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The Best Nootropics for Memory
Whether you’re suffering from memory loss or simply searching for effective cognitive-enhancing drugs, there are several memory supplements you can consume to enhance your memory, improve your learning and overall cognitive functioning. These brain health supplements are also known as nootropics or ‘smart drugs’ which work in different ways to increase your focus, creativity, motivation, alertness, and memory. In this guide, we review the best nootropics for memory to prevent memory loss and cognitive decline, including noopept, oxiracetam, and alpha GPC.
Nootropics for Memory
Noopept is a nootropic, originally created in Russia. This potent nootropic is classified as an ampakine which regulates neurotransmitters, especially glutamate, in the brain. Noopept is initially absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract, crossing the blood-brain barrier in a very short period of time. Once it arrives in the brain, noopept binds to glutamate to enable it to move more efficiently. When glutamate is increased, cognitive functioning is boosted.
Noopept allows you to process information faster, as well as improving your recall and memory. Due to its potency, noopept is able to work fast, even with a small dose. The suggested daily dose of noopept is between 10 to 30mg taken several times each day, such as 10mg taken three times daily. It’s best to take noopept with food due to it being fat-soluble.
Alpha-GPC is one of the most popular cognitive enhancing drugs. Alpha-GPC appears to boost a chemical named acetylcholine. This chemical is found in the brain, helping to enhance memory and learning. Alpha-GPC occurs naturally in many food sources, including red meat and eggs. However, the levels of Alpha-GPC in food is much less than supplementation and it’s unlikely to make a significant difference to memory or brain cognition.
The suggested dose of Alpha-GPC is around 300 to 600mg daily, but if you want to improve your memory, a dosage of 1200mg daily is recommended. This can be split into doses of 400mg consumed three times per day.
Oxiracetam works in a similar way to noopept. Oxiracetam works by stimulating acetylcholine production, as well as helping to increase glutamate. In a clinical study of 60 elderly adults with cognitive decline, consuming 400 to 2400mg reduced decreasing cognition, while oxiracetam proved to be more effective than piracetam in improving memory.1
The suggested dose for oxiracetam is between 800 to 2400mg – if you’re new to this nootropic for memory enhancement, it’s best to start with a low dose and gradually build up.
CDP choline helps to increase acetylcholine for memory enhancement. Additionally, CDP-Choline enhances blood circulation to the brain, as well as synthesizing phosphatidylcholine. In clinical studies, CDP-choline has been shown to boost memory in recall tasks. In a study on elderly people, CDP-Choline was shown to enhance verbal memory functioning in those with memory inefficiency.2
The suggested dosage of CDP-Choline is 500mg to 2g each day, but higher doses have been given to those experiencing cognitive decline.
Huperzine A is another excellent nootropic drug for memory enhancement. Huperzine A increases acetylcholine levels by preventing the breakdown of it. Huperzine A is commonly used to treat Alzheimer’s disease and memory impairment linked to aging. This nootropic is made from firmoss extract, a plant found in Southeast Asia and India. Studies have shown that Huperzine A offers neuroprotective effects, such as protecting from oxidative damage.3 Additionally, it has been found to aid cognitive impairment in mice.4
The recommended dosage of Huperzine A is between 30 to 200mcg twice per day. Students who wish to improve their memory for increased learning should consume a dose of 100mcg twice daily.
While adrafinil is commonly used for alertness and to stay awake, it’s also beneficial for improving your memory. Adrafinil converts to modafinil in the body, helping to stimulate the brain without causing hyperactivity. In a study of 40 military personnel, research found that adrafinil could be used to stay alert and enhance mental capacity via working memory.5
Doses of adrafinil for beginners should be around 150mg to 300mg daily. You can gradually increase your dose to 600mg to 1200mg per day.
L-Phenylalanine is an amino acid which is converted into L-Tyrosine, followed by L-DOPA in the body. L-Phenylalanine enhances dopamine and norepinephrine levels to increase memory, motivation, and attention. It’s also been used to treat ADHD and depression. Japanese research has found that variations in Phenylalanine hydroxylase (the enzyme which converts L-Phenylalanine into L-Tyrosine), as well as variations with single nucleotide polymorphisms of Phenylalanine hydroxylase have an effect on verbal memory.6
The recommended dose for improved cognitive functioning is 500mg three times per day.
Pramiracetam is part of the racetam family of nootropics. Pramiracetam increases acetylcholine to improve cognition. In clinical research, pramiracetam has been found to improve memory. In a study of 35 elderly adults suffering from memory loss, pramiracetam consumption showed a higher level of memory improvement than those receiving memory training or neither.7
Another study on young men with brain injury, found that short and long-term memory was enhanced with pramiracetam consumption. Even when pramiracetam treatment ended, memory enhancement lasted another month.8
In a study on rats, pramiracetam consumption was found to enhance long-term memory and overall learning ability.9
A dosage of 1200mg of pramiracetam per day is effective – this can be split into doses of 400mg taken three times per day.
The best nootropics for memory will depend on your personal preferences. All these nootropics are highly effective for memory enhancement, whether you’re aiming to prevent memory loss or simply searching for the best brain supplements. These cognitive enhancing drugs are best used by their recommended dosage for optimal effects. You can also stack one or more nootropics together for maximum effects on memory enhancement. Take a look at our guide on nootropic stacks to see how to safely combine your nootropics.
- Spiers, P., Myers, D., Hochanadel, G., Lieberman, H., & Wurtman, R. (1996). Citicoline improves verbal memory in aging. Arch Neurol., 53(5):441-8.