Lack of motivation, poor focus, slow thinking, and spotty memory… The inability to think clearly can impair all aspects of mental performance.
Best nootropics for clear thinking, such as Rhodiola Rosea, Citicoline, and Lion’s Mane Mushroom work by boosting communication between your brain cells, along with improving mitochondrial function – leading to revitalized cognitive performance.
In this guide, we’ll discuss how certain nootropics can help you regain mental clarity when brain fog has set in.
How Brain Fog Impairs Your Inability to Think
Brain fog relates to a state of reduced mental function typically characterized by mild, and often transient impairment to your processing speed, focus, memory, and other cognitive functions.
Also called burnout or ‘mental fatigue,’ this condition often manifests as confusion, sudden inability to focus, and poor memory. Its severity can range from irritating to completely disabling.
Brain fog can hinder your cognition and productivity to ranging degrees, and it’s not hard to become annoyed by it. You might experience it just here and there due to lifestyle choices, but if the fogginess continues to occur frequently then it’s time to make some changes.
Brain Fog Symptoms
Here’s a scenario… You’ve worked hard on an important presentation for a long time now. It’s due soon. You’re ready and fired up. As you sit down to make up the final touches – your brain goes blank.
You struggle to write the right words. You’ve done this 100 times before, but you can’t focus. It feels like what you’re looking for is beyond your grasp, behind a thick layer of fog. The more you try to concentrate the more frustrated you are. What’s happening?
You’ve likely been hit by a sudden episode of brain fog.
A slow, gradual decline in mental functions, especially memory, is thought to be a normal part of aging. But brain fog is not normal, and it can be a sign of a serious underlying issue. Brain fog can manifest as a result of other disorders, such as ADD or ADHD.
The biggest difference between having brain fog and having a cognitive disorder is that brain fog comes and goes, while disorders are typically persistent and recurring.
The symptoms of brain fog are different for each person but might include:
- Trouble with orientation
- Can’t recall words
- Impaired working memory
- Inability to focus
- Can’t seem to learn new information
- Low or irritated mood
Some people claim that when brain fog sets in, they feel “dizzy, light headed, and ‘cloudy’.” It’s important that you talk with your doctor if you suspect or have a medical condition, before taking any new supplement.
That said, let’s look at the best nootropics for clear thinking that help to eliminate brain fog from your life.
When it comes to brain health, Citicoline is one of the best all-rounders. Supported by numerous clinical trials, Citicoline boosts brain energy by protecting neurons from free radical damage and enhancing cerebral blood flow. So powerful is this nootropic that it’s used to help cognitive function impaired by neurological conditions or trauma.
Citicoline works by increasing your acetylcholine brain levels. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that regulates our learning and memory. What’s more, Citicoline contains CDP choline, an active part of phosphatidylcholine, a compound that protects your brain cell membranes, preserves memory, and facilitates neuron signaling.
In one study, Cognizin Citicoline was shown to offset mental fatigue by boosting activity in the frontal lobe. (1)
However, you don’t want to take too much CDP choline, as that can cause brain fog, ironically. The study from above showed that lower doses of choline work better. Supplements such as Mind Lab Pro and Performance Lab Mind contain the precise amount of Citicoline to boost mental energy without overdoing it.
2. B Vitamins
B vitamins such as vitamin B9, works to enhance brain cell function and protects from free radicals and other factors that can damage brain cells and their communication.
Studies show that vitamins B9 and B12 in combination can improve memory and protect brain by reducing levels of homocysteine – an amino acid that can contribute to chronic mental fatigue and brain fog. (2)
Did you know? Studies suggest that higher intakes of vitamins A and C seem to boost cognitive function in people with brain fog. This is suggested to be due to the antioxidant activity of these vitamins.
- For an additional boost to your mental clarity, consider stacking nootropics with a high quality multivitamin supplement that provides ample vitamin C and vitamin A.
3. Rhodiola Rosea
Clinical studies on Rhodiola Rosea show that it improves clear thinking by energizing the nervous system (CNS). Animal studies indicate that Rhodiola repairs damaged brain cells and stimulates neuron growth in the hippocampus. (3)
- A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study with 60 adults who had symptoms of mental fatigue, showed that Rhodiola Rosea increased their attention, mental energy, and cognitive function. The research concluded that Rhodiola, acting as an adaptogenic herb, boosts attention and endurance “in situations of reduced performance caused by fatigue.” (4)
But Rhodiola is perhaps best known for its stress-relieving, mood-boosting effects. It works to repair damaged cells and protect our brain from the effects of stress.
4. N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine
Lack of mental clarity tends to happen after our brain goes through too much stress. Caused by any number of factors, such as working too much, being sleep deprived, dealing with difficult life situations, etc.
Stress depletes your brain’s catecholamine neurotransmitters. These include dopamine and norepinephrine which are critical for staying sharp and quick.
Therefore, when you’re under pressure and need to do lots of multitasking, stress and neurotransmitter depletion can feed on each other, leading to a vicious cognitive cycle that results in debilitating brain fog.
L-Tyrosine fights brain fog by boosting your dopamine and other catecholamines, helping you to maintain peak cognitive function during stress.
- Some research shows that L-Tyrosine supplementation reduces stress levels, supports catecholamine production, and protects the brain from neurotransmitter depletion. This multi-way approach lifts brain fog by maintaining cognitive functions like focus and working memory. (5)
Phosphatidylserine (PS) improves clear thinking by clearing away factors that are known to cause brain fog – such as stress, cell damage, and poor brain blood flow.
PS enhances myelin sheath that encases nerves and cell membranes. PS’ protective mechanisms on the brain are suggested to slow, stop, and even reverse brain cell deterioration. With improved brain cell integrity and communication, your focus, problem-solving, and learning skills improve. (6)
- Right now, PS is the only nootropic with an FDA-approved health claim. Human studies show that it is effective for protecting against mental decline, preserving brain activity, and retaining optimal cognitive performance.
6. Acetyl L-Carnitine
This is an amino acid that your body makes naturally. It’s important for your metabolism and energy production, particularly in the brain.
Supplementing with Acetyl L-Carnitine can make you more alert, with sharper cognitive function and improved memory. Human studies on ALCAR have found that the compound helps to slow down brain decline and improve brain function in people with dementia. (7, 8)
Best Overall Nootropic Stack for Clear Thinking:
Mind Lab Pro
Nootropics work by improving neurotransmitters, brain energy, cerebral blood flow, brainwaves, and other bioactive pathways. Combining multiple nootropics together helps boost overall brain health and cognitive performance.
Our favorite nootropic formula for erasing brain fog and boosting focus is Mind Lab Pro.
Anything Else to Consider?
Brain fog and fatigue can last for a short while, or perhaps they’re a constant part of your life. In any case, these symptoms can be the result of many different causes. ‘Attacking’ the root of the issue is the key to overcoming it.
- Mental fatigue and inability to focus often comes after prolonged, intense focus on a task, along with chronic stress or emotional difficulties. Our minds, much like our bodies, have a limit to how much energy and work they can put out – and for everyone, this limit is different.
For most people mental fatigue occurs later in the day, after spending much of the day on work, chores, or other demands.
When your mental energy gets drained, tasks become more complicated, focusing becomes very difficult, your mind wanders, and you’re more likely to make errors.
Naturally, we can’t control some things that cause brain fog – such as menopause or neurological conditions – but we can tackle most brain fog causes by making different lifestyle choices.
This includes getting regular quality sleep, minimizing stress through meditation or yoga, and eating a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids and magnesium while minimizing ultra-processed foods.
The Bottom Line
So there you have it, these are the best nootropics for clear thinking. Our favorite professional nootropic stack is Mind Lab Pro – supplying 11 research backed ingredients for total cognitive optimization.
Mind Lab Pro’s unique approach surpasses typical ‘smart drugs’ and memory pills to enhance cognition across multiple brain pathways.
- This complex formula includes nootropics for clear thinking specifically picked for their ability to maintain cognitive performance under stress and protect the brain from pressure-related burnout.
What cements Mind Lab Pro as the current market leader are the user reception and countless positive online reviews. In our eyes, this is just as important as its hand-picked formula.
Supplementing with Mind Lab Pro can help fight many negative symptoms linked to brain fog – all while nurturing brain health for stronger resilience to burnout and enhanced long-range mental wellness.
If you want to learn more about Mind Lab Pro, we recommend reading our in-depth breakdown of its benefits and ingredients in our review.