Welcome to the Pure Nootropics Knowledge Base!
The purpose of this section is to help you better understand nootropic compounds in general and the specifics of some of the nootropics we carry. For someone new to nootropics, we suggest you start here:
- What are nootropics / What is a nootropic? – This article covers what nootropics are, the different categories of nootropics, and the benefits that an individual can expect to achieve.
- Popular nootropics for beginners – This post covers some of the most popular nootropics that are the starting point for most when dabbling in the world of cognitive enhancement.
- Best nootropic stacks – This post covers some of the best and well-known combinations of nootropics (also known as stacks).
- History of Cognitive Enhancement Supplements – This post covers the history of some popular nootropics like ginkgo bilboa, and bacopa monnieri.
- Guide to Party Recovery using Nootropics – We all love to have a good time, but partying can take a toll on the body, this guide gives practical tips to make the next day more enjoyable by using nootropics.
- Nootropics for Public Speaking – Many of us take nootropics to get an edge in daily living. Public speaking is one area where nootropics can help out.
- Neuroscience & Nootropics Glossary – A list of commonly used terms (with definitions) in neuroscience (often used when talking about nootropics).
Before getting too far we want to mention that nootropics are a very subjective experience and while a particular compound works for one individual it may not work for another, this is why we put together a tutorial for tracking mental improvements with nootropics that you can use to track the efficacy of a particular compound.
For anyone seeking general overall cognitive enhancement, optimum nutrition, diet, and lifestyle are the best starting points. This includes simple things like getting a proper amount of sleep (check out our sleep guide for tips on falling asleep and staying asleep) and getting enough micro-nutrients (see our posts on the importance of Choline, getting your omega 3’s, and why you should be supplementing Vitamin D for more information, as a large number of individuals are deficient in one of these).
For more specific information about particular nootropics, each section below covers:
- Different decisions when buying nootropics
- Interactions with other compounds
- Side effects / benefits
There are a wide variety of nootropics as it is a broad category that encompasses many synthetic and natural compounds. The term was derived in the early 1970s and some of the most popular nootropics are part of the “racetam” family. Note that we provide more information about each item on its respective product page under the “full analysis” tab.
The first and most popular of these is called piracetam, which was discovered nearly 4 decades ago as a derivative of the neurotransmitter GABA. This nootropic is a popular option among elderly and youth alike because of the intense memory enhancement and improved learning ability for users.
Many people use piracetam as a beginner nootropic to have a product that is potent and effective, but is not overwhelming. Starting with piracetam is known to be a great beginner stack on many of the most well-established communities, such as Longecity and Reddit.
Even though piracetam is not extremely potent, it may create feelings of mood enhancement, reduced anxiety, and even improves focus and concentration in some individuals.
This is the second most common racetam and it was discovered not long after piracetam. Aniracetam is a very fast acting nootropic that improves memory formation and learning, but also increases stimulation. Because it has a high bioavailability (meaning it absorbs quickly), it is fast acting and more potent than piracetam, but it requires more doses throughout the day.
For most people who are trying to improve mental energy, get some stimulation, and improve learning, aniracetam is a great choice. It is often used in addition to piracetam as part of a nootropic stack that is focused on racetams.
Often considered one of the most potent racetams, oxiracetam has a long history of neuro protection. Many studies show that oxiracetam can not only halt, but also reverse neurological decline. Sometimes this can translate into reversing damage from trauma (whether chemical or physical) that people suffer earlier in life.
This cognitive enhancer has been studied for a variety of different cognitive functions. It is also useful for younger individuals who are seeking enhanced memory and learning. For most people, this is an advanced, but very safe nootropic addition.
Considered 60 times more potent than piracetam, this nootropic is a great boost of mental energy with the same memory enhancement benefits of the entire racetam family. Phenylpiracetam is so stimulating, the olympic organizations have banned the substance for athletes, but that doesn’t mean you cannot use it to your advantage!
As a highly potent nootropic, phenylpiracetam is also very bioavailable which means taking smaller doses more frequently is a good idea.
Finding a choline source for your racetams is imperative because this supplement is a precursor for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. This brain chemical is often responsible for creating memories and it is how piracetam and other nootropics are most effective in helping you to learn. Without adequate choline, it is possible to suffer from headaches and other jaw pains that are side effects of low acetylcholine.
It is best to use two types of choline called CDP choline (citicholine) and alpha GPC, which are higher in their bioavailability and will provide more raw choline for you to improve your memory and prevent side effects.
Another great nootropic is noopept, which is extremely potent. It is considered 1000 times more potent than piracetam, which means the doses are lower and it is important to be precise! Noopept will also help to improve memory formation and learning ability, but it does so through the glutamate receptors as opposed to the mechanisms of racetams.
This is a great cognitive enhancer to use if you want a potent stimulant that will also help to improve your memory. Some people even consider noopept a great way of reducing anxiety and improving general mood, but it will depend on your biochemistry how you react.
This is an all-natural amino acid found in green tea. L-theanine is associated with more alpha brain waves, which are correlated with relaxation. For most people, relaxed brain waves are different from the common high stimulation environment we all live in!
Combining L-theanine with a morning cup of coffee is considered one of the best nootropics for beginners who are interested in focus and attention. Numerous studies show the combined positive effects of caffeine and L-theanine, which are more profound than either of the two alone!
Derived from the nutrient thiamine (vitamin B1), sulbutiamine is a well-absorbed supplement that more easily crosses the blood-brain barrier. Japanese scientists in the early 20th century tried to develop synthetic options to consume more thiamine because deficiency was so common. Finally, in 1936 sulbutiamine was discovered and has been used due to its ability to pass the blood brain barrier.
It wasn’t until recently when the brain enhancing effects of sulbutiamine became more apparent. It is a treatment for fatigue (both mental and physical) and there is evidence it supports brain function through neuroprotection, improves memory retention, and has a positive effect on mental energy.
Researchers during the Soviet Union were hard at work developing treatments to improve brain function and one of their results was phenibut. This derivative of GABA (a chemical in your brain) easily crosses the blood-brain barrier and may be beneficial for stress-relief and improving mood.
According to a study in 2013, it is a powerful stress-reducing substance, but needs to be cycled in order to prevent dependence.
One of the most popular cognitive enhancers on the market is within the family called “Modafinil”. Many people avoid buying Modafinil because it is a scheduled substance in the United States, but one alternative is Adrafinil. Adrafinil is metabolized in the liver into Modafinil and improves wakefulness and concentration in order to complete certain tasks. Users of Adrafinil fin that it has slightly different cognitive effects than Modafinil even though it is supposed to be converted into Modafinil in the body.
In addition to being a wakefulness agent, Adrafinil has been noted as a tool for improving concentration, focus, and alertness beyond that of caffeine. Best of all, it is unscheduled in the United States so no shady online buys from a pharmacy you might not be able to trust!
Ancient Ayurvedic wisdom is on heavy display with bacopa monnieri. This plant-based nootropic has been used by Indians to develop improved memory and cognitive function for over 3000 years. Some claim this Ayurvedic remedy has been around for nearly 5000. Because of the popularity in Indian culture and cognitive medicine, it has garnered much attention in the western research laboratory as well.
Unlike some of the Ayurvedic options on the market, bacopa monnieri has had spectacular scientific trials that prove efficacy with a number of different indicators. Some of the most successful nootropic blends, such as Alpha Brain, are using this as a core ingredient to improve cognitive function.
This traditional Indian remedy for anxiety has received much attention due to its popularity in Asia. Since modern research in nootropic products began, ashwagandha has consistently proven itself as one of the more popular methods of improving mental performance by reducing the anxiety and stress being caused to an individual.
There is preliminary evidence that ashwagandha can also improve certain aspects of attention and focus, but they are less well-studied as the anti-anxiety effects. Not only can ashwagandha help you to improve focus and reduce anxiety, but promising research shows ashwagandha can be a powerful anti-inflammatory agent as well.
The amino acid, L-Tyrosine, is a non-essential amino acid that acts as a precursor for certain brain neurotransmitters like dopamine, epinephrine and norepinephrine. Evidence thus far shows that L-Tyrosine is an effective way to improve working memory while under stressful conditions. There is also some evidence to suggest that it is able to enhance creative thought!
Modern humans often get far less sleep than they should and L-Tyrosine can be a useful answer. It will ameliorate the detrimental effects of sleep deprivation to help you stay fresh, alert, and productive throughout the day.