Guide to Brain Supplements

The comprehensive guide to brain supplements and what the best ingredients are for your mental wellbeing.

There are so many health supplements out there that can help our bodies reach their optimal levels of performance, and most of the time they’re taken by athletes or fitness fanatics. Doesn’t it make sense then, that the brain could benefit from taking the right supplements that could also improve its performance and health?

Brain supplements are a very real solution to this problem, and a way to unlock your brain’s full potential and improves its health for a long and active life. These brain boosters and supplements feature ingredients called nootropics, and they have been scientifically proven to boost certain brain functions or improve the overall health of your mind.

Learning more about what nootropics can offer us and their neurological benefits gives us the power to think clearer, improve our memory, and live happier and healthier minds mentally as well as physically. This guide will cover the most common nootropics and what they’re capable of, as well as how to find quality supplements so that you’ll give yourself and your brain the best possible chance for success and health.

Can We Exercise Our Brains?

As a society, we’ve always been so focused on building our muscles or improving out stamina in running or cycling, but what about our brains? It’s no secret that the brain is the most widely used part of our bodies and yet we put little effort into keeping them fit and healthy as we do the rest of us.

The good news is that our brains can be exercised, and they should be regularly. Experts in the field of neurology and health are finding more out every day about how exercising the brain can be helpful for things like memory, cognitive function, and mood, and the more we learn the better.

Every time we learn something new, our brains are creating new neural pathways and strengthening existing ones. Thanks to the plasticity of this amazing body part, we can constantly adapt and change well into our older years, so brain exercise is something that’s important at all junctures of life.

Studies have shown that while some claims surrounding brain training have been exaggerated, it is known that activities that keep our minds active are good for their health. When you couple an active mind with a dedicated brain supplement, you’re doing everything you can to unlock your mind’s full potential and keep it healthy for years to come.

Neuro Games vs Brain Boosters

Neuro games and brain training have been getting a lot of attention in recent years, but is it warranted? We know it’s certainly good to keep the mind active and try different things in order to stay sharp, but when compared to the influence of a quality brain booster supplement it might not be as powerful.

Neuro games have been the center of a lot of studies recently, and the findings have been mixed. Some research suggests that their claims of being able to greatly improve the mind’s abilities are exaggerated, but other research finds that just the act of keeping your brain active with these exercises is hugely beneficial.

When it comes to nootropics and brain boosters though, the scientific evidence is clear. Numerous studies have been done on the key nootropic ingredients that are found in brain booster supplements, and each of them has been proven to have some sort of positive effect. Whether it’s on your memory, overall health of the brain, or concentration and focus, the results have certainly proved their worth.

The research is still in its early days on brain training and neuro games, but hopefully, those in the field of neurology will discover more ways that we can exercise our minds. Current claims that these games can prevent Alzheimer’s disease or ADHD have yet to be established, so any brands that are promising these results have been served with a warning about misleading statements.

To truly get the best results, taking a dedicated brain supplement and keeping your mind active each day is ideal. This includes things like crossword puzzles, learning new skills, and training your memory, all of which could be hugely beneficial in the short and long term.

What Exactly Are Nootropics?

The word ‘nootropics’ might be an unknown one to some, but it’s a term that’s been gaining a lot of popularity in recent times. Nootropics might also be known as ‘smart drugs’ or ‘cognitive enhancers’ due to their ability to improve mental performance and cognitive function. They can assist with things like overall brain health, memory, concentration, mood, and sleep.

There is a lot of debate about what exactly a nootropic is, but in general, they have two defining characteristics. First, they are able to improve various cognitive abilities, as mentioned previously. Secondly, they should have minimal or zero side effects. This is good news for anyone who has struggled with adverse reactions to supplements before.

Nootropics can be either natural ingredients or synthetic substances, and each day there are more added to the list. Some are safer for human consumption than others, but the ones used in quality brain supplements are perfectly fine and healthy to use. Their effects might differ depending on the person, but just like any other supplement or medication, as long as you use them safely, you’ll get the best results.

Although many of the nootropic ingredients have been around for thousands of years, and some even found in ancient herbal medicine, the positive impact they have on the brain is something we are only recently discovering. What’s clear though is that the more we learn about these amazing ingredients and how they work in brain supplements, the better our mental health and capacity will be.

The History of Nootropics

Nootropics has really only become a buzzword in the last decade, but its history dates back much further than this. The term ‘nootropics’ was first heard in the 1970s by a Romanian doctor, Corneliu Giurgea. His testing on a specific nootropic, racetam, showed great results and with the combination of Greek works “nous” meaning “mind” and “trepein” meaning “to bend”, the name was coined.

Although this term was first heard in the 1970s, that doesn’t mean this was the first instance of smart drugs being used. Nootropics were tested from 1960 and beyond, but there have been documented use of them throughout civilization, as you’ll see when we explore some of the common ingredients.

Cognitive enhancers like these nootropics have been met with some hesitation in their early years, but as neurological scientists and other health studies are proving just how beneficial they can, and safe, their use is becoming widespread. The fact that they come in many different forms, from as simple as a cup of caffeine-rich coffee or as detailed as brain booster supplements, means people can unlock the power of nootropics in a way that suits their lifestyle and needs.

What Can We Use Them For?

The main reason why nootropics have seen such a boom in popularity in the last decade is that of their proven benefits. People choose to take these brain boosters for everything from everyday health and wellbeing, through to needing an extra boost of concentration for work or long study periods.

If you’re interested in purchasing nootropics or brain boosters, you’d usually consider what your goals are and then find the one that meets it. For example, someone might feel their memory is fading and look for a product that can sharpen it, or another person may want to boost their overall mood and reduce feelings of anxiety and depression.

Of course, there are plenty of brain supplements out there with a generalized approach. They aim to improve brain health as a whole and offer a range of benefits like improved focus and concentration, sharpened memory, and more restful sleep at night. These are ideal for people who know they want their brain to be working at peak performance but don’t have any obvious goals for improvement.

Nootropics can be sold on their own as a single ingredient or as part of a larger stack or combined recipe. These are also known as brain boosters or brain supplements, and the creators have designed the right combination of nootropics that work well with each other, all to your advantage.  They work similar to bodybuilding supplements that strengthen muscles and aid recovery, but it’s all for the benefit of your brain.

Are They Safe?

Taking any type of supplement, whether it contains natural or synthetic ingredients, is a matter of safety. You’d never just assume that a pill was good for you without doing some research, even if it means you’re only reading the label.

Nootropics fall into this same category and should be taken with care just as you would any other type of over the counter or prescription medicine. Each ingredient should be studied and understood, as well as the potential side effects or other risk factors that it has. Some people may find a sensitivity to certain ingredients and others will report no negative side effects, so you should always monitor your use.

Generally speaking, a nootropic should be side-effect free, but this isn’t always a promise. Therefore, we need to be careful when shopping for brain supplements that we’re choosing quality products and understand more about our own background or potential risk factors before we begin the dosage.

Speaking to a neurological expert or medical doctor is the best way to establish the safety of a brain supplement. Look for signs of quality like approval from the FDA or numerous positive reviews from customers before you commit to taking one, and keep an eye on how they make you feel to determine whether or not they’re right for you.

Common Nootropics Ingredients

Each day, more nootropics are being added to the list of substances and ingredients that qualify as a cognitive enhancer. There are many ingredients that have already been used for centuries that we are now just discovering have amazing powers for the mind, and within a decade it’s safe to assume that many more will be added to the list.

Both natural and synthetic substances can be classed as a nootropic and they each have a specific neurological benefit, with some offering more than one. To qualify as a nootropic, a substance should have some form of positive impact on your cognitive function but also have minimal or zero side effects when taken in the correct dosage.

It’s common to find a handful of popular nootropics in brain supplements as these have been proven to have minimal side effects but also great results, and these are readily available. We’ve reviewed some of the popular nootropics you might find in a brain booster and what they can offer for the mind.

Caffeine

Did you know that by having your morning cup of coffee, you’re actually getting a boost of nootropics as well? Caffeine is one of the oldest and most commonly used natural nootropic ingredients around, and anyone who drinks it each day will know how much of a boost it can give to their brain power and energy levels.

As a psychoactive substance, caffeine has been found to have many neurological benefits. People drink a cup of coffee in the morning or use a brain supplement that features it so that they can benefit from increased energy, better concentration, and mental alertness. To get the best results, combine your daily caffeine with the amino acid and fellow nootropic, L-theanine, which is found in black and green tea.

Racetams

One of the first nootropics to be discovered for its powers on the brain is the class, racetams. This class of smart drugs is grouped together because they share a pyrrolidone nucleus. Within the racetams family are piracetam, oxiracetam, aniracetam, and phenylpiracetam, with aniracetams being the most commonly used for brain supplements.

The benefits of aniracetam are varied, and they have even been used to treat Alzheimer’s disease, ADHD, depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, and motion sickness, which is what they were first used for. Other general benefits include memory improvement, concentration, and an increase in mental alertness.

L-theanine

A powerful natural nootropic, L-theanine is a type of amino acid found in some everyday products. The most commonly used source of this substance is black or green tea, which people drink regularly and receive many neurological benefits.


The key difference with L-theanine is that rather than providing an intense stimulation, it’s actually able to create alert calmness within the mind. The best effects are usually achieved when taking it with caffeine, like in a cup of tea or a brain booster. You may find your mood improving, have better sleep, a reduction in stress levels, or just better concentration overall.

Panax ginseng

Panax ginseng is another natural nootropic that has a wide range of powers on the human body and mind. Derived from the ginseng plant, Panax ginseng is the most effective for brain health and is often referred to as American ginseng. Ideal for people who prefer natural nootropics, it’s powerful enough to treat both mental and physical conditions.

The powers of this plant go far beyond the mind, but when it comes to the brain it’s able to reduce stress and give a boost of mental and physical energy. Other benefits include diabetes treatment and management of cholesterol levels, but it does its best work as a nootropic.

Ginkgo biloba

Ginkgo biloba has been grown for thousands of years and used for this long in ancient Chinese medicine for a variety of uses. This powerful natural nootropic is found in most brain supplements and has very little reported negative side effects but many positive ones, which further prove its popularity.

Ginkgo biloba has been shown to reduce symptoms of psychiatric disorders like stress and anxiety, and even with more serious conditions like dementia. The effect it has on the brain and body is that it promotes blood circulation which then leads to a host of benefits. It can help with improvements in memory, and when taken in an extract form as it’s found in most brain boosters, it is incredibly potent.

Lion’s mane extract

Lion’s mane mushroom is another nootropic that has been used already for thousands of years in Asian countries, but we’re just starting to realize how effective it can be for the brain. The mushrooms can be eaten raw, cooked with, or extracted and used in brain booster supplements which is when they’re at their most potent.

The benefits of lion’s mane extract are quite impressive, including being a treatment for dementia and relieving symptoms of anxiety and depression. Lion’s mane has been shown to actually protecting and promoting the growth of nerve cells in the brain, which can then lead to better health and a reduction in more serious conditions that affect this part of the body.

Creatine

For those who already take supplements for fitness, you might have heard of creatine before. Creatine is a substance that occurs naturally within our bodies and commonly used to build muscle strength, but it has a lot to offer the brain as well.

One study found that participants who took a regular dose of creatine powder for six weeks reported a significant improvement in their working memory and overall intelligence. When it comes to creating brain efficiency, this is one of the better nootropics out there.

Bacopa Monnieri

Sometimes referred to as brahni, Bacopa monnieri, is a natural plant that is being found in many brain booster supplements these days but has ancient roots in Indian medicine and culture. Bacopa is able to increase brain chemicals and thereby boost thinking and efficiency within the mind.

Although studies are still in early phases, initial findings discovered that bacopa could be used to treat Alzheimer’s disease and ADHD, as well as reduce symptoms of anxiety. For general use, it’s a great way to improve your memory which can be beneficial for those who notice it’s starting to deteriorate.

Benefits of Nootropics

Nootropics is an umbrella term used to describe potentially hundreds of natural and synthetic substances that have a positive impact on the brain. Therefore, the benefits of these ingredients are quite varied, with each one having something special to offer the user.

Thanks to high-quality brain supplements on the market today, we’re able to enjoy the benefits of multiple nootropics at once and give our brains a chance to perform at their best. These are the main applications for nootropics and the benefits you can expect to enjoy when you take a brain booster supplement.

Focus

Whether you’re studying or working, nothing is possible without the right level of concentration and focus. As we get older, it can be harder to keep this focus on the task at hand and this is where nootropics can help. Being at your mental peak and performing well in such a competitive job market, all with the help of natural ingredients can give you a serious edge over others.

Memory

It’s no secret that our memory starts to fail us as we get older, but it doesn’t have to be that way. If you find yourself losing your keys more frequently or can’t recall information that you used to know off the top of your head, this could be due to memory problems. Taking nootropics may be able to help with your working memory and boost your brain’s health so that it starts to feel as though you were years younger once again.

Anti-Fatigue

Whether it’s from your age slowing you down, lack of sleep, or a poor diet, fatigue can hit us all at different times in life. Nootropics have been shown to help with both physical and mental fatigue, with some ingredients giving you a boost of energy short term and others over a long-term period.

Reasoning and Creativity

We use our reasoning skills every day and our creative skills, and there is a small number of nootropics that can actually help boost both of these areas. Getting an improvement in creativity can help with your problem-solving skills and your reasoning will be impacted for the better as well.

Mood Enhancer

Our brains are the control center for our moods, and many of the nootropics out there affect the areas that are responsible for this. In addition to there being nootropics that actually reduce symptoms of mood disorders like anxiety and depression, they can contribute to an overall happier mood and a better outlook.

Who Can Benefit from Brain Boosters?

Nootropics and brain supplements are gaining so much popularity because their benefits can be enjoyed by so many. A healthy brain is something that we should all aspire to have, but there are some groups that might find these brain boosters more beneficial than others.

  • Students

The demands on students at college these days are more than ever, and it can be hard to keep up with it all. Brain boosters can give a natural edge that helps you focus on study and during class, as well as an improved working memory to store all of the new data you’ve learned.

  • Elderly

Whether you suffer from Alzheimer’s disease or find yourself forgetting things in your older age, nootropics, and brain boosters are a good idea. Not only can it help your current state but also repair the damage that’s already been done to your brain and promote new growth.

  • Workers

Regardless of what industry you work in or the job you have, we could all use a little more brain power. Having better concentration, more energy, improved logic and reasoning skills, as well as a sharp memory could all make you a competitive employee at your workplace.

  • Middle Aged

Research has shown that our brain starts to slow down by one percent each year, after the age of 24. This means that even before this age it could be helpful to start taking nootropics to prevent it declining too much.

  • Patients of Brain Related Conditions

Nootropics have been proven to help with brain-related conditions, including depression, anxiety, stress, Alzheimer’s disease, ADHD and more. Brain boosters, when used in conjunction with other forms of treatment, can give a far better chance at recovery or a reduction of symptoms.

  • Everyday people

Even if you feel you don’t fit into any of those categories but know that your brain is capable of more, using a daily brain supplement can help. They’re capable of boosting your mood, improving your mental efficiency, and making you better equipped mentally to get through your daily life.

Do Nootropics Cause Side Effects?

Any time a new supplement or product comes on the market, it’s important to use your judgment. There are so many obvious benefits of using nootropics, but it all comes down to safety. Just like any other form of medication, you need to be fully aware of the ingredients you’re taking and how your body reacts to them.

The creator of the term nootropics, Dr. Cornelia Giurgea, claimed that to qualify as a nootropic a substance must be free of side effects. Although this sounds good in theory, it’s actually quite hard to class something as being side-effect free, as it depends on a lot of factors. There are some risk factors you can consider before trying a nootropic, including:

  • History

You can research further about the history of the substance and how and why it was used in the past. Nootropics like lion’s mane, for example, have been around for many years and have an extremely low rate of causing side effects. Knowing a little more about what your taking can lead to smarter decisions.

  • Quality

The quality of the ingredients but also the quality of the manufacturing process must be considered. Even the highest quality ingredients can still become damaged or adjusted through poor manufacturing, so it’s essential to look for the best of the best.

  • Formulation

Nootropics stacking is the method of using more than one ingredient together. While this can be beneficial, it can also cause adverse side effects as not all of them work well when combined. Look for blends that are proven to be safe and avoid trying to mix your own.

  • Delivery

The way that you take the nootropics will also have an impact on their effectiveness. Look for brain boosters that are free from additional ingredients that could cause their own side effects and opt for the cleanest form possible.

In addition to these risk factors, there are personal things that can affect whether or not side effects are felt. This includes if you take too much and have a high dosage, you have a personal sensitivity to one of the ingredients, or genetics and lifestyle choices.

What Side Effects Are There?

Where side effects are felt, there are some commonly reported ones that seem to be an occurrence for people who experience them. However, when taking care to remove all of the risk factors, the chance of feeling these will be seriously low. What you feel will depend on how much is taken, the quality of the supplements and your own personal circumstances like genetics and allergies.

  • Brain fog;
  • Headache;
  • Digestive upset;
  • Mood imbalance;
  • Insomnia;
  • Tiredness;
  • Jitters;
  • Lightheadedness;

Obviously, if the nootropics you’re taking are causing any of these side effects it would be best to cease them immediately. You may be able to establish sensitivity to a certain ingredient or have to reassess your dosage, but in general, it’s not normal for a natural nootropic to cause side effects.

People who are already taking other medication or vitamins should consult with their doctor before beginning nootropics. There may be a chance that certain ingredients could mix poorly or should be avoided altogether. Additionally, if you’ve been diagnosed with a medical condition, you should check the safety of using these ingredients as well.

What to Look for When Buying Quality Nootropics

With nootropics being such a new range of substances, people can be unsure of where to even get started when they want to begin taking them. To get the best results and a product without side effects, you really need to know what to look for when buying a quality brain booster. These are some things to consider if you’re shopping for a single nootropic or a stack.

  • Ingredients

The most important thing to look at when choosing brain boosters is what ingredients are included. The main ingredients you’ll be searching for are nootropics, so a product that has minimal other additives like gluten should be avoided. You can usually shop for a brain booster with a specific purpose, like memory boosting or concentration, so this makes it easier to find the right product.

  • Manufacturing and Quality Control

The quality of the ingredients is obviously important, but so too is how they were manufactured. Find out what you can about the brand and their manufacturing process and what standards they follow. Quality control is important in any consumer product but it’s significantly more so when it comes to health supplements.

  • FDA approval

Within the United States, there are some nootropics that already have approval from the Food and Drug Administration. In addition to choosing safe ingredients, you can also look for brain supplements that have FDA approval. As nootropic supplements are still in relatively early ages, it may be harder to find quality products that have this approval at this stage.

  • Reviews and feedback

The best way to find out if a brain booster is any good is to see what others are saying about it. On the internet, it can be hard to find genuine reviews, but easy to see when the customer feedback is real. Look at what others are saying about the product, its effects, possible side effects, and whether they think it was good value for money.

  • Availability

The inventory and availability of the product might also sway your decision. Shopping from a supplier that has large quantities of stock available means you’re able to have a constant supply. Nootropics can take time to have an effect, so stopping and starting them if the supply runs out could cause some problems.

  • Shipping and pricing

There seems to be no set standard for nootropics and brain boosters, but it’s easy to tell when a price is fair. People may pay more for potency with ingredients and other times you can save money with a larger quantity. Shipping might also come into the equation when buying supplements, as you’ll want to be sure they send to your region and the price is fair.

As is the case with other supplements, you can often use your judgment about whether or not a product is of good quality. Look for reputable background information on the brand, honest reviews, and feedback from customers, and a clear label that states all of the ingredients so you can be the best judge about whether the brain boosters are right for you.

Where Can You Buy Nootropics?

Purchasing any type of health supplement or medication is a serious matter, and whether you’re entirely new to cognitive enhancers or have been using brain boosters for years, you need a trusted supplier. You can’t purchase nootropics from any old chemist though, so knowing where to get them is just as important as the ingredients themselves.

Depending on how the brain boosters were manufactured and marketed, you might be able to purchase them from a health food chain or drug store. These are supplements that are mainly marketed as dietary supplements though, and not usually capable of the powerful and positive effects that a true nootropic supplement can offer.

The best place to source quality nootropics these days is online, thanks to the many benefits of internet shopping. You’re able to get a more competitive price, a greater range of suppliers to choose from, and also have real-time reviews and feedbacks from customers who have tried the products before you.

Doing research online is also made easier when you shop through the internet, and you have a number of resources to give you more background information on the brand. Perhaps as these supplements gain more popularity and testing becomes standard, better quality nootropics will begin to be sold in health food stores and drug stores, but for now, online is best.

The Right Stuff for a Healthy Brain

We rely on our brains for every single part of our day, whether it’s getting restful sleep at night or reading an email during the day. There are so many functions at work that we might not even realize, including logic, reasoning, creativity, and memory, and they’re all occurring thanks to this important body part.

Unfortunately, there are many issues at play which affect the health of the brain, including age, lifestyle choices, genetic disposition, and other lifestyle factors. When we don’t take care of the brain and exercise it or feed it the right foods, as we do with other parts of our body, it begins to slow down and we feel the changes.

You might not personally notice anything dramatic when it comes to your brain health, and feel that brain booster supplements could offer you nothing. However, even if we don’t think it’s obvious, science has proven that the brain starts to deteriorate at the age of 24, so any action we can take to keep it working strong for us into our elder years is important.

Nootropics and brain boosters are revolutionary in the field of neurology and medical science. Although we are only in the early stages of learning everything that these amazing cognitive enhancers can do for us, we’ve already seen so much from those that we know exist.

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