The focus for health and wellness has shifted over the last couple of years and although physical health is still high on the agenda for most people, mental wellbeing is starting to come in to focus more and more. Getting quality sleep, reducing anxiety and improving cognitive functioning are now all firmly on the radar of those who want to perform at their best and keep their bodies and minds in tip top condition.
Meditation, regular sleep patterns, a balanced lifestyle and good hydration are all natural ways in which you can improve your mental wellbeing but many people want to go further and for that there is nootropics. The term nootropics stems from the Ancient Greek language and translates to ‘mind’ ‘a turning’. Nootropic supplements are now widely available and are generally designed to improve cognitive functions such as focus, support positive mood and provide a feeling of being more energised.
The best nootropics have all natural ingredient profiles but all will have slightly different stacks and so it is worth considering what you want to gain from a nootropic supplement and how a product aligns with that aim. We have compiled what we believe to be the best nootropics available in the UK and will showcase these below, but first, let’s take a look at some of the common questions around brain health supplements.
What Do Nootropics Do?
To put it simply, Nootropics aid healthy brain functioning and in particular can help with focus, creativity, memory and motivation. They utilise natural and synthetic ingredients to improve the performance of pathways in the brain that promote these desired effects. We would advocate 100% natural nootropics as opposed to synthetic and natural combinations and all of our suggestions here have natural profiles.
There are hundreds of studies that argue for the performance of nootropics and they are often used by people looking to improve their cognitive functions for work or learning purposes as well as video gamers and gym goers.
Do Nootropics Have Side Effects?
The Nootropic supplements we tested are all natural and as such they do not come with any warnings around side effects. As with any supplement you should ensure you do not exceed the specified dosage and if in doubt you should consult your GP. Some people complain of ‘the jitters’ if they have too much caffeine or if they take caffeine and other stimulants. Most nootropics will balance out the impact of stimulants with herbal energy enhancers such as ginkgo biloba and bacopa monnieri as well as amino acids.
Which Ingredients Should I look For In Nootropics?
There are many variations of ingredient stacks and all cater to a slightly different impact on the brain.
Some of the key ingredients to look out for include:
Bacopa Monnieri: Grown in tropical conditions, this plant is found in ancient Ayurvedic medicine and has been used for hundreds of years as a way of improving memory and reducing anxiety. Bacopa Monnieri needs to be taken consistently to produce results so don’t expect instant improvement as a result of taking it but do look for this in your nootropic and ideally at levels of 300mg or more per serving.
Ginkgo Biloba: The jury is out on Ginkgo Biloba in terms of clinical studies and although results in these studies have been inconsistent there is enough of a body of evidence to suggest that this herbal supplement can have a positive impact on focus and memory. It has been linked to improved thinking skills in healthy middle aged people and is 100% natural. Certainly a worthy addition to your ingredient stack.
Caffeine: This one needs little introduction and is the most widely used brain stimulant in the world with billions of people taking it daily in tea and coffee. Too much of it can lead to the dreaded ‘jitters’ but doses of 100mg-200mg should be fine especially when balanced with other calming ingredients such as L-Theanine. It is not vital to have caffeine in your nootropics and there are more and more caffeine free nootropics coming on the market nowadays that use other natural ingredients to create similar cognitive benefits that would be associated with caffeine.
L-Theanine: A calming amino acid that is found naturally in tea but is limited in our diet unless taken through supplementation. It works perfectly with caffeine as it helps to create a balanced effect but is also widely regarded as being able to reduce anxiety and stress. A 100-200mg serving is considered optimal in boosting cognitive functioning.
7 Best Nootropics In The UK
Now we have a good understanding of what to look for, let’s take a look at the best Nootropics available in the UK.
NooCube is a caffeine free nootropic supplement that is made up of completely natural ingredients – all of which are scientifically backed to have a positive impact on brain functions. NooCube promises to improve a range of cognitive functions including concentration, mental energy, memory and overall functioning.
NooCube is not the cheapest nootropic supplement available but it does have an excellent ingredient stack with Alpha GPC, Huperzine A, Cat’s Claw, Bacopa Monnieri, Oat Straw, L-theanine and L-tyrosine all making the cut. NooCube state that you get all the benefits of caffeine but with the added benefit of productivity that you don’t always get with caffeine. The lack of caffeine also means there is no chance of the dreaded jitters.
Each bottle contains 60 capsules which will last one month and they have some excellent offers on such as buy 3 bottles get 3 free which gives some excellent savings overall. Shipping is free and they deliver to the UK quickly.
All NooCube ingredients are scientifically certified and clinically backed meaning they are safe to consume and you should expect no side effects. Through testing we found that we had an improved concentration and focus and the feeling of greater mental energy was apparent after just 30 minutes of taking our first capsule.
If you are looking for a good all-rounder that doesn’t contain caffeine and is safe to take daily then NooCube is an excellent option.
Hunter are one of our favourite supplement providers in the UK thanks to a small but high quality product range. They focus all of their attention on just three supplements, with their nootropic supplement ‘Hunter Focus’ being one of them. Hunter Focus is designed for everyday use and it has been targeted at aspirational men aged 30 and over – although it can be used by anyone over the age of 18. It has one of the best ingredient stacks we have seen and they have some excellent offers when you buy in bulk. Although this is not a cheap nootropic supplement, it does offer excellent value for money when you look at the 3 and 4 month supply packages.
Hunter Focus contains 9 completely natural ingredients that all have a different aim in terms of improving your cognitive functions. They break these ingredients down in to three sections, they are:
The Memory Matrix – Lion’s Mane Mushroom, Maritime Pine Bark and Bacopa Monnieri are all included to provide improved memory performance.
Mood Amplification – Phosphatid-ylserine, Ashwagandha and Passion Flower are all added to Hunter Focus to provide you with a calm and positive frame of mind. These three ingredients combine to provide you with a sustained positive mindset through the day.
Concentration Activation – When you are looking to perform at your best it is often that extra 1% that makes the difference and the combination of Citiclone, N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine and L-Theanine are all designed to aid concentration and give you that extra 1% than even the next best nootropic when it comes to focus.
Everything that goes in to Hunter Focus is natural and there are no synthetic additives or proprietary blends – which means Hunter are completely open and transparent about what goes in to their product. It is manufactured in the UK and the USA and is fully FDA compliant so you know what you are taking is safe. For us, Hunter Focus is the best nootropic supplement available in the UK today and if you are looking for an everyday nootropic that will give you the best cognitive functions over a sustained period of time without any comedown then this is it – ideal for work and play.
Relax By Innermost
Not all nootropics are about having laser focus and being super concentrated. In fact, there is an ever growing move towards using nootropics to aid recovery and to improve ones overall wellbeing. The Relax Capsules by Innermost fall firmly in to this category and are an ideal choice for anyone who is looking to relieve anxiety and to improve their overall quality of sleep – something that is absolutely key to improving recovery.
Innermost very generously sent us two bottles of their capsules to try and so we did. Taking 2 capsules each evening before bed, the idea of this stack is that it helps you to relax, which in turn can have no end of advantageous side effects – including feeling better rested, promoting lean muscle growth and a better overall sense of wellbeing.
The Relax Capsules are completely vegan friendly and contain a natural ingredient stack that compares well to some of the other nootropics listed on this page. Of course, the focus here is very much on relaxation and helping to regulate your sleep pattern but the benefits are felt each and every day as a result of such well rested sleep. Each capsule includes 350mg of Lions Mane Mushroom, 200mg of Ashwagandha, 100mg of Valerian Root, 250mg of L-Glycine, 100mg of L-Theanine and 100mg of 5-HTP which is an amino acid naturally produced by the body that aids weight regulation and helps increase serotonin levels.
After just one week of taking these nootropic supplements we could tell the difference. We really tried to keep our usual bedtime routine the same, so minimal screen time before going to sleep and not eating too close to bed – and what we thought was an already pretty solid pre-sleep routine seemed to be made all the better thanks to the Relax Capsules. After the first week and beyond we had stronger recoveries (evidenced by our Whoop Band stats), lower resting heart rate during sleep and just felt much more energetic the following day.
For anyone looking to improve their sleep and reduce their anxiety levels then Relax by Innermost is a great investment to make.
London Nootropics offer something completely different to any of the other products on this list and that is because their nootropics come in the form of a coffee blend as opposed to being a pill that you swallow. They have researched and found the highest quality natural nootropics & adaptogens from around the world and created three adaptogenic coffee blends, each of which has a slightly different focus to the next. You can drink them on a daily basis if you wish and they are made from natural & powerful nootropic and adaptogenic ingredients such as Lions Mane (a mushroom known as Hericium Erinaceus), Rhodiola Rosea and Siberian Ginseng.
We tested out all three flavours of coffee that they offer and found all three to have positive effects that you would associate with fast acting nootropics. The three flavours they offer are:
Grind Coffee – Their standard blend is aimed at providing mental clarity and focus and a positive impact on short and long term memory functions. This is a great tasting blend with Lion’s mane mushroom & Rhodiola and you can drink it as you would normally take your coffee; either with milk or black.
Zen Coffee – This blend combines the alertness and focus you get with the coffee grind but also has a calming impact. It has a natural ingredient profile that includes organic ashwagandha root extract as well as water soluble CBD from organic hemp. It also tastes great!
Mojo Coffee – The Mojo blend is designed around endurance and vitality and it achieves this with organic cordyceps mushroom extract and Siberian ginseng. Cordyceps is a strong antioxidant and works wonders at increasing blood flow – it’s known to increase your aerobic capacity and oxygen flow to your body and brain, to help give you a natural boost – especially great when feeling fatigued or before a workout.
Each of the three flavours come in their own sachet and you just need to add hot water (and milk if you wish) to take it. This makes it incredibly convenient and if you are a coffee lover then why not get the added cognitive benefits of these natural blends at the same time as taking your morning or afternoon coffee break.
Each coffee works out to less than you would pay for a Starbucks and offers incredible value for money as well as positive brain-stimulating effects. All blends are available in different sized boxes and you can buy a mixed box to find your perfect blend. They are manufactured and sold in the UK and are a great way to start off with nootropics if you have not tried them before and if you are a coffee lover.
Brainzyme Focus Pro
Brainzyme is a well known UK made nootropic that has been featured in major publications such as The Times, Forbes and Trail Running Magazine. It is 100% natural, completely plant based and improves focus, energy, mood and memory. There are three main product lines that they sell but we are focusing on the middle of the range product which is the Brainzyme Focus Pro – this has the perfect blend of key ingredients but without being overly expensive and really gives those cognitive processes a kickstart.
There is an impressive 19 ingredient profile found in the Focus Pro and this includes Ginkgo Biloba, Guarana seed, L-Tyrosine, Matcha Green Tea Blend (which contains L-Theanine), Maca root as well as Zinc, Vitamin C and Vitamin B12. The all natural ingredients found in Brainzyme Focus Pro really are about as good as it gets if you want to stay caffeine free and completely natural and vegan friendly.
You will feel the impact of taking your first capsule after just 30 minutes as you become more focused and attentive to the task at hand. This feeling lasts up to 8 hours and you should take 2 capsules each day to give all day focus.
Brainzyme have some excellent bulk package deals and a 6 month supply can be enjoyed with a £30 discount at the time of writing which makes this very affordable considering the nootropic stack you are getting.
UK shipping is free for all orders of £5 and over and as a UK based company and with all aspects of this supplement being safe to consume it is well worth a try.
Bulk Powders Complete Nootropic
Bulk Powders have created an affordable nootropic with an excellent ingredient profile with their Complete Nootropic product. It is the only nootropic to make our list that contains caffeine and a full dose gives a whopping 200mg which means this can also be used effectively as a pre-workout supplement. It is much more than that though with an ingredient profile that promises a real focus and concentration boost.
There are 17 ingredients to be found in Bulk Powders Complete Nootropic, some of which include caffeine (200mg), Ginkgo Biloba (600mg), Panax Ginseng (400mg), L-Theanine (200mg), N-Acetyl L Tyrosine (500mg) as well as Vitamin B12, B6, B5 and Zinc. This really does live up to the name as it offers a really complete nootropic stack that makes it an excellent all rounder.
With Complete Nootropic you will feel the benefits within 30 minutes of taking 6 capsules (yes 6 is the standard dose) and that starts with alertness and focus. This feeling of concentration lasts throughout the day and this supplement can either be taken daily or as and when required.
If you are looking for a good all round boost for your brain or want a little more from your pre-workout supplement then this is an excellent option that is also very affordable.
Neurostim is another vegan nootropic supplement that has a slightly different ingredient profile to some of the others we tested. That being said, we had good results when using Neurostim and as such it comes highly recommended. The all-natural plant based ingredients include Lions Mane Mushroom, Ginkgoserine, Mangifera Indica, Bacopa Monnieri extract, Centella Asiatica and Saffron extract.
We found the impact of taking this supplement was felt within 45-60 minutes of taking it but the effects lasted all day with a calm but focused feeling. This certainly is not a supplement that has you on edge or overly stimulated but it does provide a good sense of productivity when applying yourself to tasks.
The 6 month package provides the best value and cost wise it is in line with the other nootropics we tested.