxygen and nutrients to the brain cells. In addition, Ginkgo Biloba also protects nerve cells from damage and helps the brain cope with stress.

What Are the Best Nootropics for Memory & Retention?

The best nootropics for memory and retention are:

  1. NooCube
  2. Mind Lab Pro
  3. Vyvamind
  4. Piracetam
  5. Modafinil
  6. Alpha-GPC
  7. Citicoline
  8. Ginkgo Biloba

Each of these nootropics has been shown to improve memory and cognitive function in various ways. If you’re looking for a supplement to help improve your memory and cognitive function, then these are some of the best options available.

My first choice would be NooCube. It’s a powerful nootropic blend with all the necessary memory and cognitive enhancement ingredients.

Mind Lab Pro is another great option, with a wide range of benefits for memory and cognition.

If you’re looking for a specific nootropic compound to help improve your memory, I recommend Citicoline or Alpha-GPC.

How to Choose the Right Nootropic Supplement for Memory & Retention?

nootropics for memory retention

Choosing the right nootropic supplement for memory and retention depends on your specific goals.

NooCube or Mind Lab Pro will be good choices if you're looking for a general cognitive enhancer with many different ingredients that work synergistically.

If you want something more specific to help with memory, then Citicoline or Alpha-GPC would be better options. Remember that some nootropics work better when stacked together, so you may want to consider combining multiple supplements to get the best results.

What Are the Benefits of Nootropics for Memory & Retention?

The benefits of nootropics for memory and retention include:

  • Improved memory recall
  • Greater mental clarity and focus
  • Enhanced learning ability
  • Better communication between brain regions
  • Protection against age-related cognitive decline
  • Reduced stress and anxiety levels

The nootropics featured on my list have all been shown to offer these benefits in clinical studies. If you’re looking for a way to improve your memory and cognitive function, then these are some of the best supplements available.

What Are the Side Effects of Nootropics for Memory & Retention?

The side effects of nootropics are typically mild and may include:

  • Nervousness
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness

If you experience any severe side effects, stop taking the supplement and consult a doctor.

Overall, the risks associated with taking nootropics are low, especially when compared to the risks of other memory-enhancing drugs like Ritalin or Adderall.

Do Nootropics Really Work for Memory & Retention?

Yes, nootropics really work for memory and retention.

The nootropics featured on my list have all been shown to improve memory and cognitive function in clinical studies. If you’re looking for a way to improve your memory, these are some of the best options available.

Of course, as with any supplement, results may vary from person to person. Some people may see more benefits than others.

If you’re looking for a memory-enhancing supplement, I recommend trying one of the nootropics featured on my list.

Final Thoughts

So there you have it, the 8 best nootropics for memory and retention in 2022.

The winner, in my opinion, is NooCube. It's a powerful nootropic blend with all the necessary memory and cognitive enhancement ingredients.

If you're looking for something more specific to help with memory, I recommend Citicoline or Alpha-GPC.

I hope this list has helped you choose the right nootropic supplement for your needs.

References

References
1Tamura, Yasuhisa et al. “Alpha-Glycerylphosphorylcholine Increases Motivation in Healthy Volunteers: A Single-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Human Study.” Nutrients vol. 13,6 2091. 18 Jun. 2021, doi:10.3390/nu13062091
2Ratto, Daniela et al. “Hericium erinaceus Improves Recognition Memory and Induces Hippocampal and Cerebellar Neurogenesis in Frail Mice during Aging.” Nutrients vol. 11,4 715. 27 Mar. 2019, doi:10.3390/nu11040715
3Thomas, J R et al. “Tyrosine improves working memory in a multitasking environment.” Pharmacology, biochemistry, and behavior vol. 64,3 (1999): 495-500. doi:10.1016/s0091-3057(99)00094-5
4Kessler, J et al. “Piracetam improves activated blood flow and facilitates rehabilitation of poststroke aphasic patients.” Stroke vol. 31,9 (2000): 2112-6. doi:10.1161/01.str.31.9.2112
5Ballon, Jacob S, and David Feifel. “A systematic review of modafinil: Potential clinical uses and mechanisms of action.” The Journal of clinical psychiatry vol. 67,4 (2006): 554-66. doi:10.4088/jcp.v67n0406
6Daulatzai, Mak Adam. “Pharmacotherpy and Alzheimer's Disease: The M-Drugs (Melatonin, Minocycline, Modafinil, and Memantine) Approach.” Current pharmaceutical design vol. 22,16 (2016): 2411-30. doi:10.2174/1381612822666160203142111
7Lopez, C M et al. “Effect of a new cognition enhancer, alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine, on scopolamine-induced amnesia and brain acetylcholine.” Pharmacology, biochemistry, and behavior vol. 39,4 (1991): 835-40. doi:10.1016/0091-3057(91)90040-9
8Tayebati, Seyed Khosrow et al. “Cerebrovascular and blood-brain barrier morphology in spontaneously hypertensive rats: effect of treatment with choline alphoscerate.” CNS & neurological disorders drug targets vol. 14,3 (2015): 421-9. doi:10.2174/1871527314666150225140855
9Gareri, Pietro et al. “The role of citicoline in cognitive impairment: pharmacological characteristics, possible advantages, and doubts for an old drug with new perspectives.” Clinical interventions in aging vol. 10 1421-9. 3 Sep. 2015, doi:10.2147/CIA.S87886
10Wignall, Nicholas D, and E Sherwood Brown. “Citicoline in addictive disorders: a review of the literature.” The American journal of drug and alcohol abuse vol. 40,4 (2014): 262-8. doi:10.3109/00952990.2014.925467
11Aminzadeh, Azadeh, and Ayda Salarinejad. “Citicoline protects against lead-induced oxidative injury in neuronal PC12 cells.” Biochemistry and cell biology = Biochimie et biologie cellulaire vol. 97,6 (2019): 715-721. doi:10.1139/bcb-2018-0218
12Strømgaard, Kristian, and Koji Nakanishi. “Chemistry and biology of terpene trilactones from Ginkgo biloba.” Angewandte Chemie (International ed. in English) vol. 43,13 (2004): 1640-58. doi:10.1002/anie.200300601
13Oyama, Y et al. “Ginkgo biloba extract protects brain neurons against oxidative stress induced by hydrogen peroxide.” Brain research vol. 712,2 (1996): 349-52. doi:10.1016/0006-8993(95)01440-3