A Listing of Natural Nootropic Supplements

There are several groups of nootropics, including natural nootropic supplements.  Natural nootropic supplements have been around for a long time, but only recently have they started being treated as nootropics in the sense of providing a boost to cognitive abilities.  The purpose of this list is to call out the natural nootropics in the market.

1. Adaptogen List

Adaptogens are herbs that may help with the body’s resistance to stress, often by helping to reduce cortisol. They may also offer neurotransmitter support and promote enhancements in cognitive functioning and energy levels. Adaptogens are herbs and though many have had research via NIH, most have not been evaluated by the FDA for treating disease. As such some research evidence may be inconclusive.

  • Rhodiola Rosea
  • Bacopa Monnieri
  • Panax Ginsing
  • Siberian Ginsing
  • Ashwagandha
  • Holy Basil

2. Dopaminergics

Dopaminergic nootropics are any substance related to dopamine in order to increase cognitive function. Some dopaminergic drugs are excluded from this list because they are prescription stimulants or dangerous illicit drugs. Even though these stimulant substances can enhance alertness and focus, they are not considered nootropic due to their safety issues.

MAO-B Inhibitors

  • Phenylethylamine (PEA)
  • Hordenine
  • Catechin
  • Epicatechin (Reversible)

Dopamine Precursors

  • L-Theanine
  • Mucuna Pruriens (L-DOPA)
  • Phenylalanine
  • L-Tyrosine

3. Cholinergics

Cholinergics are any type of nootropic involving acetylcholine creation, transmition or the modulation of its receptors.

Choline/Acetylcholine Affecting Supplements

  • Choline Bitatrate
  • Choline Citrate
  • Phosphatidylcholine
  • Alpha GPC (GPC Choline)
  • Citicoline (CDP Choline)
  • Acetyl L-Carnitine
  • Centrophenoxine

AChe Inihibtors

  • Huperzine A
  • Galantamine (Snowdrop)

4. Other Semi-Natural Nootropic Supplements

This list of nootropic encompasses all nootropics which are derived from some natural compound or substance. These also include analouges or substances created from a natural structure. The brackets represent what natural compound the nootropic was derivered from.

  • Centrophenoxine (DMAE)
  • Idebenone (CoQ10)
  • Sulbutiamine (B1)
  • Pyritinol (B6)
  • Agmatine Sulfate (l-arginine)

5. Other Natural Nootropic Supplements

This list of natural nootropic supplements includes a large scope of natural compounds which includes herbal products as well as compounds that are derived from herbal or natural substances. Some of the natural products are also listed in the categories above.

Herbal Nootropics

  • Bacopa Monnieri
  • Rhodiola Rosea
  • Huperzine A
  • Hordenine
  • Vinpocetine
  • Gotu Kola
  • L-Theanine
  • Ginseng
  • Ashwagandha
  • Lion’s Mane Mushroom
  • Ginko Biloba
  • Lemon Balm Extract

Brain Nutrients

  • Omega 3-6-9
  • B-Vitamins
  • Choline
  • DMAE
  • Inositol
  • Creatine
  • Uridine
  • Co Enzyme 10
  • SAM-e
  • L-Carnitine

Why You Should Have Adaptogens in Your Stack

Everyone is looking to get the best out of their nootropic stacks. Unfortunately, there is a huge pitfall within every person’s journey to attain high mental acuity. This pitfall is known as stress and it is unavoidable. Fortunately there are supplemental aids known as adaptogens which we can enforce to help combat internal stress.

An advanced nootropic stack should have adaptogens involved to help combat stress. Even through stress may be from external factors, it affects us internally by raising a hormone known as cortisol. Cortisol is an enemy most people should combat, especially those whom are looking to increase cognitive function. The hormone may even directly influence the effectiveness of our beloved nootropic racetams.

Before enforcing an adaptogen supplement in our stack we should look at two things first. The things to evaluate are if you are getting adequate sleep and exercise. Unfortunately, it works as a “Catch 22” because often higher cortisol leads to insomnia and lower energy levels. This is where the term “overtired” may come in because you may feel the need to sleep but no physical capability to do so. In this case, it is hard to get more rest and exercise.

effects of stress on the body

So what can a nootropics user do to combat the negative influence of stress and cortisol levels? Adaptogens are the answer and they may influence your cognitive ability even further. Nootropic users almost always have more stress than people not using nootropics. This is simply because, a person looks for nootropics generally to help fight cognitive difficulties involved in jobs and studies.

Three Adaptogens to Add to Your Nootropic Stack

Here at Peak we recommend three adaptogens. There are more, but these are the ones that have proven their weight and the best “bang for your buck”. Do not let yourself be fooled by the fact that they are herbal. Many pharmaceuticals are created from herbal constituents and the chemicals in these adaptogens are no different. They are extremely powerful and may perhaps change your life and boost the whole effectiveness of your nootropic stack.

There are a few worthy things to note before using adaptogen nootropics. First off, don’t expect them to work overnight. Sure, you may experience some benefit from the first dosage but, adaptogens like most nootropics have cumulative effects which means they should be used for a week to two weeks to see full results. Like nootropics, they may also be very subtle at first and become more effective with time. Another thing to take note of is that these adaptogens are not without side effects so be careful and don’t overdo them.


Ashwagandha is an adoptogen and powerful nootropic. It contains powerful alkaloids that have been used for centuries in herbal medicine. Ashwagandha has mood boosting benefits and may combat anxiety and depression. Some people also claim that Ashwaganha can help with sleep. This fact likely pertains to cortisol levels as the plant is thought to influence it.

Many nootropics users who have tried Ashwaganha have claimed it has a significant impact on their memory and focus. Not all mechanisms are understood and the nootropic effects may pertain to cortisol levels or other mechanisms. Ashwaganha can be stacked with other adaptogens and is primarily known as an adaptogen for mood-increase and sleep promoting benefits. It should be used in a dosage of 2-6 grams a day for minimum of 2 weeks to see full effects.

Red Korean Ginseng (Panax)

Red Korean Ginseng is a type of Panax Ginseng that is carefully cultivated. If you were to choose a type of Panax Ginseng, Red Korean is best. It is also thought that Red Korean Ginseng affects cortisol levels but this adaptogen is known mostly for its energy promoting benefits. It is known to give a non-jittery type of energy. Combination of Red Korean Ginseng with Ashwaganda is also a highly synergistic combination.

Red Korean Ginseng has a number of health benefits but is known mostly for its effects on energy levels. The increase in energy levels is thought to come from the mind and does not interact with the central nervous system in the same was as stimulants like caffeine. Red Korean Ginseng is usually well tolerated however generally less so than Aswagandha. Most nootropics users recommend a dosage of 500-1500mg.

Rhodiola Rosea

Rhodiolia Rosea is a powerful adaptogen that has been largely marketed and misunderstood. It makes the list of the top three nootropic adaptogens because it is great for focus and motivation. It may also interact with mood and could possibly be dopaminergic/serotonergic. Rhodiolia may also affect cortisol levels and improve sleep quality if used properly. It is also highly synergistic when combined with either of the other two adaptogens.

Most people who take Rhodiolia Rosea experience some benefit. As stated with the other adaptogens, use this one for a minimum of two weeks. One thing to note with Rhodiolia, is that it should be stacked. Because of the possible dopaminergic mechanisms, it could cause tolerance. Most people recommend a dosage of 250-750mg used for two weeks on/one week off.

Choline Capsules as the Ultimate Nootropic Supplement

For those who wish to try the latest wonders from the nootropic world, Choline capsules would be the right choice, which brings a solid foundation to neuroscience and medicine. In general, choline supplements are necessary for your brain to synthesize Acetylcholine, an important neurotransmitter to various brain functions, including conscious thought and memory. Choline supplements could be found in regular diet, especially with eggs and meat, yet some people, due to certain medical conditions and drug intake, need an additional quantity of Choline through supplements in order to make their brain, function properly. In this case, Choline pills can bring the additional Choline quantities and enhance the cognitive activity of the brain, ensuring a better maintenance and health of the neurons. When it comes to Choline supplements, there are numerous members of this supplement family, with all the formulations produced equally. Prices may vary with each Choline supplement, but those that are considered the cheapest have usually a less significant impact on the brain functions, probably due to poor absorption. So, what kind of Choline pills should you purchase? Discover more in this article, and start the safest way to a nootropic therapy.

Choline pills

Choline supplements – a general overview

The safetiness of this supplement is well determined by the fact that Choline supplements belong to the B4 group of vitamins, as fully recognized by the FDA in the U.S.A. This essential nutrient appears in abundant forms from Sphingomyelin and Phosphatidylcholine. As a significant precursor for the neurotransmitter Acetylcholine, Choline is also involved with brain functions such as memory, focus, attention control, muscle control, and learning. The beneficial effects of Choline can be seen in the prevention of Steatosis, or the fatty liver disease. That is when Choline removes fats from the liver and prevents the toxic effects of fat from affecting your liver.

The recommended daily dosage for Choline is somewhere between 425 and 550 mg in the diet. However, less than 10% of the population in the world can actually follow this. The supplement is water-soluble like any other presented member of the vitamin B group, so it is important to take it on a daily basis, replenishing the body in order to achieve the brain’s full potential. According to sources, it could be found in sunflower lecithin, soy lecithin, chicken, fish, eggs, and beef liver. Choline could also be found in various chemical forms, such as Choline citrate, Choline bitartarate, Phosphatidylcholine, Choline chloride, Lecithin in combination with Choline, and nowadays, the more popular Alpha GPC and Citicoline choline.

Different Choline supplements have different potencies, levels of cerebroactivity, prices, conversion rates to Acetylcholine, and bioavailabilities. If you compare these supplements by its costs, Lecithin wins, yet less than 10% of Choline is delivered when this supplement is administered, which means that you need to take a much higher dose for best effect. For a higher potency degree and also a higher price, one can have Phosphatidylcholine, and other forms of Choline salts like Citrate, Tartarate and Chloride. On the other hand, the bioavailability of such a group is low and does not improve your brain functions significantly. Probably the best and the most popular Choline supplements are Citicoline and Alpha GPC. Both are more expensive, but are more efficient, showing an increase levels with the brain functions and bringing the ultimate nootropic effect on cognitive functioning. Both are quickly absorbed and converted in the brain, which means that much a lesser dose is needed in order to enjoy the full benefits of these Choline precursors.

Why are Choline pills the best choice for you?

As mentioned in the beginning, Choline can convert into Sphingomyelin and Phosphatidylcholine, alongside Acetylcholine, which are essential for the brain’s functions and maintenance. These substances, which are normally present in low concentrations in the brain cells, act as insulators for the neuron’s electrical circuitry, which leads to a much quicker and efficient neurological communication process. Many brain conditions can lead to the disintegration of this lipid tunica, which can also lead to a poor brain communication between neurons that leads further to cognitive denial. Therefore, the absence of electrical transmission between neurons is unimaginable, so it is important to maintain the levels of these substances.

Choline supplements are also Acetylcholine precursors, potentiating the formation and effect of this powerful neurotransmitter. Acetylcholine maintains mental concentration and thinking, including memory development and consciousness. It helps in the transmission of the nerve signals from the brain, spinal cord, to the muscles, heart, lungs, glands, and the whole gastrointestinal system. As we age, the formation of Acetylcholine becomes lesser, potentially leading to Alzheimer’s disease and other mental conditions linked to memory deficiency. By taking Choline supplements, we could prevent these conditions, ensuring the complete formation of Acetylcholine without the neuronal damage linked to aging.

Recommended dosages for Choline pills

The FDA recommends a certain range of dosage for Choline supplements, and that is between 425 and 550 mg per day. In order to prevent brain deficiency, one must meet the daily dietary needs of an average person. A higher dose can improve the desired cognitive function, where some experts recommend the dosage at 3,000 mg daily from supplements such as Choline chloride and Bitartrate. A higher dose is recommended for these forms because Choline salts are degraded in the gastrointestinal tract by bacteria.

For highly potent Choline supplements, like Alpha GPC and Citicoline, it is important to take a lower dose because these supplements have a good absorption rate. Concerning Alpha GPC, a daily dosage of 500 mg is enough to enjoy its beneficial effects. Please pay attention to your diet, because you may as well take additional Choline through food like meat, fish, and eggs, so calculating your daily intake of Choline through food along with the supplements is essential. Vegetarians who certainly avoid meat should take a higher dose of these supplements in order to replenish the poor choline intake from their diet.

Since these supplements are considered to be the members of the vitamin B group, Choline supplements in such forms are safe and are even naturally found in the body and in our common diet. The risk for any side effect is low when the administration is practiced through the recommended dosage. The supplements are safe and can be tolerated by everyone, especially by young healthy adults. In some rare cases, some side effects are possible and are mostly sweating, appetite loss, and an increase in body temperature. Please, consider a consultation with a medical professional in order to start a much safer nootropic treatment with Choline supplements such are given in this review. It is also extremely important to maintain a healthy way of living while offering your brain an opportunity for better cognitive functions and preventing cognitive denial brought by many medical conditions, such as the Alzheimer’s disease.

A Review of Pyritinol

Pyritinol (pyridoxine disulfide) represents a semi-natural nootropic substance which is synthesized from vitamin B6, or pyridoxine. First synthesis was performed in the 1960’s and since then, it has been prescribed for various neurological conditions worldwide. In many other countries, including the United States, pyritinol is available as an OTC medicine (over-the-counter), which can be bought without a prescription, functioning as a common cognitive and memory enhancer.

For the last fifty years, numerous studies have shown pyritinol’s effectiveness on the nervous system, representing it as successful and safe general nootropic applied to huge numbers of people. Over the course of many years, media has overinflated the negative aspects of safety of pyritinol. Although this substance has a couple of safety concerns, like any other medical substance, most of these side effects are not unusual and dangerous. It’s semi-natural origin derived from pyridoxine helps in limiting the safety concerns and to ensure any issues are minimal, increasing the effectiveness/risk ratio of this medicine. Even though it has been found half a century ago, the nootropic mechanisms are still completely unknown, with several possible methods which support the benefits of this substance.


Probably the best and thoroughly explained mechanism, or method of action, is high affinity choline uptake which is similar to pramiracetam and sunifiram. A study on the animals has shown that rat brains experienced an increase in high affinity choline uptake, when researchers administered regular doses of pyritinol. This study included both young and old rat brains, where in both cases pyritinol showed a significant increase. The possible pyritinol choline uptake mechanism hasn’t been studied on human brains.

Another interesting and well supported study on rats has stated that pyritinol administration for the period of 2-3 weeks ameliorated acetylcholine levels. A similar, yet different study, has shown that pyritinol metabolites affected the release of acetylcholine, by indirectly acting on this neurotransmitter levels.


The benefits of this nootropic supplement are numerous and over the course of many years, it has been proven on both young and old people, enhancing their cognitive capabilities. Probably the most significant effect could be seen in elderly people, because of the declination in cholinergic activity which develops with age, resulting in different health conditions, such is Alzheimer’s disease. It’s nootropic activity, which declared the substance as OTC medicine, is the most evident which makes it desirable among younger people, especially students.  One small study did find an improvement in reaction time, but not memory.

Pyritinol’s nootropic effects include increased learning, improved memory and problem-solving skills, enhanced sensory perception and a decrease in tiredness. The benefits improve with the higher doses, yet its safety concerns suggest that higher doses shouldn’t be used in this indication. The higher the dosage, the higher the chances that negative side effects could occur, resulting in its toxicity, so it is advised to be moderate when using pyritinol.

It is approved for the symptomatic treatment of chronically impaired brain function in dementia syndromes and for supportive treatment of sequelae of craniocerebral trauma in various European countries, including Austria, Germany, France, Italy, Portugal, and Greece.  In France it is also approved for rheumatoid arthritis as a disease modifying drug, on the basis of the results of clinical trials.  In most other countries it is either sold as an over the counter (OTC) drug or has distribution legally limited.


As mentioned, media has belied the story about pyritinol, representing it as unsafe drug. The fact that is is an over-the-counter medicine, which proves the safety, overthrows the false information. This medicine has an astonishing safety record, administered for over a couple of decades by thousands and thousands of people. Even with the presented evidence, pyritinol still has some safety issues, similar to other medicine widely used by the population all over the world. A conversation with a qualified medical professional, such is doctor or pharmacist, is essential before the use of this medicine.

The concerning serious side effects which have been present in couple of cases were connected to immune system response. This case of pancreatitis was present at regular doses which means that immune system has overreacted, bringing the organism to a rare and uncommon inflamation. The other rare case included hepatotoxicity, related to cholestasis, believed to be a side effect of the mentioned nootropic. This case is also related to genetic predisposition present at a smaller percentage of population. With the upcoming methods of genetical biomedicine, these rare cases are going to be discovered early, resulting in the decrease of these rare, yet strange cases.

Common side effects, on the other hand, are not dangerous and life threatening. These include headache, most likely linked to its cholinergic mechanism, then gastrointestinal discomfort, insomnia, nausea. Even rare side effect is a skin problem, such as dermatitis.

It is usually combined with other nootropics, to decrease the side effects and increase the effect available thanks to different nootropic mechanisms of medicine. It works synergistically when applied with similar cholinergic drugs, like choline and acetylcholine supplements and racetams. Another synergetic proposal is the combinasion of pyritinol with sulbutiamine, but there isn’t a direct evidence of their conjoined potential. The substance is not recommended to pregnant women or those who are breasfeeding their newborns. It is important to be introduced to safety warnings, including the consultation with pharmacist or a doctor, before its use.

Yerba Mate – an exquisite alternative to coffee and green tea

How many times have you drunk a liter (or four cups for that matter) of coffee just to stay awake and study for tomorrow’s exam? Probably a couple of times, at least, because every student uses coffee to boost the energy and prepare for a certain exam. The bad side of it comes when you drink lots of coffee and then you experience headaches, arrhythmia and high blood pressure. Therefore, nature has offered many different alternatives to coffee, which potentially has better effects on your concentration, yet lack the serious and concerning side effects present with coffee. An excellent example of such an herb is called Yerba Mate which became more popular recently as a much effective drink than coffee. This great natural nootropic herb, similar to coffee, is also a natural caffeine source, but the caffeine boost is stable and smooth when compared to coffee, which has much frequent crashes and peaks that promote the caffeine side effects.

Yerba Mate is most commonly used as a coffee-like nootropic alternative which increases vigilance and alertness, yet offering a positive stress-free mood. Different reviews state that it helps an individual to achieve mental clarity for a longer period during work or when studying. This plant originates from South America’s subtropical areas such as Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Bolivia. The drink made from this plant has been used as a nutritional supplement, similar to coffee, and is still used as a drink in many European cultures. The taste of this herb is similar to the taste of green tea and it is also available in combination with many flavored extracts, to hide the bitter taste of flavonoids which this plant is full of. Yerba Mate consists of various nutrients such as selenium, magnesium, inositol, vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B5, C, E, fatty acids and a complex of antioxidants, ready to boost your immune system and maintain your health.

Effects of Yerba Mate

Yerba Mate has a couple of known mechanisms and effects in that it works similar to green tea. Its main characteristics are that it acts like a cognitive enhancer and it stimulates the central nervous system, like caffeine. Important ingredients which support this mechanism are antioxidants, polyphenols, vitamins, amino acids, and minerals. This herb helps maintains one’s health, including the cognitive functions of the brain.

Another mechanism which is supported by numerous studies is its influence on the energy-related systems which complete the cellular function and metabolism. This results in higher concentrations of ATP, the main source of energy for a cell. It also acts as a vasodilator and helps the blood vessels to dilatate by relaxing the muscles. The dilatation of blood vessels improves the blood flow and the general cardiovascular functions.

Yerba Mate benefits

Yerba Mate Benefits

Probably the most important benefit of Yerba Mate is its antioxidative activity. The main components of this herb are antioxidants and when compared to different varieties of green tea, it contains 90% more antioxidants. The significant boost of the immune system helps the removal of harmful free radicals, preventing them from damaging the brain and body. Because the brain produces a lot of energy thanks to its function, this organ is the most sensitive when it comes to free radicals. Yerba Mate prevents the effects of free radicals and it detoxifies the brain cells as well, preventing many types of cancer in your body and slows the aging process.

It has nutrients such as vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, amino acids and polyphenols that enhance the ability to focus or concentrate. These Yerba Mate nutrients will give the balancing effect. The nutrients will increase the clarity and mental energy without additional side effects that caffeine normally brings. Additionally, this herbal nootropic supplement reduces anxiety, insomnia, and stress for many individuals.

When it comes to physical endurance, Yerba Mate works on this field as well. It helps the metabolism of carbohydrates, which is essential for body energy and the loss of unwanted calories from your body depot. It affects the levels of lactic acid, which benefits the muscles and prevents pain after the workout, speeding up the recovery time.

Recommended dosage of Yerba Mate

When it comes to Yerba Mate and its recommended dosage, there is very limited information regarding its proper daily uptake. However, scientists advise that drinking this herbal preparation should be done in moderation, since taking abnormally high doses may have the potential to lead to the appearance of some types of cancer (at least that is the theory). Even though antioxidants prevent the cancer phenomenon, these chemicals promote oxidative action in the body when administered in higher concentrations, so it is recommended not to go overdrive with the use of this nootropic. It is better to consult your medical professional before you decide to use this natural nootropic for the first time.

The proper dosage depends on one’s personal reasons for taking these supplements, as well as on several factors which should be considered, including how it is supplemented and any other supplements being taken in combination. If you take Yerba Mate as a tea, it is recommended to take only 1-3 cups per day. On the other hand, if you are taking it as a supplement, once per day of 500 mg is the recommended dosage. When taking other polyphenols and caffeine supplements and drinks, it is recommended to lower the dosage of Yerba Mate. Every manufacturer that sells this herbal preparation has the recommended usage on the package, so the following of such instructions is highly recommended.

Yerba Mate side effects

Even though this herbal preparation is much better than coffee when it comes to side effects, it still has some issues which should be avoided when using this herb to prepare drinks. Some rare side effects may include stomach upset, vomiting, nausea, nervousness, insomnia, increased heart rate, headache, ringing in ears, and restlessness. If this supplement is consumed in higher doses, these side effects are more likely to occur, so in this case you should seek an advice from a medical professional.  As always, stop use of any supplement when unpleasant side effects occur and seek the cousel of a medical professional.

Why your Body & Brain Needs more Tryptophan

Tryptophan is one of the 22 different naturally occurring basic units of proteins (amino acids) found in the human body. Chemically, it is represented as C11H12N2O2 and is categorized as an ‘essential amino acid’. Essential amino acids are the ones that are needed by the body but are not produced within the body and are to be obtained from food.

Fortunately enough, it is a part of many food items consumed almost daily including, nuts, eggs, some dairy products, soybeans, walnuts and oats. But in comparison with other amino acids, it is the least abundant amino acid in most countries’ diets, especially North America.

Consequently, many people have started using tryptophan as a nootropic supplement for increasing and sustaining levels of tryptophan inside their bodies. The amount of tryptophan in one’s body directly affects a person’s mood and leads to healthy sleep. Serotonin, a neurotransmitter, is derived from tryptophan. Serotonin helps in regulating mood and appetite.

A hormone, melatonin, is responsible for regular and healthy sleep patterns and also needs tryptophan as a precursor. Tryptophan further plays an important role as a precursor for many other chemical substances needed for essential bodily functions like, Niacin – a Vitamin B, and Auxin, a phytohormone.

Tryptophan, Serotonin & Melatonin

Tryptophan is now available in the market as a dietary supplement to regulate levels of tryptophan in blood. The supplement is used by most as an anti-depressant and a sleeping aid. This is directly linked with tryptophan’s role in synthesis of serotonin. A chemically modified form of tryptophan is also being researched into to treat epilepsy.

Resorting to supplements can be very beneficial for the body and prevent many deficiency issues. Tryptophan supplements help to modulate our social actions, control our appetites and reduce anxiety as well as depression in a person. According to researchers, anxiety disorders and depression, in many cases, are caused by insufficient levels of tryptophan in body.

Tryptophan supplements are being used widely as anti-depressants with minimal side effects. The effect of limiting appetite by serotonin can help overweight people fight obesity. Tryptophan supplements are also used to synthesize Niacin, which processes lipids and carbohydrates. Individuals with bad sleeping habits can greatly benefit from these supplements. Serotonin and melatonin, derived from tryptophan, relax the body and regulate sleeping habits.

Tryptophan supplements can also prevent and fight the onslaught of some medical diseases. A research study done in 2010 showed that tryptophan can cause the prevention of steatohepatitis, which is a very common liver disease even among people who consume little or no alcohol. Tryptophan supplements have shown to improve conditions and symptoms in people suffering from irritable bowel syndrome. With decreasing levels of tryptophan, the symptoms of the syndrome get even more severe.

The dosage of the supplements depends on the specific purpose tryptophan is being consumed for and should be taken after consulting with a doctor. Commonly, people, especially those looking to fight depression, take between 6 to 12 grams daily, spread over a few administrations. Normally, tryptophan supplements don’t lead to side effects but still, over use is to be avoided.

Tryptophan supplements can really help people who want to improve on their anxieties, depression and sleep patterns.

Why Do Some People Experience Headaches When Using Nootropics

Many people complain of headaches when using nootropics, especially racetams and cholinergics. There have been cases of other side effects as well like nausea and restlessness, but headaches seem to be the most frequently occurring side effect. It can be really irritating for the user if he/she gets headaches while trying to improve mental functioning.

Racetams like piracetam and aniracetam are especially known for causing unwanted headaches and even slight to severe migraines. Still, nootropics are generally safe to use and the chances of getting a headache depends on the dosage and user. There exist rational explanations for such side effects. Headaches caused by nootropics are not a cause for concern in most cases and also may be avoided by making use of some remedies.

The reason for such headaches is related to how nootropics work to enhance mental functioning. Most cognitive nootropic supplements work by affecting neurotransmitters and receptors inside the brain, often increasing their concentrations or up regulating the receptors. These neurotransmitters are responsible for memory formation and retention, learning, concentration, focus and attention span.

Neurotransmitters are released at a nerve ending, from where they travel across the synaptic cleft and bind to specific receptors. Because of the increased activity of neurotransmitters due to nootropics, there is a demand of higher concentrations of precursors for these neurotransmitters inside the brain. If the demand is not met, this over activity leads to depletion of neurotransmitters.headaches

Often, there aren’t enough precursors pre-existing to match up with the increased demand. These headaches can be compared with cramps and body ache that one feels after a long strenuous activity or exercise. The pain is due to the fact that the body is not used to working copiously for a long time. Same is the case with heightened brain activity and headaches. Just like the body gets used to an exercise after some time period, the brain adjusts to the enhanced neural functioning.

One way to deal with the problem of side effect of headaches is to consume precursor supplements along with cognitive nootropics. This will ensure that concentration levels of precursors stay high when there is an increase in demand and neurotransmitters are not depleted. For example, when taking racetams, use of choline supplements is recommended. This eases up the strain to keep up with the high demand of acetylcholine and prevents choline deficiency.

The use of choline or acetylcholine precursors is thought to help reduce the headaches caused by types of nootropics that work on acetylcholine receptors. The exact mechanisms of how this works is not completely understood because there are many steps and contributing factors in the synthesis, release and binding of acetylcholine. Nevertheless, supplementing with choline has anecdotally been reported to reduce the occurrence and severity of these headaches.

Nootropic users can increase acetylcholine with precursors like choline. The human body produces choline by itself, and most has be obtained through diet. Beef liver and eggs have high choline content. Another way is to give your brain time to adjust to the hyper neural activity. This can be ensured by starting off with smaller doses of the nootropic supplements and gradually increasing the dosage. This also helps you in finding out how your body reacts to the nootropics.

But if the headaches persist and continue to get stronger, it is recommended that you consult with a medical professional and revise your nootropic dosage. These headaches may not always be caused by nootropics alone. If the headache persists after adding in choline precursors, stop using all supplements and consult your doctor.

Picamilon – A Combination of Vitamin B3 & GABA

Picamilon represents a synthetic combination of the GABA neurotransmitter and vitamin B3, also known as niacin. This nootropic substance has the capability of providing vasodilatatory and anxiolytic effects which can offer many benefits to consumers. This substance was first developed in the former U.S.S.R. and actually represents an enhanced form of the neurotransmitter GABA and is able to cross the blood brain barrier, unlike GABA itself.

Due to its metabolism in the brain, this substance breaks into its two original parts, GABA and niacin. Vitamin B3 or niacin has a vasodilatatory effect on brain blood vessels and enhances blood flow, while GABA works as an inhibitory neurotransmitter which provides calming anxiolytic effects.

Similar to other nootropics which affect the neurotransmitter concentrations and brain receptors activity, prolonged use of picamilon could lead to tolerance which requires additional doses, yet this nootropic is best cycled. All of the studies which have been done in the past were conducted in U.S.S.R. and in scientific terms is available in abstract forms. This article provides facts given by these abstracts.

Mechanism of action

As said, picamilon represents a combination of vitamin B3 and GABA. This combination breaks after it passes blood brain membrane. Lower concentrations of GABA could lead to increased stress, so additional GABA concentrations delivered by this nootropic many lead to an anxiolytic effect. GABA reduces neuronal excitability and brings an individual into sedated state which may help a person to relax.
On the other hand, niacin has potent vasodilatatory properties. Numerous studies have shown that niacin increases blood flow to brain more efficiently. The additional blood brings more nutrients into the brain, as well as oxygen, which benefits the brain metabolism and cognitive enhancing effects of this substance.

Recommended dosage for picamilon

The recommended dosage for picamilon could be found in he Russian encyclopedia of drugs called RLSNET. This encyclopedia recommends a dosage of 20-50 mg taken 2 to 3 times each day for cerebrovascular conditions, and for calmative purposes this dosage could go from 200 to 300 mg for a 4 to 6 week period. One of the performed studies suggests that a dosage of 60-120 per day benefits elderly when it comes to modest depression. After dosing, it takes about an hour for a complete effect of this nootropic.

Picamilon potential interactions

The mechanism of action of this nootropic is linked to the GABA neurotransmitter, so using this substance with other medicine which interacts with this neurotransmitter should be avoided. This means that picamilon should be avoided in combination with antiepileptic drugs or benzodiazepines, which have an effect on GABA. As far as it comes to nootropic drugs which have the same mechanism, combination with phenibut should be avoided. Anxiolytic substances, such as bacopa, magnesium and aniracetam, should be avoided.
Another mechanism of picamilon is a vasodilatatory effect, so combination with drugs that enhance vasodilatation should be totally avoided. These include natural nootropics called vinpocetine and vincamine, as well as nitroglycerine and similar nitrate medicine, erectile dysfunction medicine such is Viagra, and antihypertensive medicine, since the combination of those could potentially lead to hypotension, shock and death.

GABA and picamilon

Benefits of picamilon

1. Brain blood flow enhancement

This substance is listed as an essential medication for treating ischemia, cerebrovascular conditions and migraine in Russia. It has a vasodilatatory activity which is probably caused by the niacin part of the molecule. In a study which consisted of 28 patients has shown that this chemical is effective when it comes to chronic cerebral insufficiency.

2. Non-muscular relaxant

Picamilon has shown to be causing brain relaxation without an effect on muscle tissue, which especially benefits sportsmen. The sedative part of myorelaxation is totally avoided when this substance is used, unlike for brain activity which is normalized and relaxed. Another comment from the studies linked to sportsmen is that picamilon supports people who work under the conditions of great stress.

3. Learning and cognitive effect

When compared to piracetam in some studies, picamilon has shown a better effect on learning. After amnesia related to electroshock, rodents in the study were able to improve their water maze navigation (a test designed for the ability of learning).

4. Normalizing / Anti-stress effect

Picamilon has helped the respondents in the studies for chronic stress, bringing the brain to a normalized state. The stress mostly increases lipid peroxidation in brain which leads to a much lower concentration of endogenous antioxidants in body. Lower concentration of antioxidants allows oxidants to disrupt the normal metabolism and cause oxidative stress which could lead to many conditions and diseases. One area of research has noted that the effect of picamilon was significant enough to lower the stress levels of lipid peroxidation and cause the identical level with control group, which was not under a stress.

How safe is it?

In therapeutic doses, which are given above, picamilon hasn’t shown serious or even mild side effects. Numerous studies have shown that human patiens, who have used picamilon in recommended doses, haven’t suffered from side effects. Yet, then Russian encyclopedia for drugs has listed headache, lightheadedness, nausea, agitation and anxiety (paradoxically) as plausible side effects. Patients who suffer from kidney disease should avoid picamilon use and consult a medical professional before any usage of this nootropic.

Inositol Nootropic for Treating OCD and Panic Disorder

Inositol is a supplement closely related to the B vitamin group.  The structure of the compound is closely related to glucose.  It is not considered an essential nutrient because it is produced within the body in adequate amounts.

Inositol falls into a group of supplements that are important for health in the body but not considered a vitamin or mineral. Other supplements in this group include: creatine, coenzyme 10, choline, L-carnitine and SAM-e. Inositol is comprised of 9 stereoisomers. The stereoisomer myo-inositol is 90% prevalent and shows the most benefit as a supplement. For this reason, the term myo-inositol and inositol are usually interchangeable. The majority of supplements are created solely from myo-inositol.

The safety of inositol has been evaluated in high dosages. It is a natural molecule with little toxicity. Lower dosages can have positive benefits on insulin sensitivity and fertility where much higher dosages have shown positive effects on neurological function. Inositol has a low permeability for the blood brain barrier which may explain why large dosages may be required to see benefits.

How Inositol Works In the Brain

myo-inositolInositol’s primary neurological function is to produce the structural basis for secondary messengers within the brain. A secondary messenger works to transmit and amplify the signals of certain hormones and neurotransmitters. One common example of a secondary messenger system is the cAMP system. Inositol’s secondary messenger system is known as the phosphoinositol (PI) system.  


The phosphoinositol (PI) system helps to act as signal transductor for a number of hormones. The two secondary massagers in this system are inositol trisphosphate (IP3) and diacylglycerol (DAG). These secondary messengers help to influence a number of hormones via their pathways. IP3 may control insulin homeostatsis via activation of M3 acetylcholine receptor pathway. This is likely the method to explain Inositol’s positive benefit on insulin sensitivity.

Neurotransmitter Receptors

The PI system has an interaction with the a1 adrenergic receptors. Antagonists of the a1 receptors are common targets for anti-panic/anxiety and vasodilation drugs. The a1 receptors influence vasoconstriction, sweating and a number of other physiological symptoms in the body relating to panic. The PI system secondary messenger, DAG interacts with the calcium content and channels relating to the a1 receptors. This could explain the inhibitory effects of inositol on panic and anxiety.

The PI system also has effects on acetylcholine receptors. It seems to only influence M1 and M3 muscarinic receptors exclusively. The secondary messenger in the PI system, IP3 works as a signaling pathway for the M1 and M3 receptors.  The M1 receptors help to control and regulate a number of functions in the body and may influence areas of cognitive functioning. M3 receptors influence insulin and smooth muscle tone.

Inositol Treatment for OCD, Panic & Anxiety

One study showed high dosages of inositol were as effective as an SSRI medication for treating panic disorders, OCD as well as general anxiety. This well published study claimed that higher dosages of Inositol in the 18 gram range showed the most positive results. The reason this high dosage is needed is because inositol is not efficient at crossing the blood brain barrier and these high dosages are needed for these results.

The effects on Inositol and panic/anxiety treatment are likely due to the manipulation of the a1 receptor. Many a1 blockers may help to treat bi-polar depression and related panic effects. This method of action is likely to explain positive effects of inositol on OCD, depression and anxiety/panic

Inositol Side Effects

The well published study relating to high dosage inositol treatment for OCD and panic showed little side effects. While typically, inositol has much less side effects than SSRI medication, it may produce some negative side effects in high dosages.

The cholinergic effects of high dosage inositol may produce negative side effects such as excessive salivation and sweating. This is due to the specific acetylcholine receptors inositol modulates. Other side effects such as gastrointestinal side effects are very common along with irritability. Inositol may be as effective as SSRI’s however these high dosages are likely to produce very subtle to mild side effects in these dosage ranges.


Can Nootropics Be Anxiolytic

Anxiety is a problem that affects everyone. For many, anxiety is a physiological problem which means your thoughts affect your nervous system which in turn creates a flight or fight response. The best and ultimate way to deal with anxiety is to confront anxious thoughts and change them in order to change the physiological response.

Not everyone’s anxiety is the same. Anxiety can be hard to pinpoint especially in the case of Generalized Anxiety Disorder where anxiety may not seem to have a root cause. For these people, changing the way our brains chemically work may help to reduce anxiety. This can be done in one of two ways by suppressing the anxiety through sedation, or by improving neurochemicals that enhance our mood, perception and cognitive function.
anxiety cycle


GABA is a neurotransmitter that is purely anxiolytic. Increasing and/or modulating the GABAergic system can help to greatly reduce the effects of anxiety. This is because GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter. Drugs like alcohol, GHB, phenibut, benzodiazepines and barbiturates are all GABAergic. GABAergics are best for people who have physical symptoms of anxiety (ex. increased heart rate, sweating and dizziness)

Unfortunately, while GABA drugs may be great for anxiety, most are also negative on cognition. This is because GABA works against the central nervous system which negatively affects cognitive skills. For this reason, there are not many nootropics that work as GABA substances. Phenibut is a product often sold in nootropic stores however it is not a nootropic. Other nootropics like piracetam and picamilon are derived from the GABA structure however they do not have GABAeric effects.


Serotonin is another vastly important neurotransmitter. It is a neurotransmitter that regulates mood, social behavior, appetite, bodily functions and aspects of cognitive functioning. Serotonin is unlike GABA because it is not inhibiting or sedating. There is a definite correlation between serotonin malfunction and anxiety.

Many anti-depressants and anti-anxiety drugs are focused on the aspects of anxiety. These drugs are meant to influence the level of serotonin in the brain. Unfortunately, some of these drugs have negative side effects on cognition. This problem can be related to how these drugs interact with other neurotransmitters.

There are several nootropics that have serotoninergic effects. Serotonin itself cannot cross the blood brain barrier but the precursors, l-tryptophan and 5HTP can. These supplements are generally not mentioned as nootropics however they may offer some small benefit to cognitive functioning.

The other two nootropics that have shown to have serotoninergic effects are aniracetam and noopept. Both of these nootropics have shown to provide anxiolytic effects in animals. The alleged anxiolytic effects are similar in both substances by interacting with 5HT (serotonin) receptors. This is a unique anxiolytic side effect of these cholinergic nootropics not seen with the other racetams.

Other Ways Nootropics May Be Anxiolytic

There are many reports of other non-serotoninergic racetams like piracetam being anxiolytic. While this may be entirely possible, there have been no studies to confirm this. It is highly likely that these effects are not chemical as piracetam and other racetams affect acetylcholine and glutamate. These systems have very little positive effect on anxiety.

These nootropics may work in a way to help by increasing mental capacity and learning. Increasing the working of the brain may help to open new pathways and ways of thinking. This may become especially effective if nootropics are combined with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). The goal behind CBT is to inwardly confront anxious thoughts through behavioral action stimuli. Using cholinergic and ampakine nootropics may help to increase the effectiveness of CBT.

Other secondary actions may help to reduce social anxiety. Many people suffering from social anxiety may suffer from a lack of conversational skills which can further increase anxiety. Conversion can also be harder for these people due to inward anxious thoughts. Nootropics may help in these situations by improving conversational skills which may give social anxiety sufferers further confidence.


There are not that many nootropics to help with the chemical problem of anxiety however all nootropics may be helpful as anxiolytics if used in the right manner. Understanding the root of the anxiety is the first step. Using supplements and drugs may help but are never a permanent answer.

Nootropics have been seen to be safe. They are ok to combine with anti-anxiety drugs with the exception of MAO-A inhibitors. It is best to always confront your doctor before starting nootropics if you are depressed or anxious. Changing one neurotransmitter can affect the others and this should be avoided in those suffering from mental conditions.

Citations – aniracetam anxiolytic – noopept anxiolytic

How to Identify & Overcome Low Dopamine

Dopamine is a catecholamine neurotransmitter with many important functions. It is the primary reward neurotransmitter with many other implications on cognitive functioning and mood. Dopamine is considered a nootropic neurotransmitter due to its effects on essential cognitive functioning. Many drugs both legal and illegal use the dopamine structure, method or pathway to pharmacologically change the way our brains work.

Dopamine imbalance can cause many problems. Anhedonia (not feeling enjoyment), depression, low libido and cognitive decline may all be caused by low dopamine. The neurotransmitter not only works as a nootropic, but also as an anti-depressant and it is often overlooked as being a problem. Many people with low dopamine may be seen as being depressed and prescribed SSRI’s when in fact, these many do more harm than good (raising serotonin can lower dopamine further).

neurotransmitters: dopamine. seretonin, norepinephrine

Malfunction of dopamine signals is a main theory behind ADHD. ADHD is a very serious problem and it is often not identified soon enough. These people basically have weak dopamine signals due to their chemical makeup. Amphetmaine drugs meant to imitate and amplify dopamine effects are often an only option for these people. These drugs are effective but very unsafe and addictive.

Causes & Symptoms of Low Dopamine?

Finding a root cause for low dopamine is very tricky. There is no way to tell wether or not someone will be low in dopamine. If you do have low dopamine it is important to be mindful and aware as there may be ways to correct the problem. People with low dopamine are more likely to be depressed, have low energy, sex drive and become drug addicts or become addicted to other things (sex, gambling, adrenaline).

Understanding the ADHD mind can help us understand some of the aspects of low dopamine. To the naked eye, most ADHD suffers seem to be very happy. The reason we (non-ADHD sufferers) assume this is becaused people with ADHD often seem very lively and social. This may be true because people with ADHD may be very social and impulsive with a lack of focus.

We may observe these signs as a sign of happiness however this often couldn’t be further from the truth in fact, ADHD sufferers are often very depressed and just don’t show it. ADHD sufferers are also more likely to become addicited to substances or events that increase dopamine response (cocaine, meth, gambling, danger).

Solving Low Dopamine

The good news is that solving low dopamine can be fairly easy. The bad news is that a lot of these drug treatments are not safe. Most substances involving dopamine are stimulants that are also addictive. For safety, these types of drugs should ALWAYS be ruled out first. They are not a long-term or viable treatment option for low dopamine and having low dopamine in the first place can increase the desire for these substances even more so avoid at all costs.

Trying to increase dopamine with supplementation is a great option. There are several natural supplements to do this relatively safetly. They are not drugs so one does not need to worry about addiction or downregulation of dopamine receptors. For those with low dopamine, this should always be the first choice. The other less safer option, may be to ask for a MAO-b from your doctor.

Dopamine Precursor Nootropics

L-Phenylalanine → L-Tyrosine → L-DOPA → Dopamine

Above is the body’s route of synthesis for natural dopamine. L-Phenylalanine is an amino acid and a precursor to another amino acid, L-tyrosine. In reality, taking either of these amino acids will help to increase the level of dopamine in the brain. They also function mildly as nootropics due to this effect.

Dopamine itself cannot be orally consumed as a supplement because it cannot penetrate the brain. The next best thing to dopamine is its direct precursor, L-DOPA. L-DOPA can be obtained in pure form however it is a prescription prescribed for Parkinson’s disease in many countries. The supplement, mucuna pruriens is rich in L-DOPA and a great nootropic supplement to increase dopamine.

MAO-B Inhibitors

Monoamine oxidase B is an enzyme that breaks down dopamine. MAO-B is necessary in the body however it can be in high levels and negative for maintaining healthy levels of dopamine.

There are two groups of MAO-B inhibitors: reversible and irreversible. Reversible ones are much less effective however they are less dangerous. Irreversible MAO-B inhibitors like Selegiline are very effective for increasing dopamine however they should only be used under the supervision of a doctor.

5 Incredible Russian Nootropics

Russians have always tried to push ahead of the curve. They were in the race to space, and very close to landing on the moon before any other country. Russia has also continually showed their power throughout history as a military and economic superpower

Russian nootropics have also been an area of incredible advancement. The Russian government has long been interested in developing nootropic drugs to increase mental stamina and strength.

Millions of dollars of research have been funded by Russia to the Molecular Genetics of the Russian academy of sciences. Russia has interest as a society to create drugs to improve people’s cognition and lives. Other countries do not have the same attitudes as drugs are about pure profits rather than creating compounds to improve the everyday person


Noopept, also known as GSV-111 was first developed in Russia. It was one of the first compounds to be prescribed as an actual nootropic strictly meant not to treat a condition, but to increase cognitive function in the healthy as well. Long ago it was only available through the manufacturer but now many copycats have identified the formula and created it in other countries.

Noopept is perhaps one of the most popular cholinergic nootropics worldwide behind piracetam and aniracetam. In the recent years it has become very popular in North America, the UK and Australia. Over a decade ago, noopept was only available is Russia and the surrounding countries however the increased demand has spread it and created a demand that has pushed the price down. It is still raising in the ranks to become one of the most popular nootropics.


Phenylpiracetam is another nootropic created in Russia that has gained a lot of attention. It is not yet as popular as noopept but has gained increasing popularity in the west. It has even been banned from the Olympics by the World Anti-Doping agency.

Phenylpiracetam is known as Phenotropil in Russia but like with noopept, the formula has been copied and sent to many other countries. One disadvantage with phenylpiracetam is the cost. Unlike noopept, it is much more expensive to produce and this has been a hindrance is growing it as a worldwide popularity.


Semax is another exciting and new nootropic that was created in Russia. It has been studied extensively by Russian scientists and recognized by the local government as a powerful cognitive enhancer. It has not yet become extremely popular but worldwide knowledge is beginning to spread.

There are several hindrances with Semax becoming a popular and widespread nootropic. First, its formula is very expensive and difficult to create by copycats. Also, it requires special temperature requirements (must remain below 50 degrees F on transport or it loses potency). The only manufacterer of Semax is in Russia and this has lent Semax to remain very expensive and still unpopular in many countries


Cerebrolysin is another newer nootropic drug synthesized from pig brain proteins. It was created in Russia and has been evaluated as an Alzheimer’s disease treatment in Russia and surrounding countries. So far, Russian research has shown positive results. This nootropic may still have its time to shine as further research and reports become available.

Like with Semax, there are several things that make cerebrolysin unpopular as a nootropic in North America and other countries. Since it is a peptide, it has to be injected intramuscularly which obviously creates a barrier for safe and daily use as a general nootropic. Like with Semax, the availability of cerebrolysin is limited as the manufacturer is the only place to create it. Regardless, this peptide drug has gained a lot of interest.


Selank is yet another Russian nootropic peptide. Like cerebrolysin, it has to be injected which makes it less attractive as a daily nootropic. Some chemical research peptide companies have recreated the selank structure however these are not intended for human consumption and should be avoided.

Selanks’ method of action is entirely unique of most other nootropics. It is thought to modulate the concentration of monoamine neurotransmitters. This may have incredible benefits for cognition. Another recognized benefit is its alleged effects on brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF). The effects of Selank are still being studied and it may open the door to the next generation of nootropic drugs.

Nootropics and ADHD

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to recommend medical advice. The article is strictly observational and does not recommend to supplement the advice and guidance of your doctor. Nootropics have not been evaluated by the FDA to be a viable form of treatment for ADHD/ADD

ADHD is a problem that over 3-5% of the population is believed to suffer from. These statistics while alarming, may not include another large portion that don’t get help during childhood and remain undiagnosed into adulthood. It is agreeable that ADHD is a large and crippling problem to children, parents and adults. ADHD can affect personal relationships as well as business ones.

Over the years many people have tried to discover cures and remedies for ADHD. While there has been a lot of progress, there are still a lot of unknowns with ADHD. Traditional therapies involve cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). CBT may be effective if a child is diagnosed young enough to put these practices into a routine. Regardless, this type of therapy is still no “cure” even it may help tremendously.

For those suffering from ADHD that are not fortunate enough to respond to behavioral therapy, there are traditional ADHD drugs. These drugs include many scheduled amphetamine salts like Adderall which are often used illegally by many students as “smart drugs”. These amphetamine drugs work by calming down the mind of the ADHD sufferer and allowing them to focus. The problem with these drugs is the tremendous side effects. Many will resort to these drugs only as a last resort and these drugs have put many into the hospital.

What Causes ADHD?

ADHD is thought to be caused by a neurotransmitter malfunction. This disorder is not fully understood yet however a specific gene has been isolated in those suffering from ADHD. This variation is the gene is related to dopamine. Dopamine is highly nootropic neurotransmitter that plays a very large role in learning, memory and focus. In short, ADHD is thought to be a malfunction in the dopamine system. This explains why these dopaminergic amphetamine drugs work so very well the people with ADHD.

adhd brain vs. normal

Can Nootropics Help?

If nootropics can help “normal” people with focus, learning and memory, perhaps it can help those with ADHD. This is a common question many suffering from ADHD ask. Obviously, no comment can be made to these people due to the medical nature of these questions. No nootropic has yet to be approved as treatment for ADHD by the FDA. This is not likely to change as drug companies will only go after the most effective methods for maximum profit (regardless of care to the customer)

Regardless of this, there has been some interest in nootropics and ADHD. There has only been to date one study of piracetam and ADHD. You can see the results of the study here. Basically, this study showed that the children saw a 60% improvement after being administered piracetam. That is a huge number that more people need to realise.

While no medical comments can be made by us, we urge you to look at the data in this study. A 60% improvement must be more than significant. Of course nothing will ever be to the effectiveness of amphetamines to treat ADHD. This is because ADHD is a dopaminergic problem and not a cholinergic.

Dopaminergic drugs have the catch 22 of being dangerous and addictive. This doesn’t leave much room for ADHD sufferers for alternatives. For those not being able to handle the dangerous side effects of dopaminergics perhaps nootropics may be an option. This is something you have to evaluate personally.

The 3 Different Types of Nootropics & Their Functions

As you may know, there are several types of nootropics. Not all of these types work in the same way. It is beneficial to know how each type of nootropic works before building a stack. This will allow for one to experience maximum efficiency in their regimin. Below we will review some of the most common types of nootropics available today.


You may hear the term “cholinergic” coined quite frequently on this site and others. This is because cholinergic nootropics are the most common types available today. Cholinergic typically refers to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is vastly important in muscular movement and cognitive function. Malfunction of acetylcholine and the cholinergic system has long been related to cognitive and neurological disorders.

Acetylcholine dominates the parasympathetic nervous system. The neurotransmitter controls most of our “automatic” actives as well as muscle movements and heart rate. Acetylcholine and the cholinergic system also have a large influence on cognitive function such as learning and memory.

Types of Cholinergics

Cholinergics refer to a large range of nootropics as this term simply refers to any substance affecting the acetylcholine system. Several types of brain supplements interact with the system in a different manner. Below are the different types of cholinergics.

Positive Allosteric Modulators (Acetylcholine)

Positive allosteric modulators are substances that enhance the signal at a receptor. The racetam group (piracetam, aniracetam, etc…) are positive allosteric modulators of the acetylcholine receptor. This is a main method of action of most types of racetams. Racetams are not considered their own type of nootropic because they have other methods of action but primarily their effects are believed to be on the cholinergic system.

Acetylcholine Precursors

acetylcholine function and receptor

Acetylcholine precursors are also considered to be types of cholinergics. This is because they directly or indirectly increase the amount of acetylcholine in the brain. Choline is the most common type of choline precursor however there are also other compounds that act as intermediates in the production of acetylcholine (citicoline). Other cholinergics also mimic the effects of acetylcholine.

Other supplements indirectly influence the amount of acetylcholine. ALCAR helps in the synthesis of acetylcholine and centrophenoxine is thought to indirectly influence the amount of acetylcholine. Not all acetylcholine precursors work as nootropics by themselves and are often combined with positive allosteric modulators of the acetylcholine receptors like the racetams.

Acetylcholinesterase Inhibitors

Acetylcholinsterase inhibitors are very common in nootropic formulated blends. This is because they are very potent and require a very small dosage. Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors indirectly influence the amount of acetylcholine by eliminating an enzyme known as acetylcholinesterase.

The acetylcholinesterase enzyme breaks down acetylcholine but is necessary in the body. Without acetylcholinesterase the body couldn’t survive and would go into convulsions. Some acetylcholinesterase is needed in the body to terminate muscle movement however too much can cause negative effects on cognition. This is where reversible acetylcholinesterase Inhibitors come in. Reversible acetylcholinesterase inhibitors can work very well at increasing acetylcholine in the cholinergic system.


Ampakines unlike the racetams, get their own category. This is because amakines are known to work on a primary system. Ampakines do not affect the cholinergic system and instead influence the glutamatergic system. Glutamate is a neurotransmitter also very important in cognitive functioning. The two main types of glutamate receptors are the AMPA and NDMA.

It is thought that ampakines work as positive allosteric modulators at the glutamate receptors. The amplification at the receptors is thought to influence learning and memory. This is the main method of action of this type of nootropic.

One concern with ampakines is excitotoxicity. Excitotoxcity is a concern and is created by excess glutamate stimulation at the receptor which causes a build-up of oxidative stress. Lots of substances are considered to be excitotoxic including alcohol and amphetamines. It is thought that newer ampakines like sunifiram have very little excitotoxicity however this is a field that needs more study and should be of concern to nootropic users.


Dopaminergics are the third type of nootropic substance. A dopaminergic is any drug or supplement that somehow interacts with the dopamine system. Dopamine is another neurotransmitter highly prevalent in cognitive functioning. It plays a huge role in memory formation, mood and focus/attention.

Many dopaminergic drugs and supplements influence cognitive function but not all can be considered nootropic due to their dangerous side effects and safety profiles. Amphetamines for instance (Adderall, Ritalin), are dopamine reuptake inhibitors (DRI’s). These types of drugs can greatly enhance learning, memory and focus however they are highly addictive and unsafe.

Other dopaminergics include MAO b selective inhibitors (Selegiline). These types of dopaminergics are considered safer than DRI’s and can also help contribute to learning and memory. Even MAO b inhibiting drugs have complications and should still not be considered nootropic due to their side effects and safety.

There are some dopaminergic nootropics that act as precursors or indirectly influence dopamine and/or the receptors. Mucuna pruriens, L-tyrosine and phenylalanine all act as precursors to dopamine and can help to increase alertness, memory and mood. There are other nootropics that act partly as dopaminergics by affecting dopamine receptors or indirectly influencing levels in certain parts of the brain (sulbutiamine, citicoline)








How to Choose the Right Nootropic

Choosing the right nootropic can be a confusing task. You may have put in hours of research to only be confused more. Choosing the right nootropic to try for the first time is imperative as it will introduce you to the qualities of these brain enhancers.

Also, not every nootropic will work the same for everyone. Some may find that a product works great from them and then they will recommend this to a friend. This friend may be disappointed and turned off from nootropics rather than trying more options. Alternatively, the user may experience many side effects due to the fact that the product is too strong for them or that they are using an unfit dosage for them.

What We Recommend

Always start out small. Low doses and the smaller and less complicated the stack, the better. Some people jump right in and buy a whole stack and then complain about side effects and brain fog. This is because they are overloading there system and trying too much rather than working the product into their system.

We highly recommend to start out with cholinergics. Piracetam and Aniracetam are great on their own for a beginner. Noopept is also great. To begin, getting piracetam, aniracetam and noopept is a good idea. If one does not respond well to the racetams, they can try noopept or vice versa.

Incorporating a choline source is also a good idea for a beginner. You don’t have to go overboard on the choline and the choline source will simply allow for you to supply your brain with extra choline. This can help potentiate the effects of racetams as well as possibly reduce or avoid headache problems. It is always a good idea to have choline on hand

Experiencing Side Effects

The more nootropics you add and the higher the dosages, the more likely you will experience side effects. This is one common problem when someone builds a complicated stack and then has problems right away. These problems can be narrowed down easier when there is less nootropics in the stack as one nootropic may be causing the problems.

One common issue is brain fog. Brain fog can manifest itself when the individual is sensitive to the cholinergic changes within the brain. This can cause other neurotransmitter system to become affected. When the person experiences this, they may become discouraged and decide to quit the nootropics.

This problem is usually experienced when the individual is taking too much or too many different cholinergics. The best route in this case, is to start lowering the dosage and even cutting it in half. If you are using more than one product, cutting out different products through trial and error may help narrow down the culprit.

Best Beginner Stacks

Choosing a beginner stack can be a great option. There are many more advanced nootropics you can add to the stack as well as supporting vitamins and nutrients to help your brain function at maximum efficiency.

Below we will list some of the best nootropic stacks for a beginner. When we say “choline” this refers to a whole range of choline and acetylcholine precursors. It is up to you what you decide to choose. We recommend to use citicoline or alpha gpc for cholinergic neurotransmitter support as these are the best options with the least side effects.

  • Piracetam + Choline
  • Aniracetam + Choline
  • Noopept + Choline
  • Piracetam + Hydergine
  • Piracetam + Huperzine A

If Nootropics Do Not Work

When you first try a nootropic in the recommend dosage you may be let down initially. The best nootropics take time to work into your system and have cumulative effects. Many other drugs and supplements do not have cumulative effects as their effects enter the system and then are eliminated.

Racetams on the other hand, work best under continued dosing. We recommend to use a product for 2 weeks before throwing in the towel. You may decide to increase the dosage during this period. Also remember, that these are not stimulants and therefore you may not notice effects on the central nervous system. Look for other cues for nootropics effects.

Conversation may become easier or you may be able to write quicker and with less thought. These are the kinds of things you will notice on nootropics. Once you understand this you can begin to improve further in how you use nootropics. Good luck on your first choice to try these wonderful brain enhancers. We hope the experience brings change and positivity into your lives.


The 3 Most Common Piracetam & Racetam Side Effects

Piracetam and the racetams can have a host of side effects. These side effects are often not considered to be serious however they can be highly annoying. Having knowledge about these side effects and what causes them may help you prevent them or possibly reduce the severity.

It is important to remember that while piracetam is generally very safe, it still follows a dosage pattern. The higher the dosage, the higher likelihood there will be unpleasant side effects. This same rule applies to all the racetams like aniracetam, pramiracetam, etc…

Piracetam & Headaches Causes

Piracetam headache is perhaps the most common side effect experienced with this racetam. The root cause may have several causes but there is one prominent theory. There has not been a lot scientific study into this area and most of this evidence is circumstantial as based on numerous individual user reports.

Having not enough choline in the brain is the number one theory behind piracetam headaches. Piracetam is a cholinergic compound and therefore it influences acetylcholine and receptor activity. This activity is believed to up regulate the receptors and cause a higher demand for choline and acetylcholine in certain parts of the brain.

The piracetam headache is not believed to be a serious risk however it is highly uncomfortable and most people will discontinue use. Many people find that supplementing a choline source can help to remove or reduce the headache with piracetam and racetams in general. Some of the better choline sources include alpha GPC and citicoline.

Piracetam Irritability & Depression Causes

Piracetam mood disorders are a common negative side effect commonly experienced. Different people may experience different problems with the substance. Irritability is very common. Some people find they have a shorter temper when taking piracetam. Others may experience depression as a side effect of piracetam. This is perhaps the most negative mood effect on can experience while taking racetam nootropics.

There have not been any directly related studies to nootropics and mood side effects however it is known that increasing cholinergic activity can affect other neurotransmitters. Since racetams have an effect on the cholinergic system, several other neurotransmitters relating to mood may be manipulated. Some people may experience this effect more than others and this is not considered to be dangerous.

Some of the neurotransmitters that are affected by cholinergic activity are norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin. All of these neurotransmitters can play and important part in our mood. People may have these levels alerted differently than others which can explain the difference in mood side effects. These individuals can try lowering the piracetam dosage to reduce or stop these effects.

Piracetam “Brain Fog” Causes

One common side effect experienced with piracetam and similar racetams is brain fog. This brain fog has a lot of anti nootropic qualities and is the opposite desired effect. This problem is also thought to be related to a neurotransmitter imbalance. Increasing the cholinergic activity may influence other important cognitive neurotransmitters like dopamine. Dopamine like acetylcholine, also relates to memory and cognitive function.

It is unclear why some people may experience brain fog while others do not. One theory is that these people are more prone and sensitive to the effects of piracetam. There remains an important balance of cognitive neurotransmitters and strengthening one system may throw another one off kilter. Again, this remains dependant on the individual’s sensitivity and unique neurochemistry. One may try lowering the piracetam dosage to try to eliminate piracetam brain fog. If this still does not work, racetam nootropics may not be suited for the individual.

The 5 Best-Selling Nootropic Supplements

We have composed a list of some of the most popular nootropics in 2013. These nootropics are popular because they work well for most people and have a long history of use. This list is not likely to change over the next few years even with some of the newcomers like sunifiram and coluracetam coming into the scene. If you are new to cognitive enhancers, this list may be a good place to start.


Piracetam may not be the most powerful racetam however it is the most well-known and popular. The reason it is so popular is due to its age and availability. It is the oldest and most widely produced racetam. For these reasons, it is widely available and very cost effective.

In comparison to other cognitive enhancers, piracetam is considered fairly weak. Many people who truly use nootropics over the long term are likely to use it in a stack with other cognitive supplements like other racetams and choline. It stacks very well with most brain supplements and this is another reason it is very popular


Noopept is much newer than piracetam and many of the racetams. Regardless, it is now becoming very popular and is the second best-selling cognitive supplement on the market. Comparing it dosage wise to other products, it is considered much stronger and potent by weight.

It has some similar effects to piracetam but is considered much stronger. People will decide which they like better but noopept is generally accepted as much better than the majority of racetams. The cost has also come down a lot during the last few years. This is due to the increased demand and production volume. It is no longer considered a speciality product and can be found on the most the shelves of nootropic retailers.



Aniracetam is the second oldest and most popular in the racetam family next to piracetam. It is very popular to be used alone or in conjunction with piracetam and oxiracetam. Aniracetam has some unique effects and like noopept, it has shown to have anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) effects.

It is also a very cost effective supplement. It is very widely produced and is more powerful than piracetam. One downside is that it is fat soluble which makes taking in powder form a pain. Regardless, it is powerful and highly accepted on the brain health industry as a powerful nootropic by itself or in stacks with other products.


Pramiracetam has long been considered a niche product. This is not true nowadays. It is now considered to be a mainstream nootropic with accepted and powerful effects. Its cost needs to be justified by its powerful affects. Compared to piracetam and other racetams, it is much more expensive to produce and therefore costs are higher. It used to be very niche like coluracetam is now however prices have come down with the increased demand and production. For some, pramiracetam is their favorite and most powerful supplement for enhancing memory and learning. Some may use it only in times of heavy cognitive demand like during exam time. Others may cycle it as a small amount of tolerance is believed to be built up with this racetam.

Alpha GPC

Alpha GPC is one of the best choline sources hands down. It blows choline bitatrate out of the water in terms of efficiency and effects. The price of it scares a lot of people away however many feel it is highly worth it. One reason that makes it a preferred choline source in a stack is its lack in side effects in comparison to other choline sources.

Perhaps the best comparison to alpha GPC is citicoline. Citicoline is also a great choline source. Some people prefer one over the other and both are very popular. In terms of efficiency, alpha gpc is more effective however its cost is higher. Both citicoline and gpc will do the job in the end as well as have other health benefits included.

Comparing Nootropics to Stimulants

You probably already know that nootropics are supplements or drugs that increase cognitive function. They do so without causing a high occurrence of negative interactions. This is simply because they are generally not considered to be psychoactive and therefore do not carry the same baggage that comes with these types of substances.


One highly disputed nootropic is caffeine. Caffeine is the main stimulatory drug in coffee and energy drinks. Many people wake up every morning and drink their coffee. A lot of these people feel that they cannot function without it and others feel they need it to “wake up”. Caffeine defiantly has some nootropic qualities. In fact, it affects neurotransmitters that may other cognitive enhancers also affect.

Aside from being a nootropic, caffeine is also a stimulant. These stimulatory effects are considered psychoactive because they do affect the central nervous system and how we “feel”. This is because caffeine immediately works on certain neurotransmitters that affect wakefulness and the enhancement of the body.

In the short of things, caffeine is a kind of hybrid because it functions as both a stimulant and a nootropic. It defiantly enhances wakefulness and alertness however it may also help to increase learning and memory. Many stimulants alone will not affect learning and memory however caffeine may affect both of these areas. For these reasons, it is the most widely used nootropic around.


To be considered a stimulant, a substance must affect the central nervous system. The effects stimulants have on the central nervous system may influence bodily functions like heart rate and sweating. Some of these effects on the CNS can cause the negative side effects of stimulants. Stimulants may help one to feel more awake however these effects may come at the cost of side effects. Tolerance and addiction (physical and psychological) may also be something that can occur over time

Stimulants also affect neurotransmitters and how they work. Most stimulants target dopamine, norepinephrine and epinephrine while most nootropics affect acetylcholine and glutamate. All the above the stated neurotransmitters affect cognitive function and how we feel. The ones stimulants affect have more negative interactions within the body. While they may greatly affect alertness and focus, stimulants should not be used long term for cognitive enhancement due to health reasons.

The Subtle Effects

The subtle effects of nootropics may be hard to pick up on at first. Obviously, there are some main reasons these effects may not be picked up so easily by a first time user. Many first time users may be expecting something close to what stimulants offer. These effects will not be observed and this may cause the individual to think the substance my not be working.

Over time, the user may discover enhancements in how they think and feel. These effects may become more apparent once the person learns what nootropics can actually do. One does not need to experience the physical effects of stimulants to have the same kind of sharp cognitive enhancements associated to them.

The Negative Effects

For the very small portion of people, nootropics may cause negative consequences to cognitive function. These results are often caused by a neurotransmitter imbalance in the brain. It is important to remember that everyone’s brain is different. Not everything will be suited or work for everyone in the exact same way. This is also true with cognitive enhancers and other drugs.

Some common negative cognitive side effects of racetam nootropic use are: brain fog, lethargy and headaches. It is important to remember when you affect one neurotransmitter with a supplement or drug other important systems may be thrown off balance. This is believed to be a common problem with those suffering from these problems when taking cognitive enhacners. This problem might be able to be solved however one should experiment before finding what works best for them.

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