10% off £25 OR 15% off £35

Code:DEAL
 

10% off £25 OR 15% off £35

Code:DEAL

🏷️ 3 for 2 Mix & MatchOffersOffers Hub3 for 2 Mix & MatchOutletSave up to 1/2 PriceBuy one get one 1/2 priceGreat SavingsBuy 1 Get 1 Free1/2 PriceBetter than 1/2 priceShort DatedIntroductory Offer3 for £3 Mix & MatchBuy 6 for £15 Mix & MatchVitamins & SupplementsVitamins & Supplements HubVitamins & Supplements Shop AllCBDShop all CBDCBD OilCBD CapsulesCBD SprayCBD GummiesCollagen & SilicaHair, Skin & NailsShop all Hair, Skin & NailsHair GrowthFunctional MushroomsVitaminsShop all VitaminsMultivitaminsVitamin AVitamin BVitamin CVitamin DVitamin EVitamin KVitamin DrinksMineralsShop all MineralsMagnesiumIronZincCalciumSeleniumChromiumSupplementsShop all SupplementsFibre SupplementsAcidophilus & Friendly BacteriaPeppermint OilGrapeseed ExtractLecithinCollagen & SilicaOmega & Fish OilsPlant Sourced SupplementsSuperfood SupplementsArnicaApple CiderRaspberry KetonesAloe VeraChondroitin & MSMCo Enzyme Q10Evening Primrose OilGarlicGinkgo BilobaGlucosamineGlucomannanSeaweed, Kelps and Aquaceuticals5 HTPSaw palmettoCharcoalWomen's HealthShop all Women's HealthMenopauseMenstrual SupportUrinary Tract HealthPregnancy & ConceptionMen's HealthShop all Men's HealthProstate HealthChildren's HealthConditionShop all ConditionWater RetentionAllergy & Hay Fever CareAnxiety SupportBone & Muscle HealthMuscle Support & Joint PainBrain & Memory SupportWomen's HealthMen's HealthChildren's HealthPain ReliefCold & Immune SupportFatigueDigestive HealthHair, Skin & NailsHeart & CirculationLiver CareMood SupportSexual HealthSleep & RelaxationStress ReliefVisionHerbal & Licensed RemediesShop all Herbal & Licensed RemediesValerianSt John's WortRescue RemedyAgnus CastusAshwagandhaEchinaceaMilk ThistleDevil's ClawGinseng & GuaranaBlack CohoshHomeopathic & Flower RemediesShop all Homeopathic & Flower RemediesRescue RemedyTissue SaltsFlower RemediesHomeopathic RemediesAt-Home TestsVegan Vitamins & Supplements3 for 2 Mix & MatchOutletBuy 1 Get 1 FreeHolland & BarrettVitabioticsSolgarWeledaNew NordicBioglanBetterYouNatures AidGrass & Co.Bach Original Flower RemediesDairy FreeGluten FreeSesame Seed FreeCelery FreeCereal FreeCrustaceans FreeEgg FreeFish FreeKiwi FreeLupin FreeNew inFood & DrinkFood & Drink HubFood & Drink Shop AllVegan FoodHoney, Jams & SpreadsShop all Honey, Jams & SpreadsManuka HoneyHoneyJams & ChutneysNut ButtersSpreadsPateTeas & Hot BeveragesShop all Teas & Hot BeveragesTeaCoffee & Coffee SubstituteMushroom DrinksDried Fruit, Nuts & SeedsShop all Dried Fruit, Nuts & SeedsNutsDried FruitSeedsMixesSuperfoodsShop all SuperfoodsSuperfood PowdersMaca PowderGoji BerriesBaobabMoringa PowderFlaxseedSpirulinaChia SeedsSnacksShop all SnacksProtein BarsLow Calorie SnacksChocolate, Cakes & BiscuitsSavoury SnacksSweet SnacksSnack BarsCrisps & ChipsFlapjacksPopcornFood CupboardShop all Food CupboardHoney, Jams & SpreadsBreakfast CerealsSuperfoodsApple Cider VinegarCondiments & SaucesTinned FoodsRice, Pasta, Pulses & GrainsBreakfast CerealsShop all Breakfast CerealsCereals, Bran & FlakesGranolaMuesliOats & PorridgeBreakfast BarsDrinksShop all DrinksKombuchaNatural Energy DrinksJuicesSoft DrinksWaterAlcohol Free DrinksCookingShop all CookingCooking IngredientsApple Cider VinegarCondiments & SaucesSoya & Meat AlternativeSoup & Ready MealsRice, Pasta, Pulses & GrainsHerbs, Spices & SeasoningGravy & StockHome BakingShop all Home BakingBaking MixesBreadFlourSweeteners & Sugar AlternativesEgg SubstitutesDairy AlternativesShop all Dairy AlternativesOat, Rice & Hemp DrinksSoya DrinksNut DrinksCoconut DrinksNutritionally Complete Food3 for 2 Mix & MatchOutletBuy one get one 1/2 priceHolland & BarrettNaturyaHeath & HeatherPukkaGrenadeMeridianTwiningsBionaNakdManuka DoctorGluten FreeDairy FreeEgg FreeWheat FreeMilk FreeSulphites FreeCelery FreeKiwi FreeMustard FreeFish FreeNew inSports NutritionSports Nutrition HubSports Nutrition Shop AllProteinShop all ProteinClear ProteinWhey ProteinMass GainersVegan ProteinDiet ProteinCaseinBars, Drinks & SnacksShop all Bars, Drinks & SnacksEnergy BarsEnergy DrinksProtein BarsProtein ShakesProtein SnacksNutritionally Complete FoodMeal Replacement ShakesPre Workout & EnergyShop all Pre Workout & EnergyPre WorkoutAmino Energy DrinksAmino Energy PowdersIntra WorkoutKetoPost WorkoutAmino AcidsShop all Amino AcidsAmino Energy PowdersAmino Energy DrinksBCAAL-LysineGlutamineCarnitineArginineCreatineShop all CreatineCreatine PowderCreatine CapsulesSports SupplementsShop all Sports SupplementsTestosteroneSports CollagenRehydrationShop all RehydrationElectrolytesEnergy GelsVegan Sports NutritionShop all Vegan Sports NutritionVegan ProteinVegan Protein BarsVegan Pre Workout & EnergyVegan Amino AcidsVegan CreatineSports AccessoriesShop all Sports AccessoriesBottles & ShakersFitness EquipmentFitness GoalShop all Fitness GoalRecoveryMuscle & StrengthLean MuscleEnergy & EnduranceDiet & Weight LossSave up to 1/2 Price3 for 2 Mix & MatchGreat SavingsOptimum NutritionPE NutritionUSNGrenadeApplied NutritionPhDSiSFoodspringHuelYfoodDairy FreeGluten FreeSugar FreeSoya FreeCelery FreeCereal FreeCrustaceans FreeEgg FreeFish FreeKiwi FreeNew inBeautyBeauty HubNatural Beauty Shop AllAromatherapy & HomeShop all Aromatherapy & HomePure Essential OilsBlended Essential OilsBase & Carrier OilsHolisticSkincareShop all SkincarePremium SkincareFace CareBody CareSun CareTanning & BronzingEye CareLip CareFoot CareHand & Nail CareSkin AilmentsSkin OilsCBD BeautyHair Skin & NailsWashing & BathingShop all Washing & BathingShampoo & ConditionerBathing AccessoriesShower Gel & Body WashDeodorantDentalHand WashSoapBath Soak & OilBody ScrubBath Bombs & SaltsFeminine CareIncontinence SupportHair CareShop all Hair CareShampoo & ConditionerHair ColouringHair MasksHair Oil & SerumHair Spray, Gel & MousseHair AccessoriesMother & BabyShop all Mother & BabyBaby Skincare & ToiletriesElectrical WellnessSexual Wellness3 for 2 Mix & MatchOutletSave up to 1/2 PriceDr OrganicFaith in NatureWeledaNaturtintTisserandSukinMiaromaQ+AEthiqueSo EcoAlcohol FreeParfum FreeParaben FreeSLS FreePalm Oil FreeGluten FreeCelery FreeCereal FreeCrustaceans FreeEgg FreeNew inCBDWeight ManagementWeight Management HubWeight Management Shop AllFat Burners, Binders & Appetite SuppressantsShop all Fat Burners, Binders & Appetite SuppressantsFat BurnersFat BindersAppetite SuppressantsSlimming TabletsShakes & Weight Management ShotsShop all Shakes & Weight Management ShotsMeal Replacement ShakesDiet ProteinDiet Food & DrinkShop all Diet Food & DrinkDiet FoodLow Calorie SnacksSlimming TeaExercise SupportShop all Exercise SupportFitness EquipmentMeal Replacement ShakesDiet ProteinProtein Bars3 for 2 Mix & MatchSave up to 1/2 PriceGreat SavingsOptimum NutritionGrenadeHolland & BarrettUSNPhDEat WaterPulsinNatures AidNew NordicSlimExpertDairy FreeGluten FreeSugar FreeWheat FreeNew inVeganHealth & WellnessShop all Health & WellnessJoints Bones & MusclesGut HealthHair Skin & NailsStress AnxietySleep & Relaxation3 for 2 Mix & MatchOutletSave up to 1/2 PriceHolland & BarrettWeledaVitabioticsDr OrganicSolgarNaturtintOptimum NutritionNew NordicHeath & HeatherBeurerDairy FreeGluten FreeParaben FreeSLS FreeParfum FreeAlcohol FreeWheat FreeSoya FreeSugar FreeCelery FreeNew inShop for your WellnessWomen's HealthMenstrual HealthMenopauseJoints, Bones & MusclesGut HealthHair, Skin & NailsImmunitySleep & RelaxationFood & DietChildren's HealthStress ReliefHealthy HeartEnergyLow Mood & DepressionConcentration & AlertnessEye HealthSexual HealthLearn about WellnessWomen's HealthPeriods & Cycle HealthMenopauseJoints, Bones & MusclesImmunityGut HealthFood & DietSports & FitnessSleep & RelaxationHair Skin & NailsAll articlesHealthFood & nutritionGut healthImmunityJoints, bones & musclesWomen's healthWellnessHair & skinMental wellbeingSeasonalSleep & relaxationSports nutritionRecipesAll recipesGluten freeLow sugarVeganDairy freePodcast
nootropics

Guide to nootropics: Types & benefits

10 Jun 2022 • 3 min read

Heard of nootropics but not sure what they are? You’re in the right place.

We’ve created a guide to all things nootropics, with an intro on what they are, the different types of natural nootropics, how to take them and their various benefits.  

Skip to:

What are nootropics?

Also known as “smart drugs” nootropics are a type of compound, usually in supplement form, that are used to enhance cognitive performance.1

The areas of cognitive performance that they’re said to improve include memory, creativity, motivation and attention.1

The different types of nootropics

Read on to learn more about the different types of nootropics you can get.

  1. Ginseng

Originating from North America and East Asia, ginseng has been used as a herbal plant for thousands of years.2 Used for a variety of different reasons, ginseng is said to help:3,4

  • Mood and stress levels
  • Brain fatigue
  1. Ginkgo biloba

Classed as one of the most used herbal supplements in the world, ginkgo biloba is a tree that originates from China.

Ginkgo biloba extract though is specifically made from the leaves of the tree, which are said to contribute to:

  • Brain function
  • Blood circulation5,6
  1. Ashwagandha

Considered a powerful Ayurvedicherb, Ashwagandha translates to “smell of the horse”, which indicates that it offers the strength and vigour of a stallion.7

Ashwagandha itself comes from an evergreen shrub that grows in parts of Asia and Africa, and it has been shown to be helpful with:

  • Stress
  • Anxiety7,8
  1. L-Theanine

You might not have heard of this one, but it’s actually from a non-protein amino acid that is found in green tea!9

Not a fan of green tea? Not to worry, this compound is available in a handy supplement form too. Plus, L-Theanine has been found to be effective on helping with:

  • Creativity
  • Relaxation and sleep10,11
  1. Creatine

If you’re into fitness and frequently visit the gym, you’ve probably heard of creatine before. But did you know that it is considered a nootropic too?

As well as supporting your muscles, creatine has actually been shown to have a positive effect on brain function.12 In particular, creatine has been shown to assist with:

  • Memory
  • Reasoning skills13,14
  1. Bacopa Monnieri

Another plant that has been used for many years in traditional Ayurvedic cultures, Bacopa Monnieri or brahmi, is also considered as a nootropic supplement.

This particular plant can be found in the wetlands of southern and eastern India, Europe, Australia, Asia, Africa and South America.15

Specifically though, Bacopa Monnieri is said to support:

  • Information processing
  • Reaction times
  • Memory16,17,18
  1. Rhodiola Rosea

Considered pretty rare as it mainly grows in high altitudes, rhodiola rosea is a plant that has been traditionally used as an adaptogen for many years.19

Now used as a nootropic supplement, it apparently helps your body to handle stress in a better way. But that’s not all. It also supports:

  • Mood
  • Stress levels
  • Mental fatigue20,21,22
  1. Omega-3 fatty acids

While not traditionally considered a nootropic, omega-3 fatty acids have entered the conversation more recently, mainly due to scientific research that has been published about its benefits on cognitive function and brain health.

For example, omega-3 fatty acids are said to support:

  • Memory
  • Mood23,24
  1. Caffeine

Yes, that’s right. Your humble cup of tea or coffee is also classed as a nootropic.

As well as those two drinks, caffeine can also be found in cocoa, kola nuts and guarana. But if you’re not a hot drinks person, that’s okay.

You can also find caffeine supplements to suit your lifestyle. The main areas that caffeine can help you with include:

  • Alertness
  • Attention
  • Reaction time25,26,27

How to take them

If your nootropic supplements are in capsule form, you will most likely have to take them with a glass of water – and sometimes with a meal.

But you should always follow the instructions on the package for the most accurate information.

However, you can actually get nootropics in other forms too.

For example, they can be sold as a powder or even as a pre-made drink, making it a simple and easy way for you to add them to your lifestyle.

4 benefits of nootropic supplements

We’ve gone through all the different types of natural nootropics and what they’re good for, but now we’re going to delve into the detail of their specific benefits.

1

Energy

One of the main reasons people take brain nootropics is to improve their energy levels.

For example, if you find you’re fatigued on a regular basis and it’s impacting your day-to-day life, a nootropic may be worth trying.

Although it also recommended to check in with your GP to make sure that any other medical issues aren’t the cause of this.

The best nootropic supplements for increasing your energy levels include:

  • Caffeine
  • Creatine
  • Rhodiola rosea27,28

2

Focus

Another one of the key benefits of nootropics is how they can assist with your focus. It can be hard to stay on track in modern life, so a focus enhancing nootropic may be able to help.

Specifically, nootropics seem to be able to aid attention span, the following supplements have been proven to help in this area:

  • Caffeine
  • Bacopa monnieri29

3

Memory

Memory is another benefit of taking nootropics, as multiple different types boast these type of effects.

Some nootropics are able to provide support to your short-term memory, while others have to be taken for several weeks before you see any benefits.

But which ones are the best for memory?

Various scientists studied these nootropics and concluded that they may help to support it:

  • Bacopa monnieri
  • Ginkgo biloba
  • Creatine
  • Omega-3 fatty acids31,32

4

Stress Management

And the last of the key benefits of nootropics is its effect on anxiety and stress. In fact, multiple different nootropic supplements have been shown to lower stress levels.

The most prominent ones include:32,33,34,35

  • Ashwagandha
  • L-Theanine
  • Ginseng
  • Rhodiola rosea

The final say

And that’s a wrap on all things nootropics. Feeling a little more confident about what they are and what they can do for you?

If you feel like you want to give them a go, do check in with a medical professional beforehand for further advice if you feel like you need it.

Or for more information on vitamins, minerals and herbal remedies, visit the Health Hub for further in-depth articles and guides.

Last updated: 10 June 2022

The advice in this article is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please check with your GP or healthcare professional before trying any supplements, treatments or remedies. Food supplements must not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.

Sources

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5021479/
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1226845322000331
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5628357/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15982990
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3166615/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18446847
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3573577/
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK548536/
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6836118/
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18296328
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28056735
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29704637
  13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21118604
  14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14561278
  15. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/pharmacology-toxicology-and-pharmaceutical-science/bacopa-monnieri
  16. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24252493
  17. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22747190
  18. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18683852
  19. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6208354/
  20. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19016404
  21. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26502953
  22. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10839209
  23. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20434961
  24. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4872453/
  25. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27612937
  26. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23241646/
  27. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20182035/
  28. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30137774/
  29. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10890330
  30. https://www.poison.org/articles/side-effects-of-ginseng-supplements-191
  31. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22562327/
  32. https://www.msdmanuals.com/en-gb/home/special-subjects/dietary-supplements-and-vitamins/ashwagandha
  33. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23851411/
  34. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3153866/
  35. https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/rhodiola
 
donia-hilal

Donia Hilal

Author

Nutritionist

Joined Holland & Barrett: January 2018

Bsc in Nutrition, Registered Associate Nutritionist and Certification in Pre and Post Natal Nutrition

Donia started her career as a freelance nutritionist, later she joined Nestle as their Market Nutritionist to help support their healthier product range, before joining the team at Holland & Barrett in January 2018.

Donia has over 6 years experience as a Nutritionist and also works with clients on a one to one basis to support their goals which include weight loss, prenatal and postnatal nutrition and children’s health.

  • Visa
  • MasterCard
  • PayPal
  • AmericanExpress
  • ApplePay
  • ClearPay
  • AliPay
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
Copyright © Holland & Barrett Retail Limited, 2023. All rights reserved. hollandandbarrett.com is a trading name of Holland & Barrett Retail Limited,. Registered office: Samuel Ryder House, Barling Way, Nuneaton, Warwickshire CV10 7RH. Registered in England: company no. 2758955. Registered VAT no. 211727395.