Nootropics 101 - What You Need to Know Before You Start Your Nootropics Journey
Are you thinking about starting to use nootropics to enhance your cognitive abilities, energy, memory, creativity, and focus, but you’re not sure where to start?
Are you confused about the differences between all the different products and ingredients, or whether you should use pharmaceuticals or natural supplements?
If you’ve experienced confusion around the broad range of products across multiple categories, you’re not alone.
When I first started this journey into cognitive enhancement, peak mental and physical performance, there was a lot to learn...but it led to a very interesting and valuable series of developments.
With this article, I hope to help you to create another “hack” to shortcut the process and make a solid decision moving forward.
What ARE Nootropics?
According to Wikipedia, nootropics are defined as follows:
Nootropics (/noʊ.əˈtrɒpɪks/ noh-ə-TROP-iks) (colloquial: smart drugs and cognitive enhancers) are drugs, supplements, and other substances that may improve cognitive function, particularly executive functions, memory, creativity, or motivation, in healthy individuals.
Nootropics run a wide range with a variety of brand names in both the nutritional/nutriceutical category and the pharmaceutical side. Technically, anything that stimulates your brain can be defined as a nootropic. That’s why you get that boost of mental energy from drinking a cup of coffee or drinking an energy drink, but unfortunately, those options are not particularly healthy for you (unless you prepare your coffee a certain way) and tend to have a big “crash” afterward.
The same thing applies to pharmaceutical varieties. You can call amphetamines a “nootropic” but the upside is short-lived and the downsides can have a tremendously negative effect on your body (and your brain).
What Are the Potential Benefits of Taking Nootropics?
As indicated in the Wikipedia definition earlier, there are numerous potential benefits that you may experience taking nootropics. The most attractive and important are:
- Cognitive enhancement
- Increased memory
- Ability to maintain focus and reduce distractions
- Higher levels of overall energy
- Reduction of “aging brain” symptoms (memory loss, brain fog, lack of focus)
- Faster problem solving
- Enhanced critical thinking results
- Increased creativity
- Abundant physical performance (workouts, sexual function)
If you’re looking for those types of results, then taking the “right” nootropics can be a real game-changer, especially if you are in any peak performance-related space (entrepreneurship, sports performance, intense study requirements, etc.)
Nutritionals vs. Pharmaceuticals? (A “No-Brainer”!)
Pardon the pun but to me, this one is a “no-brainer”. It is always going to be a matter of personal opinion, but I am pretty anti-pharmaceuticals across the board unless absolutely necessary. When it comes to nootropics, that’s a pretty simple decision to make because there are so many high-quality natural non-synthetic products on the market.
If you have the option to get the results you’re looking for by using natural, organic, plant-based alternatives to deliver those results, without any chemical side-effects, why wouldn’t you? Based on that, this article will focus on natural options.
What Ingredients Should You Be Looking For in a Nootropic Product?
There are literally dozens of natural, plant-based ingredients to consider in your nootropics or nootropics “stacks” (combinations of ingredients). Depending on who you talk to and what the latest “hot topic” is in the nootropics space, you’ll get a lot of different answers to this question.
I’ll do another article or series of articles in the future about the benefits of specific ingredients but for now, here’s a shortlist (not at all complete or fully comprehensive) of the most popular and effective ingredients in the “natural” supplement nootropics space, including some compounds that enhance nootropic effects:
- Celastrus paniculatus (Intellect Tree Seed)
- Caffeine compounds and related derivatives (theobromine, green tea, L-Theanine, theacrine, caffeine anhydrous, caffeine citrate and others)
- Rhodiola Rosea
- Acetyl L-Carnitine
- CDP Choline
- Gingko Biloba
- Guarana Extract
- MCT Oil
- Fish/Krill Oil
There are also a number of nutritional support ingredients and compounds that seem to enhance or optimize the effects of using various nootropics.
One Product for Everyone? Think About It...
I have tried virtually every product on the market (but choose not to name names to protect the innocent) and while there are some great products out there, there was never a perfect mix or stack that consistently gave me great results...until I discovered something important...
I get asked all the time: “Which is the best product to start with?”
Easy answer: The one that works the best for you. This is almost a trick question. Logic dictates here. Should you be taking the same things as your neighbor who weighs 200 pounds more than you and is looking for a completely different result? Of course not… that makes no sense at all!
The problem with most companies doing nootropic supplements right now is that they are using subclinical doses of the key ingredients in order to save money (while sometimes still charging high prices for their products) and was as low levels of any support ingredients that typically enhance the effect of the nootropics.
My Journey Into Personally Customized Nootropics
After getting this question over and over I ultimately took a deeper dive into the concept of customized nootropics. The whole “one-size-fits-all” concept in nutrition or nootropics never made much sense to me anyway. In my early experiments with nootropics, I never came across any option that allowed me to customize my own stack based on my own physiology, and what I was trying to accomplish, other than mixing and matching different products myself.
That’s when I set out to create something ideal for me and the ongoing biohacking / neurohacking experimental journey that I was on. And to make a long, very interesting story very short, I magically stumbled across a brilliant formulator and mentor in the nootropic space and that allowed me to initially start customizing my own stacks, and ultimately launch my own custom nootropics line called MasterMind Nootropics (“mmnoots” for short).
Like many journeys in our lives, this one started with just trying to make my own ilfe experience better, but I realized that there were a lot of people just like me, asking the same questions and wondering how they could increase their performance and optimize their lives, based on their own needs, not the perceived needs of the product company.
And like many entrepreneurial journeys, this one started as a need to fix my own problem, and recognizing that the problem was bigger than I realized in this marketplace.
MasterMind Nootropics is one solution… but know this… the nootropics journey, along with anything in the biohacking and neurohacking space should be treated as a very personal experiment.
Just like there is no one-size-fits-all approach or solution that works for everyone, you will find on this journey that even your own experience is an ongoing experiment. You will need to tweak and adjust things along the way. You will need to rotate different products and tools, food choices, morning routines and other elements of your life to balance things out over time and allow your brain, body, and mind to adjust, shake off any resistance or tolerance that shows up around doing the same routines while you keep track of how that feels and looks on you.
The choices you make are yours and peak performance across the board is an exciting journey.
Have fun with your choices and remember, you can always reach out to me to seek out any guidance or input along the way.