Beginner’s Guide to Nootropics
So you have been trying to do your research on nootropic supplements, but you just can’t seem to focus. Maybe you scanned through several articles, discussions, or studies and you just can’t remember what you read. Well, this is what nootropics are for!
Where Do I Start?
I recommend easing into the world of nootropics by starting with the basics.
Piracetam – Piracetam is the original racetam; the gateway to the nootropic universe. This nootropic is great for beginners since it has no stimulant properties and isn’t necessarily a sensory supplement.
Since piracetam has been around the longest it has the most reviews and related human studies. This supplement can be taken daily and for long periods of time, no cycling needed.
Here is a rundown of some of piracetam’s benefits:
- Improves Memory and Learning Capacity – You want to remember this article, right?
- Boosts Creativity
- Reducing the Risk of Cognitive Decline – Save your brain cells, you never know when you may need them!
- Improving Cognitive Impairment – Piracetam can actually improve mental impairment caused by old age, injury, or those things we did that were a good idea at the time but not so much now.
Though I recommend this supplement to beginners it is still a staple in the advanced nootropic user’s arsenal.
Noopept: Look out Piracetam – Noopept functions a lot like piracetam, but is quite a bit stronger. You only need to take a miniscule 10mg scoop of noopept to feel its effects. Noopept shares a lot of the same benefits as piracetam, but there’s more:
- Reduces anxiety – Could we have actually found the chill pill?
- Boosts Mood – A chill pill and a happy pill? No we are not lying.
- Increases Focus – I successfully wrote this article, right?
Choline Bitartrate –Choline is essential brain food that most of us lack in our diet. Choline aids in transferring messages to the brain from the rest of the body.
One of the most common side effects of supplementing with nootropics is headaches. Taking choline with your nootropics can prevent this:
Can I Take Several Nootropics Together?
Absolutely! I encourage mixing and matching these supplements to achieve maximum benefits. These supplements are often synergistic with one another. As mentioned above, all nootropics should be taken with a choline source to achieve maximum benefits as well as counteract any negative side effects.
ALCAR and Noopept – This is a great stack for beginners and seasoned vets. ALCAR (Acetyl L-Carnitine) increases memory retention, decreases anxiety, and removes brain fog. This supplement also functions as an antioxidant so it helps to protect brain cells from damage.
The two supplements combined create an impenetrable memory barrier! These two powerhouses complement each other since they promote calm focus, meaning they eliminate the distraction caused by stress.
Caffeine and Theanine – Caffeine is a popular supplement used for its stimulant properties. Most of us need that coffee or red bull in the morning to get us going, or that pre workout powder to give us the motivation to get to the gym.
Did you know caffeine also has nootropic properties? This supplement increases motivation, mental energy, and clears brain fog. However, taking too much caffeine causes over stimulation leaving us feeling anxious and jittery. Adding theanine to caffeine counteracts these side effects allowing for a much smoother stimulating experience.
Piracetam and Noopept – These nootropics can be taken daily and are a good foundation for any nootropic user. A great way to use this stack is to take piracetam in the morning and follow it up with noopept up to three times daily. Noopept will increase piracetam’s benefits while adding an extra kick when needed.
Aniracetam – This is a more potent racetam that you can also stack with several other nootropics. This racetam supports the central nervous system and increases glutamate (neurotransmitter) sensitivity in the brain by preventing desensitization. Increased glutamate sensitivity leads to enhanced cognitive function.
Oxiracetam– This is another racetam, but with an added kick. This racetam, like other racetams, improves memory, focus, and overall cognitive function. Oxiracetam also has slight stimulant properties so it battles fatigue and increases motivation. This nootropic can also improve reading and verbal recall abilities. Unlike other bitter racetams, a major benefit of Oxiracetam is that it tastes sweet.
Phenylpiracetam– This is a potent derivative of piracetam with very stimulating properties. This nootropic increases mental and physical energy. Phenylpiracetam is known for improving memory, increasing learning capacity, and boosting motivation as well as focus.
Adrafinil – A powerful nootropic with stimulating effects, this nootropic is a supplement to add once or twice weekly when you need a little extra motivation. Adrafinil fights off fatigue without the negative side effects commonly experienced with other stimulants.
This is a great nootropic to use if you have to stay up for an all-night cram session, need an extra mental energy kick, or even if you are playing video games until 5:00am. Adrafinil is not meant to be taken on a daily basis; only take adrafinil as needed.
Alpha GPC – This supplement is a superior provider of choline. If choline bitartate just isn’t cutting it, alpha GPC may be the choice for you. This supplement increases choline levels in the brain and can also increase growth hormone. Increased growth hormone benefits sleep, exercise endurance, energy production, healthy weight…the list goes on. Even without stacking with other nootropics, this supplement alone increases memory retention and attention span.
CDP Choline – This is another source of choline that some consider more potent. This form of choline seems to be the easiest to absorb and the fastest acting. This is a great supplement to protect the brain from age-related memory loss.
NALT (N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine) – This is another mood enhancer. NALT is a potent form of L-Tyrosine, which is an amino acid. This particular amino acid increases dopamine in the brain. NALT also protects the brain from neurotoxicity. Taking NALT promotes healthy blood pressure levels during times of stress. This is another supplement that can be added to stimulants to counteract the side effects.
What If I Can’t Focus Due to Stress and Anxiety?
There are several nootropics that help you calm down during times of stress.
Phenibut – If you need a supplement to help you chillax so stress doesn’t get in the way of the work that needs done this is the one for you. Phenibut works as GABA in the brain. GABA is what keeps our brain balanced and at ease. Taking this supplement decreases stress, anxiety, and counteracts the effects of too many supplements. This supplement is designed to take only as needed when you are having a particularly stressful day. Or on Monday; who isn’t stressed on a Monday?
L-Theanine – This is not just a stimulant partner. L-Theanine can be taken to counteract the negative side effects of stimulants, but it is also a great supplement to add to your daily regimen. Theanine relieves stress and can also function as a sleep aid by increasing production of GABA. When it comes to focus and memory retention, sleep is crucial! This supplement also promotes mental recovery.
Tianeptine – This is a mood booster. We all wake up on the wrong side of the bed from time to time and just need a little help getting through the day. Tianeptine promotes serotonin re-uptake which in turn reduces anxiety and boosts mood. This supplement also serves as a pain killer. Bad moods, pain, and stress all affect our ability to concentrate; eliminate these barriers by adding tianeptine to the mix.
How Do I Find a Stack Based on Certain Needs?
I separated the following supplements into different categories to make this search a little easier. Some of us are looking for a boost of energy, others may need to relax.
Here is a list of the category breakdown and some corresponding nootropics:
- General Cognition
- Choline Sources
- CDP Choline
- Choline Bitartrate
- Alpha GPC
Can I Use Nootropics Pre Workout?
Nootropics are excellent to use before a workout. You have the option to add them to your current pre workout supplement, or use them to cycle.
Adrafinil – This is a great nootropic to use up to two days a week to cycle off of your current pre workout. Adrafinil has stimulating properties, increases physical as well as mental energy, and increases focus.
Noopept – A great addition to any pre workout supplement. Sometimes pre workout powders alone just don’t cut it. The energy is there, the pump is there, but something is missing: focus. Lack of focus can completely ruin a workout.
Caffeine and Theanine – When pre workout powders are just too much. Some of us need an extra kick, but can’t handle heavy stimulants. Caffeine will give you the focus and energy you need while theanine will fight off the jitters and anxiety.
Alpha GPC – Brain and muscle food. Alpha GPC increases choline levels in the brain which will help you focus in the gym. While feeding the brain, Alpha GPC is also feeding the body by increasing growth hormone. Growth hormone increases power output and endurance while decreasing recovery time. This supplement can also be stacked with any pre workout powder.
How Do I Cover Up the Taste?
There are a lot of supplement powders out there that are hard to take due to the taste. There are several ways to get around this so you aren’t turned off by taking your favorite nootropics.
Adding Citric Acid and Stevia – Adding Citric acid counteracts the bitterness of these supplements and stevia will make them sweeter. These can be added to a beverage of your choosing.
Nootropic Capsules – Many of the nootropic powders you know and love are also available in capsule form.
The benefits of nootropics are endless. Adding these supplements to your daily regimen can really help you get an edge, whether it’s to pass a test, aim for that promotion, write an article about nootropics, or just feel better in general, nootropics are the answer. Remember, it can take some time to find the right combination for you, but once you do you will unlock your brain’s true potential.