Focus – it’s something many of us are lacking. Our brain isn’t made for the distractions we experience every day.
If you’re having trouble staying focused on your studies, chances are you won’t achieve the goals you set for yourself.
The following nootropics (aka, brain supplements) might help.
They’re completely natural, safe and provide long-term cognitive boost without the side effects of stimulants.
Choline is a molecule closely related to the B vitamin family. It is found in some foods, mainly animal sources like chicken, liver and eggs.
CDP-Choline (or Citicoline) is a form of choline. The ‘CDP’ part makes it particularly effective at crossing the blood brain barrier.
Once in the brain, choline exerts numerous benefits. The most important one in the context of studying is that it enhances levels of a neurotransmitter ‘acetylcholine’ which governs your cognitive functions, such as an ability to stay focused on a task.
Another crucial benefit of CDP choline is that it increases mental energy. Not in the same way as caffeine, as it’s not a stimulant. It’s a clearer and longer-lasting kind of energy. 
You’ll find different forms of choline on the market, however, CDP-Choline is by far the most effective one for increasing focus. Other forms of choline – such as bitartrate – are much cheaper, but they don’t cross your blood-brain barrier that well.
Alpha GPC is another popular form of choline. Although similar to CDP-choline in terms of effects, it’s inferior in one key area – Alpha GPC only provides choline, whereas CDP-Choline provides both choline and uridine, a mononucleotide that influences many processes in your body but is especially crucial for brain function and can help erase brain fog.
TIP: Look for a supplement that contains around 250mg of CDP-Choline, which is the ideal amount for starters.
Phosphatidylserine is a fat highly abundant in your brain cell membranes. It governs their function, permeability, fluidity and lots more. When your PS levels decline (stress, unhealthy lifestyle, age, toxins etc.) so does your ability to stay focused on the task.
Supplementing PS has been shown to relieve symptoms of irritability, low concentration, and poor alertness. You might notice a boost in mental clarity when you start to supplement it. You might be able to start studying for longer without getting distracted. 
Aim for around 100mg of Phosphatidylserine, taken daily with a meal for optimal benefits. Keep in mind, it might take a few weeks for you to notice the effects of PS kicking in as it starts working on your outer brain cell membranes. If you take it only a day or two before an exam, it won’t work!
3. Lion’s Mane Mushroom
Lion’s Mane is quite an intriguing mushroom. Not just because of its neat looks but also due to being the only known ‘nootropic’ mushroom. Nootropic meaning, it influences our brain health in a positive way.
Studies have shown that Lion’s Mane has the ability to regenerate brain cells. Not only was it shown to repair the nerves of disabled rats enabling them to walk again, but it’s also suggested to alleviate depression and more notably in this case – brain fog.
In other words, Lion’s Mane Mushroom has the potential to allow you to study more efficiently, remember things better, and have better overall mental clarity.
L-Tyrosine is a small amino acid used by your brain to make dopamine and other chemicals that govern your focus, mood, and executive function.
What’s interesting about L-Tyrosine, is that when it gets depleted, you start to experience symptoms of brain fog, mental fatigue, and ‘burnout’. When L-Tyrosine supply is low, so is your brain’s dopamine production – and consequently, your focus.
Supplementing L-Tyrosine has been shown to be especially powerful during stressful and demanding scenarios. Such as getting ready for an important exam that’s due soon.
When our brain is under stress, the catecholamine neurotransmitters like dopamine get drained quickly. L-Tyrosine helps prevent these dips, keeping your cognitive function higher for longer.
Although it’s 4th on this list, it’s the one that you’ll be feeling the soonest – within about 40 minutes of ingestion.
L-Theanine is another amino acid molecule. Unlike its cousin L-Tyrosine, it’s more rare – being only found in some species of mushrooms and green tea.
It has cool unique effects as well. L-Theanine is known to increase your alpha brain waves, which are linked to benefits such as:
- Improved focus
- Lessened anxiety and stress
- Enhanced calm and relaxation
In essence, L-Theanine makes you less jittery and anxious, and helps you focus better on what you’re currently studying.
It’s especially powerful when paired with caffeine – canceling the negative effects of the drug (insomnia, energy crashes, jitters) while enhancing its positives (mood, focus, and clarity).
Best Overall: Mind Lab Pro
The focus supplements for college students you’ve seen above all have their own individual benefits.
But if you want a multi-pronged approach to boosting focus and cognitive function overall, then you’ll want to look into brain supplements made by professionals.
Mind Lab Pro combines 11 bioactive, highly studied, natural ingredients that enhance several neuropathways for complete cognitive performance.
The L-Tyrosine in Mind Lab Pro boosts your focus and cognition under stress – keeping you cool when things get hot.
CDP-Choline is drafted in to increase brain energy and improve memory retention. And Lion’s Mane Mushroom helps improve long-term brain plasticity and function for long-term student success.
Mind Lab Pro is currently the most comprehensive brain formula on the market. It’s also one of the best – if not the best – focus supplements for college students. You can read my full Mind Lab Pro Review by following the link below.
- Silveri MM, Dikan J, Ross AJ, et al. Citicoline enhances frontal lobe bioenergetics as measured by phosphorus magnetic resonance spectroscopy. NMR Biomed. 2008;21(10):1066-1075. doi:10.1002/nbm.1281
- Kim HY, Huang BX, Spector AA. Phosphatidylserine in the brain: metabolism and function. Prog Lipid Res. 2014;56:1-18. doi:10.1016/j.plipres.2014.06.002