The Top 10 Best Nootropics … and the Worst
The top 10 best nootropics i.e. brain boosters… and also the worst.
Cautionary note about nootropics – they are temporary brain boosts, not for everyday usage in my experience (with the exception of nutrients and vitamins such as Omega-3s and vitamin C). Your brain needs a balanced chemistry and throwing it off for long periods not good. Vitamins and a diet that includes Omega 3’s are the best long term strategy for optimal brain function, along with physical and mental exercise.
Huperzine-A, the students best friend and my favorite best nootropic
A powerful short-term memory booster which readily crosses the blood brain barrier. It is quickly abosrbed by the body and also quickly eliminated via the urine, so it is best taken shoryly before memorizing tasks or taken several times a day for lasting effect. Huperzine-A has a neuroprotective effect against neurotoxins including glutamate(MSG) and organophosphate pesticides.
Huperzine-A has been used to help prevent and treat alsheimer’s disease.
Huperzine-A has also been used to help people recover from brain and spinal injuries.
As far as it’s nootropic brain boosting properties, Huperzine-A promotes growth of neural cells. It has been shown in tests to improve memory of high school students when compared to a placebo.
Take this together with Ginko Biloba and let me know how much of a creative productive machine it makes you in the comment section.
Nicotine – An ancient and still one of the best brain boosters, aside from the tobacco stigma
.Nicotine connects to nicotine receptors in your brain and enhances the pathways that control attention memory, motor function and pleasure sensation, no wonder it is one of the most addictive substances on Earth. Nicotine can improve coordination, memory, reaction time and improve mental vigilance.
Nicotine can improve short term memory and attention levels. In a study with people using nicotine, the nicotine group made less mistakes than the placebo group. This was using both nicotine patches and gum. (R)
Nicotine improves reaction time in studies done with reactions to visual cues. (R). You can test it yourself on our reaction time game post here. Nicotine is also a appetite suppressor so it can help control food cravings.
Methylene Blue – fascinating chemical with many beneficial properties
Methylene blue was the first synthetic medicine, first created in 1876 by German scientist Heinrich Caro. While normally used and a disinfectant for fish tanks and was used as a treatment for malaria is also a surprisingly powerful nootropic brain booster.
When taken in small doses methylene blue is one of the best nootropics. Methylene blue benefits mitochondria and energy formation, lowers oxidative stress, improves memory consolidation, protects the brain, is anti-cancer and is even an anti-depressant. This is because methylene blue is a monoamine oxidase inhibitor(MAOI).
One caution -Methylene blue should not be taken with MAOIs you can have a negative impact on the gut biology in large doses. Methylene blue can also cause high blood pressure.
Methylene blue has been investigated as a treatment of Alzheimer’s and dementia. It been found in studies to protect from the neural degeneration in Alzheimer’s disease. Methylene blue also partially repairs mitochondrial function and cellular metabolism. Because it is electron carrier in mitochondria it has also shown promise in treating Parkinson’s disease.
Any substance which increases mitochondrial function will increase both mental and physical energy. Methylene blue is used by the mitochondria during the energy production cycle and it greatly increases the mitochondria’s efficiency.
Methylene blue boosts your mental alertness, memory, drive and focus. It also elevates your mood and dopamine levels. (R)
Read more about the many surprising benefits of one of the best nootropics, methylene blue at Self Hacked
Order the highest purity pharmaceutical grade methylene blue direct here;
L-Theanine and caffeine
This is a component of black and green teas. Theanine promotes relaxation, alertness and and a calming effect which reduces stress and anxiety. L-Theanine can be used in combination with coffee to get the energy boost without the jitters.
In a study where people with schizophrenia took L-Theanine for 8 weeks, they reported less schizophrenic symptoms.
In a study that was with boys who had ADHD, they experienced higher quality of sleep.
In a study where participants took theanine, they performed mental tasks and experienced lower stress symptoms and lower rates and blood pressure in the placebo group.
L-Theanine can help increase memory and attention. New study and people with brain damage the combination of L-Theanine in Crea T improve memory turn mental exercise. This brain booster supplement also increased their attention span of alertness. The union has also shown improved attention for people who are prone to anxiety.
Ginko Biloba – the Nootropic Enhancer
Ginko used to be touted as a memory enhancement supplement, but it seems that is mostly beneficial when used in combination with other nootropics.
Increases blood flow to the brain and may improve cognitive performance according to the Mayo Clinic . Here they show many beneficial properties of Ginko.
Increases myelination after injury in animal studies. This helps recover from brain and spinal injuries.
Omega 3 DHA – the best nootropic foundation
Affects myelination in nervous cells and also affects the endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system is part of the entire nervous system, including the brain. Your body creates it’s own endocannabinoids using fatty acids from Omega 3s.
PQQ & CoQ10
These two taken together enhance mitochondria and with mitochondria been common trait in the brain they help improve brain function. Mitochondria like the batteries that Supply Power to your body. PQQ can support the production of nerve nerve growth factors which can improve memory function. PQQ bill Sumner protective against Alzheimer’s Parkinson’s brain injuries. This has been shown in studies on both the animals and humans. In one animal study ministration PQQ prior to a stroke reduced to the damaged brain size area .PQQ also protects the brain against damage from toxins which cause Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. PQQ improves the quality of sleep and it helps you fall asleep faster. PQQ increases myelin in the nervous system including the brain.
CBD cannabidiol – Brain and Nervous System Protector
CBD or cannabidiol is an extract from hemp that has very low THC so it is not psychoactive like marijuana. CBD attaches to the bodies own endoconnabinoid receptors and has many healthy benefits for the neurological system as well as because it is a potent anti-inflammatory.
CBD provides protection from anxiety and stress to the nervous and circulatory systems. CBD also has antidepressant effects which are fast acting and long lasting.
CBD can protect the brain from damage due to lack of oxygen, it has been shown in research to reduce the effects of brain trauma. Sport medicine specialists are starting to use it to treat brain injuries(must be administered within 48 hours of injury).
CBD also protects the brain from glutamate and free radical damage. It is a more potent antioxidant than vitamin C and E.
While cannabidiol is not your average nootropic, it can be used as a protection against brain damage and impairment. If stress or anxiety are reducing your brain function, CBD is a great way to counteract it. Inflammation also affects the brain and this is the cause of occasional after-meal headaches, basically your body is getting a inflammatory response to the food and your brain is very sensitive to these changes in your blood’s chemistry. CBD is an excellent anti-inflammatory to cancel out inflammation and keep your brain function running smooth.
Honorable Mentions – while not my favorites these are useful
Lion’s Mane – the neural growth mushroom
This mushroom increases the growth rate of myelin sheaths which are fatty layers around the neurons in the brain and are critical for the function of the nervous system.
LSD – not just for hippies anymore
While it is still illegal, people are still using micro-doses of LSD for creativity ,mood enhancement, increased empathy and increased suggestibility(increased openness). In micro-doses of LSD is about one 10th of a recreational groups. While at large doses can make you more susceptible to suggestibility you can have a bad trip at small doses you can increase Mood, Creativity, Energy, focus and empathy. It also does not cause hallucinations at these micro-doses.
Forskolin can increase dopamine over time and, similar to modafonil, this can increase wakefulness. Not enough conclusive research to back it yet.
This is the Indian plant that is an adept Aegean which helps your body that distress. Else who has been shown to improve memory, increase mood and enhance attention in people over 65. That’s not a fast to acting supplement it takes time using it to four weeks. It also is used to increase memory. That’s why it’s been used for Alzheimer’s and stress reducing properties, with people that have anxiety.
Unfortunately, there are some side effects of Bacopa Monnieri including lowered sperm count, dry mouth, and slow heart rate.
*And now here are some riskier synthetic nootropics and thus are in my worst nootropic category. Use at your own risk;
Modafonil – powerful but pro-inflammatory risk
A prescription narcolepsy medication that has gained a lot of popularity as a motivational brain boosting nootropic. Modafinil is good for motivation, wakefullness and problem solving mental abilities. It mainly used as a motivation and mental focus drive. Use one of the most popular sport robust four over jeepers. Modafonil increases dopamine and it will affect people differently depending on their bodies own dopamine receptors.
The risks – It does increase histamine and so may increase allergies. There is also a risk of severe immune reaction which affects people who react to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs NSAIDs. The increased irritation to the body may be one of the reasons for it’s awakening effects, just my observation.
Racetams are a group of nootropic brain boosters which all end in racetam. These include piracetam, aniracetam and phylpiracetam.
It isn’t fully understood how racetams work, there is just a lot of anecdotal evidence for their effectiveness as nootropic brain boosters. There are also reports of side effects of piracetam like brain fog, depression, muscle twitching, headaches. It effects people in different ways and it is not fully understood so I would be cautious with this one.
400 mg phenylpiractem taking daily for years to mythically improved brain function cognition and people who had a stroke
phenylpiracetam 18 for 30 days improved the logical function by 7% in those with brain damage and 12% in people with epilepsy. (R)
Aniracetam impoved memory in rat studies.
A study or Piracetam showed improved verbal learning ability after 14 days. (R)
Aniracetam has a stress reducing effect increases memory function. Can also increase speaking abilities as well as learning and memory and energy.
Some people find that Racetams deplete acetylcholine and this can lead to headaches. This can be remedied by eating egg yolks.
Amphetamines – the meth pill posing as a drug known as Adderall
Adderall is basically prescription drug form of methamphetamine. It is a powerful stimulant and in stimulation the brain, this can improve focus attention and motivation because it increases dopamine and norepinephrine . The problem is that increases anxiety and also causes increased stress. Adderall may also be addictive. A much safer stimulant would be coffee and L-theanine.
Leave a comment below and let me know what your favorite smart drug is and what experiences you have had with using brain booster supplements. Do you have any suggestions that I should add to this list?(both good and bad nootropics)