Nootropics

The Ultimate Guide To Nootropics [Smart Drugs]—Natural, Synthetic, & Rx

Nootropics, also known as smart drugs or cognitive enhancers, are natural or synthetic substances that can be taken to improve mental performance in healthy people. They have become increasingly popular in today’s fast-paced society and are often used to boost memory, focus, creativity, intelligence, and motivation.

Some of the most common nootropics include caffeine, ginseng, and L-theanine. However, it is important to note that nootropics are a relatively new field of study, and much research still needs to be done to determine their long-term benefits and potential side effects. But overall, nootropics may be an option worth considering if you are looking for ways to improve your cognitive performance.

However, research and talk to a healthcare professional before making any decisions. Nootropics can have a wide range of effects, and their long-term benefits and potential side effects still need to be fully understood. 

Nootropic supplements have become increasingly popular recently, but many people still need to figure out what they do or how to take them. This whole article includes information on nootropics and their benefits with links back into the clinical studies where readers can find out more details about each specific cognitive boosting supplement available today. 

List Of Nootropics

This article section will discuss a complete list of prescription nootropics, natural and synthetic nootropics. Let’s take a look;

Prescription Nootropics

These drugs effectively combat the symptoms of medical conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity and narcolepsy. However, they need a prescription from your doctor before you can purchase them legally, which means there are some serious risks associated with using these drugs without being on medication prescribed by professionals who know how best to treat mental illnesses like depression or ADHD. Here are some prescription nootropics;

Amphetamines (Rx Only)

Adderall is a prescription medication that can improve brain function in healthy adults and those with ADHD. Amphetamines, like Adderall, work by increasing the availability of dopamine & noradrenaline within your prefrontal cortex – an area responsible for working memory/attention span alongside other behavior patterns such as motivation or interest. The evidence suggests this kind of drug enhances mental performance; however, it should only be taken when prescribed by healthcare professionals because abuse may result if misused.

  • It has been shown that Adderall is most commonly prescribed to treat ADHD and narcolepsy, but many healthy people take it to improve focus and boost attention span.
  • Adderall is a powerful drug that can enhance mental performance, but it should only be taken as prescribed by your doctor.

Methylphenidate (Rx Only)

Methylphenidate is the prescription drug in Ritalin and a central nervous system stimulant that can be used to manage symptoms of ADHD and narcolepsy. Sometimes people use it illegally to improve memory functions.

  • As it’s a stimulant, it increases neurotransmitters like dopamine concentrations in your brain and noradrenaline.
  • Methylphenidate is a drug that improves short-term memory and speeds up adult information processing and attention. However, it can also cause abuse due to its similar effects to Adderall. This drug is not available without a doctor’s prescription.

Ritalin is an excellent medication for treating ADHD but can cause some side effects. The most common ones include insomnia and stomach ache to name just two. It’s also possible that you’ll have hallucinations or psychosis when taking this drug at high doses, which could lead your heart to go into arrhythmia (abnormality) and seizures due to its effectiveness in stimulating neurons.


Nootropics

Over The Counter Nootropics

Most of these nootropics come from natural sources, and some are made in laboratories. The effects of these nootropics are not the same as prescriptions; still, they provide some or most of the said benefits. Let’s have a look;

Acetyl L-Carnitine (ALCAR)

Acetyl L-Carnitine is a nootropic that protects neurotransmitters and boosts metabolism in the brain. The usual recommended dosage for this supplement ranges from 500 – 1,500 mg per day to improve memory function or provide mental alertness while also being an antioxidant.

The fantastic benefits of Acetyl-carnitine make it one of the most potent cognitive supplements out there. Not only does this nootropic enhance focus and general cognition, but it also battles fatigue to promote cardiovascular health.

  • The results of this study also show that carnitine supplementation is associated with significant decreases in attention problems and aggressive behavior among children with ADHD.
  • The benefits of Acetyl L carnitine are genuinely numerous, including improving cardiovascular health and protecting against aging’s ravages.
  • The latest research suggests that acetyl-L-carnitine (ALCAR), a compound shown in animal studies to help prevent age-related mental decline and improve markers of learning, may also promote healthy brain function.
  • Recent human studies have shown that taking acetyl-L-carnitine daily help with neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
  • Alpha-GPC

Alpha GPC, or alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine, is a naturally occurring compound in the brain. As a nootropic supplement, Alpha GPC is known for its ability to increase acetylcholine levels in the brain, leading to improved memory, cognition, learning, and focus. In addition, Alpha GPC has been shown to protect against age-related memory loss and can be obtained from various dietary sources, including beef liver, cod fish, spinach, milk, soy, and eggs. Whether taken as a supplement or obtained from natural sources, Alpha GPC is an effective and powerful nootropic worth considering for anyone looking to improve their memory and cognition.

  • The ability of Alpha-GPC and caffeine to enhance performance has been proven in both mental capabilities and physical fitness levels.
  • A new study reports that an over-the-counter drug called Alpha GPC can improve cognitive symptoms in mild to moderate cases of dementia by improving attention and memory impairment – without causing any side effects or requiring a prescription.
  • Taking alpha-GPC and acetylcholinesterase inhibitors may improve the effectiveness of these prescription medicines, which is helpful for people with Alzheimer’s disease.

The recommended daily dosage for Alpha GPC is 600mg, but no serious side effects have been reported in human trials at 1200 mg per day over six months.

The concern over the safety of alpha-GPC is that it could lead to cardiovascular disease. Studies have found a connection between this ingredient and higher rates in people with chronic heart problems or those who experience strokes, so you should discuss your options before taking any new medications along these lines. However, the research is early-stage, so large cohort studies or randomized trials should be done to confirm these findings.

Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA)

Alpha-Lipoic Acid is a synthetic version of the naturally occurring antioxidant found in your body. This necessary compound helps with cellular energy production and destruction. Free radicals are generated when nutrients convert into usable acids for cells, which can be damaging if left unchecked. Alpha Lipoic Acid also protects brain cells from becoming damaged and improves memory and retention.

You will need to take 200-400mg of alpha lipoic acid (ALA) daily for optimal results.

  • The aging process is associated with an increased risk of developing memory disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. However, research shows that alpha-lipoic acid can protect against this cognitive decline, protect neurons by acting like a powerful antioxidant, and slow the progression towards dementia in those at high risk for developing either condition.
  • The findings from this study show that alpha-lipoic acid can help fight signs of skin aging, such as fine lines and wrinkles. There were no reported side effects when applied to the human body.
  • Alpha-lipoic acid is effective at lowering blood sugar levels for people with diabetes. One study in rats showed that it could lower glucose by up 64%. Other human research shows it may also help those who have metabolic syndrome.
  • Although these are promising results, more research is needed before we can recommend alpha-lipoic acid to treat memory loss-related disorders.

Aniracetam

Aniracetam is the N-side chain derivative of piracetam and is a potent nootropic. It has been shown to reduce anxiety and depression while improving memory and learning abilities along with heightened reflexes. It does this by activating D2 dopamine receptors in our brains which make us feel more alert without having any sedative effects on the body as most racetams do.

The right dose of Aniracetam is 750 – 1,500 mg per day. Take half your daily dose twice each morning and evening for best results (or less if you prefer). A 400mg ingestion has been reported effective by some people, while others require upwards from 1000-1500 milligrams to feel comfortable.

  • Some studies show decreased anxiety from Aniracetam in rats, but it isn’t clear if this will work the same for humans. Due to its antidepressant effects on mood disorders like major depressive disorder (MDD) or bipolar affective episodes, there’s a chance Aniracetam could help with your depression symptoms.
  • Some animal studies have also found that Aniracetam can help treat Alzheimer’s. Human studies also suggest that it has a positive effect on people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s

Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is a strong medicinal herb used in ancient medicine for its strength and vigor. As an adaptogen, this herb temporarily increases your resistance to stress while improving short-term memory retention skills and long-term cognitive function, which helps tremendously with mental fatigue.

  • Ashwagandha is a herb that may protect the brain from damage caused by toxins, injuries, and strokes. It also improves cognitive performance in healthy adults and those with signs of cognitive decline.
  • A recent review article provides a comprehensive look at the potential of Ashwagandha, suggesting that it may help protect against various brain disorders. Preclinical studies have shown significant benefits to this plant-based extract; clinical trials conducted with humans also support these findings, while published patents attest to its safety for human consumption.
  • A recent study has shown that ashwagandha supplements effectively relieve stress and anxiety. This early research also suggests the herb may help with mental health issues like depression, especially during stressful times such as midlife or marriage proposals; we’ll keep you posted on further developments.
  • In one study, researchers looked at the effects of Ashwagandha on 66 people. They found that participants taking 1 gram or more per day had more significant reductions in depression than those on placebos.

Creatine

Creatine monohydrate is an amino acid that may help improve exercise performance, but it needs to be clarified how this works. Nevertheless, its popularity as a nootropic has grown over recent years; for a good reason, it can help fight mental fatigue.

Some studies show short-term benefits like improved memory and reasoning skills in adults. Also, some studies suggest taking 100 grams of Creatine supplements daily for up to 5 years is considered safe and will not cause side effects.

One theory suggests that it produces more energy by increasing the amount of phosphocreatine stored in our brains; this allows us to focus on complex tasks easily because we have an ample supply available. A recent study also found Creatines may increase dopamine levels- something any true brain enthusiast will love.

Supplementing with Creatine for two weeks provided significant benefits for those suffering from memory loss and recall difficulties. For example, in one study, taking Creatine for two weeks improved memory and recall ability in older individuals.

Evidence suggests that Creatine may positively affect brain function in older adults and reduce the risk for neurological diseases. Finally, some research also shows increased mitochondrial function among people taking Creatine.

Even with the most rigorous research to date, more work needs to be done to understand how Creatine impacts our brain health.

Astaxanthin

Astaxanthin is a pigment and a powerful antioxidant that can be found in many different sea creatures. It gives salmon their pinkish color and has been linked to healthier skin, heart health, joint pain relief, and cancer treatment potential.

  • Astaxanthin is the most potent antioxidant found to date, and it’s been linked with reduced blood pressure. Past studies have also shown that astaxanthins can reduce oxidative stress in smokers or overweight people.
  • Researchers show that Astaxanthin improves learning, decreases memory impairment, and reduces nerve damage.
  • The potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory Astaxanthin protects from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease to other neurodegenerative disorders.

Apoaequorin

The glowing protein Apoaequorin was isolated in 1962 from a specific type of jellyfish that glows. This substance is neuroprotective and beneficial for memory, focus & anxiety relief; limited research shows it can boost brain power, but there’s not enough evidence yet, so we’ll have to wait to see what happens when more become available.

  • The findings of this study suggest that Apoaequorin could help address the cognitive function Declines associated with aging. But this is brand-sponsored research which means it can’t be fully trusted.
  • Another study found that this protein is safe and will not cause hepatoxicity even on higher doses.

Artichoke Extract (Luteolin)

Artichoke extract is made from the leaves, stems, and roots of plants in artichokes. The active ingredient, cynarin, and luteolin, have been shown to have benefits on digestive issues and improve brain health by inhibiting PDE4. It also has benefits on liver health though research remains limited.

  • Researchers have found that suppressing PDE4 enhances memory and increases the growth of new neurons in mice’s brains.
  • Luteolin present in this extract can help regulate microglial cells and stop them from producing excess cytokines, which would lead to inflammation of the brain. It did this by restoring memory abilities as it does with younger mice.

Bacopa Monnieri

The ancient herb bacopa monnieri has been used for centuries in traditional ayurvedic medicine to enhance brain function and support learning.

  • A recent study found that people who took supplements containing bacosides had an increase in their brain’s efficiency when processing new data, as well as increased reaction time.
  • The benefits of bacopa monnieri are being studied for their potential to improve brain function and learning and alleviate anxiety and stress. This herb contains bacosides’ which may be partly responsible for this plant’s ability to boost your mood.
  • The results of another study show that taking 300 mg or 600mg Bacopa monnieri daily for 12 weeks improved memory, attention, and processing speed compared to a placebo.

Regular intake of this herb may help you to stay calm and reduce inflammation and blood pressure. It also has potent antioxidants that fight against free radicals. Although these are the emerging health benefits of using this herb, more research is needed to further prove its efficacy in brain health.

Berberine

Berberine, an extract from plants like Berbem and other shrubs, has been used for centuries to treat ailments in traditional Chinese medicine. Current research backs up these old remedies with modern science, confirming that this bioactive compound can help you fight off several different health problems.

  • Berberine can reduce blood sugar levels, help you lose weight, and lower cholesterol. Some animal studies have suggested it could treat depression, infections, and fatty liver, among other things.
  • One study has shown it to be neuroprotective that can improve your brain’s health and function.
  • Berberine may help against the above conditions, but the lack of concrete clinical evidence for berberine to prevent cognitive decline or Alzheimer’s disease is a significant drawback.

Black Seed Oil

Black seed oil is derived from the Nigella sativa plant, native to southwestern Asia, northern Africa, and the Mediterranean region. For centuries, black seed oil has been used in traditional medicine to treat various ailments. There are many potential benefits of black seed oil. These potential benefits are supported by science, but more research is needed. Here are some potential benefits of black seed oil:

Although it is known for its health benefits like its high in antioxidants and may help you treat asthma, maintain a healthy weight, and lower blood sugar and blood pressure, what about its role in brain health?

  • Older adults’ memory and cognitive functions were significantly improved after taking 500 mg N. Sativa 2 times a day.
  • Research shows that black seed oil containing thymoquinone may protect against neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s. But most of the study is done on animals.

The bottom line is, Preliminary evidence suggests it may be beneficial for cognitive function. Still, more research is needed to confirm these findings and determine whether or not this plant extract has any benefits for humans. So much more needs to be done before we say that Black Seed Oil protects your grey matter.

Cacao

Cacao powder is full of nutrients that have been shown to help lower blood pressure and improve your heart and brain health. The flavonoids in cacao may also reduce the risk of diabetes by increasing insulin sensitivity. But does it help with the brain?

  • Cacao is the perfect snack to help you stay focused and attentive. Not only does it taste great, but cacao contains flavonols which have been proven time after time as a way of improving blood flow–and, therefore, oxygen levels in your brain.
  • Studies show that people who use cocoa daily have better scores on verbal learning, memory, and attention tests than those without the habit. The benefits are most noticeable in younger adults between 18-35.
  • New research has found that cocoa powder and chocolate contain many flavonoids, which can be neuroprotective and beneficial to your brain.

Future research is needed to ensure the findings are as robust and reliable as possible.

Caffeine

Caffeine is a natural way to boost your alertness and attention and is one of the world’s most widely used CNS stimulants. It can be found naturally in many plants, such as coffee beans or cocoa powder. Many people also use it as a supplement or combine it with other drinks or medicines.

  • More and more studies are being done on the effects of caffeine, but some outcomes show mixed results. For example, there is evidence that caffeine affects mood, anxiety, and processing times. However, many studies don’t support its role in improving attention.
  • One study found that people who took up to 300 mg of caffeine had better performance on tasks requiring mental alertness, while others reported an increased reaction time when using this substance in their daily lives.

Cat’s Claw

Cat’s Claw has been used as a traditional medicine for many conditions, such as inflammation and cancer. It’s found in the Amazon rainforest along with other plants that are useful to humans, like cocoa trees. This plant has many potential health benefits, like boosting immunity and relieving arthritis, but does it improve brain performance and attention? 

  • A new study has found that a dietary supplement containing ~25% cat’s claw bark powder improved short-term memory and executive function in normal individuals for six weeks of oral treatment.
  • Cat’s Claw may be the key to preventing and treating Alzheimer’s disease. Research shows it can prevent inflammation, which leads us to believe it could also help fight off amyloid plaques.
  • This supplement will help you reach your goals by increasing energy, improving mental clarity, and boosting immunity. Take 250-300mg for better results.

CBD Oil

Cannabidiol is a chemical compound found in cannabis plants. When applied topically or consumed through smoke inhalation, this supplement interacts with the receptors in your system to help regulate movement and mood and relieve pain caused by inflammation, such as arthritis pains.

  • CBD’s ability to calm down may be one reason it has become so widely used. A 2017 study found that CBD reduced public speaking anxiety for men who took part in the test, with 300 mg having significantly fewer anxious moments than others receiving placebos or lower doses like 150 mg. New research has found that CBD can reduce anxiety.
  • CBD has been shown to have several effects on the brain, including alterations during resting state and performance in healthy volunteers and patients with psychiatric disorders.

Choline

Choline is a recently discovered nutrient that can improve liver function and lipid metabolism. Your body needs choline for proper functioning, but you can get it from eating certain foods like eggs or chicken. It’s essential for cell structure, messaging & DNA synthesis, and keeping our nervous system healthy. It is also available as a supplement that can dramatically affect your brain.

  • It impacts both Acetylcholine and dopamine. Studies in animals suggest that choline supplements can increase the density of dopamine receptors, which could help improve memory skills.
  • Choline is an important compound required to produce Acetylcholine—proven in animal studies to be neuroprotective and crucial for regulating mood and memory and has many other roles in the body.
  • Studies have shown it to be beneficial for improving cognitive performance, memory function, and processing time.
  • This supplement has been shown to improve short-term and long-term verbal memory in adults aged 50–85 with poor memories. However, other studies on healthy people, as well as those with dementia, showed no effects when it came down to their ability and memory.
  • Human studies regarding choline supplements during pregnancy are limited, but animal research suggests they may improve fetal brain development.

Citicoline

Citicoline is a highly bioavailable form of choline and a nutritional nootropic smart drug that can be converted into Acetylcholine in the brain. Citicoline also provides other benefits, including increased mental energy, better memory function, and decreased appetite.

  • Citicoline has been shown to have potential cognitive and neuroprotective properties.
  • Citicoline has shown some promise in treating mental health disorders, but more research is needed before we can recommend citicoline for any indication.
  • Citicoline’s effectiveness is supported by recent clinical studies that show it can improve scores on cognitive function tests and could be a promising treatment for patients with chronic cerebrovascular disorders.
  • CDP-choline is most often taken in the form of 500-2,000 mg, split up into two doses (of 250mg each) either 8 hours apart or given as one large dose daily.

Centrophenoxine

Centrophenoxine, a water-soluble derivative of DMAE and an agonist at acetylcholine receptors, is rapidly metabolized by the liver to form cholinergic molecules that can easily cross into brain tissue.

It has been shown effective in reversing signs of aging when taken for months and can protect against further neurological decline or enhancement. In addition, this compound may help prevent future cell damage due to its antioxidant properties, which fight off free radicals.

  • Centrophenoxine is a cholinergic brain booster used as a supplement to reduce cognitive symptoms of dementia.
  • Centrophenoxine can positively impact your brain. The elderly are often prescribed this drug to help with their cognitive functions, and it’s also helpful for people who want to improve their brain health.

L-Theanine

L-theanine is an amino acid found in green tea, but it’s also available as a supplement.

  • L-Theanine has been shown to have a calming effect, promote relaxation, and arousal, reduce tension, and improve performance, without causing fatigue and drowsiness.
  • Researchers found that people who took 50 mg of caffeine had increased alpha-wave activity during creative tasks.
  • What’s more, Caffeine and L theanine are both naturally found in tea. L-theanine has been shown to improve performance much more when taken with caffeine, making it a popular choice for those looking to enhance their skills.

 

Coluracetam

Coluracetam is a promising new smart drug that can help enhance brain health. It improves choline uptake into neurons when they are otherwise reduced.

Coluracetam is a popular nootropic that can improve mood, increase motivation and enhance vision. It was initially developed as an Alzheimer’s treatment but has since been considered for depression or anxiety treatments.

  • Coluracetam is a memory-improving compound studied in rats and shown promising results. However, there currently needs to be more good evidence to indicate whether or how it has any cognitive properties.

CoQ10 & Ubiquinol

CoQ10 is an antioxidant that is produced naturally by the body. It is used by cells for growth and maintenance, and levels of CoQ10 in the body decrease as we age. In addition, CoQ10 helps protect cells from damage caused by free radicals, and unstable molecules that can damage cells. CoQ10 is vital for maintaining heart health, and low levels of CoQ10 have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease. CoQ10 can be found in some foods, such as beef, pork, chicken, fish, nuts, and seeds. It can also be taken as a supplement.

  • Mitochondria are the powerhouses of our cells, generating most brain energy. As we age, it becomes harder for these generators to work correctly, leading to many brain-related diseases, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
  • The results show that administering coenzyme Q10 increases brain mitochondrial concentrations, and neuroprotective effects can be produced in animal models. This gives hope for a helpful treatment to help prevent these degenerative neurological disorders.

DHA (Omega 3)

The omega-3 family is a collection of fats that can be found in many foods. There are three main types: EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), DHA(dodecanoic), and cholesteryl acids from fish or animals raised on farms fed with flaxseed oil! You need it through food or supplements for your cells to be healthy. It plays significant roles inside your body, and you’ll find them life-savingly effective against certain chronic illnesses such as heart disease, cancers, Alzheimer’s Disease, depression, and inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis. But does it have any role in the brain?

  • A pregnant woman who consumes more fish or takes supplements may give birth to an intelligent child. Studies show that children whose moms took omega-3s during pregnancy have higher intelligence test scores and better brain function than those without these nutrients.
  • A recent study has found that lower levels of DHA in our blood are linked with smaller brain sizes and faster cognitive decline.
  • It has also been shown that taking fish oil supplements may improve brain function in people with mild cognitive decline and accelerated brain aging.
  • However, some studies have not seen any results from this supplement. To fully explore the potential of DHA, further studies with larger samples and more detailed diet registration are necessary.

5-HTP

5-Hydroxytryptophan (5HTP), an amino acid your body naturally produces, helps to produce serotonin. Serotonin sends signals between nerve cells and is associated with depression, anxiety disorders; sleep problems, including insomnia – all of which can be treated by increasing production levels in the human brain.

  • 5-HTP is a supplement that some people take to reduce their levels of depression. There are several studies with good results for treating depression with 5-HTP. However, more in-depth research is needed to prove its efficacy in a large number of people.
  • A depleted level of 5-HTP is also linked with lower memory performance, while depression is associated with an inability to remember things.
  • The researchers of this study gave 9 people with trouble sleeping an amino acid supplement containing 5-HTP and gamma-aminobutyric acid. They found that those who took the pills had better sleep quality, duration, and waking patterns than those receiving placebos.

GABA

GABA is a powerful amino acid that works as an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain, helping to reduce feelings of stress and fear. It does this by attaching itself to particular proteins known as GABA receptors and decreasing activity in your nervous system, slowing down communication between nerve cells for a calming effect. This makes it ideal for those looking to manage their anxiety or prevent seizures.

Stress can wreak havoc on our bodies, weakening our immune systems and raising the risk of depression. GABA supplements are often used to ease these effects due to their natural calming influence on the brain.

In a study conducted in Japan, researchers tested two beverages against each other to determine their effects on mental and physical fatigue. One contained 25 mg of GABA, while the other had a higher dosage of 50mg- both resulted in decreased fatigue during problem-solving tasks. Yet, it was found that increasing the amount of GABA produced more favorable results slightly.

In a recent study, those who added 300 mg of GABA to their nighttime routine reported getting better sleep in as little as one hour.

Taking 500-1000 mg daily can help you find a more peaceful and calm state. While it works right away for some, others may need to give their body time by incorporating this supplement into their lifestyle over a few weeks before reaping its full benefits as an effective relaxant.

Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo biloba has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years. A fixture since the dawn of civilization itself, according to China’s oldest Materia Medica (2800 B.C.), Ginkgo was prescribed to treat an array of ailments from asthma and swelling hands/feet through vascular disorders and aging right up until today, where its ability to boost cognitive function continues to be studied worldwide. So could Ginkgo be the answer to enhanced mental acuity?

  • Several research studies have suggested that it may improve cognitive performance and overall well-being. From increased memory recall to an extended attention span, people are exploring this supplement as a possible way of boosting their brainpower.
  • Another intriguing conclusion was reached through further research – Ginkgo extract may be a safe and effective way to improve cognitive functioning in patients with dementia.
  • According to a research study, Ginkgo has been found to be an effective natural remedy for generalized anxiety disorder.
  • Despite claims that Ginkgo may help enhance memory, multiple studies have indicated it doesn’t seem to benefit those already mentally healthy.

Ginseng

Ginseng is a mystical plant with 11 varieties and slow-growing roots believed to restore health and promote mental clarity. Known for its stimulating effects on the body, this ancient remedy has been used in traditional medicine for centuries.

With its powerful antioxidant properties, Ginseng is a natural wonder with the potential to promote brain performance and support healthy immune function. Studies have also suggested that it could be beneficial for regulating blood sugar levels.

But does it help improve brain performance and cognition?

  • Numerous studies have revealed that Ginseng could be the key to unlocking better mental performance. Whether it’s enhancing memory, regulating behavior, or lifting moods, this herb can significantly affect our cognitive abilities.
  • Animal studies also suggest that Ginseng could protect our minds, with its potent compounds like Ginsenosides and Compound K potentially shielding us from free radical damage.
  • After a survey of over 6,000 seniors, the regular consumption of Ginseng for 5 or more years was revealed to be an invaluable key to improving cognition and retaining mental sharpness in later life.

Huperzine-A

Huperzine A is a water-soluble alkaloid and a nootropic agent that improves brain performance, cognition, learning, and recall. It is also an antioxidant, helps neuroplasticity, and protects against glutamate toxicity.

Huperzine A is an effective cognitive enhancer and is used to treat Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, and other age-related memory impairments.

Huperzine A works by inhibiting the activity of acetylcholinesterase (AChE), an enzyme that breaks down acetylcholine (ACh), a neurotransmitter involved in learning and memory. By inhibiting AChE, Huperzine A increases the levels of ACh in the brain, leading to better cognitive function.

A 2013 research review examined the efficacy and safety of huperzine A for people with Alzheimer’s disease. With a detailed search, researchers found that this natural remedy may be more effective than a placebo at improving cognitive abilities, reducing behavioral disturbances, and optimizing functional performance.

Huperzine-A is a remarkable nutrient, acting as an NMDA receptor blocker to inhibit glutamate from overstimulating brain cells, causing damage, and offering exceptional protection for the mind.

Another intriguing study showed that huperzine A, a compound rarely studied for memory enhancement, significantly improved the learning ability of adolescent students. However, this study was small, so more research is needed.

Huperzine A also scavenges free radicals and reduces inflammation, both of which can damage cells in the brain and lead to impaired cognition. In addition, Huperzine A is safe and well tolerated in clinical trials, making it a promising treatment for age-related memory impairments.

Lion’s Mane

Lion’s Mane Mushroom is widely praised for its ability to boost cognitive capacity, from sharpening focus and clarity of thought to improving recall and verbal communication. As a result, it has quickly become one of the most popular nootropics on the market today.

It has been found to help protect your brain against age-related disorders like dementia while reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Research also shows it could reduce the risk of developing illnesses such as heart disease, cancer, ulcers, and diabetes, all thanks to its potent anti-inflammatory properties, boosted immunity, and powerful antioxidants.

L-Dopa (Mucuna Pruriens)

Mucuna Pruriens, known as Velvet Bean, is an incredible plant with various fascinating uses. This bean contains serotonin and other substances on its surface, which make it very itchy to the touch; However, it has been used as an herbal remedy for centuries. It’s rich in L-DOPA -a molecule essential for dopamine production- and has been associated with male infertility treatment, nervous system support, and even aphrodisiac capacities.

  • L-Dopa is a vital amino acid produced in the brain, acting as a precursor for those neurotransmitters that determine our mood and emotions. By synthesizing l-tyrosine into L-DOPA, we can generate dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. A surge in dopamine within the brain can improve mental well-being and enhance your ability to think clearly.
  • M. pruriens has been rediscovered for its remarkable capacity to reduce the symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease and protect neurons from oxidative damage due to free radicals.

Lemon Balm

Long valued for its uplifting aroma, lemon balm is so much more than just a refreshing scent. Native to Europe, North Africa, and West Asia but grown worldwide, this fragrant herb has been used since antiquity to promote well-being – with potential benefits ranging from improving mood and cognitive function to aiding healing. Learn how this unique plant could revolutionize your health!

  • A study conducted by researchers revealed that lemon balm has the potential to provide significant relief from stress-related symptoms. Subjects who took the herb reported feeling less anxious and more serene – suggesting it could be a natural antidote for those struggling with mental distress. Despite these promising results, further research is necessary to conclusively establish its efficacy in combating psychological issues on a larger scale.
  • Another study suggests that adding lemon balm to food and drinks could be the key to improving mood and reducing anxiety. The same study also reveals that consuming lemon balm may boost your memory and cognitive function.

Taking Lemon balm has the potential to provide a wealth of health benefits, from reducing anxiety to improving cognitive function. While it shouldn’t be used as a substitute for your existing treatment plan prescribed by your doctor, incorporating it into your routine can prove beneficial and serve as an excellent supplement.

L-Glutamine

L-Glutamine works like a powerhouse in your brain, improving the functioning of neurotransmitters for better focus and energy. It also helps reduce toxins that can cause poor cognition and memory and alleviate stress to enhance sleep quality. With L-Glutamine boosting cognitive performance and relaxation, it’s no wonder why so many people are turning to this powerful supplement.

  • The research concluded that the lack of L-glutamine in neurons is linked to depression, and an infusion of this amino acid was found to improve impairments in animals significantly. This discovery may potentially lead to new therapies for sufferers of depression.
  • Researchers have been searching for ways to unlock the secrets of brain aging, and recent studies suggest mitochondrial dysfunction may be a contributing cause. L-glutamine has been discovered to slow down this process – providing hope in our quest for improved cognitive health.

Start small and gradually increase the amount until you feel its full benefits – many users discover this nootropic’s effectiveness! The dosage from 500mg to 20 grams is considered safe.

Maca

Maca, an incredible plant native to Peru’s Andes Mountains, has been used for centuries by the natives of central Peruvian Altiplano as a natural way to improve their children’s academic performance. This remarkable herb grows over 13,000 feet in elevation and is packed with amino acids like arginine and serine that provide antioxidant benefits which contribute significantly towards peak mental acuity. Make Maca part of your daily routine today.

  • A study of diverse individuals revealed a key to increased energy and improved mood: three grams of maca daily! For 12 weeks, those who took either red or black maca experienced more significant levels of well-being than the placebo group.
  • In a 2015 trial involving 29 Chinese postmenopausal women, remarkable results were seen after six weeks of taking 3.3 grams of maca daily – significantly reduced depression symptoms compared to those who took the placebo treatment.
  • Several other studies have also concluded that maca may benefit postmenopausal women, providing them with a natural way to reduce stress and promote more positive mental well-being.

Melatonin

Melatonin is a powerful hormone released by the brain’s pineal gland, known chiefly for regulating our natural circadian rhythm and assisting with sleep issues like insomnia. Surprisingly versatile, melatonin can also help manage blood pressure levels, immune responses, and cortisol secretion. Although it’s available without prescription in many parts of the world, such as America and Australia – elsewhere you will need your doctor’s approval before taking this remarkable hormone.

  • Research suggests that melatonin can be a powerful sleep aid; one study of people with insomnia revealed they experienced faster, more restful slumber by taking it two hours before bed. In addition, higher-quality sleep has been linked to improved brain performance.
  • A recent study also suggests disrupting the body’s natural circadian rhythm can lead to seasonal depression. Fortunately, taking melatonin daily proved effective at alleviating symptoms associated with this condition.
  • If you’re considering taking melatonin, it’s important to remember that dosage matters. Although most supplements suggest doses between 0.5 and 10 mg daily, the best approach may be starting with a lower dose and gradually increasing as needed until desired effects are achieved. This way, there is less chance of any unpleasant side effects from using too much at once.

Nefiracetam

Nefiracetam is a novel smart drug that can be considered an alternative to Piracetam. Nefiracetam belongs to the racetam family, with preliminary research suggesting it may have specific antidementia properties in rats. The parent molecule was derived from Piracetam but shared most structural similarities with aniracetam. Nefiracetam and aniracetam are fat-soluble drugs used for memory enhancement or treatment of cognitive decline.

  • Nefiracetam is a potent cholinergic compound that potentiates acetylcholine receptors in the hippocampus, which encourages glutamate release and Long term Potentiation (LTP).
  • A double-blind control study on Nefiracetam found that those who took 600mg or 900 mg per day for 12 weeks experienced an improvement in their depression symptoms compared to placebo.
  • This smart drug may also be able to improve long-term memory in humans. For example, This study with rats shows that 40 days of supplementation increased nerve growth factor and neurogenesis, proving the drug’s potential for improving cognition.
  • The recommended dosage of Nefiracetam is 100 mg to 900mg per day. It can be taken as one dose early in the morning and another around noon for the best results.

Nicotine

The use of nicotine as a psychoactive has been around for centuries. It’s found in tobacco leaves- it improves concentration, focus, mental clarity, motivation memory anxiety reduction.

It works by raising neurotransmitters’ signals, which regulate moods and cognitive functions such as memory recall or attention span.

  • Nicotine bind to presynaptic nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in your brain. It boosts the release of ACH (acetylcholine) and dopamine, and higher levels of these neurotransmitters are linked to healthy memory and brain performance.
  • The effects of nicotine on attention are being studied by scientists, who have found that it can improve attentiveness in smokers. It also helps alleviate Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) symptoms among people with Alzheimer’s or schizophrenia.

Noopept

Noopept is a powerful cognitive enhancement drug that is 1000 times more potent than Piracetam. Some people take it for its ability to increase mental energy and improve focus, but there’s also evidence Noopep can help with things like anxiety or depression as well.

The effects of Noopept are felt within minutes rather than hours or days. In addition, the synthetic smart drug can be purchased as a supplement and does not have any side effects on your body since it’s natural.

  • Noopept has been proven to enhance memory, and numerous studies support this claim.
  • The compound Noopept speeds up how quickly the brain forms and retrieves memories by boosting levels of a protein called Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF). This increases growth in cells that store information, leading to better memory function.
  • There has been a lot of interest in using this drug to help people recover from brain injuries, but more studies are needed before we can say it works.

Oxiracetam

Oxiracetam is a safe, nootropic drug from the racetam family and works as a mild stimulant. Some studies show that Oxi can be taken at high doses for extended periods without adverse side effects or addiction potential, but its mechanism of action still needs more research.

  • Oxiracetam can improve your long and short-term memory, concentration, and focus and boosts the brain’s ability to process information quickly for better cognitive functioning.
  • This smart drug has also been shown to boost memory and improve learning ability.
  • What makes this nootropic so unique? It enhances the release of excitatory neurotransmitters, leading to better memory formation. But we need human studies for confirmation.

Phenylpiracetam (Phenotropil)

This nootropic provides a wide range of benefits for those who take it, including better cognitive function. In addition, users have reported an increase in focus and learning capabilities, as well as reduced symptoms of depression or anxiety when compared to placebo pills.

  • A new study has found that Phenylpiracetam can improve your moods and cognition by making you more alert and less anxious than before.
  • Phenylpiracetam has been clinically used as a cognitive enhancer because it increases the levels of noradrenaline, dopamine, and serotonin in your brain, but it doesn’t affect GABA or electrical activity there either.

Piracetam

Piracetam is the parent synthetic nootropic of a group of “racetams.” These brain-boosting supplements provide mild boosts to your cognitive function. However, the way it works still isn’t fully understood by researchers and scientists alike – though there are studies linking this drug with several benefits, including improved cognitive functioning in people who have dyslexia and reducing the number of specific seizures.

  • Piracetam has been shown to increase blood flow, as well as the consumption of oxygen and glucose in people with mental impairment. This may be one way it improves brain function.
  • While this study shows that Piracetam may help with verbal learning tasks, more research should be done on its effects to determine the supplement’s effectiveness.
  • Studies show that Piracetam can help boost mental performance in older adults with dementia or general brain impairments. For example, in one study, people taking this supplement were 61% more likely than those given placebos to perform better on specific tests measuring cognition–and they experienced less anxiety too.

Rhodiola Rosea

Rhodiola is a plant that grows in the cold, mountainous regions of Europe and Asia. It is an apoptogenic herb that can help your body adapt to stress and improve mental clarity and sleep cycles. It has no adverse side effects, so you don’t need an excuse not to drink it.

  • Eating adaptogenic herbs and spices, such as Rhodiola, ginseng, or ashwagandha, during stressful times is thought to help you handle your day better.
  • The results of a recent study show that for people with depression, taking Rhodiola alongside their antidepressant medication led to more remarkable improvement than just using one or the other.
  • Animal studies have found that this herb can help improve your cognitive function and promote animal learning and memory improvement.

Phosphatidylserine (PS)

Phosphatidylserine, also known as PS, can be found in all cell membranes and has essential functions ranging from improving memory to relieving anxiety. Many people use this supplement because they believe it will make them smarter or give them an edge at work.

  • A study found that people who took 400 mg of PS had faster mathematical calculations and fewer errors when doing math.
  • The researchers also found that PS at 300mg daily improved cognitive impairment in three clinical trials of 577 older adults. Other studies suggest that it may improve memory and mood.
  • Clinical trials suggest that Phosphatidylserine (PS) combined with omega-3 fatty acids or Ginkgo biloba extract helps maintain and improve memory in people.
  • Phosphatidylserine also seems to have a calming effect on the body. People taking this supplement had less cortisol, and the Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) was released in response to stressful events. The most popular brand is Neuriva Plus Brain Performance

Pramiracetam

Pramiracetam belongs to synthetic racetam nootropics that have been shown to enhance long-term memory formation, cognition, focus, and learning in animals. However, the mechanisms by which it works still need to be better understood. Still, some evidence suggests involvement with acetylcholine synthesis, and the production of neurotransmitters such as dopamine or serotonin may also occur through this mechanism alone.

  • New research shows that Pramiracetam, an ingredient in many nootropic supplements, can significantly improve memory.
  • There is strong evidence that Pramiracetam increases memory and even restores some damaged brain functions.

Glutathione

There is some evidence that glutathione may have nootropic effects, but more research is needed. Glutathione is an antioxidant that is produced naturally in the body. It plays a role in many important cellular processes, including detoxification and DNA repair.

Some studies have shown that glutathione levels may be decreased in people with neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Other studies have shown that glutathione supplementation may improve cognitive function in older adults. However, the results of these studies have been mixed.

More research is needed to determine whether glutathione is an effective nootropic. If you are considering taking glutathione supplements, it is important to talk to your doctor first. Glutamax capsule containing Glutathione is a popular brand for healthy aging, improve skin tone, cognitive health and overall health and wellbeing.

Bottom Line—Nootropics

Nootropics and smart drugs are becoming increasingly popular as people look for ways to boost their mental function. While prescription smart drugs like Adderall and Ritalin have the most potent effects on memory and attention, they come with a host of side effects. Synthetic nootropics supplements are widely available, but there is a lack of research on their effectiveness in healthy adults. Many natural nootropics are used in alternative medicine, but their effects are typically more subtle and slow-acting. Nootropics and smart drugs are sure to continue to rise in today’s society, but more research needs to be done to understand their benefits better.

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