What are Nootropics?

Tray with medication and nootropics

 Article at a glance

  • Natural nootropics are not drugs, they are non-addictive, and are completely safe to consume
  • Nootropics support better attention, focus and cognitive performance
  • Nootropics include a blend of vitamins, herbal supplements, adaptogens, essential fatty acids, minerals and more!


Nootropics is a new phrase and term being used. If you’re unfamiliar with it, Nootropics' general use is to alter brain chemicals to enhance cognitive performance – they are supplements that are taken to improve brain power. They include a wide range of brain-boosting health benefits. 


Nootropics have gained popularity in today’s highly competitive society and are most often used to boost memory, focus, creativity, intelligence and motivation. They can be seen as giving an advantage to anyone’s brain power – which is so important in so many jobs and sports (both physical and electronic). 


Nootropics are often taken in supplement form and are often categorised as smart drugs. People consume them as tablets, powders or in doses in drinks, coffee or snacks

So what is a nootropic?


Nootropics are becoming more well known in western culture, however it was actually discovered and the term first came about in 1972, by a Romanian chemist Corneliu Giurgea [1] .


But it’s only recently that there has been more research and studies done. Manufacturers have started to use nootropics in their products and supplements and health practitioners have begun discussions over the use of many nootropics. Nootropic research may still be in its infancy, but it holds a lot of promise.


Nootropics can be a single supplement, or a few put together (known as a stack). Common examples are vitamins, minerals, amino acids, essential fatty acids, anti-inflammatory antioxidants and adaptogenic herbs. [3]


What are the different types?


There are natural nootropics and there are synthetic nootropics. Some people even categorise smart drugs or stimulants as nootropics.  


Some examples of the most popular natural nootropics are panax ginseng, natural caffeine, lion’s mane, ashwagandha, rhodiola rosea, L-theanine, creatine and bacopa monnieri. 


What is interesting, is many nootropic supplements have been popular for other reasons in the past, and now studies are proving they have amazing benefits for the brain, and they are being classed as nootropics. Many synthetic nootropics give a boost and a crash, whereas a lot of natural nootropics create a more gradual boost and do not have a sudden change in energy levels. 


Two good examples are creatine, and ginseng. 


Creatine is popular in the athletic and sports world as it can help build muscle mass, help with strength and bodybuilding. Yet there have also been findings to show that it works effectively as a nootropic to help with attention span, focus and alertness. 


One of the most well-known nootropic supplements is Panax ginseng. For thousands of years, it has been used in traditional Chinese medicine to promote brain function and mental processing. [4]


How do they work?


Nootropics should allow the user more control over their neurochemistry and alter the brain chemicals to help those who find difficulty with focus and concentration. 


They affect your brain by influencing the brain waves, cerebral blood flow, cellular energy, hormones, neurotransmitters, neuroplasticity or growth factors. [5]


Nootropics work differently from medicines, in order for them to work most effectively you need to be in good health for them to have improvement in your life. Which is why they are great to have when you already are a healthy individual looking for something to get further ahead. 


All nootropics have different functions, some work better in different doses and at different times throughout the day. Nootropics are generally taken in “stacks”, some nootropics are designed to be taken together, which is why if you purchase a nootropic supplement you will often notice there is more than just one type of nootropic inside but a combination. [3]




What are their benefits?


Nootropics benefits include the ability to have stronger attention span, higher levels of focus and productivity, lower levels of stress, better motivation, reduce brain fog, increase learning ability and a better memory. 


All nootropics will work slightly differently but most will be able to, increase brain energy, our brains can get exhausted with our daily activity and stress, modulate neurotransmitters, supply the brain with antioxidants, improve blood circulation and oxygen levels, help with brain cell repair, act as an adaptogen for the brain, provides neuroprotection, promotes focused relaxation. [6]


Nootropics have been shown to increase the cognition, attention and memory and focus of people with healthy brains. Many nootropics also promote the growth of neurons and the repair of brain tissue. Nootropics can also boost dopamine levels to boost moods. 


For those with brain disorders and conditions such as Dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and ADHD, nootropics can ease symptoms and increase cognition and focus [10]



The Verdict


Nootropics have many daily benefits including better memory and focus. It can assist those with healthy brains with cognition, attention and mood. Many nootropics have been used in medicine and alternative medicine for years and studies have proven their benefits, especially for those with brain disorders, such as ADHD.





[1] The Complete Introduction to Nootropics
[2] Nootropics
[3] What is a nootropic?
[4] Natural nootropics (smart drugs) to boost brainpower
[5] How do nootropics work?
[6] Do nootropics work?
[7] Establishing Natural Nootropics: Recent Molecular Enhancement Influenced by Natural Nootropic
[8] Natural Nootropic to Boost Your Working Memory
[9] Best Nootropics and Brain Supplements in 2022 | Extended Research & Studies
[10] What Are Nootropics?