The Most Comprehensive List of Nootropics Ever

Here's an epic list of 70+ nootropics, organized alphabetically. These nootropics run the gambit from essential vitamins to obscure russian research chemicals.

7,8-Dihydroxyflavone

7,8-Dihydroxyflavone binds Trk B receptor to enrich neurons. Remains untested in humans.

  • Type

    BDNF mimetic
  • Other names

    7, 8-DHF

Adrafinil

The "dirty" precursor to modafinil that's available over-the-counter. Larger doses of adrafinil are needed to produce the same effect as modafinil.

  • Type

    wakefulness enhancer
  • Other names

    Olmifon, CRL-40028
  • Typical dose

    600-1,200mg

Alpha-GPC

  • Type

    cholinergic
  • Other names

    Alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine, L-alpha-glycerophosphocholin, glycerophosphocholine, L-alpha-glyceryl-phosphorylcholine, Choline Alphoscerate

Alpha-Lipoic Acid

  • Type

    antioxidant
  • Other names

    ALA, thioctic acid, 1, 2-dithiolane-3-pentanoic acid, ala, Tiolepta
  • Typical dose

    300-600mg

Amphetamine

Potentially neurotoxic, but may produce short-term gains in cognitive ability in low-performing individuals. Psychostimulants tend to improve performance on boring and repetitive tasks but my impede performance when it comes to thinking through complex problems.

Aniracetam

  • Type

    racetam
  • Other names

    1-p-anisoyl-2-pyrrilidinone, Ro 13-5057, CAS 72432-10-1, 1(4-methoxybenzoyl)-2-pyrrolidinone

Armodafinil

Modafinil's successor. Armodafinil is the more active enantiomer of modafinil.

Artichoke Extract

Popularized in the CILTEP stack, which has since been convincingly debunked.

  • Type

    plant-derived
  • Other names

    Artichoke

Ashwagandha

  • Type

    plant-derived
  • Other names

    Withania Somnifera, Indian Ginseng, Smell of Horse, Winter Cherry, Dunal, Solanaceae

Astaxanthin

  • Type

    plant-derived
  • Other names

    Cardax (Disodium Disuccinate Astaxanthin), 3, 3′-dihydroxy-b, b-carotene-4, 4′-dione
  • Typical dose

    6-8mg

Bacopa monnieri

  • Type

    plant-derived
  • Other names

    Brahmi, Aindri, Lysimachia monnieri L. Cent., Graticola monnieri L., Herpestis monniera L. Kunth., Water hyssop, Thyme-leafed gratiola, Indian Pennywort, Jalabrahmi
  • Typical dose

    300mg

BCAA

According to one study, branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) rescued deficits due to traumatic brain injury. BCAA is more neurorestorative than it is nootropic.

  • Type

    amino acid
  • Other names

    BCAAs, BCAA
  • Typical dose

    48-72mg/kg

Blueberry

One of the most robust nootropics. Evidence for cognitive improvement in older adults.

  • Type

    plant-derived
  • Other names

    Blueberries, Blue berries

Caffeine

The most popular drug on the planet.

  • Type

    stimulant
  • Other names

    Coffee extract, Tea extract, 1, 3, 7-Trimethylxanthine, Liquid crack
  • Typical dose

    100mg

CDP-Choline

Converted to choline and uridine in the body. Uridine is a nootropic in its one right.

  • Type

    cholinergic
  • Other names

    Citicholine, Cytidine Diphosphocholine
  • Typical dose

    500-2,000

Choline

Used to create acetylcholine in vivo - a neurotransmitter implicated in mood, memory and the "rest and digest" response. Excess acetylcholine is linked to dysphoria, deficits are linked to memory impairment.

Cocoa Extract

An under-utilized nootropic that boosts neurognenesis and cerebral blood flow.

  • Type

    plant-derived
  • Other names

    Chocolate polyphenols, Cocoa polyphenols, Cacao polyphenols, Cacao extract, Chocamine
  • Typical dose

    5-26g

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is comprised of medium-chain triglycerides (MCT). MCT may provide an alternative to glucose providing the brain with extra fuel. Cerebral glucose metabolism is impaired in Alzheimer's, leading to the suggestion that Alzheimer's patients take MCT oil or coconut oil.

  • Type

    plant-derived
  • Other names

    Cocos nucifera, Coconut, Medium Chain Triglycerides (partially synonymous but commonly touted as such)
  • Typical dose

    10g

Coenzyme Q10

  • Type

    plant-derived
  • Other names

    CoQ10, Ubiquinone, Ubiquinol, trans 2, 3-dimethoxy-5-methyl-6-decaprenyl-1, 4-benzoquinone
  • Typical dose

    90mg

Coluracetam

Affects high-affinity choline uptake.

  • Type

    racetam
  • Other names

    MKC-231, BCI-540, 2-(2-oxopyrrolidin-1-yl)-N-(2, 3-dimethyl-5, 6, 7, 8-tetrahydrofuro2, 3-b quinolin-4-yl)acetoamide
  • Typical dose

    300-3,000mcg/kg

Curcumin

Nootropic effects observed in a variety of experimental models. One confound is that curcumin is a "dirty" compound that affects a wide range of neuronal targets, potentially misleading researchers.

  • Type

    plant-derived
  • Other names

    Turmeric extract, Curry Extract, Curcuma, Diferuloylmethane, JiangHuang, Curcuma Longa, 1, 7-bis-{3-methoxy-4-hydroxyphenyl}-1, 6-heptadiene-3, 5-dione
  • Typical dose

    80-500mg

D-Serine

Activates the glycine site of the NMDA receptor.

  • Type

    animo acid analogue
  • Other names

    Glycine or Sarcosine (similar in mechanisms), Phosphatidylserine (a phospholipid containing L-serine)

Fish Oil

  • Type

    plant-derived
  • Other names

    Eicosapentaenoic Acid, EPA, Docosahexaenoic Acid, DHA, Omega-3 fatty acids, Omega-3, Omega 3, N-3 Fatty Acids
  • Typical dose

    250mg

Folic Acid

Has a modest antidepressant effect. Pharmaceutical drugs reformulated folic acid into the product Deplin (l-methylfolate) which may be superior.

  • Type

    nutrient
  • Other names

Gingko biloba

  • Type

    plant-derived
  • Other names

Glycine

Glycine may improve slow-wave sleep quality. Glycine is a naturally abundant amino acid that binds the glycine site of NMDA recpetors. Glycine therefore indirectly regulated long-term potentiaion.

  • Type

    amino acid
  • Other names

  • Typical dose

    1-3g

Green Coffee Extract

  • Type

    plant-derived
  • Other names

  • Typical dose

    120-300mg

Huperzine A

Irreversible acetylcholinesterase inhibitor and weak NMDA antagonist. Acetylcholinesterase inhibition boosts acetylcholine improving memory. NMDA receptor blockade may enhance or impair cognition depending on the conditions. Wholesale blockade prevents long-term potentiaton, but modest blockade (e.g., magnesium) could be beneficial.

  • Type

    cholinergic
  • Other names

  • Typical dose

    50-200mcg

Idebenone

  • Type

  • Other names

Inositol

  • Type

    endogenous compound
  • Other names

Iodine

Needed to synthesize thyroid hormone. Iodine deficiency/thyroid hormone deficiency are the leading cause of preventable intellectual disability worldwide. Thyroid hormone augments neurogenesis and boosts metabolism. One downside is that increased metabolic rate could increase the rate of aging.

  • Type

    nutrient
  • Other names

L-carnitine

  • Type

    endogenous
  • Other names

L-theanine

One of the most ubiquitous nootropics due to its safety and the reliability of its effects. Goes well with caffeine.

  • Type

    plant-derived
  • Other names

L-tyrosine

  • Type

    endogenous
  • Other names

  • Typical dose

    500-2000mg

Lavender

A useful anxiolytic with little to no side effects.

  • Type

    plant-derived
  • Other names

Light therapy

Can help entrain circadian rhythyms and relieve depression.

Limonene

  • Type

    plant-derived
  • Other names

  • Typical dose

    500mg

Magnesium

  • Type

    nutrient
  • Other names

  • Typical dose

    200-400mg

Melatonin

  • Type

    endogenous compound
  • Other names

  • Typical dose

    500mcg

Methylphenidate

Potentially neurotoxic, but may produce short-term gains in cognitive ability.

Modafinil

Wideley popular wakefulness enhancer that exhibits limited nootropic effects. Already high-performing individuals do not stand to benefit.

  • Type

    wakefulness enhancer
  • Other names

  • Typical dose

    100-200mg

Nefiracetam

  • Type

    racetam
  • Other names

  • Typical dose

    150-450mg

Nicotine

Nicotine gets a bad rap due to its association with tobacco, but moderate nicotine use has tangible cognitive benefits.

  • Type

    cholinergic
  • Other names

Noopept

A cost-effective piracetam-like drug used in Russia.

  • Type

    racetam-like
  • Other names

NSI-189

A neurogenic antidepressant under clinical development by Neuralstem. Enhances neurogenesis and even hippocampal volume in animal models.

Oxiracetam

  • Type

    racetam
  • Other names

  • Typical dose

    1,200-2,400mg

Panax ginseng

  • Type

    plant-derived
  • Other names

  • Typical dose

    400mg

Peppermint

  • Type

    plant-derived
  • Other names

  • Typical dose

    450-750mg

Phenylpiracetam

A racetam with psychostimulatory effects.

  • Type

    racetam
  • Other names

  • Typical dose

    100-200mg

Phosphatidylcholine

  • Type

    cholinergic
  • Other names

Piracetam

The prototypical racetam. Has the best safety record of the racetams but is relatively impotent - so large doses are required.

  • Type

    racetam
  • Other names

  • Typical dose

    40-100mg

Pramiracetam

  • Type

    racetam
  • Other names

  • Typical dose

    400mg

PRL-8-53

  • Type

    experimental drug
  • Other names

  • Typical dose

    5mg

Pterostilbene

  • Type

    plant-derived
  • Other names

  • Typical dose

    40mg/kg

Pycnogenol

  • Type

  • Other names

  • Typical dose

    40-60mg

Pyritinol

  • Type

  • Other names

  • Typical dose

    600mg

Pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ)

PQQ has been explored as a potential neuroprotective compound, but I remian skeptical that it can cross the blood brain barrier due to its hydrophilic function groups.

  • Type

    plant-derived
  • Other names

  • Typical dose

    2mg

Quercetin

  • Type

    plant-derived
  • Other names

  • Typical dose

    25mg

Resveratrol

  • Type

    plant-derived
  • Other names

  • Typical dose

    5-10mg

Rhodiola Rosea

  • Type

    plant-derived
  • Other names

Saffron

Saffron has notable antidepressant effects, though it is very expensive.

  • Type

    plant-derived
  • Other names

  • Typical dose

    15mg

Selenium

Selenium plays a role in antioxidant defense. It is needed for reactions catalyzed by superoxide dismutase.

  • Type

    mineral
  • Other names

Soy Lecithin

  • Type

    plant-derived
  • Other names

  • Typical dose

    500-2,000mg

Sulbutiamine

  • Type

  • Other names

  • Typical dose

    400mg

Sunifiram

A high-risk nootropic that increases AMPA type glutamate receptor activity.

  • Type

    ampakine
  • Other names

  • Typical dose

    1mg/kg

T3

T3 is the more biologically active form of thyroid hormone. Thyroid is a key regulator of metabolic rate and boosts neurogenesis.

  • Type

    endogenous compound
  • Other names

  • Typical dose

    40mcg

Uridine

Uridine is a nucleotide base abundant in beer. It is a potential cognitive enhancer. One trial tested 1g Uridine daily for 6 weeks and reported an antidepressant effect in bipolar patients.

  • Type

    plant-derived
  • Other names

    UDP, UMP
  • Typical dose

    500-1,000mg

Vinpocetine

  • Type

  • Other names

    Vincamine, Vinca Minor, Periwinkle Extract, Cavinton (Brand Name), ethyl apovincaminate
  • Typical dose

    15-60mg

Vitamin B1

Vitamin B1 is depleted by the metabolism of alcohol. Alcoholics can get brain damage from vitamin B1 deficiency. Since alcohol is popular, it makes sense to supplement vitamin B1 to protect against alcohol-induced deficiency.

  • Type

    vitamin
  • Other names

  • Typical dose

    100-300mg

Vitamin B12

  • Type

    vitamin
  • Other names

  • Typical dose

    1,000mcg

Whey Protein

  • Type

    amino acid
  • Other names

Wine

  • Type

    food
  • Other names

Yerba Mate

  • Type

    plant-derived
  • Other names

  • Typical dose

    1,000-1,500mg (yerba matte leaf)
  • Reddit reviews
  • Resources Yerba Mate on Examine Yerba Mate on Wikipedia
  • References
    • Bracesco N, Sanchez AG, Contreras V, Menini T, Gugliucci A. Recent advances on Ilex paraguariensis research: minireview. Journal of ethnopharmacology. 2011; 136(3): 378-84. | Link to abstract
    • Heck CI, de Mejia EG. Yerba Mate Tea (Ilex paraguariensis): a comprehensive review on chemistry, health implications, and technological considerations. Journal of food science. 2007; 72(9): R138-51. | Link to abstract
    • Silva RD, Bueno AL, Gallon CW, et al. The effect of aqueous extract of gross and commercial yerba mate (Ilex paraguariensis) on intra-abdominal and epididymal fat and glucose levels in male Wistar rats. Fitoterapia. 2011; 82(6): 818-26. | Link to abstract

Zinc

  • Type

    mineral
  • Other names

  • Typical dose

    5-10mg