best nootropics for memory

The 9 Best Nootropics For Memory

Written by Erik Levi, FNTP — Updated on June 3, 2021

OVERVIEW:

  • Memory is perhaps the most important and complex mental function.

  • There are numerous neurological pathways that influence the storage and retrieval of memories.

  • Many of the nootropics that have the most evidence for helping with memory work on the acetylcholine system.

Memory is perhaps the most significant, most important, and most complex human brain function.

We use it each moment of our lives, and it ties into every other type of thought process.

Janko Ferlic
The human brain can retain an incredible amount of information

According to some estimates, the human brain is capable of 2.5 petabytes (one million gigabytes) of raw storage space!

“Memory” really refers to multiple overlapping systems, and science still does not fully understand how many of them work.

Researchers have identified many various types of memory, such as working, long-term, semantic, episodic, spatial, and more.

It is a truly fascinating topic that we are just beginning to understand as a species.

What Are The Best Nootropics for Memory - Quick Answers

Mind Lab Pro#1 Nootropic For Beginners
Learn More
Blood Sugar BreakthroughStabilizes and promotes healthy blood sugar levelsLearn More
Bacopa MonnieriThe Indian "Supreme God" herbLearn More
Qualia MindMost Nootropics Per Serving
Learn More
Lion's Mane
Powerful medicinal mushroom for brain healthLearn More
ReishiA staple in Eastern medicineLearn More
Magnesium#1 Magnesium Product
Learn More
OxiracetamCapsules and PowderLearn More
AniracetamOne of the most popular nootropics for focus and moodLearn More
NoopeptWorld's #1 selling nootropic (and for good reason)Learn More
Alpha-GPCGreat source of choline that works well in nootropic stacksLearn More
CiticolineSupercharged source of choline for your brainLearn More
Huperzine-ATraditional Chinese herb for improving cognitionLearn More

Nootropics For Memory And Learning

So, it’s no surprise that improving memory is one of the most common uses for nootropics. It is the original reason this category of supplements exists in the first place.

Read More: Why You Should Never Buy Nootropics From Amazon

In the ’60s, the godfather of nootropics, Dr. Corneliu Giurgea, synthesized a memory aid called piracetam.

Piracetam is considered the first nootropic substance, and it launched the entire field of study.

Christina Morillo
Some nootropics may be useful for students trying to retain information.

Memory enhancement may seem mostly like a concern for older adults. It is critical to preserve memory as you get older. We all know how the years can take the edge off of our mental abilities.

As many students and professionals are now finding out, memory supplements can also be valuable for younger folks.

They can boost your cognitive functions and allow for quicker, easier recall, and more accurate long term memory storage.

There are several very effective nootropic supplements for memory out there. Many of them have decades of clinical evidence to back them up.

Let’s take a look at some of the best options out there.

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Best Nootropics For Learning And Memory

The “Racetam” category refers to a specific class of synthetic nootropics that modulate the AMPA and NMDA receptors in your brain.

This action increases the flow of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine (ACh), which can improve the formation and recall of memories.

This category includes piracetam, which, as we mentioned, is the very first nootropic.

However, there are other, more potent nootropics available. These include:

1. Mind Lab Pro

Mind Lab Pro Best Nootropic for Memory

#1 Nootropic For Beginners

  • Mind Lab Pro's advanced yet advanced formula delivers potent ingredients essential for boosting your memory capabilities. 
  • Nootropics like CDP-choline, Lion's Mane, and phosphatidylserine provide acetylcholine and neuroplasticity, which are essential memory enhancement factors. 
  • Adaptogens like Rhodiola Rosea and Bacopa Monnierri provide energy to your brain for more extended focus as well. 
  • The supplements themselves are 3rd party tested and free of excess fillers and toxic ingredients. 
  • I love this stack for nootropic newbies and experienced nootropic users alike

2. Blood Sugar Breakthrough

Blood Sugar Breakthrough

Stabilizes and promotes healthy blood sugar levels

Imbalanced blood sugar levels and poorly controlled diabetes may substantially increase the risk of experiencing cognitive problems like memory loss and dementia.1Lindsay A. Zilliox, Krish Chadrasekaran, Justin Y. Kwan, and James W. Russell, Diabetes and Cognitive Impairment, Curr Diab Rep. Author manuscript. 2017

Studies suggest that unstable blood glucose levels that are consistently higher than the normal ranges may significantly damage the nervous tissues, supportive glial cells, and circulatory networks in the peripheral nerves.2Christopher M Ryan, Martin I Freed, Julie A Rood, Alexander R Cobitz, Brian R Waterhouse, Mark W J Strachan, Improving metabolic control leads to better working memory in adults with type 2 diabetes, Diabetes Care. 20063T J Gradman, A Laws, L W Thompson, G M Reaven, Verbal learning and/or memory improves with glycemic control in older subjects with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, J Am Geriatr Soc. 1993

Blood Sugar Breakthrough Formula can effectively regulate blood glucose levels which ultimately improve your memory and lower the risk of development of dementia later in life.


3. Bacopa Monnieri

Bacopa Monnieri for Memory

The Indian "Supreme God" herb

Bacopa is an adaptogenic herb from India that is famous for boosting memory, among other benefits.

The main active compounds in Bacopa, “bacosides,” are responsible for this herb’s effects on memory.

Bacosides improve the flow of electrical signaling between neurons. By speeding up this transfer, they allow for quicker, more effective cognitive processing across the board.

There is substantial clinical evidence that bacopa monnieri can improve memory in healthy young adults. It is also famous for lowering anxiety and stress, which can put you in a better headspace to retain information.


4. Qualia Mind

Qualia Mind For Memory

Most Nootropics Per Serving

  • Qualia Mind's advanced formula makes it a powerful memory and learning enhancer. 
  • It's 28 high-powered nootropic ingredients stimulate the acetylcholine pathway, which is essential for memory and learning new skills.
  • The included adaptogens and amino acids also lower cortisol, which can sabotage memory formation.
  • The added B-vitamins, vitamins C, and D3 work as co-factors for better metabolism of these pathways.
  • This stack is great for anyone who needs a significant boost in brainpower.

5. Lion's Mane

Powerful medicinal mushroom for brain health

Lion's Mane (Hericium Erinaceus) is a therapeutic mushroom which has been found to benefit all primary components of your central nervous system including the brain, nerve cells and also the immune system.4Vikineswary Sabaratnam , Wong Kah-Hui , Murali Naidu , Pamela Rosie David, Neuronal health - can culinary and medicinal mushrooms help?, J Tradit Complement Med. 2013

This mushroom also prevents nerve cell impairment and stimulates production of enzymes that release Nerve Growth Factor (NGF).5Pit Shan Chong , Man-Lung Fung , Kah Hui Wong, Lee Wei Lim, Therapeutic Potential of Hericium erinaceus for Depressive Disorder, Int J Mol Sci. 2019

This growth factor helps with neuronal regeneration and hence, memory retention.

Addition of this medicinal mushroom into your routine diet will not only help you to restore and recall old memories but it will also help you to promote mental alertness, improve focus, and eliminate brain fog.6Kah-Hui Wong , Gowri Kanagasabapathy , Murali Naidu , Pamela David , Vikineswary Sabaratnam, Hericium erinaceus (Bull.: Fr.) Pers., a medicinal mushroom, activates peripheral nerve regeneration, Chin J Integr Med. 2016

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


6. Reishi

A staple in Eastern medicine

Lion's Mane (Hericium Erinaceus) is a therapeutic mushroom which has been found to benefit all primary components of your central nervous system including the brain, nerve cells and also the immune system.7Vikineswary Sabaratnam , Wong Kah-Hui , Murali Naidu , Pamela Rosie David, Neuronal health - can culinary and medicinal mushrooms help?, J Tradit Complement Med. 2013

This mushroom also prevents nerve cell impairment and stimulates production of enzymes that release Nerve Growth Factor (NGF).8Pit Shan Chong , Man-Lung Fung , Kah Hui Wong, Lee Wei Lim, Therapeutic Potential of Hericium erinaceus for Depressive Disorder, Int J Mol Sci. 2019

This growth factor helps with neuronal regeneration and hence, memory retention.

Addition of this medicinal mushroom into your routine diet will not only help you to restore and recall old memories but it will also help you to promote mental alertness, improve focus, and eliminate brain fog.9Kah-Hui Wong , Gowri Kanagasabapathy , Murali Naidu , Pamela David , Vikineswary Sabaratnam, Hericium erinaceus (Bull.: Fr.) Pers., a medicinal mushroom, activates peripheral nerve regeneration, Chin J Integr Med. 2016

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


7. Magnesium Breakthrough

Magnesium for Studying

#1 Magnesium Product

Magnesium is an important mineral for cognitive function and mental wellbeing.10Vink R, Nechifor M, The role of magnesium therapy in learning and memory, University of Adelaide Press; 2011 Magnesium promotes both short-term and long-term synaptic potentiation. Hence, it enhances the brain’s aptitude to process new information, and retain old information.11Inna Slutsky , Nashat Abumaria, Long-Jun Wu, Chao Huang, Ling Zhang, Bo Li, Xiang Zhao, Arvind Govindarajan, Ming-Gao Zhao, Min Zhuo, Susumu Tonegawa, Guosong Liu, Enhancement of learning and memory by elevating brain magnesium,Neuron. 2010

Magnesium is also proven to minimize synaptic loss, stimulate neuronal electrical activities, and improve spatial memory functions including recognition and memory lapses associated with age.12Michael R. Hoane, Robert Vink , Mihai Nechifor , The role of magnesium therapy in learning and memory, University of Adelaide Press; 2011

It has been demonstrated in many clinical studies that dietary magnesium may improve cognitive performance and benefit elderly population with cognitive impairment, probable dementia or even Alzheimer’s disease.13Kenneth Lo , Qing Liu , Tracy Madsen , Steve Rapp , Jiu-Chiuan Chen , Marian Neuhouser , Aladdin Shadyab , Lubna Pal , Xiaochen Lin , Sally Shumaker, JoAnn Manson, Ying-Qing Feng , Simin Liu, Relations of magnesium intake to cognitive impairment and dementia among participants in the Women's Health Initiative Memory Study: a prospective cohort study, BMJ Open. 201914Ying Huang , Xian Huang , Ling Zhang , Fang Han , Ke-Liang Pang , Xue Li , Jian-Ying Shen, Magnesium boosts the memory restorative effect of environmental enrichment in Alzheimer's disease mice, CNS Neurosci Ther. 2018

Magnesium Breakthrough contains different absorbable formulations of magnesium. One of the main components of Magnesium Breakthrough is magnesium L-threonate. Magnesium L-threonate has a unique ability to cross the blood-brain barrier, optimize neuronal synaptic density and neuronal plasticity; and consequently, promote memory performance.15Wei Li, Jia Yu, Yong Liu, Xiaojie Huang, Nashat Abumaria, Ying Zhu, Xian Huang, Wenxiang Xiong, Chi Ren, Xian-Guo Liu, Dehua Chui, Guosong Liu, Elevation of brain magnesium prevents synaptic loss and reverses cognitive deficits in Alzheimer's disease mouse model, Mol Brain . 201416Nashat Abumaria , Bin Yin, Ling Zhang, Xiang-Yao Li, Tao Chen, Giannina Descalzi, Liangfang Zhao, Matae Ahn, Lin Luo, Chen Ran, Min Zhuo, Guosong Liu, Effects of elevation of brain magnesium on fear conditioning, fear extinction, and synaptic plasticity in the infralimbic prefrontal cortex and lateral amygdala, J Neurosci. 2011


8. Oxiracetam

oxiracetam for memory

Capsules and Powder

Oxiracetam is a powerful memory-boosting racetam. It is prevalent in the nootropics community for this reason and is the cornerstone of many people’s daily stack.

Like all racetams, oxiracetam increases the amount of ACh in the brain, which is a critical part of the memory system. It can also help repair damaged neurons.17Fordyce DE, et al. Enhancement of hippocampally-mediated learning and protein kinase C activity by oxiracetam in learning-impaired DBA/2 mice, Brain Res. 1995

There is evidence that it can significantly improve spatial memory. It can also preserve memory function after injury or age-related cognitive decline. Oxiracetam may also have some benefits for focus and concentration.18Bottini G, et al. Oxiracetam in dementia: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study, Acta Neurol Scand. 1992


9. Aniracetam

Aniracetam for Memory

One of the most popular nootropics for focus and mood

Aniracetam is another extremely popular racetam for memory. It has been around for a while and has clinically proven benefits for memory.19Sebastian D. Goldsmith and Arlene McDowell. Designing a Formulation of the Nootropic Drug Aniracetam Using 2-Hydroxypropyl-β-Cyclodextrin Suitable for Parenteral Administration, Pharmaceutics. 2018

Aniracetam is also famous for improving mood. Aniracetam could also have some side-benefits for memory encoding.

It is in many respects similar to oxiracetam, with oxiracetam being better for focus, and aniracetam being better for mood.


10. Noopept

Noopept for Memory

World's #1 selling nootropic (and for good reason)

Noopept is possibly the most popular nootropic on the market.

While it is not technically a racetam, it is very close and has a similar mechanism of action on ACh.

This supplement also increases Nerve Growth Factor and Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor.

These processes link to neuroplasticity, which is the brain’s ability to repair and grow new neurons.

Neuroplasticity is critical for encoding and storing new memories.

So, by increasing these aspects, noopept can significantly improve your overall memory abilities.

Many people swear by this potent nootropic, and for a good reason.


11. Alpha-GPC

Alpha GPC for Memory

Great source of choline that works well in nootropic stacks

Alpha GPC and citicoline are two nootropics that can help with memory by improving choline levels in the brain. Choline is a precursor for acetylcholine, which is critical to your memory system.

Basically, by ensuring you get enough choline through one of these supplements, you can keep your memory in top shape.

Taking care of your memory is especially crucial as you get older, and your acetylcholine production drops. Taking one of these nootropics can keep your brain humming smoothly into your later years.


12. Citicoline

Citicoline for memory

Supercharged source of choline for your brain

While Alpha GPC and Citicoline work in generally the same way, they do have a few key differences.

Citicoline is famous for potentiating other nootropics in your stack. Alpha GPC, on the other hand, may have a more stimulatory effect than citicoline.

Regardless of which you choose, they are both excellent for improving memory.20Canal N, et al. Effect of L-alpha-glyceryl-phosphorylcholine on amnesia caused by scopolamine, Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther Toxicol. 1991 21Spiers PA, Myers D, Hochanadel GS, Lieberman HR, Wurtman RJ. Citicoline improves verbal memory in aging, Arch Neurol. 1996 22Abad-Santos F, Novalbos-Reina J, Gallego-Sandín S, García AG. Treatment of mild cognitive impairment: the value of citicoline, Rev Neurol. 2002 23Fioravanti M, Yanagi M. Cytidinediphosphocholine (CDP-choline) for cognitive and behavioural disturbances associated with chronic cerebral disorders in the elderly, Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2005

They are especially useful when stacked with one of the above racetams because racetams can deplete your brain’s natural choline stores.

The racetam/choline combo is one of the most classic stacks in the nootropics world and can provide a ton of mental benefits.


13. Huperzine-A

Huperzine A for Memory

Traditional Chinese herb for improving cognition

Huperzine-A (Huperzia Serrata) is an all-natural herbal supplement for memory used in Southeast Asian medicine for centuries.

It has neuroprotective qualities and can protect your brain as it ages.

Huperzine-A improves memory by blocking acetylcholinesterase (AChE), which is the compound that breaks down acetylcholine (ACh), and increasing the amount of ACh overall that your brain can use for memory processes.24Huperzine-A capsules enhance memory and learning performance in 34 pairs of matched adolescent students, Zhongguo Yao Li Xue Bao. 1999

It is also a powerful antioxidant that can protect neurons from being damaged by free radicals, which can prevent cognitive degeneration long term.


Wrapping Up

While these supplements may help, we recommend consulting your physician for personalized medical advice.

Always seek a physician or other qualified healthcare provider’s advice with any questions regarding a medical condition.

Never disregard or delay seeking professional medical advice or treatment because of something you have read on the Holistic Nootropics website.

Something we missed? Is there a supplement or other strategy you are using to help increase memory? Let us know in the comments below!

About the author:

Erik Levi, FNTP

Erik Levi is a co-founder of HolisticNootropics.com and a certified holistic nutritional therapy practitioner.

As an NTP Erik takes a nutrition first approach to health. He has worked with many different people to help them use nutrition to optimize their quality of life.

Erik believes that mental health is a physiological process and cognitive enhancement is not something that can be achieved by just taking some pills with good Amazon reviews.

Instead, true cognitive enhancement comes with the right balance of nutrients, movement, and gratitude. Erik continues to stay up to date with the most current nootropic and holistic health research and promises to deliver the best solutions possible.

You can check out his personal health blog/podcast/YouTube Channel all under the name Holistic A-Hole.

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