11 Best Nootropics For Depression

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5-HTP for depression
Key Takeaways:

Some nootropic supplements could complement traditional therapy for depression

Some nootropics work by lowering inflammation and clearing cellular damage in the brain, which could raise moods

Other nootropics work on the acetylcholine system, and may directly complement traditional anti depressants

There are also nootropics that can potentially increase the amounts of dopamine or serotonin (feel-good chemicals) in the brain

Nootropics are sold over-the-counter, but should not be seen as a replacement for the advice of a licensed physician

11 Best Nootropics For Depression

Hey there! If you’re looking for the best nootropics for depression, you’ve come to the right place.

I’m a practicing functional nutritional therapist and I’ve spent countless hours researching, testing, and comparing different supplements to find the best ones that can help reduce symptoms of depression.

In this article, I’ll be sharing with you my findings and how some of these nootropics have helped my own clients manage their depression.

You’ll also learn about the different types of nootropics available, what they do, and which ones are most effective at treating depression.

So if you’re ready to take control of your mental health, read on!

What Are The Best Nootropics for Depression – Quick Answers

Mind Lab Pro #1

Mind Lab Pro

Promotes good moods and psychology while fighting fatigue
Check PriceBuy 3 bottles, get 1 free with our links
NooCube #2


Boost Your Mental Performance and Overcome Depression
Check PriceGet 20% off three bottles
Alpha Brain #3

Alpha Brain

Try it Now – Free 15 Day Trial
Check PriceLimited time offer: Free 15 day trial
Neurofuel #4


Best Budget Stack
Check PriceUse Code HOLISTICNOOTROPICS15 to get up to 40% off
Cordyceps Mushroom #5

Cordyceps Mushroom

Get Back on Track
Reishi - Real Mushrooms #6

Reishi – Real Mushrooms

Calming, Mood Enhancing
Blood Sugar Breakthrough #7

Blood Sugar Breakthrough

#1 Blood Sugar Support Supplement
Check PriceSave up to 32%
NALT (L-Tyrosine) #8

NALT (L-Tyrosine)

Potent dopamine precursor
Citicoline #9


Pure, bio-available choline
L-Theanine - Nootropics Depot #10

L-Theanine – Nootropics Depot

The all-natural "chill pill"
Taurine #11


The miracle ingredient in energy drinks

Supplementing with Nootropics for Depression

Some nootropic supplements can raise your mood and potentially lift you out of the darkness, at least somewhat.

Nootropics are generally considered mental performance enhancers, but you should keep in mind that feeling and emotion are also parts of healthy cognition.

Depression is considered the “common cold” of psychiatric illnesses, but if left untreated, it can lead to much worse outcomes.

Certain nootropics can also potentially help you in this way.

However, when treating a mental condition like this, you should also remember that factors like exercise, nutrition, and sleep play a huge role. Therapy and traditional pharmaceuticals are also valuable tools that you should not ignore.

When to Seek Help for Depression

If depression is a persistent problem, you should get professional help. Although it may be tempting to try and “cure” depression with over-the-counter nootropics, you should remember that these are supplements, not substitutes.

A holistic approach is always going to be the most effective.

That said, these are some of the best nootropics to treat symptoms of depression.

Read More: Why You Should Never Buy Nootropics From Amazon

Best Nootropics For Depression

Natural ingredients proven to be effective for depression

Mind Lab Pro

Mind Lab Pro
Shop NowBuy 3 bottles, get 1 free with our links
Shop NowBuy 3 bottles, get 1 free with our links
  • Designed to optimize cognitive functions through 11 natural ingredients that work in 6 bio-pathways

  • Boosts serotonin levels which can help improve your mood, sleep quality, appetite control, stress management,

  • Mind Lab Pro helps improve focus, memory, clarity, energy levels without relying on stimulants or artificial additives

  • Contains premium forms of each ingredient for enhanced potency and activity, while avoiding potential side effects associated with lower quality ingredients

Mind Lab Pro is a powerful supplement designed to help manage depression and improve overall cognitive function. The key ingredients in Mind Lab Pro include citicoline, phosphatidylserine, bacopa monnieri, organic lion’s mane mushroom, maritime pine bark extract, L-tyrosine, L-theanine, and rhodiola rosea.

Each of these ingredients has been specifically chosen for its ability to help fight depression. Citicoline supports healthy brain function by increasing levels of acetylcholine and dopamine in the brain. Phosphatidylserine helps to protect against cortisol and other stress hormones that can contribute to depressive symptoms.

Bacopa monnieri is a well-known herb that has been shown to help relieve mild to moderate depression by balancing neurotransmitters and supporting healthy brain connectivity.

The organic lion’s mane mushroom is also beneficial for depression as it enhances nerve growth factor production and promotes healthy brain cell communication.

Maritime pine bark extract boosts levels of antioxidants in the body, which can help combat oxidative damage caused by stress and anxiety. L-tyrosine helps to balance neurotransmitter levels and reduce feelings of hopelessness or despair associated with depression.

Finally, L-theanine is an amino acid that promotes relaxation without causing drowsiness or sleepiness, making it ideal for managing the symptoms of depression while still allowing you to stay alert and focused throughout the day.

Overall, I would highly recommend Mind Lab Pro for anyone struggling with depression. Its powerful formula of natural ingredients works synergistically to support all aspects of cognitive health and promote optimal mental functioning in both the short and long term. Whether you are just starting your journey towards recovery from depression or are looking for ways to maintain positive moods on a daily basis, Mind Lab Pro can help you achieve your goals with ease!


  • Proven to boost overall cognitive performance including memory, focus, mood, creativity, motivation, and overall well-being.
  • Potent blend of all-natural nootropics, herbs, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Good for experienced biohackers and those new to nootropics.
  • Caffeine Free
  • No artificial fillers or toxic preservatives
  • Affordable Price, money back guarantee


  • Ingredients are lower dosed.

Reduce stress levels during times of high pressure


Shop NowGet 20% off three bottles
Shop NowGet 20% off three bottles
  • Helps boost energy levels so you can stay active even when feeling down or depressed

  • Alpha GPC increases the production of acetylcholine in the brain which can improve mood and reduce symptoms of depression

  • Cat’s Claw is a medicinal herb that can help reduce stress and anxiety levels which are often linked to depression

  • Anti-depressant effects from Bacopa Monnieri which increases serotonin levels in the brain

  • Helps restore motivation so you don’t give up easily even when faced with difficult tasks despite feeling unmotivated due to depressive episodes causing apathy towards activities once enjoyed

NooCube is a revolutionary dietary supplement that provides cognitive benefits to help people with their everyday tasks.

It contains a unique blend of natural ingredients such as Lutemax, Bacopa monnieri, Huperzia Serrata, Pterostilbene, Resveratrol, L-theanine, L-tyrosine, Alpha GPC, Oat straw extract, Cat’s claw, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B7, and Vitamin B12.

Lutemax is derived from lutein and zeaxanthin and helps support optimal health by helping the body absorb light better. Bacopa monnieri helps boost memory and concentration by supporting neurotransmitters in the brain.

Huperzia Serrata boosts mental clarity by making it easier for your brain to process information quickly and accurately. Pterostilbene helps preserve healthy brain cells, while Resveratrol promotes overall brain health.

L-theanine works in combination with caffeine to provide more focused alertness without the jittery side effects generally associated with the caffeine alone.

L-Tyrosine aids in reducing mental fatigue, while alpha GPC helps improve memory formation after exercise or physical stress. Oat straw extract helps increase mental energy levels while cat’s claw supports cognitive function through its anti-inflammatory properties. Vitamins B1 (thiamin), B7 (biotin), and B12 (cobalamin) support healthy nervous system functioning crucial for all aspects of neural communication within the brain.

NooCube combines this unique blend of natural ingredients to create an effective solution for people looking to boost their focus and concentration when performing daily tasks or studying for exams or projects.

By providing improved cognitive abilities without the dangerous side effects of other prescription drugs, NooCube is an easy alternative for anyone looking to get ahead in life without risking their long-term health or productivity levels.

As someone who has used NooCube regularly, I can confidently say that it has made an incredible difference in my day-to-day life since taking it regularly over the past few months.

The combination of natural ingredients has allowed me to focus on my tasks throughout the day while providing increased energy levels so I can stay productive longer into the night if needed.

Overall I think NooCube is one of the best supplements out there right now – allowing people to boost their cognitive abilities safely and naturally – which is why I highly recommend it.


  • Preformulated for easy access to essential nootropics
  • Best value for nootropic cognitive enhancement
  • All-natural ingredients with no fillers/preservatives
  • Includes B-vitamins for enhanced metabolism


  • Some ingredients may be underdosed for specific nootropic therapy

Try it Now – Free 15 Day Trial

Alpha Brain

Alpha Brain
Shop NowLimited time offer: Free 15 day trial
Shop NowLimited time offer: Free 15 day trial
  • Alpha Brain delivers a blend of potent nootropics that promote alpha brain waves and improved cognitive function

  • The formula includes L-Theanine, phosphatidylserine, L-tyrosine, cats claw, be it in a propriety form

  • There are no artificial additives, flavors, sweeteners, colors, caffeine, dairy or gluten in the product

  • Keto and paleo diet friendly

Alpha Brain is a nootropic supplement created by Joe Rogan’s well-known supplement company Onnit. As such, its probably the most hyped, most heavily marketed nootropic stack on the planet.

We like Alpha Brain because not only does it provide natural ingredients to help boost cognitive enhancement but it also offers many other benefits such as improved brain energy levels and enhanced concentration skills; plus its easy-to-take capsules make taking it on a daily basis simple! On the other hand, some people may not be fans of Alpha Brain due to its proprietary blends since those looking for full transparency may not be satisfied with what they see on the label.

I personally have tried out Alpha Brain and noticed huge improvements in my focus levels after a few weeks of consistent usage; this allowed me to power through difficult tasks with much more ease than before taking it.

Alpha Brain was designed to enhance cognitive functions, such as focus, concentration, and memory. It contains various natural ingredients that have been carefully selected in order to give the optimal boost for peak mental performance.

The primary ingredient in Alpha Brain is Alpha GPC or Alpha glycerylphosphorylcholine. This is a choline-enhancing compound that helps to replenish the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which aids in memory formation and recall. Another beneficial ingredient is Huperzia Serrata, an extract from Chinese club moss which has been used for centuries for its cognitive-enhancing properties.

Bacopa Monnieri, another key ingredient found in Alpha Brain, has been clinically proven to improve memory retention and comprehension. L-Theanine and L-Tyrosine are amino acids that help increase alertness and reduce stress.

Oat Straw Extract, Phosphatidylserine, Cat’s Claw Extract (AC-11), Pterostilbene, and L-Leucine are all additional ingredients found in Alpha Brain that aid in improving mental clarity and focus while maintaining overall brain health.

Finally, Vitamin B6 promotes energy production throughout the body while helping to prevent fatigue caused by extended periods of concentration or mental strain.

It is recommended to take two capsules of Alpha Brain daily after a light meal for optimal results.

However, it can take up to several weeks before you begin feeling any noticeable effects depending on your individual circumstances so patience is key when trying this supplement out for the first time.

Best Budget Stack


Check OfferUse Code HOLISTICNOOTROPICS15 to get up to 40% off
Check OfferUse Code HOLISTICNOOTROPICS15 to get up to 40% off
  • Reduces stress and fatigue

  • Boosts neurotransmitter cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) levels, leading to improved focus and concentration

  • Helps regulate hormones important for learning and memory formation

  • Contains B6, artichoke extract, forskolin, L-phenylalanine and acetyl-L-carnitine

NeuroFuel is a brain supplement and focus supplement created by Natural Stacks. NeuroFuel contains the patented CILTEP Nootropic Formula that put the company on the map and set the standard for high-quality nootropic stacks long ago, and its this unique formula of natural ingredients sets Neurofuel apart from other supplements:

It contains B6, artichoke extract, forskolin, L-phenylalanine and acetyl-L-carnitine, all of which work together to increase neurotransmitter cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) levels in the brain which helps to improve focus and concentration, as well as memory formation and recall.

Together these ingredients create an effective nootropic stack that can help you reach peak mental performance.

What we really like about NeuroFuel is the company behind it – Natural Stacks is committed to providing clean and effective supplements backed by science. They have an “open source” transparency program that provides ingredient traceability and 3rd party lab test results for every batch so that you can make informed decisions about their health and wellness.

I have personally used Neurofuel for a few months, and I can attest to its effectiveness in improving my mental clarity and focus. After taking it regularly, I noticed an increase in my ability to concentrate on tasks for more extended periods of time without feeling overwhelmed or fatigued.

The dosage instructions were easy to follow, and the capsules are easy to take on an empty stomach in the morning for maximum effect.

The Mushroom for Energy

Cordyceps Mushroom

  • Improve your stamina and energy levels

  • Helps improve your respiratory function and blood circulation

  • Potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects

  • Helps ncrease the oxygen intake (VO2 max)

Cordyceps has been advocated as a traditional therapeutic approach for depression management since ancient times.1Jianyou Guo, ChangYu Li, Jie Wang, Yongmei Liu, and Jiahui Zhang, Vanadium-Enriched Cordyceps sinensis, a Contemporary Treatment Approach to Both Diabetes and Depression in Rats, Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2011

Many studies have found Cordyceps able to reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress.2Jian-You Guo , Chun-Chao Han, Yong-Mei Liu, A Contemporary Treatment Approach to Both Diabetes and Depression by Cordyceps sinensis, Rich in Vanadium, Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2010

Adding this mushroom to your diet will help you build up your immune system and manage neurological disorders including, PTSD, depression, stress, and anxiety.3Huai-Syuan Huang, Hsin-Yu Wu, Wan-Ting Chang, Yu-En Lin, Yun-Ju Huang, Kuan-Hung Lu, Yun-Sheng Lu, Mei-Hsing Chen, Lee-Yan Sheen, The Antidepressive and Anxiolytic Effects of Formula Consisted of Poria cocos and Cordyceps militaris Waster Medium Extract in Unpredictable Chronic Mild Stress Animal Model, Current Developments in Nutrition. 2020

It is a perfect natural remedy as it can be used by anyone with any co-morbidity and without any age restriction.

Freshcap Mushrooms provide the highest percentage of beta glucans and fruiting body nutrients, making this mushroom product my preferred choice for Cordyceps.


  • Available in capsules and powder form
  • Can protect against health problems like asthma, depression, diabetes, fatigue, high cholesterol, and upper respiratory tract infections.
  • Has been shown to improve athletic performance and reduce fatigue.
  • All-natural


  • Quality cordyceps can be quite expensive and hard to find

Calming, Mood Enhancing

Reishi – Real Mushrooms

  • Promotes long-term focus and mental energy

  • Stimulate neurogenesis

  • Boosts immune system

  • Calm effects on central nervous system

Reishi mushroom contains calming and soothing properties which act on the central nervous system.

It’s been observed that this mushroom contains a vast variety of proteins that facilitates precursors of neurotransmitters and endorphins to reduce symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression. 4Katarzyna Socala , Dorota Nieoczym , Krzysztof Grzywnowicz, Dawid Stefaniuk, Piotr Wlaz, Evaluation of Anticonvulsant, Antidepressant-, and Anxiolytic-like Effects of an Aqueous Extract from Cultured Mycelia of the Lingzhi or Reishi Medicinal Mushroom Ganoderma lucidum (Higher Basidiomycetes) in Mice, Int J Med Mushrooms. 2015

The aqueous extract of reishi mushroom has been found to enhance cognitive functioning and manage signs of depression.5Jayanthi.K, Reishi Mushroom – Promising in treatment of Depression, Pondicherry Journal of Nursing. 2016

Regular intake of this reishi aids in building new nerve cells, developing better connections within your nervous system, supporting your immune system and managing other neurological disorders like stress, and anxiety.6Aslam Muhammad , Nasir Ali, Antidepressant-Like Activity of Ethanol Extract of Ganoderma lucidum.(Reishi) in Mice, International Journal of Medical Research & Health Sciences. 2017

Freshcap Mushrooms provide the highest percentage of beta glucans and fruiting body nutrients, making this mushroom product my preferred choice for Reishi.


  • May help improve sleep quality and reduce stress levels
  • Can be consumed in many different forms, such as capsules, powders, teas, and tinctures
  • Used in Asia for centuries as a medicinal mushroom


  • Common side effects include gastrointestinal upset and nausea
  • Not recommended for people with autoimmune disease or taking immunosuppressive medication

#1 Blood Sugar Support Supplement

Blood Sugar Breakthrough

Blood Sugar Breakthrough
Shop NowSave up to 32%
Shop NowSave up to 32%
  • Promotes blood sugar balance in your body

  • Boosts mood and reduces stress

  • Helps fight anxiety and depression

  • Promotes healthy circulation

Many studies are now finding the direct connection between blood sugar management and depression.

In fact, several ingredients in Blood Sugar Breakthrough, dihydroberberineand chromium specifically, have been shown to successfully treat mood disorders.7Kimberly A. Brownley, PhD, Charlotte A. Boettiger, PhD, Laura Young, MD, and William T. Cefalu, MD, Dietary Chromium Supplementation for Targeted Treatment of Diabetes Patients with Comorbid Depression and Binge Eating, Med Hypotheses. 20168Jie Fan, Kun Zhang, Yang Jin, Bingjini Li, Shuohui Gao, Jiaming Zhu,corresponding and Ranji Cui, Pharmacological effects of berberine on mood disorders, J Cell Mol Med. 2019

Research suggests that dihydroberberineand chromium may have modulatory effects on the neurotransmitters in the central nervous system which may play a role in the alleviation of depressive symptoms.9Anna Och, Rafał Podgórski, and Renata Nowak, Biological Activity of Berberine—A Summary Update, Toxins (Basel). 2020

These ingredients, along with other metabolism-boosting compounds like bitter melon, cinnamon, and alpha-lipoic acid, make Blood Sugar Breakthrough a potent formula for the improvement of depressive symptoms and mood disorders.


  • Contains natural ingredients that have been clinically proven to help lower blood sugar levels
  • Has been shown to help people lose weight
  • comes with a money-back guarantee, so you can feel confident that you’re not wasting your money if it doesn’t work for you
  • Produced by BiOptimizers, one of the most trusted names in the Supplement Industry


  • Can be a bit pricey

Potent dopamine precursor

NALT (L-Tyrosine)

  • NALT is a precursor to important neurotransmitters like dopamine

  • Helps boost dopamine levels, which can improve mood and sleep

  • May help with anxiety and depression

  • Can be used as an alternative to ADHD drugs

  • Helps boost energy and motivation

L-tyrosine is an amino acid.

It’s a building block for dopamine, which your body needs to regulate mood. Low dopamine is heavily associated with depression.

So, boosting l-tyrosine levels could have an anti-depressive effect.

You can purchase l-tyrosine straight or as NALT, a derivative of l-tyrosine.

We prefer NALT, as it does the same thing, but is more potent and bioavailable.

This nootropic may not work for all types of depression, but it could alleviate symptoms of dopamine-deficient variants.

The main characteristic of dopamine-deficient depression is lethargy and low motivation.

There is preliminary evidence it could work for this type.10Mouret J, Lemoine P, Minuit MP, Robelin N. L-tyrosine cures, immediate and long term, dopamine-dependent depressions. Clinical and polygraphic studies, C R Acad Sci III. 1988


  • Non-addictive and has few side effects
  • Does not interact with other medications, so it can be taken safely by people who are taking other medications for other conditions
  • Relatively inexpensive and is covered by many insurance plans


  • Can cause withdrawal symptoms in people who stop taking it suddenly
  • Can also cause liver damage, so people with liver problems should not take nalt

Pure, bio-available choline


  • Helps with depression and anxiety

  • Increases mental health by balancing brain chemicals

  • Works in combination with antidepressants to increase quality of life

  • A potent source of choline for mental function

Citicoline is a potent source of choline, which is crucial to proper mental function. It is a precursor to acetylcholine (ACh), which is the most abundant neurotransmitter in your body.

Keeping your choline levels up can help with depression.

Although it is unlikely to be the only solution, multiple studies suggest that it could work in combination with other treatments, such as SSRIs.11Roohi-Azizi M, et al. Citicoline Combination Therapy for Major Depressive Disorder: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial, Clin Neuropharmacol. 2017 12Brown ES, Gabrielson B. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of citicoline for bipolar and unipolar depression and methamphetamine dependence, J Affect Disord. 2012

Learn More About Citicoline


  • Great choice for students or anyone looking to boost their cognitive performance
  • Improves focus, attention, and impulse control in people with ADHD
  • Generally well tolerated and side effects are rare.
  • All-natural supplement
  • Easily found online or in health food stores


  • May cause stomach upset, headache, dizziness, and insomnia

The all-natural “chill pill”

L-Theanine – Nootropics Depot

  • Helps ease you out of a depressive state

  • Can help naturally increase dopamine

  • Promotes relaxation and less anxiety

  • Shows multiple beneficial effects on depression, anxiety, sleep disturbance, and cognitive impairments

L-theanine is a compound in tea leaves that is famous for its relaxing qualities.

It can also naturally increase dopamine, which can help ease you out of a depressive state.

One study saw “multiple beneficial effects on depressive symptoms, anxiety, sleep disturbance, and cognitive impairments in patients with Major Depressive Disorder.”13Hidese S, et al. Effects of chronic l-theanine administration in patients with major depressive disorder: an open-label study, Acta Neuropsychiatr. 2017

L-theanine is also one of the best anti-anxiety nootropics out there, which often occurs alongside depression.

All-in-all, l-theanine is a good, side-effect free bet for raising your mood holistically.

Learn More About L-theanine

The miracle ingredient in energy drinks


  • Taurine helps with stress-induced depression

  • Taurine aids in longevity

  • Taurine is found in energy drinks but also available on its own

Taurine is a common ingredient in energy drinks, but it also has clinically-backed antidepressant properties.

Taurine is an essential amino acid that is associated with longevity.

It may be especially useful for stress-induced depression.14Toyoda A Iio W. Antidepressant-like effect of chronic taurine administration and its hippocampal signal transduction in rats, Adv Exp Med Biol. 2013 15Gao-Feng Wu, et al. Antidepressant effect of taurine in chronic unpredictable mild stress-induced depressive rats, Sci Rep. 2017

However, you don’t need to drink energy drinks to enjoy its benefits. It is available on its own as a supplement.

Learn More About Taurine


  • Proven to boost energy, endurance, and focus
  • Promotes healthy metabolism
  • Helps protect the eyes against retinal degeneration
  • Safe and effective nootropic supplement with a wide range of potential benefits


  • Large doses may cause gastrointestinal distress
  • Cause some side effects such as headaches, insomnia, and anxiety.

Wrapping Up

These are just some of the best and most effective nootropics for treating depression. We’d like to know what you’re using, so please let us know in the comments below.

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Erik Abramowitz is a certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP), Naturopathic Doctoral student, health coach, and father. He is the primary content creator for HolisticNootropics.com and the host of the Holistic Nootropics Podcast.

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