- 1 Introduction to Are You New to Nootropics
- 2 What are Nootropics
- 3 Are Nootropics Legal?
- 4 Are Nootropics Safe?
- 5 Benefits of Nootropics
- 6 Who Uses Them?
- 7 What the Heck is a Nootropic Stack?
- 8 Now What? I’m new so What Should I Try?
- 9 So What is the Best Nootropic?
Introduction to Are You New to Nootropics
Are you new to nootropics? We’re in the 21st century now and finally, we are seeing a big move towards our health and our general well-being. Whether it is our fitness, our cleaner eating, and just plain being aware of what a healthy lifestyle includes. Health food stores are frequented more often and the online business of supplements has really taken off. This business has taken off because people are finding that good quality supplements really work.
Our body has become something we are taking care of but not until recently have we become interested in our brain health. This is largely because no one showed us we could. Supplements for our body are everywhere, blogs everywhere, advertisements everywhere and this is what has shown us we should take care of our bodies.
Nootropics are not new. In fact, they have been around since the 1960s and probably would have stayed in the back unless a certain movie in 2011 called Limitless was released. Since then the idea of brain health began circling the globe. Now, of course, nootropics were sensationalized and completely unrealistic in the movie, but it got us thinking more and scientific studies were done that really proved that nootropics help our mood, short-term memory, our focus and overall brain health. We are now beginning to look at nootropics as drugs that are real and really work.
What are Nootropics
I think we’ve gone over this above, but I’ll go a bit further with this. Nootropics have been called by many names, ‘cognitive enhancers’, ‘brain boosters’, and ‘smart drugs’ to name a few. Under whatever you want to nickname them, nootropics are products that enhance our moods, memory, our attention span, and our focus.
Early on in their popularity, you would find them used regularly in the tech world by programmers and big business world by CEOs and CFOs who absolutely needed the best focus and concentration in a high stressed and success driven world.
For example, here are a few popular nootropics used in the tech world and what they are used for.
- A combination of caffeine and L-theanine to improve focus while maintaining a calm state
- Bacopa Monnieri (also known as Brahmi or water hyssop) to improve memory formation
- Ashwagandha to decrease stress
Now, as time has moved forward so have we and nootropics although not a household word yet have really jumped in their popularity. They are still found mostly on the internet and more and more companies are selling different nootropics for different brain needs. If you want to decrease your stress, help yourself be more motivated, be in a better mood, or improve your sleep, there are nootropics that really work in these areas.
Are Nootropics Legal?
This is another frequent question people ask because it is a great question and I asked it too long ago. To put it simply, yes they are, but this sometimes country specific. There are nootropics that are legal in most countries, but not in others. There are countries where a certain nootropic is illegal to sell but is legal to bring in as long as you aren’t selling it.
My best suggestion is to check the laws in your country regarding the nootropic you want. In Canada and the United States, you can get most nootropics as easily as most supplements and legally.
Are Nootropics Safe?
If you look at the definition of what a nootropic is, then yes they are safe when used correctly because they lack the common side effects of neuropsychotropic drugs. This is where we have to stay when addressing this question. There are supplements that are miscategorized as nootropics that do have some negative side effects and this only serves to muddy the waters.
Every drug, supplement, natural or not does come with some risk factors that we have to look at. The nootropic may be safe, but how your body deals with it may not. How you take it may make it unsafe as well. Here is a list of those risk factors:
I generally say in my articles that children should not be given nootropics unless cleared to do so by their doctor. The human brain continues to grow and there is no conclusive evidence that nootropics are safe for children or not safe for children.
I read frequently, usually on in online forums, people who really abuse the recommended dosage suggestions printed on the label. Doing this will almost certainly cause you problems. Most minor in nature, others not so.
How Often You Take Them
Again, taking nootropics whether upping the dosage beyond what is considered safe or taking them more frequently than recommended will get you in trouble. If the recommended frequency is twice daily, taking it three or four times a day will eventually be detrimental to you.
Many nootropics require cycling (cycle on, cycle off). To avoid building up a tolerance, follow proper cycling suggestions.
Interactions With Other Nootropics
We know nootropics are safe if taken properly and individually. However combining (stacking) ingredients that react negatively together, or stacking too many nootropics will probably produce some pretty negative results for you.
Just like prescription drugs, everyone is individual in how they react to them. You may take one and feel great. Someone else may take the same one and have an upset stomach for a while. The good news here is that there are many that you can try that will achieve what you are looking for.
Again, the general answer to the question of nootropic safety is yes, nootropics are safe. And, generally speaking, higher quality nootropics come with reduced side effect risk. Of course, I’m largely discounting “smart drugs” (e.g., Adderall) from my definition of nootropic.
Benefits of Nootropics
- Memory – long-term, short-term, and working memory; learning capacity.
- Focus – attention span, processing speed, mental acuity and performance.
- Energy – ATP energy production, metabolic balance, brain maintenance.
- Mood/Motivation – dopaminergic pleasure response, work productivity.
- Cognitive Longevity – antioxidant damage reduction, neurotoxin removal.
Now I want to divide nootropics into different categories. This is very important in your understanding of nootropics and which ones do what and how.
Herbs and the Herbal Extracts
Simply stated, these are plants, their roots, and extracts taken from them. Herbal medicine has been around for centuries and you will often run into the term Ayurvedic medicine in your nootropic travels. Ayurvedic medicine is one of the world’s oldest holistic (“whole-body”) healing systems. It was developed more than 3,000 years ago in India and relies heavily on plants and herbs.
Herbs have been used for just about anything they could find them useful for. From general aches and pains to their cognitive enhancement. The cognitive enhancement part is why these natural herbs and extracts are heavily involved in nootropics and natural nootropic supplements.
The term Adaptogens really means to adapt. They help our bodies adapt to something and usually stress. Adaptogens are categorized as anti-stress nootropics. If you experience general daily stress, an adaptogen may be something you should try.
One great example of an Adaptogen is Rhodiola Rosea which you can read more about in my article.
Protein plays a crucial role in almost all biological processes and amino acids are the building blocks of it. There are 20 amino acids and only some of them have nootropic benefits. L-thieanine is one which promotes certain alpha brain wave frequencies resulting in a calm zen feeling. L-Tyrosine is another amino acid. It is involved in focus and mood enhancement.
Certain amino acids work as neurotransmitters or messengers that send chemical impulses between nerve cells in our brain. The faster and clearer these messages cross brain cells, the better we think and learn.
Our brains need choline to synthesize the important neurotransmitter acetylcholine, this is the brain chemical associated with memory and learning. Choline is great for long-term brain health. The term cholinergics applies to nootropics that boost the brain’s choline status by:
- Supplying raw choline for acetylcholine synthesis.
- Inhibiting acetylcholine breakdown (acetylcholinesterase inhibition).
- Sharpening acetylcholine receptor sensitivity.
Who Uses Them?
Anyone can and receive the benefits from them. If you are having difficulty sleeping nootropics will help. You may be a student who needs to be a very high achiever and spend many all-nighters studying. You may be in a job that puts you in a very stressful world on a daily basis or working around the clock at starting your own new business.
The history of people in these situations and what was used to achieve what they needed was quite scary to say the least but almost necessary. Ritalin and Adderall were routinely used and abused. We all know that just about any business district in any large city was run by high-flyers flying on cocaine. The same goes for traders. Cocaine cocaine cocaine.
In recent years you just go to your local corner store and buy an energy drink or 4 to get you through the day. Coffee is now an in thing. Walk down the street in the morning and count how many people are carrying a coffee or latte in their hand. WOW, a lot.
Nootropics can give you the same desired effect in a much healthier way without the dreaded crash that so many people try to avoid by drinking more coffee or downing another energy drink. The crash eventually comes.
Society demands much more of us in our jobs and outside of our jobs. Technology is fueling a world that puts us in a state of anxiety, sleeplessness leading to constant frustration and lack of motivation. We need to focus more than ever and answer our texts and emails immediately after they come in no matter what or where we are.
We take other supplements for the rest of our body to help us stay healthy, we can also take nootropics for our minds.
What the Heck is a Nootropic Stack?
Stacks or stack or stacking is a term used in nootropics when you combine two or more nootropics together. The combination is called a stack. Stacking is not just taking a bunch of nootropics and tossing them together to come up with a combination. Nope! Far from it. The combination must be carefully thought out and include a cohesive combination of cognitive enhancers that act together to improve each one’s effects in three ways:
- Synergy: When a combination of two or more nootropics increases their individual results by taking them together. The improvement of the whole is greater than the sum its parts.
- Complementation: The negative effects of one nootropic are countered by the effects of another (but not the positive effects).
- Multiplication: When two or more nootropics target the same bio-benefit through different angles.
Now What? I’m new so What Should I Try?
If you are just diving into nootropics and are looking for something more general, just about everybody suggests Piracetam. Piracetam is a mild nootropic and one that has been out for a long time and therefore has had many studies conducted on it proving its safety and effectiveness in memory enhancement and learning. This is a nootropic that is safe to take on a daily basis
Bacopa Monnieri(“Bacopa”) is known for its memory retention properties. Are you someone who walks into a room and forgets why you walked there in the first place?Maybe you forget names really quickly and even peoples faces. This is what Bacopa Monnieri will help you with and it’s a natural nootropic to boot.
This is one that beginners are steered to as well and as a result, you won’t have any trouble finding it.
It is easily available at Pure Nootropics through this site but may be called Bacognize or Himalaya. It also comes in capsule form or powder.
Bacopa Monnieri does take a little longer to work than you may expect and you may need to use it for up to eight weeks (2 months) before you start noticing any effects. Don’t fall into the trap that it isn’t working, stick with it and you will eventually notice effects
Bacopa has a side effect of feeling drowsy. This is actually not a side effect of the drug if taken properly. If you are already relaxed the adaptogen properties will relax you, even more, causing the drowsiness.
As long as you take the Bacoba as suggested on the bottle and take it regularly, you should won’t have to worry about taking any extra if you know you will need to remember people at a party for example.
St. John’s Wort
St John’s Wort is known for its antidepressant qualities, but it is not an antidepressant medication. For those who don’t like to go to the doctor or have already had antidepressant medication and don’t like the undesirable side effects, this may help you. Keep in mind it isn’t an antidepressant and anyone with suicidal thoughts should never use this over regular medication
What St John’s Wort does is inhibit the uptake of serotonin, dopamine, and GABA. These are chemicals that make you feel good however research on that is still waiting.
So what is St John’s Wort? Well, it is an SSRI. SSRI’s reduce the amount of serotonin your brain can absorb from what is produced by your body resulting in a higher production of serotonin than your body would normally produce. This helps those suffering from depression. Given this, you really need to take this regularly as stated on the bottle. You will then always be signalling your body to produce serotonin.
Just as Bacopa Monnieri, St John’s Wort can be found in your local health food store, vitamin shop, or online from eBay through this site.
Although St John’s Wort is relatively safe and is a very common supplement it can react with other prescription medications. If you are on prescription medications and want to take St John’s Wort, please consult your physician prior to taking it.
Ashwagandha is a very popular and an amazing plant that has it’s origins thousands of years ago and still to this day inAyurvedic medicine. It has been traditionally used to treat a wide variety of ailments, but over the past several years it has become very popular as a nootropic supplement because of it’s anti-stress and anti-anxiety properties. It has the ability to improve your mood as well as reduce stress-related fatigue.
There’s quite a bit of science to support ashwagandha’s use as a stress-relieving nootropic. Several studies have shown that it can reduce stress, anxiety, and cortisol levels.
Ashwagandha is an adaptogen, which are herbs and plants that help the body resist stress and anxiety. It is so popular that many studies have been performed showing its ability to decrease stress and anxiety levels.
The amino acid L-Theanine (a stress reducer is most commonly associated with green tea and is why so many peopledrink green tea. The calming effect without a sedative effect of green tea is caused by L-Theanine.
If you don’t drink green tea you can take L-Theanine alone or if you want with caffeine. When taking it with caffeine it has been shown to improve your mood and focus of course, but leave out the jitters caffeine brings.
A side result of mixing L-Theanine with your coffee is just that, you get the benefits of caffeine with improved mood, but no jitters. Those who shy away from coffee because of this now can enjoy it.
Taking l-theanine by itself can have a positive impact on social anxiety for many people. It’s been scientifically shown to reduce psychological and physiological stress. Many users report that, with daily use, l-theanine has significantly reduced their social anxiety.
So What is the Best Nootropic?
That’s a quick start, but what if you are looking for a nootropic that is good for something specific or you want the best nootropic. So,
That all depends on what you mean when you say ‘best’. Best should be what works best for something you want to improve in yourself. You can improve your memory. You can improve your focus. You can rid yourself of anxiety symptoms. The list goes on.
When you start to look at what you want to improve, you can see that there are many different nootropics to choose from that do what you want.
Here is a list of ‘best for’