5 Underrated Nootropics That Are Extremely Effective
December 15, 2021
“I always wanted to be somebody, but now I realize I should have been more specific.”
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Alpha GPC as Underrated Nootropic
“If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.”
― Zig Ziglar
Pure alpha GPC is not that cheap. Why is it making our list of underrated nootropics? Well, it makes the list because of the compounds’ outstanding price/quality profile. Alpha GPC helps provide choline for our brains. This choline manages cognitive function declines caused by neurodegenerative and vascular diseases. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that is responsible for sparking energy in cells. A spark is impossible without acetylcholine, and alpha GPC helps with that. Acetylcholine is what lights things up and transfers energy. For a deeper dive into the benefits of alpha GPC, follow the link.
Single choline is powerful when it comes down to brain performance. If you have low levels of acetylcholine, your muscles do not contract, and the brain doesn’t send enough signals. So, what alpha GPC does is alter this neuronal excitability by increasing the input to the prefrontal cortex. So, it increases the light in the prefrontal cortex. This happens with acetylcholine which needs the choline provided by alpha GPC. Taking alpha GPC increases acetylcholine levels and decreases the number of enzymes that break down acetylcholine. Alpha GPC has the unique ability to cross the blood-brain barrier, so taking it improves the functioning of your prefrontal cortex.
For further reflections on how to increase acetylcholine levels, follow the link.
Read more on alpha GPC on the Marco’s Grounds Deep Dive.
This enhances your focus, alertness, and memory and helps you perform better physically.
A group of researchers published an interesting study in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition  and divided subjects into three groups:
- Individual dosages of alpha GPC at 200 milligrams
- Individual dosages of alpha GPC at 400 milligrams of caffeine
- A placebo group
There were a few things they wanted to measure, like how quickly they could perform subtractions, spatial awareness, and memory. There were even plans to measure jitteriness, just one of the side effects of caffeine, as well as some physical performance. They found that there was an improvement in the speed of the subtraction test. The test showed the following:
- Alpha GPC only group was 6.13 seconds.
- Caffeine + alpha GPC group was 7.30 seconds.
- The placebo group was 6.9 seconds.
Strangely enough, the placebo outperformed the caffeine group. The group consuming alpha GPC without caffeine outperformed everyone as expected.
To read further on Nootropics vs Coffee have a look at this post, if the heart so desires.
Alpha GPC made them think faster, no doubt. There was about a nine percent increase in their overall performance and power with a vertical jump as far as power is concerned. Not only do we get a mental boost, but we also get a physical boost as well.
The reason for this is that acetylcholine plays an important role in sparking power, both mental and physical, and can increase the intensity of signals from the brain to the muscles. Regarding the jitteriness effect, there was no effect with alpha GPC. There was, however, an effect with caffeine, so you get more performance with alpha GPC psychologically and possibly even physically with no jittery feelings.
Note: there’s an effective dose of alpha GPC at 99% purity in each dose of MAXIMUM MIND.
Creatine as Underrated Nootropic
“People do not buy things for what they are; they buy things for what they do.”
― Dan S. Kennedy
The compound creatine is naturally present in muscle cells. It can be used to generate energy when lifting heavy objects or to engage in high-intensity exercises. You can get creatine just about anywhere, and it only takes a couple of grams to get started. Creatine makes the list of best-underrated nootropics because most people use it for its muscle-building best-underrated benefits. Yet, small amounts of creatine are very good for your brain. Remember, the brain consumes about 20-25 percent of our daily energy. Brains are expensive energy sinks. If you remember eight-grade biology classes and how adenosine triphosphate is broken down to generate energy, then you know why creatine is extremely useful (
Here’s a more in-depth discussion of creatine as a nootropic.
Creatine is able to bind to a phosphate molecule in order to produce ATP.
If we have creatine available, we can artificially create ATP rather than having to breathe oxygen to create it. You can say it is possible to bind to ATP to produce more energy. People think creatine is only for muscles, but it’s as powerful for the brain. Creatine is a very powerful nootropic, especially when combined with alpha GPC. You only need two grams of it for it to have an impact, especially if you take creatine along with taurine to increase abortion rates.
Lion’s Mane as Underrated Nootropic
“The hard days are what make you stronger.”
– Aly Raisman
A lion’s mane mushroom is a large, white, shaggy mushroom that grows like a lion’s mane when it grows. Lion’s mane mushrooms contain bioactive compounds that support the brain, the heart, and the digestive system. Lion’s mane is one of the best-underrated nootropics you can get your hands on next to creatine. It’s still mostly unknown in the mainstream, but we don’t think this will last much longer. It boosts nerve growth factors (NGF). As the name implies, the growth factor regulates the growth of neurons.
It also aids in remyelination, which is the repair of the myelin. A healthy brain can replace lost or damaged myelin if given time and chance. A myelin sheath is similar to the insulation found on a cable or an insulating coating. In cases where that wears down, the signal will not be as strong. A nerve growth factor injection may be helpful in remyelination in that case. Furthermore, there is now plentiful evidence that lion’s mane can help remove beta-amyloid plaque, contributing to Alzheimer’s disease. That’s powerful, both for short- and long-term use.
We discuss in this post the benefits of lion’s mane further.
Note: there’s an effective dose of organic lion’s mane full-spectrum fruiting body at 40% minimum beta-glucans, in each dose of MAXIMUM MIND.
Read more on lion’s mane on the Marco’s Grounds Deep Dive.
Pycnogenol as Underrated Nootropic
“Never stop doing your best just because someone doesn’t give you credit.”
– Kamari aka Lyrikal
Pycnogenol or pine bark extract is a natural chemical compound. It is found in the bark of European pine trees. As an antioxidant, pycnogenol may protect cells from damage.
In spite of pycnogonida’s specific connection to cerebral blood flow, its implications are still intriguing, hence why it makes our list of best-underrated nootropics. Known as anthocyanins, this is one of the most potent antioxidants. It does it in two unique ways in terms of how it all works. One way is through the endothelium, which affects blood vessels. It relaxes the blood vessels, producing more nitric oxide, allowing more blood to flow, especially to the brain. I’m sure you know what happens when you bring more oxygen to a fire. It’s straightforward.
Another way is to cross the blood-brain barrier. As a result, more blood flows specifically to the brain, which means more of the following to the brain:
Generally, pycnogenol gives a greater feeling of well-being and a positive outlook. But it has other properties, too, such as antioxidant properties. Additionally, it reduces oxidative damage in the brain.
As a result, when your brain is working fast, it creates a lot of cellular waste, which gets neutralized, and has a lower impact. A study published in the Journal of Neurosurgical
Sciences  shows how this works. After just 12 weeks of taking 50 milligrams of pycnogenol three times per day, you will notice the following changes:
- Increased mental performance by almost 9%
- Increased memory by 14%
- Reduced oxidative stress by 30%
As a result, memory and mental performance will be improved while making the brain healthier. One simple 50-milligram tablet is likely to make a significant difference.
Gingko Biloba as Underrated Nootropic
“Nothing will work unless you do.”
– Maya Angelou
This antioxidant-rich herb is used to enhance brain health and treat a number of conditions. It is available nearly everywhere and works similarly to pycnogenol. Ginkgo has gained much popularity lately, then lost it due to overreaching. People were attributing too many benefits to it. Yet, if you use it for what it’s excellent at, it’s an impressively underrated nootropic.
Gingko improves blood flow to the brain and crosses the blood-brain barrier as well. You will feel mentally sharp, and your mental energy will increase, as well as your ability to articulate better and access a broader vocabulary. Furthermore, gingko promotes more acetylcholine production than Pycnogenol and, thus, could be seen as a superior compound.
According to a study published in the Journal of Neural Regeneration Research, the administration of ginkgo biloba extract improves the health of stem cells in several regions of the brain . This means that if you have some dead brain cells, perhaps from swallowing helium when you were a kid or holding your breath too long, you may regenerate some of them and allow new ones to regrow–all is not lost.
Despite being used for centuries, gingko is still in its early stages when it comes to proving its benefits on brain health. Therefore, it’s likely that there are benefits we don’t even know of yet.
Note: there’s an effective dose of organic gingko biloba leaf extract at 24% glycosides 6% terpene lactones in each dose of MAXIMUM MIND.
Read more on ginkgo on the Marco’s Grounds Deep Dive.
This is our list of the most underrated nootropics that are effective. To build a killer stack, you could combine several of these (please consult a doctor before doing so) or get the most effective ones along with other powerful ingredients from a formulation like MAXIMUM MIND.
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- Parker, A. G., Byars, A., Purpura, M., & Jäger, R. (2015). The effects of alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine, caffeine,best-underrated or placebo on markers of mood, cognitive function, power, speed, and agility. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 12(Suppl 1), P41.
- Belcaro, G., Dugall, M., Ippolito, E., Hu, S., Saggino, A., & Feragalli, B. (2015). The COFU3 Study. Improvement in cognitive function, attention, mental performance with Pycnogenol® in healthy subjects (55-70) with high oxidative stress. Journal of neurosurgical sciences, 59(4), 437-446.
- Wang, J., Chen, W., & Wang, Y. (2013). A ginkgo Biloba extract promotes the proliferation of endogenous neural stem cells in vascular dementia rats: neural regeneration research, 8(18), 1655.
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