Nootropics 101


Any substance to be called a nootropic, it must:

  1. enhance memory and learning ability,

  2. help the brain function under disruptive conditions,

  3. protect the brain from harmful chemical damage,

  4. improve neuronal firing mechanisms, and

  5. lack any sedative, stimulant or toxic effects.

Nootropics are both natural and synthetic compounds that improve the cognitive abilities of healthy individuals.  

Given the unique effect profile of each nootropic compound, and given the variation in people’s brain chemistry, individuals can use different nootropics for different purposes and outcomes. The most commonly sought-after effects are enhanced cognition, motivation and concentration.

This group is the most common and tends to be the most popular. All of the drugs within this group share a similar structure. The most common and oldest racetam is Piracetam as it was the first discovered, having a long and trusted history. Piracetam, along with Pramiracetam, Oxiracetam, and Aniracetam, all are composed of nitrogen, oxygen, and hydrogen.This group is known to improve memory, focus, mood, learning abilities, and improve energy levels. Most work with the neurotransmitter Acetylcholine, while others improve the re-uptake of glutamate. Acetylcholine is crucial, as it aids in the signals sent across synapses.Racetams are also known to be neuroprotective. This means that they can increase the rate of cell regrowth, as well as decrease the rate of deterioration. This group of nootropics are common and widely used. If you were too take nootropics in a stack, racetams are generally included.

Nootropic Classes