The science behind the “Limitless Pill” is progressing in labs around the world. But for now, using a good nootropic stack is about as close as you can get to a “smart drug” like the fictional “NZT-48”. This is about optimizing the brain… Ever tried to recreate that state where everything seems to flow? Doing something you love. Or you are good at. And it comes effortlessly. It is called the “flow state”.
A good nootropic stack will help you to get there quicker. And get that flow state result you are looking for. Even if you are overworked, or exhausted from the night before. Your first impulse may be to reach for a sweet, caffeinated energy drink for an energy boost. But popular energy shots do little to help you focus.
This is the Nootropic Difference
A good nootropic stack will give you:
-Improved memory and recall.
-Enhanced learning capacity; retain information so study or work is easier.
-Improve problem-solving; decisions seem fast and effortless.
-Achieve optimal brain health; improved mood and a clear mind.
-Avoid age-related cognitive decline. Fewer “senior moments”, and you remember where you parked the car. And your anniversary.
The three main things we need to work effectively and play at peak performance are; eating a clean diet, using a good brain supplement, and stay active.
We have already covered the diet and workouts in many other articles on our site. In this article, we are going to focus on cognitive enhancers.
We look at the best and safest ingredients, and what to avoid. We will review and recommend the best nootropic “smart drugs” on the market. And where you can buy nootropics online.
How do Nootropics Work?
The most effective nootropic stacks are supplements to boost your brain. Some see them as a natural Adderall alternative. But unlike stimulants, this is food for your brain. Real food. The best nootropics are usually plant-based compounds or are naturally made by your body.
Adderall and Ritalin are stimulants. And classed in the same category as cocaine, heroin and meth. Like most drugs they come with nasty side-effects, and can be extremely addictive. They are also banned in most professional sports.[i]
A relatively new class of Nutraceuticals include Modafinil, Provigil, and Nuvigil. They offer some of the benefits of nootropics but are prescription-only and expensive. They can induce some nasty side effects. And you need to convince your doctor you need them
Nootropics are cognitive enhancing supplements. And do not require a prescription. They come with no real side effects, are generally non-addictive, and can be a good addition to your supplement regimen.
A well-designed nootropic stack helps the body with improved memory, focus, processing speed, and flow state.
What to look out for with a Nootropic stack?
Most brain enhancement supplement companies make a product that has several functions. Including an energy enhancer, a mood stabilizer, a promise to increase focus, and (hopefully) something to support brain health.
Look past the hyped-up claims and drill straight down to the ingredients.
That is what is going to do the job for you. We have looked at hundreds of clinical and research studies. And found that the most effective and safe ingredients available are the natural ones:
Lion’s Mane Mushroom (Hericium Erinaceus)
Bacopa monnieri cuts learning time in half and improves memory including recall.[ii]
Citicoline enhances memory, logical reasoning, learning, and focus.[iii]
Huperzine-A is extracted from Huperzia Serrata; a plant native to India and SE Asia. It improves cognitive function and memory.[iv]
Phosphatidylserine (PS) improves memory and attention, increases cognitive processing speed, and accuracy.[v]
Lion’s Mane Mushroom is effective in memory, nerve repair,[vi] liver detox, regulating blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
Rhodiola Rosea acts as an anti-depressant and improves mood.[vii]
L-Theanine (from Green Tea) improves focus[viii], sleep, immune system strength, and blood pressure control.
N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine is an amino acid critical for cognitive processes, building muscle, cell growth, and cell repair.
Pterostilbene is derived from resveratrol (from the skin of grapes and blueberries) and seems to fight off and even reverse cognitive decline.[ix]
Vinpocetine is an extract from the periwinkle plant and crosses the blood-brain barrier to increase blood flow.[x]
What to Avoid in a Brain Supplement?
Start out slow. While there are no reports of severe health problems from taking too many brain supplements, mild side effects can happen. If you get a headache, can not sleep, or become irritable you have likely overdone it.
Try to avoid Phosphatidylserine (PS) made from soy because of issues with GMOs and soy allergies. An effective alternative is PS made from sunflowers.
Caffeine can be addictive, and over time you build up a tolerance where it is not as effective. Side effects include increased heart or irregular heart rate, headaches, anxiety, and restlessness.
The newer brain-boosting pharmaceuticals like Modafinil, Provigil, and Nuvigil can decrease the effectiveness of birth control pills. And if you are susceptible to addiction you should use caution. Side effects can include fever, sore throat, bruising, and hallucinations. Adderall and Ritalin are particularly prone to addiction.
Stay clear of “proprietary blends” when labels are unclear of exactly how much of each ingredient is included in the product. By not disclosing exact dosages you have no idea how much of a single ingredient you are putting in your body.
For example, as you gain more experience with nootropics you may realize you need to boost dopamine more than the person next to you. So you may need more Citicoline or Vitamin B6 than what is in that “proprietary blend”.
Look for nootropic stacks that have the exact dosage of each ingredient. Take control of your own brain health.
Top 3 Nootropic Stacks
We have invested considerable time and resources researching the most popular nootropics stacks on the market. We looked at ingredients, company reputation, and customer reviews. Here is the run down:
1. MindLab Pro
Mind Lab Pro™ gets our top spot because it has been formulated using the latest research. It contains the most bio-available and proven ingredients. And has consistently positive customer reviews.
The name Mind Lab Pro™ and white packaging leave an initial impression of a clinically pure product. Capsules are made of starch-free vegetable matter. Most of their competitors use HPMC ‘vegetarian’ capsules which are actually a semi-synthetic polymer.
Out of all the cognitive boosters we have tested, this one by far looks and feels the most advanced.
Mind Lab Pro™ was designed to help you improve memory – and think faster and more clearly. The company developed its product formulation by working through hundreds of clinical studies in dozens of peer-reviewed scientific and medical journals. From some of the top scientists, doctors, and psychologists at the most prestigious hospitals and medical schools on the planet.
What brought this product to our attention is the ingredient list. It contains all our top natural ingredients in the right amounts. Covering all the cognitive elements for a fully optimized brain.
All of their botanical ingredients are natural. They are extracted from plants grown in regions where the soil is free of heavy metals and other contaminants.
The Bacopa monnieri, Citicoline, Huperzine-A, and Phosphatidylserine (PS) work synergistically to enhance memory and recall and improve focus and learning. The product uses a premium form of citicoline called Cognizin®. This unique type of citicoline has plenty of clinical evidence showing it boosts brain energy on a cellular level.
It has the amino acid N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine and Rhodiola Rosea which work together to help your body produce the neurotransmitters dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine.
Lion’s Mane Mushroom and vitamin B6 stimulate nerve regeneration and restore neurotransmitter levels. A premium form of resveratrol called Pterostilbene has better bioavailability. Its anti-aging properties have also been shown to reduce anxiety.
Vinpocetine increases brain blood flow resulting in better short and long-term memory.
Mind Lab Pro™ contains 11 natural brain optimizers. Based on our personal experience we know it has just the right amount of each bioactive compound. And they do it with just two capsules per day.
You can only buy it online direct from their website. So you won’t find it on Amazon, GNC, eBay, or any vitamin shops.
Based on the ingredients profile and customer reviews, we strongly recommend Mind Lab Pro™ as the best nootropic stack. The combination of all-natural and premium ingredients makes this a perfect product for anyone looking to try nootropics safely. And optimize brain health and function.
2. Alpha Brain
Likely the most popular and well known brain supplement in America. Made by Onnit, Alpha Brain contains 9 natural compounds they say to provide an effective and balanced effect on brain health. Containing “earth-grown ingredients”, it helps healthy individuals support memory, focus, and processing speed.
The main ingredients are L-Tyrosine, L-Theanine, Oatstraw, and one of our favorites Phosphatidylserine (PS). The product also includes Cat’s Claw which comes from the Amazon rainforest. To improve focus they use Alpha GPC (instead of citicoline) which has good bioavailability. And they round out their formula with Bacopa Monnieri, Huperzine A, L-Leucine, and Vinpocetine.
Onnit’s proprietary blends do not detail how much of each ingredient is used. The dosages of key ingredients may be low. Users offer mixed reviews about its effectiveness, which may be a result of low dosing of key ingredients.
Onnit’s Alpha Brain contains an all-natural formula. The product has been on the market for several years, has good marketing, and is readily available on many sites.
3. Procera AVH
They call Procera AVH a “breakthrough brain supplement that supports brain health and cognitive function”. The company says it is designed to make a difference in your overall well-being. And it works like a normal brain supplement by – promoting blood and oxygen flow to the brain, supporting key neurotransmitters, and providing neuroprotection.
It has two of our favorite cognitive enhancers including Vinpocetine, and Huperzine-A. They also include Acetyl L-Carnitine (see a related page for l-carnitine) which may help increase energy production in the mitochondria. This may boost physical and mental energy, and improve memory.
The label doesn’t detail the exact amount of each ingredient so you don’t know how much you’re taking. The product helps mental performance by boosting brain energy. The company has a tarnished reputation because it was fined by the FTC for misleading health claims. Do you need Natural Memory Pills like Alpha Brain OR Doxiderol? Then check out these Brain Boosters Pills, Memory & Concentration Pills at Brain Enhancement Advisor
Procera AVH contains a good formula for brain health and energy. Reviews for Procera AVH are mixed with some reporting positive benefits. And it’s readily available on several websites.