What Are Nootropic Drugs? Cognitive Enhancers Explained

what are nootropics

Nootropic drugs, also referred to as “smart drugs” or “cognitive enhancers,” are substances that purport to improve cognitive performance.

They are becoming increasingly popular among students and professionals seeking to improve their academic or professional performance.

But what are these medications, and how do they work?

In this article, we’ll look at the science behind nootropics and discuss the benefits and risks of using them.

We’ll also look at some of the most popular types of nootropics on the market today.

You’ll have a better understanding of what nootropics are, how they work, and what effects they may have on your mental faculties by the end of this article.

How Do Nootropics Work?

Piracetam for example has been shown to restore cell membrane fluidity by increasing the permeability of the cell membranes and thus allowing for more efficient cellular communication. It does this by increasing the activity of certain membrane proteins, which in turn increases the amount of neurotransmitters that can be exchanged between cells. Additionally, it has been shown to increase the production of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter involved in memory and learning, further supporting its effects on cognitive function.

Nootropic drugs work by increasing the availability of certain neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and serotonin, which are important for cognitive functioning. They can also increase the efficiency of neuronal communication, improve the strength of neural connections, and enhance the flow of blood to the brain. Some nootropics may also help protect the brain from damage caused by free radicals and other environmental toxins. Additionally, some nootropic drugs are thought to improve memory recall and focus.

What Can Nootropics Help With?

Nootropics are supplements, drugs, and other substances that can be taken to enhance cognitive performance. They can help with focus, concentration, memory, motivation, stress management, energy levels, creativity and more. Additionally, they may also improve overall brain health by providing essential nutrients and promoting the growth of new neurons.

Improved memory and concentration

Ginkgo Biloba: Ginkgo biloba is an herbal supplement derived from the leaves of the ginkgo tree. It has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine to improve memory, concentration, and other cognitive functions.

Bacopa Monnieri: Bacopa monnieri is a perennial herb that has been used in Ayurveda for centuries to treat neurological disorders and improve cognitive function. It is believed to increase levels of serotonin, dopamine, and GABA in the brain, which can help improve memory, focus, and concentration.

Rhodiola Rosea: Rhodiola rosea is a plant native to cold climates that has been used as a remedy for fatigue, stress, depression, and anxiety for centuries. It’s believed to improve mental clarity, focus, and memory by increasing levels of serotonin and dopamine in the brain.

L-Theanine: L-theanine is an amino acid found naturally in green tea. It helps promote relaxation while also improving alertness and focus. Studies have shown that it can help reduce anxiety while improving memory and concentration.

Increased alertness and focus

There are many different nootropics available to increase alertness and focus. Some of the most popular include caffeine, L-theanine, Rhodiola rosea, Bacopa monnieri, Alpha GPC, and phosphatidylserine. Caffeine is a stimulant that increases energy and alertness and can be found in coffee, tea, energy drinks, and supplements. L-theanine is an amino acid derived from green tea that helps to promote relaxation while still supporting mental focus. Rhodiola rosea is an adaptogenic herb that helps to improve mood and reduce fatigue. Bacopa monnieri is an herb used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine that can help improve mental clarity and memory formation. Alpha GPC is a choline supplement that helps support healthy brain function by providing the raw materials for acetylcholine production. Phosphatidylserine is a fatty acid supplement that helps support cognitive function by aiding cell membrane health in the brain.

Reduced stress levels

Nootropics are dietary supplements that have been designed to improve cognitive function, reduce stress levels, and enhance overall wellbeing. They work in different ways to help reduce stress levels. Some of the most popular nootropics include Rhodiola rosea, Ashwagandha, Bacopa Monnieri, L-theanine, and Phosphatidylserine. These nootropics can help reduce cortisol levels in the body which is a hormone responsible for feeling stressed out. Additionally, they can increase dopamine and serotonin levels which can help regulate moods and make you feel calmer. Lastly, they can also increase focus and concentration which can help you tackle stressful situations more effectively.

Enhanced cognitive performance

There are many nootropics that can help improve cognitive performance. These include:

Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALCAR): ALCAR is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect brain cells and has been shown to improve memory and concentration.

Caffeine: Caffeine is one of the most widely used nootropics. It can help increase alertness, focus, and provide an energy boost when taken in moderation.

Ginkgo Biloba: Ginkgo biloba is an herb that has been used for centuries to improve cognitive function and enhance memory. Studies have shown it to be effective at improving mental clarity, focus, and concentration.

Bacopa Monnieri: Bacopa monnieri is an herb that has been traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine for improving memory and enhancing cognitive performance. Studies have shown it to be effective in improving mental clarity, focus, and reducing anxiety levels.

Rhodiola Rosea: Rhodiola rosea is an adaptogen herb with anti-stress properties that can help reduce fatigue, sharpen the mind, and improve concentration levels during periods of intense mental activity or stressors such as exams or challenging tasks at work or school.

Improved mood and motivation

Rhodiola Rosea: This herb is believed to improve mood and reduce anxiety by balancing stress hormones, such as cortisol.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for healthy brain functioning and can improve mood by decreasing inflammation in the brain.

Bacopa Monnieri: This herb is thought to have a calming effect on the brain, reducing stress and improving cognitive performance.

L-Theanine: This amino acid is found in green tea and has been shown to increase serotonin levels, which can help boost your mood and motivation.

5-HTP: This supplement helps increase serotonin levels in the brain, promoting better sleep and improved mood.

Are Nootropics safe?

The short answer is that yes, in general, nootropics are safe. However, as with any supplement or medication, it is important to research the individual ingredients and speak with a medical professional before adding them to your routine.

Can Nootropics Help with ADHD?

Yes, certain nootropics have been found to help with ADHD symptoms. Nootropics like l-theanine, phosphatidylserine, and omega-3 fatty acids are known to reduce symptoms of inattention and impulsivity associated with ADHD. They can also help to increase focus and concentration. It is important to speak with a medical professional before taking any nootropic supplements as each individual’s needs will vary.

Can Nootropics Help with Depression?

Some research suggests that certain nootropics may help with depression. For example, studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids and phosphatidylserine can reduce symptoms of depression. Additionally, some studies have found that taking a combination of nootropic supplements may improve mood in people with major depressive disorder. However, more research is needed to fully understand the effects of nootropics on depression. It’s important to talk to your doctor before taking any supplement or medication for mental health issues.

How Much Do Nootropics Cost?

The cost of nootropics can vary widely depending on the specific product, the brand, and where it is purchased from. Generally speaking, nootropic products range in price from about $10 to over $100 per month.

Conclusion About Nootropic Drugs

Nootropic drugs, also known as smart drugs or cognitive enhancers, have not been widely studied and there is still a lot of uncertainty about their long-term safety and effectiveness. While there are some anecdotal reports of positive effects in the short-term, more research is needed to understand the potential benefits and risks associated with taking these drugs. As with any drug, it is important to consult a doctor before using nootropic drugs, as they may interact with other medications or have other side effects.


1. Li, Y., & Zhang, S. (2019). Nootropic drugs: A Review of Their Effects on Cognitive Functions and Mental Health. Neuroscience Bulletin, 35(3), 393-408.

2. Jansari, A., & Hinton, E. (2013). The use of nootropic drugs to enhance cognitive performance in healthy individuals: a systematic review. Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental, 28(4), 287–298.

3. Rao, T., Asha, M., & Kamath, V. (2010). Nootropics–Past and Present Scenario: An Overview. International Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, 2(S1), 50–53.

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