The Betterment Project

What Are Nootropics: The Ultimate Guide

Cognition enhancers, brain boosters, smart drugs – you’ve probably heard at least one of these phrases used to describe the class of substances known as nootropics.


The idea has been met with some skepticism over the years, which makes sense. Could popping a pill really make you smarter and perform better in school, work, and creative outlets?


As you might imagine, the world of nootropics is a mixed bag, and there’s quite a lot to uncover.


That’s why we’re taking a closer look at the current state of nootropics and giving you the key info to help you make the right choices – if you choose to get on board. Let’s check it out.

Nootropics Definition


Let’s get one thing out of the way right now: nootropics are not the miracle drug that will instantly transform your life and unlock superhero levels of cognition and confidence. That kind of thing is only in the movies, not in real life (yet).


More realistically, however, nootropics can absolutely help you think more clearly, give you a boost of mental energy, and even help increase things like mental recall and information processing.


Think of using nootropics as the equivalent to putting premium gasoline and oil in a sports car. The mechanics of the vehicle are the same. You’re simply maximizing its capabilities by giving it the best fuel available.


With that in mind, it’s important to approach nootropics – or any other supplement for that matter – with a healthy amount of apprehension.


If you’re a student, you’re still going to need to hit the books. If you work in a professional environment, you’re still expected to show up and put in those office hours. In other words, there are no shortcuts to success!


Nootropics can just make things a bit easier, granted you know how to use them and maintain that strong work ethic that ultimately matters most.

Prescription Nootropics & Natural Nootropics

You’ve heard it before but it’s worth repeating: prescription drugs should only be taken if they are directly and explicitly prescribed by a licensed medical professional – not for experimentation or recreational use.


The most common nootropics in this category have a stimulant effect, usually containing some form of amphetamines. These are drugs such as Adderall, Ritalin, or any other generic drug that utilizes these core ingredients.


However, taking natural supplements that contain nootropics can serve as a great alternative without the stimulant effect that comes with drugs that are amphetamines. Supplements like this contain key ingredients such as Ashwagandha, which has the highest concentration of all major root-only extracts on the market today. It’s been proven to reduce stress while enhancing memory, improving cognitive function, promoting endurance and enhancing sexual performance in both men and women. 

Over-the-Counter Nootropics


Not all nootropics require a prescription, and many have the seal of approval from the FDA, meaning they’re considered safe to use in the appropriate doses each day. These are natural or synthetic substances that can be found in stores, online, or even in your own pantry at home.


At the top of the list is caffeine, arguably the most widely used drug in the entire world.


That’s right, with every cup of coffee or tea, you get a considerable nootropic effect, characterized by a boost in mental energy and focus.


As long as you limit your intake to no more than 400mg of caffeine each day (about 4 cups of coffee), you shouldn’t experience any adverse effects. If you’re feeling anxiety, jitters, or problems with sleep, however, that’s probably a sign to cut back a bit on the caffeine.


Another nootropic commonly linked to caffeine is L-theanine, an amino acid found naturally in green and black teas. The nootropic community claims that L-theanine offers a balancing effect to the stimulating properties of caffeine, making it a popular supplement for beginners.


Omega-3 fatty acids are also considered a smart addition to any supplement stack, with numerous benefits beyond the nootropic effects. 


Many studies have shown that these polyunsaturated fats help the brain work at peak capacity and may even protect brain health and function with age. 


As far as herbal nootropics go, you’ll find numerous natural substances often grouped under the label of “adaptogens”. These are roots, herbs, leaves, and seeds that occur organically and have impressive reputations in eastern and ayurvedic medicinal practices.


Ashwagandha is famous in Indian traditional medicine, with numerous benefits for the body and mind. It has been shown to alleviate stress, improve circulation, and provide a mental energy boost when taken in the proper dose.  


You may have heard of ginseng, an ancient plant that fetches a hefty price and offers some powerful mental benefits as well. Since the body adapts to ginseng use fairly quickly, it must be taken only on occasion to maximize the effects.


Bacopa Monnieri, Ginkgo Biloba, and Rhodiola Rosea are other adaptogens that you might encounter, each with claims of enhanced brain function and stress management.

Science and Nature in Balance


There are countless other natural nootropics out there and new formulations are coming to market all the time. Do your research before investing in any of these products and keep your doctor in the loop to stay safe.


When creating your own “stack” of nootropics, proceed with caution and be sure to test them out one at a time. This is the only way you’ll be certain of the impact of each substance and identify the cause of any side effects.


If you want a reliable proper dosage of key nootropics and daily vitamins, it’s worth investing in a proven system of powerful ingredients that leaves nothing up to chance.


This is the best choice for the busy working professional, athlete, or artist who needs to put 100% effort into making their vision a reality.

Maximize All Aspects of Health


Learning about nootropics is exciting and cool, but it’s important to recognize that these substances are not meant to be a fix-all or a magic bullet for our health and wellbeing.


If anything, nootropics should be the “icing on top” of a healthy and happy lifestyle that allows our minds and bodies to operate optimally. Avoid falling into the trap of taking nootropics in hope of transformation if you don’t have the fundamentals of health in place.


Remember that diet, exercise, sleep, socialization, and stress management will move the dial more on our quality of life than any particular pill.


Rather than jumping around from one supplement to the next, we suggest you put your nootropic stack on autopilot with Superhuman Supplements from ASYSTEM.


Just five capsules, same time, every day. This lets you focus on the things that matter most instead of tinkering with details and dosages.


When you level up your health across the board and stay consistent with daily doses of essential ingredients – that’s how you make the most of nootropics and get powerful results.


Nootropics: Types, safety, and risks of smart drugs - Medical News Today

What Are Nootropics or “Smart Drugs” or Cognitive Enhancers? - WebMD

The 14 Best Nootropics and Smart Drugs Reviewed - Healthline


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