Energy and Motivation go hand in hand. When you have more energy you’ll be more motivated to carry out mental or physical tasks.
So, why do so many of us struggle with a lack of inner drive? There are many reasons for that, one of them being low dopamine levels.
How do most people boost dopamine? It’s by using caffeine and other stimulants. However, these can lead to an energy crash and weak brainpower in the long-run.
- Supplements for motivation and energy may help. These natural cognitive boosters support healthy brain energy and dopamine levels to increase your drive – without the use of stimulants. Supplements for motivation and mental energy are healthier for the brain while delivering superior long-term support to your performance.
In this guide, we’ll look at the 7 best individual supplements for mental energy & motivation, as well as the overall #1 supplement formula that combines multiple ingredients for clean brainpower surge.
#1 – Citicoline
Citicoline is the superior choline source which provides two brain-boosting compounds in one. As opposed to other sources of choline (e.g. Alpha-GPC), citicoline increases your brainpower even more by supplying both:
- Choline – a building block nutrient for brain cell membranes and memory-enhancing hormone acetylcholine.
- Cytidine – a precursor to uridine, which is essential for maintaining optimal synaptic plasticity and brain energy.
Whereas some choline supplements might boost acetylcholine levels, improving cognitive aspects related to learning and memory, citicoline does this in addition to enhancing your mental energy output via uridine.
In one clinical study, healthy men and women who took a high-quality form of Citicoline (Cognizin®) experienced a 13.6% increase in their brain cells’ ATP energy production. (1) This finding comes as no surprise as Citicoline is one of the best supplements for mitochondria.
As perhaps the best single brain booster overall, Citicoline is a great choice for anyone looking to enhance their cognition, boost motivation, and increase overall brainpower.
#2 – L-Tyrosine
L-Tyrosine replenishes brain chemicals, including those that influence your motivation and energy.
Even the most energetic people who enjoy their daily routines, those who wake up with a big smile ready to do the work, struggle to keep motivated by Thursday afternoon – especially if they’ve been giving their all since Monday.
Our brains weren’t designed to sustain full-throttle mental activity for very long. This is, in part, due to something called tyrosine burnout. (2)
When stressed and highly active, your brain burns through dopamine and other neurotransmitters like there’s no tomorrow. While this provides you with bursts of motivation and feel-good rush of energy, it eventually depletes your stores of tyrosine, an amino acid that’s needed to make dopamine.
No L-Tyrosine=No Dopamine= No More Motivation
As L-Tyrosine is a master precursor to motivation-driving dopamine, supplementing it can help recharge dopamine levels – keeping you mentally sharp and motivated for longer.
- Improved Learning Speed
- Maintains Cognition
- Enhances Working Memory
To maintain high motivation, you need to have healthy catecholamine levels (including dopamine). And to maintain healthy catecholamine levels, you need to have a steady supply of L-Tyrosine – which is precisely what tyrosine supplements help with.
In other words, supplementing L-Tyrosine helps to keep your brain fuel tanks from going “empty” before the end of your workday, presentation, workout, etc.
#3 – Rhodiola Rosea
One of Russia’s best-kept secrets, Rhodiola is a powerful adaptogenic herb with potent anti-fatigue effects.
Traditionally used by soldiers and farmers in Siberia to withstand their harsh living conditions. Rhodiola Rosea complements pro-energy supplements on this list with its profound performance-boosting bioactivities.
As an adaptogen, Rhodiola’s main role is to help your body adapt to stress. In essence, Rhodiola helps lessen the negative impacts of cortisol and other stress hormones throughout your body. (6)
Rhodiola Rosea’s stress-regulating effects include:
- Supports neurotransmitters – Rhodiola enhances your dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine by inhibiting the enzymes that destroy them. This keeps you more focused and sharper when you need it. (7)
- Modulates the HPA axis – Also known as the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis, which is your body’s system that regulates response to stress. (8)
By protecting from the negative effects of stress hormones, Rhodiola helps to keep your energy high – not directly, but by regulating the pathways that promote fog and mental fatigue. Rhodiola is backed by human research for its ability to reduce mental fatigue, as you can see below.
Rhodiola is similar to L-Tyrosine, in a sense that it ameliorates stress-induced fatigue. Only instead of recharging depleted brain chemicals, Rhodiola helps to reverse the steps that led to burnout in the first place.
This makes Rhodiola extremely potent when you stack it with other supplements on this list. Which is why some of the top-rated nootropic stacks use it.
#4 – L-Theanine
L-Theanine is an amino acid with nootropic (brain-boosting) effects. It promotes alpha brain waves which, in turn, improves your alertness and calm at the same time.
If there’s an energy-boosting supplement without stimulant properties, L-Theanine could be it. Unlike the jitters, crash-inducing effects of caffeine, L-Theanine works by optimizing your brain chemicals and brain waves. The result? A relaxed, clean state of energized cognitive focus.
This is why lots of people love combining L-Theanine with caffeine, because this amino acid blocks out the negative effects of caffeine while still maintaining its energy and focus effects.
- L-theanine makes energizing stimulants more efficient while delivering its own unique benefits for clean, stim-free brainpower.
Among its many mental health benefits, Phosphatidylserine (PS) enhances the way your brain uses glucose to make energy.
As a phospholipid compound, PS makes up the inner layer of your brain cells, and is critical for brain cell integrity & function. PS is also known as the most clinically-backed nootropic supplement for memory. And it’s renowned for its multitasking performance bioactivities, which result in long-range cognitive benefits.
However, what’s little less known is PS’s benefit on brain energy. In a study with people who suffered from brain degeneration, Phosphatidylserine supplementation led to a 20.3% increase in their brain energy metabolism. (9)
#6 Maritime Pine Bark Extract
Derived from the Maritime Pine Tree, this antioxidant-loaded complex boosts brain energy by promoting healthy blood flow to your brain.
While it’s not been researched for mental energy specifically, Pine Bark Extract is shown in studies to trigger the release of NO (Nitric Oxide).
NO signals to your blood vessels to widen and relax, which promotes healthy circulation throughout your body and brain.
Robust cerebral blood flow helps with the delivery of glucose and oxygen that are absolutely critical for healthy brain cell energy production.
#7 – B Complex Vitamins
Vitamins of the B family are nutritional necessities for optimal brain energy metabolism at a cellular level. B-vitamins boost your mental energy both directly and indirectly:
- Direct energy support: Your cells need vitamin B12 to make energy. The role of vitamin B12 in energy production is especially critical within your brain cells, given that our brains consume 20% of the body’s total energy pool. (10)
- Indirect energy support: Together, vitamins B6, B9, and B12 help to balance homocysteine levels. By doing so, these three B-vitamins help to protect your arteries from the damaging effects of homocysteine – indirectly boosting blood flow to the brain that is linked to mental energy and cognitive performance.
Of all the B vitamins, B6 might be the most critical for brain health – still, other B vitamins, such as B9 and B12, help with neurotransmitter production as well. (11) The specific motivational bio-pathways stimulated by vitamin B6 include:
- Turning L-DOPA to Dopamine.
- Converting Tryptophan to 5-HTP.
- Converting 5-HTP to Serotonin.
This is why you’ll see many neurohackers stack B vitamins with L-Tyrosine. Together, these enable the conversion of dietary L-Tyrosine to catecholamine neurotransmitters (dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine) that drive motivation.
Although you might not feel the mental effects of B-vitamins as an intense energy surge, they’re still critical for supporting our long-range brain health – making them must-have ingredients in the best brain health supplements.
Best Overall Supplement Stack for Motivation & Energy: Mind Lab Pro
We currently rate Mind Lab Pro as the best professional supplement for energy support across non-stimulant pathways.
We’ve tried countless ‘nootropic’ supplements over the years, and only a handful of them passed our criteria. Mind Lab Pro is one of them – it helped us with not only brain energy and motivation, but also the stress that comes from working long hours.
Mind Lab Pro combines 11 bioactive ingredients, including the ones from the list above, to promote a complete cognitive optimization.
Whereas synthetic stimulants boost energy & motivation in short bursts that inevitably lead to a crash. Mind Lab Pro promotes a different kind of energy: natural, clean, and sustained mental energy.
- Mind Lab Pro also supports and enhances the motivation surge with a premium-quality, non-stimulant stack of heavily researched ingredients only.
Mind Lab Pro uses Citicoline to boost brain energy on a cellular level. It also uses L-Tyrosine to replenish your catecholamine neurotransmitters for sustained mental performance under stress.
L-Theanine and Rhodiola Rosea in Mind Lab Pro work to promote clear and focused headspace that’s essential for accomplishing your goals.
There are countless positive Mind Lab Pro reviews online. For us, this is no less important than its innovative formula. If you’re looking to learn more about Mind Lab Pro, you can read our full review here.
Our Modern Productivity Crisis
If our wild caffeine intake is anything to go by, we’re in the middle of a damaging, ever-present mental energy crisis in 2020. The type that can’t simply be swept under the rug by two or four or ten daily cups of coffee.
No doubt that stimulants work. Sometimes, a cup of coffee is just what you need for a sharp jolt of energy & motivation. And prescription stimulants and other ‘smart cures’ can be of massive help for those who have been diagnosed by their doctor.
But if you’re looking for long-term, sustainable energy. The kind of energy needed for exceptional performance, focus, and mental drive, you’ll need a strategy that:
- Promotes mental performance and brain health without side effects or long-term risks
- Enhances the brain’s neurotransmitters to promote strong motivation and clear focus
- Improves brain’s natural energy production without the post-excitement crash that’s common with stimulants
These three, and many other criteria, were on our minds when creating our list of the best supplements for motivation and energy.
How Supplements for Motivation & Energy Can Help
When combined, the smartest supplements for motivation and energy have the potential to help:
- Support dopaminergic bio-pathways
- Optimize mitochondria in your cells
- Improve brain energy
- Support cerebral blood flow
- Reduce the detrimental effects of stress and prevent mental burnout
The most important of all: the supplements listed above are safe. As opposed to artificial stimulants and other products that enhance energy and motivation through a forced flush of dopamine action, natural supplements optimize your natural metabolic and dopaminergic pathways – with it, they increase your resistance to addiction and unwanted side effects.
Typically, it’s the quick “fixes” of dopamine that destroy our long-term drive and energy. Natural supplements shift this trend by enhancing the biological structures behind motivation themselves.
Anything Else to Consider?
While supplements for motivation and energy can be of massive help, they’re no replacement for a healthy lifestyle.
You should always look to optimize your sleep, diet, exercise, and other areas of your life before considering a new supplement.
Aim to get 7-9 hours of regular sleep per night. This will help your brain recharge its catecholamines for peak performance during the day. In addition, try to remove excess sugar from your diet, which can cause inflammation and lower your natural dopamine production.
“Here we show that chronic mild food restriction increases the burst firing of dopamine neurons in the substantia nigra. Dopamine neurons from food-restricted mice exhibited increased burst firing in vivo…Enhanced burst firing persisted after 10 d of free-feeding following chronic food restriction but was not observed following a single overnight fast.”
If you want to be motivated and energetic, you need to optimize all aspects of your brain function – including neurotransmitters like dopamine. Low dopamine will make it impossible to stay productive. Instead, you’ll feel like crawling into your bed and binge-watching Youtube all day.
Luckily, you don’t need to live this way. You can take a proactive approach to boosting your brain dopamine levels, and with it, your motivation and energy.
Sleep well. Eat right. Supplement your diet with proven brain health enhancers. It’s not too complicated. If you gulp down chips and Diet Coke all day long, you’ll feel terrible. If you don’t exercise, your motivation won’t exist.
Of all the supplements for motivation & energy on the market, Mind Lab Pro is the current #1. Instead of using just one ingredient, it combines 11 research-backed brain boosters that increase your natural energy and dopamine production. You can learn more about Mind Lab Pro here.
When your mind is highly motivated and you’re driven to go out there and pursue your goals, a state of incredible performance follows – helping you to ace work, athletics, studies, and life itself!