11 Best Nootropics for Motivation and Energy

Modern society is obsessed with energy drinks, caffeine, and emotional pick-me-ups. Why are we so tired? Why are we unmotivated? While sleep quality and a natural sleep deficit are to blame for many, this doesn’t explain everything. Other causes include our modern lifestyle and our modern diet, especially what it leaves out. Let’s look at some of the best nootropics for motivation and energy available to the public. 

11 Best Nootropics for Motivation and Energy

1. Iron 

Iron is a nutrient that someone on a keto probably gets enough of, but if you’re shunning red meat for health reasons or avoiding all meat, you’re at high risk of a nutritional deficit. Don’t think you’d be unique. Iron deficiency is one of the most common dietary deficiencies in the world. Around 2% of men and 10% to 20% in the West of women suffer from it. The odds that you’ll suffer from it are higher if you’re vegetarian or on an allergy-free diet that precludes processed grains that are fortified with iron.

Iron may play a role in helping us maintain our motivation levels. Iron deficiency has been found to play a role in attention deficit disorder and hyperactivity in some children. Maybe the reason you can’t focus on a task and finish it is that you aren’t getting enough iron in your diet. Iron and other nootropics for energy and motivation will undoubtedly be safer than taking stimulating drugs. Other studies have linked anemia or low iron levels to depression. A lack of iron affects learning, perception, memory, and attention, especially in children.

Note that anemia is particularly acute for teenaged girls whose period has started. They’re losing iron every cycle along with other trace minerals. Before you assume your daughter has terrible PMS or is becoming depressed, consider iron supplements. Adult women need at least 18 milligrams, and teen girls need more to fuel their growing, changing bodies. If you have conditions like hemorrhoids or heavy periods that accelerate the loss of this nutrient or take medications like antacids that interfere with its absorption, you are in greater need of iron supplements to keep up your energy levels. 

2. Iodine

Iodine deficiency used to be standard, and the most obvious outward symptom was a swollen thyroid. This condition isn’t as prevalent today, but up to a third of the world’s population is still at risk of this condition. A lack of the nutrient during childhood cripples brain development, and an iodine deficiency has adverse effects on adults. 

Your thyroid needs iodine to work correctly. A lack of iodine creates symptoms like hypothyroidism. These symptoms include fatigue, weight gain, sluggish thoughts, and depression. It causes people to feel tired and weak. Energy levels plummet. When the problem is severe, people can lose their hair. Well before then, their skin becomes flaky, they feel cold, and they struggle to remember things. It can contribute to heavy or irregular periods. 

The best natural sources of this include dairy, fish and iodized salt. There is an active link between the vegetarian and vegan diet and iodine deficiency since they’re often swearing off the seafood that provides this critical nutrient. Switching to Himalayan salt or other natural salts can also cause someone to fail to get enough iodine. This is why iodine supplements are among the best nootropics for physical energy and motivation, especially if your lifestyle choices or symptoms suggest it. One popular option is nori seaweed supplements or seaweed snacks.

Because there are few good sources of iodine, it is difficult for many to get enough of this critical nutrient naturally. Yogurt and dairy provide some of this vital nutrient. Dried seaweed and saltwater fish are an excellent source, but that’s why we brought up vegetarianism as a risk factor for the nutritional deficit. Dried prunes provide about 10% of the recommended daily allowance, but it is hard to get enough from vegetarian sources. Trace amounts are found in lima and pinto beans but not enough to cure a deficit. 

3. Vitamin E

Many people know that vitamin E is an antioxidant. What many don’t know is that studies are showing that depression may be worsened by a lack of vitamin E and other antioxidants. While vitamin E won’t necessarily boost the mood of the average person, someone suffering from depression would be wise to take vitamin E supplements. Note that vitamin E supplements can cause problems if you’re taking anticoagulants or undergoing chemotherapy. 

4. B12 or Folate

B12 supplements or folate supplements are the best nootropics for energy and motivation. A lack of B12 prevents your body from being able to make red blood cells at the necessary levels, so the deficit causes a lack of energy. A lack of B12 causes fatigue, feeling out of breath, and feeling faint. It can cause tinnitus or ringing in the ears. It can cause headaches and suppress appetite. 
A severe deficit is linked to mood changes, irritability, symptoms like dementia and depression. The physical symptoms include mouth ulcers, yellowing skin, and a sore tongue. So before you assume you can’t get your energy up because you’re tired and depressed, try a B12 supplement. This is especially true if you’re taking the iron to fight anemia, but it isn’t doing the trick. 

Your body can store B12 in the liver for future use, but it is better to consume it regularly as part of your diet or via supplements instead of hoping that cheese plate binge over the holidays is enough to power you through the rest of the year. Then there’s the fact that if you have a small intestinal disorder or inflammation, your body may not be able to absorb all of the B12 you consume, leaving you at risk for a deficit that saps you of energy and motivation. Weight loss surgeries and tapeworm infections, too, leave you suffering from this deficit unless you’re careful to supplement. Consider folate one of the best nootropics for motivation if you’ve tried everything else to cure your fatigue.

5. Omega-3 Fats

Omega-3 fatty acids are utilized by our cardiovascular system, lungs, endocrine system and immune system. They’re also used by the brain; a lack of this nutrient is linked to cognitive deficits. We’re putting omega-3 fatty acids in infant formula to make sure babies get enough of it for their growing brains. What many don’t realize is that the benefits of consuming omega-3s last a lifetime. You can’t draw on reserves of this nutrient, and the body cannot make its own omega-3 fatty acids. Instead, you have to consume it from foods like fish and walnuts. Regular consumption of omega-3 fatty acids reduces the risk of suffering from depression by up to 50%. 
If you aren’t eating salmon, sardines, herring or mackerel a couple times a week, omega-3 fatty acid supplements are an excellent nootropic for your mental function and overall energy levels. While you can get small amounts of omega-3 fatty acids from hemp seeds, flax seeds, algae and chia seeds, these aren’t as well absorbed by the body. You’d be better off with an omega-3 fatty acid supplement than trying to add another couple of cups of chia and flax to your morning smoothie. And it will undoubtedly go down better than cod liver oil. 

6. Zinc

A lack of zinc is tied to mood disorders like depression and anxiety. Consuming foods like whole grains, beans, and red meat can help put you in a good mood because you’re receiving an influx of these critical nutrients. This makes zinc one of the top nootropics for motivation. 

If you aren’t consuming these foods or aren’t getting enough of the nutrients from your diet, zinc supplements are an alternative. Consider zinc one of the best nootropics for motivation if you’ve tried everything else to cure your fatigue or inability to get moving in the morning.

7. Vitamin D

Vitamin D is another nutrient that has a surprising impact on the brain. Seasonal depression is due in part to a lack of sun exposure and the body’s production of vitamin D. You can try to lift your mood by going for a walk in the sunshine for at least fifteen minutes. If weather or health doesn’t permit that, a moderate amount of time in front of a sun lamp is a viable alternative. Diet is another. You can find vitamin D in fatty fish, fortified dairy, and supplements. 

Note that there is also a link between low vitamin D levels and general depression. You can take vitamin D supplements to try to lift your mood. Adults need an estimated 600 IU and rarely get enough through a modern diet. And given the paranoia about sunscreen and aging of the skin on sun exposure, there is a fair chance that even that walk you took in the sunshine may not give you enough vitamin D. Note that you’ll need supplements, too, if you have a condition like Crohn’s disease that inhibits absorption of the vitamin from food that you eat. There are new supplements that taste far better than the cod liver oil your grandmother may have endured. 

8. Magnesium

Magnesium is used by the body in many ways. A lack of this nutrient affects your muscle function. It can also lead to mood problems, whereas adding magnesium supplements to your diet can help you maintain your cool. A side benefit of treating magnesium deficits is that a lack of this nutrient can impair your sleep quality, and you’ll undoubtedly be left tired during the day if you aren’t sleeping well. For example, magnesium deficiency can cause insomnia, and low magnesium levels are tied to restless sleep that can disturb both you and your partner. 

9. Carnitine

Carnitine is an amino acid that the body uses to move fatty acids through cell walls and burn them for energy. In short, it helps the body burn fat instead of storing it. If you’re trying to lose weight, carnitine can help your body utilize its fat stores for energy. It may also help your body burn fat better instead of feeling tired as blood sugar levels drop. This is a nootropic to consider when you want to increase energy levels and lose weight. 

10. Caffeine

Caffeine is a popular stimulant. It encourages the release of epinephrine or adrenaline, giving you a boost of energy. If you are not reliant on it to wake up in the morning, it will also stimulate your brain function, giving you better focus and clarity. Note that caffeine can cause blood pressure and heart rates to rise, so you shouldn’t take this if you’re suffering from cardiovascular disease. While caffeine in and of itself doesn’t cause dehydration, caffeine-containing drinks like soda and coffee will have a diuretic effect. This means that someone consuming caffeine for the energy and motivation it provides, need to take care to drink enough water to offset their beverage of choice. Otherwise, you’ll feel a boost of energy now but be tired throughout the day as dehydration drags on you. 

Also, realize that caffeine cannot offset the harmful effects of chronic lack of sleep. It may get you going this morning, but you could end up functioning at a fraction of your capability if you try to use caffeine and other stimulants to offset the fatigue and foggy brain caused by a lack of sleep. For the best effect, get a full eight hours of sleep after turning the screens off two hours before bedtime – and then have that caffeinated beverage in the morning. 

11. Biotin

Biotin is a B-complex vitamin also known as vitamin H. It is used by the body to metabolize glucose and fatty acids. 

It is found in trace amounts in foods like milk, eggs, and bananas. Biotin may be listed as an ingredient in your shampoo because it helps restore the body to brittle hair while consuming it can make your nails stronger. However, this vitamin affects the nervous system, too. A lack of biotin is linked to fatigue, depression, tingling in the hands, muscle cramps and even hallucinations. Biotin deficits are more common for those who have been reliant on a feeding tube, are malnourished in general or lost a lot of weight in a short period of time. 

The daily recommended intake is 30 micrograms in adults, 35 mcg for women who are breastfeeding. While severe deficits of this nutrient are rare, pregnant and, breastfeeding women are at risk of symptoms due to moderate deficiency. Ironically, eating a lot of raw eggs can contribute to this nutrient deficiency, too, since raw eggs contain avidin. Avidin binds biotin and prevents it from being absorbed. Don’t worry about this if you like scrambled eggs or hard-boiled eggs; cooking the eggs inactivates the avidin. 


We’ve provided many recommended nootropics for motivation and energy. These supplements would benefit the majority of the population since our modern diet leaves most of us deprived of these nutrients. If you are suffering from severe depression, anxiety or fatigue, seek medical advice, especially if supplements like this don’t provide many benefits. 

It always seems impossible until it’s done.
— Nelson Mandela