Nutritionist and nootropics expert James Dixon shortlists his best energy supplements for those times when you need a physical and mental energy boost. Find out which ones made the cut below…
We all struggle for energy from time to time. Life is busy, we often don’t get enough rest, and modern life seems intent on bombarding us with things to deplete our energy. Specifically, our cognitive energy is often depleted.
There are several things we can do to overcome this – try to not push yourself to exhaustion, get plenty of rest, and lead a healthy lifestyle. Supplementation can also be key.
The right supplement can unlock reserves of energy you thought you had left behind in your childhood. With this in mind, today we’re going to look at a few of the best energy supplements going, with a focus on cognitive energy.
Quick Verdict: No.1 Energy Supplement
There are plenty of good energy supplements on this list – they are the best of the best in the modern supplements market. However, for full, well-rounded support, high-quality, good science, and consumer choice, it’s got to be Kaged Mindset.
They have gone above and beyond to create a peerless energy giving nootropic supplement.
What are energy supplements?
There are plenty of different kinds of energy supplements. Some use stimulants such as guarana and caffeine to give you a good energy kick, holding off the effects of adenosine accumulation whilst also stimulating a mild fight or flight response, flooding your system with cortisol and other hormones.
Others, most notably forms of vitamins B (see Solgar B complex below) work by improving your body’s ability to utilize nutrients. Others work by improving your cognitive energy and focus – these are nootropics, which make up the bulk of today’s list.
There are, of course, lots more. There are also plenty that overlap, nootropics that use stimulants and B vitamins for example.
In general, though, an energy supplement will seek to do what it says on the tin – it will give you a good energy boost.
Our top energy supplements
Supplements can play a vital role in maintaining our energy levels. As above, there are plenty of different individual supplements across plenty of different formats.
However, these five energy giving supplements are ones that I personally think can benefit us all the most. The list is largely nootropic focussed, though not exclusively so. Also as above, vitamin B is vital for maintaining optimal energy levels, so I’ve included one of the best vitamin B supplements available on the market.
Kaged Mindset is an incredibly potent nootropic, beloved of my editor and thousands more for its ability to give you improved focus, improved clarity, and plenty of energy. Kaged themselves are at the top of their game, consistently bringing out some of the best supplements out there. Mindset, their nootropic, holds true to this reputation.
I was personally a little surprised when Kaged entered into the nootropic game. It makes a sort of sense – nootropics are big money right now, so any supplement company looking at their bottom line would do well to take them seriously, and Kaged are a performance brand, after all. However, they have always been more about physical performance and aesthetics.
But, after all, they are about performance, wherever it comes into play – physical or mental.
Kaged Mindset follows a bit of a trend, matching up well with their other products. They have taken their customary approach in creating it, going with high end ingredients, data led innovation, and full potency for some truly fantastic end results.
You can get a couple of different forms of Mindset. Firstly, there is a caffeinated version, ideal for this fast release, quick energy kick we all associate with coffee and the like. Then there is the non-caffeinated version which relies more heavily on other pathways for improved energy levels. I like this approach – consumer choice is key, after all. Either way, there is an incredible weight of evidence underpinning each.
Kaged promote five key benefits to be gained from their Mindset formulae. You should experience longer lasting energy, even with the caffeinated version, coupled with increased productivity. Then there are the explicitly nootropic benefits – improved focus, attention, and memory. Some of these benefits are acute, meaning they hit you right away. This is especially true, for instance, of the caffeinated version’s energy kick. Others are non-acute, slower burning benefits, accrued over several weeks of taking it.
We see some very good ingredients involved in each version’s basic DNA. These include the likes of Alpha GPC, one of my favorite forms of choline, as well as ginseng, l-tyrosine, huperzine A, and a solid vitamin B complex for improved metabolic energy.
It’s one of the best energy-giving supplements out there, one of the best nootropics available, and you can choose between immediate or slower released energy. It’s a win on all sides.
Kaged Mindset is a strong start. However, the modern supplement market is rich with quality and high-end nootropics. There is no shortage of contenders for the top spot. Enter Hunter Focus, another elite nootropic that should help you to become and remain as optimally energized as possible, amongst a slew of additional life-enhancing benefits.
There is no skimping, here. Some supplements keep things artfully simple. Others keep things artfully complicated, giving you everything and more that you could possibly want or need for any given result. Hunter Focus definitely goes for the latter approach.
In fact, you get three different, distinct formulae with it, all designed to blend well for total brain, mood, and energy support. The formulae are Concentration Activation, Memory Matrix, and Mood Amplification, all of which do exactly what their titles promise.
Concentration Activation works, obviously, to improve your concentration. It does this mainly with citicoline, a form of choline, which should help to optimize cognitive health and function. More is often better, especially from a good exogenous source, as your brain doesn’t produce optimal quantities.
You will also get a good dose of the amino acids l-theanine and l-tyrosine, which should combine to give you a good energy boost whilst also diminishing anxiety levels and furthering your concentration and focus.
The Memory Matrix rests largely on Lion’s Mane, one of my favorite nootropic ingredients. It contains abundant hericenones and erinacines, which both combine well for cognition and lasting brain health support. They will help to optimize your brain’s production of nerve growth factor (NGF). NGF plays a key role in maintaining brain health, helping to upkeep nerves and pathways. This will lead to improved memory alongside greater clarity and cognitive energy in the long run.
Hunter Focus’ Memory Matrix also uses a pine bark extract standardized with 95% proanthocyanins, which means high, high quality, and bacopa monnieri. Pine bark extract is closely linked with improved brain health and cognitive function and energy, whilst bacopa monnieri is known for its benefits to both overall cognitive ability and mental wellbeing.
The Mood Amplification complex is short and sweet, with only two ingredients making up its formula. However, these are two of the best nootropic ingredients you can consume, in the form of ashwagandha and phosphatidylserine (PS).
PS should help to further boost NGF production, keeping your brain health in check. It can also lead to improvements in glucose metabolism, meaning far greater usable energy for your brain and body alike. Ashwagandha is great for stress prevention and hormone optimization, especially for testosterone in men. These will lead to improved wellbeing overall, as well as improved drive, focus, and energy.
It’s perhaps not the best pure energy giving supplement. However, Hunter Focus is one of the best nootropics you can buy. It’s intelligently thought-out and blended, is very high-quality, it packs a punch, and it should lead to improved cognitive health, wellbeing, function, and, partly as a result, energy levels.
I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anybody looking to overcome cognitive fatigue, lethargy, and sluggishness.
VyvaMind remains a bit of an oddball to me. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing weird about it. However, it simply seems not to often make it alongside the industry’s big hitters. It is also an incredibly streamlined product, the antithesis to Hunter Focus in many ways. I find it constantly surprising just how well it works without really relying on all that much.
The formula itself is made up of just six ingredients. I was concerned when I first read this. It could mean meanness, or it could mean elegance. Happily, very happily, VyvaMind is as elegant as they come, doing everything you want with no fuss and no waste.
Each serving will give you plenty of citicoline, which we have already seen. This will raise choline levels, thus giving you an incredible cognitive boost. It also contains 300 mg of l-tyrosine and 150 mg of l-theanine for improved cognitive function, mood, decreased anxiety, and more overall energy. This is all rounded out by a good vitamin B complex, which as we have seen is key to maintaining good metabolic health and, therefore, to optimally extracting the energy from the food we eat.
You should have an abundance of extra, long-lasting energy when you take VyvaMind, alongside the many cognitive and mental health benefits on offer.
Then there is the little kick at the end. You get 75 mg of caffeine anhydrous with every dose, which is near enough the equivalent of a single shot of espresso. Where everything else keeps your system producing energy in the longer run, this caffeine should perk you up immediately. Caffeine anhydrous is a particularly high quality form of caffeine, the go-to form that I would expect to see used in any high-end supplement.
This paired back approach has benefits for your wallet, too. VyvaMind should give you a decent amount of nootropic benefit alongside a good energy boost. However, only having a few ingredients means that it’s cheap to produce compared to some of its more complex competitors, a saving which is ultimately passed onto you, the consumer.
Mind Lab Pro
I want to look at one more nootropic before moving on, as we reach towards our list’s home stretch. No discussion on nootropic use for energy would be complete without Mind Lab Pro, one of the industry’s stalwarts and an excellent, all-round, solid option for anybody looking to improve their cognitive health and mental wellbeing.
There are few like it. It is very high-quality and serves as something of a benchmark for others to aim towards, a blueprint for how a good nootropic’s DNA should look. You will typically find it in the top five, or even three, of any nootropic list, it’s such an industry leader. As many of its kind do, it manipulates a few different pathways within the brain to give you the benefits you want.
It’s actually a bit of a multi-tasker, going for a bit of a three-in-one approach as it seeks to support your full-brain health.
First off, it helps to ring-fence your brain health in the long run. This means optimizing cellular regeneration whilst protecting the physical brain from harm.
Secondly, you should find an uptick in healthy brainwaves alongside healthy brain chemical balance, which is largely where our energy boosting benefits will come from.
Finally, you will also find your day-to-day cognitive function improving, with improved working memory, mood, learning ability, drive, focus, and so on – everything a good nootropic should do.
Let’s zero in on the energy benefits a little. You should see a really very impressive energy boost with Mind Lab Pro, especially for a supplement that doesn’t use any kind of stimulant. Your energy levels should rise, as should your mood and motivation. This will be very long-lasting, too, as those long-term benefits mean optimal brain plasticity, which in turn should mean improved cognitive health as you grow old.
Everything comes courtesy of a laundry list of top-tier nootropic supplements, most of which you should be pretty familiar with by now. For instance, you get a good dose of lion’s mane mushroom with Mind Lab Pro. This means improved NGF production, which means improved energy levels and longevity all by itself.
It also makes use of citicoline, which we have already seen is one of the best ingredients for cellular regeneration and improved energy production.
You get PS, bacopa monnieri, and maritime bark extract, meaning lower stress levels, improved drive, focus, and clarity, improved working memory, and, of course, further heightened, long-lasting energy levels. L-tyrosine and l-theanine are also there, further boosting these benefits.
This is Mind Lab Pro’s heart. It gives you a rock hard foundation on which to build.
And it does build – it keeps giving. There are two more sets of ingredients, rhodiola rosea and a very good vitamin B complex, from which the real energy boost comes.
We’ve already seen what a good array of B vitamins can do for your metabolic health and nutrient use. I’ll go into it all in a bit more detail below, with this list’s final product. Rhodiola rosea, meanwhile, is a phenomenal adaptogenic herb that should allow for a far greater ability to optimize cognitive energy.
This will be accompanied by benefits to your focus, attention span, learning, mental processing ability, and memory. Adaptogens also help to keep the effects of stress at bay, meaning that your mood will improve and your long-term brain health will be in far finer fettle.
Mind Lab Pro is a market leader for a reason. It’s often the nootropic to beat for a reason. It is truly, truly great.
Solgar Vitamin B Complex
Let’s finish things off with a simple yet profound, high-quality vitamin B supplement, in the form of Solgar’s B Complex. We have already seen that B vitamins in general can help your metabolic health, improving your ability to take energy from food and thus better use the nutrients you’re consuming.
Well, Solgar’s Vitamin B Complex gives you all of them in workable doses. Solgar themselves have been going for over seven decades, which is ridiculously long in the supplement game, where newcomers arrive seemingly every day. They produce their supplements in small, well-monitored batches, and thus have become a bit of a byword for quality in whatever they do.
And, as above, their vitamin B complex is comprehensive. It gives you a full range, meaning thiamine, or vitamin B1, riboflavin, or vitamin B2, niacin, or vitamin B3, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, biotin, or vitamin B7, folate and folic acid, and vitamin B12. As your body cannot produce these vitamins in high enough quantities to maintain optimal health and energy levels, exogenous forms like Solgar’s are often sorely needed.
Thiamine, generally found in fish, whole grains, and nuts, is one of the main elements here for making glucose from dietary fat and carbohydrate sources. This glucose forms the basis for your body’s main energy system, meaning improved energy levels, alongside benefits to the brain and central nervous system.
B5, or pantothenic acid meanwhile, plays a central role in hair and skin maintenance, cholesterol health, and, of course, energy production. It also plays a role in energy conversion from food, whilst also aiding the creation of red blood cells and keeping your overall metabolic health on point. B12 plays into this, too, playing a role in red blood cell creation alongside converting dietary protein and fat into energy.
Vitamin B3, or niacin, helps to optimize your metabolic rate whilst also stimulating improved vascularity, which means more oxygen and nutrients flowing more ably around the body. It also helps to improve sexual function, which is always a nice bonus.
Finally, B6 helps with endurance and longer term energy levels. AKA pyridoxine, is fundamental to the conversion process of turning all macronutrients into glucose, it aids muscle repair, brain function, and helps to keep anaemia at bay. It also helps to manage your energy use, parcelling it out where and when you need it the most.
Many B vitamins come from animal sources, or at least most abundantly so. Vegetarian and vegan diets can be a little low in them, though food sources like grains, avocados, and mushrooms can be rich in them. Nevertheless, Solgar’s vitamin B complex is vegan and vegetarian friendly, representing a great way to boost intake in the absence of meat and dairy.
It’s a lot different to everything else on this list. However, for pure, long-lasting energy, it is hard to beat a good dose of B vitamins. And if you’re going to do so, it’s best to go with a complete source from a highly reputable company, which is exactly what you get with Solgar.
It’s hard to choose from this list. Obviously, if you’re just going for pure energy and suspect that your diet may be a little low on B vitamins, Solgar’s Vitamin B Complex is probably a good bet. You won’t find a better vitamin B complex out there, and the benefits on offer can be life changing.
However, if you want something that will seek to explicitly keep your brain energized and functioning fully, I would always advise a good quality nootropic. You have a few to choose from here, all of which should in some way additionally support your overall energy levels whilst optimizing cognitive health and function.
Mind Lab Pro is perhaps best for sheer pedigree and quality. If this was a list simply looking at the best nootropics, I would be sorely tempted to pick it as my number one supplement. However, this is a list of the best supplements for energy. With this in mind, Kaged Mindset comes out a fraction ahead, just nudging Mind Lab Pro off the top spot. It is renowned for giving you more energy. I’ve always experienced far higher natural energy levels whilst taking it, forgoing my customary high caffeine intake as it is often simply unnecessary.
You can’t go far wrong with such a high-quality supplement. You will be clearer headed, more focussed, with improved working memory, all whilst experiencing far greater energy levels. Kaged Mindset may well be the missing ingredient you’ve been looking for.
How to increase your energy levels naturally
Before reaching for supplements, you may want to consider lifestyle choices that can improve your energy levels. There are a few simple things you can do which should naturally lift your energy levels. Pair these with one of the supplements from the list above and you should find your life revolutionized by high-quality, lasting energy, generally combined with an elevated mood and overall improved mental wellbeing.
Sleep is the first thing you should pay attention to. It’s a bit of a no-brainer. Sleep is where you recharge, recuperate, and repair. You should aim for between 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night as often as possible. Quality matters, too. In order to get into a deep, undisturbed sleep, cut out caffeine about six hours before you go to bed. Exercise and relaxation can help here, too. Try moderate exercise and pre-bed meditation to ensure you can make the most of a few solid sleep cycles.
Exercise also has energy-giving benefits above and beyond its ability to improve your sleep. It will improve your blood flow, which means more oxygen and nutrients carried to where they are needed. It will mean improvements to hormone and neurotransmitter health that will lead to improved energy levels, clarity, and mental wellbeing. It will also improve your endurance, allowing you to get more done without fatigue hitting you.
Meditation, too, can give you lots of energy. Try NSDR, or non-sleep deep rest. This can recharge you, recalibrate your brain to better make use of key neuromodulators, like dopamine, and can fuel you for a few hours of clarity and wakefulness far more ably than coffee.
Diet is always important. It is, after all, where you actually get your energy from – or at least the raw stuff your energy comes from. A diet rich in varied plant sources, lean protein, complex carbs, and healthy fats should give you everything your body needs to keep you going all day long.
This article was written by: James Dixon – SOMA Analytics PT, Nutritionalist & Published Author
James Dixon is one of the key players in the SOMA Analytics’ team. He is a personal trainer and is educated to Masters level. He is a published author and is a keen advocate of high quality nootropic supplements. James enjoys helping others to reach their peak both physically and mentally and believes that expressing his knowledge through his writing is an effective way to positively impact the wellbeing of others on a larger scale.