The 6 Best Nootropics For Memory
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 the most complex function of the human brain.
We use it each moment of our lives, and it ties into every other type of thought process.
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 we still do 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.
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.
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.
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.
But, 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, as well as 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.
Best Racetam For Learning And Memory
“Racetams” 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 racetams available. These include:
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.1Fordyce 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.2Bottini G, et al. Oxiracetam in dementia: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study, Acta Neurol Scand. 1992
Where to get Oxiracetam:
Aniracetam is another extremely popular racetam for memory. It has been around for a while and has clinically proven benefits for memory.3Sebastian 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.
Where to Get Aniracetam:
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.
Where to get Noopept:
Alpha GPC & Citicoline
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.
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.4Canal N, et al. Effect of L-alpha-glyceryl-phosphorylcholine on amnesia caused by scopolamine, Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther Toxicol. 1991 5Spiers PA, Myers D, Hochanadel GS, Lieberman HR, Wurtman RJ. Citicoline improves verbal memory in aging, Arch Neurol. 1996 6Abad-Santos F, Novalbos-Reina J, Gallego-Sandín S, García AG. Treatment of mild cognitive impairment: the value of citicoline, Rev Neurol. 2002 7Fioravanti 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.
Where to Get Citicoline:
Where to Get Alpha GPC:
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.8Huperzine-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.
Where to Get Huperzine A:
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.
Where to Get Bacopa Monnieri:
While these supplements may help, we recommend consulting your physician for personalized medical advice.
Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified healthcare provider 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 you are using to help increase memory? Let us know in the comments below!
About the author:
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.