The world is a competitive place. We compete to rise to the head of the class in school and in college. We work hard to get that promotion or raise at work. And, even in our spare time, we fight to win at video games, chess, poker and other leisure activities.

Competitive people around the globe are always looking for an advantage. And today they are using nootropics to gain that desperately needed edge.

What is a nootropic? A nootropic is a supplement designed to enhance cognitive function. You can typically find nootropics in one of 2 different forms: powders and pills. And different nootropics are focused on providing different benefits, such as enhancing memory, concentration, energy, etc. — more on this in a moment.

Now that you know what a nootropic is, you might have some other questions.  I’m here provide answers. Read on to learn more, and be sure to check out for further reading. Dan Fries and the information on his site were really helpful as I was working on this post.

I like to get this question out of the way first: Are nootropics safe? Here in the United States, nootropics are considered a dietary supplement, so manufacturers do not need approval before putting products on the market. Why? Mostly because the concept of nootropics is relatively new, but the ingredients used in nootropics have been around for a long time. So, yes, they are safe, though the efficacy of nootropics is certainly an area that demands more research.


Who Uses Nootropics?

Nootropics are mostly used by individuals who find themselves in highly competitive and taxing situations. Think about college students pulling all-night study marathons. Think about employees at start-ups who are working 18-hour days. Think about competitive video game or poker players who need just the slightest advantage to win.

Before nootropics, these competitors might have used coffee to stay focused and alert. For decades, college students have abused Ritalin, Adderall and other prescription drugs in hopes that those substances could provide the desired advantage. Wall Street in the 1980s was notorious for widespread cocaine use that fueled trading and general productivity. More recently, 5-Hour Energy and Red Bull have become fixtures in workplaces where long hours are the norm.

But coffee, 5-Hour Energy and Red Bull (and certainly cocaine) all come with a crash. Many are turning to nootropics for a similar (or better) benefit with no crash. The San Francisco Chronicle even featured youthful start-up owners and employees who had turned to nootropics to ditch the shakes and tremors related to caffeine-packed drinks and pills.

It’s a little bit like the movie Limitless with Bradley Cooper. In it, Cooper’s character receives a super drug that opens his mind and gives him the clarity needed to do the things he’s always wanted to do. Here’s the trailer, just in case you haven’t seen it:

While it’s unlikely a nootropic can deliver the same dramatic benefits that Cooper’s character enjoys in the film, some users swear by these neuroenhancers.


Who Invented Nootropics?

Credit for nootropics goes to Corneliu E. Giurgea, a Romanian scientist and professor. Just as the microwave, the Post-It Note and even chocolate chip cookies were discovered by accident, Giurgea discovered the mind-activating power of a substance called “piracetam” when he was looking for a substance to calm the mind.

When Giurgea made his discovery, he decided that it should fit into a completely new category — one he called “nootropics.” Today, piractem remains a common ingredient in nootropics. You’ll also find nootropics that include noopept, pramiracetam and oxiracetam, as well as more commonly known vitamins and nutrients like B6, B12, omega-3 fatty acids and more.


Where to Buy Nootropics

You can now find pill- and powder-based individual products that include many of the ingredients listed above. They are available through Amazon and several other retailers, and you can actually get them at affordable prices. Here’s a look at some of the most popular options:


BioScience Nutrition’s Brain Boost

This is a highly rated product available at a nice price: $0.32 per pill as of this writing. Brain Boost is designed to improve your memory, focus, clarity and mood. Get 60 capsules per bottle, and take 2 capsules per day.

Reviewer said: “I have used this product with impeccable success. For example, I take it every day, usually four capsules per day, and I find that the level of mental clarity I get from taking this product is clearly unmatched. For instance I can often remember the smallest of details, as well as have very crystal clear memories. I also use this supplement to help me keep my Adderall dosage under control because it helps keep my brain’s neurotransmitters adequately supplied with nutrients so that I keep my tolerance threshold absolutely as low as possible. I also use this supplement with work to my great success. Since I work as a server, I have to remember drink orders and food orders, and even though I write it all down, I can remember everything I need to get as well as everyone’s order in the back of my mind. I can clearly visualize and remember what the customer told me they wanted to eat without having to consult my notes, and I attribute taking these supplements with that increased mental clarity 100% of the time. I highly recommend this product to anyone looking to enhance or improve their cognitive functioning.”


Zhou Nutrition’s Neuro-Peak

Neuro-Peak is a mood-enhancer, as well as a nootropic that can help improve energy, alertness, focus, clarity, accuracy and memory. That’s a lot of benefits in one pill taken once or twice a day. As of this writing, Neuro-Peak is available for $0.57 per pill.

Reviewer said: “I started taking this product a month ago so I could give an honest review. After about the first week I really noticed improvement in my ability to concentrate for long periods of time. Instead of having to get up from my desk and walk around every 20 to 30 minutes I was crushing 2 hours before I needed a break. But what I liked the most was that I was better in conversation after the second week. This product is great and out performed others I took that cost twice as much.”


LFI Labs’ Enhance MHz

A little more expensive than other options here, Enhance MHz is meant to help with memory, focus, clarity and creativity, while also helping to reduce stress and anxiety. It’s available at $0.63 per pill as of this writing, though the label does suggest you can take it once OR twice a day.

Reviewer said: “I call this my brain food. I had some personal goals I was trying to achieve at work and I started to research nootropics. Really interesting stuff. As I was comparing ingredients across different products I found this formula. It has a combo of “mood stabilizers” and focus herbs. I’ve been happy with my progress after 3 months.”


Nutrition Essentials’ Neuro Clarity

Neuro Clarity offers mental clarity, focus and memory improvement, plus other benefits. As of this writing, a 60-count bottle is available at $0.32 per pill. This product has a nice depth of reviews, which is always good to see. And many users report that it’s one of the best single-pill solutions they have ever tried.

Reviewer said: “I really didn’t expect to feel much of anything when I bought this. But I’ve had major brain fog towards the end of the work week, and wanted to at least try something to fix that. I’ve been taking this for a couple months now. I must say, I really do feel sharper mentally! I only take it on work days, 1 in the morning. I do feel less “with it” on the weekends and days off. I’ve also noticed that I feel less anxious in general. Usually I’ll have a bad week every month or so where it seems everything is going wrong. I still have those bad weeks, but my anxiety level is nowhere as high as it used to be. I wasn’t expecting this supplement to do that, but I see it has St. John’s Wort in it. Maybe it’s that, or maybe it’s being able to think more clearly that’s helping me through these bad weeks. I’d say give it a try, see what you think. Worst case, you lose 20 dollars. That’s not bad at all.”


Inovas Nutrition’s Brain Health

Brain Health comes in a 60-count bottle that breaks down to $0.23 per pill as of this writing. It promises increased memory and energy, which is a nice combination. You even enjoy a risk-free, 30-day, money-back guarantee if you want to test Brain Health out to see if it works for you.

Reviewer said: “Not a bad supplement, takes some time to notice a difference. I take it in the mornings, and it does make me a bit more clear headed, without any jitters. It’s caffeine free, and the ingredients are good, not a lot of junk fillers. The price is affordable, so I will give these six months, and see how I feel. With any supplement, you should at least dedicate 30 days to it, before making up your mind about the product.”


What is a Nootropic ‘Stack’?

The products above are highly popular. But the holy grail of nootropics is developing what is known as a “stack.” A stack is a series of nootropics or ingredients that are assembled with a specific task or focus in mind. If you need energy and concentration for long periods of time, for example, you would try different nootropic combinations until you found the right “stack” to meet your needs.

When new nootropics hit the market, they are essentially aiming to deliver an ideal stack in single-pill (or one-scoop-powder) form.


The Benefits of Nootropics


As mentioned, different nootropics promise different benefits. But the most commonly touted advantages of nootropics include enhanced:

1. Concentration

No matter what the task, whether studying, working or gaming, concentration can be fleeting. Nootropics can help improve concentration and help you focus completely on the task at hand.

2. Stamina

Most workers can be productive in bursts of an hour or less. But nootropics can help you extend productivity well beyond just a few minutes — perhaps to a few hours.

3. Energy

Whether at the end of a day or at the end of the week, energy levels tend to plummet. The post-lunch crash is a famous productivity killer, and it can be super hard to get out of bed on a Thursday morning — that day that’s deep into the week but not close enough to the weekend to provide light at the end of the tunnel. Nootropics can boost energy and keep you going strong all day and all week.

4. Mood

Everything’s better when you’re optimistic and smiling. Some specialized nootropics suggest they can serve as a mood booster, which will make you much more optimistic, much more likely to smile, and much better at navigating the rigors of school or work.

5. Decision-Making

Life is a series of decisions, some more important than others. Nootropics can help you focus on decision as they come and achieve peak decisiveness for choices large and small.

6. Accuracy

Working on spreadsheets, taking tests, playing first-person shooter games — each setting requires accuracy. Nootropics can help you achieve a competitive advantage in accuracy, no matter what situation you’re in.

7. Memory

Both in business and in school, memory is an asset that few possess but that can deliver great rewards. Nootropics can help enhance your memory and recall, whether you’re taking a final at the end of the semester or networking at happy hour and trying to remember names.


Are Nootropics for You?

Are nootropics for you? It’s a good question. If you’re worried about the safety of nootropics, very little has been discovered in the way of side effects. And, if you work or study in a competitive environment, you may find a product that makes you feel like you’re operating at your peak potential.

There’s surely much more information and research on nootropics to come. This is a relatively fledgling industry, but it’s one that’s poised for incredible growth. So become an early adopter, take the plunge, and find a nootropic that meets your needs.

Are you already taking nootropics? If so, let us know about your experience in the comments section below. Or, you can always reach out to the Review Bounce team using our contact page.