An In-Depth Guide to Nootropics
An In-Depth Guide to Nootropics

The term ‘nootropic’ has become something of a buzzword lately. Anything that’s touted to enhance cognition and intelligence can be considered a nootropic. However, there’s a lot of misinformation on the internet surrounding the use of nootropics and related compounds.

In this article, we aim to clear up some of the most common misconceptions about nootropics and provide a holistic source of information so you can decide on the best approach to nootropics. We’ll discuss many of the most common natural nootropics and outline the benefits of personalised nootropics when compared to the current one-size-fits-all model.

By the time you’re done reading this article, you should have a much better understanding of how nootropics work and which ones will be useful for you.

What Are Cognitive Function and Intelligence?

Despite what some people may think, cognition and intelligence are not the same things. Both are incredibly useful, if not vital, to our daily lives, but they differ in some key points. The two are quite difficult to define on their own, but we can shed some light on the topic.

Intelligence is a more conventional aspect of the human mind. Intelligence is generally improved and evaluated by things that include studying, reasoning, using logic, learning and applying new things. There are different types of intelligence, such as emotional intelligence and intrapersonal intelligence, which we will outline later. Intelligence is generally what is observed during school periods and emotional intelligence considered particularly important in many business areas. [1]

Cognition, on the other hand, refers to the mental faculties that are involved in the process of knowing or perceiving the world and the people around you – things like visuospatial perception, recognizing, conceiving ideas and realizing new things. [2]

Cognition can be considered the highest function of the brain. It deals with and provides the mechanisms through which you learn or the functions that allow you to deal with, improve, and utilize your intelligence. Nootropics are important because they can enhance your ability to utilize these functions. [3]

Why Bother Enhancing Cognition?

Enhancing cognition is incredibly valuable for anyone hoping to succeed or enjoy their lives to the fullest. Cognition affects all areas of a person’s life, ranging from their business practices to their family life to their sex life.

There are a number of things that might interest somebody in enhancing their cognition.

  • Improved ability to perform mentally. A large number of biohackers choose to use nootropics and other mental health practices to help them improve their performance at school. By improving mental clarity, memory, and reasoning skills, people find that they are able to improve test scores, become more productive and tackle more difficult tasks than they may otherwise have been able to. Improved mental ability can also be great for helping people to perform in their work lives or even as athletes.
  • Help manage mood and emotional health. Things like anxiety and depression can be very destructive. Nootropics can help support people struggling with these problems so that they can function better in their daily lives. As mentioned earlier, emotional intelligence is one of the most important things to manage in the workplace environment – however, these benefits can also be had in other areas of life. [35]
  • Improve logical thinking. In the society that we live in, logical thinking is generally considered a vital component of our thinking. Logic is required for doing the math, organizing, solving problems and finding solutions to complex problems. Improving our cognition can help improve our understanding and our ability to use logic.
  • Improve neuroplasticity and neurogenesis. Neuroplasticity is essentially the flexibility of the brain – how easily it can accommodate new ideas and learn quickly. Neurogenesis, on the other hand, is the brain’s ability to repair and create new brain cells. Both of these factors were once thought to be static – that is, they were set at birth and couldn’t be improved upon – but recent research has shown that nootropics can help enhance these areas. [4]
  • Enhancing creativity. It has long been known that there is some relationship between intelligence and creativity. Some people may find that nootropics are able to help them with their creative pursuits, such as playing music. [71]

It’s possible that nootropics can enhance creative prowess. Intriguingly, the process also works the opposite way: studies have revealed that listening to classical music enhances cognitive function. [72]

  • Enhancing memory. Enhancing your cognition generally means that you will be able to improve both your working, short-term, and long-term memory, which will provide many obvious benefits. [5]
  • Enhancing energy. Many nootropics are able to enhance energy in different ways. Some nootropics, like caffeine, provide acute stimulation by stimulating the central nervous system. Other nootropics, such as shilajit, are able to boost energy at the cellular level and help to repair long-term energy deficits. [6]
  • Boosting motivation and drive. It’s one thing to increase energy, and another thing to increase drive. Some people find that they can consume caffeine and become energized but not actually be motivated to do anything. Some nootropics and personalized nootropic stacks can be tailored to actually boost a person’s motivation. [7]

Best Cognition Biohacking Practices

If you’re not in to jumping on the nootropic bandwagon right away, don’t fret. There are a lot of other ways that you can enhance your cognition without actually diving in to the world of nootropics.

Things like exercise, having a healthy sleep schedule, eating properly – generally, things that any healthy human being should be taking to heart – generally help to enhance your cognition. There are, however, certain aspects of these daily activities that can help to maximize your cognition.

Here are some of the best ways for you to biohack your cognition.

  • Exercise. Exercise has been shown to have a huge number of benefits. There are a number of reasons that exercise could be considered an important biohacking practice.

    First off, exercise increases blood circulation throughout the body. This is one of the best ways to boost your cognitive function because improving circulation ensures that more oxygen and nutrients are able to reach the brain. [50]

    Exercise is also able to produce long-term improvements in our energy levels. Studies have shown that exercising on a regular basis can actually strengthen the mitochondria in our cells. These are the small organelles involved in producing ATP, the energy used by every cell in our body. Enhancing mitochondrial function can power us up from the ground-up. [8]

    Exercise has also been shown to directly enhance the function of the brain by influencing the way that our neurotransmitters are released and by enhancing neurogenesis. Exercise produces physical changes in the brain that make us more capable of learning and remembering. [51]


  • Sleep. You already know that sleep is important, and are most likely aware that sleep deprivation leads to cognitive impairment. Conversely, a healthy sleep schedule boosts cognition. [61]

If you really want to turn sleep into a biohacking tool then you should be informed about some of the more in-depth aspects of sleep.

Environment. There are a few things that you should take care of to ensure that your sleeping environment allows you an effective sleep. Make sure that you dim the hue of your lighting – artificial light at night can slow the onset of sleep and impede quality of sleep. [62]

Hacking the brain during sleep. Research has shown that there are three main ways that you can enhance cognition while you’re actually sleeping. Using auditory stimuli, like audiobooks or podcasts, can both stimulate and enhance the formation of new memories. Manipulating brainwave oscillations by applying electrical stimuli during sleep helps to enhance learning (though this is best done by a sleep specialist). [63]

Hack your sleep schedule with micro naps.  Micronapping is another process that allows you to save time on sleep. By taking short, 5-15 minute naps throughout the day, studies have shown that you can significantly enhance your cognitive abilities. This also reduces your need for a long chunk of sleep at night. [64]

  • Watch your nutrition. Everyone knows that it’s important to eat to maintain the health of our body, but not everyone knows that it’s equally important for maintaining our mental health. There are several nutritional tips to keep in mind if you want to maximize your cognitive ability.

    Some nutrients, such as the omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, are extremely crucial to our cognitive abilities. Fish, especially salmon, is arguably the best source of omega-3 fatty acids. However, foods like avocados and healthy oils like olive oil are incredibly beneficial for our mental health.

    Below is the nutritional profile of coho salmon. Salmon contains many nutrients that are important for the health of the brain and the maintenance of cognitive ability. [70]

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This is because fats are important for enhancing communication between brain cells. In fact, France has recently begun prescribing omega-3 fatty acids to patients with ADHD because they have recognized how important they are for helping to maintain focus. [10]

The B vitamins are equally important for brain health. The B complex is involved in energy metabolism and without B vitamins your brain won’t get the energy that it needs. Figuring out a personalised dose of B vitamins to include in your nootropic stack can help hack your brain. [11]

Foods rich in antioxidants are also great for boosting our mental health. Blueberries, one of the best fruit sources of antioxidants, have been shown to enhance working memory in older people. Broccoli is another food that’s fantastic for brain health. It contains not only many antioxidants but a unique compound known as sulforaphane that helps to boost cognition. [52] [53]

  • Meditate. Meditation has been proven to be one of the most reliable ways to help enhance cognition. Meditation has been shown to enhance cerebral blood flow directly. A regular meditative practice has been proven to help improve focus, relieve stress and anxiety, and boost memory. [12]
What Are Nootropics?

We have mentioned nootropics quite a few times in this document, but we haven’t done you the justice of fully explaining what they are or why people use them. In this section, we aim to clarify some of the questions that you probably have about these substances.

The term ‘nootropic’ is a bit of a blanket term that can describe a number of compounds, both synthetic and natural, that help to enhance human cognition. Nootropics can be found all throughout nature – things like coffee and green tea can be considered nootropics because they can enhance focus and energy – but many of the most popular nootropics used these days are synthetic in nature.

Why Do People Take Them?

There are a number of reasons that people might want to use nootropics. These are some of the most common reasons that people do.

  • Enhancing performance at school or work. Since nootropics are known to enhance cognition and improve performance, they are a great solution for many students who are struggling with a heavy workload or for workers who must deal with a lot of cognitive stress in their employment.

Finishing a heavy workload. If you’re assigned an unexpected amount of work or have to study for a test and your schedule’s full, you can use some energy or motivation-boosting nootropics to help you.

Maximizing your input at a meeting. You can ensure that you’re on your game at a class or work meeting by taking some nootropics to enhance your verbal fluidity.

  • Fighting stress and anxiety. Stress and anxiety can be very obstructive to anyone hoping to live a productive and happy life. Fortunately, many nootropics can help to fight symptoms of these unpleasant mental health issues.

Nailing an interview. One of the most common reasons that people struggle at job interviews is because they are anxious; using nootropics to overcome this anxiety can help you do your best at the interview.

Starting something new. Moving to a new area, starting a new course or beginning a new job are sources of stress and anxiety. Nootropics can help ease you through these transition periods.

  • Improving productivity. Many nootropics, such as caffeine, are known to provide a boost of energy and motivation. This means that many nootropics can be useful for helping to maximize your productivity at home, school, work, or anywhere else.

Preparing and cleaning. If you need to prepare a lot of food, clean the house for a sudden engagement, or get something ready when you’re in a bind, nootropics can help you get the extra boost that you need.

  • Improving social skills. We live in a world where social skills are considered very important, but not everyone is raised in an environment where they can be taught these skills from an early age. Some nootropics are considered very useful for helping people overcome social anxiety, increase their verbal fluidity, and generally make them more sociable.

Making new friends. Nootropics are able to help ease people into social settings so that they are less nervous about meeting new people. This can help them form long-lasting bonds.

  • Improving your sex life. There are a number of nootropics that can be useful for helping people enhance their sex lives. Many of the adaptogenic herbs, such as Rhodiola and ginseng, are known to enhance libido, lower anxiety, and improve energy levels – three things that are incredibly valuable for anyone hoping to improve their sex lives. [18]

Maintaining focus on other important things. The reality of our life is that we live in a society that’s hyper-sexualized. Many people, especially men, who don’t have sex or who feel that they don’t perform as well as they should be during their sexual encounters tend to spend a lot of time thinking about sex, pursuing sex, and watching pornography. This can lead to issues with anxiety, stress, depression, and social problems, all of which can impede cognitive function. Nootropics can help to combat these issues. [60]

  • Improving hormonal health. It’s important to recognize that nootropics can be very useful for enhancing hormonal health, but that great care should be taken to ensure that you’re using the proper nootropics for doing so. Any nootropic supplement tailored to simply “enhance hormonal health” will be bogus since there are so many influences at play.

    There are lots of different ways that nootropics can help you manage your hormones.

Improving physical strength and endurance. Many nootropics are known to help enhance various aspects of men’s health such as gaining muscle mass, improving energy, and enhancing endurance. They can do this by enhancing the body’s production and metabolism of testosterone. [74]

Improving sexual health. As mentioned above, many nootropics are able to improve sexual health and function. Many do this by influencing the hormonal systems of our bodies.

Reducing anxietyThere is some evidence that testosterone has an influence on anxiety. Some nootropics are able to influence testosterone levels and could help to manage anxiety. [75]

Your best bet is to talk to an endocrinologist and figure out your hormonal goals. If you want to boost testosterone so you can see better gains in the gym, we can help you develop a stack for that. If you want to limit testosterone to inhibit aggressive behaviour, we can help you develop an entirely different stack.

The Basics

Before you jump into a new nootropic regime, there are a few things that you should be aware of. Not all nootropics are prescribed by a doctor –
in fact, the majority aren’t – so you won’t always be given a dosage schedule when you buy them.

Furthermore, many nootropic vendors may list a dosage range but not tell you about the importance of cycling, frequency, or potential dependency and side effects. We’ll outline these important facets of nootropic use for you.


Cycling is one of the most important things for any nootropic user to be aware of. Cycling is generally more important for users of synthetic nootropics which tend to be more demanding on the brain and nervous system. Many natural nootropics can be used indefinitely without any apparent side effects.

As with most other substances, ranging from coffee to cannabis, if you use a lot over a long period of time, two things can happen. The first is that you will develop a tolerance – this is a problem exclusive to nearly every substance. Tolerance means that you require more of the substance to get the same effect.

The other potential problem is dependence, which we will discuss in more detail in a moment. Neither of these issues are ideal, so to avoid them many users choose to cycle their nootropics.

Cycling is a process by which users switch out one or more nootropics for different ones on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly schedule. This prevents them from becoming tolerant to the effects of any one nootropic and also encourages the brain to consistently adapt to the changing substances. [6]


Getting your dosage right is extremely important. Most nootropics come with a recommended dosage on the packaging, but this is not necessarily the optimal dosage for everyone. In fact, some people may be entirely non-responsive to nootropics at a certain dose while others may find that same dose to be highly effective.

The best way to figure out your optimal dosage is to start small. You should always start with a small sample dosage to ensure that you’re not allergic to the substance and then work your way up to the recommended dosage. If a smaller dose works for you, great – you’ll save a lot of money and your nootropics will last longer.


Not all nootropics need to be taken at the same frequency.

Drugs have what is known as a half-life. This is the amount of time that it takes for half of the drug to be eliminated from your system. Nootropics with shorter half-lives generally need to be taken several times a day, whereas drugs with longer half-lives may need to be taken only once a day or less.

Uridine monophosphate

Uridine Monophosphate is a short-acting nootropic that has a half-life of 118 minutes. For maximum benefits, it should be used several times a day. [69]

Another thing to consider is whether or not the effects of the nootropic build up in the body and if this is desirable or not. In this case, some users will choose to increase the frequency of nootropics that have longer half-lives so that their effects can become more pronounced even when they are not taking a single dose. [13]

Dependency Issues

One thing to be aware of is dependence.

Many nootropics have not been shown to cause dependence issues – however, it’s important to remember that research in the area of nootropics is still relatively new and many of these substances have not had the chance to be tested for long-term dependency issues.

Dependence usually occurs after a user has developed a tolerance. Soon after this, the body becomes dependent on a substance and requires it to function at a ‘normal’ level. After this, most of its perceived benefits are no longer felt.

If the user doesn’t use their nootropic when they are dependent on it, they will begin to experience withdrawal symptoms. Some synthetic nootropics, like phenibut, carry the risk of extremely dangerous dependency and should be used with great care, if at all. Using phenibut more than two or three times a week can lead to withdrawal symptoms such as shaking, shivering, confusion, mood instability and even seizures. [54]

Side Effects

It’s also important to be aware of the potential side effects of any substances that you’re taking. Not all nootropics cause side effects when taken at their standard doses, but some do, and most of them will lead to at least some degree of side effects if they are taken at extremely high doses for extended periods of time.

Armodafinil side effects

Some side effects are known to be caused by the synthetic nootropic Armodafinil. [16]

Some of the most common side effects of nootropics include:

  • The jitters. Taking high doses of stimulating nootropics like caffeine or some of the -racetams can lead to overstimulation and a feeling that your body is jittering.
  • Apathy. Some nootropics are great for enhancing the left-brain, logical portion of the brain but tend to blunt the right-brain, emotional side of the brain. Things like pramiracetam have been known to make users emotionally numb for the duration of their usage.
  • Insomnia. Many people find that they have a hard time falling asleep after using some of the more stimulating nootropics.

There are many more potential side effects but these are some of the most common.

Can Nootropics Enhance Intelligence?

The main reason that people use nootropics is to improve some aspect of some form of intelligence. There are different forms of intelligence, but they can all be improved upon by using different types of nootropics.

American psychologist Howard Gardner defined nine different types of intelligence in his Theory of Multiple Intelligences in 1983 and many psychological associations have referred to these as the basic types of intelligence.

  • Logical intelligence is highly sought after in our society and thus many nootropics are designed to help people improve their ability to reason and deal with logic. Logic is used to solve problems, learn languages, and do mathematical equations. Natural nootropics such as the amino acid L-tyrosine have been shown to enhance levels of dopamine and norepinephrine which can both improve a person’s ability to focus on logical tasks. [73]
  • Spatial intelligence allows people to visualize the world in its three dimensions properly. Some nootropics help enhance spatial awareness, making it easier for a person to utilize hand-eye coordination or engage in tasks involving detailed motor movements such as stacking boxes or playing sports. Rhodiola Rosea is a natural nootropic that’s known to enhance spatial awareness. [55]
  • Naturalist intelligence. Not all nootropics are able to enhance a person’s ability to understand nature, though some may broaden an individual’s perception and allow them to do so Psychedelics can function as nootropics, and these are known for enhancing naturalist intelligence by making it easier to communicate non-verbally with animals and integrate with nature. [56]
  • Musical intelligence. Some nootropics, such as coluracetam, are known for enhancing creativity and musical prowess. [3]
  • Linguistic intelligence governs a person’s ability to put together language, both in their thoughts or in their speech. Many nootropics such as the -racetam family – particularly pramiracetam – are designed to help enhance the clarity of thought and make people more fluent in their verbal dialogue. Some natural nootropics like Gingko Biloba also excel in this area. [56]
  • Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence allows you to coordinate your mind and your body together. Some natural nootropics can help with this facet of intelligence and can be used for helping people perform in tasks like boxing or playing sports. Studies have revealed that spearmint extract is a functional nootropic that can help improve agility and reaction times. [57]
  • Interpersonal intelligence is important for helping you to empathize with others. At present, this type of intelligence is becoming recognized more and more for its importance in our society; some companies, such as Limitless Life, are designing nootropic blends to help enhance people’s empathy and understanding of others. Their main empathy-boosting product, KATY, combines a blend of B vitamins, amino acids, theobromine and several other substances.
  • Existential intelligence relates to a person’s ability to deal with questions about life and death. Psychedelics are often considered the best nootropics to help comprehend these complex ideas. Shamans and mystics such as Terrence McKenna have utilized psychedelics for millennia in an effort to tackle existentialism.
Chemical vs. Natural Nootropics

Many people think of synthetic compounds when they consider nootropics, but not all of them are chemical in nature. There are many forms of nootropics that are found in nature as well. Here, we’ll describe some of the differences between chemical and natural nootropics.

Chemical Nootropics

There are a vast number of chemical nootropics.

Many people prefer chemical nootropics because they are tailored to improve a specific facet of a person’s intelligence. If you are hoping to only work on one or two areas of your intelligence, then chemical nootropics can allow you to easily develop a nootropic stack that can help maximize your performance.

Pharmaceutical Products as Nootropics

Some pharmaceutical products can also be considered nootropics. These are substances that are prescribed to patients by doctors to help improve some facet of their mental health.

Image result for nootropil

Some countries market products that we can purchase over-the-counter as nootropics. For example, Switzerland prescribes the medication to medical patients seeking help with their mental health. [68]

  • SSRIs, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, are the most commonly prescribed class of antidepressants in the world. They help to manage depression in some people by preventing the brain from utilizing its stores of serotonin by preventing its reuptake in the synaptic cleft. This can allow people to function better at work or school without having to deal with the added stress of coping with depression.
  • Modafinil and Adrafinil are two ‘wakefulness-promoting agents’ that are much more authentic in that sense than the more popular Red Bull. These two compounds can reduce fatigue and provide stable energy without actually amping a person up. Although truly powerful, these can have severe side effects so a bit of research is necessary before you decide to take these!
  • Adderall, Dexedrine, and Ritalin. These substances are all drugs that aim to help people struggling with ADHD. If they are used at small doses, they can be reliable for enhancing focus, concentration, and motivation – unfortunately, doctors have a tendency to repeatedly increase a patient’s dose until they develop a huge tolerance and become dependent on the drug. Adderall and Dexedrine are both structurally similar to methamphetamine, a drug that’s notorious for the dependency, addiction and withdrawal that it can cause. Ritalin is structurally similar to cocaine, another drug of abuse. Again, even if prescribed, make sure you do enough research on your own to be able to make a calculated cost-benefit analysis before making a decision to take these.

It’s not that these substances are more or less dangerous than natural nootropics – unfortunately, the way that the medical industry deals with these substances can be quite dangerous. Very few people who are prescribed SSRIs, for example, actually have a problem with serotonin; many youth are prescribed Adderall or Dexedrine in their teens and end up addicted for life.

Psychedelics as Nootropics

There’s no doubt that psychedelics can be useful for psychological improvement. Research in the area has been suppressed by law enforcement and government agencies, but as time goes on, more researchers and organizations such as MAPS – the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies – are proving that psychedelics can be useful for enhancing cognitive abilities. [14]

Psilocybin, for example – the active compound found in magic mushrooms – has been proven to be useful for helping people alleviate long-term depression and anxiety. LSD, a powerful and common psychedelic developed in the 1960s, has been used to help people develop new perspectives and appreciation for life. [15]

Psychedelics also promote abstract thought and are considered the best form of nootropics for enhancing naturalist intelligence. There are many psychedelics to be found, both natural and synthetic, though it’s important to be aware of the legal status of psychedelics before using them. It’s also much riskier using psychedelics because the chances of having a psychotic episode or long-lasting issue are much higher than when using a vitamin supplement or other form of nootropic.

Different Types of Nootropics

While all nootropics are regarded as compounds that improve some aspect of our intelligence or cognition, there are many different types of nootropics that you can find. These are some of the most common nootropic supplements available.

Nootropic Compounds

These are synthetic compounds that are specifically developed to help improve some aspect of our cognition. These are laboratory-made compounds, usually made by researchers who have some interest in enhancing cognition on their own. These include the racetam family (piracetam, pramiracetam, coluracetam, etc) Baclofen, stimulants like modafinil and adrafinil, uridine, various choline precursors like citicoline, and many more.

Since researchers are developing new nootropics on a regular basis, it’s important to be cautious if choosing to purchase any nootropics that haven’t yet been studied. While many of them are generally regarded as safe, many of them simply haven’t been around long enough for their long-term efficacy to have been tested There have also been numerous cases of people overusing nootropics commonly deemed as being safe and developing dangerous side effects. [16]

FDA statement

This statement can be found on a large number of supplements and is one of the reasons that doing your own research is important.

Vitamins & Minerals

You already know that vitamins and minerals are important for your overall health. However, when nutritionists refer to vitamin deficiencies they often only refer to physical health problems. Not everyone knows that deficiencies in various vitamins can also lead to cognitive deficits and that nutrients, such as vitamin D, magnesium, and the omega-3 fatty acids can be used to enhance cognition. [17]


Adaptogens are one of the most powerful forms of herbal nootropics on the planet. Adaptogens include plants like Ginseng, Ashwagandha, and Rhodiola. These unique herbs help the body adapt to stressors and external situation – meaning that their benefits differ depending on what you need. [18]

The Divine 9 Adaptogen supplement contains many of the most popular adaptogenic substances. Unfortunately, combining all of them together doesn’t leave customers much chance to identify which adaptogens are actually helping them. [66]

If you’re fatigued, for example, ashwagandha can help you enhance your energy levels. On the other hand, if you’re struggling with insomnia, it can help you fall asleep. It’s also known to help enhance focus and mood. [19]

Choline Donors

Choline donors are substances that provide acetylcholine, in some way, for the brain. Acetylcholine is the chief neurotransmitter that’s responsible for sending messages through the cholinergic system, the main neurotransmitter system that’s responsible for helping to manage memory and thinking. [20]

Best Natural Nootropics

Just because synthetic nootropics are powerful doesn’t mean that natural nootropics aren’t. Tons of people are able to biohack their cognition with natural nootropics like the following.

Lion’s Mane

Lion’s mane is a powerful medicinal mushroom. It’s widely used as a supplement and has been a part of Traditional Chinese medicine for many thousands of years. It’s used as an energy tonic, it’s full of antioxidants and it’s known to help enhance memory and cognition. [21]

Lions Mane

Rhodiola Rosea

Another herb that’s been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for many thousands of years, Rhodiola Rosea has been used for many centuries as a powerful adaptogen supplement. It’s known to enhance cognition, provide a reliable and sustainable improvement to energy, and to enhance libido. [22]

Rhodiola Rosea


Phosphatidylserine is a fatty substance that’s referred to as a phospholipid. Phospholipids are substances that help to protect the cells in the brain and improve the speed at which your neurons – brain cells – communicate, thus enhancing your ability to form memories and think. [23]


Gotu Kola

Gotu kola is one of the most prized herbs in the Ayurvedic medicine system of India. It’s been used for thousands of years as a tonic for just about everything. It works as an adaptogen and it can help to enhance focus, improve anxiety levels, boost energy, improve sleep, and regulate almost every other aspect of health. [24]

Gotu Kola

Panax Ginseng

Ginseng is one of the most popular adaptogenic substances. There are various forms of ginseng but they’re all known to help boost energy, enhance libido, and improve cognitive functioning without causing any side effects. [25]

Panax Ginseng

Bacopa Monnieri

Bacopa, also referred to as brahmi, is another incredibly powerful herb used in Ayurvedic medicine. Bacopa is known to help enhance cognition and regulate sleep-wake cycles. Benefits are most often seen after using the herb for several weeks. [26][27]

Bacopa Monnieri

Passion Flower

Passion flower is a fantastic anxiolytic that can be drank as a tea or used as a herbal supplement Passion flower mildly influences the brain’s GABA system – the same system affected by herbs like valerian root and targeted by pharmaceutical anti-anxiety medications. [28]

Passion Flower


Guarana is a herbal supplement that’s often included in energy drinks. It’s known to provide people with an energy boost and goes well in conjunction with other energy boosting nootropics like caffeine because it helps to enhance focus as well as stimulate the mind and body. [29]


The B Vitamin Complex

Many people with B vitamin deficiencies struggle with their cognitive functions and for this reason, B vitamins are often considered nootropic. The B complex vitamins are involved in the metabolism of carbohydrates and help your body produce the energy that the brain uses. They’re also involved in the production of GABA, dopamine, and serotonin, three of our most important neurotransmitters. B vitamins can help to protect us from anxiety, fatigue, depression and brain fog that can be caused by imbalances of these neurotransmitters. [30]

B Vitamins


Citicoline is a substance produced from phosphatidylcholine, the result of a biochemical process that occurs in cells. It’s one of the best ways to provide acetylcholine for the brain and body and works fantastically to boost cognitive ability Acetylcholine is the chief neurotransmitter responsible for our memory formation and our cognition in general, so enhancing levels in the brain is important for anyone hoping to boost cognitive ability. [31]




Shankhpushpi is another herb that’s used often in Ayurvedic medicine. It’s highly revered as a brain tonic and can be very useful for helping to maximize cognitive performance and improve working memory. [32]



L-theanine is an amino acid supplement that’s known to help reduce anxiety. It’s found in green tea and is the main reason that green tea is less likely to cause anxiety than other sources of caffeine like coffee. [33]


Understanding Your Goals with Nootropics

Before beginning to work with nootropics, it’s important that you understand your goals. Sure, improving intelligence is a good goal – but you should identify the specifics before beginning to develop your own personalized nootropic regime.

For example, improving your memory and improving your logical thinking could both be considered aspects of improved intelligence. However, doing these different things will require a very different approach to nootropics.

One of the best ways to do this is to use a personalized service like ours to help you tailor a nootropic stack that can work to help you with your specific goals. In this section, we’re going to describe some of the benefits of personalised nootropic regimes so you can understand exactly why you should take the time to figure out your own intentions.

Why Nootropic Personalisation Is a Way to Go

Here are a few examples of why you would be better of choosing a personalized nootropic regime instead of just going to the pharmacy and picking up a bottle of nootropics touted to help with a specific problem.

How Personalised Nootropics Can Help You Build Healthy Habits

One of the most important things about using nootropics or, indeed, any substance, is the idea that you can build permanent habits and train yourself to engage in certain behaviours by the use of the substance. If you properly train yourself to develop good habits using the substances, you can continue these habits long after you’ve stopped using these substances.

There are a few ways that personalised nootropic stacks could be useful for helping you to build healthy habits.

Personalised nootropics can provide energy and motivation for building habits. Building a good habit takes motivation, energy, and determination. Hands down, this is one of the reasons that so many people have a hard time building healthy habits. It’s not that they’re lazy – it’s that they simply lack the drive and energy to do these things.

There are many different reasons that a person may lack energy, and this is why it’s important to build a personalised nootropic stack. Some people are low on energy because they’re constantly stressed or anxious; others lack energy because they’re depressed and apathetic. Nootropics can help in either case, but each individual will require a personalised stack to see any improvement.

For example, guarana is a fantastic energy booster – however, people who struggle with energy issues related to anxiety will probably want to avoid guarana as it can be overstimulating.

Personalised nootropics can eliminate anxiety for building habits

Another reason that personalised nootropic stacks are so ideal for people trying to build healthy habits is because they can be tailored to help people manage their anxiety. For example, someone who wants to make a healthy habit of maintaining eye contact to help them overcome their social anxiety probably won’t need a stack that gives them energy.

The problem here is that social anxiety and eye contact can be closely interlinked [34]. Developing a stack that can help them overcome their anxiety for a long enough time to develop a healthy habit of maintaining eye contact can help eliminate the issue for the long-term.

Another thing that may create problems for people building new habits is their inhibitions.

Not everyone is given the proper positive encouragement when they are younger. They may develop inhibitions surrounding their own hygiene habits, their ability to perform daily tasks, their skills at taking up a hobby. People can develop inhibitions over just about anything.

Some nootropics eliminate inhibitions in such a fantastic manner that they can encourage people to practice things that they’ve always avoided. Phenibut, for example, has been studied for its potential importance in psychiatric medicine because of the way that it reduces inhibition. [35]

How personalised nootropics can help you build healthy dieting habits

Another interesting area that people are beginning to use nootropics for is that of intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting is a dieting technique in which people refrain from eating for at least 16 hours a day. This puts the body into an enhanced metabolic state where they are better able to burn fat. This, in turn, enhances their cognition by providing more stable energy to the brain.

On the other hand, some people might want to use a nootropic like phosphatidylserine to help them enhance their intermittent fasting. This substance helps to provide the brain with the fat (lipids) that it needs to communicate effectively, thus enhancing your ability to remember things and think properly.

How Personalised Nootropics Can Help You Become Immune to Stress

One of the best and most popular uses for nootropics is for building immunity to stress. The harsh reality is that we live in a world where very few people are able to live a stress-free life.

Stress has been proven to accelerate age-related cognitive decline, impaired emotional health, and promote destructive behaviours. It’s no wonder that many people are reaching for nootropics to help them reduce their stress. [59]

Unfortunately, not all nootropic supplements will be equal in terms of stress reduction.  If you do some research on popular nootropic stacks, you will see that those are advertised to both increase your energy/focus levels as well as to reduce stress symptoms. In turn, in their stacks companies include substances like caffeine, theobromine or guarana (all three are stimulants) together with calming ingredients that can help with anxiety symptoms, like Ashwagandha, Rhodiola or Bacopa Monnieri. In general, stimulants are not recommended for people battling with anxiety.

There are a lot of different ways that nootropics can help to contribute to a stress-free life. Understanding the reason that you want to use nootropics to help you manage stress is the key to helping you develop the best personalised stack.

  • Nootropics can provide an alternative to stress-relief medication. Many of the medications that are used to help treat stress and anxiety are known for being very dangerous to our health. Things like SSRIs, benzodiazepines like Ativan, and lithium can be effective for immediately treating stress but they tend to lead to a number of side effects and, in the long run, can actually impede a person’s mental health. Many nootropic drugs can provide similar benefits without making you dependent on them. St. John’s Wort, for example, functions as an SSRI and doesn’t tend to cause any of the same side effects as synthetic prescription SSRIs. Use of herbal nootropics like passion flower can support the relaxed, anxiety-free state by working on the same GABA receptor sites in the brain as benzodiazepines. [28][36]
  • Adaptogens build stress immunity. One of the main things that adaptogenic herbs are marketed for is stress. The term adaptogen is actually derived from the way that these plants help your body adapt to stressors. In addition to all of their other health benefits, this means that adaptogens actually help your body build new neural pathways and build better coping mechanisms for stress. If you take your adaptogens before a stressful job, for example, you’ll find yourself better able to handle any stressors. [18]
  • Hitting a deep flow state. A flow state is a state in which a person feels productive, excited, and ‘in the zone.’ What defines a flow state is different for every person, so if you ever see a nootropic stack that’s advertised for ‘putting you into a flow state,’ you can be sure that it might work for some people but it won’t work for everyone. This is why personalised nootropic stacks are great. You’ll be able to discuss exactly what constitutes a flow state for you and then we’ll be able to help you find a combination of nootropics that will help you maximize your potential.

The key takeaway from this is – not every nootropic works the same for everyone. A nootropic formula advertised for relieving stress may very well make some users more anxious – especially if you are battling anxiety and the supplement contains stimulating substances like caffeine. Developing a personal stack is your best bet.

How Personalised Nootropics Can Help Improve Your Social Life

Personalised nootropics can be used for helping to ward off social anxiety in a number of days. Social anxiety can be crippling to anyone who lives in our society and eliminating it can help to improve relationships, lead to deeper conversations and help with self-expression.

Another reason that nootropics can be influential for improving your social life is because they can help you avoid social media. This might sound paradoxical at first, but there is a reason behind this.

Social media is a huge distraction, there’s no doubt about it. Social media is also a huge source of irony considering the more that you engage in social media, the less social you’re actually being. It’s a wonder that Facebook has managed to convince more than a billion of us that staring at a screen and smashing a like button is actually social.

One of the reasons for this is because it’s so easy to get distracted by social media – in most cases, it’s just a click away. The solution to this? Ensure that you can maintain your focus. A personalised nootropic stack can help you identify the best substances to help you focus on productive things instead of trying to improve your social media standing.

It’s also become apparent that social media is addictive because of the way it interferes with the brain’s dopamine system. One of the best ways to go around this is to tailor a personalised nootropic stack that enhances the flow of dopamine through your brain. Substances like l-tyrosine can be useful for this purpose. [37][38][39]

Why Everyone Is Not Equal

In today’s society, we’re often told that everyone is equal.

In a spiritual sense, this is true – we’re all equal and should be given equal amounts of respect and compassion. However, when it comes to biology, this is a fallacy and should not be considered. There are so many factors composing our biological makeup that to suggest that all people should respond the same way to a medicine is absolutely insane.

This is one of the reasons that allopathic medicine is a broken approach. Allopathic medicine tends to look at a patient’s symptoms, not so much their biological makeup, and prescribe them drugs that have healed these symptoms in other people. This almost always results in side effects, some of which can be extremely unpleasant.

Unfortunately, the placebo effect makes things more complicated. If a person really and truly believes that they will experience an improvement from a substance, the brain and body actually adjust to create that response on their own. That makes it difficult to determine whether or not the substance in question is actually working.

Here are some of the factors that make people so different from each other.

  • Biomarkers are a way in which we can learn a lot about a person’s health and thus what sort of nootropics may or may not work for them. A biomarker is a substance found within the body that indicates the presence of a biological phenomenon like a disease or an excessive production of a certain enzyme. By studying a person’s biomarkers it becomes easier to make predictions about what substances will be beneficial for them. This can be especially true in people who are using nootropics to help them enhance their energy levels or to improve their intermittent fasting. [40]
  • Genetics and heredity. By now, most of us are aware that we inherit quite a bit of our traits from our family. These can be basic physical traits such as the colour of our hair and skin, but this also covers a diverse range of physiological and psychological aspects of our bodies [41]. For this reason, it’s important to take genetics and heredity into consideration when deciding which nootropics are useful for you. What works for one family might not work for yours!
  • Environment. Research into the area of epigenetics has revealed that our genes aren’t actually entirely determined at birth. Our genes work more like on-off switches that can be activated or deactivated as a result of certain circumstances. Genes undergo a process known as gene expression, in which an ‘expressed’ gene is essentially an activated one [42]. That means that people’s genetics are not set in stone from the time that we’re born. People who live in abusive families, for example, may be more likely to have certain genes activated. This means that even people born to the same parents with many of the same biomarkers may actually have a vastly different epigenetic profile and may respond a lot differently to nootropics.

Allopathic medicine is the current form of medicine used in the West, and its influence spreads to the supplement and nootropic industry. Allopathic medicine supposes that symptoms are all the same among different people and need to be treated the same. Because of this, they suggest that all medicines should be equally effective in all people.

While these medicines do tend to eliminate symptoms to at least some degree, they also come with a number of side effects. In addition to that, there is the phenomenon of placebo – if a person believes a medicine will work, a cascade of psychosomatic responses (mentally-induced biological responses) can actually result in a physical response regardless of whether or not the medication is actually responsible. [43][44]

The same is true of the nootropics industry. Many companies assume that they can market a product with a set dosage range and expect it to affect everyone the same. This simply isn’t the case. Many people will be entirely unaffected by the small dosages usually used by these companies and will instead experience benefit as a result of the placebo effect. Other formulas may be entirely useless or counterproductive for others – for example, a formula with stimulating substances wouldn’t be good for someone with anxiety.

This means that not only is the current approach a bit broken but that it’s not entirely reliable. This is one of the reasons that we focus on personalizing nootropic stacks tailored to your own individual preferences.

Personalised Medicine

Personalised medicine has been around for quite a time, but it’s becoming increasingly popular as people recognize that not all medicines work equally for different people.


NHS England is one of the institutions spearheading the movement towards personalised medicine. [66]

Personalised medicine, which is also referred to as precision medicine or theranostics, is a particular medical model that provides different treatments to different people. By recognizing that people are inherently different, personalised medicine allows people to be separated into different groups or categories and provided different medication, practices, and treatments based on what works best for them. [45]

Personalised medicine is one of the most important factors helping to draw the medical industry away from the one-size-fits-all approach. Personalised medicine is also one of the key factors in providing evidence that personalised nootropics are the best way to go.

Personalised Vitamins

The current nutritional model is also broken. We’re all familiar with nutritional labels and the recommended ‘daily allowance’ of certain nutrients.

While it’s certainly important to make sure that you get healthy amounts of nutrients every day, it’s nonsense to suggest that everyone requires the exact same amount of nutrients. The only current digression from this theory is that some people may require extra nutrition if they have difficulty processing certain nutrients or are at risk of developing a deficiency.

The reality is that every vitamin performs a specific function and can provide a unique benefit. These benefits may not be the same from one person to the next.

Nutrigenomics is an emerging branch of nutritional science that studies the relationship between genetics and environment. Researchers are recognizing the importance of developing personalised nutrition plans for individuals to ensure that each person gets the amount of vitamins that they need instead of relying on a generalized recommendation. [46]

This further accentuates the fact that one-size-fits-all stacks are broken – be it regarding medicine, nutrition, or nootropics. The best way to properly improve your health is to develop a formula specified for you.

Drawbacks of One-Size-Fits-All Nootropic Stacks

One-size-fits-all nootropic stacks aren’t a practical approach for a number of reasons. There are a few main reasons that you might not want to get your nootropics in standardized formulas.

Small Dosages

Most nootropic formulas are developed by professionals who aim to include the minimum active dosage of a substance without the potential of causing any side effects.

On the surface, this sounds great. However, the reality here is that most nootropic formulas are developed with a whole bunch of great-sounding ingredients provided in dosage so small that users will hardly feel a thing.

For example, an anxiety-fighting nootropic formula might include 4 or 5 different adaptogenic herbs and nootropic supplements at low doses. A user might experience some relief from the combination of different substances, but they would more likely experience even greater improvement were they to use just one of the substances included at more therapeutic dosage.

Furthermore, the minimum therapeutic dosage is just that – the minimum. Many people don’t feel a darn thing taking the minimum dose of a substance and there’s no reason to think that this would change for people taking standardized nootropic formulas.

The last and foremost issue is that many companies might be lying about the dosages that they’re using.

ingredient list

Above you can see a supplier that doesn’t even list their ingredients on the marketplaces through which they sell their products although at least their representatives respond to the inquiries of potential customers. The image above is taken from Amazon where a user had to ask what was actually in the product.

Counteracting Ingredients

In an ideal world, all nootropic formulas would be developed by qualified nutritionists or supplement specialists so that none of the included ingredients would counteract each other. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.

Consult the doctor

It’s also important to check with your doctor to ensure that none of the ingredients in a nootropic supplement will interact with any medication you’re taking

Many nootropic formulas contain substances that may counteract each other once they are ingested. It’s best to build your own nootropic stack or use a personalisation service like ours.

Research Before You Buy Nootropics

One of the most important things that you should do before purchasing a nootropic (or any supplement intended to improve your health or well-being) is to do your own research.

Remember, these products are being promoted by marketers with one goal in mind: selling the product. Product descriptions will sound enticing and the ingredients will look good, but it’s still important to do your own research. As discussed above, some ingredients may not work well when dosed with other ingredients and others may need to be taken at different times. Have a read below as to what should be looked out for.

Problems With the Nootropic Market

There are a lot of issues with the nootropic market as it stands. These are some of the most common issues that can be circumvented with a little bit of your own research.

  • Dosages are hidden behind ‘proprietary’ formulas. Some companies are able to hide their minuscule dosages behind the ruse of their ‘proprietary’ formulas. Common sense and a bit of research can help you with this.
  • Dosage timing incompatibility. Not all nootropic formulas are designed in a way that allows all the ingredients to be effectively absorbed [47]. Tianeptine, for example, has a short half-life and is typically dosed three times a day. For example, some companies market nootropic stacks with formulas that include tianeptine but recommend you take their formula just once a day. This means that you’re not getting the proper dosage of the nootropic substance.
  • No Certificate of Analysis or provider references. If you’re considering buying a product that doesn’t provide a third-party evaluation, a Certificate of Analysis, or makes reference to the provider of their substances, then don’t make a purchase. It’s important that you get your nootropics sourced through a reliable company.

Certificate of Analysis

A proper certificate of analysis, showing the lab number, the reference number of the testing methods, and the test results. [65]

Below you will find a couple of other tips to keep in mind when you’re researching your nootropics.


Bioavailability is a term used to describe how much of a substance is absorbed into the human body. It’s become a bit of a buzzword lately – some companies are claiming to offer different formulas and recipes that make their nootropics more bioavailable.

The best thing to do here is to figure out bioavailability on your own. A quick Google search will allow you to find out what you can do to increase the bioavailability of a certain substance. Curcumin, for example – the active ingredient found in the herb turmeric, which is known to enhance cognition – becomes significantly more bioavailable when mixed with black pepper. [48]

Quality Testing

It always pays to check the quality of your nootropics. Some companies promote premade nootropic stacks that contain ingredients like fructose or artificial food colouring. Others have been found to include traces of heavy metals. Don’t just read your labels, do background checks – we make sure disclose you the full information starting with the CoAs of the suppliers to the full ingredient list, which is often not the case in some markets. [49]

Whenever you purchase nootropics, check for:

  • Purity. Many nootropics supplements use impure nootropics. A 500mg dose of alpha-GPC that is only 50% pure would really only be providing you with 250mg. It’s also important to make sure that you’re looking at the purity for a specific ingredient. Some companies may load their nootropic supplement with fillers so that the whole capsule has more weight, then try to claim that the entire capsule’s weight is composed of nootropic substance.
  • Microbial testing. You don’t want to get sick from using a nootropic so check to see if they have been tested for microbes or any foreign organic substances. This is especially important for natural, herbal nootropics.
  • Heavy metals. There have been cases in which users have found traces of heavy metals in health products.

It’s always best to ensure that the company uses third-party testing. There have been cases in which companies use their own laboratories to do illegitimate testing on their own products so they can claim that they are pure and tested.

How We Are Different

We recognise that focusing is incredibly important for anyone living in our society. This is why we tailor our nootropic stacks to match your personal experience.

We are transparent and trusted:  we provide the CoAs of our products and source our high potency extracts from trusted suppliers. We provide the highest quality ingredients to ensure that you can make the most of your energy, focus, and willpower.

We also make sure not to overload our supplements with dozens of ingredients. Our products are simple, effective, and less likely to cause adverse reactions in the body.

By utilizing the best of what nature provides and working together with you and your personal needs, we can provide the most comprehensive nootropic solution available.


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