8 Best Nootropics For Neuroprotection In 2022

Written on September 12, 2022 by | Reviewed by William Gallagher, MNeuroSci

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

Are you concerned about cognitive decline as you age? If so, you're not alone.

In fact, research shows that 40% of adults in the United States over the age of 65 have age-associated memory impairment [1]Small, Gary W. “What we need to know about age related memory loss.” BMJ (Clinical research ed.) vol. 324,7352 (2002): 1502-5. doi:10.1136/bmj.324.7352.1502.

But there is good news. Recent studies have also shown that certain nootropics may help to protect against the brain against age-related cognitive decline, so let's take a closer look at the 8 best nootropics for neuroprotection.

The best nootropics for neuroprotection, according to scientific evidence, are:

  • NooCube
  • Alpha-GPC
  • Ginkgo Biloba
  • N-Acetyl L-Cysteine (NAC) 
  • Pine Bark Extract
  • Ashwagandha
  • Rhodiola Rosea
  • Bacopa Monnieri

1. NooCube

NooCube is a nootropic blend that contains some of the most well-known and effective cognitive enhancers, including Alpha-GPC, Huperzine A, Cat's claw, and Oat straw.

Studies have shown that Alpha-GPC can help increase neurogenesis and provide protection against neuronal death and cognitive impairment [2]Lee, Song Hee et al. “Late treatment with choline alfoscerate (l-alpha glycerylphosphorylcholine, α-GPC) increases hippocampal neurogenesis and provides protection against seizure-induced neuronal … Learn more.

Alpha-GPC works by increasing levels of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that plays an important role in memory and learning. Acetylcholine is also known as the 'learning neurotransmitter' and is essential for healthy cognitive function.

As we age, our levels of acetylcholine tend to decrease, which can lead to age-related cognitive decline. This is one of the reasons why NooCube is so effective at protecting against cognitive decline and improving cognitive function.

NooCube also contains Huperzine A, an alkaloid that inhibits the breakdown of acetylcholine [3]Tang, X C et al. “Effect of huperzine A, a new cholinesterase inhibitor, on the central cholinergic system of the rat.” Journal of neuroscience research vol. 24,2 (1989): 276-85. … Learn more. By preventing the breakdown of acetylcholine, Huperzine A allows levels of this important neurotransmitter to remain higher for longer.

NooCube Pros

  • Contains some of the most effective nootropics for neuroprotection
  • Improves cognitive function and protects against cognitive decline
  • Convenient capsule format
  • A synergistic blend of nootropics
  • Non-GMO, gluten-free, and vegan-friendly

NooCube Cons

  • Relatively expensive compared to other nootropic supplements

NooCube in Summary

NooCube is an excellent choice for those looking for a nootropic supplement that can help protect against cognitive decline and improve cognitive function. The blend of effective nootropics, including Alpha-GPC and Huperzine A, work together to increase levels of acetylcholine and prevent its breakdown.

2. Alpha-GPC

Alpha-GPC (L-alpha glycerylphosphorylcholine) is a natural cholinergic compound that is found in the brain. Cholinergic compounds are responsible for the production of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that plays an important role in memory and learning.

Choline is an essential nutrient for the body and is needed to synthesize acetylcholine. However, the body only produces small amounts of choline, so it needs to be obtained from the diet.

Alpha-GPC is one of the most bioavailable forms of choline and can cross the blood-brain barrier. It is considered one of the most effective nootropics for neuroprotection as it has been shown to increase neurogenesis and protect against neuronal death and cognitive impairment (Tang, X C et al.).

Alpha-GPC Pros

  • Natural cholinergic compound
  • Crosses the blood-brain barrier
  • Increases neurogenesis
  • Protects against neuronal death and cognitive impairment

Alpha-GPC Cons

  • Some Alpha-GPC supplements on the market are of poor quality

Alpha-GPC in Summary

Alpha-GPC is an effective nootropic for neuroprotection as it increases neurogenesis and protects against neuronal death and cognitive impairment. It is a natural cholinergic compound that crosses the blood-brain barrier, making it one of the most bioavailable forms of choline.

3. Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo Biloba is a herbal remedy that has been used for centuries to treat a variety of ailments. The Ginkgo tree leaves contain compounds that are thought to be responsible for its therapeutic effects.

Ginkgo Biloba is best known for its benefits on cognitive function and memory. It has been shown to improve blood circulation and increase oxygen uptake in the brain [4]Xu, Lili et al. “Effects of Ginkgo biloba extract on cerebral oxygen and glucose metabolism in elderly patients with pre-existing cerebral ischemia.” Complementary therapies in medicine vol. 23,2 … Learn more and to protect neurons from damage.

Ginkgo Biloba is also considered an adaptogen, meaning it can help the body to cope with stress and improve resistance to stress-related diseases. In a study with 31 stroke patients, supplementing with Ginkgo improved their recovery from the disease because it decreased oxidative stress and inflammation.

The researchers also found that these effects were more pronounced in people who had high C-reactive protein levels before starting treatment - which suggests how important maintaining healthy cholesterol profiles really is [5]Thanoon, Imad A-J et al. “Oxidative Stress and C-Reactive Protein in Patients with Cerebrovascular Accident (Ischaemic Stroke): The role of Ginkgo biloba extract.” Sultan Qaboos University … Learn more.

Ginkgo Biloba Pros

  • Improves blood circulation
  • Increases oxygen uptake in the brain
  • Protects neurons from damage
  • Reduces oxidative stress and inflammation

Ginkgo Biloba Cons

  • Not as well-studied as some other nootropics for neuroprotection

Ginkgo Biloba in Summary

Ginkgo Biloba is a well-known herbal remedy that has been used for centuries to treat various ailments. It is best known for its benefits on cognitive function and memory, but it is also considered an adaptogen.

Ginkgo Biloba has been shown to improve blood circulation, increase oxygen uptake in the brain, and protect neurons from damage. It is also effective at reducing oxidative stress and inflammation.

4. N-Acetyl L-Cysteine (NAC) 

The body has natural defenses, but these can be weakened over time due to inflammation and oxidative stress.

NAC works by restoring your body’s antioxidant glutathione levels, which helps fight off free radicals that cause cell damage and old repair existing problems like cognitive impairment [6]Garg, Geetika et al. “N-acetyl-l-cysteine attenuates oxidative damage and neurodegeneration in rat brain during aging.” Canadian journal of physiology and pharmacology vol. 96,12 (2018): … Learn more.

Glutathione is your body’s main line of defense against free radicals and helps repair cell damage.

Glutathione works through a few mechanisms:

  • It scavenges or disables dangerous free radicals
  • It repairs oxidative damage to DNA, enzymes, and other important molecules
  • It activates enzymes that detoxify harmful chemicals
  • It boosts the function of antioxidant vitamins like vitamin C and E [7]Hayden, R E et al. “The effect of glutathione and vitamins A, C, and E on acute skin flap survival.” The Laryngoscope vol. 97,10 (1987): 1176-9. doi:10.1288/00005537-198710000-00011

These effects make N-Acetyl L-Cysteine a great choice for neuroprotection.

N-Acetyl L-Cysteine Pros

  • Restores your body’s antioxidant glutathione levels
  • Fights off free radicals
  • Repairs cell damage
  • Boosts the function of antioxidant vitamins

N-Acetyl L-Cysteine Cons

  • Can be hard to find high-quality NAC

N-Acetyl L-Cysteine in Summary

N-Acetyl L-Cysteine is a great choice for neuroprotection because it helps restore your body’s antioxidant glutathione levels. Glutathione is your body’s main line of defense against free radicals and helps repair cell damage.

5. Pine Bark Extract

Pine bark extract is a natural source of proanthocyanidins, which are powerful antioxidants. Pine bark extract has been shown to improve cognitive function, memory, and attention in people who took it for 12 weeks [8]Belcaro, G et al. “Pycnogenol® improves cognitive function, attention, mental performance and specific professional skills in healthy professionals aged 35-55.” Journal of neurosurgical sciences … Learn more.

Proanthocyanidins are a class of polyphenols that have been shown to have neuroprotective effects. They work by scavenging free radicals, reducing inflammation, and protecting neurons from damage [9]Chen, Hucheng et al. “Proanthocyanidins exert a neuroprotective effect via ROS/JNK signaling in MPTP‑induced Parkinson's disease models in vitro and in vivo.” Molecular medicine … Learn more.

Pine bark extract is a good choice if you're looking for a natural neuroprotective noot.

Pine Bark Extract Pros

  • Natural source of proanthocyanidins
  • Shown to improve cognitive function, memory, and attention
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Protects neurons from damage

Pine Bark Extract Cons

  • Not as effective as synthetic nootropics

Pine Bark Extract in Summary

Pine bark extract is a good choice for neuroprotection because it is a natural source of proanthocyanidins, which are powerful antioxidants. Proanthocyanidins have been shown to scavenge free radicals, reduce inflammation, and protect neurons from damage.

6. Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is an herb that has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine. Ashwagandha has many benefits, including reducing anxiety and stress, improving memory and cognitive function, and reducing inflammation [10]Sikandan, Abudubari et al. “Ashwagandha root extract exerts anti‑inflammatory effects in HaCaT cells by inhibiting the MAPK/NF‑κB pathways and by regulating cytokines.” International journal … Learn more.

Ashwagandha is also an adaptogen that regulates cortisol levels and nourishes the adrenal glands. The herb works directly on our body's HPA axis (Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal axis), which controls how much stress you experience in life.

Ashwagandha is a good choice for neuroprotection because it helps reduce stress and inflammation.

Ashwagandha Pros

  • Reduces anxiety and stress
  • Improves memory and cognitive function
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Regulates cortisol levels
  • Nourishes the adrenal glands

Ashwagandha Cons

  • Can take weeks or months to feel the full effects

Ashwagandha in Summary

Ashwagandha is a great option for neuroprotection because it helps reduce stress and inflammation. Ashwagandha is also an adaptogen that regulates cortisol levels and nourishes the adrenal glands, which helps reduce the amount of stress you experience in life.

7. Rhodiola Rosea

Rhodiola Rosea is an herb traditionally used for its neuroprotective effects. Studies have shown that it can help to protect the brain from damage caused by oxidative stress, inflammation, and excitotoxicity [11]Jacob, Reenu et al. “Neuroprotective effect of Rhodiola rosea Linn against MPTP induced cognitive impairment and oxidative stress.” Annals of neurosciences vol. 20,2 (2013): 47-51. … Learn more.

Rhodiola Rosea has also been shown to improve cognitive function and protect against age-related neurodegenerative diseases. The exact mechanism of action is not fully understood, but it is thought to work by modulating the levels of neurotransmitters and neurotrophic factors in the brain.

In addition, the presence of salidroside, rosavin, and p-tyrosol in Rhodiola Rosea are responsible for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties [12]Nabavi, Seyed Fazel et al. “Rhodiola rosea L. and Alzheimer's Disease: From Farm to Pharmacy.” Phytotherapy research : PTR vol. 30,4 (2016): 532-9. doi:10.1002/ptr.5569.

Rhodiola Rosea Pros

  • Protects the brain from damage
  • Improves cognitive function
  • Helps to prevent age-related neurodegenerative diseases

Rhodiola Rosea Cons

  • Not as effective as synthetic nootropics

Rhodiola Rosea in Summary

Rhodiola Rosea is a good choice for neuroprotection because it has been shown to protect the brain from damage, improve cognitive function, and help prevent age-related neurodegenerative diseases.

8. Bacopa Monnieri

Bacopa Monnieri is a plant that has been used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. Bacopa Monnieri is known for its cognitive-enhancing and neuroprotective effects [13]Saini, Neetu et al. “Neuroprotective effects of Bacopa monnieri in experimental model of dementia.” Neurochemical research vol. 37,9 (2012): 1928-37. doi:10.1007/s11064-012-0811-4.

Saini, Neetu et al. have shown that Bacopa Monnieri can improve memory and cognitive function in both healthy adults and those with dementia.

One reason Bacopa Monnieri is effective for neuroprotection is that it helps reduce oxidative stress and inflammation in the brain through compounds like bacosides.

Bacosides are the mixture of different triterpenoid saponin molecules present in Bacopa Monnieri. These molecules help to protect cells from damage and improve communication between neurons [14]Banerjee, Samarpita et al. “Bacosides from Bacopa monnieri extract: An overview of the effects on neurological disorders.” Phytotherapy research : PTR vol. 35,10 (2021): 5668-5679. … Learn more.

Bacopa Monnieri Pros

  • Improves memory and cognitive function
  • Reduces oxidative stress and inflammation
  • Protects cells from damage

Bacopa Monnieri Cons

  • Can take several weeks or months to notice the full effects

Bacopa Monnieri in Summary

Bacopa Monnieri is a good choice for neuroprotection because it can improve memory and cognitive function, reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, and protect cells from damage.

What Are the Best Nootropics for Neuroprotection?

The best nootropics for neuroprotection are:

  1. NooCube
  2. Alpha-GPC
  3. Ginkgo Biloba
  4. N-Acetyl L-Cysteine (NAC) 
  5. Pine Bark Extract
  6. Ashwagandha
  7. Rhodiola Rosea
  8. Bacopa Monnieri

Each of these nootropics has been shown to be effective for neuroprotection in studies.

NooCube is, in my opinion, the best nootropic for neuroprotection because it is a powerful and well-rounded supplement that can help to improve cognitive function, protect the brain from damage, and reduce oxidative stress.

It contains ingredients that work together to support cognitive function and protect the brain. It's also 100% natural and non-GMO.

How to Choose the Right Nootropic Supplement for Neuroprotection?

Choosing the right nootropic supplement for neuroprotection can be tricky because there are so many different products on the market.

Here are a few things to consider when choosing a neuroprotection supplement:

  • Ingredients: Ensure that the supplement contains effective ingredients for neuroprotection, like NooCube.
  • Studies: Said ingredients should be backed by science.
  • Dosage: Make sure that the dosage of each ingredient is in line with what studies have used.
  • Safety: Choose a supplement that is safe and free from side effects.
  • Price: Compare prices to find a neuroprotection supplement that is affordable for you.

Another thing to keep in mind is whether you want to stack multiple nootropics together or take a single supplement that contains all the ingredients you need.

If you stack multiple nootropics, it's important to be aware of any interaction risks. And, if you take a single supplement, be sure to check the dosage of each ingredient to avoid taking too much of any one thing.

What Are the Benefits of Nootropics for Neuroprotection?

neuroprotection nootropics

The benefits of nootropics for neuroprotection include:

  • Improving cognitive function
  • Protecting the brain from damage
  • Reducing oxidative stress
  • Inflammation
  • Cellular protection

Most nootropics have multiple benefits for neuroprotection, which is why they are such effective supplements for this purpose.

Nootropics can help improve cognitive function by increasing blood flow to the brain, providing the brain with nutrients, and protecting neurons from damage.

They can also reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, contributing to cognitive decline.

What Are the Side Effects of Nootropics for Neuroprotection?

The side effects of nootropics for neuroprotection are usually mild and may include:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety

These side effects are typically only experienced when taking high doses of nootropics or if you are sensitive to the ingredients.

If you experience any severe side effects, stop taking the supplement and speak to a doctor. Generally, nootropics are safe and well-tolerated by most people.

Do Nootropics Really Work for Neuroprotection?

Yes, nootropics can really work for neuroprotection.

The nootropics featured here have been shown to be effective in studies, and many people report positive results when taking them.

If you are looking for a way to improve cognitive function, protect your brain from damage, and reduce oxidative stress, then nootropics may be an excellent choice for you.

Final Thoughts

Do I recommend Nootropics for Neuroprotection? Yes, absolutely!

Nootropics are a powerful and well-rounded way to improve cognitive function, protect the brain from damage, and reduce oxidative stress.

If you are looking for a neuroprotection supplement, I recommend NooCube because it contains ingredients that are backed by science, and it is 100% natural and non-GMO.

I also recommend that you stack multiple nootropics together to get the most benefit for neuroprotection. Just be sure to check for any potential interactions between the supplements you take.

References

References
1Small, Gary W. “What we need to know about age related memory loss.” BMJ (Clinical research ed.) vol. 324,7352 (2002): 1502-5. doi:10.1136/bmj.324.7352.1502
2Lee, Song Hee et al. “Late treatment with choline alfoscerate (l-alpha glycerylphosphorylcholine, α-GPC) increases hippocampal neurogenesis and provides protection against seizure-induced neuronal death and cognitive impairment.” Brain research vol. 1654,Pt A (2017): 66-76. doi:10.1016/j.brainres.2016.10.011
3Tang, X C et al. “Effect of huperzine A, a new cholinesterase inhibitor, on the central cholinergic system of the rat.” Journal of neuroscience research vol. 24,2 (1989): 276-85. doi:10.1002/jnr.490240220
4Xu, Lili et al. “Effects of Ginkgo biloba extract on cerebral oxygen and glucose metabolism in elderly patients with pre-existing cerebral ischemia.” Complementary therapies in medicine vol. 23,2 (2015): 220-5. doi:10.1016/j.ctim.2014.12.009
5Thanoon, Imad A-J et al. “Oxidative Stress and C-Reactive Protein in Patients with Cerebrovascular Accident (Ischaemic Stroke): The role of Ginkgo biloba extract.” Sultan Qaboos University medical journal vol. 12,2 (2012): 197-205. doi:10.12816/0003113
6Garg, Geetika et al. “N-acetyl-l-cysteine attenuates oxidative damage and neurodegeneration in rat brain during aging.” Canadian journal of physiology and pharmacology vol. 96,12 (2018): 1189-1196. doi:10.1139/cjpp-2018-0209
7Hayden, R E et al. “The effect of glutathione and vitamins A, C, and E on acute skin flap survival.” The Laryngoscope vol. 97,10 (1987): 1176-9. doi:10.1288/00005537-198710000-00011
8Belcaro, G et al. “Pycnogenol® improves cognitive function, attention, mental performance and specific professional skills in healthy professionals aged 35-55.” Journal of neurosurgical sciences vol. 58,4 (2014): 239-48.
9Chen, Hucheng et al. “Proanthocyanidins exert a neuroprotective effect via ROS/JNK signaling in MPTP‑induced Parkinson's disease models in vitro and in vivo.” Molecular medicine reports vol. 18,6 (2018): 4913-4921. doi:10.3892/mmr.2018.9509
10Sikandan, Abudubari et al. “Ashwagandha root extract exerts anti‑inflammatory effects in HaCaT cells by inhibiting the MAPK/NF‑κB pathways and by regulating cytokines.” International journal of molecular medicine vol. 42,1 (2018): 425-434. doi:10.3892/ijmm.2018.3608
11Jacob, Reenu et al. “Neuroprotective effect of Rhodiola rosea Linn against MPTP induced cognitive impairment and oxidative stress.” Annals of neurosciences vol. 20,2 (2013): 47-51. doi:10.5214/ans.0972.7531.200204
12Nabavi, Seyed Fazel et al. “Rhodiola rosea L. and Alzheimer's Disease: From Farm to Pharmacy.” Phytotherapy research : PTR vol. 30,4 (2016): 532-9. doi:10.1002/ptr.5569
13Saini, Neetu et al. “Neuroprotective effects of Bacopa monnieri in experimental model of dementia.” Neurochemical research vol. 37,9 (2012): 1928-37. doi:10.1007/s11064-012-0811-4
14Banerjee, Samarpita et al. “Bacosides from Bacopa monnieri extract: An overview of the effects on neurological disorders.” Phytotherapy research : PTR vol. 35,10 (2021): 5668-5679. doi:10.1002/ptr.7203