Nootropics: Do they Work & How to Use them

By Ali Kuoppala | Last reviewed Mon 24 September 2018

Medical Review by Gerardo Sison, PharmD

Nootropics are a hot topic these days, especially as they grow in popularity and exposure from the biohacking community. They’ve been used for many years in more elite entrepreneur, business, and academic environments, however the general public is just now finding out more about them thanks to blogs, and independent researchers. A lot of people wonder “what are nootropics” – so in today’s post we will answer that question and look at a specific nootropic recommendation for better focus, memory, learning capacity, and lower stress naturally.

What Are Nootropics?

Nootropic is a term used to identify any compound that has can enhance brain function, but is also neuroprotective, which is an important caveat, as it distinguishes between something that is good for your brain (nootropics) vs something that can harm your brain, but may give a similar enhanced “feel” (like Adderrall).

The main thing somebody will feel when utilizing nootropics is an enhanced executive functioning: better learning, memory, focus and mental acuity.

Do Nootropics Work?

Like many natural and synthetic compounds, nootropics “work” for what they’re intended for, depending on what the substance is.

Many herbs can have a nootropic effect, but synthetic compounds like racetams also work extremely well for helping increase focus and working memory.

So yes, nootropics definitely work, you just need to do a little bit of research on which nootropics you would like to use, and to what effect.

If you’re looking for how to take nootropics, then I recommend reading this post “How To Take Nootropics.”

The Complete Nootropics ListComplete Nootropics List

Nootropics are typically broken down into several categories, based on the effect they can give, namely stimulants, nutraceuticals, racetams, and miscellaneous others.

Stimulant Nootropics

Amphetamines – while not technically neuroprotective, many people lump amphetamines into this category since they provide such a noticeable cognitive effect. However, they’re considered a regulated substance in almost all countries. Adderrall and Ritalin are the most common amphetamines you’ll run into. We do not generally recommend taking amphetamines.

Methylphenidate –  classified as a psychostimulant, methylphenidate has been shown to increase working memory, episodic memory, and attention.

Eugeroicsnamely modafanil and armodafanil, are wakefullness promoting agents.

Xanthinesthe most common, and extremely useful xanthine is caffeine.

Nicotine – nicotine has long been used as a nootropic substance, showing many improvements in attention, focus, alertness, and working memory.


Panax Ginseng – ginseng has a ton of great benefits for hormonal health, increasing testosterone, and libido but it is also classified as a nootropic as it can have some incredible cognitive benefits too.

Gingko Biloba – Gingko is another outstanding nootropic herb that helps promote lower cortisol and focus.

L-Theanine – is commonly stacked with Xanthines like caffeine and is also found in Testro-X, since it can not only help with energy, but also increasing GnRH output from the hypothalamus to the pituitary.


Racetams, such as piracetam, oxiracetam, and aniracetam, are structurally similar compounds, which are often marketed as cognitive enhancers and sold over-the-counter. Racetams are often referred to as nootropics, but this property of the drug class is not well established. The racetams have poorly understood mechanisms of action; however, piracetam and aniracetam are known to act as positive allosteric modulators of AMPA receptors and appear to modulate cholinergic systems.

What Nootropics Should You Take?

Hopefully your question of “what are nootropics” has been answered.

Now, you may be wondering which of the nootropics we recommend you try.

If your aim is to get rid of lingering brain fog and anxiety, lower your stress naturally, and increase focus and working memory, I highly recommend using these.

Nootropics: Do they Work & How to Use them was last modified: October 15th, 2018 by Ali Kuoppala