What are Nootropics
Nootropics can generally be classified as any type of supplement/drug/food that enhances your overall cognition with minimal risk or toxicity. Many people refer to nootropics as “smart drugs” and compare them to the movie limitless with Bradley Cooper in it. While this is obviously a huge dramatization, it is true that you can become a higher performer while using nootropics properly.
The term nootropic was actually invented by Dr. Corneliu E. Giurgea. This guy is the godfather of nootropics and actually created the most widely used Racetam nootropic- piracetam. He believed that in order to be considered a nootropic it should have these qualities: 1- Enhance learning and memory 2- Enhance the resistance of learned behaviors/memories to conditions like hypoxia/shock/etc. 3- Be neuroprotective against physical/chemical injuries. 4- Increase the efficacy of the tonic cortical/subcortical control mechanisms. 5- Lack the usual pharmacology of other psychotropic drugs and possess very few side effects and low toxicity.
Nootropics shouldn’t be looked at as a hack to achieve everything you’ve ever wanted, but rather as an added layer of support towards higher levels of focus, energy, performance, etc. I’m going to briefly go over the three primary categories of nootropics that I think are extremely valuable in learning. I’ll also recommend some highly researched and effective nootropics as well as a few beginners “stacks” you may try.
Adaptogen- a natural substance considered to help the body adapt to stress and exert a balancing effect upon bodily processes. Adaptogens are awesome, think of them as your natural guide to staying stress free and resilient to physical and mental challenges. These are great as daily anxiolytics/mood supporters, as well as natural pre workouts/energy sources. A few of my favorites are Ashwagandha (stress reducer, anxiolytic), Rhodiola Rosea (mood booster, fatigue fighter), and Cordyceps (performance enhancer, energy booster).
Racetams are the most widely known class of nootropics, and for good reason. Racetams are known for their incredible ability to increase things like short/long term memory recall, energy, focus and overall cognition. I primarily use Racetams for increasing my mental performance when I have large tasks to complete or even just as a daily focus agent. The most studied and widely known as I mentioned above is Piracetam. Piracetam is known for its ability to improve focus, visual perception, memory and age related neuroprotection. There are plenty of other Racetams out there but my two personal favorites are Pramiracetam and phenylpiracetam. Both are great for energy, mood and focus improvement and are quite stronger than piracetam.
The most reported side effect from Racetams are headaches, this is likely due to the fact that Racetams decrease your acetylcholine levels which is why it’s recommended to supplement with choline when taking racetams. Choline is one of the best ways to feed your brain as well as the smart way to stack nootropics effectively and safely. While you can get choline nutritionally from things like eggs, it’s best to use a choline supplement if you plan on stacking nootropics or taking racetams. A few types of choline are choline bitartrate, citicoline, and alpha-GPC. In terms of quality and effectiveness your best bet is typically going to be using alpha-GPC or citicoline (CDP-choline). These are both potent as well as effective serving as an acetylcholine precursor. On top of being used as a general supplement, choline supplementation itself is considered a nootropic. Studies have sown improved learning, cognition, as well as potential in reducing cognitive decline in elderly patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
Stacks for beginners
Energy- 100mg phenylpiracetam, 300mg alpha GPC, 100mg caffeine, 200mg L-theanine
Focus- 400mg pramiracetam, 400mg citicoline, 20mg vinpocetine
Stress- 500mg ashwagandha, 200mg L-theanine, 300mg magnesium glycinate
Keep in mind these are general recommendations based off what’s worked for myself and others. Don’t try these without doing your own research, if you have an existing medical condition, or before talking with a healthcare professional.
If you’re looking for more advanced stacks that have already been researched, tested and deemed highly effective for a wide array of people, check out these nootropic stack formulations by our company Enhvnce Labs:
Boost- perfect for anyone looking to naturally enhance their energy levels without the crash and jitters. You can also expect to see an improvement in mood and overall motivation levels.
Aptitude- your daily nootropic designed to improve focus, mental clarity and memory recall. Great as a daily hack to greater focus and productivity without any caffeine.