Brain fog is something that we all deal with every now and then. It’s pretty much impossible to be mentally sharp 100% of the time. Having too much on your mind, not getting enough sleep, and plenty of other things can cause occasional brain fog.
But what if brain fog is something you deal with on a regular basis? What if you’re mentally foggy most or even all of the time?
Good news: There are nootropics that might be able to help.
In this post, we’re going to look at the best nootropics for brain fog. But first, let’s look at exactly what brain fog is.
What is brain fog?
Brain fog is a general term used to describe feeling mentally sluggish or foggy. It’s not considered a disease by itself. Brain fog is, however, associated with several illnesses.
Here are just some of the diseases that are associated with brain fog:
- Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS/CFIDS)
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
- Other autoimmune diseases
Brain fog can also be caused by certain prescription medications, chronic sleep deprivation, changes in hormone levels (testosterone, estrogen, thyroid, etc.), vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and chronic stress.
Here are some of the ways that brain fog can manifest itself:
- Difficulty focusing and staying on task
- Depressed mood
- Trouble remembering things (people’s names, where you put your keys, etc.)
- Feeling less mentally sharp than usual
- Being confused a lot
- Feeling like your head is heavy or cloudy
Brain fog can be mild or it can be completely debilitating. It can be barely noticeable or it can disrupt your entire life. And it can creep up on you slowly or come on suddenly.
The one thing that everyone who’s ever suffered from brain fog can agree on is that it’s terrible. In today’s world, being mentally sharp is a necessity. Living with brain fog is no way to live at all.
Fortunately, there are several nootropics that can help to reduce or even eliminate brain fog. People all over the world regularly use these substances to get rid of their brain fog and to live happier, more-productive lives. Now let’s get to some nootropics that can improve or even eliminate brain fog.
Nootropics for brain fog
More people have probably gotten rid of their brain fog with modafinil than any other nootropic. It’s powerful, generally safe for most people, and can work wonders.
Modafinil is classified as a eugeroic (wakefulness-promoting agent). In some countries it is used as a prescription medication to treat narcolepsy, shift work sleep disorder, and several other conditions. Doctors also prescribe modafinil off-label for a number of things, brain fog being one of them.
A systematic review of the nootropic effects of modafinil found that it is able to reliably enhance mental functioning. This review looked at a number of scientific studies done on modafinil and concluded that it definitely improves mental functioning, may improve learning and memory, and that it probably doesn’t have much of an effect on mood.
The exact way that modafinil works is, like all drugs that affect the brain, not entirely known. However, research shows that modafinil affects the neurotransmitters dopamine, histamine, orexin, and others.These neurotransmitters are known to play a role in wakefulness, motivation, arousal, and alertness – all things that brain fog has a negative effect on.
Many people with moderate to severe brain fog have found that taking 100-200 milligrams (mg) of modafinil helps them stay more alert, awake, and focused. Some people require a higher dose, but it’s always a good idea to start low and work your way up as needed.
While modafinil is a prescription medication in some countries, it can also easily be bought online. There are a handful of different online vendors that sell modafinil (and its slightly stronger relative armodafinil). Of all the different places online to buy modafinil, ModafinilXL is the most trusted. They have high quality products, reasonable prices, fast and discreet shipping, and excellent customer service.
2. Rhodiola Rosea
A rhodiola rosea plant.
This is a plant that grows naturally in the Northern Hemisphere in cold, high-altitude regions. Rhodiola rosea (often simply called rhodiola) is classified as an adaptogen because it helps the body to normalize itself. It has been used all over the world for centuries in traditional medicine to treat a variety of conditions including depression, anxiety, stress, fatigue, and others.
Nootropic users often report that rhodiola improves mood, reduces fatigue and stress, and reduces anxiety. This is consistent with the findings of several scientific studies.
One study found that rhodiola was able to reduce the symptoms of mild to moderate depression. Participants given rhodiola showed significant improvement in overall depression symptoms, insomnia, and emotional instability. Those given a placebo showed no improvements whatsoever.
Another study looked at the effects of rhodiola on fatigue and mental performance in stressed-out college students. Participants given rhodiola showed significant improvements in physical fitness tests, mental fitness tests, psychometric tests, and in general well-being.
Other studies have had similar results. Rhodiola has even been shown to have antidepressant, anxiolytic (anti-anxiety), adaptogenic, and stimulating properties in mice. Because of all this, it should come as no surprise that rhodiola has been able to help a lot of people to get rid of their brain fog.
Rhodiola can be effective for some people after just one dose but probably works better when taken daily. Dosed as low as 50 mg a day, rhodiola has been reported to be effective at reducing fatigue. For acute stress and fatigue, a dose in the 300-600 mg range has been reported to be effective.
3. Piracetam and other racetams
The racetams are a class of substances that are all chemically similar. A number of commonly used nootropics belong to this class including aniracetam, phenylpiracetam, oxiracetam, and piracetam, among others. Piracetam was the first racetam to be discovered and it inspired the creation of the word nootropic to describe its cognition-enhancing effects.
Some people have had success at eliminating their brain fog with various racetams. The ones most commonly used for this purpose are piracetam and phenylpiracetam, though many people have had great results with others. Aside from numerous case reports of people successfully getting rid of their brain fog by using various racetams, there is a bit of science to back up those reports.
A meta-analysis that looked at the results of 19 studies on piracetam concluded that it is effective at reducing cognitive impairment in some populations. Though piracetam studies have mostly focused on treating elderly populations, the results are consistent with what people of all ages have reported.
Another racetam commonly used to reduce brain fog is aniracetam. This nootropic has been found to have anxiety-reducing and focus-enhancing properties. Like piracetam, there is a lot of science to back up those claims.
A study that looked at the effectiveness of aniracetam found that it was able to reduce cognitive impairment. Participants given aniracetam showed improvement in cognition at 3, 6, and 12 months as well as an improvement in mood.
Another popular racetam being used to reduce brain fog is phenylpiracetam. It is much more powerful than piracetam and has stimulant-like properties. Some users report that it can significantly reduce and even eliminate brain fog. Phenylpiracetam is a prescription drug in Russia and has been extensively studied over the course of several decades.
One study found that phenylpiracetam was able to improve some of the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome. Participants given phenylpiracetam performed better on memory and attention tests. This study compared phenylpiracetam to piracetam (and placebo) and found phenylpiracetam to be superior at treating the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome.
Unfortunately, it’s impossible to know which racetams (if any) will improve your brain fog until you try them. Some people get lucky and have great results with the first one they try. Others have to try several before finding one that helps. And then some people don’t seem to respond any racetams at all. The only way to know if they can help you is to experiment on yourself by trying the different racetams.
All the racetams mentioned have excellent safety profiles. Negative effects are rare and when they do occur they are often mild and go away quickly. Many nootropic users find that stacking several racetams together increases their effectiveness.
The last substance on our list of nootropics for brain fog is CDP-choline. Also known as citicoline, this nootropic is able to increase acetylcholine levels in the brain. Acetylcholine is an important neurotransmitter known to play a role in memory, learning, and focus.
Some people have found CDP-choline to be effective for reducing their brain fog. There is a lot of science to support the use of CDP-choline for improving memory and focus, two areas of cognition that brain fog often affects.
A study done on healthy adult women found CDP-choline to improve cognitive performance. After taking CDP-choline for 28 days, the participants scored better on cognitive tests.
Another study done on elderly subjects showed that CDP-choline improved memory. Participants given CDP-choline showed significant improvements in word recall, immediate image recall, and delayed image recall. Additionally, no serious negative effects were noted by the researchers.
The results of all these studies are consistent with what CDP-choline user regularly report. Improved memory and overall cognitive performance are commonly reported with CDP-choline use. While many users find CDP-choline to be beneficial on its own, it is often stacked with one-or-more racetams or other nootropics to increase its effectiveness.