Do “Study Pills” Actually Work?
So you need a little extra boost to get you through your exam week, huh? While a lot your friends have decided to go con a doctor for old reliable (aka Adderall), you decide that you don’t actually want the zombifying effects that the prescription drug produces. Searching Google for Adderall Alternatives for the college student, you finally stumble upon the topic of nootropics and popular “study drugs”. If you’re a student, then you’re most likely putting that exact search term into Google, and that’s what worries us.
There are a lot of different brain enhancing supplements out there, but you should definitely not be looking for “study drugs”, “study pills”, or any variations of those words that a college student could be expected to search for. While there are a lot of great nootropics available out there, by far, the biggest scum are those companies who market directly at students. Avoid them at all costs.
The reason we say this is because these supplement manufacturers aren’t actually providing you with much of anything. While advertised as nootropics, they aren’t – at least, not entirely. These companies try to cheat you by asking for premium price for a substandard, and sometimes dangerous, product.
A word of advice: whenever purchasing a nootropic, please look for the supplement facts label first. The addition or omission of a supplement facts label on a brain pill manufacturer’s website should give you a slight glimpse on the company’s business practices. Are they completely transparent and are actually proud enough to show what they have in their formula? Or are they so ashamed at a formula where so many corners have been cut, that they can’t even stand putting it on their website? And believe us – wherever a company has cut corners, it’s usually not just in that one place.
You’ll know these “Study Pills” immediately as there is always one dead giveaway when looking into a supplement facts label – high caffeine content. While caffeine has some positive effects to focus, energy, and even working memory, caffeine is a cheap ingredient that you’ll be able to find in just about everything. No, the caffeine they use is not better than what you’d get in a cup of coffee or a Red Bull. It’s all the same. These “Study Pills” will often include caffeine in high amounts for two reasons – it allows users to “feel” it, and it’s cheap.
Nootropics are never meant to have more than 100 mg of caffeine (if any), and you’ll find that the best available out there forego the ingredient altogether. The reasoning behind this is because it creates a false feeling of improvement. While some people attest to feeling a general state of wellbeing while on nootropics, they aren’t supposed to give you a high or kick of any kind. Rather, nootropics aim to work by nourishing your brain first, and by doing so, it’s able to work at optimal levels.
The inclusion of caffeine means that the manufacturer is basically able to cut 10-20% of a more high quality nootropic out, and instead save some money by putting in a relatively cheap ingredient. Although we don’t like putting out names, some examples of these are AddieUp, Evo, and ADDTabz. These guys are definitely known for employing these kinds of techniques.
Beyond that, we still also have other companies that try to play it a little bit smarter. They know that people will call out the high caffeine in their formula, so they proceed to cut corners elsewhere through the use of cheaper versions of high quality ingredients and other useless filler.
Make sure you avoid ingredients like Choline Bitartrate, L-Carnitine, and GABA, and maybe even some other proprietary ingredients. As a rule of thumb, ingredients like Bee Pollen and Cat’s Claw that sound a little strange are also a big no-no.
Some Study Pill manufacturers may not use caffeine, but they utilize these ingredients so that they are able to cut corners without it seeming so. Choline Bitartrate, for example, while a substantial source of choline, has poor bioavailability, meaning it isn’t used easily and effectively by the body. In similar fashion, GABA and L-Carnitine may be great in that they promise stress relief and improved memory, but these ingredients can’t actually cross the blood-brain barrier, and so DO NOT WORK.
Study Pill manufacturers are out there to scam innocent college students that do not have much knowledge on brain supplements, so do yourself a favor and avoid searching for them. Instead, search for terms like “brain enhancing supplements”, “cognitive nootropics”, and “premade nootropic stacks”. There are definitely some great companies out there that provide what they believe to be the very best solution, and their products are the ones you should be looking for.
A few of our personal favorites are Nitrovit, Alpha Brain, and Lucidal, but there are definitely many others. If you’re on a budget though, you might want to check out a previous article we’ve also written on 5 Brain Boosting Nootropics for Students on a Budget.