Nootropics are one of today’s hot topics, so it’s only natural that you’ll be searching for information on them. We all tend to go to reviews for more information, but even the best nootropic reviews are likely to be biased and should be read with caution.
We’ve reviewed the reviews to help you work your way through them. And to give you a better chance at understanding which ones are really the best.
The topic is complicated – there’s a lot of information out there and lots of conflicting opinions.
Nootropics are also frequently referred to as smart drugs, cognitive enhancers or brain enhancers. These are drugs, supplements and other substances that are claimed to improve memory, learning, creativity, motivation and brain function.
There are literally hundreds of these products on the market – many with questionable claims. Many of them simply don’t work. Many claim the title of best, or #1.
Nootropics can be though of being in three categories:
- Prescription pharmaceuticals – often used to treat ADHD or narcolepsy. These are central nervous system stimulants. The most commonly prescribed are Adderall (dextroamphetamine) or Ritalin (methylphenidate). These stimulants help with focus and energy.
- Nootropic supplements – these are natural substances which have differing impacts on boosting brain performance. There are many of these, and this group includes things like caffeine-Theanine (found in tea), Creatine (an amino acid), and herbs such as Bacopa Monnieri, Rhodiola Rosea, Panax Ginseng and Ginkgo Biloba.
- Pre-made Nootropic formulations – manufactured and distributed by various companies around the world. This is the group that we are considering in this article.
The Best Nootropic Reviews
There are also many reviews of the best nootropics published on-line. And the results are just as confusing. Any consensus view you may have been hoping for simply isn’t there. This in itself tells you that you shouldn’t trust these reviews.
We compared the top Google rated reviews – while these aren’t necessarily the best nootropic reviews, they are at least the most visible and the most likely to be referred to. The list was confined to the top 3 pages on Google and Firefox, with 12 reviews in total. Many other reviews on these pages are advertisements, which we rejected, or reviews of ingredients only, which we also rejected.
Our findings are published in more detail in the following paragraphs below.
Firstly, we need to define just what type of nootropic reviews we considered. Many reviews consider individual ingredients or supplements, whereas we have confined our deliberations to the pre-made formulations. This is where some of the wilder claims are made.
But are reviews reliable?
Even the best of these reviews are most likely not reliable sources of information. At the best, they are dispassionate, but still the ratings are subjective. At the worst they are simply a listing of products on which a commission will be paid.
The Subjective Nature of Reviews
Most reviewers will talk about ingredients, their combinations, and the amount of each used.
These are relatively quantifiable, but then we get into the quality of the ingredients used, referring to where and how the manufacturer purchases them. I find it difficult to believe that any of the reviewers would be able to comment on this for each supplier or make realistic comparisons. It may just relate to claims made by the manufacturer themselves.
Commentary about safety is likewise not one which can be verified other than by reference to manufacturer claims.
Customer satisfaction is widely used, but I don’t see where this comes from, other than on-line comments, which as we all know should not be taken too literally. It is too easy to “game the system” with planted comments.
None of these factors allows for standard comparisons or the ability to compare like with like.
Commissions Create Bias in Selection for Review and in Ranking
Most of the reviews come from affiliate marketing sites. These are blogs that exist with a view to selling something to its visitors.
Note that this site is one of those, and we will earn a commission on many of the products mentioned in this article. We have elected however to not include any product links. The only links on which we will earn a commission are on the advertised products.
This creates bias in two ways:
- Product selection – if you do not have an affiliate relationship, you may not select the product ion the first place.
- Ratings bias – this may refer to the amount of commissions paid on each product, or the brand’s popularity (and therefore customer attraction, and increased possibility of a sale).
In the 12 “best nootropic reviews” we analysed, there were 43 different products given a rating.
30 of these were only mentioned once – with 9 of these being in the Top 3 of the respective reviews in which they were mentioned.
Another 6 were rated twice only.
This analysis suggests that these 36 brands have not made much impact on the market. We do note however that some of these are sister products to brands which have had a bigger impact.
This left 7 brands that dominated the reviews, which implies that these are the most successful in the market. It does not necessarily mean they are the best. But they are definitely the most popular and if any market share data were available – I would expect it to show that these are the market leaders.
The 7 highest rated brands
#1 – Mind Lab Pro
The apparent market leader is Mind Lab Pro.
It was rated in 7 of the 12 reviews considered, was rated #1 on 4 occasions and #2 on another. Its average rating across these 7 reviews was 2.6.
#2 – Alpha Brain
This was rated in 6 of the 12 reviews, with an average rating across these 6 reviews of 4.8.
#3 – NeuroPeak
This was rated in 5 of the 12 reviews, with an average rating of 4.6.
#4 – OptiMind
This was rated in 4 of the 12 reviews, with an average rating of 5.5.
#5 – CILTEP
This was also rated in 4 of the 12 reviews, but with an average rating of only 7.0.
#6 – Noocube
This was rated in only 3 of the 12 reviews, but with an average rating of 2.7.
#7 – Brain Pill
This was also rated in only 3 of the 12 reviews, with an average rating of 4.0.
The Second Tier
These 6 brands were only rated in two of the reviews:
- Qualia Mind – average rating of 1.5;
- Brain Booster – average rating of 2.5
- Lumultra/Lumonol – average rating of 3.0
- Performance Lab Mind (sister product to Mind Lab Pro) – average rating of 4.5
- Mag Mind – average rating of 6.5
- Brain Plus – average rating of 9.0
Other Brands Mentioned
- Memontenz New Formula
- Neuro Focus
- Focus+ by Excelerol
- Nooflux – Infinity Stack
- Hunter Focus
- Enhance MHz
- Havasu Nutrition
- Smart Pill
- Brain Support
- Neuro Clarity
- Genius Consciousness
- Neuro Spark
- Neuro Optimiser
- True Focus
- Brain Awake
- Focus Factor