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Home arrow Health arrow Mental Health arrow 7 Best Nootropics for Depression: Your Path to Brighter Days!

7 Best Nootropics for Depression: Your Path to Brighter Days!

Dr. Donika Vata
Written by Donika Vata, MD
HR_author_photo_Edna
Fact checked by Edna Skopljak, MD
Last update: September 4, 2023
9 min read 745 Views 0 Reviews
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Curious about relief? Brighten your days with these 7 powerful nootropics

best nootropics for depression

How do we vet brands and products? Learn more.

From improving concentration to aiding muscle recovery, nootropics have several benefits for the mind and body. But did you know that these smart drugs can also help improve the symptoms of depression?

Of course, with such a wide variety of stress-relieving products on the market, it can be difficult to select the right one for you. 

So, if you’re struggling, read on to discover the top 7 nootropics to help cure your blues and put you on the right road to mental health recovery.

#1 Best fot Depression star
Noocube Logo
4.5
stars
  • Improves focus and mental clarity
  • Helps you feel more positive
  • Lowers stress levels
  • Ensures better sleep
Learn More
Buy Now
#2
mind lab pro logo
4.4
stars
  • Targets more than one cognitive function
  • Boosts focus and memory
  • Can improve your mood
  • Natural ingredients
Learn More
Learn More
#3
onnit logo
4.3
stars
  • Supports memory
  • Boosts focus
  • Improves mental processing
  • Increases the production of mood-boosting chemicals
Learn More
Learn More

Top 7 Best Nootropics for Depression

Depression is one of the most common yet most damaging mental disorders in the US, with approximately 21 million adults having had at least one major depressive episode.

Luckily, many nootropics have been found to boost mood and reduce depression. If you’re unsure where to start when selecting a smart drug, we’ve rounded up the top 7 nootropics for mental health below.

#1 NooCube – best overall

Noocube Logo
Our rating:
4.5
stars
  • All-natural, science-backed ingredients
  • Boosts memory and cognitive function
  • Improves focus and mental clarity
  • Helps you feel more positive
  • Lowers stress levels
  • Better sleep
Visit NooCube

NooCube is a brain supplement that not only boosts cognitive health but also helps improve your mood, reduce stress levels, and treat depression.

Made in collaboration with top neuroscientists, its 13 science-backed ingredients include vitamins, minerals, and herbal extracts, all of which work together to provide these health benefits. 

For instance, NooCube contains L-tyrosine and L-theanine, amino acids that help the body produce neurotransmitters such as dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. These “happy hormones” are essential for lowering levels of stress, anxiety, and depression, as L-theanine enhances alpha brain waves.

The smart drug also has added vitamin B1 and oat straw extract, which both typically help users to maintain a clear mind and positive mood. 

Although research is limited, oat straw extract has been shown to inhibit the action of the PDE4 enzyme and reduce levels of inflammatory cytokine proteins. Both the enzyme and proteins can contribute to the development of depression and other psychiatric disorders.

Pros
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    Contains no GMO, soy, or grains
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    Gluten-free
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    No prescription needed
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    Doesn’t require “stacking” with other nootropics
Cons
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    Risk of side effects such as headaches with wrong dosage

#2 Mind Lab Pro – best for improving mood

mind lab pro logo
Our rating:
4.4
stars
  • Targets more than one cognitive function
  • Boosts focus and memory
  • Can improve your mood
  • Natural ingredients
Learn More

Mind Lab Pro (MLP) is an all-in-one nootropic containing 11 high-quality, vegan ingredients. Their latest V4.0 formula is described as “universal,” meaning it provides a range of cognitive benefits rather than just focusing on a single area.

One of these mood-boosting ingredients is lion’s mane mushroom, a type of medicinal mushroom that has been shown to reduce inflammation in the brain that leads to anxiety and depression. It’s also proven to be effective in treating depressive symptoms.

It may also improve the functioning of the hippocampus, a region within the brain that processes emotional responses such as depression.

MLP contains a range of essential B vitamins, including B6, B9, and B12. All of these vitamins have a positive impact on mental health, but supplementing B12 has been proven to delay the onset of depression and improve the effectiveness of antidepressants.

Another key ingredient of the nootropic is citicoline, which studies have shown is also effective alongside antidepressants such as citalopram in treating MDD (major depressive disorder).

Pros
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    Suitable for vegans
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    Caffeine-free
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    Ideal for those new to nootropics
Cons
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    Relatively expensive
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    No free shipping
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    Ingredients may cause stomach upset

#3 Onnit Alpha Brain – best for memory support

onnit logo
Our rating:
4.3
stars
  • Supports memory
  • Boosts focus and cognitive function
  • Improves mental processing
  • Increases the production of mood-boosting chemicals
Learn More

Created by Texas supplement manufacturer Onnit, Alpha Brain is a nootropic that helps to put users into an “in the zone” flow state that is important for focusing on and completing tasks.

The supplement focuses on two specific functions to help you achieve this goal, supporting the production of neurotransmitters and alpha waves in the brain.

Research suggests that problems with alpha waves may be related to social withdrawal and major depressive disorder.

Alpha Brain contains several ingredients that promote acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that influences focus and memory

Acetylcholine also activates the parasympathetic nervous system, helping to calm the body after a fight-or-flight response while helping release the mood-boosting chemicals serotonin and dopamine.  

However, having more than 3,500mg of neurotransmitters daily within the body can have some unsafe side effects, such as cramps, muscular weakness, and even paralysis, which isn’t disclosed on the packaging or the manufacturer’s website.

To avoid this, be sure to stick to the recommended dosage of Alpha Brain, which is 2 capsules per day.

One of the other downsides of Alpha Brain is that Onnit isn’t transparent about how much of each ingredient they use in their blend. This means that it can be difficult to judge whether there is enough of each to be effective for the nootropic’s purpose.

Pros
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    Caffeine-free
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    Contains no dairy or gluten
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    Free of stimulants
Cons
  • checkmark
    Can’t tell if the ingredients are in high enough doses to work
  • checkmark
    Mixed customer reviews on its effectiveness
  • checkmark
    Some ingredients may produce dangerous side effects

#4 Performance Lab Mind – best for mental clarity

Performance Lab Mind logo
Our rating:
4.2
stars
  • Combats stress burnout
  • Supports long-term brain health
  • Enhances focus, memory, and motivation
  • High-quality branded ingredients
Visit Performance Lab Mind

If you’re looking for a daily supplement that enhances cognitive functioning and helps your brain recover from mental exertion, Performance Lab Mind might be a good choice for you.

Made from easy-to-swallow fermented tapioca capsules for comfortable digestion and a healthy gut, Performance Lab Mind helps fight the burnout that you may experience from a buildup of chronic stress and overworking.

It does this with the help of the amino acid l-tyrosine and a fatty substance called phosphatidylserine, which help to release important mood-boosting brain chemicals, including dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin, and epinephrine.

This nootropic helps boost blood flow to the brain through its citicoline content, which helps restore essential brain nutrients, including healthy fats, that you may struggle to get through your diet. It also may help to improve mental performance

The ingredient, therefore, supports and stabilizes brain cell membranes for healthy neural repair and function. Citicoline is also proven to benefit those with major depressive disorder.

Pros
  • checkmark
    Helps to boost cognitive performance
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    Stimulant-free
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    Plant-based
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    Gluten- and GMO-free
Cons
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    May experience side effects such as nausea
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    Relatively expensive
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    Need to take a multivitamin supplement alongside it

#5 Nooceptin – best for cognitive function support

nooceptin logo
Our rating:
4.2
stars
  • Boosts memory retention
  • Reduces stress, anxiety, and depression
  • Supports learning and problem-solving
  • Increases decision-making abilities
Learn More

By targeting cortisol, the hormone responsible for the fight-or-flight response, Nooceptin is one of the best nootropic supplements for those suffering from depression and brain fog.

The adaptogens within this supplement help suppress the release of cortisol, which makes your brain more resistant to the stress and panic-inducing effects of the hormone.

Nooceptin also contains Rhodiola rosea, a flowering plant that inhibits enzymes in the brain that break down serotonin and dopamine – the neurotransmitters that control your mood. 

This ingredient works in combination with L-theanine, an amino acid that increases levels of serotonin, dopamine, and GABA. Particularly, GABA is a neurotransmitter that has powerful anti-anxiety effects, promoting alpha brain waves to give you a clear and calm mind.

Finally, the nootropic’s Panax ginseng content protects long-term brain health and plays a key role in stress control, which is essential for reducing levels of depression. It does this by fighting oxidative stress in the brain.

Pros
  • checkmark
    Supports mental health
  • checkmark
    Improves cognitive performance
  • checkmark
    Contains no caffeine or other stimulants
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    Manufactured in an FDA-registered facility
Cons
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    Need to use for 90 days to experience full benefits
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    Not recommended for people who are pregnant
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    Expensive for those on a budget

#6 Pure Nootropics Ginkgo Biloba – best for mental energy support

Ginkgo
Our rating:
4.1
stars
  • Improves general well-being
  • Alleviates depressive symptoms
  • Effective in treating depression
  • Promotes healthy mental performance
  • Boosts memory and focus
Learn More

Ginkgo biloba is a leaf extract commonly used in nootropic supplements for its brain-enhancing effects. There is also evidence to suggest that it may support long-term cognitive functioning, although more research is needed in this area.

This “living fossil” has been used for thousands of years and helps to inhibit enzymes such as monoamine oxidase, which breaks down the “happy hormone” dopamine. 

This means that it is beneficial for those suffering from anxiety and depression, both of which can impair how the brain functions.

For instance, a study found that patients with generalized anxiety disorder who took ginkgo biloba extract had significantly reduced anxiety and depression symptoms by the end of the trial. 

A review of clinical trials also found that the nootropic may help to alleviate the symptoms of depression for older adults.

Pros
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    Boosts cognitive performance
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    Third-party tested
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    Sourced from a trusted manufacturer
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    Competitively priced
Cons
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    May interact with other prescription medications
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    Not suitable for those who are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • checkmark
    Customer reports of shipping problems

#7 The Genius Brand Genius Joy – best to elevate mood

genius brand logo
Our rating:
3.9
stars
  • Mood-boosting supplement
  • Relieves anxiety and depression
  • Promotes a sense of calm
Learn More

Described as a “mood-boosting” supplement, Genius Joy is designed to provide relief from anxiety and mood swings. 

Unlike the other products in the brand’s nootropics range, it isn’t an all-out cognitive booster but instead focuses on promoting a sense of calm.

The nootropic’s natural ingredients help support greater focus, better motivation, and improved energy, all of which are factors contributing to overall happiness and well-being. 

They do this by increasing the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that is reduced by depression. Serotonin carries messages between nerve cells in the brain and the rest of the body and helps boost happiness and optimism to fight the symptoms and signs of depression.

One such ingredient is s-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAMe), a substance that occurs naturally in the body and is often prescribed in supplement form for treating depression, liver disease, and osteoarthritis.

However, this molecule may interact negatively with antidepressants, so avoid Genius Joy if you are currently taking medication to treat anxiety or depression.

Genius Joy also contains a range of other natural, clinically proven mood boosters, such as red Panax ginseng, L-theanine, L-tyrosine, Rhodiola rosea, and 5-HTP.

Pros
  • checkmark
    Suitable for vegetarians
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    Ingredients are clinically backed to fight depression
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    No artificial flavors or sweeteners
Cons
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    Not vegan-friendly
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    Not designed to improve focus like other nootropics
  • checkmark
    Unsuitable for those taking antidepressants

Comparison Table

Comparison Winner: NooCube
4.5
stars
4.4
stars
4.3
stars
4.2
stars
4.2
stars
4.1
stars
3.9
stars
Brand
NooCube
Mind Lab Pro
Alpha Brain
Performance Lab Mind
Nooceptin
Ginkgo biloba
Genius Joy
Pros

Gluten-free

Soy-free

Non-GMO

Contains no caffeine

Free shipping and a 60-day money-back guarantee

No prescription needed

Suitable for vegans

Caffeine-free

Ideal for those new to nootropics

Caffeine-free

Contains no dairy or gluten

Free of stimulants

Easy-to-swallow capsules

Stimulant-free

Plant-based

Gluten- and GMO-free

Contains no caffeine or other stimulants

Manufactured in an FDA-registered facility

Third-party tested

Sourced from a trusted manufacturer

Competitively priced

Suitable for vegetarians

Ingredients are clinically backed to fight depression

No artificial flavors or sweeteners

Cons

Side effects if you take the wrong dosage

Relatively expensive

No free shipping

Ingredients may cause stomach upset

Can’t tell if the ingredients are in high enough doses to work

Mixed customer reviews on its effectiveness

Some ingredients may produce dangerous side effects

Reported side effects such as nausea, excessive sweating, and insomnia

Relatively expensive

Need to take a multivitamin supplement alongside it

Need to use for 90 days to experience full benefits

Not recommended for people who are pregnant

Expensive for those on a budget

May interact with other prescription medications

Not suitable for those who are pregnant or breastfeeding

Customer reports of shipping problems

Not vegan-friendly

Not designed to improve focus like other nootropics

Unsuitable for those taking antidepressants

How We Tested Best Nootropics for Depression

When choosing any dietary supplement, medication, or product to help beat depressive symptoms, it’s important to test it against a variety of factors to decide whether it can really help you.

We reviewed the top 7 nootropic supplements for depression in 4 different categories – keep reading to find out what they are and why each one is so important.

Quality

Choosing to purchase nootropics is an important investment in your health. They should always contain high-quality, clinically-proven, and natural ingredients to boost your mood without the presence of harmful or artificial chemicals. 

Good quality nootropic supplements will improve cognitive function, elevate mood, and reduce depression-related brain fog.

Price

It’s often the case that nootropics are expensive. However, selecting the best dietary supplements should always be a priority for your health, and although they may be expensive, the benefits should outweigh the cost.

Brand reputation

Brand reputation is a crucial factor, as companies should always be transparent about the ingredients, blends, and formulations that they’re using. Look at the brand’s website to get an overview of why they decided to create the nootropic and read customer reviews to see whether or not they are truly trustworthy.

Effectiveness

To make it onto our list, the nootropic needs to actually be effective in relieving the symptoms of depression. This means that each product’s ingredients should have at least some scientific evidence supporting their role as mood boosters and that they contain the correct dosage of every ingredient to achieve these effects.

FAQs

What are the best nootropic supplements for depression?

The best nootropic supplements for depression are those that are free of stimulants yet contain clinically-proven ingredients to help boost your mood naturally. After testing 7 of the top nootropics against 4 different categories, we conclude that NooCube is the best product.

Can you take nootropics with antidepressants?

It is generally not recommended to stack nootropics and antidepressants, particularly those that contain serotonin. This can lead to you developing serotonin syndrome, a serious drug reaction that can be potentially fatal if left untreated. Consult your doctor before taking nootropics if you are on antidepressants.

Can nootropics boost serotonin?

Yes, many nootropics help to optimize the production and utilization of mood-boosting chemicals in the brain, such as serotonin, which can help relieve depressive symptoms.

A Word From Our Medical Team

Along with improving focus, helping memory, and giving you a better night’s sleep, many nootropics are also effective in boosting your mood.

They typically contain a range of natural ingredients that may alleviate the symptoms of depression and help users feel more relaxed.

However, unlike prescription medications, not all nootropics are Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved or regulated. Before purchasing, it’s therefore important to check that your chosen nootropics are coming from a reputable brand.

If you are already prescribed antidepressants, consult your doctor before taking nootropics. Like antidepressants, some smart drugs contain serotonin, which can cause excessive levels of the chemical in your body and lead to diarrhea, seizures, and even death.

Along with taking dietary supplements, there are other things that you can do to manage anxiety and depression. Try implementing healthy habits like taking morning walks, speaking to family and friends, and eating a balanced diet.

Conclusion

There are a number of nootropics on the market that are effective in treating the symptoms of depression. All of them are caffeine-free and naturally boost your mood with ingredients such as B vitamins, amino acids, and herbal extracts.

Overall, the best nootropic for depression is NooCube, the all-in-one supplement that not only enhances cognitive performance but also acts as a brain booster for good mental health.

If you are really struggling with depression or other mood disorders, it’s important that you speak to your doctor as soon as possible. They can provide you with more advice on nootropics, as well as other treatments that may be beneficial for your specific situation.

Written by Donika Vata, MD
Dr. Donika Vata is a highly accomplished MD whose extensive experience in the healthcare industry spans over 5 years, making her a distinguished Medical Writer and Researcher for the esteemed Health Reporter. Notably, she also holds the role of a General Practice Doctor and has rendered her exceptional patient care services in various clinics worldwide.
The article was fact checked by Edna Skopljak, MD
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Dr. Donika Vata
Written by Donika Vata, MD
HR_author_photo_Edna
Fact checked by Edna Skopljak, MD
Last update: September 4, 2023
9 min read 745 Views 0 Reviews
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