Best Nootropics For Focus: Concentration Improving Smart Drugs

nootropics for focus

In this article, we’ll discuss some of the best nootropics for focus, concentration, and memory improvement; both natural and synthetic.


Nootropic is a derivation from the Greek words ‘noos’ meaning mind, and ‘trope’ meaning a turning, and this is precisely what a nootropic does. The ingestion of a nootropic in one form or another alters the state of consciousness, usually by enhancing memory power, cognitive skills, and the retention period of any information learned in a given time frame.

In other words, a nootropic ‘turns the state of a mind’ into a more attentive and competent one.

Best Nootropics For Focus

Nootropics can be synthetically produced, or naturally occurring. While organic nootropics require no prescription, they are far less potent and some are more expensive than the latter. The most popular, widely used, and easily obtainable synthetic and organic nootropics are listed below.

Natural Nootropics For Improving Focus

1. Caffeine

  • Caffeine, a ‘tabletop drug’ which is derived from the humble coffee bean and present in most synthetic and natural beverages is the most commonly consumed nootropic substance.
  • Caffeine operates as a nootropic by acting as a mild stimulant to our Central Nervous System, thereby maintaining energy levels, increasing wakefulness, and improving attention span.
  • The recommended dosage of caffeine that must be consumed to acquire the best results is typically 75 mg or lesser.
  • Caffeine is relatively inexpensive and readily accessible. However, the tendency to drink more than the recommended amount per day can cause overstimulation which nullifies its nootropic effects.
  • Excess caffeine can also disrupt sleep patterns and digestion, in addition to occasionally causing headaches.

2. Gingko Biloba

  • Gingko Biloba, commonly called Gingko, is a species of tree native to South-East Asia.
  • Extracts of the Gingko leaves can be made into either a supplement or can be added to tea. It is proven to reduce the stress hormone- cortisol, hence creating a relaxed state of mind that is more perceptive to new information.
  • The catch, however, is that some individuals are able to learn better under slightly stressful conditions, or when pegged against a deadline. Gingko Biloba is thus a very relative nootropic; It may or may not perform as expected, varying from person to person.
  • Some side effects of Gingko Biloba are disruptions in sleep patterns, headaches, and an occasional cases, allergic rashes.

Also Read: Best Nootropics For Managing Stress

3. Panax Ginseng

  • Ginseng is an Oriental medicine that was traditionally used to treat cognitive anomalies and Alzheimer’s in older adults. It is now taken as a supplement in the form of pills.
  • The key to getting optimum results from taking ginseng root is consistency. Ginseng contains the acids panaxadiol and panaxatriol, which are both found to increase memory in the long run. It also reduces fatigue and has anti-inflammatory effects.
  • The recommended dosage of Panax ginseng is 200-400 mg. Panax ginseng is also much more strong than its American counterpart.
  • A drawback of ginseng is that with repeated use, our body adapts to its effects and renders it useless. It causes somewhat of a placebo effect, making us question the authenticity of its effects in the first place.
  • Ginseng can cause insomnia, loss of appetite, digestive issues, and menstrual problems too.

4. Bacopa Monnieri

  • The use of Bacopa as traditional Ayurvedic medicine has consistently led to exceptional benefits. It was frequently used in several ancient Indian practices as a soother.
  • Bacopa is a weed commonly found in rice fields, with characteristic long leaves and purple flowers. The leaves are used as a nootropic, in tea or powder form.
  • Modern research has shown that it can be used to treat ADHD, insomnia, and enhance memory in a short term of usage.
  • Side effects include ulcers, thyroid issues, and certain inflammations in lung conditions like asthma.

Also Read: Asthma Symptoms

Synthetic Nootropics For Improving Focus

1. Modafinil

  • Originally used to treat narcolepsy, modafinil can now be used as a prescription nootropic for increasing focus, responsiveness, alertness, and maintains energy levels.
  • Modafinil maintains dopamine levels by blocking nerve receptors responsible for its absorption. This ensures that energy levels are significantly higher, as is the ability to focus.
  • The supplement, like most synthetic substances, has side effects, and those include intestinal issues, high levels of anxiety, and nervousness.

2. Amphetamines (Adderall)

  • Amphetamines like Adderall, are perhaps one of the most common synthetic medications that are used primarily to treat ADHD (attention deficit hyperactive disorder) and narcolepsy. They make the consumer feel awake and attentive to their surroundings.
  • Adderall is a CNS stimulant and it increases the concentration of dopamine and noradrenaline. Its effects can last up to 12 hours, depending on the dosage.
  • This prescription drug, however, is commonly abused on many educational campuses both for recreation and learning, which produces dangerous side effects.
  • Some fatal side effects include heart attacks when mixed with alcohol and too much sweating with high anxiety.

Also Read: Side Effects Of Adderall

3. Ritalin

  • Ritalin composes of synthetic chemicals from the methylphenidate group. Its effects are similar to that of Adderall’s with the exception that it contains no amphetamines.
  • The pill is found to improve short term memory, attention span, and increase the speed at which information is processed.
  • Again like Adderall, Ritalin can be fatal in excess or when abused. When consumed in high amounts, it can cause arrhythmia, hallucinations, and seizures.
  • Common side effects of Ritalin are insomnia, loss of appetite, and digestion issues.

4. Noopept

  • Noopept is a high functioning drug that can provide effects in a span of minutes and last up to several hours. It is commonly sold as pills.
  • Extensive animal research has shown that it increases the growth of brain cells and helps the brain retrieve pieces of information at a faster rate. Although its effects are focused majorly on increasing mental activity and memory boosts, the drug is more commonly used to treat brain injuries.
  • Its effects as a nootropic are as of yet, largely theoretical. While it does function as one, more research on its pending side effects is lacking, and hence is used only to treat brain injuries.


From the abundant research available to us, it can be concluded that natural and organically grown nootropics are probably a better option than the synthetic ones as they have lesser-known side effects, and do not have any lasting complications.

Synthetic or not, the use of nootropics amongst the younger generation of today, is on the rise and must be carefully monitored to reap maximum benefits, and minimize the consequences. If used responsibly, nootropics can help in significant advancements in the academic and scientific fields.

Research on their side effects and recommended dosage must go hand-in-hand with proper prescription enforcement along with steps to ensure that the abuse of synthetic nootropics can be reduced.


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