What are Nootropics?
Nootropics are a class of substances that improve brain function also referred to as neuro-enhancers, cognitive boosters, or memory enhancers. Nootropics can be natural or synthetic.
The term “nootropic” is relatively new. Romanian psychologist and chemist Dr. Corneliu Giurgea synthesized Piracetam in 1963 and coined the term “nootropic” in 1972. It is derived from the Greek nous (“mind”) and trepein (to bend).
Dr. Giurgea gave us a list of five criteria that a substance must have to be considered a ‘true’ nootropic.
A True Nootropic
- Enhances memory and the ability to learn
- Assists brain function under disruptive conditions such as lack of oxygen
- Protects the brain from chemical and physical toxins like anticholinergic drugs and barbiturates
- Increases natural cognitive processes
- Must be non-toxic to humans, nor stimulate or depress the brain
Dr. Giurgea’s piracetam is a cyclic derivative of GABA. GABA is naturally produced by your body. Piracetam has been shown to support memory, and learning capacity, reduce mental fatigue and improve concentration. It is sold as the prescription drug “Nootropil” in many European countries.
Clinical trials with piracetam have shown it may help your brain in several ways, including increasing the effectiveness of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is a chemical messenger that allows neurons to communicate with each other. It is vital for memory, focus, concentration, and mental alertness.
By using nootropics, you can benefit from improved memory, focus, learning, mood, or motivation. Some even have anti-aging benefits. You have several options for each benefit you’re trying to boost or correct.
Table of Contents
Adrafinil (Liquid Nootropic)
Adrafinil is a synthetic drug that is often touted to promote long-lasting mental arousal. Adrafinil is a non-amphetamine psychostimulant that reduces drowsiness but does not increase heart rate or anxiety.
Adrafinil was originally designed to treat narcolepsy and attention disorders in the elderly. As a “prodrug” for the prescription stimulant modafinil, adrafinil becomes active by converting to modafinil in the body. Adrafinil’s effects and mechanisms are therefore most likely identical to those of modafinil, although the relative lack of research on adrafinil specifically means that some significant differences are still a possibility.
Some of the beneficial effects of Adrafinil are:
- It helps to treat narcolepsy and other fatigue disorders
- To treat depression
- It may affect mental and physical function
- It fixes your brain fog and enhances cognition
Most studies report adrafinil to be relatively well-tolerated. A small number of participants have noted increased stress and aggression, nausea, irregular heartbeat, mouth dryness, stomach pain, and skin irritation.
Acetylcholine is a molecule that functions as a neurotransmitter (chemical messenger) in your body. This means it relays messages from your brain to your body through nerve cells.
It’s produced from acetyl coenzyme A, which comes from the sugar molecule glucose, and choline, with the help of an enzyme called choline acetyltransferase. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter or brain chemical, that plays a role in many key aspects of brain function, such as memory, thinking, and learning.
Dietary supplements that can increase choline levels include alpha-GPC (L-alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine), citicoline (CDP-choline), and choline bitartrate. Another way you can indirectly increase acetylcholine levels is by taking supplements that inhibit enzymes that break down acetylcholine.
Certain supplements that may inhibit acetylcholine breakdown include:
- Ginkgo biloba (ginkgo)
- Bacopa monnieri
- Huperzine A
Choline supplements, which may raise acetylcholine levels, have been associated with benefits, such as improved memory, brain function, mental health, and pregnancy support. Supplements that inhibit acetylcholine breakdown may help as well.
Aniracetam (1-p-anisoyl-2-pyrrolidinone) is a fat-soluble ampakine nootropic in the racetam class of compounds. Aniracetam is up to 10-times more potent than the original racetam, Piracetam.
Brain Optimization: Aniracetam significantly improves brain function after traumatic brain injury including stroke (ischemia). And enhances your brain’s ability to repair damaged cell membranes.
Neurotransmitters: Aniracetam reduces the desensitization of glutamate (AMPA) receptors in your brain. Which boosts neural signaling by increasing the effectiveness of glutamate? Resulting in better focus and concentration.
Brain Energy: Aniracetam improves memory and recall. It releases 200 – 300% more acetylcholine in the brain. This can increase focus and clarity of thought.
Alpha-GPC (alpha-glycerophosphocholine or choline alphoscerate) is a choline-containing phospholipid. When ingested, alpha-GPC is metabolized into choline and glycerol-1-phosphate. Choline is a precursor of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter involved in memory, attention, and skeletal muscle contraction. Glycerol-1-phosphate is used to support cellular membranes.
Alpha-GPC appears to easily cross the blood-brain barrier and is rapidly absorbed. It is currently the best cholinergic for increasing plasma and brain choline levels.
Oral supplementation of alpha-GPC is primarily of interest for nootropic or cognitive-enhancement purposes. Athletes are another population that may benefit from alpha-GPC supplementation. Preliminary evidence suggests that alpha-GPC increases vertical jump power. Additionally, a pilot study reported that alpha-GPC increased peak bench press force, but not peak power or rate of force development.
Bromantane is a nootropic drug believed to enhance the mental and physical performance of the body. It's also been used to help reduce the symptoms of depression such as anxiety, headaches, and poor mental balance.
It’s reported that Bromantane is a performance-enhancing drug. This means it could stimulate your mental and physical activities. Some studies have suggested that it might help relieve fatigue, headaches, stress, and anxiety. It’s been reported that it could also improve brain function and learning abilities.
Additionally, Bromantane has also been said to enhance physical vitality and movement coordination. In countries like Russia, the drug has been approved as a treatment for neurasthenia, which is a condition that involves weakness of the nerves.
Bacopa (Bacopa monnieri) is a plant that has been used for centuries in traditional Ayurvedic medicine. It is sometimes called Brahmi. Bacopa might increase certain brain chemicals that are involved in thinking, learning, and memory. It might also protect brain cells from chemicals involved in Alzheimer’s disease.
The beneficial effects of Bacopa Monnieri are:
- Animal and human studies show that Bacopa monnieri may help improve memory, attention, and the ability to process visual information.
- Bacopa Monnieri may help reduce stress and anxiety by elevating mood and reducing cortisol levels. However, human studies show mixed results.
Cistanche tubulosa (Rou Cong Rong) is traditionally used to improve brain health, enhance practiced learning abilities, and increase stamina and longevity. It may also help sharpen the memory, help maintain healthy metabolic function, and increase energy. Research shows it may enhance mitochondrial functional and antioxidant capacity, which may improve endurance and reduce fatigue.
Extracts of the herb Cistanche contain bioactive compounds that support immune function. Preclinical studies suggest Cistanche could help bolster immune defenses, reduce cancer risk, and increase lifespan. Human research shows that Cistanche can also help reduce neuroinflammation and protect brain function.
Cistanche tubulosa extract also has an adaptogenic effect which increases the body's resistance to physical and mental stress. Studies have shown that Cistanche improves the general condition of animals suffering from chronic fatigue, cold exposure, and aging by reducing oxidative damage in organs such as the liver, heart, and brain tissues.
Cistanche is also able to increase the lifespan of mammals, and it has been used to decrease fatigue in athletes
Citicoline is a brain chemical that occurs naturally in the body. As a medicine, it is taken by mouth as a supplement or given as an injection into the vein (by IV) or as a shot into the muscle to help memory loss due to aging, improve vision in people with glaucoma, and help with recovery in stroke patients. It is also used for Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, bipolar disorder, lazy eye, and other conditions of the brain. But there is no good scientific research to support these other uses.
Citicoline seems to increase a brain chemical called phosphatidylcholine. This brain chemical is important for brain function. Citicoline might also increase the amounts of other chemicals that send messages to the brain.
Coenzyme Q10 (COQ10)
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) (2, 3-dimethoxy-5-methyl-6-decapreny l, 4-benzoquinone) is a natural antioxidant synthesized by your body. It’s also known as “ubiquinone” because it is ‘ubiquitous’ in the human body. CoQ10 is used by every single cell.
CoQ10 is required for the energy production that takes place in your mitochondria. It takes fat and other substances and converts them into usable energy. Brain cells have a higher concentration of mitochondria than most other cells in your body. These mitochondria are like little power plants inside each cell. They even have their own DNA. Research shows CoQ10 prevents oxidative damage in your brain, protecting the health of your brain cells.
Coenzyme Q10 helps:
- Protect brain cells: Mitochondria generate the neuron’s energy and control its death. CoQ10 protects mitochondria from oxidative damage and dysfunction.
- Brain energy: CoQ10 assists with ATP fuel production in mitochondria. Low levels of CoQ10 results in brain fog, slow mental processing, and cognitive decline.
- Neurotransmitters: Brain nerve cells (neurons) provide electrical signals transmitting information between neurons. Thus, neural signaling is involved in memory, learning, cognition, and recall. CoQ10 contributes to the energy production in mitochondria in each of these neurons. Keeping them functioning optimally for normal brain processing.
Dihexa is known to be N-hexanoic-Tyr-ile-(6) aminohexanoic amide. This drug is an oligopeptide drug that has been derived from angiotensin IV. With its high binding affinity to hepatocyte growth (HGF) and its receptor c-Met, Dihexa is a small peptide that has been developed.
It’s famously called “the neurogenic wonder-drug” because of the amazing wonders it contributes. This is even ten million times stronger than the BDNF or the Brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which is considered the leading medication for synapse formation.
Here are some of the benefits of Dihexa:
- Helps people having Alzheimer’s Disease and those with Parkinson’s Disease
- Can increase your mental stamina
- Can improve creative thinking skills
- Can enhance conversational skills
- Can improve one’s ability to solve problems
- Can help in managing depression
- Improves memory
Dynamine is found throughout nature, in the foods and beverages we routinely consume that do make us feel good- coffee beans and yerba mate are two excellent examples. It is, however, most abundant in Kucha leaves, and to lesser extent cocoa. Chemically known as 2-methoxy-1,7,9 Tetramethyluric acid, or sometimes just as methylliberine, it is structurally similar to caffeine and TeaCrine.
Dynamine acts as a stimulant, increasing energy and alertness, similar to your morning cup of coffee. However, it also increases the uptake of oxygen by the muscles, which can improve your performance and help you see results faster. Dynamine increases energy by preventing the neurotransmitter adenosine from binding to receptors in the brain. When adenosine binds to these receptors, we experience feelings of fatigue and sleepiness. This is the same way that ingredients like caffeine work to keep people feeling alert after they consume it.
DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid believed to offer a wide variety of health benefits. Similar to other nootropics, it seems particularly capable of promoting brain health through:
Neuroprotection: The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities of DHA as well as its ability to combat brain plaques may collectively empower it to protect neurons from injury and deterioration. DHA has been shown to confer neuroprotection in numerous instances due to its ability to increase antioxidant capacity. An increased presence of DHA in the brain was found to significantly reduce memory errors by suppressing compounds causing oxidative stress, specifically lipid peroxide and reactive oxygen species.
DHA is also a fundamental component of normal neural function and is believed to play a vital part in neuronal membranes. Moreover, supplementation with DHA has been shown to contribute to the structural development and growth of brain tissue through an unclear mechanism.
It has specifically been used to help manage such health conditions as:
- Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD): DHA may help children with ADHD be less aggressive, although it does not seem to improve ADHD symptoms per se.
- Depression: DHA may mildly improve mood as well as reduce aggressive behavior.
- Alzheimer’s: The neuroprotective effects of DHA may attenuate memory loss and improve memory-related learning.
- Dyslexia: DHA may improve various aspects of dyslexia.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that nerve cells use to send messages. Dopamine is important for optimal mental function as well as many of our daily habits and behaviors. It plays an important role in the movement, food preference, learning, attention, habits, mood, and more. Dopamine is usually triggered when your brain expects a reward from certain behaviors. It triggers positive feedback and a surge of energy that results from behaviors that enable you to achieve that reward.
Dopamine produced in the substantia nigra plays an important role in helping initiate movement. The decline in dopamine-producing cells in this brain region can result in loss of executive functions that drive movement and motivation. Numerous studies have shown that boosting dopamine can improve cognitive function, including movement and motivation. In addition, improved dopamine production can improve cognitive decline associated with dementia, age-related memory loss, and head trauma.
Following are the dopamine supplements to boost your mood:
- Probiotics are important not only for digestive health but also for many functions in your body. They’ve been shown to increase dopamine production and improve mood in both animal and human studies.
- Ginkgo biloba supplements have been shown to increase dopamine levels in animal and test-tube studies.
- Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric. It has been shown to increase dopamine levels in mice and may have antidepressant effects.
- Fish oil supplements may increase dopamine levels in the brain and prevent and treat depressive symptoms.
- Caffeine is linked to increased dopamine levels by enhancing dopamine receptors in your brain. Over time, you may develop a greater tolerance for caffeine and may need to increase your consumption to have the same effects.
Each of the supplements mentioned above has a good safety profile when used properly. However, some supplements may interfere with certain prescription or over-the-counter medications. It’s always best to talk to your healthcare provider or registered dietitian to determine if certain supplements are right for you.
Endorphins are neurotransmitters that are secreted in our brain and spine (the central nervous system). They are the feel-good chemical that helps us experience pleasure, relax, and improve our mood. Structurally, endorphins are similar to the drug morphine, and also play a similar function of reducing discomfort by acting as our body’s natural painkillers. When endorphin levels dip, it can lead to feelings of sadness, stress, and anxiety, which can show up as fatigue and a lack of productivity. Low levels of endorphins may also play a role in headaches.
Supplements to increase the dopamine level in the body are:
- Phenibut: This nootropic is an analog of GABA which stimulates your pituitary gland to secrete Human Growth Hormone. And helps produce endorphins that make you feel good during and after a flow state.
- Picamilon: Is used to boost GABA in your brain and produce alpha brain waves. Picamilon also helps produce the endorphins that make you feel good during and after a flow state.
- Rhodiola Rosea: Rhodiola is nearly mandatory for a mind-blowing flow state. This adaptogen not only boosts serotonin and norepinephrine levels but contributes to good mood. But it also increases the feel-good opioids like beta-endorphins.
Fonturacetam Hydrazide (Phenylpiracetam Powder)
Phenylpiracetam hydrazide, also known as fonturacetam hydrazide, is a racetam that is a derivative of phenylpiracetam in which the amide group is replaced with a hydrazide group. Many biohackers agree that Phenylpiracetam is the strongest nootropic they've ever experienced. It's highly bioavailable and you experience the effects within 30 minutes of taking it. Phenylpiracetam increases concentration, motivation, memory, physical endurance, and tolerance to cold.
Phenylpiracetam increases the density of acetylcholine (ACh), NMDA, GABA and dopamine receptors in the brain. More receptors mean more binding sites for neurotransmitters that affect memory formation, cognition, sleep and mood.
Fonturacetam has also been shown to improve working memory by increasing the activity of glutamate receptors in the brain. Working memory is the ability to focus attention and improve cognitive performance.
Many cognitive tests have shown that Fonturacetam improves working memory in patients who have suffered brain injuries.
Gamma-Aminobutyric acid (also written as γ-aminobutyric acid) is a neurotransmitter, specifically the major inhibitory one in all mammals’ central nervous systems (CNS). That means that it’s a chemical that binds to nerve cell receptors and hinders their ability to receive, create or send messages to other nerve cells (neurons).
Functionally, GABA is incredibly important. A lack of GABA leaves your central nervous system with too many neuronal signals and causes conditions like epilepsy, seizures or mood disorders. Meanwhile, too much GABA means not enough brain activity and can lead to hypersomnia or daytime sleepiness.
GABA works by preventing neural signaling associated with anxiety from reaching other neurons. It does this by attaching to the receptors that would otherwise excite those neurons. Over-stimulating neurons in certain areas of your brain is what causes anxiety-related symptoms.
GABA helps in:
- Balance mood: GABA has an inhibitory effect on overly stimulated neurons. Low GABA levels lead to anxiety, depression and insomnia. GABA helps restore that balance, promoting a more positive mood which improves focus and relaxation.
- Boost Human Growth Hormone: Bodybuilders and athletes use GABA before resistance training. Studies show GABA boosts blood levels of Human Growth Hormone, promoting greater recovery support and lean muscle growth.
- Recovery from addiction: Some addiction doctors have been administering drugs that enhance the brain’s GABA receptors. Normalizing GABA receptors takes away the craving and anxiety that one would typically experience in the absence of the addictive drug.
Supplements that increase levels of GABA in the body:
Some herbs, vitamins, and minerals increase GABA levels by enhancing the frequency and duration of GABA channel activity, rather than directly binding to GABA receptors like a traditional agonist. These natural supplements improve GABA activity to help reduce stress and anxiety, promote a balanced mood, and improve sleep.
L-theanine: L-theanine protects GABA levels by inhibiting glutamate uptake. L-theanine can reduce glutamate concentrations by acting as a glutamate antagonist and binding to glutamate receptors.
Bacopa Monnieri: Bacopa may increase the number of GABA receptor sites with consistent, long-term use. Bacopa supports GABA, serotonin, and dopamine production – all involved with focus, memory, and mood.
Vitamin B6: Vitamin B6, or pyridoxine, is important for serotonin and GABA production, and though it is found in a wide variety of foods, growing evidence suggests that systemic inflammation may impair vitamin B6 metabolism. B6 helps with the conversion of glutamic acid (GAD) into GABA. GAD requires B6 in order to catalyze the formation of GABA from glutamic acid and regulate GABA levels.
Ginkgo biloba is an herbal supplement made from the leaves of the Ginkgo tree, also known as the maidenhair tree. Ginkgo trees are native to China but are now grown worldwide. Ginkgo biloba is categorized as "nootropic," meaning it's thought by some to be a cognitive enhancer (related to the conscious intellectual activity such as thinking, memory, and reasoning). It is prescribed as a memory and concentration booster in many countries and is widely available as an over-the-counter herbal supplement in the US. Ginkgo is thought to increase blood supply by dilating blood vessels, reducing blood viscosity (thickness), affecting neurotransmitters, and reducing free radicals. For healthy adults, Ginkgo biloba appears to be safe when taken orally in moderate amounts.
Glutamate is the most abundant excitatory neurotransmitter released by nerve cells in your brain. It plays a major role in learning and memory. For your brain to function properly, glutamate needs to be present in the right concentration in the right places at the right time. Too much glutamate is associated with such diseases as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and Huntington’s disease.
In your brain, glutamate is the most abundant excitatory neurotransmitter. An excitatory neurotransmitter excites or stimulates a nerve cell, making it more likely that the chemical message will continue to move from nerve cell to nerve cell and not be stopped. Glutamate is essential for proper brain function. Glutamate is also needed for making another neurotransmitter in your brain called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA is known as the “calming” neurotransmitter. It’s involved in sleep, relaxation, anxiety regulation, and muscle function.
Glutamate’s functions include:
- Learning and memory: By interacting with four different receptors, glutamate has more opportunities to continue to have messages successfully and quickly sent between nerve cells. This fast signaling and information processing is an important aspect of learning and memory. Glutamate also allows nerve cells to build associated information, which is a foundation of memory.
- The energy source for brain cells: Glutamate can be used as an energy source when glucose levels are low.
- Chemical messenger: Glutamate allows chemical messages to be sent between nerve cells.
- Sleep-wake cycle manager: According to animal studies, glutamate levels are high when you’re awake and during the rapid eye movement (REM) phase of sleep.
- Pain signaler: Higher levels of glutamate are associated with an increase in pain levels.
Supplements that can help increase your glutamate levels include:
- 5-HTP: Your body converts 5-HTP into serotonin, and serotonin can enhance GABA activity, which may affect glutamate activity. Glutamate is the precursor to GABA.
- GABA: The theory goes that since GABA calms and glutamate stimulates, the two are counterparts and that imbalance in one impact the other. However, research has yet to confirm if GABA can correct imbalances in glutamate.
- Glutamine: Your body converts glutamine into glutamate. Glutamine is available as a supplement and can also be found in meat, fish, eggs, dairy, wheat, and some vegetables.
- Taurine: Studies on rodents have shown that this amino acid can alter levels of glutamate. Natural sources of taurine are meats and seafood. It is also available as a supplement and is found in some energy drinks.
- Theanine: This glutamate precursor may lower glutamate activity in the brain by blocking receptors while boosting GABA levels. It's naturally present in tea and also is available as a supplement.
Huperzine A is a chemical that comes from Chinese club moss (Huperzia Serrata) or fir club moss (Huperzia selago) plants. It can also be made in a lab. It causes an increase in the levels of acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is one of the chemicals that our nerves use to communicate in the brain, muscles, and other areas.
Huperzine A is a substance purified from a plant called Chinese club moss. Huperzine A is used for Alzheimer's disease, memory and learning enhancement, and age-related memory impairment.
Research suggests that taking huperzine A by mouth for up to 8 weeks may improve memory, mental function, and behavior in people with conditions such as Alzheimer's disease or dementia. The long-term effects of huperzine-A in people with these conditions are not yet known. Some research shows that taking huperzine A by mouth for 4 weeks improves the memory of older children and teenagers who complain of memory problems.
Iodine, a dynamic nutrient present in thyroid hormones, is responsible for regulating thyroid function, supporting healthy metabolism, and aiding growth and development. Iodine is also essential for brain development during specific time windows influencing neurogenesis, neuronal and glial cell differentiation, myelination, neuronal migration, and synaptogenesis.
- Neurotransmitters: Iodine is required for the production of thyroid hormones T4 and T3. Thyroid hormone receptors in the brain help regulate the production and use of all important neurotransmitters.
- Brain Energy: Iodine is necessary for the production of thyroid hormones which help control cellular metabolism and energy use within brain cells. Supplemental Iodine usually results in increased energy levels and feelings of well-being.
- Neuroprotectant: Iodine can kill bacteria, fungal infections, and viruses. Iodine will remove fluoride, and chlorine, which helps your body detox heavy metals like mercury and cadmium that other detox methods can’t remove.
Kava is a tropical evergreen shrub with heart-shaped leaves and woody stems. Its scientific name is Piper methysticum. Kava can cause various body and mind responses, but the most notable kava root effect is relaxation without cognitive impairment. Multiple studies have found kava to be effective in treating symptoms related to anxiety. Specifically, one study showed kava to cause similar changes in brain wave activity, suggesting they may work in the same ways to calm the mind.
- Neurotransmitters: Kava affects brain levels of GABA receptors. GABA is the ‘calming’ neurotransmitter. And an increase in receptor sites for GABA accounts for Kava’s anti-anxiety properties.
- Neuroprotection: Kava provides protective effects against strokes. Two of Kava’s compounds, dihydromethysticin, and methysticin are similar in potency to Memantine which is used to treat Alzheimer’s disease.
- Cognition: Kava improves reaction time and cognitive function. Kavalactones in Kava interact with ion channels in the brain. Influencing neurotransmitter function
L-Tyrosine is a powerful aromatic amino acid that is a building block for dopamine, epinephrine, norepinephrine, and thyroid hormones. L-Tyrosine supplements are nootropics and adaptogens that help with performance during times of stress. Many people find that it helps significantly with fatigue from stress.
- Cognitive Stress: L-Tyrosine produces the catecholamine-triad of the f neurotransmitters dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine. Sleep deprivation and extreme stressors like heat and cold can deplete catecholamine levels. L-Tyrosine restores them to preserve optimal cognition.
- Neurotransmitters: L-Tyrosine is a required precursor for dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine. As your dopamine levels increase, you’re better able to concentrate, organize your thoughts, and stay productive.
- Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD): L-Tyrosine can be an effective treatment for ADHD symptoms. It works in synergy with pharmaceutical drugs like Ritalin and Adderall by boosting extracellular levels of dopamine. Helping these drugs be more effective and mitigating side effects like crashes when the drug wears off.
Lion's Mane Mushroom
The brain’s ability to grow and form new connections typically declines with age, which may explain why mental functioning gets worse in many older adults. Studies have found that lion’s mane mushrooms contain two special compounds that can stimulate the growth of brain cells: hericenones and erinacines.
Additionally, animal studies have found that lion’s mane may help protect against Alzheimer’s disease, a degenerative brain disease that causes progressive memory loss. In fact, the lion’s mane mushroom and its extracts have been shown to reduce symptoms of memory loss in mice, as well as prevent neuronal damage caused by amyloid-beta plaques, which accumulate in the brain during Alzheimer’s disease.
Some of the key health benefits include:
- Improving cognitive function
- Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties
- Anti-depressant and anxiolytic properties
- Protecting against digestive ulcers
You can consume lion’s mane in its original form incorporated into recipes, steeped in tea, or as a supplement in powder, capsule, or liquid form.
Memo Prove (Neurogenesis Enhancer) N-PEP-12
Memo Prove contains a blend of Neuropeptides (small chain amino acids) that mimic nerve growth in a well-functioning brain. In published research, neuropeptides have been shown to: Counteract underlying processes that cause memory problems; support optimal brain health function; replenish neurochemical deficits due to aging; stimulate new brain cell production (neuro-genesis); stimulate robust brain cell connections (neural-plasticity); protect existing brain cells and connections (neuro-protection); increase glucose transport and utilization by the brain.
Memo Prove is the first and only dietary supplement made from a proprietary blend of Neuropeptides (N-PEP-12) clinically shown to improve memory in published peer-review studies.
Magnesium is an abundant mineral required for optimal health. Magnesium has been suggested to have nootropic benefits through:
- Supporting brain biochemistry: Magnesium helps the brain’s neurons function properly by regulating neurotransmitters and other cognitive mechanisms.
- Supporting the stress response. Magnesium helps the body cope with stress, which is a major contributor to mental disorders.
As a nootropic, magnesium is increasingly being used to alleviate depression, anxiety, stress, panic, and related cognitive concerns. Magnesium also holds a reputation as a relaxation-promoting supplement thanks to its ability to relax both the muscles and the mind.
There is some evidence to support magnesium’s nootropic uses. Although there is a lack of definitive, high-quality studies, there is enough evidence for researchers to suggest that it may help with depression and anxiety-related disorders. In addition, magnesium L-threonate is quickly becoming the most popular form of Mg for nootropic uses thanks to early animal evidence showing benefits such as enhanced memory, learning, and protection against Alzheimer’s.
Mucuna Pruriens (L-DOPA)
Mucuna Pruriens Extract is an interesting health supplement ingredient that is used as a nootropic and an agent for improved sexual health. According to health experts, the compound Levodopa which is found in the product may help promote overall cognitive function and support bodybuilding. It may also serve as a support management option for Parkinson’s disease and other cognitive dysfunctions.
- Brain Health: L-DOPA helps to increase growth hormone levels in the brain, boosting the production of neurons and glia cells affecting the formation of memories, and overall brain health.
- Neurotransmitters: L-DOPA is a necessary precursor for your brain to make dopamine. And dopamine is then synthesized into the neurotransmitters epinephrine, and norepinephrine affecting cognition, learning, memory, movement, motivation, and pleasure.
- Neuroprotection: L-DOPA produces neuromelanin which is like the melanin pigment in your skin. In your brain, they absorb toxic quinones and chelate heavy metals like mercury and lead.
9-MBC is a known inhibitor of monoamine oxidase A and monoamine oxidase B and has been proposed for further investigation in the treatment of Parkinson's disease. It may possess photosensitizing effects.
Some of the benefits of using 9-MBC are:
It enhances dopamine synthesis and stimulates dopamine receptors, leading to an increase in motivation and memory retention. This is unlike caffeine and other known stimulants, which are said to deplete it instead through excessive firing.
Aside from the dopamine synthesis, 9MeBC also enhances cognition on hippocampus-dependent tasks (short-term memory).
This provides the energy for ATP production, leading to enhanced bodily functions, including mental processes.
N-Acetyl L-Cysteine (NAC)
NAC (N-Acetyl-Cystine) is a powerful antioxidant supplement with many benefits for the body and brain. In fact, it may have the most wide-ranging positive effects of any nootropic on the market.
According to research, it could potentially help with:
- Depression & mood
- Learning & memory
- Overall brain health
NAC boosts brain function in two ways:
- First of all, it acts as the best antioxidant when turned into Glutathione. It’s your body’s first line of defense against free radicals and reactive oxygen species.
- Its second function is modulating dopamine levels. Not just that but dopamine receptors that are depleted get renewed when NAC is introduced into the brain.
Besides these two functions, NAC also increases BDNF levels in the brain which leads to less cell death and more cell proliferation. Lastly, it balances the levels of Glutamate in your brain, which prevents numerous psychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders.
N-Acetyl L Tyrosine (NALT)
N-acetyl-L-tyrosine (NALT) is an acetylated form of the amino acid L-tyrosine. NALT (as well as L-tyrosine) is used as a nootropic because it acts as a precursor for the important brain neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine has a large role in brain activities linked to reward, motivation, and pleasure, and plays a crucial part in modulating focus, motivation, cognitive flexibility, and emotional resilience.
In addition to these creative-productive capacities and states, dopamine is one of the main regulators of motor control and coordination of body movements, so is also important for exercise and muscle performance. Supplying NALT (or other sources of L-tyrosine) for cognitive support may be especially useful when participating in more demanding or stressful tasks
The safety profile of NALT is relatively unknown, given the lack of clinical data. Although similar to L-tyrosine, it may have different side effects. Consult your doctor about all potential side effects, based on your health condition and possible drug or supplement interactions.
Nefiracetam is a cognitive enhancer (nootropic) of the racetam class, derived initially from the parent molecule piracetam but it shares most structurally similarity to aniracetam. Both nefiracetam and aniracetam are fat-soluble racetam drugs for the purpose of memory enhancement or the treatment of cognitive decline.
Nefiracetam's cytoprotective actions are mediated by the enhancement of GABAergic, cholinergic, and monoaminergic neuronal systems. Preliminary studies suggest that it improves apathy and motivation in post-stroke patients. It may also exhibit anti-amnesia effects for the Alzheimer's type and cerebrovascular type of dementia. In addition, research in animal models suggests antiamnesic effects against memory impairing substances, including ethanol, chlordiazepoxide, scopolamine, bicuculline, picrotoxin, and cycloheximide.
NACET (N-Acetyl –L-Cysteine Ethyl Ester)
NACET is an excellent product that has been available for several decades. People take it for various reasons, including to help treat medical issues ranging from psychological disorders to chronic lung conditions and to improve athletic performance.
NACET is known to be beneficial to the brain and the immune system. N-Acetyl-L-cysteine ethyl ester powder is a natural or manufactured drug that can increase mental performance by enhancing brain function. They're commonly referred to as nootropics or smart medicines, and they've grown in popularity in today's hyper-competitive world. They're most widely used to improve memory, focus, creativity, intelligence, and motivation. Increasing the amount of NAC in the body may boost levels of some neurotransmitters, which may improve a person’s mental function. It may also help alleviate symptoms of various psychiatric conditions, including:
- Bipolar disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
Instead, a person should rely upon evidence-based treatments, such as therapy and medication, when applicable. A doctor can provide advice about using NACET to supplement traditional treatment.
Noopept is a popular cognitive-enhancing supplement in the nootropic community. Proposed mechanisms of action based on preclinical studies include increasing acetylcholine signaling, increasing the expression of BDNF and NGF, protecting from glutamate toxicity, and increasing inhibitory neurotransmission in the brain.
- Brain Optimization: Noopept increases Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) and Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) which is critical for neuroplasticity and Long-Term Potentiation. Brain health gets a boost along with long-term memory.
- Neuroprotection: Noopept prevents the release of excess glutamate in your brain. Glutamate is the brain’s primary excitatory neurotransmitter. When there’s a lack of oxygen in the brain, neurons can’t receive glutamate. This leads to toxic levels of glutamate within brain cells. And can result in neuron damage and death. Diminishing this neurotoxic overload with Noopept is potent neuroprotection.
- Brain Waves: Noopept boosts Alpha and Beta brain wave activity. You become calmer and more creative. It’s easier to go into a flow state. And you are prone to making innovative and resourceful decisions.
Whether you’re looking to increase neuro performance or gain and advantage over your competition, Kiya Longevity’s Neuro Performance sublingual spray allows you to get the full benefits of Noopept.
Want to learn more about Noopept?
Check out the latest Blog article on Noopept: 4 Major Benefits of Supplementing With Noopept
Norepinephrine is a stress hormone. It affects parts of the brain where attention and responding actions are controlled. Along with epinephrine, norepinephrine underlies the fight-or-flight response. It increases heart rate, triggering the release of glucose from energy stores. and increases blood flow to skeletal muscle.
Norepinephrine is synthesized from dopamine by dopamine β-hydroxylase. It is released from the adrenal medulla into the blood as a hormone. It is also a neurotransmitter in the central nervous system and sympathetic nervous system where it is released from noradrenergic neurons. The actions of norepinephrine are carried out by binding to adrenergic receptors.
Norepinephrine is not available in pill form as either a supplement or a drug. Medically, intravenous norepinephrine is used to raise dangerously low blood pressure in emergency situations such as when a patient is in shock or having a heart attack.
But you can take the following supplements that encourage the synthesis of norepinephrine instead:
- Tyrosine: L-tyrosine, a precursor of both norepinephrine and dopamine, is a good natural option to consider if you have norepinephrine-related depression, and it can work surprisingly fast.
- Phenylalanine: Phenylalanine is a master precursor that gets converted into norepinephrine, tyrosine, dopamine, and epinephrine.
- L-Carnitine: Another amino acid, l-carnitine, is an excellent brain function booster and natural antidepressant that works by increasing levels of both norepinephrine and serotonin.
Oxiracetam is another member of the racetam class that comes close in terms of stimulation to phenylpiracetam. It was developed in the 1970s and it’s one of the safest stimulating nootropics. Still, its mechanism of action is still being researched. Oxiracetam provides one with increased endurance to carry out tasks and the speed of recall necessary to maintain prolonged focus.
It’s believed to have the potential to halt brain damage caused by dementia. Oxiracetam also causes one to feel wide awake by increasing blood flow in the brain and speeding up energy metabolism. Oxiracetam is a mild stimulant, though it’s mostly mental-related and focused on wakefulness rather than forced stimulation.
Oxytocin is produced in the hypothalamus and is secreted into the bloodstream by the posterior pituitary gland. Secretion depends on the electrical activity of neurons in the hypothalamus, and it is released into the blood when these cells are excited.
Demoxytocin (desamino oxytocin) is a synthetic analog of oxytocin peptide. It is more potent compared to oxytocin, has a longer half-life, and can be used sublingually. All these factors make this product a perfect candidate for use instead of oxytocin.
Oxytocin is a subject of a lot of neurological research. It was shown to improve trust between people and make them more generous. It also plays a crucial role in bonding and can therefore help people come to an agreement easier.
Phosphatidylserine is a chemical that is important for many functions in the human body, especially in the brain. It is part of the cell structure in the body. The body can make phosphatidylserine, but most of what it needs comes from foods. It can also be taken as a supplement. These supplements were once made from cow brain. Now they are commonly made from cabbage or soy.
Phosphatidylserine is used for Alzheimer disease and normal age-related decline in memory and thinking skills. It is also used for athletic performance, ADHD, and many other purposes, but there is no good scientific evidence to support most of these uses.
The decline in memory and thinking skills that occur normally with age:
Taking phosphatidylserine that is made from cow brain by mouth seems to improve attention, language skills, and memory in aging people with declining thinking skills. But most phosphatidylserine supplements are now made from soy or cabbage. It's not clear if these supplements have the same effects.
Alzheimer’s disease: Taking phosphatidylserine that is made from cow brain by mouth can improve some of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease after 6-12 weeks of treatment. But it might become less effective over time. Most phosphatidylserine supplements are now made from soy or cabbage. It's not clear if these supplements have the same effects.
Pine Bark Extract
French maritime pine bark extract is a nootropic supplement found in the bark of the French Maritime Pine Tree (Pinus pinaster). It contains a powerful antioxidant called proanthocyanidin which has many positive benefits for neurological health.
Pine Bark extract helps:
Neurotransmitters: Pycnogenol helps modulate the activity of catecholamines dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine, and an increase in the GSH-disulphide reductase (GSSG-R) ratio, neurotransmitter problems which contribute to hyperactivity in ADHD.
Cerebral Circulation: Pycnogenol helps boost blood flow to and within your brain by increasing nitric oxide which helps dilate blood vessels. And helping repair and maintain the health of the lining of blood vessels.
Neurodegenerative Disease: Pycnogenol prevents the accumulation of oxidatively damaged proteins and may reduce the risk of diseases like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and Huntington’s.
Piracetam is a chemical that is made in a lab. In some countries in Europe, it is used as a drug to improve memory and brain function. It is a chemical that is thought to help cells in the brain and blood vessels to function better. During aging and in some kinds of diseases, the membrane that surrounds cells starts to get stiff. Cells with a stiff membrane do not function as well. Some scientists think that piracetam helps maintain the membrane that surrounds cells so that they continue to function well.
Piracetam is commonly used for breath-holding attacks, seizure disorder (epilepsy), dizziness (vertigo), a learning disorder marked by difficulty reading (dyslexia), and a movement disorder often caused by antipsychotic drugs (tardive dyskinesia). It is also used for dementia, schizophrenia, sickle cell disease, and many other conditions.
Phenylalanine is a highly bio-available essential amino acid. Your body naturally converts L-Phenylalanine into the amino acid L-Tyrosine which is then converted into L-DOPA. Decarboxylation of L-DOPA results in the synthesis of the neurotransmitter dopamine.
As a nootropic supplement, you may find several different forms of Phenylalanine available. L-Phenylalanine is the natural form found in proteins. L-Phenylalanine can be a highly effective nootropic for boosting cognitive function because it boosts norepinephrine and dopamine production. Resulting in increased attention, motivation and working memory.
Cognitive Stress: L-Phenylalanine helps produce the catecholamine-triad of neurotransmitters dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine. Sleep deprivation and extreme stressors like heat and cold can deplete catecholamine levels. L-Phenylalanine restores them to preserve optimal cognition.
Neurotransmitters: Phenylalanine is a necessary precursor for dopamine, norepinephrine and epinephrine. As your dopamine levels increase, you’re better able to concentrate, organize your thoughts, and stay productive.
Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD): L-Phenylalanine can be an effective treatment for some with ADHD symptoms. L-Phenylalanine works in synergy with pharmaceutical drugs like Ritalin and Adderall by boosting extracellular levels of dopamine. Helping these drugs be more effective and mitigating side effects like crashes when the drug wears off.
Phenylpiracetam is a potent stimulating nootropic that is part of the racetam class. It’s a synthesized version of piracetam with an added phenyl ring. This makes it structurally similar to amphetamines and its effects also come to resemble popular stimulants. Phenylpiracetam increases dopamine and norepinephrine levels, as well as acetylcholine, which is typical of racetam nootropics.
Users report that phenylpiracetam is close to Modafinil in its effects, though it does have a few differences in its felt experience. In addition to its mentally boosting benefits, phenylpiracetam also provides anxiolytic effects that make it ideal for ease of working under stressful conditions. Russian cosmonauts used to take it to mitigate the stress of working in space without impeding cognitive abilities.
PQQ is pyrroloquinoline quinone. It is sometimes called methoxatin, pyrroloquinoline quinone disodium salt, and a longevity vitamin. It is a compound made by bacteria and is found in fruits and vegetables. PQQ supplements are often used for energy, memory, enhanced focus, and overall brain health.
Studies show that PQQ raises blood flow to the cerebral cortex. This is the part of your brain that helps with attention, thinking, and memory. This supplement also seems to prevent memory problems in older people. PQQ might help with better and longer sleep. By easing fatigue, it might also help to improve moods.
Nerve growth factor (NGF) is a small protein that plays a critical role in the growth, development, and maintenance of neurons. PQQ has been found to promote NGF production, with one study showing a 40-fold increase in NGF. Increased levels of NGF help to maintain the health of the brain and peripheral nerves and stimulate nerve regeneration.
Resveratrol is a polyphenol stilbenoid and phytoalexin that certain plants produce in response to stress, such as injury or fungal infection. It is a naturally occurring compound found most famously in red wine.
Resveratrol is gaining a reputation among neurohackers for controlling brain inflammation, boosting dopamine, helping reverse cognitive decline, and fighting brain cell aging.
- Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF): Higher levels of BDNF are associated with increased intelligence, mood, productivity, and memory and decreased risks of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Resveratrol increases BDNF in your hippocampus.
- Neuroprotectant: Resveratrol protects your brain by boosting the production of the enzyme heme oxygenase which protects against oxidative stress. Resveratrol shields mitochondria from injury during interruptions in blood flow such as a stroke. And Resveratrol prevents the release of toxic glutamate during a stroke. It even protected the brain when administered 6 hours after a stroke.
- Cerebral Circulation: Resveratrol increases blood flow in your brain. Improving your brain’s blood flow increases oxygen and nutrient levels. Providing your brain with the fuel it needs for optimized cognition.
Rhodiola Rosea, also called Golden Root or Arctic Root, is an adaptogen herb that’s been in use for centuries in Russia and Scandinavia. This herb is incredibly effective in remedying fatigue, brain fog, as well as sluggishness, and poor memory. Its adaptogen properties and stimulating effects make it an ideal study aid during periods of high stress. Rhodiola boosts serotonin and norepinephrine levels, which leads to improved mood and a wakeful state.
In addition to its tonic and nootropic effects, Rhodiola also possesses amazing health benefits. The Journal of the American Botanical Council has conducted no less than 180 studies on this herb since 1960. These studies have shown its effectiveness in treating impotence, infections, infertility, flu, tuberculosis, and depression. Also, Rhodiola helps the brain repair and regrow neurons by activating the synthesis and re-synthesis of ATP. The herb provides protection against oxidative stress through one of its components, namely salidroside.
Sabroxy (Oroxylum Indicum)
Oroxylum Indicum is a species of flowering plant belonging to the monotypic genus Oroxylum and the family Bignoniaceae and is commonly called the Indian trumpet tree.
Sabroxy is a standardized extract prepared from the dried bark of the Indian trumpet tree (Oroxylum Indicum), containing a minimum of 10% Oroxylin A, to help improve memory and to support neuronal functions. Sabroxy, via its Oroxylin A content, can significantly increase neuroplasticity in the brain. Enhanced neuroplasticity can produce many positive effects on cognitive function, such as increasing memory, focus, and mood. In addition to this, Oroxylin A also significantly increases dopamine levels in the brain.
Serotonin is the chemical nerve cells produce. It sends signals between your nerve cells. Serotonin is found mostly in the digestive system, although it’s also in blood platelets and throughout the central nervous system.
Serotonin helps regulate your mood naturally. When your serotonin levels are normal, you feel:
- More focused
- Less anxious
- More emotionally stable
Supplements that provide Serotonin are:
- Ginseng: Ginseng does double-duty during the flow state. This adaptogen provides neuroprotection on the dopaminergic pathway. And is also a potent serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). Working as an antidepressant and contributing to a great conclusion to flow.
- L-Theanine: Commonly found in green tea, L-Theanine helps boost GABA, serotonin, and dopamine in your brain.
- Rhodiola Rosea: Rhodiola helps improve alertness, energy, memory and mood, is anti-anxiety and anti-depressant, reduces fatigue and boosts cognition and concentration. Rhodiola influences serotonin and norepinephrine levels in your brain. The suggested dosage of Rhodiola extract is 150 – 200 mg per day.
- Vitamins B6, B8, and B9 are all needed to help the synthesis of serotonin in your brain.
St. John's Wort
St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum) is a potent antidepressant. This sprawling, leafy herb grows throughout much of the world’s temperate regions. St. John’s wort has remained a popular treatment for anxiety, depression, cuts, and burns. Recent research shows its effectiveness in treating cancer, inflammation, and bacterial and viral diseases. As a nootropic, and for cognitive health, St. John’s wort is as effective at relieving mild-to-moderate depression as the most commony prescribed SSRI and TCA (tricyclic) antidepressants.
Hyperforin is the major antidepressive constituent of St. John’s wort. Hyperforin inhibits the uptake of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine in the brain. By making more of each of these neurotransmitters available in the brain, the mood is elevated, and depressive symptoms decline.
The anti-anxiety effects of St. John’s wort have been attributed to the binding affinity of at least 10 different extracts of the herb including naphthodianthrones like hypericin, flavonoids, xanthones, and bioflavonoids for adenosine triphosphate (ATP).
Sulbutiamine is a synthesized derivative of vitamin B1 (thiamine). It was designed for those who are thiamine-deficient and suffering from fatigue. Sulbutiamine provides nootropic benefits to healthy people. It’s incredibly effective in increasing alertness and energy levels, as well as improving mood and reducing anxiety. Sulbutiamine increases the production of glutamate and dopamine, two chemicals that play a key role in well-being and drive. One study has found that it may also treat erectile dysfunction.
Tryptophan is one of the 23 proteinogenic (protein building) amino acids found in nature. Humans need this nutrient as an important component to process proteins and to synthesize the neurotransmitter Serotonin. Tryptophan is the sole precursor of serotonin. L-Tryptophan’s role in brain serotonin synthesis is critical for mood, behavior and cognition.
- Anxiety & Mood: Tryptophan is an essential amino acid needed to synthesize serotonin which plays a role in mood, sleep, learning and even appetite control.
- ADHD: Low levels of Tryptophan and serotonin imbalances in the brain are associated with ADHD. Studies have found that children with ADHD have 50% lower than average levels of Tryptophan.
- Neurotransmitters: Low levels of Tryptophan can result in short- and long-term memory loss. Supplementing with Tryptophan has been found to improve memory in healthy adults.
Thiamax contains thiamine tetrahydrofurfuryl disulfide, a derivative of thiamine (vitamin B1) with high bioavailability and solubility than thiamine and has been widely applied to health maintenance and disease therapy. Higher physical activities are associated with higher thiamine supplements for efficient energy metabolism.
This form has been shown to cross the blood-brain barrier and can bypass normal routes of thiamine absorption, with a higher rate of uptake both in the gut and at the cellular level. Thiamax also includes a small amount of magnesium (as magnesium taurate), which plays an important role in supporting how cells can use thiamine.
Uridine Monophosphate (UMP or 5′-uridylic acid) is a pyrimidine nucleoside found in all living organisms ranging from humans to bacteria. Uridine is essential for optimized cognition and memory throughout your life. When taken as a nootropic supplement, Uridine Monophosphate easily crosses the blood-brain barrier.
Uridine Monophosphate helps:
- To promote cognitive function
- To support healthy sleep patterns
- To promote working memory
- To support neurotransmission
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) is the first B vitamin to be discovered by researchers. “Thio-vitamine” refers to its sulfur-containing content. It’s called B1 because it was the first of the B complex vitamins to be identified.
Thiamine is a coenzyme used by your body to metabolize food for energy. And to maintain proper heart, nerve, and brain function. Thiamine also helps digest and extract energy from food. It turns nutrients into adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is the cellular energy source synthesized within mitochondria.
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) helps:
- Brain Optimization: Thiamine is critical for increasing focus, energy, and preventing memory loss. And can ward off inflammation. Healthy brain function is crucial for good decision making.
- Neurotransmitters: Thiamine is essential for producing the neurotransmitter acetylcholine (ACh). ACh is used to relay messages between neurons in your brain and is critical for cognition, learning, and memory.
- Mood: Thiamine helps your body withstand stress. A lack of energy can contribute to poor mood and motivation. Thiamine can boost your mood and defend against depression and anxiety.
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) is one of 8 B-vitamins. B12 is water-soluble and found in every single cell in your body. Vitamin B12 is essential for the synthesis of DNA, RNA, and neurotransmitters, the maintenance of myelin sheaths protecting neurons, and red blood cell formation.
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) helps:
- Cerebral Circulation: Vitamin B12 is needed to regulate homocysteine. High homocysteine levels are linked to inflammation that can lead to blood vessel damage and possible plaque buildup leading to heart attack or stroke.
- Neurotransmitters: Vitamin B12 is a cofactor in the synthesis of the neurotransmitters dopamine, GABA, norepinephrine, and serotonin, affecting alertness, cognition, memory, and mood.
- Mood: Vitamin B12 helps increase brain serotonin and dopamine levels, decreasing anxiety, depression, fatigue, and pain.
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