“I Don’t Believe I Have Special Talents, I Have Persistence … After the First Failure, Second Failure, Third Failure, I Kept Trying.”
What Are Nootropics?
“The only difference between the master and the novice is that the master has failed more times than the novice has tried.”
First things first, what are nootropics? Corneliu Giurgea, a Romanian neuroscientist, coined the term nootropic (pronounced new-tropic) in 1972. He believed that smart drugs should be invented and made widely available for the purpose of enhancing the general population’s brain health and increasing human intelligence.
According to Dr Giurgea’s findings, nootropics enhance cognition, memory, alertness, concentration, creativity, and attention. They became known as cognitive enhancers, substances that amplify the way the brain’s many cognitive functions operate and how we process information.
Simply put, cognitive enhancers (or nootropics or smart drugs) are prescription or off-the-counter drugs or supplements that enhance cognition. Some nootropics contribute to brain health while others can be quite dangerous.
Since Marco’s Grounds only works with safe and natural compounds in their purest forms, for most of our discussions we will restrain ourselves to natural nootropics that increase cognition safely.
Best Nootropic Supplements
“Little minds are tamed and subdued by misfortune, but great minds rise above them.”
Before purchasing a nootropic, you should understand what it is, how it works, its effects on the brain and body, the many forms available, potential adverse effects, and dose recommendations. Numerous substances are available in capsule form or tablet form. Generally speaking, capsules are superior to tablets as they reach the small intestine more easily, where they then dissolve, and the components are absorbed.
Nootropics are generally regarded as safe for most people at the recommended dosage. However, this does not exempt you from consulting with a professional healthcare provider before starting a new course.
Below you’ll find a list of the best nootropics in the market currently in no particular order. Since my company makes natural nootropics only, I cover only natural compounds below.
Bacopa Monnieri is an excellent study aid that has been utilized in Ayurvedic medicine since ancient times. Bacopa is commonly seen as effective at relieving anxiety and boosting memory. This is quite interesting since a significant drawback of anxiety medication is that it can impair memory formation.
Bacopa is one of the best nootropic supplements because of its powerful benefits to memory and stress and its very high safety profile.
Note: there’s an effective dose of organic bacopa monnieri leaf extract at 50% minimum bacosides, in each dose of Maximum Mind.
Caffeine in coffee acts as an adenosine antagonist, keeping you awake by blocking adenosine receptors. It’s not a nootropic per se, as it works as a stimulant. Yet, so many people consume coffee that it does reasonably belong on the list.
Additionally to its wakefulness effect, caffeine promotes the release of serotonin, adrenaline, dopamine, and acetylcholine, delivering a similar stimulating effect to coffee. Further, coffee increases the density of GABA receptors, potentiates dopamine, and increases the density of serotonin receptors.
Caffeine makes the list of best nootropic supplements more due to its widespread than to its nootropic benefits. Since almost everyone consumes caffeine, it would be a pity not to mention it. Also, when combined with the right amount of L-theanine, caffeine seems to become much better at doing what it’s supposed to do.
Read more on coffee vs nootropics here if you want to know more about the benefits and disadvantages of both.
Cholinergic substances, such as CDP choline, uridine, or alpha GPC, are advantageous in any effective nootropic stack. CDP choline can help you improve your cognition, reduce fatigue, increase your attention, mental processing, and motivation.
The CDP choline molecule aids in the body’s acetylcholine synthesis and dopamine release. These are critical substances for learning and memory, as well as for repairing the membranes of brain cells.
CDP choline contains cytidine, which the body converts to uridine, required for neuron membrane synthesis. Phosphatidylcholine synthesis from uridine is necessary for the healing of damaged neuron membranes.
Despite its critical role in cognition and nerve function, without choline, humans cannot sleep, move, think, or retain knowledge, and that is why it makes this list of best nootropic supplements.
Note: there’s an effective dose of citicoline as Cognizin® in each dose of Maximum Mind.
The Lion’s Mane Mushroom is well-known for its neuroprotective qualities. This is a traditional Chinese medicine used to support mental health and cognitive function.
Lion’s mane is quickly becoming one of the most popular nootropic stacks available. Lion’s mane increases the production of Nerve Growth factors. It also enhances the release of neurotransmitters and signals associated with emotion, memory, and learning. Lion’s mane also aids in the improvement of cognitive memory, function, and mental alertness, as well as the elimination of brain fog.
Lion’s mane’s benefits are so incredible it will be unfortunate to skip it as one of the best nootropic supplements to take either on its own or as part of a well-balanced formulation.
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.
Huperzine A, a dietary supplement derived from the Chinese club moss Huperzia Serrata, is generating interest as a possible Alzheimer’s disease treatment, in addition to its numerous other cognitive benefits.
Huperzine A acts as a cholinesterase inhibitor, a class of medication or supplement that increases the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain. Early research indicates that huperzine A may improve memory and preserve nerve cells, thereby slowing the cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
It’s particularly interesting because Huperzine is one of the only supplements actually decreasing the rate of the reuptake of acetylcholine. When coupled with supplements that increase acetylcholine levels like CDP choline, alpha GPC, and uridine, huperzine can have multiplicative effects on one’s mental processing speed and power.
This last unique property of huperzine is the reason it makes our list as one of the best nootropic supplements.
Note: there’s an effective dose of huperzine A at 50% purity in each dose of Maximum Mind.
L-tyrosine is an amino acid molecule that may aid in the reduction of stress in the brain and body. N-acetyl L-tyrosine (NALT) is the acetylated version of L-tyrosine, which can be used by the body more efficiently.
NALT synthesizes a triad of catecholamines throughout the body, including norepinephrine, dopamine, and epinephrine. Increased dopamine levels improve your ability to concentrate, enhance cognitive function, organize your thoughts, and concentrate. Additionally, L-tyrosine may assist you in increasing and maintaining your focus and motivation throughout difficult days.
NALT is also seen as an effective treatment for ADHD symptoms. NALT improves the effects of smart “medications” like Ritalin and Adderall by boosting dopamine levels in the extracellular space and enhancing their effectiveness while avoiding negative consequences such as accidents.
NALT also enhances cognitive and memory function during times of acute stress. It enhances memory, judgment, creativity, and cognitive flexibility. The list is long, and this is why NALT is one of the best nootropic supplements to consider when formulating your supplementation strategy.
Note: there’s an effective dose of L-tyrosine as N-acetyl L-tyrosine in in each dose of Maximum Mind.
L-theanine is an amino acid found in high concentrations in green and oolong tea leaves. It is regarded as the finest nootropic when combined with coffee due to its synergistic effects on decreasing blood pressure, revitalizing, relaxing, boosting focus, and altering mood.
L-theanine increases alpha waves, which promotes alert relaxation. It Increases serotonin, GABA, and dopamine levels in the brain. With its stimulating and soothing effects, you will be able to enter a flow state more easily. Your memory will improve with L-theanine.
As an NMDA receptor antagonist, it prevents glutamate toxicity and overstimulation of the brain during synaptic transmission.
Theanine also increases serotonin, dopamine, and GABA levels in the brain. Additionally, nerve growth factors and brain-derived neurotrophic factors are increased. Most performance enthusiasts report feeling calmer after consuming L-theanine.
You’ll see an increase in cognitive function and energy levels without experiencing the jitteriness and negative effects associated with stimulants such as caffeine. L-theanine has been reported to be effective in resolving anxiety and panic episodes as well.
L-theanine on its own is already powerful enough to make it on this list of best nootropic supplements. Combine L-theanine with caffeine, and you’ll have a great mini-stack to power through the day.
Note: there’s an effective dose of L-theanine from organic green tea leaf extract in each dose of Maximum Mind.
Pine Bark Extract
Maritime pine bark extract is one of the most effective nootropics, yet little is known about it. The only reason we don’t use it in Maximum Mind is that we use bacopa, which shows superior and similar results and synergistic effects with huperzine A when combined in the right ratio.
Yet, maritime pine bark extract is a terrific supplement to take on its own.
The extract is made from the bark of coastal pine trees in France. Pine bark extract contributes to the prevention of dopamine and norepinephrine deficiency, and the glutathione-to-GSH-disulphide reductase ratio decreases.
Pine bark extract promotes blood circulation in the brain, which benefits brain function. This is accomplished by boosting nitric oxide production, which dilates blood vessels. This also contributes to the health of the blood vessel lining. Brain health requires the maintenance of signaling pathways and the enhancement of memory.
For all these reasons, pine bark extract makes it into this list of best nootropic supplements to consider while crafting your supplementations strategy.
Although all B vitamins contribute to normal brain function, the majority of research has been on B5, B6, B9, and B12 — due to their critical involvement in the homocysteine metabolism.
Homocysteine levels beyond the recommended level and insufficient B5, B6, B9, and B12 intake are all linked and changeable risk factors for brain degeneration, cerebrovascular disease, emotional imbalance, and cognitive decline. Supplemental B5, B6, B9, and B12 have been demonstrated to assist in maintaining homocysteine levels within the optimal range linked with superior overall mental performance.
The following B vitamins should be included in nootropic stacks in the methylated form, which is the superior, highly bioavailable form.
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) is required for the synthesis of acetylcholine.
Vitamin B6 (P-5-P) is required to synthesize dopamine, melatonin, and norepinephrine.
Vitamin B9 is required for DNA, RNA, amino acids, myelin, and dopamine and adrenaline synthesis.
Methylcobalamin (vitamin B12) is needed for the synthesis of dopamine, GABA, norepinephrine, and serotonin.
Without a bioactive methylated B-Vitamin Complex, you may not receive the full effect of a nootropic stack containing CDP choline, huperzine A, or any other nootropic.
Including these vital vitamins in your stack is one of the most critical steps you can take, and this is why they make the list of the best nootropic supplements.
Note: there’s an effective dose of methylated vitamin B5, B6, B9 and B12 in each dose of Maximum Mind.
Read more about methylated vitamin B on the Marco’s Grounds Deep Dive and why you should never consider non-methylated B vitamins.
Examine Your Oil
“Nobody who ever gave his best regretted it.”
— George Halas
Certain nootropic supplement labels indicate that they should be taken with food. This is the case for Maximum Mind, for instance. According to the suggestion, the nootropic is fat-soluble.
But what if you practice intermittent fasting? In that case, it would be better to wait until you have your meal to use Maximum Mind. Also, have a look at this post for guidance on the best nootropics for intermittent fasting, for example, if the spirit moves you.
Some fat is required for optimal absorption and enhanced bioavailability. To ensure maximum absorption with the best nootropic supplements, it is often recommended to take unrefined coconut oil or MCT oil. This oil’s beneficial fats aid in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins.
“To doubt everything, or, to believe everything, are two equally convenient solutions; both dispense with the necessity of reflection.”
If you’re having difficulty finding your ideal nootropic stack, the information in this article can assist you in creating your own. Some of the best nootropic supplements currently available have been discussed above. Most of them are good when taken as stand-alone supplements and even better when combined with the right synergistic compounds for increased benefits. Tens of thousands of people just like you have benefited from these nootropics.
Stacks of nootropics, such as Maximum Mind, are highly suggested for highly effective people who value their time. Researching, ordering, and supplementing a significant amount of single nootropics to achieve an effect can be extremely time-consuming.