Best Nootropics List: Review for 2018 and Beyond
This article is a list of the best nootropics reviewed and aims to help biohackers form an opinion regarding the most popular nootropics in use today.
*The information on this site should not replace actual healthcare consulting. If you want to try something new, you should always consult your doctor beforehand.
What are nootropics and why are they important?
Improving cognitive performance has been around for thousands of years.
The Aztecs were eating cocoa beans for increased vigor..
Bacopa monnieri and Ashwagandha were part of Ayurvedic medicine and dates back more than 2000 years ago.
LSD has come a long way from anti-establishment 60’s hippies who were using huge amounts to get high.
Nowadays, work-hungry Sillicon Valley professionals are taking sub-perceptual doses to increase creativity and energy levels. It feels like a psychedelic coffee and it’s called microdosing.
Social mobility has made it so that those who work and give their best in a field have a high chance of being successful.
Tons of information at the click of a button and, as you may or may not know.. knowledge is power!
Unlimited possibilities for you to grow if you have an Internet connection, yet the only limit is your own time and how you’re willing to spend it.
Hacking one’s mental state is incredibly useful and allows you to instantly overcome mental obstacles. Thus, if you have a dream.. and a day job at the same time, mustering the necessary willpower on command is incredibly useful to fulfill that dream.
Corneliu E. Giurgea first coined the term “nootropic” in 1972 and defined it as being a drug, supplement or any other substance that improves cognitive abilities and possesses few side effects.
Nootropics should in no way replace proper nutrition, exercise and sleep. Before considering to use a nootropic, you should always consult your doctor.
Let’s start with the most popular nootropics in use today:
Modafinil has gained popularity in recent years due to its reputation as being the closest thing to the real-life Limitless Pill. It won’t turn you into a superhuman genius, but it will enhance your cognitive abilities more than any smart drug available on the market.
Modafinil is a prodrug to Adrafinil, meaning that it gets converted by the body into Modafinil after the Adrafinil is digested. It creates a state of clear-minded wakefulness and laser-like focus. It also significantly boosts motivation levels and problem-solving skills.
Modafinil works by increasing dopamine, norepinephrine, glutamate, orexin and histamine levels. GABA, which is the main inhibitory neurotransmitter, is decreased and is one of the reasons why Modafinil is so effective in promoting wakefulness.
Best nootropic quality: Fast mind. Confident and motivated mindset.
Main effects: Increased motivation and focus. Decreased fatigue. Fast thought process.
Side effects: Anxiety, dehydration, headaches if not hydrated properly,
How to use it: Orally or sublingually (50-200 mg)
Noopept is a synthetic peptide that is similar structurally to Piracetam, yet considerably more potent. It promotes NGF and BDNF production and modulates the acetylcholine system, which may potentially account for its nootropic effects.
Best nootropic quality: Focus enhancement
Main effects: Mild stimulation, increased focus and memory, decreased anxiety
Side effects: Headaches may occur due to low choline levels.
How to use it: Orally (10-20 mg), Insufflated (5-10 mg)
Kratom, or Mytragyna Speciosa, is a herb from the same family as coffee, which grows in Southeast Asia. It’s widely used for its many effects which can be both sedating and stimulating, according to dosage and Kratom strain.
Lower doses produce stimulating and nootropic effects, while higher doses generate sedation, pain-relief and a sensation which is similar to opioids.
Kratom acts on the mu- and delta- opioid receptors in a different way than traditional opioids, which explains why Kratom is nowhere near as addictive as traditional opioids.
Strains such as Maeng Da generate increased stimulating and focus-enhancing effects. Red strains, such as Red Bali kratom, produce sedating opioid-like effects.
Best nootropic quality: Focus
Main effects: Increased focus, motivation and energy at low doses
Side effects: Appetite suppression, decreased libido, nausea (at high doses)
How to use it: Orally in powder or capsule form. 2-3 grams on an empty stomach.
Phenibut was invented in the Soviet Union to help cosmonauts better handle stressful situations without impeding cognitive function. Phenibut is both a nootropic and an anti-depressant sleep aid.
In low doses, Phenibut enhances mental clarity, basically eliminating the “mental noise” and making it easier to focus on the task at hand.
Phenibut is mildly stimulating and encourages sociability. It also has positive effects on mood and works well as a treatment for social anxiety disorder.
Higher doses produce sedating effects and can actually lead to what is known as a “Phenibut high”.
Best nootropic quality: Mental clarity and lowered anxiety.
Main effects: Increased focus and creativity. Decreased anxiety. Relaxation.
Side effects: Drowsiness may occur. Tolerance and addiction develop fast.
How to use it: Orally (250-500/dose). Dosage must not exceed 2 grams/day.
Rhodiola Rosea, or Roseroot as it is called, is a herb with adaptogen properties that typically grows in the Arctic regions of Eurasia.
Rhodiola is one of the most stimulating herbs in the world, which is why it was long used by people in Scandinavia and Russia to increase resistance to harsh weather and overall living conditions.
Rhodiola increases serotonin and dopamine levels, which account for the elevated mood one experiences when using this herb.
Best nootropic quality: Vigor. Refreshed mind.
Main effects: Increased energy levels, mood and memory.
Side effects: Agitation (if dosage isn’t respected).
How to use it: Orally (50-600 mg). Low doses improve focus and high doses produce strong anti-anxiety and mood-lifting effects.
Ashwagandha, also known as “Indian Ginseng” or Withania Somnifera, is an adaptogen and a tonic with nootropic properties.
Ashwagandha produces relaxing effects, boosts focus and decreases fatigue. It also lowers cortisol, the main hormone that is responsible with stress.
Even though Ashwagandha works well on its own, nootropic users find it useful when stacking it with other stimulating nootropics such as Modafinil, Phenylpiracetam or caffeine. Ashwagandha’s relaxing effects work well in taking the edge off any jitteriness that may be caused by stimulating nootropics.
Best nootropic quality: Tranquility.
Main effects: Anti-anxiety. Wakefulness.
Side effects: Drowsiness and nausea when exaggerating doses.
How to use it: Orally (300-500 mg).
L-Theanine is one of the safest nootropics in the world. It increases focus and mental clarity in low doses. Higher doses of L-theanine will typically produce sedating effects.
L-Theanine occurs naturally in green tea leaves, though its effects aren’t noticeable because of the low amount present in green tea. You would need four or five cups in order to ingest a moderate dose of L-theanine, which is why supplementing is a better option.
Best nootropic quality: Mental clarity.
Main effects: Increased focus and concentration.
Side effects: Drowsiness when taking high doses.
How to use it: Orally (200mg capsules).
Top nootropic stacks
The aforementioned nootropics can be combined according to what mental state you want to achieve.
Again, you should consult a professional before combining any nootropic, especially if you’re already using some other form of medication.
Some companies, together with scientists and doctors, have stacked tens of substances to create totally safe nootropic stacks:
Mind Lab Pro
Mind Lab Pro is a nootropic stack produced by Opti-Nutra that contains 11 ingredients with brain-boosting properties. It has gained popularity through its generous marketing budget allocated to affiliates and general satisfaction of users. Its ingredients include Citicoline, L-theanine, Tyrosine, Bacopa Monnieri, Rhodiola Rosea and a few others which have been clinically proven to be beneficial for the brain, effective in enhancing cognition and highly safe to use.
Best nootropic quality: Brain health benefits, cognitive performance improvements.
Main effects: Increased focus, concentration and stimulated cognitive processes.
Side effects: None.
How to use it: 2 capsules in the morning that may be stacked with coffee or green tea.
Qualia Mind is a premium nootropic blend designed by Neurohacker Collective. It is an optimized version of the initial Qualia nootropic stack which contains no less than 42 active ingredients. Qualia Mind had its ingredients stripped down to 28 compounds that tend to specific parts of cognition and brain health. [Get a discount by using our coupon code: NOOTRODELIC]
Best nootropic quality: Overall cognitive boost with no crash.
Main effects: Increased focus, motivation and energy; Improved working memory.
Side effects: None if you don’t exaggerate dosage.
How to use it: 7 capsules in the morning and no more than 10 capsules the whole day.
Alpha Brain is a blend of vitamins, extracts and other substances that are promote brain health and improved mental performance.
Alpha Brain has been reported to be slightly stronger than Mind Lab Pro, though it does also contain more synthetized nootropic substances.
Its formula isn’t as complex as Qualia, thus providing a cleaner overall effect.
Best nootropic quality: Memory.
Main effects: Supports memory, focus and processing speed.
Side effects: None.
How to use it: Two capsules before breakfast or early in the day on an empty stomach.
The most effective nootropic stack
The stacks that were mentioned above are produced following certain quality guidelines that guarantee their safety.
Most have basically no side effects and produce consistent cognitive-enhancing effects paired with overall benefits to mental health.
However, most nootropic users that do their research thoroughly find that certain combinations between nootropics can provide more obvious effects in terms of stimulation, focus, mental clarity, motivation, creativity, or whatever cognitive buzz one wants to experience.
Nootropics are subjective to one’s brain chemistry and purpose. Thus, stacking is a matter of testing and seeing which combination works best for you.
Some nootropics that are currently on this list are quite popular among the nootropics community.
Potency is the number one factor in this sense.
You can start building your stack with one or more of the following:
Modafinil – the most potent nootropic in use today due to promote wakefulness, focus and productivity. Check out where you can buy Modafinil online and get the best quality at decent prices.
Phenibut – one of the strongest anxiolytic nootropics in use that promotes clear-headedness and focus in low doses. Find out more about its effects and where to buy Phenibut online.
Kratom – can be used for stimulation and relaxation. An all-round healthy and effective nootropic with stimulatory effects, relaxant and pain-killer. Read more about the best Kratom vendors.
Always start with a low dose and work your way gradually until you reach the optimum dosage for your purposes.
And don’t forget..