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An Introduction to Nootropics

What are Nootropics…? Often called smart drugs, Nootropics are drugs, supplements or other substances that improve executive functions of the brain such as memory, attention, and creativity.

Nootropics can also improve mental clarity, motivation, stamina, cellular repair and can have the ability to improve sleep, manage anxiety and slow cognitive decline.

The most common Nootropic is caffeine – consumed daily by most in the form of coffee – and shown to ward off fatigue and increase mental alertness.

Nootropics usually come bundled together as part of a ‘stack’.

This is when two or more nootropic ingredients are combined to create a synergizing effect to produce one or more of the desired outcomes detailed above.

For more on stacking head over to our ‘Stacking forum’ topic.

Contrary to popular belief, (with thanks to the film Limitless) Nootropics are NOT a wonder drug that you can take and immediately turn into a machine capable of billionaire insight, intelligence, and productivity.

What they are however are substances known to work by…

…Reducing Cortisol levels (stress hormones) when you are feeling under pressure.

Increasing blood flow through vasodilation to provide oxygen and ultimately clarity to the brain to aid decision making.

Promoting deep REM sleep to improve fatigue upon waking… And so the list goes on.

In much the same way as Protein being effective once you get off the couch, Nootropics return the most benefits with long-term use, and when in environments that demand your brain and body be functioning optimally.

Genuine Nootropics with real long-term benefits usually start to have an effect after 7-10 days, and at that point, the cognitive enhancement effects begin to develop.

There are two main types of Nootropics:

1) Plant-based and earth grown Nootropics

Common examples of plant-based and earth grown Nootropics include Bacopa, Ginseng, Ginkgo Biloba, Mucuna pruriens, Guarana, Shilajit and L-theanine.

L-theanine is an amino acid found in green tea. It’s a respected Nootropic because it soothes the nervous system and when taken with caffeine it is like the ultimate coffee.

It creates a smooth, controlled stimulation effect without the jitters and crashes you might get if you are knocking back eight double cappuccinos a day.

Some studies have shown the ability of L-theanine to improve memory and focus while finding that taking L-theanine before a test reduces errors.

When taken with caffeine it can also improve a person’s ability to switch attention between tasks.

This is why we included it in our NITROamp formula.

While plant-based Nootropics can be effective, there have been issues with some, like Ginkgo, not being able to pass the blood-brain barrier and some simply dissolve in the gut.

It is always important to look out for higher doses of plant-based Nootropics for them to be effective.

2) Lab synthesized Nootropics

Common examples of lab synthesized Nootropics are Phosphatidylserine, Choline, and Noopept.

Noopept can increase Neuroplasticity and neurogenesis within the brain while Phosphatidylserine and Choline target memory functions such as retention and recall.

Alpha GPC is a type of Choline that is widely considered as the godfather of Nootropics. As well as targeting memory functions of the brain, this Choline derivative is an excellent mood enhancer.

Alpha GPC has also been used to improve thinking skills in people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia. And to aid the recovery in people that have suffered a stroke.


This is a quick starter post to get the conversation going around an introduction to Nootropics and with time we will keep adding to this initial post.

I hope for the moment we have introduced some key terms and got you thinking.

Until this document is completed, please feel free to add details of the things you feel those new to Nootropics should know.

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