You may have heard of nootropics or "smart drugs", but what are they exactly, and do they work? They are generally comprised of food substances and purified medical plants, used to improve brain function, memory, and focus.
According to The Atlantic, "Nootropic (new-tro-pik) is the term for supplements, also known as smart drugs, that improve brain function. They can be food substances like phenethylamine and L-Theanine, found in chocolate and green tea, respectively. Nootropics also include extracted and purified components of medicinal plants, as well as substances synthesized from chemical precursors, such as piracetam, the world's first official nootropic (piracetam was created in 1964 in Belgium by a team of scientists whose leader, Dr. Corneliu E. Giurgea, coined the term). Since then piracetam has been widely used as a cognitive enhancer and to treat neurological diseases like Alzheimer's."
The use of nootropics are on the rise and have been for quite some time. Factor-Tech claims, "The main appeal of nootropics, aside from the cognitive boost, is that they fit a health trend of convenience. There’s no brewing up a mug of coffee, you just swallow a couple of pills and you’re good to go. Soon enough, with a price drop, such products could be the new norm for those needing a bit of a helping hand to get through the day." Reddit Nootropics is also a hotbed for discussion.
1. PERFORMANCE LAB MIND
Performance Lab Mind may only have 4 nootropic ingredients, but they go hard and heavy with dosage so you know you are getting an optimal dosage. The ingredients are:
- Citicoline – for increased acetylcholine and brain energy levels.
- Phosphatidylserine – for enhanced cognitive clarity and longevity.
- N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine – for better focus and mood amidst stress.
- Maritime Pine Bark Extract – for better circulation and antioxidant activity.
2. EVL FOCUSMODE
We've mentioned Evlution Nutrition in another post, and while it's known for it's intense bodybuilding products, they come through in a big way with their nootropic stack. The caffeine bump complements it nicely. The ingredients are:
1. N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine – This anti-stress amino improves performance under conditions of both physical and mental stress and activity.
2. Caffeine + L-Theanine – A smart nootropic stack duo that simultaneously stimulates and relaxes at the same time for peak energy and focus.
3.Alpha-GPC – Not only does this improve neurotransmitter acetylcholine status but A-GPC may increase growth hormone expression following exercise.
Wake up your brain in a big way.
3. MIND LAB PRO
A great stack from Mind Lab Pro with ingredients you might come to expect in a nootropic stack. Ten to be specific. The ingredients include:
1. BioGenesis® B Vitamins
3. Full Spectrum Bacopa monnieri Extract
4. Full Spectrum Lion’s Mane Mushroom
5. Sharp PS® Phosphatidylserine
7. Suntheanine® L-Theanine
9. Rhodiola Rosea Extract (3% rosavins, 1% salidroside)
10. Std. Maritime Pine Bark Extract (95% proanthocyanidins)
4. BRAIN PLUS
Arazo Nutrition comes though with a mega nootropics stack. By mega were talking 41 ingredients which include:
1. PHOSPHATIDYLSERINE 20% - Supports retention of information, learning and nerve cell health
2. L-GLUTAMINE - Reduces stress, increases mental alertness
3. CHOLINE - Important macronutrient to improve cognitive functioning
4. INOSITOL - A valuable natural remedy to calm anxiety and panic attacks
5. N-ACETYL L-TYROSENE - Enhances mood during stress
6. HUPERZINE-A - Supports nerve health, memory, learning and alertness
7. GRAPE SEED EXTRACT - Boosts cerebral oxygen flow
8. GRAPE AND GRAPEFRUIT SEED EXTRACT - Contains the polyphenols Pterostilbene and Resveratrol for cognitive enhancement
9. GABA - Supports mood, sleep, focus
41 ingredients to blow your mind.
5. ALPHA BRAIN
Get your memory and focus game going strong with Alpha Brain. You can thank Joe Rogan for turning me on to this one. Naturally stimulates the brain with ingredients such as:
2. Cat's Claw
3. Huperzia Serrata
4. Oat Straw
5. Vitamin B6
Go from beta to alpha brain in no time!
Nootropics Depot break down the top nootropics supplements as well.
Acetyl L-Carnitine HCL
Acetyl L-carnitine (ALCAR) is the acetylated version of L-carnitine, giving it much greater bioavailability. Studies show that ALCAR operates by aiding in the transport of fatty acids to mitochondria to be broken down. Researching indicates that acetyl L-carnitine HCL may potentially increase energy, enhance muscle growth, and improve cardiovascular health. Early studies suggest it may also help promote overall brain health.
One of the best selling dietary supplements, supplementation with alpha-GPC has been shown to potentially improve physical and cognitive performance. Initial studies also suggest that alpha-GPC may show promise in promoting overall brain health.
One of the foundational components of Ayurveda medicine, Bacopa monnieri extract comes from an herb. Research shows that Bacopa monnieri may reduce stress, improve cognition, and enhance memory abilities.
A proprietary extract of the ashwagandha plant, KSM-66 has been studied for its potential effects on stress management. Research suggests that KSM-66 may enhance athletic performance while supporting levels of vigor. KSM-66 may also improve mental clarity, alertness, and focus.**
Research shows that L-theanine may act as a powerful relaxing agent without inducing feelings of heaviness or sleepiness. It may also reduce stress and improve attention and focus.
Lion’s Mane Mushroom
Our lion’s mane extract comes from the whole fruiting body of a mushroom. Studies on its supplementation suggest that it may possess neuroprotective properties while encouraging the growth of neurons, potentially leading to cognitive improvements. Small studies suggest that lion’s mane extract may also have positive mood boosting effects.
Palmitoylethanolamide, simply abbreviated to PEA, is a compound produced naturally in the body, where it has been found to play a role in the cellular response to inflammation. Supplementation with PEA may help to reduce various pain states.**
Polygala tenuifolia is an herb commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine. Studies suggest that it may be used to improve memory, spatial organization, and general cognition. Polygala tenuifolia has also been found to potentially reduce stress.**
Choline L-bitartrate is a cholinergic supplement, meaning it may increase levels of acetylcholine. Studies have shown that choline L-bitartrate may promote greater focus and improve brain health while supporting memory functions.**
Caffeine + L-Theanine**
Caffeine and L-theanine are often paired in nootropic stacks for their potential synergistic effects. L-theanine may bring on soothing feelings of calm and relaxation while neutralizing the restlessness and hyperactivity of caffeine. Caffeine has been studied to potentially provide energy, increase alertness, and improve concentration.**