1. Acetyl-L Carnitine (ALCAR): While Acetyl L-Carnitine is often used by bodybuilders for gaining muscle mass and energy, it is also beneficial for improving one's memory. Because Acetyl L-Carnitine easily crosses the blood-brain barrier (many so called brain supplements do not), this amino acid can get to where it needs to go and provide essential energy metabolism for brain function. When I take Acetyl L-Carnitine I feel much more focused than when I do not take it. What I don't like about this supplement, however, is that it is still quite expensive. For a 3 month supply most products run anywhere from $18-$30. If you are a first time customer at iHerb you can get $5 off all of their Acetyl L-Carnitine supplements by using this iherb coupon. For more information on Alpha GPC you can click here.
2. Alpha GPC: If you can afford it, Alpha GPC (L-alphaglycerylphosphosphorylcholine) works great for improving memory, or at least has in my case. Like Acetyl L-Carnitine, Alpha GPC is bio-available and crosses the blood brain barrier with ease. Alpha GPC works by supporting brain function and learning processes increasing acetylcholine in the brain. Alpha GPC has also been shown to protect neurons from dying and improves neural signal transmission and may even aid in neurogensis (the production of new neurons). There are studies that have shown that Alpha GPC supports increased attention span, mental focus, recall, and other brain functions. Personally, Alpha GPC has been one of the better supplements on the market for me; however it is quite expensive at nearly $25 for a 2-month supply at online stores like iHerb and Vitacost.
3. Bacopa: Bacopa is an Asian herb that has been safely used as a memory aid for both memory and improved concentration. I have nothing bad to say about Bacopa, as it's cheap and works just as well as those expensive supplements for improving memory. Many studies support my own experience, showing that the Bacopa supports the transmission of brain signals during memorization. One of my favorite things about Bacopa is its price! At only $8 or so for a two month supply at most online health stores, just about anyone can experiment with this supplement without breaking the bank.
4. Carnosine: Rather than providing direct memory improvements, Carnosine is more about preventative maintenance. L-Carnosine protects against brain aging by reducing lipid peroxidation and stabilizing the membranes around brain cells. In addition to brain aging, Carnosine provides a number of benefits for skin, namely as an anti-glycation supplement. The drawback with this supplement is its price. Most online stores sell a 2-3 month supply for around $30-$40. I have found this to be the best carnsosine. Many people choose to buy Beta-Alanine, as it is a precursor to Carnosine and costs about half as much.
5. DMAE: DMAE (2-Dimethylaminoethanol) has been one of the best supplements I have used for memory and concentration. DMAE is able to cross the blood-brain barrier to reach brain cells easily where it serves as a natural precursor to acetyl-choline which, as mentioned, is a key neurotransmitter that is found to allow for better concentration. DMAE is also pretty cheap. You can find it at most health stores for around $15 for a 4-5 month supply. Currently, iHerb is selling Source Naturals DMAE 200 ct @ 351 mg for only $12.87.
Conclusion: There are many supplements on the market that are geared for enhancing memory and concentration, however the aforementioned 5 supplements have worked for me far better than any of the others.
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