If I told you that there were pills providing the best possible cognitive effects, including optimum mental function, good brain health, excellent memory, and focus, alongside other higher-order executive function skills, you’d probably think I was pulling your leg.
In actuality, nootropics provide these proven benefits, and there are a variety of nootropics already promoting mental function in healthy adults. There are dietary supplements out there doing the job of boosting cognitive functions, and in this article, we’ll be discussing these neuroenhancers and the best place to buy nootropics.
What Are Nootropics?
Neuroenhancement is a prevalent practice among young people in college or adults at work. Virtually anybody who decides to use medication to perform better, improve their mood, or get rid of anxiety is practicing neuroenhancement.
Using medication for better cognitive performance is not a new concept. In 1964, a Romanian psychologist and chemist, C.C. Giurgea, synthesized Piracetam. Piracetam activated higher brain energy, increased the alpha brain waves, and stimulated nerve cells.
At the time, the full action pathway of Piracetam (which is a nootropic) was not understood. However, Dr. Giurgea observed that the medicine enhanced brainpower. This discovery set the doctor on his way to research what we now fondly call smart pills. Dr. Giurgea called these pills nootropics. Nous means “mind” and trepein means “a bend” in Greek.
A dose of nootropics can either be taken alone or combined with a different type of nootropics. Combining a variety of nootropics is called stacking.
Types of Prescription Nootropics
Most people go about their daily lives consuming nootropics without realizing it. Caffeine is the biggest culprit. Caffeine is more than a natural stimulant that kick-starts your day at the breakfast table. It improves decision-making skills.
At a deeper level, the positive effects of caffeine as a memory nootropic are to enhance learning by improving short-term memory. It does this by stimulating neurotransmitters in the brain such as acetylcholine.
People who consciously take nootropics move beyond caffeine. Prescription stimulants are the most popular nootropics readily known to most people. However, prescribed smart drugs are not for healthy people who are looking for help with their concentration.
Contrary to medical advice, young adults, especially the ones in college, illegally obtain these types of nootropics. They seem to boost brain performance in the short term. However, the side effects are dire.
- Blood circulation problems
- Elevated heart rates
- Blurry vision
- High blood pressure
We’ll look at some nootropics not readily available in nootropic stores.
Modafinil is marketed under the brand name Provigil. It is administered under prescription to patients suffering from narcolepsy. Narcolepsy causes its sufferers to have bouts of uncontrolled daytime drowsiness.
Modafinil is a stimulating nootropic whose effects are so strong that it can be accurately compared to the effects of cocaine. However, the drug has a lower risk of developing an addiction.
Modafinil effectively reduces the feeling of physical fatigue and improves memory in drowsy adults. Modafinil heightens executive function so that you can make better decisions, manage your time, and accomplish tasks.
Availability: This drug exhibits powerful nootropic effects, and it is only available in specific doses to prescribed patients. In many places, you will not get this drug without a doctor’s prescription. If you have a prescription, stick to the recommended dosage. There are increased instances of addiction and painful withdrawal at high doses.
You have probably heard more about Adderall in an improper context — as a recreational drug. Adderall is strictly a prescription drug whose active ingredients are an extremely stimulating combination of amphetamines and dextroamphetamine.
It is a common treatment plan for individuals with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It is also prescribed for narcolepsy. However, healthy adults who are looking to enhance their attention and focus increasingly abuse this drug.
The activity of Adderall is centered within the prefrontal cortex. This area of the brain is responsible for memory, self-control, and working memory. Adderall stimulates the release of more dopamine and noradrenaline in the prefrontal cortex.
The effects of Adderall include:
- Better attention span
- Reduced appetite
- Better-short term memory
Depending on the type of pill and dosage, the effect of this prescription nootropic can go on unabated for as long as 12 hours. Despite the host of positive effects that this drug exhibits, there are serious side effects when this drug is abused. Unfortunately, it is one of the most misused drugs on college campuses.
Research has revealed that 1 in every 3 students has abused Adderall at some point while in college.
The negative effects of Adderall include the following:
- Low sex drive
More severe side effects such as cardiac arrest and death can occur when the nootropic is taken with alcohol.
Availability: Adderall indeed has a powerful effect on mental processes. However, it is highly regulated and available by prescription only.
This is another prescription stimulant that mitigates the symptoms of narcolepsy and ADHD. Ritalin works the same as Adderall to stimulate more production of dopamine and noradrenaline. However, Ritalin does not have amphetamines in its list of ingredients.
When taken by healthy adults, it has cognitive benefits such as improved short-term memory, faster information processing, and better attention span. Ritalin is well-tolerated. However, when you exceed the required does, it reverses all the cognitive rewards. It is also widely abused just like Adderall by young college-going adults.
The adverse effects of Ritalin abuse include the following:
- Stomach upset
- Loss of appetite
An overdose of the drug causes:
- High blood pressure
- Heart arrhythmia
Ritalin is a powerful stimulant and the individual prescribed the drug must be monitored in case of abuse.
Availability: Only prescribed for ADHD and narcolepsy patients.
Although the drugs on prescription will, in fact, make your cognitive functioning better, they will impair these functions when used recreationally. It is alarming that an accidental high dose of Ritalin could lead to psychosis.
Piracetam is on the prescription nootropics list because the drugs are considered prescription compounds outside the United States.
You can, however, get these synthetic nootropics over the counter if you live in the US. Piracetam belongs to the Racetams class of drugs. They stimulate neurotransmitters in adults who exhibit mild cognitive impairment.
However, the evidence that Piracetam is safe for use by healthy young adults is limited. It is generally not recommended for this group of people. Piracetam was the first smart pill ever made in 1964.Animal studiespresent findings that back the fact that it improves memory on all levels.
Availability: In the United States, Piracetam is not legally considered a drug prescribed for a specific medical condition. Neither is it considered a dietary supplement. You can freely purchase it OTC.
This is a derivative of Piracetam. It is the second most-consumed synthetic nootropic after Piracetam. It is liked because of the fast-acting stimulant effects it produces. A dose of Aniracetam quickly dissolves into the bloodstream.
It was originally intended as a drug to aid memory and learning. Some unconfirmed claims say that it improves creative thinking.
Availability: You can purchase it through online vendors on Amazon and other trusted vendors like Nootropics Depot.
This is another Racetam. The artificial nootropic is commonly used by computer programmers. They like it for its effects in boosting long-term memory, sustained focus, logical thinking, and better judgment.
Oxiracetam is believed to help in nerve recovery after major neurological trauma. The compound also has the effects of a stimulant to increase alertness, motivation, and mental energy.
Availability: Oxiracetam is available through online vendors on Amazon and Nootropics Depot.
This is a synthetic nootropic supplement packaged as a smart drug.
Unlike natural nootropics, its effects can be felt within moments of taking a dose. This is suitable for people who do not want to wait for days or weeks. The effects of taking Noopept lasts for hours.
Research conducted on animals suggests that Noopept boosts the production of the brain-derived neurotrophic factor. BDNF is also known as abrineurin is a protein that promotes the healthy growth of brain cells.
On the other hand, clinical trials on humans suggest that this smart pill helps people to recover faster from nervous system injuries.
Availability: Noopept is widely stocked by several reputable online nootropic vendors. It will be easy to tell which vendor to trust via a quick online search.
Natural Nootropic Supplements and Where to Find Them
If you are living a healthy lifestyle and don’t want to use synthetic nootropics, there are other forms of nootropic supplements. Nootropics used as dietary supplements are largely safe for long-term consumption without serious side effects.
It helps that most of the natural extracts in these types of nootropics have been extensively researched and show a lot of promise. If you are considering taking supplements alongside other medications, you should inform your doctor. Also, seek medical advice if you have underlying conditions even if they are not medicated.
People who use nootropics can get an edge or keep up with the demands of school and work. Have a look at some popular natural nootropic supplements and how you can get them.
Where to Buy Natural Nootropics
Many people wrongly assume that because supplements are made of natural ingredients, they can’t be harmful. Even natural things can be harmful if not taken as prescribed. Part of taking supplements responsibly is to research your nootropic vendor and understanding the ingredients and dosages.
Fortunately, most drugs sold as supplements have been around for thousands of years. The FDA still protects consumers from dangerous substances. In 2013, the sale of the stimulant known as DMAA or 1,3-Dimethylamylamine was banned.
DMAA was falsely marketed as a natural stimulant for building muscles, weight loss, and other erroneous claims. While the product is illegal, it does not mean that it is completely off the shelves.
In the United States, the process of purchasing these supplements is simple, there is no need to get a prescription. You can conveniently buy nootropic supplements over the counter in supermarkets, drug stores, and online. Some online platforms are dedicated to selling different brands of nootropics supplements. The Nootropics Depot is one of the most reputable vending marketplaces.
Caffeine has to take the top stop as the most consumed natural psychotropic substance. Caffeine naturally occurs in tea, cocoa, coffee, kola nuts, and guarana.
In processed form, it is a common ingredient in soft drinks, energy drinks, and medication. Caffeine on its own is an effective supplement. However, you can safely take it together with other nootropics supplements.
Caffeine blocks adenosine receptors in the brain and this is why you will feel more energized after a cup or a can of beverage.
The FDA recommends that people should not consume any more than 400 mg of coffee every day. This is the equivalent of 4 to 5 cups of coffee. A moderate dose of 40 to 300 mg is enough to increase your alertness and concentration.
This is an amino acid that occurs naturally in green and black tea. It is also available as a dietary supplement.
Scientific research has shown that L-theanine boosts the presence of alpha brain waves. These waves make a person relaxed without getting drowsy. This is known as relaxed alertness. A single dose of 200 mg L-theanine produces the calming effect. Lower doses of 50 mg, the equivalent of two cups of tea can also stimulate an increase of alpha brain waves.
Alpha waves are associated with creativity. L-theanine and caffeine create quite the stimulating package. They are powerful together. This is the reason why they are the commonly paired ingredients in performance nootropics supplements.
This is an amino acid supplement. It has a dedicated following among athletes because it helps in bodybuilding. Taking creatine helps your muscles to develop stronger as you keep training. It is beneficial to brain well being because it improves mental stamina.
When you consume the supplement it makes its way through the bloodstream into the brain. In the brain, creatine binds with phosphate to create new molecules that act as brain fuel. This compound energizes all the brain cells.
The boost in the level of brain energy manifests as improved short-term memory and better reasoning skills. Creatine supplements should especially be a dietary staple for vegetarians and individuals experiencing high levels of stress.
It is generally safe to take a dosage of 5g creatine daily without adverse effects. According to the International Society of Sports Nutrition, healthy people can safely take a daily dose of 30g creatine for 5 years.
However, the long-term effects of taking creatine supplements are completely unknown. Scientific data on this subject is currently unavailable.
This is an ancient herb long used in Ayurvedic medicine for its cognitive enhancing abilities. Bacopa monnieri herbal supplements improve the rate of information processing that goes on in your brain. It produces a relaxing effect that slows down reaction times and improves your memory.
The active ingredient in Bacopa monnieri is called bacosides. They eliminate and reverse the effects of oxidative stress on the brain. Bacosides also creates better signaling in the hippocampus. The hippocampus is the area of the brain that controls the memories.
If you are taking this herbal supplement, you are likely to not feel its effects immediately. Don’t be discouraged, it requires regular use overtime for benefits to become apparent. It is generally recommended to take doses of between 300 – 600 mg for at least three months. You will get maximum benefits from sticking to a consistent regimen.
This is an adaptogenic herb with brain-stimulating properties. As an adaptogen, Rhodiola Rosea helps your body to function better under stress.
Adaptogens are plant extracts that work by helping the body to resist chemical, physical, and biological stressors. Adaptogens work by communicating with the parts of the brain responsible for the body’s response to stress.
Rhodiola Rosea is classified as a nootropic in this list because the supplements are capable of improving the wellbeing of the brain alongside heightening cognitive capacities.
The benefits of this herb includes:
- Mood elevation
- Relieve the effects of burnout
- Relief from symptoms of anxiety and depression
Rhodiola Rosea supplements are potent. A small dose of the herbal extract taken daily offers immediate relief from mental tiredness. It creates positivity and feelings of motivation in the mind.
This supplement can be beneficial to people who need to excel under stressful conditions such as exams or running their own business. However, research is needed to determine the optimal dosage of Rhodiola and its mechanism of action.
This is an ancient root herb that has been used as a herbal remedy for thousands of years.
It has strong neuroprotective properties due to its anti-inflammatory capabilities. This means that Panax ginseng relieves the brain cells of oxidative stress. Therefore, creating a healthy environment for the brain to work better.
Like Rhodiola, Panax ginseng is a potent remedy. Moderate single doses ranging from 200–400 mg produce an instantaneous effect. You will feel less mentally exhausted and get better at handling difficult tasks requiring critical thinking.
Some studies have looked into the longer-term effects of Panax ginseng supplements and found that the body builds a tolerance to the active compounds. After sustained months of use, the body adapts and the ginseng doesn’t feel like it is working as effectively as before.
Herbal extracts from the leaves of the ginkgo Biloba produce some pleasant effects on the brain.
Evidence of beneficial nootropic effects comes from individuals who consistently take the extract for at least six weeks.
- Ginkgo supplements result in better mental processing functions and memory in older adults.
- Taking the supplement before a stressful task decreases the levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. This prevents the occurrence of stress-related high blood pressure.
- Ginkgo Biloba stimulates increased blood flow to the brain.
Nicotine occurs naturally in plants. It is most commonly associated with tobacco. Nicotine is the addictive compound in cigarettes. There are other ways of ingesting the compound other than smoking cigarettes and cigars. You can chew a pack of nicotine gum or absorb it directly through your skin by the use of a nicotine patch.
Nicotine exhibits nootropic effects when you take it in the forms mentioned above. The stimulant makes the user alert to the surroundings and helps people afflicted with short attention spans to focus better.
Nicotine further enhances motor functions. People who chew nicotine gum are said to have better handwriting. They write faster and more fluidly.
Note: This substance is potentially addictive. Nicotine is also lethal in high doses so caution must be advised if you intend to use this stimulant.
We do not readily recommend the use of nicotine as a nootropic supplement. However, one instance where it is justified and can be quite helpful is when you intend to quit smoking or are in the process of quitting.
If you are not a candidate for prescription nootropics, there are alternative synthetic and plant-based nootropics options. Some of them are potent just like the prescription drugs, but without the side effects.
In other instances, nootropics made of natural ingredients may take several days or weeks for the effects to be apparent. Their effectiveness depends on regularly taking your daily doses.
Remember to get your nootropic supplements only from the most reputable vendors. Doing your research is paramount, as the FDA hasn’t tightened regulations on nootropic supplements as it has for prescription drugs.
Be on the safe side and only go for the transparent brands with good reviews. Most importantly, trust and listen to your body. If you notice any strange side effects or don’t experience the benefits within the given time frame, it is okay to stop.