Memory can often seem like one of the facets of intelligence that we have little control over. How do you change whether you can remember the phone number your friend gave you a couple of minutes ago or whether you have to read an article twice or more to retain all of the important points?
We can all recognize that some are more naturally gifted when it comes to memory capacity – a fact which can be frustrating for us mere mortals who do not have photographic memories. Another major area of concern is memory loss associated with the aging process. An estimated 50% of 85-year-olds are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s which can lead to dramatic reductions in your enjoyment of life.
But we are not powerless when it comes to our memory, and there are things you can do today that will increase your brain power and ability to remember. Memory is best explained by way of a loose analogy.
Think of your brain as a computer hard drive, but instead of memories being stored as strings of 1’s and O’s, they are stored as an intricate network of connections between neurons. When a new connection is formed between two neurons in your brain, this is known as Long Term Potentiation, and it results in the encoding of memory. Neural connections are created due to stimulation by neurotransmitters, especially glutamate and acetylcholine.
We can fundamentally improve our brain’s ability to remember both in the short-term and in the long-term by increasing the levels of these neurotransmitters as well as the overall plasticity and responsiveness of your brain.
Neuroscience is now at the point that where both of these effects are possible from taking a few extra dietary supplements every day. While memory supplements might not give you the eidetic memory you long for, they can certainly help you hold more information in your working memory and improve your ability to learn and retain more of what you read, see and hear in a given day.
There are two major sub-groups of nutritional supplements that can help improve our memory. The first are your standard natural compound, vitamins, minerals and herbs. Certainly, some of these compounds can profoundly impact your memory performance, but in most cases, they work best for individuals who have some signs of memory impairment or deficiency, to begin with.
The second class of supplements – known as nootropics or cognitive enhancers – you might never have heard of before. These supplements are vastly more powerful and directly address some of the underlying processes in your brain that relate to memory formation and recall.
Whatever your reason, there are many nootropics that can help you achieve your goal. So without further ado, here are the 9 best nootropics for memory (in alphabetical order!) and everything you need to know about using them.
The 9 Best Nootropics for Memory
1: Alpha GPC for Memory
How much Alpha GPC should I take?
To improve your memory, the recommended dosage of Alpha GPC is 1200 mg daily. This can be divided into multiples doses of 400 mg taken 3 times per day.
Most manufacturers recommended a lower dose (often between 300-600 mg), but there are no studies proving that this lower dosage can improve memory or cognitive abilities in any way.
How does Alpha GPC work?
Alpha GPC is one of the most common cognitive enhancing nootropics on the market right now thanks to its ability to increase acetylcholine levels. Acetylcholine is essential for the formation of the both short and long term memory. In addition to providing your brain with more acetylcholine, Alpha GPC also improves blood circulation to the brain. With more blood comes essential nutrients that fuel your brain and keep it strong and healthy.
2: Bacopa Monnieri for Memory
How much Bacopa Monnieri should I take?
Bacopa Monnieri can be taken in capsule, leaf or powder form. The bacosdies present in the leaves are what make this memory nootropic so effective, so you want to make sure your dosage contains 10-20% bacoside. The standard daily dosage of Bacopa Monnieri is 300 mg when taken in a capsule as long as the bacoside extract makes up approximately 50%. When taken in leaf or powder form, you need to ingest between 750-1500 mg daily. Regardless of form, take this nootropic with a meal for best results.
How does Bacopa Monnieri work?
Bacopa Monnieri is an Ayurvedic herb that has been used for milleniums. Bacopa leaves contain Bacosides which are naturally occurring chemical compounds responsible for triggering information transfer at cell receptor sites and fueling the growth of dendrites. The result is improved kinase in the hippocampus, which in layman’s terms, means it improves your long-term memory function.
3: Centrophenoxine for Memory
How much Centrophenoxine should I take?
The recommended dose of Centrophenoxine is 250-750 mg daily. When using Centroxophine for memory, it is best to take 1-3 dose of 250 mg each day. Quick note – the higher the dosage, the more likely you are to experience feelings of drowsiness or extreme relaxation. If you intend on using this nootropic for studying, then you’ll likely want to start with a smaller dose and adjust over time.
How does Centrophenoxine work?
As you make your way through this list you’ll see a common theme – more choline or acetylcholine equals improved memory and enhanced cognition. Centrophenoxine is considered one of the best nootropics for memory enhancement because it is a rapidly absorbed form of choline. For choline to improve memory, it needs to pass through the blood-brain barrier, and although many other nootropics do this, Centrophenoxine works quicker than most.
This nootropic also contains dimethylaminoethanol. DMAE is known for increasing your body’s level of acetylcholine, which we already know plays a critical role in learning and memory.
4: Citicoline for Memory
How much Citicoline should I take?
Studies show that it is safe to take anywhere between 500mg-2g per day. However, higher dosages are more common among those who have experienced serious symptoms of cognitive declines, such as stroke survivors. For most people’s purposes, taking 250-500 mg twice daily is more than enough.
How does Citicoline work?
Also known as CDP Choline (short for cytidine diphosphate-choline), this nootropic is pretty powerful on its own or in a stack. By itself, Citicoline enhances many cognitive functions related to memory, learning and even focus. It works by synthesizing phosphatidylcholine – a major component of your brain’s grey matter.
It also nourishes nerves and improves blood circulation to the brain. Of course, it also increases the level of acetylcholine, which is vital to memory formation.
5: Noopept for Memory
How much Noopept should I take?
The average daily dose of Noopept is 10-30 mg often taken in multiple doses. For example, take 10 mg, three times daily. It is best to take Noopept with a meal because it is a fat-soluble compound, meaning it is better absorbed with food.
How does Noopept work?
Noopept is a great nootropic for memory because it is classified as an ampakine. Ampakines modulate neurotransmitters in the brain, in particular, glutamate.
Low levels of glutamate have been linked to neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimers, so as you can imagine, modulating this neurotransmitter is essential to memory. Noopept is incredibly similar to some of the racetams but is much more potent. It metabolizes much faster than racetams so that most users will experience their desired effects with even the smallest of dosages.
6: Oxiracetam for Memory
How much Oxiracetam should I take?
The recommended daily dose of Oxiracetam is between 800-2400 mg. This can be take in 3 doses of 800 mg for a total of 2400mg daily, but it is always best to start at lower dosages. It’s better to see how it affects your body and then adjust as necessary.
If you are looking to buy Oxiracetam, the most common dosage is 750 mg in capsule form. However, you can purchase powder and weigh it out yourself. It is a water soluble nootropic so that you can take it on an empty stomach safely.
How does Oxiracetam work?
Similar to Noopept, Oxiracetam is an ampakine whose main function is to stimulate the production of acetylcholine, as well as the NMDA glutamate neurotransmitters.
By increasing these levels, Oxiracetam improves both short and long term memory formation and enhances memory retention. This is why it is so common among students looking to boost their study efforts.
7: Pramiracetam for Memory
How much Pramiracetam should I take?
Pramiracetam is a fat-soluble nootropic for memory, meaning you can achieve great results with smaller dosages. That being said, the average daily dose of Pramiracetam is 400-1200 mg.
If you want to firepower your memory, then you will likely get the best results by taking 400mg three times daily. There have been conflicting reviews on whether or not taking Pramiracetam with food is best or not. We suggest a little trial and error see what suits your body best.
Going back to its fat-solubility, the results should last longer than a water soluble nootropic, so be mindful of this.
How does Pramiracetam work?
Pramiracetam has some cognitive benefits like faster recall and better memory, making it an excellent study aid or just a great way to help improve memory in your day to day life.
Pramiracetam is absorbed into the bloodstream through fatty acids (lipids) where it is transported to the brain. Once it passes the blood brain barrier, it modulates the receptor sites for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Binding to these receptor sites allows more acetylcholine to circulate the brain.
It also improves the flow of neuron impulses that are responsible for forming and storing new memories.
8: Sunifiram for Memory
How much Sunifiram should I take?
A little goes a long way with this particular memory enhancing nootropic. The recommended dose of Sunifiram is 4-8mg taken 3 times daily. Do not take more than 24mg in a 24 hour period.
How does Sunifiram work?
Sunifiram is a synthetic derivative of the popular nootropic Piracetam, but way more powerful. It is another ampakine that targets NMDA and AMPA receptors which lead to memory enhancing effects, as well as mild stimulatory effects (i.e., increased wakefullness or alertness).
9: Uridine Monophosphate for Memory
How much Uridine Monophosphate should I take?
The recommended dose of Uridine Monophosphate is anywhere between 500-1000 mg daily. There has not been a lot of research on the effects of it on humans, but what little studies have found is that this range is considered safe.
How does Uridine Monophosphate work?
Uridine Monophosphate is a naturally occurring substance that can be found in the liver, and is also present in certain foods and even beer!
The reason it makes this list for best nootropics for memory is that it improves long term potentiation. It does this by increasing the rate of the synapse between neurons and ultimately leads to improved memory retention.