4 min

Top 7 Nootropics To Boost Mental Performance

4 min

Nootropics are substances that enhance mental performance. Although the movie Limitless greatly increased interest in nootropics among the mainstream, the concept isn’t exactly new. From caffeine and nicotine to premade nootropic stacks, here are the top 7 nootropics to boost brain performance.


Nootropics, also called smart drugs, are natural or synthetic substances that can enhance our mental capabilities. They can boost memory function, alertness and focus, and can heighten many other functions of the brain. Nootropics can also improve our mood, help us relax, and make us function better..

Nootropics are especially popular among people who want to improve their productivity. They are often used by students and professionals in various fields. Not too long ago, the movie Limitless introduced the concept of using nootropics for boosting mental performance to the mainstream. The popularity of the movie led to exponential interest in nootropics among the general population.

Here are seven of the most common nootropics/smart drugs to boost your mental performance.



Caffeine is probably the most widely known performance-enhancing substance. Yes, we’re talking about the same substance in your coffee that you feel like you can’t go without every morning. You could say that caffeine is nature’s “original” smart drug since people have enjoyed its stimulating effect since ancient times.

Caffeine works by interacting with adenosine receptors in the brain. This receptor normally promotes relaxation and sleep. When we enjoy a cup of coffee or a nice strong tea, the caffeine inhibits this receptor, which makes us more awake and alert. Caffeine also increases the amount of dopamine and adrenaline in our body, which makes us feel happy and energised.

Not everyone likes the taste of coffee and maybe drinking tea isn't up your alley either. If you fall into this camp, it’s possible to achieve a caffeine fix with substances such as Brain-E. Brain-E provides you with a caffeine shot just like that from a nice strong cup of coffee. But in addition to the caffeine, this supplement also contains other performance-enhancing ingredients including choline, white willow bark extract, and amino acids—so you can really crank up your cerebral activity to the max.


Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo biloba is yet another natural mental performance enhancer. Extracts from Ginkgo biloba have long played an important role for their benefits. The herb is especially known for its positive effects on the brain, where it is believed to improve memory and mental processing.

Ginkgo biloba can also help reduce tension levels when taken before stressful tasks. Said differently, Ginkgo biloba can help you keep your cool so you can perform better under pressure. You can use shredded Ginkgo biloba leaves to easily prepare a performance-enhancing tea. If you drink just two cups of Ginkgo biloba per day, it can greatly increase your energy levels and make you feel more alert and energetic.



Nicotine, the main ingredient in tobacco, is indeed another natural nootropic. In fact, it's one of the more powerful ones out there. Considering that, it's recommended you only consume it in small doses. If you're looking for a safer way to get those doses, nicotine patches are an effective delivery method. 

Nicotine works in a way that directly affects mitochondrial energy, which is the energy that powers the cells in our body and brain. Native tribes of Central and South America have been familiar with the stimulating effect of nicotine since ancient times. They cultivate a particularly strong type of tobacco, Aztec tobacco (Mapacho), which they consume for spiritual and holistic purposes.

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The amino acid L-tyrosine is a precursor to crucial neurotransmitters including dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. When it feels like life is weighing you down, or getting a bit too exciting, taking L-tyrosine can provide a noticeable boost in concentration and clarity.

What makes L-tyrosine unique is that it provides its beneficial mental effects while keeping you relaxed. This makes it an excellent nootropic for mentally demanding tasks. It’s widely deemed a smart drug for its motivation and focus-boosting properties. Along with its tension-relieving and balancing effects, L-tyrosine has also been found to promote sleep readiness with its soothing effect.



Black oil plant seeds are the seeds from a woody liana tree called Celastrus paniculatus. It is also known as climbing staff tree and intellect tree. For many centuries, the seeds of the black oil plant have been used in South Asia to improve mental focus. 

Consuming black oil plant seeds can increase mental sharpness while relaxing the nerves. Some consider black oil plant seeds an even more effective supplement for memory enhancement than Ginkgo biloba. One other interesting effect of black oil plant seeds is that they can help induce lucid dreams.

A traditional dose of black oil plant seeds is around 10 seeds. Depending on the desired effect, you can gradually increase your dose to up to 15–20 seeds for a single dose.



L-theanine is one of the valuable compounds found in green tea. Although the stimulating effect of green tea has been recognised for thousands of years, it is only recently that L-theanine has spurred interest among those who want to boost their mental performance with nootropics. Theanine doesn’t just boost mental performance and focus; it also promotes relaxation by binding to glutamate receptors in the brain. By blocking glutamate, which is an excitatory neurotransmitter, L-theanine makes us feel relaxed.

L-theanine is yet another natural nootropic that is particularly good for writers and all those performing mentally demanding tasks. Research has shown that it promotes alpha brain waves, the type of brain waves that make us relaxed, yet keep us focussed and creative. Some biohackers combine L-theanine and caffeine for increased energy and motivation. Although you can experiment with various ratios, L-theanine is most often used in a 2:1 ratio to caffeine. For example, you can start out with a mix of 100mg of caffeine and 200mg of L-theanine.

If you want to stay all-natural, you can get a similar effect from a good-quality green tea. Gunpowder tea is a special green tea from the Zhejiang province of China that has been cultivated for centuries. Compared to a supplement, gunpowder tea has an advantage; the tea leaves contain volatile oils so you can use them in your vaporizer to get a mental boost!



“Nootropic stack” is the fancy term for a combination of various nootropics in one supplement. These nootropic stack supplements normally consist of a carefully selected blend of nootropic substances that work in synergy for an even greater brain-boosting effect. There are two main groups of nootropic stacks: homemade stacks—which are DIY nootropic blends often created by self-proclaimed biohackers—and premade nootropic stacks, which are commercial blends of nootropics tested for effectiveness and safety.


Clear Focus features a blend of nootropic ingredients designed to enhance cognitive performance and focus. This carefully selected stack of vitamins, amino acids, botanicals, and other brain-revving ingredients helps you stay locked in on the task at hand, whether you’re delving into a new book, studying for an exam, or working on your passion project. Harness the power of Bacopa monnieri, Rhodiola rosea, caffeine, L-theanine, and other components to tap into your cerebral potential.



There are several ways nootropics work to benefit brain and mental performance:

  • Affects chemicals in the brain: Other nootropics can affect the brain on a chemical level. They can increase neurotransmitter production or make for heightened receptor sensitivity with less chemical breakdown in the brain for better mental performance.

  • Promotes brain wave stimulation: Then there are those nootropic substances that can promote certain brainwave frequencies, which can each contribute to different mental states from deep relaxation to increased focus and awareness.

  • Provides a protective effect: Other nootropics have a protective effect on the brain. These may contain antioxidants and other beneficial ingredients.

Steven Voser
Steven Voser
Steven Voser is an independent cannabis journalist with over 6 years of experience writing about all things weed; how to grow it, how best to enjoy it, and the booming industry and murky legal landscape surrounding it.
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