It almost seems as if every day, we’re hearing more and more about them. Some call them ‘brain pills’, ‘smart drugs’, and even ‘brain enhancers’. However, despite the differing lingo, most, if not all of them, refer to the same one thing – substances that can positively affect the way your brain works, all of which accurately fit under the category most commonly known as nootropics.
Those of you who have been checking into the Joe Rogan show must have at least heard of the word ‘nootropic’, as he has probably mentioned it at least a couple dozen times in relation to Alpha Brain, a product that he endorses.
But for those that do know and use nootropics to get ahead in the workplace, at college, and even at home, you couldn’t find a more accurate and encompassing definition than found on Wikipedia:
“Nootropics, also referred to as smart drugs, memory enhancers, neuro enhancers, cognitive enhancers, and intelligence enhancers, are drugs, supplements, nutraceuticals, and functional foods that purportedly improve mental functions such as cognition, memory, intelligence, motivation, attention, and concentration.”
Nootropics come in many different forms, but all of them have one single purpose: the optimization and enhancement of the brain.
While actual brain enhancement pills have been popularized by the use of prescription ADD/ADHD medication, such as Adderall and Vyvanse, a common misconception made is that Adderall, Vyvanse, and the likes, are true nootropics, when in fact, they are not. These are amphetamines, and do not work the same way. One main criterion for nootropics is that they do pose little to no harmful side effects to their users.
Another prevalent, albeit less common, misconception is that stimulants are nootropics. This is not true as stimulants’ effects often wear off after a short period of time, and do pose potential side effects, such as addiction, as a result of continued use. For something to be considered nootropic, it must have long-term positive effects on the brain. For this reason, psychostimulants like caffeine, are not true nootropics either.
Nootropics work gradually, and to really get the most of what they can do for you, they must be taken over a long period of time – as with most supplements. This is often why many people get a bit disappointed – due to a lack of complete understanding. While the prospect of complete success, wealth, and the ability to seduce anyone you can think of seems amazing, as per the Limitless movie, these are not what nootropics do.
At the moment, nootropics come most commonly in two different types of forms: nootropic stacks and pre-stacked formulas.
Nootropic stacks are individual nootropic supplements, in which a single capsule will contain around one or two ingredients, where you mix and match several different supplements to produce optimum results. Examples of this would be Nootropil, GNC Choline and Inositol, and Dymatize Acetyl L-Carnitine.
Pre-stacked formulas, on the other hand, are supplements that have nootropics pre-stacked already, where a single capsule may contain anywhere between eight to fifty different types of nootropic ingredients, eliminating the need to self-stack. Many users call pre-stacked formulas ‘cookie-cutter’, but lately, substantial research is put in, and many formula accommodate for 90% of the people. Examples of pre-stacked formulas would be Alpha Brain, Excelerol, and our Editors’ Choice – the mighty Nitrovit.
Both types of nootropics have different advantages, however, whichever path you decide to take, the results will most likely speak for themselves. Nootropic stacks have always been for the experienced nootropics user, since it might take some time and knowledge to get a regimen that works best for your body. However, pre-stacked formulas, while always dubbed as ‘cookie-cutter’, have been advancing greatly as well – to the point that it has even converted some nootropic stack users. Their effectiveness have increased exponentially over the past few years, most possibly due to advances in neurological research and medicinal science.
There are strong advocates for both of these, and a long list of pros and cons to choose one option over the other. However, with nootropics, it’s much, much easier to give them a try, and seeing what works best – whichever you choose, the results will most likely speak for themselves, and you won’t be disappointed.