The Best Nootropics 2020

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As you can see, Nootropic popularity is increasing every year. This trend is influenced by the growing population of self-aware individuals who want to improve themselves and look for whatever is out there that can make them more productive, energized, smarter.

The Nootropic industry is a multi-billion dollar industry as people buy these products. This only shows that nootropics do really work and more, and more people are interested in them.

What are Nootropics?

Nootropics are essentially synthetic or natural substances/drugs that increase the ability to focus, energy, memory, and learning.

The term Nootropics was coined by a Romanian psychologist and chemist called Corneliu E. Giurgea, who was the first to start the racetam family(a big group of nootropics) and synthesize Piracetam.

When he coined the term Nootropics he also wrote the characteristics a nootropic should have:

  • It should enhance learning and memory.
  • It should enhance the resistance of learned behaviors/memories to conditions that tend to disrupt them (e.g. electroconvulsive shock, hypoxia).
  • It should protect the brain against various physical or chemical injuries (e.g. barbiturates, scopolamine).
  • It should increase the efficacy of the tonic cortical/subcortical control mechanisms.
  • It should lack the usual pharmacology of other psychotropic drugs (e.g. sedation, motor stimulation) and possess only a few side effects and very low toxicity.

A nootropic doesn’t have to have all of the characteristics but can have only one.

Interest in nootropics was developed in the second world war by Russians wanting to increase solder stamina and mental abilities. They looked at plants like Schisandra Chinensis that the Nanai tribe used, to enhance night vision, reduce thirst, exhaustion and hunger, and started to test their own synthetically made drugs like Phenylpiracetam(potent nootropic from the racetam family) that the Soviet astronauts used as sort of tranquilizers.

9 Best Nootropics of 2020

This list of best nootropics of 2020 is based on the top reviews from people using the products and from the strongest scientific evidence. Each nootropic in this list represents the best nootropic in each of the 10 nootropic categories.

1. Lion’s mane mushroom

lion's mane mushroom nootropic

Lion’s mane mushroom is one of the best nootropics in the natural category. This mushroom is called the God mushroom because it contains two substances, Hericenones and erinacines, which have been found to induce NGF(Nerve Growth Factor) synthesis in nerve cells. This means that this mushroom has the capability to enhance synaptic plasticity, increase neurons in your brain, and restore damaged neurons.

Overall it enhances your focus, memory and mental clarity.

2. Pramiracetam

pramiracetam nootropic

Pramiracetam is a nootropic in the racetam family. It is known to be the most potent racetam in the racetam family, almost 30 times more potent than its predecessor piracetam.

A chemist named Parke-Davis discovered and developed this nootropic in the 1970s. Now it is used by people who have brain trauma for its neuroprotective effects and by students, who want to increase their alertness, expand learning capacity, by improving their memory.

3. Rhodiola Rosea

rhodiola rosea nootropic

Rhodiola Rosea is a nootropic in the adaptogen category. This nootropic stands above other adaptogens due to its potent ability to create equilibrium in the body, by effectively regulating physiological processes.

Since 1960, more than 180 pharmacological and clinical studies have been published, proving that R. Rosea improves recovery time, endurance, strength, cardiovascular measures, and coordination.

4. 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP)

5-HTP nootropic

5-HTP is the best nootropic in the serotogenic category. 5-HTP helps in the production of the so-called happiness hormone serotonin, which helps regulate mood, social behavior, sleep and memory.

Compared with other serotogenic, 5-HTP is the best one, due to its ability to cross the blood-brain barrier faster and converts into serotonin more efficiently.

5. L-tyrosine

L-tyrosine nootropic

L-tyrosine is in the amino acid group of nootropics. L-tyrosine serves as a building block for important neurotransmitters like dopamine, epinephrine and norepinephrine, which regulate your alertness, energy, memory and ability to focus.

L-tyrosine has earned its respect to be on this list for converting to multiple different important neurotransmitters and it is found in most of the bodybuilding supplements.

6. Alpha-GPC 

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Alpha-GPC takes place in the cholinergic category. Cholinergics help in the production of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which helps to improve memory, thinking skills, and learning.

Alpha-GPC compared with other choline supplements, crosses the blood-brain barrier faster and increases acetylcholine levels higher.

7. Vinpocetine

Vinpocetine nootropic

Vinpocetine a nootropic in the vasodilator category. Vinpocetine is a vasodilator, which means it relaxes blood vessel walls, enhancing blood flow to the brain. Providing the brain with more blood rich in oxygen enhances cognition, mood and memory, and has strong antioxidant properties.

8. Caffeine

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Caffeine takes place in the xanthines category of nootropics. Caffeine is one of the most popular nootropics out there, but people underestimate it, not knowing that it is a cognitive enhancer and stimulant. Caffeine acts by stimulating the CNS, increasing mental alertness, boosting energy levels.

Caffeine takes the place as one of the best nootropics of 2020 for its popularity that never ends and the proof that it works, by millions of people using it every day.

9. Amphetamine

Amphetamine nootropic

Amphetamine is located in the stimulant category of nootropics. Amphetamine acts by increasing alertness, inducing a state of euphoria and reducing tiredness. It is usually prescribed for people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

In 2016, it was the 45th most prescribed medication in the United States, with more than 17 million prescriptions.

Amphetamine is one of the strongest nootropics and constant dosing can lead to days without sleeping or even death, that is why it is a prescription drug.


Choosing the best nootropics will still be a subjective job because every human is different and the nootropic can influence them differently. You can’t judge until you have tried, but the nootropics on this list have and still work for most people, that is why they are on it.