Paul Van Ernich

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What Is a Nootropic?

The idea of a pill that can improve your mental clarity and sharpness, help you become more focused and efficient and even prevent memory loss and other cognitive decline sounds pretty tempting. Nootropics (also known as smart drugs or cognitive enhancers) is the term used to describe a wide range of natural and synthetic compounds that may help with brain health, neuronal function, mental clarity and more. They can be anything from a traditional vitamin or mineral, botanical phytonutrients, peptides or other bioactives to prescription drugs and novel “designer” chemicals.

The non-prescription nootropic supplements we cover here do not require a prescription and include many of the same compounds found in foods such as coffee, tea and some herbs. These ingredients include caffeine, acetyl L-carnitine, bacopa monnieri and huperzine A, all of which have been studied in human studies to improve focus, learning, memory and reducing oxidative stress. Other popular nootropic ingredients are guarana seed, ashwagandha root, CDP-choline and vinpocetine.

Stimulants are also common nootropic ingredients, but we do not recommend taking nootropics that contain a lot of stimulants, as they can have negative side effects such as jitters and a racing heart or pulse. However, some people find the combination of caffeine with a calming herb like l-theanine helpful for focus and alertness. We also see a lot of nootropics that combine stimulants with cholinergic compounds such as alpha-GPC, which is important for the production of acetylcholine in neurons.

Other nootropics include racetams, which are drugs that improve cognitive functions in healthy humans and can be found in some supplements. Often they are combined with acetylcholine precursors such as huperzine A, bacopa monnieri and pyroxidine-5-phosphate. However, Dr Chris D’Adamo of the University of Maryland Center for Integrative Medicine says most people interested in cognitive improvement would be better off focusing on getting enough sleep, eating a nutritious diet and managing their stress, adding that he does not recommend trying these nootropics.

Hunter Focus from Hunter Evolve is a nootropic supplement that contains 13 research-backed ingredients, including lion’s mane mushroom and bacopa monnieri, to improve mental processing speed and memory. It also has huperzine A and ajipure l-tyrosine to reduce stress, boost energy levels, support mood and maintain healthy dopamine and norepinephrine levels. It is made in the U.S. and U.K. at GMP-certified facilities. All of our recommended nootropics are backed by a 30- or 60-day money back guarantee. We also offer a micronutrient test kit that checks for vitamins B12, D, E, Magnesium, Copper, Selenium and Zinc to ensure you are receiving the most effective ingredients. This is a simple, safe way to monitor your progress and make adjustments if necessary. Click here to learn more about this test.

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