The Noob Guide to Nootropics: Hacking Your Brain with Smart Drugs and Supplements

Nootropics are rumored to be the secrets of the world’s billionaires

These brain-enhancing drugs are said to make people smarter, faster, and more productive.

Since the release Limitless, a 2011 movie in which Bradley Cooper uses brain-hacking pills to access 100% of his mind, they’ve been surging in popularity.

They’re not just for action heroes, though. In fact, they can help you unlock your potential in real life, too.

In this post, we’ll tell you how. 

Everything You Need to Know About Nootropics

Looking to get into nootropics? Read on to find out what they are, what they do and how to buy them. 

What are Nootropics?

Nootropics are substances which can enhance brain function. They’re also sometimes called ‘brain pills’, ‘smart drugs’, or ‘cognitive enhancers’.

Why Do People Take Nootropics?

More and more Americans are reporting feeling stressed. 

The constant pressure to perform, whether it’s at work, at school, or in social settings, can be overwhelming.

Nootropics can help people to deal with this stress by becoming more motivated, productive and relaxed. People use them to improve their performance and reach their mental and physical potential.

How Do they Work?

We know that these drugs improve the way your brain works, but how do they do it? 

This varies, depending on the ingredient that they contain. However, these mechanisms are the most common:

  • Increasing blood flow to the brain.
  • Boosting or inhibiting the production of hormones and other chemicals in the brain.
  • Increasing the availability of neurotransmitters.
  • Speeding up metabolism

Which Nootropic Supplements Should You Use?

There are a ton of brain enhancement drugs on the market. They can generally be separated into the following two categories:

Natural Nootropics

Think you’ve never used a nootropic before? If you’ve ever had coffee, tea, energy drinks or energy bars, you already have.

That’s because they contain a number of natural brain-enhancing chemicals. If you’re new to nootropics, you may want to start with these natural ingredients.  Here are the main ones you can buy:

  • Caffeine – The world’s most widely used stimulant, increasing alertness and raising energy levels. 
  • L-Theanine – An amino acid found in green tea, which reduces stress and anxiety and helps to improve quality of sleep.
  • St. John’s Wort – An herbal extract which is often used as an alternative treatment for depression because it can raise levels of dopamine and serotonin.
  • Gingko Biloba – An extract from the gingko tree seed, which is known for antioxidant effect and increasing blood flow to the brain. Improves memory and cognitive function.
  • Ashwagandha – An Ayurvedic herb also known as ‘Indian Ginseng’. As well as reducing anxiety and stress, it’s used to treat degenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s because it can slow the atrophy of neurons and synapses in the brain.
  • Huperzine-A – An extract from Chinese Club Moss, which improves memory and fights cognitive decline.
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Synthetic Nootropics

If natural nootropics aren’t enough for you, you can opt for chemical compounds instead. Since these synthetic nootropics are produced specifically for brain-boosting purposes, they’re generally more potent.

Here are the main ingredients you’ll come across:

  • Adderall – A drug used to treat attention-deficit disorders because of its ability to increase concentration, focus and alertness. 
  • Piracetam – A compound that improves learning and memory functions by increasing the effects of neurotransmitters in the brain.
  • Aniracetam – Improves creativity, enhances memory, and reduces depression and anxiety. See here to find out more. 
  • Phosphatidylserine – A compound used to treat Alzheimer’s for its ability to improve thinking and cognition. This substance occurs naturally in the brain, but the form that is used for supplements is synthesized from soy-lecithin. 
  • Choline Bitrate – Increases levels of acetylcholine in order to boost memory and cognition. This is a base ingredient for many nootropics.
  • Vinpocetine – Similar to a substance found in the periwinkle plant. Improves memory functions and slows cognitive decline

Where Should You Buy them?

These days, more and more nootropics companies are cropping up on the market. 

However, not all of them are made equal. Unfortunately, there are companies providing simple placebos dressed up as brain pills, or packing their products with cheap filler powders.

Some of them are just fronts for conducting credit card scams online.

Before making a purchase, it’s essential that you do your research to make sure you avoid companies like these. 

Here’s what you should look for when you’re shopping around for nootropics:

  • A GMP Certification – A logo to show that there are quality control procedures in place during manufacture. 
  • FDA Approval – Shows that each substance has been tested and approved for medical use. 
  • A List of Individual Ingredients – Some companies will simply list a ‘proprietary blend’, which doesn’t show the dosages of each ingredient. Look for ones that provide all the details. 
  • A Money-Back Guarantee – Reputable nootropics companies will offer a guarantee to customers who aren’t satisfied with the results. 
  • Details of Credit Card Charges – Some nootropics manufacturers sell their products as subscriptions rather than one-off packages. Make sure you know exactly how many times your credit card will be charged before you buy. 
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Should You ‘Stack’?

‘Stacking’ is term commonly-used by nootropics enthusiasts, meaning combining two or more types of brain supplements. 

This is a great strategy for increasing the number of benefits you can get from your supplements. 

For some people, it means taking individual ingredients and weighing out various powders and creating your own blend. However, this isn’t recommended. As well as being tedious and time-consuming, it’s also dangerous if you don’t have pharmaceutical knowledge.

Instead, you can buy ready-made stacks from supplement companies. That way, there’s less hassle and no risk. 

Talk to Your Doctor

As with any type of medication or supplement, you shouldn’t take nootropics without first seeking advice from a medical professional.

Certain types may pose health risks to individuals with existing conditions, those who currently have other prescriptions, or women who are pregnant. That’s why you should talk to your doctor first.

If you can’t seem to find the right one for you, don’t worry. We can help.

Read our post on how to choose a doctor for a list of things to consider.