A Smart Guide to Nootropics, the World’s Best Brain Boosters

Health supplements designed to improve physical performance and health aren’t new. Most people have taken them at one time or another. But far less common are a new generation of supplements, aimed at targeting an entirely different part of your body—your brain. Brain boosters can help unlock your brain’s full potential, improving your overall brain health, mood, memory, and increasing your odds of a long and active life.

The magic ingredients in successful brain supplements are a category of substances called nootropics. Scientifically proven to boost certain brain functions, nootropics provide easy, effective ways to boost your brain power.

This guide will cover the most common nootropics used in brain boosters and supplements. After reading, you’ll have a clear picture of what nootropics can do, how they might benefit your life, and where you can find quality supplements, giving yourself and your brain the best possible chance for health and success.


Can We Exercise Our Brains?

exercise brain

Pop culture generally keeps us more interested in building our brawn than our brains. But our brains get us moving in the first place, and literally control everything else our bodies do, too. Shouldn’t we also work on building our mental muscle?

The good news is that you can, in fact, exercise your brain, and you should—regularly. Studies show that exercising your brain can not only improve your memory and overall cognitive function, but also your mood. 

When we learn something, our brains form new neural pathways and strengthen existing ones. Thanks to the plasticity of this amazing body part, we can adapt and change well into our later years.

While some claims about the effects of brain training are exaggerated, keeping our brains active is irrefutably good for their health and memory. 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 are two terms that have gotten a lot of attention in recent years. They refer to activities and exercises that stimulate neural pathways and help keep your mind sharp. Common neuro games include crossword puzzles, learning new skills, and memory training.

But how much benefit do such games really have? And how do they compare to a quality brain booster supplement?

Findings from numerous studies on neuro games are mixed. Some research suggests their claims are exaggerated. But other research suggests that simply keeping your brain active with such exercises is hugely beneficial to memory and overall health.

Note that any claims that these games can prevent Alzheimer’s disease or ADHD have yet to be established. Therefore, be wary of brands that promise such results.

Research on brain training and neuro games is still young, which means the field still has a lot of room to grow.

When it comes to nootropics and brain boosters, though, the scientific evidence is clear. Numerous studies have been done on the key nootropic ingredients found in most brain booster supplements. Each of them has been proven to have some sort of positive mental effect. Whether with memory, overall brain health, or concentration and focus, the results are in: Nootropics work.


What Are Nootropics Brain Boosters?

lightbulb brain nootropics

The term ‘nootropics’ is still unfamiliar to some, but it’s gained popularity over the past few years. Also known as “smart drugs” or “cognitive enhancers” due to their ability to improve mental performance and cognitive function, nootropics can assist with overall brain health, memory, concentration, mood, and sleep.

There’s a lot of debate about what, exactly, a nootropic is, but the scientific communities tends to agree on two defining characteristics. First, their ability to improve cognitive functions, as previously mentioned. And second, they should have minimal or zero side effects. This is good news for anyone who’s previously struggled with adverse reactions to supplements.

Nootropics can be either natural or synthetic. Some are safer for human consumption than others, but the ones used in high-quality brain supplements are perfectly healthy.

Although nootropics have been around for thousands of years, and some were even used in ancient herbal medicine, researchers only recently realized the positive effects they have on the brain. There’s still much to be discovered, and the more we learn about these amazing ingredients and how they work in brain supplements, the better it is for our mental health.

The History of Nootropics

The term “nootropics” was first used in the 1970s by Romanian doctor Corneliu Giurgea, during his testing of a specific nootropic, racetam, and stems from the Greek words “nous,” meaning “mind,” and “trepein,” meaning “to bend.”

Nootropics were tested in labs at least as early as 1960, but their use has been documented throughout the history of civilization, as you’ll see later in this piece when we explore some common nootropic ingredients.

Nootropics and other cognitive enhancers have at times been met with hesitation. But they’ve become increasingly widespread as the medical community continues to report on their safety and benefits. They also come in many forms, ranging from a simple cup of caffeine-rich coffee to complex brain booster supplements. And that means people can unlock the power of nootropics in whatever way suits their lifestyle and needs.

What Can We Use Them For?

orange and blue brain genius

Over the past decade, nootropics have boomed in popularity. People can take brain boosters for anything from everyday health and well being to an extra boost of concentration during work or long study periods.

There are ability-specific supplements aimed at sharpening memory, improving mood, and even reducing anxiety and feelings of depression. 

Of course, there are also plenty of brain supplements with general benefits. They aim to improve overall brain health and offer a range of benefits such as improved focus and concentration, and more restful sleep. 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 single ingredients, or as part of a larger stack or supplement recipe. They work similarly to bodybuilding supplements that strengthen muscles and aid recovery. In their case, though, the muscle being strengthened is your brain. 

Are They Safe?

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

You should take nootropics with care, just as any other over-the-counter or prescription medicine. And you should study each ingredient. Some people may find a sensitivity to certain ingredients and others will report no negative side effects, so you should always monitor your own use.

Generally speaking, a nootropic should be side effect–free, but there could always be an exception. Therefore, we need to make sure we’re choosing high-quality brain supplements. And we should always understand our own health and potential risk factors before we begin any dosage.

Speaking to a neurologist or medical doctor is the best way to ensure safety. When shopping, look for signs of quality such as approval from the FDA.


Common Nootropic Ingredients

types of nootropics

Both natural and synthetic substances can be classed as nootropics. To qualify as a one, a substance must have some form of positive impact on your cognitive function, in addition to minimal or zero side effects when taken in the correct dosage. Here’s a guide to some popular nootropics you might find in a brain booster.


Did you know that when you have your morning cup of coffee, you’re also getting a boost of nootropics? 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 who drink coffee or use brain supplements with caffeine benefit from increased energy, better concentration, and mental alertness. For the best results, try combining your daily caffeine intake with the amino acid and fellow nootropic L-theanine, which is in black and green tea.

A powerful natural nootropic, L-theanine complements caffeine because it has an opposite effect. It can actually help calm the mind. By consuming L-theanine and caffeine together, you might see results such as improved mood, sounder sleep, reduced stress, better memory, and sharper concentration.


This term actually applies to a class of smart drugs that share a similar structure (technically, they share a pyrrolidone nucleus). Within the racetams family are piracetam, oxiracetam, phenylpiracetam, and aniracetam, which is one of the most widely used nootropics in brain supplements.

The benefits of aniracetam are varied. They’ve been used to manage Alzheimer’s disease, ADHD, depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, and—its original use—motion sickness. Other general benefits include memory improvement, concentration, and an increase in mental alertness.

Panax Ginseng

Panax ginseng is another natural nootropic with a wide range of powers. Derived from the ginseng plant, Panax ginseng is one of the most effective known nootropics for brain health. Also referred to as American ginseng, it’s ideal for people who prefer natural nootropics. It’s also powerful enough to help with both mental and physical conditions.

This plant is known for its ability to reduce stress and provide a boost of mental and physical energy. But its powers go far beyond the mind. Other benefits include diabetes support and management of cholesterol levels.

Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo biloba has been grown for thousands of years and used for just as long in Chinese medicine. This powerful natural nootropic is found in most brain supplements and has very little reported negative side effects, yet many positive ones, which speak to its popularity.

Known for its ability to improve memory, this plant works by promoting blood circulation. It’s been found to reduce symptoms of anxiety disorders and dementia.

Lion’s Mane Extract

Lion’s mane mushroom is another nootropic that has been used for thousands of years throughout Asia. But only now are scientists discovering its full range of benefits. The mushrooms can be eaten raw or cooked, and are most potent when they’re extracted and used in supplements.

The benefits of lion’s mane extract are impressive, and include relief from anxiety and depression, as well as symptoms of dementia. It’s also been shown to actually protect and promote nerve cell growth in the brain, which can lead to better overall health.


Anyone who’s taken fitness supplements has likely heard of creatine. Creatine occurs naturally within our bodies and is commonly used to build muscle strength. But it also has a lot to offer the brain.

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 available.

Bacopa Monnieri

Sometimes referred to as brahni, Bacopa monnieri is a plant found in many brain booster supplements. Its use dates back to ancient Indian medicine and culture. Bacopa is able to increase production of brain chemicals that boost thinking, memory, and mental efficiency.

Studies are still in early phases, but initial findings show that bacopa could be effective in helping to manage Alzheimer’s. They also suggest that bacopa could help reduce symptoms of ADHD and anxiety. For general use, it’s a great way to improve memory.


Benefits of Smart Drugs

why use 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 having something special to offer.

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 their best. Here are some of their primary benefits.


Neither studying nor working is possible without concentration and focus. As we get older, it can be harder to keep this focus on the task at hand. That’s where nootropics can help. Being at your mental peak and performing well helps give you a serious edge in a competitive job market.


It’s no secret that memory starts to fail with age, but that doesn’t have to be the case. If you find yourself losing your keys more often, or you can’t recall information you used to know off the top of your head, you might be suffering from some early memory problems. Taking nootropics could help both your working memory and your brain’s health, making it feel—and behave—years younger.


Whether from age, a lack of sleep, or a poor diet, fatigue hits us all. Nootropics have been shown to help with both physical and mental fatigue. Some provide a boost of short-term energy, while others help in the long-term.

Reasoning and Creativity

We use our reasoning and creative skills every day, and there are a small number of nootropics that can actually help boost both of these areas.

Mood Enhancer

Many nootropics are known for their ability to improve mood, helping to reduce symptoms of anxiety disorders and depression.


Who Can Benefit From Brain Boosters?

Nootropics and brain supplements are gaining so much popularity because their benefits can be enjoyed by practically everyone. Brain health is important for everyone, but some groups might find brain boosters especially beneficial.


The demands on college students these days are higher than ever, and it can be hard to keep up. Brain boosters can provide a natural edge that helps you focus while studying, and can also help with memory retention. 


Those who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease or find themselves forgetting things in older age can benefit greatly from nootropics. Not only can they help in real time, but they can help mitigate past damage and promote new growth.


Regardless of what industry you work in or what job you have, we could all use a little more brain power. Having better concentration, more energy, improved logic and reasoning skills, and a sharper memory could all make you a competitive hire.

Middle Aged

Research has shown that our brain starts to slow down by about one percent every year after the age of 24. It’s never too early to start taking nootropics to prevent mental decline.

Patients of Brain-Related Conditions

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

Everyday People

Even if none of those sound like you, quality supplements can still help your brain perform at its peak. Nootropics can help boost your mood, improve your mental efficiency, and generally help you get through your daily life.


Do Nootropics Brain Boosters Cause Side Effects?

side effects nootropics

Any time a new supplement or product comes on the market, it’s important to use your judgment. Nootropics have many obvious benefits, but you should always do your research before taking something new. Like any other form of medication, make sure you’re fully aware of all ingredients in a product.

The creator of the term nootropics, Dr. Cornelia Giurgea, claimed that in order to qualify as a nootropic, a substance have to be free of side effects. Still, just because something is qualified as “free of side effects” by the FDA or larger medical community, that doesn’t always account for individual biochemistry and certain risk factors. There are a few factors you should always consider:


Researching how long an ingredient has been in use, and what it’s been used for, can give you a better idea of its relative risk. Lion’s mane, for example, is a nootropic that’s been consumed by human for thousands of years. Therefore, the likelihood that it could cause unknown side effects is extremely low. 


Not only the quality of ingredients, but also the quality of the manufacturing process used, should be considered before taking a new supplement. Even the highest-quality ingredients can be damaged through poor manufacturing. Always know where your supplements are coming from.


“Nootropics stacking” is the method of taking more than one nootropic substance at a time. While there are benefits, combining any medications or supplements without researching possible adverse interactions is dangerous. Ask your pharmacist or doctor, or use reliable sources online, to check interactions before combining any drugs, “smart” ones included. Look for blends that are proven to be safe, and avoid mixing your own.

Of course, medical history and lifestyle choices can also influence your brain health and how your body reacts to an ingredient. When in doubt, always ask your doctor.


What Are the Possible Side Effects?

In the rare instance you experience side effects, a few have been reported. Your reaction will depend on how much you take, quality, and personal circumstances such as genetics and allergies. These possible side effects include:

  • Brain fog
  • Headache
  • Digestive upset
  • Mood imbalance
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Jitters
  • Lightheadedness

Obviously, if the nootropics you’re taking are causing any of these side effects, you should stop taking them immediately. You may be able to trace sensitivity to a certain ingredient, or you may have to reassess your dosage.

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 always check with your doctor before taking something new.


How to Guarantee You’re Getting the Best Nootropics

To get the best results, you need to know what to look for when buying a quality brain booster. Here are a few things to consider if you’re shopping for a single nootropic or a stack.


The most important factor when choosing a quality brain booster is its list of ingredients. Avoid unnecessary additives such as gluten whenever possible. Long ingredient lists can make you feel like you’re getting a larger range of benefits, but that’s not always the case. Oftentimes, clean ingredient lists equate to clean products.

Manufacturing And Quality Control

Find out what you can about the brand of a supplement and its manufacturing process. Quality control is always important, but especially when it comes to health supplements.

FDA Approval

Some nootropics already have approval from the Food and Drug Administration in the United States. In addition to choosing safe ingredients, you can also look for brain supplements with FDA approval. Since nootropic supplements are relatively young, it may be harder to find quality products with FDA approval.

Reviews and Feedback

One of the best ways to find out if a brain booster is any good is to read reviews. See what customers of a product say about its effects, possible side effects, and whether they think it was good value for money.


The inventory and availability of a product might also sway your decision. Shopping from a supplier with a large stock means you don’t have to worry about running out. Nootropics benefits can take time to be noticeable. So stopping and starting them if a supply runs out could minimize the benefits you experience.


There seems to be no set standard for nootropics and brain boosters, but it’s usually easy to tell when a price is fair. People may pay more for potency, and sometimes you can save money by buying a larger quantity.

As is the case with other supplements, you can often tell if a product is high-quality. Look for reputable background information on the brand, honest reviews, and feedback from customers, as well as a clear label that states all of the ingredients so you can be the best judge about whether a specific brain booster is right for you.


Where Can You Buy the Best Nootropics?

nootropics where to purchase

Purchasing any type of health supplement or medication is a serious matter. 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. Knowing where to get them is just as important as the ingredients themselves.

Depending on manufacturing, you could purchase some brain boosters from a health food chain or drugstore. Such supplements are mostly marketed as dietary, though. If you want the powerful and positive effects that a true nootropic supplement can offer, you should look elsewhere.

The best place to source quality nootropics these days is online. You can get more competitive prices, a greater range of suppliers to compare and choose from, and there’s the advantage of real-time reviews and feedback from customers.


The Right Stuff For a Healthy Nootropics Brain

As we age, so many factors influence our overall brain health. Lifestyle choices, predictable deterioration, and genetic predisposition all take a toll. When we don’t take care of our brain by exercising it and feeding it well, it starts to slow.

Sometimes the changes are so gradual you might not even notice them. But considering that our brains start deteriorating at 24, we all experience some form of slowing. Any action we can take to keep our brains strong into our elder years is worth trying.

Nootropics and brain boosters are revolutionary in the field of neurology and medical science. And this is only the beginning. We’re still discovering what these amazing cognitive enhancers can do for our brain health, and our lives.

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