Struggling to focus? Don't worry, everyone has times in their life when focus is hard. There are so many distractions, things on our minds or sometimes we're just plain tired. It's not surprising that there are times when we find it harder to focus. The best solution would probably be to take a couple of weeks off and catch up on sleep, while chillin' on a beach somewhere hot. Sadly, life's not like that. The world keeps turning, deadlines still have to be met and we need top get back to maximum focus, STAT.
In this post we're going to dive into the best nootropics to help you get your head back in the game.
How to Choose the Best Nootropics for Focus
It's important to know what causes attention deficit and lack of focus. Brain activity is affected by four important neurotransmitters/neuromodulators. These are:
When you're regularly working on complex tasks, your body uses more glutamine than it produces. This means it's important to replenish your glutamine supply.
Dopamine is responsible for cognition, behavior and emotion. A drop in Dopamine affects your neural activity. Causing issues with concentrating on challenging tasks. Therefore, a nootropic compound which encourages more Dopamine production will help you focus on the tasks ahead.
Mental flexibility relies on Norepinephrine. Low levels of Norepinephrine will cause a significant decline in your ability to plan and execute. So you want a norepinephrine-boosting nootropic to combat this.
Acetylcholine cells are directly involved in almost every task your brain function. In particular, Acetylcholine acts through muscarinic and nicotinic receptors to improve your ability to pay attention. Adding choline-rich dietary supplements can help to restore your ACh levels.
The Best Nootropics For Focus
Let's look at some of the nootropics that can help get your peak focus back.
1. Pyrroloquinoline Quinone (PQQ)
One of the easiest ways to boost glutamine levels in the body is by using Pyrroloquinoline Quinone or PQQ. A small amount of PQQ really helps your neurotransmitter levels to remain balanced, replenishing the glutamine expended when we are doing demanding tasks.
PQQ is also responsible for better mitochondrial function as it promotes the production of ATP (cellular energy). ATP boosts your metabolism, which is great as a lazy metabolism can contribute to difficulties with concentration.
2. Alpha GPC
Acetylcholine is a very important component of efficient neurotransmission. Alpha GPC is rich in choline, which directly boosts acetylcholine levels in the brain, boosting attention and concentration. Unlike generic CDP Choline supplements, Alpha GPC can cross the blood-brain barrier. This means the effects are more subtle and felt faster.
Alpha GPC also helps with neuroprotection. It protects your brain and nerve cells which prevents memory loss. It's also very important for good mental endurance.
Noopept stimulates your D2 and D3 dopamine and acetylcholine nicotinic receptors. It's important that these receptors function well for you to feel productive and attentive. It also prevents your body producing too much Glutamate, which can lead to excitotoxin which causes cellular damage. Noopept unblocks your brain meaning it can operate at full strength.
4. Huperzine A
This super powerful supplement boosts acetylcholine levels in the brain, which supports long-term overall brain health. Hup-A is an adaptogen. Typically around 200mcg is all it would take to restore normal levels. In addition to the short-term benefits. It cushions the brain from shocks and prevents cognitive decline.
Huperzine-A is an inhibitor of acetylcholinesterase (AChEI). AChEI reduces nerve cell communications in your body. So, Huperzine-A reduces AChEI and helps improve long-term potentiation.
5. N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine
Catecholamine conversion is a process which breaks down Tyrosine (an amino acid) into norepinephrine and dopamine, which are both important for focus and concentration. N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine fuels the catecholamine conversion process.
6. Caffeine + L-Theanine
Caffeine boosts dopamine levels in the brain, which is why so many people love it! However, coffee drinkers have probably all felt jittery and like they must have a coffee to get through the day. This is where L-theanine comes in. L-theanine is an amino acid, typically found in green tea leaves. It works on both alpha and beta brainwaves, making them more stable. This is why it's great to stack with Caffeine; it removes the negative side-effects of caffeine and promotes relaxed alertness.
7. Rhodiola Rosea
Rhodiola Rosea is a herb, with adaptogenic roots. It's grown in the mountainous regions of Europe and Asia and improves your ability to cope with stress and anxiety. It improves the quality of your sleep, which is vital for optimal brain function.
It's commonly used by military cadets who are required to perform night-time duties. A study of cadets who took up to 555mg of Rhodiola showed they experienced a significant improvement in their capacity to carry out mental tasks. In another study, students who took the supplement for 20 days reported increases in their motivation to study and reductions in mental fatigue.
This naturally occurring nootropic, improves both short-term and long-term memory functions. It supports phospholipid synthesis; an important part of the growth of healthy cell membranes.
Healthy cell membranes reduce the risk of premature brain cell death. You also increase your supply of the cells needed to form RNA.
Uridine elevates dopamine, which improves neural activity and streamlines the brain functions necessary for optimal performance.
Citicoline is an advanced form of CDP choline. Similar to Alpha GPC, it can penetrate the blood-brain barrier. Since ACh are found throughout the brain, supplementing with Citicoline makes sense.
This is a water-soluble supplement, which is easily absorbed into the bloodstream. It has a bioavailability of around 90%, making it a reliable option for mental health.
If Citicoline is too pricey, you could try stacking Uridine and CDP Choline. This stack would yield similar effects.
Citicoline stimulates the production of new dopamine receptors. While do so, it activates D1 and D2 receptors, which helps to prevent dopamine burnouts. Focus and mood improves. This makes it a great ‘productivity' nootropic.
Moda is an eugeroic. It promotes wakefulness, but without causing any jitters or withdrawal symptoms that you would experience with a stimulant.
When you increase your Dopamine levels by taking supplements, you body can start to lose it's ability to produce it naturally. Which can then lead to addiction. Modafinil is non addictive, so it's considered safe.
However, this pill remains illegal to use or sell over-the-counter. This is because, even though it’s safe, it can lead to life-threatening conditions if misused – for example, when taken with alcohol.
As you would struggle to get Modafinil over-the-counter, you could use Adrafinil instead. Again it's an eugeroic and it's actually a precursor of Modafinil. So, it converts to Moda when you swallow it.
Like Moda, it boosts your ability to focus. By enhancing your brain’s ability to produce dopamine. It’s not addictive and is generally regarded as safe to use.
You do need to take more of it than you would of Modafinil. Around 10 x more! It forces your liver to work a bit harder, so you might notice smelly wee.
L-Glutamine is an important part of healthy brain function. As I mentioned earlier your brain naturally runs out of Glutamine when you handle mentally demanding tasks. L-Glutamine boosts your glutamine levels in the brain and increases the production of GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid) is used in the management of ADHD.
GABA also helps improve mood and relieve anxiety. When you supplement L-Glutamine, you'll get a few short-term and long-term benefits related to your ability to focus.
Summary – The Best Nootropics for Focus
|PQQ||Natural||10-20 mg||Check Price|
|Alpha GPC||Natural||250-600 mg||Check Price|
|Noopept||Synthetic||10-20 mg||Check Price|
|Huperzine A||Natural||50-200 mg||Check Price|
|N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine||Natural||120-600 mg||Check Price|
|Caffeine + L-Theanine||Natural||100-200 mg||Check Caffeine Price|
|Rhodiola Rosea||Natural||50-680 mg||Check Price|
|Uridine||Natural||150-200 mg||Check Price|
|Citicoline||Natural||250-1000 mg||Check Price|
|Modafinil||Synthetic||50-200 mg||Check Price|
|Adrafinil||Synthetic||150-600 mg||Check Price|
|L-Glutamine||Natural||5-45 g||Check Price|
Best Nootropics for Focus – Conclusion
To figure out which are the best nootropics for focus for you specifically, you can choose a nootropic from our list to get started with. Or you could start to create your own stack.
The other option is to pick a pre-made stack, which works to improve focus. For example, the Mental Performance stack from Natural Stacks.
This stack of CILTEP, Dopamine Brain Food, MagTech and Smart Caffeine help you think faster, improves memory and mental drive and boosts cognitive energy.
So, these are what we consider to be the best nootropics for focus. Which is your favorite nootropic for optimal focus? Share in the comments.