TABLE of CONTENTS
- 1 What are Nootropics?
- 2 What are Nootropics and How Do They Work?
- 3 Full list of Known Nootropics 2018
- 4 What Are the Benefits of Taking Nootropics?
- 5 Which are the best nootropics to use if you are a new user?
- 6 Are Nootropics Safe to take?
- 7 Which nootropics should I take?
- 8 What is a nootropic stack?
- 9 What are the side effects of nootropics?
- 10 Looking for Regular Updates, Information & Inspiration?
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:
- enhance memory and learning ability.
- help the brain function under disruptive conditions.
- protect the brain from harmful chemical damage.
- improve neuronal firing mechanisms.
- 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 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.)
Full list of Known Nootropics 2018
- Acetyl L-Carnitine (ALCAR) – antioxidant
- Adrafinil – Legal Modafinil
- Agmatine Sulfate
- Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) – fat-soluble antioxidant
- Alpha-GPC – phospholipid choline source
- Aniracetam – synthetic racetam
- Apoaequorin – protein for neuroprotective activity.
- Artichoke – luteolin
- Ashwagandha – adaptogen
- Astaxanthin – antioxidant
- American Ginseng (PANAX QUINQUEFOLIUS)
- Bacopa monnieri
- Caffeine – Coffee – stimulant
- California poppy
- Cat’s Claw – neuroprotective
- Catuaba – neuroprotective
- CBD – neuroprotective
- Celastrus paniculatus
- Centrophenoxine – synthetic
- Citicoline – choline
- Clitoria ternatea
- Coluracetam – MKC-231
- Convolvulus pluricaulis
- CoQ10 – coenzyme pseudo-vitamin
- Creatine – Protein
- Choline Bitartrate
- Choline Citrate
- GABA – amino acid
- Ginkgo biloba – enhances circulation
- Gotu Kola
- Grapeseed extract
- Guarana – caffeine – Stimulant
- Huperzine-A – synthetic alkaloid
- Kanna (Sceletium tortuosum)
- Kava Kava – psychoactive
- L- Carnosine
- L-Dopa (Mucuna Pruriens)
- L-Glutamine – amino acid
- L-Phenylalanine – amino acid
- Lemon Balm
- Lion’s Mane Mushroom
- Lithium Orotate
- Maca root
- MCT Oil
- Methylene Blue
- N-Acetyl L-Cysteine
- N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine
- NADH – antioxidant
- Nefiracetam – racetam
- Nicotine – Remember Smoking is BAD!
- Noopept – racetam
- Phenylalanine – amino acid
- Phenylpiracetam – racetam
- Phosphatidylserine (PS) – best evidence-backed nootropic for memory
- Pine Bark Extract – antioxidant
- Piracetam – racetam – the first “nootropic”
- Pramiracetam – racetam
- Pterostilbene – antioxidant
- PQQ – antioxidant
- Resveratrol – antioxidant
- Rhodiola rosea – adaptogen
- Skull Cap
- St. John’s Wort – hypericin and hyperforin
- Sulbutiamine – synthetic vitamin B1
- Taurine – amino acid
- Uridine Monophosphate
- Vinpocetine – synthetic form of periwinkle
- Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)
- Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
- Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin B8 – inositol
- Vitamin B9
- Vitamin B12
- Yerba Mate
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
- Stress & Anxiety reduction
Long-Term Nootropic Benefits
- Anti-Aging – Anti Oxidative Stress
- 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.
- Choose the right nootropic – high-quality ingredients, safety certifications, well-designed formulas, and clean labels;
- 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.