Supplements For Brain Health – Nootropics

The new buzzword is nootropics – nutural or synthetic substances to enhance brain function. It is a bit overwhelming and some of the information is conjecture at best.


Taking supplements for brain health is the new way to gain that competitive advantage these days. I have just read an article that lists the “best nootropics” and am a bit alarmed at what I see. A supposed scientist who lists references that just do not support the claims. I actually look at references.

One of the best is indicated to be Noopept, as synthetic nootropic that is supposed to work in minutes, lasting for several hours. The references for this; acylprolyldipeptide crosses the blood barrier in rats, and activation of NMDA receptors is involved in the effects of a single injection in rats? Perhaps unmentioned for a reason is the side effects of Noopept: headaches, mood swings, anxiety and lethargy.

Another, Phenotropil/phenylpiracetam, is another synthetic “smart drug” available as a supplement. It is stated, “One study in rats found that phenotropil slightly enhanced memory, but research to support its use as a smart drug in healthy adults is unavailable.” And this is one of the “The Best Nootropics and Smart Drugs”?

One of the best authorities on this subject is in my opinion is Dr. Dale Bredesen, author of End of Alzheimer’s: The First Program to Prevent and Reverse Cognitive Decline. He uses a unique method of diet and supplements for optimal brain function. Alzheimer’s is linked to chronic inflammation and by decreasing inflammation in the brain, you can be pretty sure it affects the whole body. We have gone in detail about anti-inflammatory supplements for joint pain, and these are important to reducing inflammation. He does recommend a ketogenic diet, but a very specific one.

  • A 2016 article in Alzheimers & Dementia notes the poor results using anti-amyloid treatments, focusing on evidence for the relevance of acute and chronic inflammation as a diagnostic and therapeutic target.
  • A 2016 review in the Journal of Neurochemistry outlines evidence for the contribution of inflammation to facilitate neurodegeneration and proposing a neuroinflammatory-amyloid hypothesis for pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Dr. Bredesen outlines a novel approach in reversing cognitive decline in a 2016 article published in the journal Aging. Dr. Bredsen focus is on Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and in this article he states, “There are approximately 5.2 million Americans with AD, but this estimate ignores the many young Americans destined to develop AD during their lifetimes: given the lifetime risk of approximately 15% when including all ApoE genotypes, as many as 45 million of the 318 million Americans now living may develop AD during their lifetimes if no prevention is instituted”.
  • In a 2018 publication in Molecular Neurobiology, Dr Bredsen reviews both the effects and implications of ApoE4 and propose a model of Alzheimer’s disease that focuses on the risk factors, including processes such as inflammation.

I would highly suggest reading his book and his protocol that is very detailed and his recommendations for nootropics is based largely on testing of levels and adjusting accordingly, like vitamin D. While this is just a part of the protocol geared toward reversing cognitive decline, and specifically for those with Alzheimer’s or who are ApoE4 positive, it is a worthwhile look into improving brain function from a number of perspectives.

I wanted to go over some of his recommendations for everyone nootropics. I am hesitant about synthetic formulas that are largely untested and have some rather significant side effects. I take a large number of supplements and do experiment with some. I find some of the “nootropcis” being promoted are a waste of money. Recently, Huperzine-A, a popular nootropic claiming better cognitive function and increased stamina and energy caused such digestive issues as to make a determination simply impossible.

Here are some basic recommendations for nootropics:

Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 50mg. Critical for memory formation. Tea, coffee, and alcohol can cause low levels.

Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid) 100-200mg. Where alertness and focus is an issue.

Resveratrol 100 mg

Nicotinamide riboside 100mg

nootropic formulas at amazon

Citicoline 250mg, twice a day.

ALCAR (acetyl-L-carintine) 500mg. Increases nerve growth

Ubiquinol 100mg. Supports mitochondrial function

PQQ (Polyquinoline quinone) 10-20mg. Increases mitochondria numbers

Coffee Fruit Extract 100mg once or twice a day for 3 months, then Dr. Bredsen indicates withdrawal over 1 month. Increases brain derived nurotrophic factor.

Bacopa 250mg twice a day with meals. Improves neurotransmitter function.

Gotu Kola 500mg. Twice per day with meals. Increases focus and alertness.

Lion’s Mane 500mg. Once or twice a day. Increases nerve growth.

nootropics at amazon

Triphala for those with bowel symptoms – reduces inflammation.

These are some of the basics. Again, if you are interested, Get The Book, it has some amazing information. You can start on some of the basic nootropics recommended for everyone in general.

I would suggest introducing one at a time, so that you can tell exactly what it is doing and what to remove if side effects are noted. If unwanted side effects are noted, stop immediately. If you notice benefits, it is a good sign, but some may take a few weeks. After a few weeks, if not benefits are noted, stop. You can spend thousands on these things and some are quite expensive and are marketed quite well.

It is a bit overwhelming, but you don’t have to take everything or spend a fortune to benefit from supplements for brain health.

Author Bio

Stephen Ornstein, D.C. has treated thousands of neck, shoulder and back conditions since graduating Sherman Chiropractic College in 1987 and during his involvement in Martial Arts. He holds certifications as a Peer Review Consultant from New York Chiropractic College, Physiological Therapeutics from National Chiropractic College, Modic Antibiotic Spinal Therapy from Dr. Hanne Albert, PT., MPH., Ph.D., Myofascial Release Techniques from Logan Chiropractic College, and learned Active Release Technique from the founder, P. Michael Leahy, DC, ART, CCSP.