In today's fast-paced world, our brains are constantly bombarded with information and distractions, making it challenging to maintain mental clarity. While many products on the market claim to boost focus, some people prefer natural alternatives backed by scientific research.
Omega 3 fatty acids, mushrooms (like Lion's mane), resveratrol, maca root, vitamin D and B, and amino acids are some of the best natural supplements for boosting focus. Taking these supplements will help improve brain function and creativity so you can do more work, leaving time for more important things in your life!
This article will explore some of the best natural supplements for mental focus that can improve your mental clarity and overall well-being. Explore the natural solutions that deliver the best results for brain health, from nootropics to herbal supplements.
Best Supplements For Mental Focus And Healthy Brain Function
1. Holy Basil
Research has shown that(1) Holy basil, or tulsi, is one of the best herbs for fighting stress and anxiety. Stress and anxiety can interfere with cognitive function, making concentrating and focusing on tasks difficult. When added to food or taken as a supplemental product, Holy basil reduces cortisol levels, a hormone associated with stress, in the body.
Moreover, research suggests that(2) holy basil can positively affect neurotransmitters in the brain. Precisely, it increases dopamine and serotonin levels, two neurotransmitters that play a role in mood and cognitive function.
Finally, holy basil has antioxidant properties, which may also contribute to its ability to promote focus and support healthy brain function. Oxidative stress, caused by an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in the body, can lead to cellular damage and impaired cognitive function.
Read More:See the best mushrooms for brain health.
2. Phosphatidylserine Supplements
Phosphatidylserine (PS) is a phospholipid naturally found in high concentrations in the brain cells. A top-rated brain supplement, it plays a crucial role in the structure and function of cell membranes, particularly in nerve cells.
Studies suggest(3) phosphatidylserine supplementation may improve cognitive function, including focus and concentration. This focus brain supplement boosts concentration and brainpower by supporting the communication between nerve cells.
Nerve cells communicate with each other through the release and reception of chemical messengers called neurotransmitters. Phosphatidylserine enhances the release and uptake of neurotransmitters, such as acetylcholine and dopamine.
Read More: See the best mushrooms for hormonal balance in the brain.
3. Mucuna Pruriens
Mucuna pruriens is a tropical legume also known as velvet bean. It contains several bioactive compounds, including L-Dopa, which is a precursor to the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine is key in regulating mood, motivation, and attention, among other things.
In addition to dopamine, research shows that(4) mucuna pruriens influences the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood and anxiety. It also contains antioxidants, which may help to protect the brain from oxidative stress and inflammation.
Guarana is a plant native to the Amazon basin with high levels of caffeine, theobromine, and theophylline. These compounds are natural stimulants that improve cognitive performance, including focus and alertness. As a result, Guarana supplements or products boast the potential to improve cognition and memory recall and even boost energy levels.
When consumed, the caffeine in this brain booster binds to adenosine receptors in the brain, blocking the action of adenosine. Adenosine is a neurotransmitter that causes drowsiness and fatigue. This leads to increased neural activity, which can improve mental focus and alertness.
Guarana also contains antioxidants such as tannins and catechins, which boost the functions of the supplement by reducing oxidative stress in the brain and protecting against cognitive decline.
Research has shown that(5) Guarana may boost memory, fighting diseases like Alzheimer's because of its antioxidant properties. It also contains saponins, believed to improve memory and mental performance by increasing blood flow to the brain.
Read More: See how Lion's mane benefits your memory and other brain functions.
Schisandra is an adaptogenic herb traditionally used in Chinese medicine to improve mental clarity and concentration. The bioactive ingredients in Schisandra increase dopamine levels in the brain. Moreover, Schisandra is an adaptogenic herb helping the body adapt to stress.
Additionally, research shows(6) Schisandra is rich in antioxidants, which can protect the brain from oxidative damage and improve brain function. Finally, Schisandra improves blood flow to the brain, enhancing cognitive function.
Vinpocetine is a natural compound derived from the periwinkle plant. It boosts focus by increasing blood flow and oxygen delivery to the brain.
Additionally, vinpocetine may increase the production of certain neurotransmitters, such as acetylcholine, essential for learning and memory. Research shows that(7) vinpocetine may also have neuroprotective effects, reducing cognitive decline risk.
Kava is a traditional plant-based remedy believed to promote relaxation and reduce anxiety, which can indirectly help improve focus and concentration. In addition, the bioactive compounds in kava interact with brain receptors that regulate mood and anxiety levels, making it one of the best adaptogens.
Some studies suggest that kava may also directly affect cognitive function. For example, one study found that(8) kava extracts improved attention and mental performance.
Eleuthero, or Siberian ginseng, may boost brain focus and mental abilities by supporting the body's stress response system, which can become overworked under constant stress.
In addition, Eleuthero contains compounds called eleutherosides, which boast cognitive-enhancing effects. Research shows that(9) Eleutherosides may help improve memory, concentration, and overall cognitive function, improving general brain function and guaranteeing better focus and mental clarity.
9. Lion's Mane Supplements
Lion's mane promotes neurogenesis, stimulating brain nerve growth factor (NGF) production. NGF is a protein that helps support nerve cells' growth, maintenance, and survival and is crucial in maintaining healthy brain function. By increasing NGF levels in the brain, Lion's Mane may help to improve brain function, including focus and concentration.
As an added benefit, Lion's mane mushrooms also behave as probiotics, providing the good gut bacteria the fiber they need to stay healthy. This boosts gut health, which, in turn, improves the immune system and focus.
Lion's mane has numerous dietary benefits, fighting mineral deficiencies and boasting a nutrient profile that fights brain fog. In addition, the nutritional benefits provide mental energy, making the fungi work as an effective treatment for people lacking focus.
10. Amino Acids
Like herbs, plant extracts, phytochemicals, minerals, and brain-boosting vitamins enhance brain power, amino acids can also boost your mental focus. Adding supplements containing amino acids to your diet may boost focus and cognitive function by increasing the production of essential neurotransmitters, reducing oxidative stress, improving blood flow to the brain, and promoting relaxation and reduced stress levels.
L-Theanine helps reduce stress and anxiety while promoting alertness and focus. Acetyl-L-Carnitine plays a vital role in energy metabolism and increases the production of acetylcholine. N-Acetyl Cysteine acts as an antioxidant and increases glutathione production.
L-Tyrosine is essential for producing dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine, regulating mood and focus. In addition, enzymes convert L-Tryptophan into serotonin which may improve cognitive function and reduce anxiety and depression symptoms.
Read More: See how Reishi mushrooms fight depression.
11. Bacopa Monnieri
Bacopa Monnieri increases the production of certain neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and acetylcholine, essential for learning, memory, and focus.
Bacopa Monnieri supplements also have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects on the brain. These effects may help protect the brain from damage and improve cognitive function. Bacopa Monnieri supplements may also help reduce anxiety and stress, improving focus and concentration.
Ashwagandha reduces cortisol levels, a hormone released in response to stress. High cortisol levels can impair cognitive function, so reducing cortisol levels may help improve focus and concentration.
Additionally, research shows that(10) ashwagandha has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. These effects may help protect the brain from damage and improve cognitive function.
13. Ginkgo Biloba
Ginkgo Biloba contains flavonoids and terpenoids, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. In addition, research indicates that(11) Ginkgo Biloba supplements may help reduce anxiety and depression symptoms, improving focus and concentration.
Read More: See how Reishi fights anxiety.
14. Rhodiola Rosea
Rhodiola Rosea works by increasing the production of certain neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and serotonin. Moreover, Rhodiola Rosea has adaptogenic effects, which help the body cope with stress.
In addition, research shows that(12) Rhodiola Rosea has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, which may help protect the brain from damage and improve focus.
Choline is a nutrient essential for producing the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, vital for learning, memory, and focus. Choline also helps maintain the integrity of cell membranes and supports healthy brain function. Additionally, choline supplements may help protect the brain from age-related cognitive decline and improve memory and attention in healthy individuals.
16. Fish Oils/ Omega 3
Omega 3 fatty acids are the building blocks of the brain. Without enough of these essential fatty acids, your brain has trouble forming new connections, making even simple tasks leave you feeling mentally clouded and worn out.
Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), two omega-3 fatty acids, are abundant in fish oil supplements. These fatty acids(13) have numerous health benefits, including better brain health. DHA maintains the brain's structure and functionality, while EPA protects the brain from damage and aging through its anti-inflammatory properties.
Resveratrol is a member of the polyphenol chemical class. As antioxidants, they defend the body from harmful free radicals. Red grape skin, peanuts, red wine, pistachios, cranberries, and blueberries all contain resveratrol.
The hippocampus(14), a crucial brain area associated with memory, may not deteriorate due to taking resveratrol supplements. In animal studies(15), resveratrol has also enhanced memory and brain function. Research(16) has found that taking 200 mg of resveratrol daily for 26 weeks improved memory.
Read More: See how Lion's mane fights dementia, a condition associated with memory loss and poor mental function.
18. Maca Root
Maca root may help focus by supporting the two related brain areas of the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus. It also increases mental vigor and stimulates brain activity.
The root of maca is a rich source of essential nutrients for proper brain health and concentration. In addition, maca, high in polyphenols and vitamin B6, has neuroprotective properties that shield the brain from damage caused by neurotoxins and neuroinflammation. In addition to improved memory recall, Maca root may also boost the health of the central nervous system, providing a long-lasting brain boost.
19. Vitamin D
Undoubtedly Vitamin D is most commonly linked with the immune system and bone health, but it can do much more. By enhancing brain function, vitamin D can lessen the signs of brain fog. The brain uses vitamin D as an antioxidant, which enhances melatonin production, regulates hormones, and improves cognitive function.
Read More: Can you get vitamin D in mushrooms?
20. B Vitamins
B vitamins are essential for the body's overall health. These eight vitamins contribute to mental clarity, brain health, and focus.For instance, B12 maintains the integrity of DNA and cells. More importantly, B12 aids in the production of energy in cells. Fatigue, poor memory, and deteriorating cognitive function are all symptoms of a B12 deficiency.
B6 is beneficial for both adult and child brain function. Additionally, this vitamin affects the hormones that support mood and sleep—another B vitamin, folate, treats memory loss and other cognitive disorders. By ensuring you are getting enough sleep, these vitamin mushrooms ensure you do not have trouble focusing the next day.
Read More:See how Reishi promotes better sleep.
21. DMAE Supplements
DMAE (dimethylaminoethanol) is a natural compound in small amounts in the brain. It boosts focus and improves cognitive function by increasing the production of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter involved in learning and memory.
DMAE enhances mental alertness and improves concentration, making it a popular ingredient in some nootropic supplements. In addition, DMAE has antioxidant properties, protecting brain cells from damage caused by free radicals.
FAQs About Natural Supplements for Focus
Are Mushroom Supplements Safe To Use?
Mushroom supplements are safe for most people when taken at the recommended doses. However, it's important to note that some people may experience mild side effects such as upset stomach, diarrhea, or allergic reactions.Additionally, some types of mushrooms may interact with certain medications, so it's essential to consult a healthcare professional before taking mushroom supplements if you are on any medications.
It's also important to note that the quality and safety of mushroom supplements, such as capsules and powders, can vary depending on the manufacturer, so it's essential to choose a reputable brand. Lastly, pregnant or breastfeeding women should avoid mushroom supplements unless recommended by a healthcare professional.
Which Mushroom Supplements Help With Brain Fog?
Several types of mushroom supplements may help with brain fog. Lion's Mane Mushroom contains hericenones and erinacines, which can stimulate the brain's growth and repair of nerve cells. This may help improve cognitive function and reduce brain fog. Reishi Mushroom contains triterpenes that have anti-inflammatory effects on the brain, which can reduce brain fog and improve cognitive function.
Cordyceps Mushroom contains cordycepin and adenosine, which improve blood flow and oxygenation in the brain. This can also help reduce brain fog and improve mental clarity.
What Is A Natural Supplement For ADHD?
Natural supplements may help alleviate symptoms of ADHD. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for brain function and can improve attention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity in people with ADHD.
Zinc, an essential mineral, improves hyperactivity and impulsivity in children with ADHD. Iron, also crucial for brain function, can improve attention and cognitive function in children with ADHD who are deficient in iron. Vitamin B6 is also crucial for brain function and can improve symptoms of ADHD in children when combined with magnesium.
Concentrating and paying attention to the task at hand can be challenging when there are so many distractions in your daily life. Luckily, you can choose from the best natural supplements for focus, such as omega 3, Lion's mane mushrooms, Vitamin D and B, and resveratrol to help boost brain power and focusing ability.
We recommend talking to a healthcare professional before incorporating new supplements into your diet. This will help you avoid side effects or dangerous interactions with medications you could be taking.
Have you used supplements to boost your brain health? Which supplements did you use? Please share with us in the comments section.
- A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial investigating the effects of an Ocimum tenuiflorum (Holy Basil) extract (HolixerTM) on stress, mood, and sleep in adults experiencing stress, (1)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9524226/
- Tulsi - Ocimum sanctum: A herb for all reasons, (2)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4296439/
- Phosphatidylserine and the human brain, (3)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25933483/
- Dopamine mediated antidepressant effect of Mucuna pruriens seeds in various experimental models of depression, (4)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4213977/
- Guarana (Paullinia cupana) Extract Protects Caenorhabditis elegans Models for Alzheimer Disease and Huntington Disease through Activation of Antioxidant and Protein Degradation Pathways, (5)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6079341/
- Antioxidant Effects of Schisandra chinensis Fruits and Their Active Constituents, (6)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8073495/
- An update on Vinpocetine: New discoveries and clinical implications, (7)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5766389/
- Neurocognitive effects of kava (Piper methysticum): a systematic review, (8)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21437989/
- Memory Enhancement by Oral Administration of Extract of Eleutherococcus senticosus Leaves and Active Compounds Transferred in the Brain, (9)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6567285/
- Ashwagandha root extract exerts anti‑inflammatory effects in HaCaT cells by inhibiting the MAPK/NF‑κB pathways and by regulating cytokines, (10)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29620265/
- Ginkgo biloba as an Alternative Medicine in the Treatment of Anxiety in Dementia and other Psychiatric Disorders, (11)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27908257/
- Anti-inflammatory effects of Rhodiola rosea L.: A review, (12)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31715370/
- Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids and the brain: a review of the independent and shared effects of EPA, DPA and DHA, (13)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25954194/
- Resveratrol prevents age-related memory and mood dysfunction with increased hippocampal neurogenesis and microvasculature, and reduced glial activation, (14)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25627672/
- Cognitive performances are selectively enhanced during chronic caloric restriction or resveratrol supplementation in a primate, (15)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21304942/
- Effects of resveratrol on memory performance, hippocampal functional connectivity, and glucose metabolism in healthy older adults, (16)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24899709/
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