what are nootropics and smart drugs hdr

What are Nootropics?

What are nootropics you say? At this point, it’s probably fair to assume you’ve stumbled across some information on so-called smart drugs or nootropics and you’re searching out answers. You’ve come to the right place, we will break down everything you need to know about nootropics, what are they, what can they do for you and how you can use them to improve your brain health. As with your brain, nootropics are complex and as such the answer is complex.  With this“starter guide to Nootropics” we try to cover the many complex areas and questions regarding nootropics and their effects

The term ‘nootropic’ typically refers to anything consumable which can enhance brain health and cognitive function. However, this is quite a broad definition and can cover anything from special foods, to pharmaceuticals. Nootropics are natural and synthetic compounds or supplements that are used to improve concentration and boost memory power also often referred to as cognitive enhancers, brain boosters, smart pills, smart drugs, brain supplements, and other substances that improve cognitive function, particularly executive functions, memory, creativity, stress resistance, alertness or motivation in healthy individuals.

However, it’s important to know they are NOT “smart drugs”. So-called smart drugs are mind-altering (psychoactive) prescription drugs like Modafinil, Adderall, for real clinical illnesses like ADHD and Sleep Apnea, in many cases long-term use can cause negative side effects and addiction. Whereas nootropics by definition must be safe, neuroprotective, and pose a very low risk to healthy users when taken as part of a healthy diet.

In there natural state most nootropics are powders derived from nature, plants, or naturally produced compounds in our body. Nootropics typically come in powder form, tablets or capsules but many people take the natural unaltered plant as part of their daily health regime. The actual definition of what makes a supplement a nootropic is still in debate and being formally classified.

The broadly agreed definition covers the original definitions outlined by Dr. Corneliu and are as follows.

For any substance to be called a nootropic, it must:

  1. enhance memory and learning ability.
  2. help the brain function under disruptive conditions.
  3. protect the brain from harmful chemical damage.
  4. improve neuronal firing mechanisms.
  5. lack any sedative, stimulant or toxic effects.

NOTE: Nootropics are not medicines/drugs: medicines/drugs bring you back to health when you’re ill, whereas nootropics can help you improve your brain health and function when you’re healthy.

The term “Nootropics” was first used by psychologist and chemist Dr. Corneliu Giurgea a Romanian in 1972 to describe compounds that could ‘turn the mind’ (from Greek, nous trepein). (r.1) (r.2)

The modern day definition of Nootropics: It’s widely believed now that any substance that can improve brain health or cognitive function is a “Nootropic”

What are Nootropics and How Do They Work?

With more and more studies and data on how the brain works researchers now suggest that nootropics appear to work across multiple brain pathways, optimizing the brain’s various structures and functions in many different ways increasing the mental function such as memory, creativity, motivation, and attention. Nootropics have a positive effect on the brain, but the type of nootropic will dictate the response.

It’s now known nootropics share similar mechanism/transport actions by enhancing increased communication between neurons, helping to balance neurotransmitter levels or by promoting brain cell health. They may help improve energy metabolism in your neurons, support neuroplasticity, or even stimulate the growth of new neurons and synapses known as neurogenesis. (Neurogenesis is the process where neurons are generated from neural stem cells) [S]

With increasing research on the brain, our health, brain-related diseases, and research into almost every compound we can find associated with health, the known list of nootropic compounds/substances/ingredients has grown to triple figures. (over 100 at the time of publication.)

Bacopa Plant - Nootropics List

caffeine coffee Nootropics List

Ginkgo - Nootropic list

gotu kola nootropics list

huperzine-a nootropic

lions mane nootropic

Full list of Known Nootropics 2018

  1. 5-HTP
  2. Acetyl L-Carnitine (ALCAR) – antioxidant
  3. Adrafinil – Legal Modafinil
  4. Agmatine Sulfate
  5. Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) – fat-soluble antioxidant
  6. Alpha-GPC – phospholipid choline source
  7. Aniracetam – synthetic racetam
  8. Apoaequorin – protein for neuroprotective activity.
  9. Artichoke – luteolin
  10. Ashwagandha – adaptogen
  11. Astaxanthin – antioxidant
  12. American Ginseng (PANAX QUINQUEFOLIUS)
  13. Bacopa monnieri
  14. Caffeine – Coffee – stimulant
  15. Calamus
  16. California poppy
  17. Cat’s Claw – neuroprotective
  18. Catuaba – neuroprotective
  19. CBD – neuroprotective
  20. Celastrus paniculatus
  21. Centrophenoxine – synthetic
  22. Cinnamon
  23. Citicoline – choline
  24. Clitoria ternatea
  25. Coluracetam – MKC-231
  26. Convolvulus pluricaulis
  27. CoQ10 – coenzyme pseudo-vitamin
  28. Creatine – Protein
  29. Choline
  30. Choline Bitartrate
  31. Choline Citrate
  32. DHA
  33. DMAE
  34. Forskolin
  35. Frankincense
  36. GABA – amino acid
  37. Ginkgo biloba – enhances circulation
  38. Ginseng
  39. Gotu Kola
  40. Grapeseed extract
  41. Guarana – caffeine – Stimulant
  42. Hordenine
  43. Huperzine-A – synthetic alkaloid
  44. Kanna (Sceletium tortuosum)
  45. Kava Kava – psychoactive
  46. Kratom
  47. L- Carnosine
  48. L-Dopa (Mucuna Pruriens)
  49. L-Glutamine – amino acid
  50. L-Phenylalanine – amino acid
  51. L-Theanine
  52. L-Tryptophan
  53. Lecithin
  54. Lemon Balm
  55. Lion’s Mane Mushroom
  56. Lithium Orotate
  57. Lutein/zeaxanthin
  58. Maca root
  59. Magnolia
  60. Magnesium
  61. MCT Oil
  62. Melatonin
  63. Methylene Blue
  64. N-Acetyl L-Cysteine
  65. N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine
  66. NADH – antioxidant
  67. Nefiracetam – racetam
  68. Nicotine – Remember Smoking is BAD!
  69. Nimodipine
  70. Noopept – racetam
  71. Oatstraw
  72. Oxiracetam
  73. Passionflower
  74. Phenibut
  75. Phenylalanine – amino acid
  76. Phenylpiracetam – racetam
  77. Phosphatidylcholine
  78. Phosphatidylserine (PS) – best evidence-backed nootropic for memory
  79. Picamilon
  80. Pine Bark Extract – antioxidant
  81. Piperine
  82. Piracetam – racetam – the first “nootropic”
  83. Psychobiotics
  84. Pramiracetam – racetam
  85. Pterostilbene – antioxidant
  86. PQQ – antioxidant
  87. Resveratrol – antioxidant
  88. Rhodiola rosea – adaptogen
  89. Rosemary
  90. Saffron
  91. SAMe
  92. Schizandrol-A
  93. Skull Cap
  94. St. John’s Wort – hypericin and hyperforin
  95. Sulbutiamine – synthetic vitamin B1
  96. Taurine – amino acid
  97. Theobromine
  98. Tryptophan
  99. Tulsi
  100. Turmeric
  101. Tyrosine
  102. Ubiquinol
  103. Uridine Monophosphate
  104. Vacha
  105. Valerian
  106. Vinpocetine – synthetic form of periwinkle
  107. Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)
  108. Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
  109. Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)
  110. Vitamin B6
  111. Vitamin B8 – inositol
  112. Vitamin B9
  113. Vitamin B12
  114. Yerba Mate
  115. Zinc

What Are the Benefits of Taking Nootropics?

Nootropics taken at the correct efficacy can have varying improvements to your overall brain health and cognition not to mention the other health benefits many nootropic supplements assist in. We cover many of these benefits in depth so we will just keep this section short here.

  • Short-Term Nootropic Benefits

    • Memory
    • Mood
    • Energy
    • Attention
    • Sleep
    • Stress & Anxiety reduction
    • Learning
    • Creativity
    • Motivation
  • Long-Term Nootropic Benefits

    • Anti-Aging – Anti Oxidative Stress
    • Neuroprotection
    • NeuroGenesis – Brain Regeneration

Which are the best nootropics to use if you are a new user?

Are Nootropics Safe to take?

As a general ruling YES, Nootropics are safe. However, there are some possible side effects you may need to look into, less ethical producers use of bad manufacturing process can cause issues. Always ensure you fully understand what it is your buying, the reputability of the product your taking and the company you’re buying from.

  1. Choose the right nootropic – high-quality ingredients, safety certifications, well-designed formulas, and clean labels;
  2. Take the nootropic the right way – using established stacking strategies, cycling if necessary, and following the manufacturer’s directions

Check out our in-depth article on “Are Nootropics Safe

Which nootropics should I take?

In honesty that’s a very open ended question. There are so many factors you need to consider when choosing nootropics.

What are the effects and results you’re looking for?

We cover many different Nootropic ingredients and pre-formulated nootropics but we do have our favorites.

Read our nootropics listnootropics reviews or head straight to the best scoring nootropic reviews.

What is a nootropic stack?

What are the side effects of nootropics?

Click to learn more about nootropic safety and side effects.

Looking for Regular Updates, Information & Inspiration?

Join for latest news, reviews, discussions, and Inspiration!