8 Most Powerful Nootropics In 2024

Updated April 1, 2024 by | Reviewed by William Gallagher, MNeuroSci
(Estimated reading time: 12 minutes)

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

Nootropics come in all shapes and sizes, and it can be challenging to determine which one is best for you. The market is full of options, and it can sometimes be difficult to know which will work best.

Today I'll be discussing the 8 most powerful nootropics available in 2023. These have a proven track record and are backed by research, so you can be sure they'll provide the results you're looking for.

Let's see what Science says about these 8 brain boosters, shall we?

The most powerful nootropics, according to scientific evidence, are:

  • Nooceptin
  • Modafinil
  • Armodafinil
  • Phenibut
  • Piracetam
  • Noopept
  • L-Theanine + Caffeine
  • CDP-Choline

1. Nooceptin

Nooceptin (FDG-117) is a powerful nootropic blend scientifically developed to help unlock your full mental capacity. Its amazing formula contains 7 carefully selected nootropic ingredients designed to provide energy and clarity of mind.

These ingredients work synergistically to improve focus and performance, allowing you to maximize your potential.

Nooceptin contains the following nootropic ingredients:

  1. Citicoline (as CDP Choline aka cytidine 5'-phosphocholine, sodium)
  2. Rhodiola Rosea 150 mg Extract (3% rosavins & 1% salidroside) 
  3. Bacopa Monnieri Extract - 150 mg (40% bacosides)
  4. L-Theanine (L-γ-glutamylethylamide) - 200 mg 
  5. Ginkgo Biloba Extract - 100 mg (24% ginkgo flavone glycosides & 6% terpene lactones) 
  6. Lion's Mane Mushroom Extract - 400 mg (30% polysaccharides)
  7. Panax Ginseng Extract - 200 mg

With the synergistic combination of Ginkgo Biloba, L-Theanine, Citicoline, and Rhodiola Rosea, you can unleash peak performance in all aspects of your life.

This powerful stack not only boosts mental alertness but also offers protection from stress, increasing concentration capabilities and improving cognitive abilities for maximum focus.

Rhodiola Rosea, in particular, has been shown to increase cognitive function, memory, attention span, and reduce stress.[1]

Nooceptin Pros

  • An all-natural blend containing 7 nootropics
  • Increases mental alertness and cognitive abilities
  • Protects from stress Improves memory, attention span, and focus
  • You don't need a prescription from your doctor

Nooceptin Cons

  • Shipping times can take up to 2 weeks

Nooceptin in Summary

Nooceptin is a nootropic blend, meaning it contains several different ingredients that have been scientifically tested and proven to help increase your focus, mental alertness, and cognitive abilities. This powerful combination of 7 nootropics will give you the energy and clarity of mind to reach peak performance in all aspects of your life.

2. Modafinil

Modafinil (Provigil) is a eugeroic (wakefulness-promoting) nootropic used to treat excessive sleepiness caused by narcolepsy, shift work disorder, and obstructive sleep apnea.

It is one of the most popular nootropics on the market as it has a long history of clinical use for treating excessive daytime fatigue in patients with narcolepsy.[2]

Modafinil has been found to remarkably affect the human brain, boosting dopamine levels far beyond what is considered clinically relevant. Remarkably, it does this by occupying and blocking the same binding site for cocaine in the striatum - an important area associated with reward motivation.[3]

While the precise mechanism of Modafinil is yet to be elucidated, Volkow, Nora D et al. suggest that it may act on certain areas in our brain related to hypocretin, histamine, epinephrine, γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA), and glutamate.

Modafinil Pros

  • Increases wakefulness and alertness
  • Improves cognitive abilities and focus
  • Reduces fatigue
  • One of the most powerful nootropics currently on the market

Modafinil Cons

  • You need a prescription from your doctor

Modafinil in Summary

Considered one of the most powerful nootropics currently on the market, Modafinil is a wakefulness-promoting drug widely used to treat narcolepsy and shift work disorders. It is known for increasing alertness and cognitive abilities and reducing fatigue. While it does require a prescription from your doctor, Modafinil can be a great choice for those looking to take their cognitive performance to the next level.

3. Armodafinil

Armodafinil (Nuvigil) is a newer version of Modafinil and shares many of the same benefits. It is slightly more powerful than Modafinil and has been found to have longer-lasting effects.

Armodafinil is the longer-acting isomer of Modafinil and is used to treat obstructive sleep apnea, narcolepsy, and shift work disorder. Compared with Modafinil, Armodafinil maintains higher plasma concentrations later in the day in healthy subjects.[4]

If you're looking for a powerful nootropic lasting up to 15 hours, then Armodafinil should be your go-to choice.

Armodafinil Pros

  • Longer lasting effects than Modafinil
  • Increases wakefulness and alertness
  • Improves cognitive abilities and focus
  • Reduces fatigue

Armodafinil Cons

  • Requires a prescription from your doctor

Armodafinil in Summary

Armodafinil is the newer and more powerful version of Modafinil. It maintains higher plasma concentrations later in the day and lasts up to 15 hours. Like its predecessor, Armodafinil increases wakefulness, alertness, cognitive abilities, and focus while reducing fatigue.

4. Phenibut

Phenibut (beta-phenyl-gamma-aminobutyric acid HCl) is an amazing neuropsychotropic drug that was discovered and first used in Russia during the 1960s.

Not only does it have anxiolytic properties, but it also increases cognition by mimicking GABA receptors of both types A and B.[5] Phenibut is considered a tranquilizer and nootropic drug and is widely used to ease anxiety, improve sleep quality, and reduce stress.

More recently, Phenibut has gained popularity among people with social anxiety and is often used to promote feelings of well-being. The downside of Phenibut is that it can be addictive and cause withdrawals in people who take it for too long.

That said, Phenibut is one of the most powerful nootropics on the market and can be a great choice for those looking to reduce anxiety and improve cognition.

Phenibut Pros

  • Anxiolytic properties
  • Improves sleep quality and cognitive abilities
  • Reduces stress levels
  • Promotes feelings of well-being

Phenibut Cons

  • It can be addictive with overuse
  • Tolerance can develop quickly with regular use

Phenibut in Summary

Phenibut is an amazing neuropsychotropic drug that has gained popularity among people with social anxiety. It is a tranquilizer and nootropic drug used to ease anxiety, improve sleep quality, reduce stress levels, and promote feelings of well-being. Despite its many benefits, Phenibut can be addictive and cause withdrawal when taken for too long. Therefore, using this nootropic wisely and taking breaks during long-term use is important.

5. Piracetam

Piracetam (2-oxo-1-pyrrolidine-acetamide) is one of the most widely used nootropic drugs and holds tremendous promise for optimizing brain function.

It's a cyclic derivative of gamma-aminobutyric acid, which increases learning abilities, memory retention capacity, and overall metabolism in cerebral activity.

Studies have demonstrated that Piracetam can modify the physical attributes of plasma membranes by making them more liquid and safeguarding cells from hypoxia (low levels of oxygen in body tissues).[6]

Piracetam is a versatile nootropic compound possessing antithrombotic, neuroprotective, and rheological properties. Restoring membrane fluidity through its interaction with phospholipids in the membranes of cells is highly efficacious for various disorders, from dementia and vertigo to myoclonus and stroke.

Piracetam Pros

  • Improves learning abilities and memory retention capacity
  • Reduces hypoxia
  • Modifies physical attributes of plasma membranes
  • Antithrombotic, neuroprotective, and rheological properties

Piracetam Cons

  • It can be difficult to obtain because it is unregulated in many countries

Piracetam in Summary

Piracetam is one of the most widely used nootropics and holds tremendous promise for optimizing brain function. It increases learning abilities, memory retention capacity, and overall metabolism in cerebral activity.

6. Noopept

Noopept (GVS-111), a proline-containing dipeptide, has both nootropic and neuroprotective properties. This remarkable compound can stimulate inhibitory interneurons in the hippocampus stratum radiatum, which is the area of the brain responsible for learning and memory.[7]

Noopept has shown remarkable potential in protecting the brain from various damaging forces, such as ionic disruption, excessive excitation of nerve cells, free radical formation, and pro-inflammatory cytokine accumulation.[8]

Its ability to prevent neurotrophin deficits - which are common features of neurological diseases like Alzheimer's Disease (AD) – has led researchers to investigate its neuroprotective action in various studies.

Noopept is a powerful ally in the fight against cognitive decline and numerous neurological diseases.

Noopept Pros

  • Stimulates inhibitory interneurons in the hippocampus stratum radiatum
  • Protects the brain from various damaging forces
  • Prevents neurotrophin deficits common to neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s Disease

Noopept Cons

  • More long-term studies are needed to understand the risks of long-term use

Noopept in Summary

Noopept is a proline-containing dipeptide with nootropic and neuroprotective properties. It can stimulate inhibitory interneurons in the hippocampus stratum radiatum, a brain area responsible for learning and memory. It has demonstrated the potential to protect the brain from various damaging forces.

7. L-Theanine + Caffeine

L-Theanine and Caffeine are two natural nootropic ingredients that, on their own, have powerful cognitive benefits. But when combined, they form a powerful duo that can improve mental performance, focus, alertness, energy levels and promote relaxation and well-being.

L-Theanine is an amino acid found in green tea that has been shown to reduce stress, relaxation, anxiety, and sleep quality.[9] It can also reduce the stimulating effects of caffeine, improving its overall efficacy.

Caffeine is a powerful stimulant that increases alertness and concentration; it has been used for centuries to improve cognitive performance. Caffeine also enhances memory, mood, reaction time, and decision-making skills.

One study aimed to compare the effects of 50 mg of caffeine with and without 100 mg of L-theanine on cognition and mood in healthy volunteers.[10]

The cognitive abilities tested included word recognition, rapid visual information processing, critical flicker fusion threshold, and attention switching. The mood was also assessed. 27 participants were tested at baseline and again 60 min and 90 min after each treatment (separated by a 7-day washout).

The results showed that caffeine improved subjective alertness at the 60 min mark and accuracy on the attention-switching task at 90 min.

Furthermore, the combination of L-theanine and caffeine improved both speed and accuracy of performance for the attention-switching task at 60 min. It also reduced susceptibility to distracting information in the memory task at both 60 min and 90 min marks.

This research indicates that when L-theanine and caffeine are combined, cognitive performance is heightened significantly, while distraction during memory tasks becomes a thing of the past.

These outcomes mirror other studies, demonstrating that combining these two nootropic ingredients can be highly advantageous for excelling in activities requiring intense mental focus.

L-Theanine + Caffeine Pros

  • An all-natural nootropic stack widely available in stores
  • Improves mental performance, focus, alertness, and energy levels
  • Reduces stress, relaxation, anxiety, and sleep quality

L-Theanine + Caffeine Cons

  • L-Theanine can cause drowsiness in high dosages

L-Theanine + Caffeine in Summary

L-Theanine and caffeine are two natural nootropics that have powerful cognitive benefits when used together. They can heighten mental performance, focus, alertness, and energy levels while reducing stress levels and promoting relaxation.

8. CDP-Choline

CDP-choline (cytidine-5'-diphosphocholine) is a phospholipid clinically proven to aid in treating cognitive disorders. It works by restoring and preserving brain cell membranes, thus allowing for improved mental health and performance.

It is a nootropic supplement that has been used to optimize cognitive performance by enhancing neurotransmission in the brain. It works by increasing the synthesis of acetylcholine (ACh), which is essential for many cognitive functions such as memory and learning.

CDP-choline acts on the Alpha7 nicotinic receptor, a type of receptor found in neurons throughout the brain, enabling improved communication between neurons. This can lead to faster and more efficient processing of information in the brain.[11]

According to Knott, Verner et al., CDP-choline can modulate brain waves and neural oscillations associated with cognitive processes through EEG (electroencephalography) recordings.

The EEG recordings have revealed that CDP-choline can induce dose-dependent changes in delta and alpha oscillations in healthy volunteers given both low (500 mg) and moderate (1000 mg) doses of CDP-choline when compared to placebo.

This effect is thought to be driven by increased cholinergic transmission resulting from increased acetylcholine synthesis with CDP-choline administration. 

This makes CDP-choline a powerful nootropic if you're looking to optimize brain function and cognition.

CDP-Choline Pros

  • Can help treat cognitive disorders
  • Enhances neurotransmission in the brain
  • Increases acetylcholine synthesis for improved cognition

CDP-Choline Cons

  • Not as potent as other nootropics like Nooceptin and Modafinil

CDP-Choline in Summary

CDP-choline is a powerful nootropic compound clinically proven to aid cognition and brain function. It works by increasing acetylcholine synthesis, an essential neurotransmitter for many cognitive functions such as memory and learning.

What Are The Most Powerful Nootropics?

the most powerful nootropics

According to my market research, clinical trials, and user reviews, the 8 most powerful nootropics are:

  1. Nooceptin
  2. Modafinil
  3. Armodafinil
  4. Phenibut
  5. Piracetam
  6. Noopept
  7. L-Theanine + Caffeine
  8. CDP-Choline

My list contains a mix of natural and pharmaceutical compounds that have been tested for their cognitive enhancement capabilities.

All of these nootropics can be used to improve mental performance, focus, alertness, and energy levels while reducing stress levels and promoting relaxation.

If you're brand spanking new to the world of nootropic supplements, I highly recommend looking into nootropic blends like Nooceptin. With Nooceptin you get 7 all-natural nootropic ingredients that have been clinically tested and proven effective for cognitive enhancement.

It's a great starting point for anyone looking to experience the power of nootropics without having to take multiple supplements.

How to Choose The Most Powerful Nootropics?

When choosing which nootropic to take, it’s important to do your research and consider the pros and cons of each. Consider your goals for using a nootropic, as different types will be better suited for certain tasks.

Also, read up on reviews from other people who have used the product in question and the manufacturer’s instructions on how to safely use the nootropic. Your health should always be a priority, so ensure you read up on potential side effects before taking a new supplement.

There's a big difference between synthetic and natural nootropics, and it's important to be aware of the pros and cons of each type. Synthetics tend to be more effective but can also have more side effects than natural nootropics.

What Are the Benefits of The Most Powerful Nootropics?

The benefits of using some of the most powerful nootropics on the market are numerous. They range from improved mental performance, focus, and alertness to reduced stress levels and cognitive enhancement.

Synthetic nootropics such as Phenibut and Modafinil are some of the best for improving your productivity while providing you with long-term benefits such as better memory formation, learning speed, and increased relaxation.

Natural nootropics such as Nooceptin and L-Theanine + Caffeine are some of the healthiest alternatives as they are derived from natural sources and lack the harsh side effects often associated with synthetics.

When you use nootropic blends like Nooceptin you get the added bonus of having multiple nootropic ingredients working synergistically, meaning that they can provide greater benefits than a single nootropic.

What Are the Side Effects of The Most Powerful Nootropics?

The side effects come from various factors, including the type of nootropic you’re taking, your body chemistry, and pre-existing medical conditions.

That being said, some common side effects associated with the most powerful nootropics include headaches, nausea, and dizziness. Modafinil and Phenibut can cause more serious side effects. Phenibut can cause severe withdrawals when used in high doses, so it’s important to discuss with your doctor how much is safe for you.

Modafinil has been associated with a rare skin condition called Stevens-Johnson Syndrome. It’s important to pay attention to any changes in your skin after taking Modafinil and discuss them with your doctor.

Do The Most Powerful Nootropics Really Work?

So do these powerful nootropics on my list really work? The answer is yes.

These nootropics have been clinically tested and proven to provide cognitive enhancement, focus, alertness, improved mental performance, and energy levels while reducing stress and promoting relaxation.

Synthetics may be more effective, but they come with the risk of possible side effects, so it’s important to discuss with your doctor which type of nootropic would be best for you.

Natural nootropics are safer and have fewer risks, so they’re great for beginners or people who are more sensitive to the effects of synthetic nootropics.

Final Thoughts

So what do we know about the most powerful nootropics?

We know they can help improve mental performance, focus, alertness, and cognitive function while reducing stress levels. Some synthetic nootropics can be more effective than natural nootropics but come with the risk of side effects.

We also know that nootropic blends like Nooceptin can provide greater benefits than a single nootropic on its own. This is because different ingredients work together synergistically, meaning that they can provide more efficient and greater results.

So if you're looking for a powerful ally to help you stay sharp and focused, the most powerful nootropics are definitely worth considering!

References
  1. Ivanova Stojcheva, Emilija, and José Carlos Quintela. “The Effectiveness of Rhodiola rosea L. Preparations in Alleviating Various Aspects of Life-Stress Symptoms and Stress-Induced Conditions-Encouraging Clinical Evidence.” Molecules (Basel, Switzerland) vol. 27,12 3902. 17 Jun. 2022, doi:10.3390/molecules27123902 ↑
  2. da Silva Behrens, Nilce Sanny Costa et al. “Experience with the use of modafinil in the treatment of narcolepsy in a outpatient facility specialized in diurnal excessive sleepiness in São Paulo.” Sleep science (Sao Paulo, Brazil) vol. 7,1 (2014): 65-8. doi:10.1016/j.slsci.2014.07.017 ↑
  3. Volkow, Nora D et al. “Effects of modafinil on dopamine and dopamine transporters in the male human brain: clinical implications.” JAMA vol. 301,11 (2009): 1148-54. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.351 ↑
  4. Darwish, Mona et al. “Armodafinil and modafinil have substantially different pharmacokinetic profiles despite having the same terminal half-lives: analysis of data from three randomized, single-dose, pharmacokinetic studies.” Clinical drug investigation vol. 29,9 (2009): 613-23. doi:10.2165/11315280-000000000-00000 ↑
  5. Lapin, I. “Phenibut (beta-phenyl-GABA): a tranquilizer and nootropic drug.” CNS drug reviews vol. 7,4 (2001): 471-81. doi:10.1111/j.1527-3458.2001.tb00211.x ↑
  6. Winnicka, Katarzyna et al. “Piracetam--an old drug with novel properties?.” Acta poloniae pharmaceutica vol. 62,5 (2005): 405-9. ↑
  7. Kondratenko, Rodion V et al. “Effect of nootropic dipeptide noopept on CA1 pyramidal neurons involves α7AChRs on interneurons in hippocampal slices from rat.” Neuroscience letters vol. 790 (2022): 136898. doi:10.1016/j.neulet.2022.136898 ↑
  8. Ostrovskaya, Rita U et al. “Neuroprotective effect of novel cognitive enhancer noopept on AD-related cellular model involves the attenuation of apoptosis and tau hyperphosphorylation.” Journal of biomedical science vol. 21,1 74. 6 Aug. 2014, doi:10.1186/s12929-014-0074-2 ↑
  9. 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 Oct. 2019, doi:10.3390/nu11102362 ↑
  10. Owen, Gail N et al. “The combined effects of L-theanine and caffeine on cognitive performance and mood.” Nutritional neuroscience vol. 11,4 (2008): 193-8. doi:10.1179/147683008X301513 ↑
  11. Knott, Verner et al. “Effects of acute CDP-choline treatment on resting state brain oscillations in healthy volunteers.” Neuroscience letters vol. 591 (2015): 121-125. doi:10.1016/j.neulet.2015.02.032 ↑