Nootropics 101

What Are Nootropics?

(beginner’s guide & frequently asked questions) 

There are so many people out there who have no clue whatsoever what are Nootropics and whether do Nootropics work or not. And there are also many who would immediately ask, are Nootropics legal?

Here we are going to try and answer all the questions you have and help you get a better insight into this fantastic – yet risky to an extent – field.

So, let’s get started.

What Are Nootropics? And What Is A Nootropic?

Well well well, I’m glad you asked.

Nootropics (which are often referred to as “smart drugs,” cognitive enhancers, and intelligence enhancers, to name a few) are drugs, supplements, and functional and superfoods that improve brain overall functions.

They boost cognition, memory, intelligence, motivation, attention, and concentration. For a supplement to meet the universal standard to be recognized a nootropic, it would have to abide by the following:

  1. Enhance learning
  2. Resist impairing agents
  3. Improve resistance to the brain “aggression.”
  4. Facilitate interhemispheric transfers of information
  5. Increase tonic, cortico-subcortical “control.”
  6. Not have the usual pharmacological effects of neuro-psychotropic drugs

Since then “nootropics” gradually expanded to either be synonymous with cognitive enhancers or refer to the subset of non-stimulant cognitive enhancing compounds with very few side effects and low toxicity.

That means all nootropics are cognitive enhancers, however, not all cognitive enhancers can meet the standards to be nootropics. A cognitive enhancer is defined by its ability to augment performance on one or more cognitive measures. The term refer to a wide range of natural and artificial compounds which enhance cognitive function.

Moving on.

How Do Nootropics Work?

Each nootropic has a different way of working, which is called mechanism of work. Moreover, nootropics on their separate pages have a benefits and effects section as well as a ‘how it works,’ in which each is addressed. Nootropics work by modulating neuronal metabolism, cerebral oxygenation, neurotransmitter availability, increasing neurotrophic factors and by affecting other cellular processes. If you’re wondering about the mechanism of work, you can visit any of the pages, for example, click on Mechanism of Action and it will redirect you to the Acetyl L-Carnitine page, in which section #3 explains the exact way that nootropic works within our body…or brains. Kapish?

What Are the Best Nootropics?

Depending on the effect you seek. For example, a person who looking to increase their learning capability would be looking for a different nootropic than a person seeking to improve their memory. You see what I mean?

You should choose what to supplement with based on what you want to achieve as well as improve. Some of the popular effects people look for are anxiety treatment, energy, focus, concentration, increasing learning capacity, increasing memory recall, physical performance, enhancing mood, creativity. It is essential to research before you make a purchase though keep in mind that customer reviews are subjective. Each person reacts differently to a particular nootropic. Some of the classic ones that I felt every single one of them consciously:

  1. L-Theanine with Caffeine for Focus & Attention – (what I favor the most is the 200mg:100mg ratio)
  2. Creatine for reasoning
  3. Bacopa Monnieri for memory. Although optimal memory benefits take several weeks to start its action, the anxiolytic effects kick-in shortly after consumption
  4. Ashwagandha for stress – king!
  5. Lion Mane Mushrooms for neurogenesis

Are Nootropics Legal?

Well, that’s a little bit more complicated to answer than a yes or no.

Generally, yes, most nootropics are legal. However, some are unregulated, some are unregistered, and some are straight up illegal. It depends a lot on where you live, which country, and which state or city.


Short (TL DR) Descriptions

  • Acetyl L-Carnitine (ALCAR)

Acetyl L-Carnitine (also known as ALCAR) is a multi-functional nutrient nootropic that benefits the body and brain. A potent antioxidant and neuroprotectant, it is a powerful nootropic that promotes energy and longevity. It works synergizes very well with other nootropics and usually is a primary component in most nootropic stacks.

  • Alpha-GPC

A natural choline compound, Alpha GPC works on its own as a powerful memory booster, and in combination with other nootropics a powerful potentiator notably boosting cognitive enhancement. It’s used for cognitive-promoting qualities, as well as to increase energy and power output during weight-lifting or exercising.

  • Adrafinil

Adrafinil is a stimulating nootropic that provides remarkable nootropic properties. It metabolizes into the famous Modafinil, making it a smart tool for enduring in longer, mentally demanding tasks.

  • Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is an ancient herb often referenced to as “the king of Ayurvedic medicine.” Its favorable effect remains the ability to reduce and often diminish stress and different types of anxiety. Many would even refer to it as the “stress eliminator.” Additionally, Ashwagandha provides neuroprotection and currently under clinical trials for its benefits on…

  • Bacopa Monnieri

Bacopa monnieri is a powerful natural herb nootropic used for ages for its memory enhancing and anti-aging effects. It reduces anxiety and improves memory formation. It also expands learning capacity, decreases stress and even offers neuroprotection.

  • Coluracetam

Coluracetam is a less known member of the racetam family of nootropics. In combination with the common cognitive enhancement of racetams, early scientific trials confirm that it is beneficial in the treatment of Major Depressive Disorder as well as with Generalized Anxiety, in addition to its nootropic features.

  • L-Theanine

L-theanine is a natural amino acid existing almost only in green tea leaves. It works brilliantly in unwinding and relaxing the body and brain without causing drowsiness, while reducing stress and increasing cognitive function. Due to not causing drowsiness, it is the perfect choice to combine with stimulants of any sort to take the edge off.

  • N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine

N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine (NALT) is a more bioavailable form of Tyrosine, an amino acid that’s also a nootropic. It improves mood, memory, and enhances cognitive abilities in many ways. It has great effects of reducing stress and maintaining mental performance during sleep deprivation.

  • Phenylpiracetam

Phenylpiracetam is a potent and fast-acting smart drug of the racetam family. It enhances cognitive abilities as well as boosts physical strength. The Olympics Anti-Doping committee bans it for being too stimulating for athletes.

  • Noopept

Noopept is one of the most potent nootropics on the market today. It gives an overall cognition boost along with a small psychostimulatory effect. Unlike many nootropics, noopept effects kick in within minutes of consumption, making it an attractive choice when facing mentally demanding tasks.

  • Pramiracetam

Pramiracetam is gaining high attention after a study showing an outstanding success rate of 96% in reversing amnesia, surpassing the one it actually derived from, piracetam. It boosts cognition and improves memory, increases concentration, learning capacity, and furthermore promotes and assists in maintaining and enduring prolonged periods of focus.

  • Oxiracetam

Oxiracetam is one of the most valuable racetam class nootropics. Its ability to boost productivity and problem-solving has made it a favorite – and a best seller.

  • Lion’s Mane Mushroom

Lion’s Mane Mushroom has become one of nature’s most potent nootropic supplement for the brain. There is evidence that is can permanently enhance brain function as well as protect the brain and promote NGF and neurogenesis.

  • Rhodiola Rosea

Rhodiola Rosea is a naturally growing flower plant from the wild Arctic regions of Europe, widely used in Chinese, Scandinavian and Russian traditional medicine. It is believed to be the perfect remedy for fatigue and burnouts. Moreover, Rhodiola is useful for the brain; protecting it from toxin damage as well as boosting memory and…

  • Modafinil

Modafinil is a powerful stimulant that promotes ‘wakefulness’ and treats sleep disorders. It prevents daytime sleepiness and fatigue, as well as offering nootropical benefits such as enhancing mood, increasing mental alertness, increasing motivation, improving reaction time, reducing fatigue, and even enhancing memory.+

  • Sunifiram

Sunifiram is a potent and powerful nootropic that enhances memory, expands learning capacity, and uplifts mood. A recent addition to the racetam family that seems more than promising.

  • Fasoracetam

Fasoracetam is a newer addition to the racetam family. It’s a nootropic that helps in relieving anxiety, enhancing memory, and improving overall cognition.

  • Aniracetam

Aniracetam (my dearly beloved go-to racetam), is a multipurpose nootropic providing benefits in several different areas. It produces remarkable anxiolytic effects, thereby improving cognition and enhancing mood. It also sharpens focus, increases verbal fluency, information processing, as well as expands the brain’s capability allowing greater information processing.

  • Piracetam

Piracetam is a nootropic designed to enhance brain function. Its the primary compound in the racetam family, from which almost 20 different derivatives have been discovered to date. It’s a revolutionizing nootropic that improves memory and remarkably boosts cognitive function.

  • Phenibut

Phenibut is one of the best selling nootropics today. As a GABAergic agent, it works on the GABA neurotransmitter distinctly reducing anxiety. It also lessens depression, and PTSD symptoms, improving sleep, and providing an overall feeling of ease and well-being.

Where To Buy Nootropics?

There are many options online when considering buying nootropics. However, you have to be careful as there are just as many scam vendors. Additionally, there are many cases where vendors are scamming customers by adding a particular irrelevant or illegal substance and mixing the product in a way to sell partly pure orders to maximize their profit.

Research the manufacturer’s credibility, and read customers experiences and reviews within nootropics communities such as Reddit’s /nootropics


Leave your question in the comments section below and someone within the community will answer you as soon as possible!

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Racetams 101

For a more comprehensive FAQ please visit the Ultimate Nootropics Frequently Asked Questions page here.

What Are Racetams?

Racetams are a category of synthetic nootropics and medications grouped due to sharing the same chemical structure. Therefore; producing similar effects. They vary when it comes to exact structure, strength, dosage, and concentration. However, fundamentally have impacts on the brain in similar ways that support their shared chemical composition. They are admired for their abilities to make the brain work much more effectively, essentially boosting memory, expanding learning capacity, promoting focus, boosting energy –in addition to providing an overall boost to brain function. The synthetic nootropic – and also the substance that led the scientist C.E. Giurgea to coin the term “nootropic” and formulate this class of cognitive enhancers originally was Piracetam. All popular racetams currently derive from Piracetam, although some are much more potent.

How Do Racetams Work?

Racetams work by affecting the assembly of the neurochemical neurotransmitter. Some work by boosting the functioning of the neurotransmitter receptors, whereas others improve the output of the neurochemical and impede the breakdown of neurotransmitter. Every one of those actions will immensely enhance the body’s cholinergic system. The brain takes choline and turns it into neurotransmitter, and whereas scientists admit they don’t perceive neurotransmitter nonetheless, they understand enough to grasp that the brain uses it for everything from learning and focus to decision-making, memory, and alternative cognitive actions.
Racetams additionally facilitate the quantity of gas, glucose, and nutrients traveling from your blood to the brain, giving your mind additional fuel. Improved aldohexose metabolism helps to extend concentration, focus, and need. By boosting neurotransmitter and aldohexose metabolism, racetams are potent tools to add in your nootropic stack. Acetylcholine plays a dominant role within the brain, liable for memory formation, attention, and thinking, further as alternative crucial psychological feature functions.

What Are the Best Racetams Available?

Since the invention of Piracetam, there have been 19 different derivatives to date. Not all of them are nootropics; some are in use for entirely different and medical reasons. The first standard racetams in alphabetical order are Aniracetam, Oxiracetam, Phenylpiracetam, Piracetam, Pramiracetam, and although not exactly a racetam per say, it nevertheless should be in the list; Noopept. Although it’s not technically a racetam, Noopept works in a very similar way to this group, enough to be counting as one. While all of those racetams operate somewhat equally, they are doing have some structural variations. Some facilitate to spice up focus, others to assist producers, some stimulate (but not within the same method as a stimulant), whereas others calm or alleviate anxiety.
The newer additions to the family are Fasoracetam, Coluracetam, and Sunifiram.

Are Racetams Safe?

Many people believe that since racetams are synthetic, they are not safe. That is an assumption without scientific evidence. The facts and numerous studies publicly available at The National Center for Biotechnology Information show that racetams are very reliable; despite various analysis attempting to prove them unsafe. Were they able to confirm they are toxic, it would burst within the medical field leading to limited usage.
The facts and studies from the very invention of them and up to date fail to do so. Most of the negativity around their use comes from anecdotal reports, which have their benefit. However, don’t seem to be a reliable supply of data. Needless to mention: it is vital to start out small, and lookout for adverse effects that may occur. The possibilities of side effects with racetams are usually headaches, brain fog, and sleep disturbances. These are very rare, nevertheless, possible. The most effective way to avoid side effects is to add a choline source such as Alpha GPC. Build up the dose gradually, allowing the body to adapt to it.

What Are Racetams Side Effects?

Racetams are considered to be safe, and yield low toxicity. However, as with all nootropics, you should be aware of the potential side-effects of racetams, not just the actual side effects.
Side-effects for racetams are rare and mild, if any. Most of which occur when an individual do not stick to the recommended dosage, or decide to go on “megadosing” without prior knowledge, then they are more likely to get some unwanted or adverse effects.
Most common racetam side-effects are: headache, nausea, trouble getting to sleep, and irritability.
If you are experiencing this symptoms, simply stop taking your racetams.
Before continuing, discuss usage with your doctor.
Note: Headaches can generally be counteracted or prevented when taking your racetam with a choline source.

How to Take Racetams?

When it comes to dosage or method of administration, each racetam has its different guidelines. Some are recommended to be taken once a day only while some others twice or thrice. Below is the recommended dosage for each racetam.

How to Take Pramiracetam?

A total daily intake of 1200 mg pramiracetam is optimal, split into two 600 mg or three 400 mg doses throughout the day. This is the lowest effective dose. On an individual level, it should be adjusted as required to accomplishing the desired effect.

How to Take Sunifiram?

Sunifiram works effectively at a dosage of 5 to 10 mg – at a maximum of three times per day. This the safe dose which has to be taken sublingually for maximum efficacy and absorption.
It is advised that one starts with the smallest doses to prevent side effects and toxicity.
Although it is not in documentation, tolerance can grow with excessive usage, so it is better to take it occasionally instead of daily basis.

How to Take Fasoracetam?

Given that it is produced 20mg dosage, 20mg would be a good starting point. Anecdotal reports suggest smaller doses of 15 to 30mg per day, while dosages used in clinical trials for ADHD were 100, 200, and 400mg twice a day.
Personally I tried anywhere from 20mg per dose to 60 mg per dose. The difference was barely notable.
As always, pair it with Alpha GPC or any choline source to potentiate the effect and prevent a headache.

How to Take Coluracetam?

The recommended starting dose is 20mg due to that being the manufactured one. There are claims that researchers testing coluracetam dosage of 240 mg per day are finding no side effects. However, the source link to that claim is broken. [R]. [R]
My Personal Experience: The maximum I’ve taken is 60mg in single dose. It caused me a slight headache and yield no special outcome.

How To Take Oxiracetam?

Oxiracetam average dose is 1,200-2,400mg taken in 2 or 3 even doses throughout the day. An example would be:

2x 800mg per day or
3x 400mg per day

How To Take Phenylpiracetam?

The usual dose are between 100-200 mg per dose, up to two or three times a day. However, I prefer taking a 200mg dose once only. The effects are much more present and pleasing.
Tolerance to Phenylpiracetam builds up very quickly. Therefore, minimize your use to when you need it rather than making it a part of a daily stack.

How to Take Aniracetam?

Aniracetam has a short half-life of about 1 to 3 hours. Therefore, many users advice to take it in 2 to 3 doses throughout the day to prolong the effect. I only take one 750 mg dose in the morning and am satisfied with this regime.
Aniracetam powder form is also available, though not as in favor as the capsule form due to its strong, bitter taste.
The recommended as well as typical dosage is 750 to 1500 mg, subjective to the individual. Taking smaller doses of as little as 400 mg has been found to be effective. Hence, it is wise to start at the lowest effective dose and build up from there as desired.

How To Take Piracetam?

The typical dose for adults is between 1,200 to 4,800 mg a day.
The most notable effective dose is 1,600 mg, taken three times a day, making a total of 4,800 mg per day. You can always check and get more information on racetams on reddit.