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What Are The Best Nootropics?

Updated on May 1, 2012

Neurochemical Cognitive Boosts

photo by cambridgeuniversity-engineering on Flickr
photo by cambridgeuniversity-engineering on Flickr

Best Ingredients For Better Nootropics

Nootropics are a series of drugs that have become something of a phenomena recently, and they are looking to be the next class of popular supplements into 2012 and beyond. These "smart drugs" are not really new as the phonetic sounding name may suggest, but rather have been around since at least the 1960s when the racetams, piracetam to be specific, were discovered and the positive benefits became noticed and introduced into the worldwide culture. The name nootropics actually derives from the Greek terminology for "mind bending" or something similar. What are nootropics and what are the best nootropics? This article will take a look at those two questions, but the general concept is that these series of supplements work by affecting a person's brain chemistry and the neurochemicals within. A person who takes a proper regimen of these nootropic supplements is said to receive a significant and noticeable boost in brain function across such areas as memory and recall, intelligence and IQ, motivation and attention, as well as general mood stability. The smart drugs have become very popular in the circles of many Hollywood celebrities, top business executives, and hardcore athletes like the mma fighters and marathon runners.

As stated above, the first commonly used nootropic alternative supplement was piracetam, and it remains one of the most widely used of the drugs. Modern manufacturers are combining it with other enhancers as well as producing stacks. Piracetam is a cyclic derivative of GABA which is a central nervous system neurotransmitter inhibitor. A simple two week regimen of the racetame alone has been shown to improve verbal memory across a range of healthy college students. In fact, it is college students that are finding the nootropic drugs to be a great boost to their academic study program and a safer alternative to the commonly abused ADH drugs like Adderall. The line is blurred between drugs that have traditionally been illegal in the USA and other countries that could also otherwise be considered productivity enhancers. Stimulants come in many varieties from amphetamines to cholinergics like nicotine and they have many of the same effects and are sometimes even classified as nootropics. However, the popular racetams include pramiracetam, oxiracetam, and aniracetam among others, and most of these are considered pharmacologically safe for use in humans.

Another cholinergic that can be found in many of the nootropics that one can buy nowadays is Alpha-GPC. It is a precursor that works with the acetylcholine neurotransmitter molecule. There are other forms of choline that are in cheaper pills, but they may not be as well absorbed in most people and Alpha-GPC is said to cross the blood brain barrier very effectively. It can be found in AlphaBrain which is the flagship nootropic supplement from Onnit Labs. The additive is used to improve memory, focus, and improve REM sleep for a better nights rest. Other important ingredients in AlphaBrain are Huperzine A (Northern Firmoss), Vinpocetine (semi-synthetic Periwinkle plant), AC-11, Bacopa (Ayuverdic herb from India marshlands), Pterostillbene ( a hot trending antioxidant nootropic found in blueberry sources), Mucuna Pruriens (velvet bean), GABA, oat straw, and vitamin B6. The incredible combination is aimed at improving everything from strategic thinking to creative writing abilities. Onnit Labs also produces the Shroomtech line of supplements which are made from mushrooms and aim to provide clean energy for athletes through better oxygen utilization as well as further benefits. The Onnit Labs products are promoted by comedian, actor, and UFC annoucer Joe Rogan. He talks about them often during his podcast called the Joe Rogan Experience which is a great source of entertainment for anyone into comedy, conspiracies, or insanity. Surprisingly, Rogan appears to be one of the few Hollywood insiders who truly gets it and is not afraid to question the system. Interestingly enough, he is also a strong advocate for drug policy reform and spiritual experiences through psilocybin mushrooms and DMT. It is a free podcast with some interesting guests and everyone should definitely give it a listen if they get a chance.

Smart drugs, nootropics, intelligence enhancers. Whatever the name, it looks like these supplements that assist mental function are the hottest trend and are great for anyone looking to get that edge necessary to be more productive.

Fine Tune Your Brain With the Best Nootropics


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    • 4FoodSafety profile image

      Kelly Kline Burnett 5 years ago from Fontana, WI

      I will never remember this new term.

      Too many new items for this old soul.


      A supplement is no longer a supplement.

      In my opinion, very poor choice for the video. If you cannot speak without foul words, it showcases your ignorance.

      Great hub with new information. Thank yoU!

    • Larry Fields profile image

      Larry Fields 5 years ago from Northern California

      Voted up. A long time ago, when surreptitious importation was the only way to get them in the US, I experimented with half of the Nootropics that you mentioned, as well as Vincamine. I had been impressed by the preliminary scientific research to support the claims of efficacy. However each Nootropic was a mixed bag. They were somewhat helpful at times, and quite unhelpful at other times.

      Caveat: I have Sensory Integration Dysfunction. Many sounds and other experiences that are ho-hum for most people are painful for me. I also get unpleasant drug-like effects from some foods.

      For whatever it's worth, optimized lower-body strength training is more helpful for my cognitive function. I also recognize that what's true for me does not necessarily work for everyone else.

    • Larry Fields profile image

      Larry Fields 5 years ago from Northern California

      Againsttheodds wrote:

      "What were some of the benefits you noticed Larry?"

      Here's one: Bacopa decreased my Tourette symptoms (involuntary muscle twitches), and it helped me to feel calmer. But that was many years ago.

      Since then, I've gone through a lot of changes. These days, Bacopa is irrelevant.

      My opinion is that none of these Nootropics are silver bullets for cognitive enhancement in everyone. You've gotta do your own self-experimentation.

      Here's a suggested format. Keep a health diary during your Nootropic experiment. For openers, note how much of everything that you've eaten, how well you've slept, and how much of which kinds of exercise you've gotten that day.

      However the main part of the experiment is to play Tetris. Before you start taking any given Nootropic, wait until your daily Tetris performance hit a plateau. Then see if the Nootropic in question boosts that performance, or if it has the opposite effect.

      Then optimize for dosage and timing. It would probably be best to utilize ABAB testing, in order to filter out some of the good-day/bad-day 'noise'.

    • profile image

      nootopicsmartdrugs 5 years ago

      I find that Piracetam works best. While it can be used individually, for optimal results the secret is to take Piracetam in a nootropic stack - particularly one that uses Choline to enhance its effectiveness.

      There are several products that are using Piracetam based stacks as cognitive enhancers. These products like PROFIDERALL have so popular that they are being called Adderall Alternatives.

    • usedkitchencabine profile image

      usedkitchencabine 4 years ago from Amory, MS

      This was a good introductory article for me. I've been doing some research and considering a nootropics regimen for a couple months and I'm about to go ahead and try it out. My main issue now is finding a way to quantify the results as best I can.

    • TheAntiEgo profile image

      John Thomas Connor 4 years ago from Savannah

      I don't mean to plug my site, but I really think you would find it interesting based on this post.

      The site is outlined on that page. I'm looking for people who are knowledgeable on nootropics to contribute to the review section. It's a community project and I would really appreciate it if you took a look. Feel free to link back.

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