Whether you are an employee on a project deadline, a grandparent trying to keep up with energetic grandkids, a student cramming for finals, or a gamer preparing for your next tournament, you might wish there was a magic supplement you could take that would rev up your brain.* Maybe something like NZT-48 that took Eddie Morra from rags to riches in the fictional world of the movie Limitless.
This brings us to an important fact that we should get out of the way before we proceed: any company that claims their product is “just like NZT” is lying. There’s no pill or potion in the world that can supercharge your brain so you can master a new language or learn to play piano from scratch within a matter of hours (or even days).
Nootropics, however, have the potential to improve your brain function and may help you think faster, focus longer, and be more creative under the right circumstances.*
What are Nootropics?
In 1972, Romanian psychologist and chemist Corneliu E. Giurgea coined the term “nootropic” to refer to substances that have been known to improve cognitive performance in humans. He may have come up with the word but people have been using foods and herbs to make them feel sharper for thousands of years.
Records show that ancient civilizations used alternative medicine plants like coca leaves and Ginkgo Biloba to influence cognition and mood as far back as 10,000 years ago. The Chinese book The Classic of Tea written sometime around the 760 CE reveals that certain tea leaves can bring about both metaphysical and physical harmony.
In fact, you might be already taking nootropics without even knowing about it. Do you start your day with a cup of coffee to jump-start your brain? Do you reach for an afternoon tea when your grandchildren are at the house? Caffeine is one of the commonly available cognitive enhancement supplements or nootropics as its mildly stimulating properties can promote improved concentration and alleviate fatigue.
Also known as “cognitive enhancers” or “smart drugs”, nootropics are substances that might improve brain function, especially when it comes to memory, focus, and energy.* One study shows that some natural nootropics may also increase oxygen flow and blood circulation to the brain, improving brain health to a degree.*
Why Are Nootropics So Popular?
We live in a world that values efficiency above all else. Working hard is not enough; you have to be able to display laser focus and on-demand creativity to get the job done better than anyone else. Or at least that’s what the current hustle culture demands of you.
With that said, from the wolves of Wall Street to the visionaries of Silicon Valley to older and working adults trying to be present for the important people in their lives, everybody is looking for something that can improve brain function without causing a nasty crash or manic jitters. Not to mention the immense pressure students today are under. Reports suggest that stress induced by schools and colleges accounts for 90% of the total stress in a student’s life! To help cope with this pressure and pace up with academics, natural stimulants like coffee and a good night's sleep might not cut it.
And this is why the nootropics industry in the US is valued at $2.42 billion today.
These cognitive enhancer supplements may improve memory and recall, increase alertness, and enhance overall mental performance.*
How Many Nootropics Can You Take?
Generally speaking, there are two types of nootropics. Some naturally occurring amino acid supplements can be consumed every day and most folks will not develop a tolerance for them. These are mostly herbs like ginseng, Andrographis paniculata, Ginkgo biloba, Rhodiola Rosea, Lion’s mane mushroom, and green tea, which may promote enhanced mental function over time with perpetual use. Fish oil also falls into this category.*
Other noteworthy nootropic compounds include Alpha-Glyceryl Phosphoryl Choline (A-GPC) and Phosphatidylserine (PS). A-GPC and PS are not only potent but can also be expensive.* If you're looking around at nootropic options and wondering why the supplements seem a little pricey, take note of if those two ingredients are on the list.* High-quality ingredients such as those are not cheap, but they are effective, and you get what you pay for!
Then there are prescription nootropics that are synthesized in a laboratory, such as Adderall, Cerebrolysin, Ampakines, Piracetam, Citicoline, and Armodafinil. Adderall is actually one of the most popular prescription medications used for the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Understandably, these synthetic nootropics come with some side-effects and should not be used for extended periods without medical supervision.*
Nootropics stacking is another concept you should be aware of. It involves combining two or more nootropic compounds to create a formula that is stronger and longer-lasting.* You can say that it provides multiple benefits in one single package. Since every nootropics substance works differently – some may improve learning while some could improve memory – you have to customize this combination based on the perceived benefits you're seeking out.*
How Do Nootropics Work?
Such a simple question and yet nobody can give you a definitive answer. A nootropic or brain health supplement is different from other dietary supplements. For example, when you start taking a multivitamin pill or you go in for a Vitamin B12 injection, you know for sure that it’s going to give you the specific nutritional balance you need.
It’s different with nootropics. Some people respond really well to certain mental performance substances while others don’t feel any difference at all. The good news is, there are some studies that support the efficacy of certain nootropics, such as:
This study found that since nootropics widen blood vessels in the brain, they could promote more oxygen and glucose (energy) to flow to different regions in the brain
This study found that nootropics might significantly support reduced inflammation and reportedly put a stop to the aging of certain brain cells
A number of smaller studies also support the following hypotheses:
*Nootropics may help with promoting neuro-regeneration, i.e., the growth of new neurons
*They may affect brain waves that are associated with enhanced alertness
*They may support increased cerebral blood flow and more oxygen to the brain
*They may promote balanced neurotransmitters by optimizing and production of brain chemicals (like norepinephrine and dopamine), leading to peak cognitive performance
*They may enhance the metabolic activity of mitochondria, helping the brain absorb more oxygen and essential fatty acids
It’s safe to say that nootropics may work in many different ways. It all depends on what type of nootropic you are taking and how bioavailable it truly is. Bioavailability refers to the amount of a substance that enters the bloodstream when introduced into your body so it can produce an active effect.
Adaptogens – one of the most popular type of nootropics - are a good example of this. Let’s say you decide to take some functional mushroom extract to strengthen your immune system. All mushrooms contain something known as “chitin” within their cell walls, which can’t be broken down by human digestive system. Now, if chitin has not been chemically broken down by the nootropic manufacturer, then all of its claimed benefits are not bioavailable to you. In other words, it’s utterly useless to take!
Another thing to note is that you can’t expect cognitive enhancer supplements to work well if you have an unhealthy diet, zero workout routine, and poor sleep habits! Remember, nootropics are “supplements”, not a magic wand.
Can Nootropics Actually Make You Smarter?
Not exactly. Since they are sometimes touted as “smart drugs”, It’s no wonder there is so much confusion as to whether taking nootropics can actually make you smarter.
As explained above, these substances are meant to enhance your brain performance – they are not pills you can take to become a brainiac instantly.
What they may do is upgrade your cognitive function so you can bring your A-game to the table on your best days. This means reduced stress, anxiety, and brain fog, and the ability to think clearly throughout the day.*
Taking nootropics could maximize your existing brainpower and improve your performance whether you are a student, an athlete, a grandparent, an employee, an entrepreneur, or just someone looking to stay as sharp as possible in the face of age-related cognitive decline.*
Take beetroot powder, for example. It is an extremely potent anti-inflammatory natural extract that contains natural nitrates and has reportedly been shown to improve memory and concentration.* It is one of the main ingredients in our supplement Brain Performance Plus along with Lion’s mane mushroom, Ashwagandha, and many other herbs that are Mother Nature’s gift to us to get our brains firing with all cylinders.
Can Nootropics Improve Your Gaming Performance?
With the rise of professional eSports competitors and YouTube gamers, and millions of prize money at stake, gaming has become a legitimate career option. Gone are the days when playing video games was a mere pastime. Today, to make it as a serious gamer and earn the big bucks, you need fast reflexes, superb hand-eye coordination, a good memory, and the ability to think quickly and stay focused for long periods of time.
In other words, your brain function will be the sole factor that determines your gaming success. So yes, nootropic supplements that may improve your cognitive functions may be able to help you reach that peak gaming performance you’ve been dreaming of.
To gain a safe and legal competitive edge over your competitors, look for nootropics that have the following ingredients:
This is a naturally found amino acid that modulates alpha brainwaves in your central nervous system to induce creativity and promote wakeful relaxation.*
*Bacopa Plant Extract
This herb may help counter the adverse effects of stress and improve strategic thinking abilities in gamers. In one study, healthy adults who were given 300mg of Bacopa plant extract for 12 weeks showed significant improvements in memory, learning rate, and the speed of processing visual information.*
The best-kept secret of the Soviet government, this adaptogen herb modulates the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) response to stress for enhanced mental clarity and performance.* Russian Olympic athletes who used this herb reported significant improvement in their endurance.*
Are Nootropics Helpful For Older Adults and Seniors?
The short answer is- YES. As human beings age, it's natural for our cognitive performance to dip over time. While there are many steps we can take to combat this decline such as a healthy diet or exercise, nootropics are an excellent way for you to keep your edge.*
Whether you're in the sunset years of your career and looking to stay sharp through long days at the office, or enjoying retirement and wanting to keep up with those rambunctious grandkids- nootropics are a safe and effective option for you.*
Some nootropic supplements such as Alkalife® Brain Performance Plus™ contain a number of anti-inflammatory compounds as well.* These compounds are excellent at promoting joint health all while supporting that sense of calm focus.* Talk about a win-win!
How Long Does it Take for a Nootropic to Work?
Some can start to take effect right away after taking your very first dose, while others can take longer for benefits to show up. As we mentioned earlier, there are different types of nootropics – adaptogens, herbal extracts, stimulants, etc. – and they all work in different ways.
The answer to this question depends on several factors. You first have to know which type of supplement it is. Each type can induce unique effects on distinct pathways in your brain. Caffeine will begin to act very quickly, like within 5-10 minutes of oral consumption.* A synthetic nootropic like Modafinil is much slower to kick in (30-60 minutes) because it must first be processed by your liver to activate in your body.*
If it’s a herbal supplement like Bacopa Monnieri extract, it needs to build up in your body over several days and weeks before you can observe the effects.* They may produce cumulative effects that are only noticeable after you take them regularly.*
Research shows that Bacopa can take 8-12 weeks to show improvements in brain health and focus.* It’s not uncommon for some compounds to seem like they are not working for up to 2-3 weeks after starting to use them.
Some additional factors also come into play, including:
Your baseline cognitive function
Your unique tolerance and sensitivity
The foods and beverages you consume daily
Your state of hydration
How frequently you work out
Your current health and body weight
Your age and gender
Can You Take Caffeine with a Nootropic?
Most high-quality nootropic supplements like Brain Performance Plus contain some amount of caffeine because the combination of L-theanine and caffeine has been linked to improved multi-tasking capabilities.* If you are taking a supplement for cognitive function and it doesn’t contain any caffeine, you can take it along with tea, coffee, or energy drinks.*
However, if the supplement already has caffeine content, taking it with your coffee or tea can put you beyond a safe daily dose of caffeine.
Is There a Downside to Nootropics?
If you take a prescription medication without any instructions or monitoring from your doctor, and you just start popping the pills the way you want, it can cause some harm. We are talking about synthesized nootropics like Adderall and Modafinil that come with a high risk of dependence and side-effects when taken regularly.*
People who take these brain enhancers drugs may risk permanently altering their brains. Their repeated use is bound to add up over time, especially if you are a young student whose brain is still developing. The side effects of these prescription medications when used illegally include cardiovascular disease, psychiatric disorders, and even the risk of suicide.
That’s why you have to be so careful while choosing a supplement, be it dietary or nootropic. While this doesn’t apply to herbal extracts (no amount of drinking Lion’s mane mushroom or Ashwagandha tea will ever make you addicted) you still have to look at the quality of the supplement. Before you buy anything, ask the following questions:
Is the product made in an FDA-registered facility?
Is it made in the US or a country where supplement manufacturing regulations are not as stringent?
Has the product been tested in randomized controlled trials to prove its safety and efficacy?
Was the product made in a Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) certified facility?
For the most part, manufacturers take it upon themselves to assign safety and quality control measures to their formulations. The best brands stack only research-backed nootropics in most bioavailable forms while avoiding unnecessary additives. But still, even the safest compounds may become health risks if made in a negligent manufacturing environment.
If you are thinking of taking a product to enhance your mental performance, make sure to take a close look at all the ingredients and ask your primary healthcare provider for their advice on the active ingredients.
Is it Safe to Take Nootropic Drugs Every Day?
Safe, healthy nootropics work subtly, improving mental function in ways that feel good but call for an ongoing daily effort to reach peak results. With quick fixes like caffeine alone, you feel good within seconds of taking that first sip!* And yet, its effects are not long-lasting unless you drink 3-4 cups, which unfortunately leads to a caffeine crash, making you feel tired and fatigued.
Healthy people who have become dependent on modafinil, Adderall, methylphenidate, piracetam, and other “smart drugs” by taking them daily risk suffering from serious psychological, neurological, and cardiovascular disorders. To ensure your nootropic supplement is safe to consume daily, check the list of ingredients.
If you have a co-occurring mental health condition, like anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, PTSD, ADHD, or a mood disorder, taking nootropics may lead to unpredictable outcomes. It’s a good idea to consult with your doctor first before you take anything to impact your cognition.
What is the Most Powerful Nootropic?
If you are looking to revitalize your brain with a carefully researched, high-quality nootropic formula based on scientific data and clinical studies, our Alkalife® Brain Performance Plus™ is for you.*
*Eliminate mental fatigue and improve mental stamina
This isn’t just another quick fix “brain pill” – it is a precisely combined blend of the optimum daily dosages of nature’s most beneficial “brain foods” – nutrients that can actually nourish your mind, your memory, and ability to think well.*
Listen to what some of our happy customers have said:
“I’ve been using Brain Performance Plus™ for a few months. I am a guy in my mid 50s with a busy life. I use this in the morning each day, mixed with Gatorade, and it seems to improve my stamina, ability to concentrate and focus on details.”
“Works as advertised. Clarity and focus within 30 minutes of drinking. You can feel the brain absorbing the nutrients that it does not get on a regular basis from basic meats, vegetables, coffee, etc. Will buy again.”
“So I’ve been mixing a scoop of Alkalife® Brain Performance Plus™ with about 12 ounces of water. I find that it mixes well with minimal clumping. I feel more alert and more focused after I drink this. I’m actually pleased with how this product is performing for me and I feel it does what it claims to do.”
Alkalife® Brain Performance Plus™ provides the nourishment your brain needs – in a form your body can easily absorb.* Here are 5 ways it can help your brain work better:*
*Greater Mental Stamina
Beetroot Powder promotes mental stamina and endurance.* Recent studies have shown that taking beetroot supplements before exercising makes the brain of older adults perform more efficiently, actually replicating the operations of a younger brain.
The abundance of nitrates in beets turns into nitric oxide in the body, which increases overall tolerance for workouts and promotes cardiovascular health.*
It also supports improved blood flow to your brain.* Over time, your blood vessels become clogged and inflexible. Circulation is hampered. When blood flow becomes restricted, calcium and sodium build up in brain cells, eventually leading to cell death and cognitive decline. As a result, the brain becomes starved for oxygen – a condition known as “cerebral insufficiency”. The result: fuzzy thinking, brain fog, and memory impairment.
Numerous studies have shown that beetroot extract reportedly increases blood flow by relaxing and dilating blood vessels, so oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood can easily flow to the brain.*
Acetyl L-Carnitine (ALC), which supports reflex learning and memory retention, is vital to the growth and maintenance of neurons. The daily dosage you get when you take Alkalife® Brain Performance Plus™ could promote slower brain aging.*
In one study, patients were tested for their ability to exit a maze. After taking ALC, they were able to exit the maze 43% faster. Several other studies have shown that patients with moderate to mild cognitive impairment improve their scores on mental function and also experience a lift in mood.*
Phosphatidylserine concentrate (SerinAid®) is a naturally occurring “good fat” found in high concentrations in the brain. As a nutrient, it supports cell-membrane proteins your nerve cells need to transmit electrical signals properly.*
Intensive research has shown that this supplement can sharpen your mind by helping the membranes of the nerve cells function better. In clinical trials spanning three decades, phosphatidylserine has demonstrated numerous measurable benefits including enhanced alertness, concentration, learning, and memory.*
*Maintains Peak Efficiency
Alpha-Glyceryl Phosphoryl Choline (AlphaSize®) is the most potent form of choline, a compound that is essential to the transmission of nerve signals and helps speed metabolism and transport cholesterol and fats.* It’s also vital for manufacturing the cell membranes that surround and protect your brain cells, nerve fibers, and nerve cells.* If you don’t get sufficient choline, you may lose your mental edge.*
MIT researchers have found that choline has a prompt impact on the brain’s ability to make acetylcholine, an important chemical involved in nerve signal transmission. Studies have shown that patients with memory loss experienced significant improvement from choline supplementation.*
Lets You Think More Clearly
The vitamins in Alkalife® Brain Performance Plus™, including B-6 and B-12 are essential to supporting the conversion of the food you eat into the energy that powers your thinking.* Studies have shown that an adequate amount of these vitamins could help you think well and remember things better.*
Plus, vitamin B12 protects the myelin coating that surrounds your nerves.* Without this coating, nerves slowly deteriorate, causing memory loss and other brain problems.
*Support for Your Memory & Brainpower with Alkalife
With the global nootropics market growing at a rate of12.7% annually, the day is not far when most health- and fitness-conscious people will universally embrace nootropics as much as they embrace vitamin supplements.