What are Nootropics?
Nootropics, also known as smart pills or cognitive, mental, neuro and intelligence enhancers, are supplements that work to boost mental function.
Benefits of using nootropics can include enhanced learning capacity, improvements in memory and attention span, better mental energy and improved concentration, focus and thought clarity.
“This means better problem solving, decision making and creative thinking.”
The term nootropic was devised in 1972, and is derived from the Greek noun for ‘mind’ (nous) and verb ‘to bend’ (trepein).
Nootropics provide users with an all-round general edge, in addition to supporting the long-term health of the brain.
They work by altering the neurotransmitters in the brain – things like serotonin, glutamate, dopamine and acetylcholine – and improve communication between the brain’s neurons to approve their efficiency. Others work by increasing the oxygen supply to the brain and increasing nerve growth.
For this reason, nootropics are also known for their use in treating conditions including Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Dementia and ADHD.
There are a number of common ingredients commonly found in many nootropics. Some examples are:
Citicoline ( Cognizin™) to enhance memory
Bacopa Monniera to boost mood
Rhodiola Rosea to beat fatigue
L-theanine for improved focus
Phosphatidylserine (PS) Creates new brain cells and clears brain fog
There are a couple of things you should bear in mind, however, when using nootropics –
Some users can find themselves attached to using these boosters, and addiction to ingredients like caffeine and rhodiola is highly risky and can alter brain chemistry in the long-term.
What’s more, it’s important to remember that nootropics aren’t a replacement for poor diet, lack of exercise and not getting enough sleep, but are a viable route to finding that extra edge to smash your targets.
Nootropics are a great way of enhancing natural mental strength and are usually available to buy in both traditional stores and online, its crucial of do your research, however to make sure that you are buying the supplement that is right for you.
At A Glance – My Recommended Nootropics
#1 Mind Lab Pro
Mind Lab Pro is without any doubt in my mind, the best nootropic available anywhere.
Its makers Opti nutra have put together a list of proven nootropic ingredients with solid scientific evidence behind them that confirms their memory and focus boosting, concentration, problem solving and creativity enhancing benefits.
Suitable for and loved by all users. From students, through to workplace professionals and essential personnel such as Ambulance, Fire, Police and the Military who have to perform at their best often while under great stress and pressure.
Available worldwide directly from the manufacturers, prices start at $65 with a 30 day cash back guarantee, also provided.
Another top flight nootropic product, made by reputable supplement manufacturers Wolfson Berg ltd
Containing 9 essential brain boosting ingredients that just like Mind Lab Pro, help to boost creativity, focus, memory, recall and concentration.
Also sold worldwide, prices start at $43.22 with FREE worldwide shipping. its also sold with a longer cash back guarantee at 60 days.
#3 Performance Lab MIND
At first glance, this look like a slightly weaker product, with just 4 ingredients, but remember the saying ‘less is more’ well this certainly applies to MIND by Performance Lab®
The powerful blend of just 4 ingredients is perfect for those who struggle to maintain focus, memory and clarity throughout the day.
Its a clean, effective formula with no reported side effects and whats more it is available worldwide with prices starting at $50.00 for a 30 day supply.
A 30 day cash back guarantee is also provided with all orders.
Effects of Nootropics
Nootropics can be a great way to give yourself the mental edge needed to complete certain intricate tasks…
Some people use them to help them concentrate when studying for crucial examinations, others use them to help maintain focus in the workplace or when playing sport… they can also help you reach your fitness goals.
Mental clarity, focus and discipline are all integral to building and maintaining serious muscle mass, and all can be boosted by responsible use of nootropics.
Nootropics work by altering the neurotransmitters in the brain and improving communication between the brain’s neutrons to make them more efficient.
This sees a whole host of positive effects on cognitive abilities, including improved memory, better mental clarity and thought processes, and a boost in focus and concentration levels.
Classes Of Nootropics
While all nootropics work to support the brain’s general function, different strains of these stimulates have their own unique effects. Let’s look at the seven broad classes of nootropics and their impact on brain function:
These supplements increase levels of acetylcholine in the brain. High levels of acetylcholine can improve the rate at which new connections are created in your brain and make your neurons more adaptable – this improves long-term memories and memory consolidation.
Rather than boost acetylcholine levels, racetams improve the sensitivity of the acetylcholine receptors to improve communication between neurons. This can result in improved verbal fluency, problem solving, abstract reasoning and memory.
These nootropics work to increase the level and activity rate of dopamine in the brain. Higher levels of dopamine can help ease depression, anxiety and stress while improving motivation, confidence and focus.
These supplements function by improving the brain’s serotonin levels, thereby enhancing mood and helping with insomnia, low attention span, depression and lack of control over impulses.
Particularly effective in improving brain health and performance, these herbal-derived compounds help support the body’s ability to return brain cells to their proper balance. Adaptogens also help lower sensitivity to environmental stress.
These nootropics affect the metabolic function of brain’s neurons and increase blood flow to the brain – this means more oxygen and glucose, which is needed to make ATP energy to power cellular processes in the brain. Others enable neurons to take up nutrients and raw materials more easily, boosting brainpower.
These nootropics use caffeine and amphetamines to stimulate the central nervous system and boost energy levels and alertness. This can help users become more driven, able to process information more quickly and stay focused. This type of nootropic has a higher risk of side effects, however, and is often best left for one-off use.
The Side Effects of Nootropics
Nootropics can be a great way to boost mental clarity, increase focus and ensure your brain is functioning at its best.
Potential side effects often present a question mark for people considering nootropics, but what many people don’t realise is that in order to be classed as a nootropic; a compound must be proven to be safe and non-toxic to the human brain.
In fact, nootropics must demonstrate an ability to promote the brain’s health.
Due to these strict requirements, there are ‘brain boosters’ that don’t actually fulfill this criterion and can’t really be classed as nootropics.
These include Adderall and Ritalin. Similarly, Aniracetam, Choline, Piracetam and Noopept cannot be classed as nootropics for this reason.
In fact, scientific studies have revealed nootropics to be one of the safest types of supplements on the market, and they are actually linked to preventing cognitive decline in the old and slowing down the ageing of the brain.
In fact, nootropics are currently been used in research into conditions like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
Nootropics can also help maintain the structures found in brain cells, boost nerve growth factor and support the development of new neurons and the connections between these.
Possible Side Effects
The majority of nootropics are free from any risk of addiction or withdrawal symptoms. However, there are some mild side effects that can be experienced when taking these supplements.
These include headaches, which are the most regularly reported side effect of nootropics – this is because the brain is working harder and demanding more acetylcholine than the body can produce.
Other side effects include insomnia, anxiety, fatigue and gastrointestinal problems. These, however, are rare, and only tend to occur when users are beginning to take nootropics for the first time, or are taking larger dosages.
This is a natural part of the adjustment period.
Gastrointestinal issues can also be experience by people who take excessive quantities of nootropics, but this can be countered simply by lowering your dosage.
Intelligent timing of dosage is important to ensuring that nootropics don’t affect your sleep or sleep quality – Taking these supplements in the morning is the best way to avoid this.
While potential side effects do exist, nootropics present a generally safe way to boost brain power and maintain a healthy mind.
How Do Nootropics Work?
Nootropics are a great way to boost concentration, focus, memory and generally make the most out of your mind – whether you’re studying, embarking on a fitness regime or simply wanting to maintain your mental peak.
There are numerous different types of nootropics, however, which each strain working on different neurotransmitters in a unique way to optimise your cognitive power.
Neurotransmitters are cell-signaling chemicals that bind to receptors through synapses. It is this binding that enables the receptor to complete its function.
Every neurotransmitter has its own receptors and set of actions – nootropics work to increase the efficiency of these systems.
Nootropics most commonly relate to the cholinergic, glutamatergic, dopamine and serotonin systems –
Here we explain how these work and the effect nootropics can have on them.
Acetylcholine and the Cholinergic System
The cholinergic system refers to acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that plays a key function in learning, decision making, focus, memory, and sensory perception.
This system has two types of receptors, nicotinic and muscarinic – the former is activated by nicotine as well as acetylcholine.
Nootropics in the racetram family can have noticeable results on cognitive enhancement in this area, especially when combined with a choline supplement. These can make it easier for people to understand concepts and retain things recently learnt.
Glutamate and the Glutamatergic System
This is the most abundant neurotransmitter and plays a key part in maintaining brain health and supporting both memory and learning.
Proper brain function relies of the right amount of glutamate in the brain – in fact, excess amounts of glutamate can be a factor in the development of diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
Racetams and ampakines are known to stimulate the Glutamate receptors like and AMP, and increasing the amount of glutamate through nootropics can increase energy, focus, memory and capacity to learn.
Dopamine and Serotonin
The neurotransmitters that promote happiness, dopamine and serotonin are integral to memory, mood, reward and focus.
Supplements that boost dopamine, however, can be very powerful, and as such aren’t recommended for everyday use as they can be addictive.
Ritalin is a good example of this.
Moderate consumption of supplements to boost serotonin, meanwhile, can enhance mood and help improve brain cognition.
A decent Nootropic supplement will contain ingredients that boosts all the above systems in the brain.
From the results of my intensive study and personal research, carried out over the past 5 years, I have compiled a list of the nootropic supplements that I have found to offer the best results, and use fully disclosed, clinically approved formulas.
As an added benefit, they all provide users with a cash back guarantee that assures them of a full refund should, after taking as required fail to see any benefits.
Common Natural Nootropic Ingredients
As herbal supplements continue to surge in popularity, natural nootropics are becoming more freely available. While synthetic nootropics are available and largely safe to use, natural alternatives are equally as powerful and 100% side effect free.
Here I look at some of the most powerful and clinically proven natural nootropic ingredients:
This compound is derived from firmoss, which grows in south-east Asia. This ingredient prevents the production of acetylcholinesterase, a chemical that gets rid of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine if there‘s too much of it.
Higher amounts of acetylcholine boost cognition, memory and learning, so Huperzine-A has strong effects in this area. Acetylcholine is also integral to the formation of new brain cells and protecting brain cells from dying.
Recent research has raised a question about its long term use.. Not detracting from its beneficial effects, but it has been shown to linger and build up in the body, which now means that any product containing Huperzine A should ideally be cycled – ie taken for 8 weeks and then take a 2 week rest period before resuming.
Because of this, a number of key manufacturers have removed it from their formulas.
Maritime Pine Bark Extract
Delivers a potent source of proanthocyanidin antioxidants that cross the blood brain barrier, reducing the effects and damage caused by free radicals (every day toxins) to the brain cells.
It also helps produce additional nitric oxide which in turn directly helps boost blood flow throughout the brain, delivering essential nutrients and oxygen to the brain cells, providing multi pathway brain support and regeneration, slowing the effects of age related cognitive decline.
It has proven benefits in that it can help boost attention, focus, memory and mental clarity.
Lion’s mane is a mushroom found in North America and is prevalent in Chinese medicine to regulate blood glucose and lipid levels.
This ingredient is also known to improve cognitive ability and increase nerve growth factor secretions – proteins integral to the growth of the brain’ s neurons and an important contributor to brain functioning.
One of the most effective nootropic ingredients and one that I wholeheartedly recommend.
A phospholipid that makes up around 15% of the brains fats. found in greatest concentration in the brain cell membranes where it works to control and maintain fluidity, optimise receptors and ensure good levels of key neurotransmitters such as dopamine and acetylcholine.
It works to support and increase brain cell energy, it creates nerve growth factor (NGF) and helps to support the repair and regeneration of brain cells.
It can also help the brain clear damaged or toxic brain cells, before they cause harm to neighbouring cells
It is thought to boost memory and positive frame of mind, it can help slow don the cognitive decline linked to getting older – a fact endorsed by the FDA
PS can be obtained from number of sources but its generally considered that the form taken from sunflower lecithin is the most bioavailable and generally the most effective.
Found in wet climates in North America and India, this herb is a small white flower traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine. Bacopa Monnieri is known for its cognitive enhancing powers, antioxidant properties and its use as epilepsy treatment.
The bacopasaponins alkaloid is derived from the bacopa monnieri plant – this is renowned for its role in memory formation and functioning, making it one of my fist choice nootropic compounds.
L-Theanine helps to boost the activity of alpha brainwaves – these are associated with increased creativity, wakeful relaxation along with the stress reducing properties produced by its ability to encourage the release of GABA, dopamine and serotonin AKA the feel good hormones..
It is also thought to also offer protective properties to the brains neurons, reducing the effects of age related problems such as brain fog and problems such as reduced ability to think clearly.
The best form to look for is the 100% pure L-Isomer-Theanine that is sold under the brand name suntheanine®. It is recommend for its clinically proven ability to enhance alpha brainwaves.
One of, if not the oldest tree on record. Unchanged since the time of the dinosaurs.
The leaves of the ginkgo tree work to improve circulation, prevent the formation of blood clots and protect the organs from damaging free radicals and oxidants. It has also been known to boost brain cognition in dementia patients.
An alkaloid found in the periwinkle plant, vinpocetine is actually produced in a lab today, although is originally a natural ingredient.
Vinpocetine is known for improving brain oxygenation, and has been used to slow down the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s syndrome and dementia. By increasing short-term blood flow to the brain, vinpocetine enhance alertness, learning focus and memory.
The Benefits Of Blending These And Other Ingredients Together
Combining a number of clinically proven natural nootropic ingredients is the best way to ensure that you’re actively targeting all areas of the brain and ensuring a well-rounded improvement in brain function.
Many of the above ingredients appear in the formulas of my top rated nootropic supplements…
Click Here to discover the nootropic products that I believe offer the best results.