Best Nootropics for Mental Clarity: 8 Nutrients That Clear Brain Fog

Brain fog is a term used to describe the feeling of mental fatigue, forgetfulness, and difficulty concentrating. It can be caused by a number of factors such as lack of sleep, stress, or even depression.

Brain fog can have various causes but it is often linked to a lack of sleep. The brain uses sleep to consolidate memories and this process cannot happen if you don’t get enough rest.

Luckily, there are many natural supplements that can help to improve mental clarity and fight brain fog. Here we’ll look at some of the most effective ones.

1. Green Tea Extract

Stress is a health burden that affects many people, but thankfully there are some ways to alleviate it. One of them is drinking green tea as it contains high-quality antioxidants and can help with mental clarity by removing toxins from the body and reducing inflammation.

Green tea is made from the leaves of Camellia sinensis which contain polyphenols, an antioxidant compound responsible for fighting free radicals and boosting metabolism. Polyphenols are also known to stimulate the release of BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor), an important protein for the growth of neurons in the brain. [1]

Green tea can help improve your ability to concentrate, maintain mental clarity, enhance verbal fluency, and reduce brain fog, which all contribute to increased mental health.

Furthermore, the caffeine in green tea starts the production of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood.

2. Phosphatidylserine

Phosphatidylserine (PS), a brain health supplement, has been shown to improve overall cognition which can in turn lead to significant improvement in mental clarity. [2] It takes time to work, and is most effective when taken daily over a long period of time. The supplement helps to maintain the structural integrity of the cell membrane.

Phosphatidylserine has been linked to improved memory, concentration and mood. It appears to be able to improve areas of the brain that are related to memory and learning. It can help people who have mild cognitive impairment or early signs of Alzheimer’s dementia.

The evidence is strongest for individuals who are over the age of 65, but there may be benefits for younger individuals as well. There is also a positive correlation between phosphatidylserine and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Studies indicate that the supplement can help people with ADHD control their behavior. Studies also show that in combination with methylphenidate, phosphatidylserine can be helpful in alleviating symptoms of depression, which can be one of the causes of brain fog, too.

3. Lion’s Mane Mushroom

Lion’s Mane is a mushroom that has been used in traditional medicine for centuries. In recent years, the mushroom took on a new purpose as an herbal supplement. The benefits of Lion’s Mane mushrooms on mental clarity are largely attributed to a chemical compound called hericenones.

Hericenones in Lion’s Mane stimulate your nerve growth factor and promote the regeneration of nerve cells in the brain. In addition to promoting better mental clarity, Lion’s Mane mushroom has many other benefits such as improving neurological function and memory. Lion’s Mane Mushrooms starts working fairly quickly, but its effects disappear once you stop supplementation.

4. CDP-Choline

CDP-Choline (cytidine diphosphocholine) or citicoline, as it’s often called, acts as an energy source in the brain and stimulates new cell growth which may help improve mental clarity. CDP-Choline is an integral building block of your brain – it helps to make the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. What does acetylcholine do, you ask?

It helps communication between nerve cells, and increases memory, learning and focus. Taking CDP-Choline can also help you to maintain healthy blood pressure levels. In addition to the energy it provides in the brain, CDP-Choline also supports a healthy nervous system overall.

As with any supplement, some people may experience side effects such as headaches, nausea, dizziness, or stomach discomfort. People who have liver conditions or certain genetic disorders such as phenylketonuria should avoid taking CDP-Choline because there might be a greater risk of developing adverse reactions.

5. Pine Bark Extract

Pine bark extract is a natural supplement that can improve your mental clarity and boost brain function. Pine bark extract works by regulating the circulation in your brain and reducing brain fog. It also improves the focus on your thoughts, increasing creativity, and improving mood. The supplement has been used as an alternative treatment for those with bipolar disorder and depression for a long time.

Pine bark extract interacts with the neurotransmitters in your brain, like serotonin. This interaction improves mood and increases the ability to process information. Pine Bark Extract also has antioxidant properties that protect your brain cells from free radicals that may cause inflammation. [3] Most people who use Pine bark extract do not suffer any side effects. However, the supplement is not recommended for people with bleeding disorders. If you are considering this supplement, consult your doctor before using it.

6. B-Complex Vitamins

B vitamins are water-soluble and your body cannot store them. That is one of the reasons that it is best to take your B vitamins as a supplement. These supplements work by providing your body with extra energy and metabolic activity. As a result, they can improve mental clarity and help you get rid of brain fog.

With this in mind, it’s no surprise that a B-vitamin deficiency can lead to a person experiencing mental confusion, brain fog, and memory lapses. This is because the body cannot effectively convert glucose into energy with a shortage of B vitamins.

A shortage of vitamin B12 is the most common cause of confusion and brain fog in modern times. If one does not consume enough B12 in their diet, then this vitamin will slowly be depleted from their system as it tries to meet the needs for energy production.

If you want to improve your mental clarity, look into purchasing a supplement that includes all of these necessary B vitamins, such as a multivitamin or a prenatal vitamin that also includes folate and DHA omega-3s.

7. Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo Biloba extract is a supplement derived from the leaves of Ginko Biloba trees. It has been used for centuries as an herbal remedy for enhancing memory and concentration, treating circulatory disorders, and reducing symptoms of intermittent claudication (leg cramps or pain). 

As a supplement, Ginkgo improves mental clarity by increasing blood flow to the brain. It has been found to be especially helpful for those who are experiencing brain fog or cognitive issues. Ginkgo Biloba works by increasing circulation in the body, which then circulates more oxygen-rich blood to the brain. This causes the dilation of your cerebral vessels, which allows for better blood flow.

A note of warning: people on blood thinners should consult their doctor before taking Ginkgo Biloba.

8. L-Tyrosine

L-Tyrosine is an amino acid that is used by the body to manufacture both dopamine and adrenaline. L-tyrosine helps in the production of these brain chemicals which is why it helps to promote a relaxed state and reduced anxiety. You may find that L-Tyrosine makes you feel “clear-headed,” especially during stressful or cognitively demanding situations. This is because your dopamine levels get depleted during stress, but Tyrosine helps to replenish them.

FAQs

How to Choose Nootropics for Mental Clarity

What to look for when buying nootropics? The main thing is their ingredients. There are all sorts of herbs that can help you focus, but it’s important to know which ones will work best for you, and in what combination.

Synthetic nootropics can be made from chemicals through biological pathways or through a series of chemical reactions, whereas natural nootropics come from plants or fungi.

One of the most common types of nootropics is Piracetam, which is a synthetic nootropic that helps to improve memory function and verbal fluency. Piracetam also promotes attention span, concentration, and visual perception in healthy adults. However, it comes with a slew of side effects. Which is why we’ve focused solely on natural and safe nootropics today.

What Other Things I Can do to Improve Mental Clarity?

Waking up at a regular time, exercising, and eating healthy are the three pillars of better mental clarity. You must be doing at least one of these three if you want to see results. If you want to keep your brain sharp, you will need to keep your lifestyle in check – there’s no way around it. Nootropics are only but a small part of the puzzle.

Further Reading:

References

  1. Mancini E, Beglinger C, Drewe J, Zanchi D, Lang UE, Borgwardt S. Green tea effects on cognition, mood and human brain function: A systematic review. Phytomedicine. 2017 Oct 15;34:26-37. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2017.07.008. Epub 2017 Jul 27. PMID: 28899506.
  2. Kim HY, Huang BX, Spector AA. Phosphatidylserine in the brain: metabolism and function. Prog Lipid Res. 2014 Oct;56:1-18. doi: 10.1016/j.plipres.2014.06.002. Epub 2014 Jun 30. PMID: 24992464; PMCID: PMC4258547.
  3. Malekahmadi M, Shadnoush M, Islam SMS, Shirvani A, Pahlavani N, Gholizadeh Navashenaq J, Firouzi S, McVicar J, Nematy M, Zali MR, Moradi Moghaddam O, Norouzy A. The effect of French maritime pine bark extract supplementation on inflammation, nutritional and clinical status in critically ill patients with traumatic brain injury: A randomized controlled trial. Phytother Res. 2021 Sep;35(9):5178-5188. doi: 10.1002/ptr.7187. Epub 2021 Aug 12. PMID: 34382717.

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