The complete guide to Nootropics
What exactly are nootropics and why are they so much in demand? Let us try and find answers for the same. Apart from that in this article we also will have a look at 10 best nootropics that could help in keeping our brains working in an efficient and good condition. They are also referred to as smart drugs and cognitive enhancers in colloquial terms. They are basically drugs and they also are used as supplements and various other substances that could play a big role in improving cognitive functioning in general and executive functions in particular. It also could play a big role in improving creativity and motivation even in healthy individuals.
The good thing about these nootropics is that it can be used across the board by almost each and everybody. It could be a college student preparing from his or her exams, it could be a busy professional who is striving for promotion or trying to move his or her business to the next higher levels. Older people who are suffering from dementia or even other chronic diseases like Alzheimer’s could also stand benefited if they regularly make us of nootropics.
Hence, there is no need to be surprised when we see a gradual but steady increase in the use of these supplements and drugs. Let us learn more about nootropics from a layman’s perspective. Once we have done that we will spend some reviewing the 10 best nootropics so that the readers are able to get a better idea about the various options that are available in the market. They also will be able to make the right decision when it comes to choosing the appropriate nootropics that could cater to your specific needs and requirements. You will be able to make your decision based on information and knowledge rather than being driven by hearsays and opinions.
Different Variants of Nootropics
Before choosing the right nootropics, it would be a better idea if we have some idea about the different types of nootropics that are used and available in the market.
Racetams are perhaps the most common type of nootropics available in the market today. They are also considered to be the most popular. They have a very common chemical structure across all the variants of racetams available in the market today. They also offer similar benefits. It would be pertinent to mention here that the journey of nootropics started in the 1960s and it all began with the development of a specific type of racetam. It was named Piracetam and it continues to be used even today. It is perhaps one of the most widely tested and tried nootropic substances in the market. It is sold under the brand name Lucetam and Nootropil. They come with a number of benefits such as improved memory, better learning abilities, enhanced mood, and improve energy levels. They are known to directly impact the optimizing signal transfer and it happens across synapses in the brain.
Vitamin B Derivatives
Vitamin B derivatives are considered to be one of the smaller groups of nootropics that are quite popular in the market today. Vitamin B derivatives are actually derived from B vitamins and this can be useful in extracting the best possible benefits. You could come across well-known brands like Sulbutiamine and it is actually derived from Thiamine. Thiamine is also referred to as Vitamin B1. These nootropics have an interesting history. They were synthesized in Japan and it was done to solve a health crisis. After the World Wars, most people in the country consumed rice every day. Rice does not have certain important nutrients and this includes Thiamine and many Japanese people are known to have suffered from constant fatigue and these included low energy levels. Japanese scientists were able to synthesize Thiamine and it was converted into a form of Sulbutiamine. This helped the users to be more alert. It also helped cured physical and mental fatigue across the country.
Sulbutiamine has some specific benefits and it is known to increase the levels of glutamate, choline, and dopamine levels in the brain. This goes a long way in making them very powerful tools for treating degenerative and cognitive disorders like Alzheimer’s. They are also used often for treating physical and mental fatigue or for the purpose of improving memory retention.
Choline is another powerful and commonly used nootropics category. Although choline is naturally available in our bodies and also in the foods that we eat, most of us are choline-deficient. This could lead to poor cognitive abilities and reduced overall brain health. Choline is a water-soluble nutrient and it can be found in many popular nootropics supplements. It has the capacity to directly impact the production of acetylcholine neurotransmitters in the brain. Acetylcholine neurotransmitters are targeted by many different types of nootropics. When taken alone, choline supplements can improve memory and learning. However, these may not be as noticeable as it is found in other popular nootropics. It is therefore common to see choline nootropics being stacked with racetams. Such stacking helps the effects to be complementary to one another. This leads to the improved and more pronounced transmission of acetylcholine transmission in the brain.
These are considered to be naturally occurring biological molecules. If you go back to chemistry classes when you were a student, there is no doubt that peptides are simply considered to be short chains of amino acids. They are linked together by covalent chemical bonds. The bond itself is called a peptide bond. Peptide nootropics are not so very common except for Noopept. This is popular across the world. In Russia, doctors prescribe Noopept for some types of psychological conditions. It could be poor focus or memory. In the United States, it also is a popular dietary supplement.
They are considered good for the brain because they directly impact acetylcholine and glutamate and it is the same as racetams. However, there are many users of Noopept who believe that it is 1000 times more effective and potent that certain brands of Piracetam. This is perhaps because of a few obvious reasons. It has high bioavailability and therefore it can easily cross the blood-brain barrier. Further, it impacts both glutamate and acetylcholine as far as the brain is concerned. This works well when compared to racetams because they impact only acetylcholine.
Ampakines belong to the new generation world of nootropics. They are also considered by users to be one of the strongest. They are known to directly impact the glutamate receptors in the brain and this, in turn, enhances the levels of glutamate and helps in improving the functioning of the various glutamatergic systems. They could come in handy for those who need help in memory and learning. They are considered to be crucial whenever there is a need for synaptic plasticity. The brain will be in a position to absorb easily new information and it can change its pathways that help to retain the information.
Ampakines could be a cross between racetams and caffeine supplements. Ampakines, like caffeine, help in brain plasticity. Also, like racetams, they can aid the stimulation of the various glutamate receptors. They are considered to be more powerful compared to both caffeine and racetams. They also impact glutamate receptors much stronger when compared to racetams. They are also relatively free from some dangerous side-effects that are associated with caffeine.
There are many people who believe that nootropics and smart drugs are interchangeable. This is more of a myth and it is not true. This is perhaps many smart drugs contain stimulants. On the other hand, nootropics by their very nature cannot be considered as stimulants. Hence, it would be right to consider all nootropics to be smart drugs and on the other hand not all smart drugs are considered to be nootropics. Smart drugs come with a combination of stimulants and various other nootropics compounds.
This creates an end product that is considered to be a superpower cognitive enhancer. These are considered to be useful for treating chronic fatigue and it could also increase the production of an important neurotransmitter known as hypocretin. This neurotransmitter impacts our motivation and energy. Many people have been able to effectively treat various chronic fatigue-related conditions.
When we talk about natural nootropics we can include all such products that are organic, natural or derived from herbal sources. These are mostly plant-based and they are known to yield natural benefits. They have been effective in improving cognitive functionalities and could also help give a boost to the brain’s natural healing power and also provide other benefits that are considered nootropics in nature. The good thing about natural nootropics is that they are quite safe to use because they are available naturally. They are free from potentially harmful artificial compounds and chemicals. However, there is one major problem with natural nootropics. They may not be as effective as synthetic nootropics.
This is because these synthetic products are made from ingredients from nature and they are then synthesized into extracted and purified and concentrated forms. This reduces the need for fillers that are often required in natural nootropics. The body may also find it relatively difficult to absorb these in the natural state and the dosage may have to be larger and more frequent. To give an example taking one choline supplement may be equal to taking 10 eggs. There is no doubt that natural nootropics are great for beginners and even for intermediate users. A few examples are Bacopa Monnieri and Ginkgo Biloba.
Ginkgo Biloba is a plant-based product that is available naturally throughout China. It has shown some promising results in the early stages of research. It could be useful in treating various degenerative brain conditions such as Alzheimer’s and dementia just to give a few examples. It also is one of the few natural nootropics that comes with a history dating back to some thousands of years. There are other natural substances that are also classified under the heading natural nootropics. They include Omega-3 and also coffee to belong to this category. Choline that is available in eggs is also considered to be natural nootropics.
The above we are sure will be able to give you some basic idea about the different types of nootropics. More are being discovered as science and technology improve as far as the medical industry is concerned. They certainly could help in coming out with better products and nootropics that could help our brains to remain on track. This is very important vital because our brains performing hundreds of functions from the day we are born till the day our body ceases functioning. They are able to recognize loved ones, help us to have interesting and meaningful conversations and help us to run the show that makes us human beings and differentiates us from animals and other living things that have only five senses.
However, we need to bear in mind that the brain that is similar to hard drive often gets loaded with information and this leads to the hard drive having some glitches when it functions. There could be situations where our brain stops functioning or where we often become blank. There also could be situations where the brain becomes fatigued and tired. In such situations, it would be better to go in for certain drugs and supplements. There is no doubt that nootropics are proven, well researched and they do walk the talk as far as performance on the ground is concerned. Most of them are safe and are relatively free from side effects.
Now that we have an idea about nootropics and the various functions that they are known to offer, let us try and identify 10 best nootropics in the market. There are many of them but these ten have been chosen based on research, customer feedback and the kind of impact that they have on our brains when they are used regularly as per the advice and instructions of our doctors.
There is no doubt that Omega-3 fatty acids are considered one of the best for those who are looking for natural nootropics. They come with a number of proven and researched health benefits. It is a rich source of many healthy fatty acids. One particular fatty acid is known by the name DHA or Docosahexaenoic Acid, in particular, has been useful for supporting brain health. DHA could be extremely useful in supporting cognitive function as far as the elderly are concerned. However, at the same time, there are other benefits as far as Omega-3 and DHA are concerned that could be helpful even for people of young age, children and even those who belong to the middle age groups.
Hence, many people consider it to be a miracle product with a number of other benefits also. If your diet is low in Omega-3 fatty acids, it would be a good idea to take a fish oil supplement. This could enhance the memory and also bring down reaction time. This has been proven even in healthy and young adults during various random tests. There are many different sources from where you could get Omega-3 fatty acids. They are mostly available in cold-water fishes like salmon, tuna, trout, anchovies, herring, and mackerel. However, you have to be careful about certain types of fishes though they may have a rich concentration of omega-3 fatty acids. For example, it would be advisable to avoid king mackerel and some types of tuna should be consumed only in moderation because they could be contaminated with mercury. If you are going in for canned tuna, look for light tuna because it has a much lower concentration of mercury content when compared with yellow-fin tuna or white albacore.
B vitamins are considered to be a favorite for those who are looking for the best nootropics. There are some obvious benefits that have been researched, proven and have stood the test of time. B vitamins are water-soluble vitamins that get depleted easily. This happens because of many lifestyle factors and different types of medications. They are also affordable inexpensive. They do come with a number of proven benefits. Hence, for thousands of people across the world, B vitamins and the various derivatives from it are considered to be one of the best nootropics available in the market today. B12 could be useful for people who suffer from poor memory and also for those who have reduced brain volumes.
Folate is another B vitamin that could help quite a bit in supporting cognitive function. This has been proven by studies done on older adults. The good thing about B vitamins is that it can be taken separately. Make sure that you chose a high-quality B-complex that has all the active and tissue-ready forms of B12 and folate. You may have to do some research and you will be able to come across certain brands that are known for their quality and effectiveness. They may be a bit expensive but this does not matter because what you need is quality that offers the right results on the ground.
This is basically a fatty substance that is found in the brain. It acts perhaps like a coating over the brain and it also protects the brain. It also has been found to be useful whenever there is a need to transmit a message between different areas of the brain and also outside it. The levels of Phosphatidylserine can decrease with age and this could lead to some problems with cognitive function and memory. When such persons are put on a supplement of nootropics that is rich in Phosphatidylserine, it could go a long way in supporting cognitive performance in these elderly individuals. There also have been other studies that suggest that people with delayed recall could also be benefitted when they are put on the controlled dosage of Phosphatidylserine. It also could help in lowering the levels of a stress hormone called cortisol. When a person is calmer, it is quite obvious that he or she will be able to think much better and much clearer.
We have talked about Gingko Biloba briefly earlier. There are various types of Ginkgo supplements available in the market. The various Ginkgo supplements are derived from the leaves of a special tree having the same name. It would be pertinent to understand here that Ginkgo trees are living fossils. There are some unique and special types of Ginkgo specimens that are almost around 250 million years old. These are identical to many living trees of modern times. If trees could talk we are sure that these old leaves with so much wisdom in them could help in letting us know the various benefits associated with Gingko Biloba supplements.
There are quite a few research studies to prove that Gingko supplements could play a big role in promoting healthy blood flow to the brain. Such increased blood flows the brain could lead to improved oxygen availability and nutrition availability as far as the brain functioning is concerned. They are relatively safe and children could also get immense benefit out of it. It could help them to be active and concentrate more on their studies, sports, and other activities.
The scientific name for Ashwagandha is Withania Somnifera. This is another botanical ingredient that could help support the healthy functioning of the brain. It is derived from the root of the plant. Ashwagandha is a traditional Ayurvedic botanical plant. Ayurveda is an ancient and proven system of medicine that was developed in India. There are reasons to believe that Ashwagandha is the most popular Ayurvedic herb in the western world. It has been used by Indians for thousands of years. It has proven properties that could help in calming and normalizing the various functions of the body and could also reduce the impact of stress. It has been proven effective when it has been given to individuals who have been suffering from chronic stress. It also could have neuroprotective properties and could prevent damage to the brain from oxidative stress and other reasons. Healthy adults who have been put on 300 mg of Ashwagandha root extract have reported significant improvement in attention, overall cognitive functions and informing processing.
This is another proven and long-standing Ayurvedic herb. It has been used for many centuries for cognitive and neurological support. It is considered to be the brain botanical for all ages. When a person is supplemented with Bacopa Monnieri he or she could see improvements in mental control, paired learning, and logical memory. There have been studies conducted on more than 500 healthy individuals who were given Bacopa supplements. They reported much better cognitive function and their speed of attention was quite amazing and the choice reaction time was much lower. It could also be useful for young children and even adolescents for improving attention span and supporting memory.
Also referred to as theanine, in short, L-Theanine is basically an amino acid that is found mostly in tea leaves. Theanine could offer the much needed relaxing effect on the brain and at the same time ensure that the users do not feel drowsy that often happens with some other substances. This is perhaps because thiamine has the power and capacity to support the much talked about alpha-wave activity in the brain. This promotes a relaxed state of mind. When a person is in an alpha-wave state of activity, the brain perhaps moves into a state of relaxed alertness.
This could play a bit role in improving attention. Further, when theanine is taken in combination with caffeine, it could play a bit role in reducing the feelings of anxiety and enhance working memory and attention. Hence if you are looking for the best nootropics then you have many reasons to have a closer look at L Theanine. There is one more thing good about L-Theanine. It can be drunk in the form of organic green tea. However, there are some people who live caffeine instead of tea. Theanine can also be taken in combination with caffeine and this could help reduce anxiety feeling apart from improving overall attention and working memory. Given the above facts, there is hardly any doubt that there are a number of reasons as to why Theanine continues to be hugely popular amongst thousands of men who are seeking good quality nootropics that is safe, reliable and highly effective and result-oriented.
ALC is the acronym for Acetyl-L-Carnitine. This again is another proven and time-tested amino acid that is produced by our body. It has a number of exciting properties and it could play a big role in enhancing in increasing the production of the important neurotransmitter acetylcholine. This is known to support brain function. Further, acetylcholine has undergone quite a few studies in various research laboratories. It also improves various behavioral scales and also has done quite well in various attention tests and memory tests. It could also play a very important and significant role whenever there is a need for improving mood and elder, in particular, seem to benefit quite a bit from it. It also could help youngsters in elevating their moods. This is good news considering the fact that many of them suffer from stress and tension and this could lead to a downside as far as their overall moods are concerned. Hence, when all the above things are looked at in totality, there are reasons to believe that it could be one of the most trusted and reliable nootropics available in the market today.
When we refer to Resveratrol or Pterostilbene, we are referring to another old and proven plant-based compound. They are also known as polyphenols. Polyphenols, when taken in the right dosage provide excellent antioxidant effects. They could help in repairing oxidative damage caused to brain cells. Further, they could also help in providing the right and a healthy balance of an inflammatory chemical called cytokines. It is found in berries, peanuts, and also the skin of red grapes. It could help in supporting a healthy inflammatory response. It also could help in boosting brain health quite a bit. It works on the memory center of the brain and many of us know it is located in the hippocampus. There have been some studies done on healthy adults and it has been found that putting them on resveratrol supplement could help in enhancing mood and of course improving the overall health of the brain and maintaining it properly. Red wine has a generous concentration of resveratrol but drinking too much of it could have problems. Hence, a better way forward would be to go in for supplements that are rich in resveratrol.
When we talk about Rhodiola Rosea we are referring to an attractive succulent plant that comes with bright yellow flowers. This is commonly used as an adaptogen for supporting healthy resistance to stress. At the same time, it also can be a good friend to your brain. Adaptogen can help in relieving stress levels and could also assist in improving the overall productivity of the brain. When a person is put on a controlled dosage of Rhodiola it could help in bringing down stress levels and also increase the capacity for mental output. It also has some constituents that could help in supporting healthy neuronal cells and could give a soothing response to those who are suffering from stress and tension because of various reasons.
We are sure that the above article might have given our readers quite a few useful inputs about the need for using nootropics for better brain function. Most of these nootropics have been around for many decades and some of them like Gingko Biloba have been around for millions of years. Hence they have been time-tested, proven and are safe and free from side effects if they are taken carefully and in the right dosage.
In today’s world where stress and tension are becoming a way of life, there are reasons to believe that choosing the right nootropics and using them on a regular basis is becoming essential and perhaps not a choice. But the users should do the right research and then choose the right product based on specific needs and requirements. There are many such options available and you have to be sure that you are choosing the right one that is known for its quality, purity, safety, effectiveness and the price factor should also be taken into account.