An Easy Beginner’s Nootropics Guide to Mind Supplements
This nootropics guide is not meant to be a definitive guide to smart drugs, but is intended to give someone new to the concept of nootropics a place to start.
It is an attempt to answer some of the most common questions people have when first starting their journey with nootropics.
First of all, I would highly recommend that you do your own research before you start taking any supplements. I believe that an informed mind is a prepared mind.
What are Nootropics?
The first thing you’ll need to understand is just what nootropics are. Nootropics are defined as “a substance that enhances cognition and memory and facilitates learning.”
The list of substances that are considered nootropics is extensive and runs the gambit from caffeine and nicotine to ginseng and ginko biloba to vitamin B to piracetam and other members of the racetam family. It is a laundry list of substances that are now considered nootropics and that list is ever growing.
Essentially, nootropics can be broken down into three categories: racetams, stimulants and nutraceuticals. Some sources will try grouping them into any number of other categories, but really they all fall into these three categories:
- Racetams – Racetams are able to increase cognitive functions by affecting the acetylecholine in the brain.
- Stimulants – Stimulants increase energy, attention and alertness by increasing blood pressure, heart rate and respiration rate.
- Nutraceuticals – Nutraceuticals are foods that have medicinal benefits and can have the properties of racetams or stimulants.
You can search online for a current list of accepted nootropics as it is not within the scope of this guide to provide a list as it is to give a better understanding as to what nootropics are.
Which Nootropics Should I Use?
It’s easy to get confused with so many choices available. Many newbies struggle to decide which nootropic they want to try first.
Really, I think the best thing to do is to first understand what benefit you want from taking a nootropic. What is your primary motivation for taking nootropics? Different nootropics provide different benefits and some can provide the same benefit but in a different way.
Do you want to improve your memory? Do you lack focus? Are you wanting relief from anxiety or depression?
The benefit you’re seeking will dictate which nootropic may be the best match for you. Decide first what primary benefit you’re seeking and perhaps even a couple of secondary benefits. Start with your primary benefit and research which nootropic may best suit that purpose.
For example, if you have social anxiety, you may search for “best nootropic for social anxiety” in order to find which nootropics may help you. Then research those results to see if one stands out to you and grabs your interest.
Nootropics Guide How to Get Started
Entering the world of nootropics can be exciting, but just be careful not to go overboard when you start. It can be tempting to try a cocktail of different nootropics, but until you understand how each one is going to affect you, then it’s best to choose one, and only one, to start.
It can also be tempting to take maximum doses to start in hopes of great results, but that is another urge you should resist. Start with a smaller dose, below the recommended dose, to first get an idea how a particular nootropic is going to affect you. You can then slowly increase your dosage over a period of time.
Most nootropics are very safe to take, but everyone reacts differently to them, so it’s best to test the different nootropics one at a time until you understand how it makes you feel. Start with a small dosage and slowly increase the dosage as desired.
If you’re not feeling any effects, then try a larger dose. Also, be sure to take the nootropic for at least two weeks to give it a chance to work. The benefits of some nootropics are not felt for days and sometimes weeks of daily doses.
After a couple weeks of use, if you want to test another nootropic, discontinue the use of the first for a few days and then test the second one on its own until you become familiar with it.
Once you become familiar with a few nootropics, you may want to experiment with what is called stacking. Stacking is combining two or more nootropics to maximize their effects. This is a more advanced technique and I don’t recommend you randomly stack nootropics together until you are familiar with each of them.
The only exception to that is to supplement whichever nootropic you are testing with a choline source. Choline helps the body produce acetylcholine, which is a neurotransmitter.
Choline can help boost the effects of any nootropic and is especially beneficial to take with any racetams to help prevent against headaches, a common side effect of racetams.
While choline complements any nootropic well, it would still be best to take the individual nootropic for at least two weeks before adding in a choline. The best choline supplements would be either Alpha GPC or CDP choline.
Aside from adding choline, I would recommend that you avoid combining nootropics until you have gained some experience and are well aware of how each supplement affects you. Then, and only then would I recommend experimenting with various combinations.
There are many such products available on the market now and I would predict that there will be many more to come as nootropics continue to become more mainstream.