5 Science-Backed Nootropics for Increased Energy Levels

Based on placebo-controlled studies, here are supplements for increased energy.

Posted Aug 13, 2020

 Nootralize
Source: Nootralize

A nootropic is a substance that, if used properly, safely enhances the cognitive functions of the user.

As public interest in cognitive enhancers escalates, the demand for high-quality evidence on the safety and efficacy of nootropics seems to outgrow the supply of that information. Although new placebo-controlled studies are published frequently, they can be hard to read and misrepresentative of the entire body of knowledge the scientific community has provided on the effects of nootropics. These are some of the reasons why we systematically went through 527 placebo-controlled studies [1] on the effects of 127 nootropics and put together a list with the five most science-backed ones for improving energy. If a nootropic was not included in this list, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s ineffective for boosting energy. It likely means there is less research on the effects of that compound in healthy humans than there’s for each nootropic that made it on to the list.

Out of the 527 studies, 84 included measures of energy. A total of 5,318 participants had their energy tested, and 19 nootropics were assessed for safety and efficacy for improving energy. Based on this body of evidence, these are the five most science-backed nootropics for boosting energy in healthy humans.

Sage

In the three studies we reviewed that examined the effects of Sage on measures of energy, 86 participants were included. [2][4][5]

Overall, these studies found a minute positive effect on energy from the use of Sage.

The evidence we reviewed also suggests that Sage can improve:

  • Mood (minute effect)
  • Nervousness (small effect)
  • Memory (minute effect)
  • Focus (minute effect)
  • Sociality (small effect)
  • Stress (minute effect)
  • Intelligence (minute effect)
  • Learning (small effect)
  • Mindfulness (minute effect)

Risks

Side effects

No negative side effects were seen in any of the studies we reviewed.

Legality

Sage is legal to buy, possess, and use in the United States and Canada. [6-14]

Conclusion

Preliminary evidence suggests Sage has a minute positive impact on energy. Moreover, Sage is generally safe and legal.

How to Use

It is probably safer and more effective to use nootropics as they have been used in studies on humans. In the studies we’ve reviewed, Sage was used in the following ways:

  • 300 mg extract doses for acute effects [2]
  • 600 mg extract doses for acute effects [2]
  • 50 µl essential oil doses for acute effects [3]
  • 100 µl essential oil doses for acute effects [3]
  • 150 µl essential oil doses for acute effects [3]
  • 25 µl essential oil doses for acute effects [3]
  • 50 µl essential oil doses for acute effects [3]
  • 50 mg extract doses for acute effects [4]
  • 167 mg extract doses for acute effects [5]
  • 333 mg extract doses for acute effects [5]
  • 666 mg extract doses for acute effects [5]
  • 1332 mg extract doses for acute effects [5]

Panax Ginseng

In the six studies we reviewed which examined the effects of Panax Ginseng on measures of energy, 170 participants were included. [15-20]

Overall, these studies found a minute positive effect on energy from the use of Panax Ginseng.

The evidence we reviewed also suggests that Panax Ginseng can improve:

  • Mood (small effect)
  • Nervousness (small effect)
  • Focus (minute effect)
  • Sociality (small effect)
  • Stress (small effect)
  • Intelligence (minute effect)
  • Mindfulness (small effect)

Risks

Side effects

No negative side effects were seen in any of the studies we reviewed.

Legality

Panax Ginseng is legal to buy, possess, and use in the United States and Canada. [7-9][11-14][21][22]

Conclusion

A relatively large amount of evidence suggests Panax Ginseng has a minute positive impact on energy. Moreover, Panax Ginseng is generally safe and legal.

How to Use

It is probably safer and more effective to use nootropics as they have been used in studies on humans. In the studies we’ve reviewed, Panax Ginseng was used in the following ways:

  • 4500 mg non-extract powder dosages daily for 2 weeks [15]
  • 200 mg extract doses for acute effects [16]
  • 200 mg extract doses for acute effects [17]
  • 200 mg extract doses for acute effects [18]
  • 400 mg extract doses for acute effects [18]
  • 200 mg extract dosages daily for 1 week [19]
  • 400 mg extract dosages daily for 1 week [19]
  • 400 mg extract doses for acute effects [20]

Rhodiola

In the four studies we reviewed that examined the effects of Rhodiola on measures of energy, 255 participants were included. [23-26]

Overall, these studies found a large positive effect on energy from the use of Rhodiola.

The evidence we reviewed also suggests that Rhodiola can improve:

  • Memory (large effect)
  • Focus (large effect)
  • Intelligence (large effect)

Risks

Side effects

Less than 20% experience:

  • Headache

Less than 10% experience:

  • Diarrhea
  • Dark stool
  • Nausea
  • Blurred vision

Legality

Rhodiola is legal to buy, possess, and use in the United States, United Kingdom, Sweden, Canada, and Australia. [7-9][11-14][27–34][35-38]

Conclusion

Preliminary evidence suggests Rhodiola has a large positive impact on energy. Moreover, Rhodiola is generally safe and legal.

How to Use

It is probably safer and more effective to use nootropics as they have been used in studies on humans. In the studies we’ve reviewed, Rhodiola was used in the following ways:

  • 600 mg dosages daily for 4 weeks [23]
  • 555 mg doses for acute effects [24]
  • 370 mg doses for acute effects [24]
  • 364 mg dosages daily for 6 weeks [25]
  • 170 mg dosages daily for 2 weeks [26]

Caffeine

In the seven studies we reviewed which examined the effects of Caffeine on measures of energy, 430 participants were included. [39-45]

Overall, these studies found a minute positive effect on energy from the use of Caffeine.

The evidence we reviewed also suggests that Caffeine can improve:

  • Memory (minute effect)
  • Physical performance (small effect)
  • Focus (minute effect)
  • Intelligence (minute effect)

Risks

Side effects

Less than 10% experience:

  • Hand tremor (involuntary rhytmic muscle contractions)
  • Nausea
  • Somnolence (Sleepiness)
  • Hypervigilance
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Agitation
  • Disturbance in attention
  • Dry eyes
  • Abnormal vision
  • Feeling hot

Legality

Caffeine is legal to buy, possess, and use in the United States, United Kingdom, Sweden, Canada, and Australia. [7-9][11–14][29][30][32][35][46–55]

Conclusion

A relatively large amount of evidence suggests Caffeine has a minute positive impact on energy. Moreover, Caffeine is generally safe and legal.

How to Use

It is probably safer and more effective to use nootropics as they have been used in studies on humans. In the studies we’ve reviewed, Caffeine was used in the following ways:

  • 600 mg dosages daily for 1 day [39]
  • 150 mg doses for acute effects [40]
  • 30 mg doses for acute effects [41]
  • 75 mg doses for acute effects [42]
  • 170 mg doses for acute effects [43]
  • 231 mg doses for acute effects [44]
  • 200 mg doses for acute effects [45]

American Ginseng

In the one study we reviewed that examined the effects of American Ginseng on measures of energy, 52 participants were included. [56]

This study found a minute positive effect on energy from use of American Ginseng.

The evidence we reviewed also suggests that American Ginseng can improve:

  • Mood (minute effect)
  • Memory (minute effect)
  • Focus (minute effect)
  • Stress (minute effect)
  • Learning (minute effect)
  • Mindfulness (minute effect)

Risks

Side effects

No negative side effects were seen in the study we reviewed.

Legality

American Ginseng is legal to buy, possess, and use in the United States and Canada. [7-9][11–14][57][58]

Conclusion

Preliminary evidence suggests American Ginseng has a minute positive impact on energy. Moreover, American Ginseng is generally safe and legal.

How to Use

It is probably safer and more effective to use nootropics as they have been used in studies on humans. In the study we reviewed, American Ginseng was used in 200 mg doses for acute effects.

If you have the right mindset to nootropic use (awareness of risks and how to avoid them), you’re in a great position to benefit from cognitive enhancers.

There’s a need for more research on each of the nootropics in this list. Specifically, there’s a great degree of individual variance in how people respond to nootropics. This means that if you use a nootropic that there was a small effect from in a study with dozens of participants, you may get no effect or a large effect. Currently, while we wait for science to elucidate who is likely to respond to which nootropics, patient self-experimentation is the best method for nootropic use success.

To understand the effects a nootropic has on you, it is important to continuously test your cognitive performance both subjectively and objectively. To do this efficiently, the Nootralize web app can be of help.

This post was originally published at blog.nootralize.com, it is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

References

[1] https://nootralize.com/how-nootralize-researches-nootropics/

[2] https://www.nature.com/articles/1300907

[3] http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.921.6614&rep=rep1&type=pdf

[4] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20937617/

[5] https://www.researchgate.net/publication/5502737_An_extract_of_Salvia_sage_with_anticholinesterase_properties_improves_memory_and_attention_in_healthy_older_volunteers

[6] https://dsld.nlm.nih.gov/dsld/prdLabel.jsp?id=79901

[7] https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/whatcanibring/items/supplements

[8] https://www.faa.gov/hazmat/packsafe/

[9] https://www.fda.gov/industry/import-basics/personal-importation

[10] http://webprod.hc-sc.gc.ca/nhpid-bdipsn/ingredReq.do?id=14125&lang=eng

[11] https://www.catsa-acsta.gc.ca/en/medication-and-medical-items

[12] https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/drugs-health-products/natural-non-prescription/frequently-asked-questions/questions-consumers-regulation.html#a5

[13] https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/drugs-health-products/natural-non-prescription.html

[14] https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/drugs-health-products/compliance-enforcement/importation-exportation/policy-health-products-under-food-drugs-act-regulations-0060.html#a52

[15] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3659585/

[16] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16401645/

[17] https://www.essentialnutrition.com.br/media/artigos/quantum/22.%20Improved%20cognitive%20performance.pdf

[18] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15982990/

[19] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20737519/

[20] https://www.academia.edu/924620/Modulation_of_cognition_and_mood_following_administration_of_single_doses_of_Ginkgo_biloba_ginseng_and_a_ginkgo_ginseng_combination_to_healthy_young_adults

[21] https://dsld.nlm.nih.gov/dsld/prdLabel.jsp?id=42816

[22] http://webprod.hc-sc.gc.ca/nhpid-bdipsn/ingredReq.do?id=6326&lang=eng

[23] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6230218/

[24] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12725561/

[25] https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0108416

[26] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11081987

[27] https://dsld.nlm.nih.gov/dsld/prdLabel.jsp?id=45184

[28] https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/list-of-banned-or-restricted-herbal-ingredients-for-medicinal-use/banned-and-restricted-herbal-ingredients

[29] https://www.gov.uk/hand-luggage-restrictions/essential-medicines-and-medical-equipment

[30] https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/668106/Travelling_to_the_UK-_update.pdf

[31] https://www.lakemedelsverket.se/sv/sok-lakemedelsfakta?prodClass=3&activeTab=1&medProdFormExpanded=true

[32] https://www.transportstyrelsen.se/sv/luftfart/Flygresenar/Bagage/Vad-far-jag-ta-med-mig-ombord/Medicin/

[33] https://www.tullverket.se/sv/privat/handlapanatet/kosttillskottpanatet.4.7df61c5915510cfe9e71088d.html

[34] http://webprod.hc-sc.gc.ca/nhpid-bdipsn/ingredReq.do?id=6416&lang=eng

[35] https://www.abf.gov.au/entering-and-leaving-australia/can-you-bring-it-in/bring-on-a-plane

[36] https://www.odc.gov.au/ws-lps-index?search_api_views_fulltext=rhodiola-rosea&items_per_page=10

[37] https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2020C00148/Html/Text#_Toc31805904

[38] https://www.ebs.tga.gov.au/

[39] https://www.researchgate.net/publication/14183690_The_effects_of_600_mg_of_slow_release_caffeine_on_mood_and_alertness

[40] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4663612/

[41] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27649778/

[42] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20521321/

[43] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5608989/

[44] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25470803/

[45] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5629791/

[46] https://dsld.nlm.nih.gov/dsld/prdLabel.jsp?id=51193

[47] https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/psychoactive-substances-bill-2015

[48] https://www.lakemedelsverket.se/sv/behandling-och-forskrivning/kopa-anvanda-och-hantera/vad-ar-ett-lakemedel/amnesguiden#hmainbody1

[49] https://www.tullverket.se/sv/privat/handlapanatet/handlalakemedelpanatet.4.7df61c5915510cfe9e7108b1.html

[50] http://webprod.hc-sc.gc.ca/nhpid-bdipsn/ingredReq.do?id=1507&lang=eng

[51] https://www.odc.gov.au/ws-lps-index?search_api_views_fulltext=caffeine&items_per_page=10

[52] https://www.abf.gov.au/entering-and-leaving-australia/can-you-bring-it-in/list-of-items

[53] https://www.ebs.tga.gov.au/ebs/PublicHTML/pdfstore.nsf/TemplateEngineIngredientPDF?OpenAgent&ingredientid=52506&docid=D674F30F26BD7D11CA2577DD0000DFEF

[54] https://www.tga.gov.au/listed-medicines

[55] https://www.tga.gov.au/personal-importation-scheme

[56] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25778987/

[57] https://www.dsld.nlm.nih.gov/dsld/prdLabel.jsp?id=79395

[58] http://webprod.hc-sc.gc.ca/nhpid-bdipsn/ingredReq.do?id=6328&lang=en