Nootropic substances are known for having many benefits such as improving focus, concentration, mental health, and memory to name a few.
There is no specific age, or geological group that uses these substances just about anyone in any country can and does use nootropic drugs to improve cognition. Young people, older people, business professionals and people belonging to the middle class, all can enjoy the fantastic benefits that nootropic substances have to offer.
Nootropic substances are even beneficial to people suffering from age-related diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia. Nootropic drugs are also useful for people with ADHD, and many other mental problems. You may be wondering which one is the best, and that would be a difficult question to answer because it depends on the user and what they are trying to accomplish. Each substance offers different benefits and effects, some similar to others and some being more potent, some coming in capsule form, some sold as a powder. With that said, the point of this article will be to pinpoint precisely which nootropic substances are best suited for improving focus and concentration.
What Is Concentration? Where Does It Come From?
The definition of the word concentration is a person’s ability to focus mental effort on a particular detail or task. The concept of concentrating is easy to understand, but doing it is extremely difficult for most people to do on a consistent basis. Statistics show that about 40% of the time the average person is doing anything they are not entirely focused or concentrating on that task. Researchers believe that this lack of concentration occurs partially due to the constant flux inside the human brain between the reflective and automatic systems.
Below we have a chart explaining these two systems in more detail.
The Automatic System
The autonomic system controls the brains automatic responses to stimuli. For example when you get a notification on your phone, and you immediately react and focus on the vibration or sound coming from it, or the fact that most of us can tie our shoelaces without having to look down. These are all automatic responses, things that we do on an everyday basis without having to think twice about them. Scientific data shows that when the automatic system in the brain is activated, activity in the parietal cortex swells, this is proven with MRI scans.
The Reflective System
The reflective system is mostly used by the brain when complex tasks are required to be assessed and completed by a person. Scientific research shows that when the reflective mode is active, activity in the prefrontal cortex and other areas surge. When in deep concentration, the reflective system will take over the brain, recognizing which nootropic substances can help to increase activity in these areas of the brain may be beneficial to harnessing its effects.
How Nootropics Affect These Concentration Systems
So we now understand that the reflective system is what helps to relegate concentration. Therefore the goal for increasing concentration would be to reduce the dominance of the automated system in the brain and increase the influence of the reflective system. Also, because we have an understanding of which parts of the brain control both systems, finding a nootropic substance that targets these specific areas is the solution. Please read further to see which nootropic substances are best suited for the job of enhancing concentration and focus.
Using phosphatidylserine has multiple health benefits. This chemical is already present in the brain as it is a part of the cell membranes that make up neurons. Phosphatidylserine is also an essential chemical for maintaining and creating new neurons. It is also known to prevent symptoms of ADHD, enhance focus and concentration, increase memory, and more.
Unfortunately, a high percentage of people in the world are deficient in phosphatidylserine. This deficiency is partially due to diet, but also may be attributed to the fact that many people do not know about how important this chemical is for health. Phosphatidylserine is one of the essential components of healthy cell membranes and a necessary nutrient for maintaining high levels of focus and improving brain function.
The recommended dose of phosphatidylserine for improving concentration is anywhere from 100-500 mg taken daily. Also, experts recommend that users split the dose up into three separate times throughout the day.
Alpha CPC is a derivative of choline and is known for improving learning capability by affecting neurotransmitters in the human brain. Similar to phosphatidylserine, a large percentage of the world’s population is deficient in choline since food sources don’t seem to be quite sufficient enough. Deficiencies in choline can potentially result in memory and learning problems. Fish is an excellent source of choline and is often referred to as “brain food” by health professionals. When proper amounts of choline get consumed, levels of acetylcholine become increased inside the brain. Acetylcholine is also known as “Alpha GPC,” and its benefits include; neuroprotection, enhanced memory formation, improved mental endurance, and anxiety reduction.
The way that Alpha GPC works is it first gets absorbed into the bloodstream, after which it travels to the brain and once there, can easily cross over the blood-brain barrier to reach the central nervous system.
The recommended daily dose of Alpha GPC is anywhere from 300-1200 mg each day. Beginners should start by taking no more than 300 mg per day taken in 2 doses throughout the day. In some cases, you may need to purchase this substance in powder form to get the correct dosage amount.
Huperzine A is a herbal nootropic and comes from the club moss plant native to China. The Chinese have utilized this nootropic for centuries and benefited from its effects. Similar to Alpha GPC, Huperzine A can boost the brains levels of acetylcholine. Also, this substance may help to increase levels of focus and concentration and also enhance memory retention.
Even though Alpha GPC and Huperzine A are both considered to “cholinergic” substances innately, Huperzine A is not technically a cholinic substance, but instead, is regarded as an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor. Huperzine A works by blocking the effect of cholinesterase, which in turn, raises the levels of acetylcholine within the brain. Huperzine A is also commonly referred to as an NMDA receptor antagonist.
The recommended daily dose of Huperzine A is anywhere between 50-200 mg per day. We also suggest that users split the dose into two separate equal doses throughout the day. It is important to note that a single serving of Huperzine A can stay in the body for 24 hours.
L-Theanine is an amino acid extracted from the leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plant. These leaves have also been used on their own to make tea for many years. Many people combine L-Theanine with caffeine related drinks such as coffee, to provide an energy boost and increase concentration. Many others use this substance for treating anxiety, though it is important to regulate your doses appropriately for such use.
L-Theanine is capable of assisting in stress reduction by boosting serotonin levels in the blood. Both serotonin and dopamine are essential chemicals that help to regulate mood and motivation levels in the brain.
The recommended dose of L-Theanine is anywhere between 100-200 mg per day. Similar to most nootropics users should split the dosage between 2-3 doses throughout the day. Some experienced users may up their daily dose to 300 or 400 mg daily. The larger the dose, the more protein growth a user will experience. It’s also important to remember that this chemical is an ingredient in many caffeine related drinks such as tea and coffee. For example, one serving of black tea contains around 20 mg of L-Theanine.
Aniracetam is a fat-soluble substance part of the racetam family of nootropics. Some of its known benefits include; enhancing mental energy, stress level reduction, improved concentration, and focus, and more. Aniracetam is also commonly used to prevent anxiety, stress, and depression. Neurotransmitters play an essential role in regulating flexibility and synaptic gears within the brain. Aniracetam improves this process of neurotransmission which results in its many beneficial effects. Not only is aniracetam able to create new benefits, but it also used as a tool for reducing and reversing brain damage. The most common users of Aniracetam are professionals and students.
Scientists often refer to aniracetam as an ampakine. The reason for this is that aniracetam works by stimulating APMA receptors in the brain. These receptors have a unique pervasiveness in the prefrontal cortex region of the brain. They then react to glutamate (a neurostimulator compound). The result of these reactions is what causes the many concentration benefits that aniracetam and many other nootropics provide.
The recommended dose for this substance is anywhere between 1-1.5 g per day. Similar to piracetam and the many other nootropic drugs we have discussed we recommend splitting the daily dosage up into 2-3 servings throughout the day for a more balanced effect. Aniracetam is available as capsules or powder form to with juices or smoothies.
Pramiracetam is one of many nootropic drugs often used for increasing focus and concentration. The effects of pramiracetam are very similar to those of aniracetam. However, pramiracetam is unique in the way that it can also help to improve mental alertness. Pramiracetam also may improve users ability to remember and learn new things, and in comparison is about 10-30 times more potent than aniracetam.
Pramiracetam mechanics and the ways it works are still yet to be fully understood, but it seems that like many other racetams it works by improving choline uptake since it has similar effects.
The recommended dose of pramiracetam is around 300-400 mg per day to be taken two to three times separately for a balanced effect. The total daily serving, therefore, should be around 600-1200 mg in total. 1200 mg seems to be the highest known serving amount studied and did not show any adverse effects.
Noopept is possibly the most popular and effective nootropic for improving concentration and focus. It is a synthetic compound and has many other cognitive enhancing benefits found by researchers and scientists.
Noopept has similar effects as piracetam and other racetams, however, according to studies done on this topic, Noopept is much stronger than any other nootropic. Its results may even be thousands of times stronger than that of those in the racetam family. Some benefits of noopept include improved learning and memory, data processing, neurotransmission, and of course, concentration.
The recommended dose of Noopept is considered to be anywhere between 10-40 mg per day split into three equal servings. This range is found to be safe and has little to no known side effects.
Phenylpiracetam is another nootropic used for improving focus and concentration. Phenylpiracetam is available for purchase in capsule and powdered form. This substance is most well known for its unique abilities to slow down rates of age-related cognitive decline. Phenylpiracetam is also able to be used as an effective antidepressant, as it helps in reducing anxiety and other mental illnesses. Phenylpiracetam is also able to help enhance focus and concentration, memory retention, and overall cognitive abilities due to its psychostimulatory traits. Healthy people taking this substance will most likely experience all of the above benefits within a short period.
Similar to many other focus improving nootropic substances, researchers have not yet fully understood the exact ways that Phenylpiracetam works. With that said here is a list of the benefits this drug can provide:
- Increases serotonin and dopamine levels in the body
- Decreases motor cortical neuron activity
- Enhances alpha and beta brain waves
The recommended daily dose of phenylpiracetam is anywhere between 100-200 mg split into 2 or 3 servings throughout the day. Many users also combine this nootropic with other nootropics such as caffeine, omega 3, and others to form a stack increasing its effects.
Modafinil similar to Noopept is often considered to be the best smart drug when it comes to its ability to improve focus and concentration. Modafinil seems to be most effective with people suffering from sleeping problems like apnea or narcolepsy. This nootropic also may help users to stay focused on detailed tasks, improve mood, limit feelings of tiredness, and improve overall vitality. Modafinil like Noopept is also popular among business professionals and students who use it to gain an intellectual edge with little to no side effects.
Researchers still do not know the exact mechanisms in which modafinil works in the brain; however, researchers understood that the drug helps to bind the brain’s dopamine reuptake pump, improving dopamine levels.
The recommended dose of modafinil is around 200 mg daily split into 2-3 doses. It is important to remember that the effects of modafinil may take 35-60 minutes to kick in.
Adrafinil is a unique nootropic substance that is a precursor of modafinil, and for that reason, they have many similar effects. Adrafinil increases concentration levels in the brain after digestion. Some other benefits of regularly using adrafinil include; Increased memory and concentration, improved wakefulness, enhanced cognitive ability, and alertness. Adrafinil also has many unknown effects that may occur after prolonged use.
Adrafinil is considered to be a prodrug, which describes a substance formed from inactive to active pharmacologically speaking. So when the body ingests adrafinil, it changes form into modafinil after being filtered by the liver.
Pharmaceutical experts recommend that first-time users start with no more than 200 mg per serving, with the daily amount being around 1200 mg. Because it takes time for this nootropic to become active in the body, it can take around 45-60 minutes for its effects to start working.
Magnesium Threonate is a form of the well-known chemical magnesium. This substance can cross over the blood-brain barrier, and that enables it to reach certain areas of the brain directly to utilize its effects. Magnesium is a favorite amongst many nootropic stacks and premade formulas designed to improve concentration and focus. Interestingly, a side-effect of magnesium deficiency is a decrease in attention span.
As noted in many scientific studies, magnesium is capable of boosting prefrontal cortex activity. Researchers were able to determine this after noticing an increase in levels of NDMA and BDNF receptors after consumption of magnesium. Since it affects the center of the reflective system in the brain, it is easy to see that the effects of magnesium will be beneficial to both concentration and focus.
The recommended dosage of Magnesium Threonate for an adult is around 200-400 mg daily. To be more specific, men should take around 400 mg per day, and women should not take more than 300 mg per day. Magnesium Threonate can be stacked with calcium to improve its concentration benefits.
Recommended Dosage for Focus Nootropics:
- Phosphatidylserine – 100-1500 mg
- Alpha GPC – 300-1200 mg
- Huperzine A – 50-200 mg
- L-Theanine – 100-200 mg
- Aniracetam – 1 -1.5 g
- Pramiracetam – 600-1200 mg
- Noopept – 10-40 mg
- Phenylpiracetam – 100-200 mg
- Modafinil – 200 mg
- Adrafinil – 200-1200 mg
- Magnesium threonate – 200-400 mg (400 for men, 300 for women)
In conclusion, using nootropic substances to enhance concentration and focus is possible, and it isn’t anything new. Focus boosting nootropics and their benefits have been known and tested for decades. The understanding of these substances and neuroscience, in general, is continuously evolving, and we are always learning new ways that these nootropics can benefit the cognitive ability of their users. Even with our current understanding of concentration and how it works within the brain, we can tell that by using certain types of nootropics we can improve our minds abilities, and this knowledge will only continue to grow over time.