Our society today is fast-paced and very centered on achievement. To be seen as a success, you have to achieve everything that society expects. Unfortunately, a lot of what society sees as “must haves” are actually a result of clever marketing campaigns.
So, when we do achieve a relative level of success, it’s never quite enough. There’s always more to do and more to achieve. We have to strive to have it all, but we can never quite get there because something new always comes up.
So, what do you do? Do you run off to an Ashram in India, change your name and live without all of the comforts of modern life? Imagine cutting off completely from TV, the internet, your smartphone. Now, while that might seem appealing for all of five seconds, it’s also not the most practical solution. So, it’s back to the rat race for you. It’s back to working twelve to fourteen hours a day, six days a week. It’s exhausting, but nobody said that the road to success would be easy, did they?
We don’t eat right, don’t exercise, and don’t get enough downtime – so it’s only a matter of time before something has to give. Which is why we take supplements—such as nootropics— to provide our bodies with the nutrients that they need.
Quick Answer -- Top 3 Nootropics Available Online
What are Smart Drugs?
Smart drugs or Nootropics are supplements that are aimed at helping you deal with the effects of stress, but more particularly aimed at enhancing brain function. These supplements are designed to make it easier to think and stay focused over extended periods of time.
If we look at what the manufacturers claim they can do, it’s hardly surprising that these supplements have taken off in a big way over the last few years, but do they work as advertised? That’s a matter of some debate. Some people swear by them, while others think they’re a waste of money.
As with all things to do with supplements, the benefits for you boil down to the quantities of ingredients and the qualities of those ingredients. If you’re choosing a cheaper, less reputable brand, you probably won’t feel much difference, because what you’re getting is mostly filler.
As with standard vitamin supplements, the form of the ingredients used makes a big difference to whether or not the body can actually make use of them. It’s all pretty confusing, especially considering the vast number of these supplements on the market today.
Prescription Smart Drugs
Students are well known to take prescription nootropics to help stay awake to study/complete assignments. These are actually amphetamines such as Adderall (used by ADHD sufferers) and often bought on the black market.
We do not advise taking amphetamines unless you have a medical condition that requires it.
Benefits of Smart Drugs
Here are the main benefits smart drugs can provide according to the suppliers.
- Improve concentration and alertness
- Improve memory
- Aid sleep
- Help ensurance
- Reduce stress
Benefits for Fitness & Running
As a runner of fitness addict you are looking for nooropics that will give you endurance and focus to improve your workouts/runs.
Where Is the Best Place to Buy Smart Drugs?
There are dedicated websites selling nootropic supplements, but as the industry is so new it is hard to tell if they are reputable. We advise buying direct from Amazon as you can read all the verified reviews and make your own decision. The nootropic supplements we have reviewed below are all from Amazon.com and all have a lot of good reviews.
- REDUCES FATIGUE & MENTAL FOGGINESS - Nootropics and smart drugs are concentration essentials that are known to reduce fatigue, while fighting the detrimental effects of mental fogginess. Our brain vitamins contain DMAE, which may produce feelings of improved mental clarity, cognitive ability, memory and physical energy.
- ENHANCES BRAIN HEALTH & MEMORY - Our Brain Booster supplement is a natural nootropic pill that may provide memory-enhancing results that help to improve brain health and memory.
- HIGH QUALITY NOOTROPIC - Our Brain Supplement works to enhance cognitive function through key nutrient supplementation. Each nootropic capsule contains highly effective ingredients that may improve memory, focus, mental clarity and alertness
- IMPROVES MOOD & LOGICAL PROCESSING - The best high quality ingredients in our Brain Booster work to help improve mood and enhance alertness in order to aid logical processing. When the mind is energized and in the right state, logical reasoning and creativeness are enhanced.
- ONLY THE BEST INGREDIENTS - All products are made from all high quality vitamins, minerals & herbal extracts, without the use of harmful additives; non-GMO, and free of hormones and ingredients free from gluten. All products are manufactured in the USA with global ingredients in an FDA-registered, GMP certified laboratory.
Vital Vitamins Brain Booster in capsule form is aimed at men and women looking for a way to decrease work-fatigue. Better than 6 cups of coffee and without the caffeine jitters. Brain Booster is a stack of Nootropics that include vitamins, minerals, and herbal remedies.
As we become fatigued towards the end of a working day, the ability to focus will slide away. These capsules are solely aimed at improving focus and the retention of information. The body uses vitamin B12 to produce red blood cells, cells that transport nutrients, and oxygen.
6 nootropic stacks.
Gelatin capsules — not vegan.
B12 deficiency is a serious condition, which leads to fatigue and poor concentration. There is over 8-thousand percent of your RDA of B12 in each capsule. Enough vitamin B-12 to boost your brain, with plenty left over for the rest of your body.
Vital Vitamins suggest that DMAE on its own may help those with learning difficulties, such as ADHD, and help combat low energy. Most importantly, DMAE is aimed at sharpening focus and improving memory.
B12 — production of red blood, improves energy.
Bacopa Monnieri extracts — learning, memory.
Phosphatidylserine — focus, memory.
Ginkgo Biloba — learning.
Rhodiola Rosea extracts — anxiety, fatigue.
DMAE — for memory, focus, even for ADHD.
Bacopa Monnieri extract and Ginkgo Biloba both showed evidence of helping with intense periods of learning. In the past, these extracts formed a part of treating epilepsy. These plants, along with Rhodiola Rosea extract, have also shown their abilities in combating anxiety and stress.
Phosphatidylserine forms a fatty-protection around brain cells, slowing their death rate. Specifically, Phosphatidylserine helps the brain cells that send internal messages. There are increasing proofs that, as we get older, the production of this fatty substance drops. And as production drops, it increases the chances of neurodegenerative diseases.
All these benefits are stacked together in a convenient capsule, without the need to source all the individual nootropics. By stacking nootropics, their compounds become more potent, covering more possible deficiencies.
Good for those new to nootropics.
Low level of stacking.
DMAE can cause headaches.
You have a memory like an elephant and enough focus to remember every word you read, but your eyes are clamping shut after 30 minutes. Caffeine is always the go-to source of energy, when you are trying to avoid the candy bars, and no one wants to take synthetic enhancers.
Bulletproofs Unfair Advantage offers an alternative to boosting energy with caffeine and quick-sugars. Oleic acid as a source of omega-9 is a fatty acid known to increase good cholesterol and reduce plaque build-up in arteries.
It comes in ampules.
Tastes of fruit.
Biohacking is a serious business, and it takes a stack of compounds to get the full benefits from each. Omega-9, on its own, will not solve all your inflammatory issues, but you can boost it with caprylic acid. Caprylic acid is BulletProof’s Brain Octane oil, which also has fungal fighting properties.
Together these compounds aid in the free travel of blood through your brain, keeping it well-nourished and ready for work. And you also need to look after the cells that supply all this nourishment.
Oleic acid / omega-9
Bulletproof Brain Octane oil / caprylic acid triglycerides — anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, lower cholesterol.
Ubiquinone / CoQ10 — energy-production in the cells.
Pyrroloquinoline quinone / PQQ — known to improve the production of nerve cells.
Phosphatidylcholine — energy production and storage in cells, which supplies choline.
Ubiquinone and Pyrroloquinoline Quinone (PQQ) are both great compounds to boost the energy levels in your cells. PQQ is essential for the development of infants and is found in breast milk. PQQ is also present in kiwi and soil, not that a handful of soil is a good thing to eat.
Ubiquinone, also referred to as Coenzyme CoQ10, is commonly used to treat CoQ10 deficiency. CoQ10 helps to battle mitochondrial disorder, which affects levels of energy in the body’s cells. PQQ and CoQ10 stacked together to give an excellent boost in energy. The ampules that come in the box are intended to be taken up to 4 times a day, or when fatigue hits.
Protects brain cells.
Covers all your energy boosting needs.
Less of a memory-enhancing compound.
Not everyone likes the taste of the fruit.
- MOTIVATE YOUR BRAIN: VIA Nootropics special Focus formula can help you accomplish your goals by giving you enhanced cognition, motivation, and concentration.* VIA Nootropics are ideal for public speaking
- IMPROVE YOUR MOOD: Feel the remarkable effects of Nootropics with the ability manage mood, enhance capability, clear brain fog, and increase feeling of positivity.*
- ENHANCE MEMORY & LEARNING ABILITY: Work or study productivity in busy environments with increased concentration. VIA Nootropic focus formula provides long periods of concentrated effort for getting tasks done, and getting them done well. This specific formula will improve learning ability, recall, problem solving and motivation.
- DIRECTIONS:Take 1 Nootripic capsule when in need off a focus boost or in need of a positive mood enhancement.
- 100% MONEY-BACK GUARANTEE: Not happy? No problem! We are so confident that you will love VIA that we back it with a 60-day money back guarantee, hassle-free.
VIA has ensured that you meet your B-12 requirements. This capsule has 20-thousand-times your Recommended Daily Dosage in each capsule. Vitamin B-3 is only 125% RDA, as this is known to cause side effects when taken in excessive amounts. B-3, in the form of niacin, is common in dairy, and it will help to reduce high cholesterol.
Vitamin B-3 stack with B-12, and improves the beneficial aspects of each, which is to support healthy cells. Healthy cells mean better transportation of nutrients and efficient storage of energy for when you need it most. For example, in situations where you may need to speak publicly, the energy is on tap to motivate the crowd and improve your cognition.
It improves the wellness of cells.
Better focus and usage of energy.
Bacopa Monnieri, Rhodiola Rosea, and Ginkgo Biloba have all shown their ability to improve cognition. These three are a great stack, which will help with learning under stressful and anxious periods, such as approaching exams. And a positive mood is half the battle when it comes to passing exams and presenting.
Phosphatidylserine stacks well with Rhodiola Rosea and Alpha GPC. Phosphatidylserine is another source of Choline, which helps with anxiety and memory issues. Alpha GPC, on its own, will improve memory. Alpha GPC is a derivative of decomposed plant material, such as soybeans.
In fact, Alpha-GPC is medically recognized in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and mini-strokes . Alpha-GPC has also shown to help with mood, thinking skills, and learning. It also improves the positive effects of caffeine and enhances mental and physical performance.
Vitamins B3 and B12.
Bacopa Monnieri extract.
Phosphatidylserine — Improves the protection of brain cells.
Ginkgo Biloba extract.
Rhodiola Rosea extract.
Bioperine — From black pepper, for mood and anxiety.
Bioperine is extracted from black pepper and used to increase the absorption of certain nootropics. Your body attempt to metabolize certain nootropics, reducing to them to a less potent dose. Bioperine will give the nootropics time to do their wonders before the body ends them. The effect is felt as boosting your mood and memory while reducing anxiety.
Bioperine will work well with DMAE and Huperzine, which all help to improve brain function, and have even shown to help ADHD. VIA Premium Nootropics are a fantastic stack for those suffering stage fright or working up to a big exam. These capsules are also gluten-free and suitable for vegetarians.
Enhanced memory and learning.
Vegetarian and gluten-free.
Mind Lab Pro has added something for everyone, from vitamin-Bs to Lion’s mane mushrooms. Cells are essential for oxygen and energy transfers, which your brain needs to function properly. Pine bark extract stacks with most nootropics. Pine bark is a good supply of antioxidants, the reaction that damages cells, including those in the brain.
Sharp-PS and Citolines stack well with Pine Bark, as does Rhodiola, to boost the antioxidant effects and to give you even more energy. And these nootropics boost energy without the unpleasant side effects of drinking caffeine. Well-controlled releases of energy lead to better focus and mood, while also protecting your brain cells over the longer term.
Vegan and gluten-free.
Bacopa also stacks well with pine bark, and even more so with vitamins B-6, B-9 and B-12 to enforce the fatty cell protection around brain cells. L-tyrosine is another good stack to have with vitamin-Bs and enforce cell barriers. But the amino acid L-tyrosine is better recognized for its effect on memory and mood.
Researchers are looking into the effects of the L-Tyrosine. And so far, the research has seen L-tyrosine reduce stress and improve thought while multi-tasking. Tests showed that both reaction times and focus improved when taking this nootropic.
Citicoline / Cognizin®.
Phosphatidylserine/ Sharp PS® — Green from Sunflower Lecithin.
Bacopa Monnieri extract.
Organic Lion’s Mane Mushroom.
Maritime Pine Bark extract.
Vitamins — B-6, B-9, B-12.
For improvement in general thinking, Mind Labs have added L-Theanine to the mix. L-Theanine stacks well with nootropics that improve the production of brain cells and brainwaves. The brain uses a sensitive form of electric communication to pass information from cell to cell.
L- Theanine may modulate Alpha-brain waves, particularly the ones that affect focus while stressed. And experiments have correlated the nootropic’s ability to sharpen senses and improve cognition. This applies to both those that are young and old.
By stacking all these nootropics together, you end up with a powerful solution for keeping yourself mentally sharp. We all want more memory, energy, and structured learning with the least amount of pain. Mind Lab’s Pro formula is a great way to prepare for those big exams, or for protecting your brain as you get older.
Best range of nootropics.
For the brain and the rest of the body.
Range of vitamin-Bs.
Neuro Peak Brain Support Supplement
Neuro Peak Brain Support supplement promises to help improve your memory, keep you focused, and clear away brain fog. The formulation is designed to boost the oxygenation to your brain and support good circulation. It also aims to provide a significant anti-oxidant boost and help with the production of neurotransmitters.
It will give you a lot of energy and is useful if you are working in a high-pressure environment.
• DMAE (Dimethylaminoethanol): This helps your brain to produce more acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter. This neurotransmitter is essential when it comes to muscular control. Improved levels are thought to help relieve muscular aches and pains.
• Bacopa Monnieri: This is a herb that provides Bacosides, natural compounds that support the production of Kinase. Kinase is a protein that is used by the body in the replacement of old neurons and the formation of new neural links.
• Phosphatidylserine: This is a phospholipid that is required for the maintenance of the cell membrane. It is believed to improve the health of the nervous system, the ability to learn, and the ability to recall facts.
• Rhodiola Rosea Extract: Used by the Tsars. Okay, we made that one up – but it has been used for centuries in Russia as a performance enhancer and anti-stress agent. It is popular amongst sportspeople because it provides an energy boost. It also helps you focus and remain calm.
• Gingko Biloba: This has been on the list of brain boosters for thousands of years. It helps to give a similar boost to that of caffeine, minus the jittery side effect. It’s also an effective anti-oxidant.
• It’s just one pill a day
• You can safely double the dose if you want to
• There is no caffeine in this supplement
• It does contain ingredients that have been scientifically proven to be effective
• You have a one-month, no-questions-asked guarantee
• You should start seeing results almost immediately
• May cause nausea at first
• Other side effects may include headaches, gastrointestinal upsets, insomnia, etc.
Havasu Nutrition Extra Strength Brain Supplement
Billed as the “Premium Brain Supplement,” this formula was designed to give you an energy boost, improve your mood, support cognitive function, and mental focus. According to the manufacturers, it will help you raise your game to a whole new level.
Havasu Nutrition Extra Strength Brain supplement is a high-quality supplement that packs a real punch. It helps to stimulate circulation to your brain, and so improve cognitive function. While this supplement should provide a boost to anyone, it is particularly useful for those who are middle-aged or older.
This is thanks to the inclusion of Phosphatidylserine which helps to keep the neurons in your brain firing properly. The Gingko Biloba in the supplement helps to support memory and gives you a cognitive boost.
• Bacopa Monnieri: This is an herb that provides Bacosides, natural compounds that support the production of Kinase. Kinase is a protein that is used by the body in the replacement of old neurons and the formation of new neural links.
• St. John’s Wort: Nature’s anti-depressant helps to boost the levels of serotonin in the brain and helps to stabilize and lift the mood. If you’re on anti-depressants already, you should avoid supplementing with St. John’s Wort as it could lead to overproduction of serotonin.
• Gingko Biloba: This has been on the list of brain boosters for thousands of years. It helps to give a similar boost to that of caffeine, minus the jittery side effect. It’s also an effective anti-oxidant.
• Phosphatidylserine: This is another phospholipid that is important for protecting the cells in your brain and keeping the neurons firing as they should. As we age, production of this phospholipid naturally decreases.
• Acetyl-L Carnitine: This a chemical that the body can produce itself as long as your diet is sound. It has shown promise in the slowing of degenerative brain diseases, like Alzheimer’s, promotes good brain health overall, lifts the mood, and may help to balance blood sugar.
• Huperzine-A: This is a compound that is extracted from Chinese Club Moss. It helps to improve brain function by inhibiting the enzyme that breaks down Acetylcholine, leaving more of the Acetylcholine available for the brain to use.
• Made in the USA
• Quality ingredients
• Will last a month
• Natural formulation
• Tested by an independent party for quality control purposes
• Sixty-day full-money-back guarantee
• Some reviewers reported migraines
• Might increase hunger
• St. John’s Wort should not be used in conjunction with anti-depressants
Tru Niagen works by boosting the levels of Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide (NAD) in your blood. This is a compound required by every cell in your body and plays a vital role in the regulation of the aging of the cells.
Lower levels have been linked to faster-aging cells, so this supplement has generated a lot of interest in anti-aging circles. It provides support for the brain and is thought to slow the progression of degenerative diseases.
It also helps the transference of glucose and fatty acids from your diet to the mitochondria in your cells. The mitochondria, in turn, produce energy and so the NAD indirectly can help to boost energy levels.
NAD can also help your body’s muscular system recover from a strenuous workout. It is a popular supplement amongst athletes as a result. High levels of stress, a poor diet, or overwork can lead to these levels being depleted more quickly than they should. Our bodies are less able to produce NAD compound as we age.
Niagen, the only ingredient in the Tru Niagen supplement, has been noted to have no adverse side effects. The FDA reports it as being, “Generally Recognized as Safe.”
• It only contains the one ingredient – Niagen.
• Made in the United States
• Quality-sourced ingredients
• Might help to regulate blood sugar
• Gives a definite boost of energy
• More expensive than some other supplements
• Some people found it caused them to feel on edge
• May increase blood pressure
Best Individual Nootropics
As we get older, our body’s hormones struggle to keep up with the demand for building new cells. Brain cells die as a normal process; chemicals such as alcohol increase brain cell death. Citicoline supports the production of brain cell growth. And citicoline may help to slow the onset of Alzheimer’s disease . Citicoline is like synthetic nootropics with the same function, but with fewer allergic reactions.
-Supports brain cell growth.
Studies have shown that citicoline increases the level of electrical activity in the brain and improves blood flow. Medical papers site improved memory, and critical thinking skills, having used the nootropic. This sort of nootropic also shows potential benefits to those approaching the end of their schooling years. Citicoline is found in natural products. Good sources of the compound are in foods such as peanuts, rice, and eggs. Many of us will get smaller amounts from meats, fish, and milk.
-Found in meat and dairy.
Citicoline behaves like a vitamin and is one of many nutrients essential for the body to function. Not only does it improve brain cell growth, but it also improves mood and helps metabolism. There is evidence that deficiency of the compound leads to muscle atrophy and the liver struggling to remove fat.
-Stacks with tyrosine.
High-protein food such as peanuts, meat, and bananas have a lot of phenylalanine. In turn, the body can metabolize this phenylalanine into tyrosine. Eggs, and other dairy products, also have a lot of this compound along with many amino acids that help with muscle growth. Tyrosine, on its own, is hard to come by, but it forms an essential role in keeping the mind sharp.
-Clear thinking under stress.
Tyrosine is more beneficial to those that have trouble concentrating under stressful condition. It may even aid university students about to take their final exams but has no major benefit under normal conditions. The compound does have a strong correlation with improving memory while multitasking.
-Found in dairy.
Pharmacologists use the specific hormones of dopamine and norepinephrine. These hormones improve the health of those suffering from anxiety or mood swings. So far, the medical industry has experimented with using tyrosine to treat Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and even Arthritis. Tyrosine is an attractive solution, as it is inexpensive to make, and abundant compared to other methods of treatment.
-Stacks with citicoline and ashwagandha.
Ashwa—what? Meaning Horse Smell,’ as described by Asian Indians. Ashwagandha is an herb that grows on the eastern side of the meridian. And for 3000 years it has been an important part of ayurvedic medicine. The herb is the root of the shrub Withania somnifera, which also grows small rounded fruits and yellow flowers.
-Ancient use in medicine.
At one point, it was a key ingredient in treating mental issues and diabetes. The herb is now a respected natural remedy. Ashwagandha is still used to treat arthritis, heart disease, and cancers. The benefits are in the root; the berries are used as an emetic in some medical practices, and as a substitute to rennet in cheese making.
-It helps the mind and body.
Ashwagandha is showing great promise in the treatment of degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Experiments on rodents showed that the herb gave the brain a level of protection in the early stages and slowed the deterioration. Though this herb is not new to medicine, research is in the early stages. Currently, it is administered as a diuretic and as a sedative.
-It slows the degradation of brain cells.
Pregnant women are recommended not to use ashwagandha, as it may increase the chances of premature birth. But the fact that it is such an old remedy makes it much more appealing than resorting to a synthetic treatment.
-Stacks with tyrosine and lion’s mane mushrooms.
Lion’s Mane Mushrooms
The name developed from their appearance as they grow and dangle from trees. A white fungus, resilient to cold weather, which is a common breed in the Northern Hemisphere. These are another form of ancient remedy, which improves immunity and fights inflammation. The mushrooms are linked to nervous system recovery and show promise in improving brain function.
-A natural growing mushroom.
Studies of the mushrooms on mice showed improved memory and better observational functions. There is also continued research into the treatment of Alzheimer’s and other brain diseases with lion’s mane mushrooms.
-It improves brain function.
A study on senior Japanese citizens also showed an improvement in cognitive function. Memory retention decreased after a month of stopping the treatment. If foraging through the undergrowth does not sound appealing, it is possible to find lions mane as a packaged supplement.
-Stacks with citicoline, tyrosine, lion’s mane mushrooms, B12, Pterostilbene, and many others.
It always sounds very clinical to refer to this vitamin as B12, as if it were not essential. But, B12 is a crucial nootropic and an important vitamin. It is used by the body to create red blood cells. Red blood cells transport oxygen and nutrients to all your vital organs, including the brain. A sign of B12 deficiency is lacking energy and feeling fatigued all the time. A lack of B12 will also contribute to memory loss.
-Improves red blood cell production.
An easy source of B12 is from dairy and meats and some fish, not much use for a vegan. And B12 is not found in fruits, which means that most vegans resort to a supplement. It is also possible to find rice milk fortified with B12.
-Found in dairy.
-Stacks with omega-3, and caffeine.
Another compound that you will not find in general conversation around the dining table. Pterostilbene is in blueberries, and small levels in grapes, a good excuse to eat muffins. This does not extend to grapes made into wine since pterostilbene is destroyed in the fermentation process.
Pterostilbene is a polyphenol, an antioxidant, which helps with digestion and slows neurodegeneration. For example, caffeine is another source of polyphenol with similar effects. As a dietary agent, it stacks well with vitamins C and E and helps to reduce inflammation when suffering from heart conditions.
There are several studies that to show pterostilbene will reduce the aging effects Alzheimer’s has on the brain. Blueberry extracts also have proven links to their improvements in memory. Blueberries are not available everywhere, and extracts in the form of capsules are a common alternative.
-Stacks with omega-3 and B12.
What’s Our Final Verdict?
All of these supplements are made with ingredients that not only sound good, but that are actually effective. The manufacturers are reputable, and the side effects tend to be minimal. None of these supplements rely on caffeine to boost energy levels, so you shouldn’t crash once they wear off.
Which one is best? That depends on what you want out of it. The Tru Niagen is a good all-rounder. The Havasu is good for those who are a bit older, and the Neuro Peak should help if you are a student or work in a high-pressure environment.
Further Reading on the science of nootropics
Best Videos on Nootropics
Jamie is a running addict and gym junkie. He trains 7 days per week and is currently doing an MA in nutrition and sports science