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Top 7 Nootropics To Boost Mental Performance

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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 under stress.

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. In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), extracts from Ginkgo biloba have long played an important role for their therapeutic benefits. The herb is especially known for its positive effects on the brain, where it is believed to improve memory and mental processing. Part of its action may be due to an ability to increase blood flow to the brain.

Ginkgo biloba can also help reduce stress levels when taken before stressful tasks. It has been shown to lower blood pressure and decrease cortisol levels, which is a type of stress hormone. Said differently, Ginkgo biloba can help you keep your cool so you can perform better under stress. 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.



Although smoking cigarettes isn’t recommended, if you want to boost your mental performance, nicotine, the main ingredient in tobacco, is indeed another natural nootropic. Nicotine is in fact so powerful that you need to be very careful and only use it in extremely small doses. (One cigarette contains about 1mg of nicotine). In its pure form, nicotine is very toxic.

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 rituals and for healing purposes.

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L-tyrosine is an amino acid that is a precursor to neurotransmitters in the body including dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. When we’re feeling anxious and stressed, such as during demanding tasks, we often use up these neurotransmitters. Taking L-tyrosine can provide a feeling of greater focus and concentration when we’re under stress.

What makes L-tyrosine unique is that it provides its beneficial mental effects while keeping you calm. This makes it an excellent nootropic for mentally demanding tasks. It’s sometimes also called the “smart drug for writers” since it provides you with the motivation to continue with increased focus. Along with its focus-boosting, stress-relieving, and calming properties, L-tyrosine has other positive effects for good health. It is believed to be beneficial for various illnesses such as the common cold and fatigue/sleep deprivation.



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 traditional medicine in South Asia to improve mental focus and to cure illnesses. In the Ayurveda medicine of India, the seeds play an important role.

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 lowers anxiety levels and 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.



Certain nootropics can amplify and enhance each other for a more pronounced effect. Other combinations can complement each other or can provide a balancing effect. It really depends on the particular blend.

OmniMind is a nootropic stack that boosts mental performance, focus, concentration, mood, drive, and memory. Its main ingredient is Bacopa monnieri, which is an herb that improves memory processing speed and retention. It also contains performance-enhancing ingredients selected for optimal effectiveness such as Rhodiola rosea extract, L-tyrosine, L-theanine, caffeine, and DMAE bitartrate. It is a great nootropic for students, entrepreneurs, artists, and anyone who wants to boost their mental performance.

FLVXView Product

FLVX is another great nootropic stack made with beneficial natural ingredients to enhance cognitive performance. It consists of a blend of alpha GPC—a compound found in the brain that promotes learning and memory—along with other active mental performance enhancers such as Huperzia serrata, caffeine, L-theanine, Rhodiola rosea, as well as minerals and vitamins. This combination of nootropic ingredients makes it very effective so you can enhance mental performance and function, while preventing cognitive decline.



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

  • More energy for the brain: Certain nootropic substances may provide energy to the brain by supporting healthy cell function or by increasing blood flow to the brain.

  • 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 that actively work against cell damage and cognitive decline.

  • Maintains and regenerates the brain: Lastly, there are those substances that support neurogenesis, which is the growth and development of neurons. These nootropics can maintain and restore healthy functions of the brain.

A good nootropic stack combines any or all of these into a powerful supplement, providing various positive effects on brain function and overall mental performance and health.

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Written by: Georg
Based in Spain, Georg spends a lot of his time not only geeking out at his computer but in his garden as well. With a burning passion for growing cannabis and researching psychedelics, Georg is well versed in all things psychoactive.

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We are not making medical claims. This article has been written for informational purposes only, and is based on research published by other externals sources.

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