Health & Wellness

The Top-Rated Nootropic Supplements of 2021

Peter Gold
Health Editor

Peter is a practitioner of naturopathic medicine, applying his craft in the Pacific Northwest. His passion is preventive care and self-healing. His philosophy is healthy habits help people live their lives to the fullest.

How We Found the Best Nootropic Supplements

One of the most popular supplement categories today is focused on brain and memory health. These kinds of supplements are called nootropics, and they seek to improve memory, focus, mental energy, and problem-solving skills.1

The demand for nootropics comes not only from the 73 million baby boomers living in America but also college students, investment bankers, career-minded individuals to even busy moms all looking to gain an edge.2

The popularity has led to hundreds of nootropic supplements flooding the marketplace. While these supplements all promise to deliver benefits, the reality is that many fall short. Some of the most popular brands use ineffective or insufficient doses of ingredients, and many contain low-quality fillers.

With so many options, it seems many of us might still be unclear about what to look for in a quality brain and memory supporting supplement. To help cut through the clutter, we have compiled months of research about which are the key ingredients that have been shown in studies to benefit your cognitive health.

This short guide will help you know what to look for and what to avoid so you can make an informed decision when it comes to your nootropic needs. We will also list out the top 5 nootropic supplements sold today.

Let’s take a moment to understand precisely how nootropics work to improve your cognitive health and why it’s essential to add it to your daily routine.

A Good Nootropic Helps To:

Improve Memory9

Promote Focus and Alertness10

Enhance Learning17

Support Verbal Recall14

Support Analytical Thinking17

Boost Mental Energy9

Enhance Creativity11

Reduce Stress7

Fight Cognitive Decline6

Top 3 Criteria For A Quality Nootropic Supplement

We spent months researching nootropic supplements and gathering user feedback. There are specific ingredients that, when present in a formula, help differentiate high-quality nootropic supplements from generic ones. Below are the three most essential ingredients to consider before deciding on which nootropic brand is best for your needs.

4 Things To AVOID
When Buying A Nootropic Supplement

1. Formulas Lacking Essential Vitamins

The brain needs a steady supply of neuro-vitamins and nutrients so it can function properly. Avoid any formula which does not include a complex of B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin E, magnesium, choline, and zinc.27-29

2. Not Backed By A Doctor

Creating an effective nootropic supplement requires a solid understanding of which ingredients to use and in what level of potency. Avoid a brand which is not supported by a credible doctor.

3. Insufficient Return Policy

A reputable nootropic supplement brand will demonstrate they have faith in their product by offering a 100% money-back guarantee policy. Some try to complicate their refund policies by placing limitations on what kind of returns they will take. Avoid any brand that does not have at minimum a no questions asked 90-day money-back guarantee.

4. Depending on Amazon Reviews

Research showed that in March 2019, there were 1.8 million new unverified reviews, with an average of 99.6% of them being 5-star reviews.30 Most of these reviews are from people paid to write them. These fake reviews inflate the number and overall star rating of a product. When deciding on a supplement that can impact your health, don’t rely on Amazon reviews as they can be extremely misleading.

2021’s Top Five Nootropic Supplements

Our review encompassed 89 different nootropic supplements, putting each through our rigorous Review Scout assessment process. To determine 2021’s Top 5 Nootropic Supplements, we look for predicted effectiveness, supporting studies, safety, pricing, return policy, and overall customer satisfaction.

#1 Stonehenge Health Dynamic Brain

A+

Overall Grade

#1 Stonehenge Health Dynamic Brain

  • OVERALL RATING 9.6/10
  • Predicted Effectiveness 9.7/10
  • Ingredient Quality 9.6/10
  • Value 9.5/10
  • Return Policy 9.8/10
  • User Rating 9.6/10
PROS
  • 40 Vitamins and Nutrients
  • Contains Phosphatidylserine, Bacopa Monnieri, and Huperzine A
  • Includes the nutrient Choline
  • Endorsed by a Doctor
  • Vegetarian Capsules, Non-GMO, Gluten, Lactose, and Antibiotic Free, No artificial ingredients or fillers
  • Verified 90-day 100% money-back return policy
CONS
  • Often out of stock due to high demand
Why We Chose It

Stonehenge Health’s Dynamic Brain is Review Scout’s top choice. This formula contains a potent dose of 40 different vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, including all three of the essential ingredients Phosphatidylserine, Bacopa Monnieri, and Huperzine A.

Dynamic Brain also includes the nutrient Choline, needed to make the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which plays a crucial role in memory.
We were impressed that this formula included a robust Vitamin B
complex and a large variety of other essential vitamins and nutrients
that studies have demonstrated play a protective role against cognitive
decline.5

We were able to verify that Stonehenge Health’s formula does not
contain any synthetic fillers or artificial ingredients and is non-GMO.
Stonehenge Health backs its products with a no-questions-asked, 90-day
money-back guarantee and is one of the few brands to be
endorsed by a board-certified doctor. We also like that they offer
customers discounts on bundles. Click on the link below to see their
current specials.

*Results are based on user-generated experiences with these products, and individual results may vary.
Please refer to the manufacturer’s product website for detailed information.

#2 Qualia Mind

A-

Overall Grade

#2 Qualia Mind

  • OVERALL RATING 8.7/10
  • Predicted Effectiveness 9.4/10
  • Ingredient Quality 9.5/10
  • Value 6.8/10
  • Return Policy 9.8/10
  • User Rating 8.2/10
PROS
  • 28 Vitamins and Nutrients
  • Contains All 3 Essential Ingredients
  • Vegetarian Capsules, Non-GMO, and Vegan
  • Endorsed by a Doctor
CONS
  • Very expensive monthly price
  • Must take 7 pills per dose
  • Mixed consumer reviews
  • Return policy limited to first time purchase only
Why We Chose It

Qualia Mind is a popular brand thanks in part to their heavy web
advertising. The product contains a robust array of 28 different vitamins
and nutrients, including all three of our top recommended ingredients.
However, Qualia has about 30% fewer ingredients than the top-ranked
brand on our list, yet it is more than three times the price for a 30-day
supply. Qualia enrolls customers in a monthly auto-ship program, which
has an introductory price of $69.50 for the first month and $119.00 for
each month after that. If you are not a fan of having your card
automatically charged each month, then the price for a 30-day supply
is a jaw-dropping $139.00. Qualia Mind is endorsed by a physician and is
GMO and gluten-free. However, consumers have provided mixed
reviews on how well the product works. The company offers a limited
100-day money-back guarantee, as it only applies to your very first
order.

*Results are based on user-generated experiences with these products, and individual results may vary.
Please refer to the manufacturer’s product website for detailed information.

#3 Genius Consciousness

B+

Overall Grade

#3 Genius Consciousness

  • OVERALL RATING 8.4/10
  • Predicted Effectiveness 8.1/10
  • Ingredient Quality 8.7/10
  • Value 8.4/10
  • Return Policy 9.8/10
  • User Rating 7.1/10
PROS
  • Contains Phosphatidylserine
  • Contains Huperzine A
  • Non-GMO, Soy and Gluten-Free
CONS
  • Does not contain Bacopa Monnieri
  • Does not come in capsule form
  • Does not contain essential vitamins and nutrients
  • Conflicting return policies
Why We Chose It

Genius Consciousness by The Genius Brand is a popular product that contains ten different ingredients, including two out of the three critical ingredients. It is missing the inclusion of the essential Bacopa Monnieri. While we liked that the product contains Lion’s Mane Mushroom, which has a variety of health benefits, we were disappointed to see a lack of essential vitamins and nutrients, such as a B complex. A drawback of this product is that it does not come in a convenient capsule but rather a watermelon flavored powder, which some may find a hassle to mix with water each day. Consumers have also reported mixed reviews on the taste. The return policy for Genius Consciousness is unclear as their website product page indicates a 30-day return policy, but elsewhere on the site indicates a 90-day return period.

*Results are based on user-generated experiences with these products, and individual results may vary. Please refer to the manufacturer’s product website for detailed information.

#4 Neuriva

C

Overall Grade

#4 Neuriva

  • OVERALL RATING 7.3/10
  • Predicted Effectiveness 6.8/10
  • Ingredient Quality 8.2/10
  • Value 6.5/10
  • Return Policy 6.6/10
  • User Rating 8.2/10
PROS
  • Contains Phosphatidylserine
  • Caffeine and GMO-Free
CONS
  • Does not contain Bacopa Monnieri or Huperzine A
  • User complaints related to headaches, sleep issues, and allergic reactions
  • Very expensive for minimal ingredients
  • Contains allergen Soy Lecithin
  • Limited 30-day return policy
Why We Chose It

Neuriva by Schiff Vitamins is a relatively new product intended to improve brain performance. Neuriva comes in “Original” and “Plus” formulas, containing Phosphatidylserine and Coffee Fruit Extract. The “Plus” formula adds vitamins B6, B12, and B9. However, neither version contains our top-ranking ingredients Bacopa Monnieri and Huperzine A, and the vital nutrient Choline. Neuriva’s key ingredient, Coffee Fruit Extract (Coffee arabica), has only one study to its credit, suggesting it improves cognitive function. We prefer to see ingredients that have more substantial evidence to support memory and focus claims.

We were happy to see that Neuriva is both caffeine and GMO-free. However, allergic reactions have been reported since Neuriva contains soy lecithin and rice. Users have also reported having sleeping issues when taking this product. Neuriva provides a 30-day refund period, but that is only for unopened bottles, which is not much of a guarantee if you find that you’re unhappy with the results.

*Results are based on user-generated experiences with these products, and individual results may vary. Please refer to the manufacturer’s product website for detailed information.

#5 Prevagen

D+

Overall Grade

#5 Prevagen

  • OVERALL RATING 6.9/10
  • Predicted Effectiveness 5.6/10
  • Ingredient Quality 6.7/10
  • Value 7.4/10
  • Return Policy 7.2/10
  • User Rating 7.8/10
PROS
  • Contains Synthetic Apoaequorin
CONS
  • Doesn’t contain Phosphatidylserine, Bacopa Monnieri, or Huperzine A
  • Does not contain essential vitamins and nutrients
  • Significant FTC and FDA Legal Issues related to False Claims
  • Very Expensive considering the lack of proven ingredients
  • Limited 45-day Return Policy
Why We Chose It

Prevagen by Quincy Biosciences is a product made famous thanks to their massive spending on television advertising. In recent years, the brand has also become infamous for its extensive legal issues related to false claims. This formula, sold in both a capsule and chewable form and a regular and extra strength version, contains apoaequorin, a protein derived from jellyfish. Through their single clinical study, the manufacturer claims that Prevagen helps improve cognitive function and memory by replacing proteins in the brain that are lost during the aging process.

Unfortunately, it appears that not everyone agrees with this theory. In 2017 the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the New York Attorney General sued Quincy Biosciences for making false claims. The primary issue asserted by the FTC is that proteins consumed orally, as in a pill or chewable tablet, go straight to the stomach where they get broken down into amino acids. In the form of amino acids, they can’t travel to the brain and then re-convert into a protein to replace any proteins lost due to aging. The story does not make sense from a science perspective. The FTC also charged Prevagen with making false claims stating the company’s own clinical study in actuality showed no statistically significant improvement in memory and cognitive function between those given Prevagen and those given a placebo.

In a non-related matter, the FDA has opened a case stating that Prevagen did not warn its users that seizures and strokes were some of the many adverse side effects of taking Prevagen.

While some users have reported benefits from taking Prevagen, we recommend avoiding the marketing hype and possible side effects. Choose a formula with a variety of vitamins, minerals, and neuro-nutrients such as Phosphatidylserine, Bacopa Monnieri, and Huperzine A, shown in studies over the years to help support memory and cognitive health.

*Results are based on user-generated experiences with these products, and individual results may vary. Please refer to the manufacturer’s product website for detailed information.

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