What Are Nootropics?

We’ve all been there. It’s a long day at work, and we’re still telling ourselves we’re going to the gym. Or we have a date we really want to stay awake for. Coffee isn’t cutting it, and those energy shots have lost their luster.

If this sounds in any way familiar, Nootropics might be a great supplement idea to try. But what are they? In this article we’ll cover what Nootropics actually are, and more importantly, if they actually work. I’ll also answer all your questions about safety, legality, and yes, where to get the best ones.

Key Points:

  • Nootropics, in this article, refer to over-the-counter (OTC) supplements that do not contain any drugs.
  • By and large, the best Nootropics contain herbal and natural ingredients to help improve focus, memory, energy, and ease anxiety.
  • Some people have used the best Nootropics to help with ADHD symptoms, and to prevent the cognitive decline that can lead to serious health issues.
  • Nootropics are not designed or intended to replace medication; they cannot treat, diagnose, or cure any disease.

Where did Nootropics Come From?

Nootropics are also called “smart drugs” and have actually been around in various forms for half a century. Like many supplements, the modern form was born out of a history of using synthetic drugs to stimulate the brain and its neurons.

The good news with these drugs is that they worked. The bad news is that they also led to abuse, addiction, and in some cases, dramatic health crises. One well known example is the amphetamine family. Its use goes all the way back to WWII, when bombers called it “pilot’s chocolate.” It’s still used in modern applications to keep people awake during long hours of high-stress or intense focus.

Medicine spun these substances out as the main treatments for ADHD, still sold under brand names like Adderall. Another stimulant used as a pharmaceutical is Methylphenidate, sold as Ritalin.

In recent years, however, modern scientists and consumers are less interested in synthetic drugs with high rates of addiction and abuse. Instead, they’re turning to more natural ingredients, folded into safer products.

State of Nootropics Today

Following decades worth of experimenting with alternative medicines has led to an explosion of all-natural, safe, and legal ingredients that are proving not only as effective as older drugs, but in some cases even better.

As we’ll see when we get into the ingredients that are most popular, some of these plant compounds can not only help you stay focused and keep your mental energy throughout the day, they can even help prevent the tissue damage that leads to Alzheimer’s and other cognitive diseases.

Most Effective Ingredients

We’ll move into ingredient-specific articles at a later date, but for this introductory article, I wanted to share some of the most exciting Nootropic ingredients with the most promising scientific evidence and proof

1. Choline

Choline is an indispensable tool our bodies use to trigger every single electrical action–whether it’s a nerve twitching a muscle, or a neuron firing a synapse. Choline is the fuel our nervous system needs to function. All of the best Nootropics, like Feedamind, contain scientifically backed forms of Choline that can not only improve your cognitive performance, but even reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease.

2. Bacopa Monnieri

Used for centuries in the traditional medicines of Southeast Asia, this leafy plant grows in marshy areas around the world, now, from the US to Australia. Extracts of this plant have been seen in lab studies to generate statistically higher scores on mental acuity tests, and 9 human studies with 518 subjects found across the board better cognitive function with Bacopa.

2. Lutein

For decades Western Science thought this plant chemical was only responsible for making plants yellow. But recent, long-term population studies have found that a diet rich in Lutein is the best indicator of cognitive function in older persons. Products I’ve valued at the top of the market have all included Lutein in their formulas.

Do Nootropics Actually Work?

In short–yes. At least the quality products do. That’s one of the reasons at the Great Green Wall that we’re so invested in the scientific studies and evidence that backs up some products. Because it also highlights how lacking some of the less reliable manufacturers can be.

Our top-rated Nootropics are on the cutting edge of research, and only contain safe, effective, and legal ingredients. And many of them come with money-back guarantees, so you can be confident in your purchase.

What Are Nootropics Used For? 

We need to stress right away that Nootropics are not designed to treat, diagnose, or cure any disease or illness. But that doesn’t mean you cannot use them to help with the symptoms of something like ADHD, or to help prevent the onset of a terrible disease like Alzheimer’s.

Why the distinction? Two reasons.

  • Frankly, it’s illegal in countries like the US, the UK, Australia, and Germany to make medicinal claims for a supplement.
  • Secondly, and more importantly to you the reader, an illness like Alzheimer’s is very serious, and there is no known cure.

ADHD to our knowledge cannot simply be turned to the “off’ position. As tempting as it is to think otherwise, trying to make a supplement “cure” us of these things could be terrible for us and our loved ones in the long run.

But About Those Symptoms…

All of that doesn’t mean you and I can’t receive massive benefit from the clinical proof that caffeine and L-Theanine improve focus. It also doesn’t mean we should ignore the strong evidence that Pterostilbene can protect brain cells.

In the end, while a supplement cannot take ADHD away from someone, or cure their degenerative brain disease, it can help keep the very cell tissues of our brain protected from harmful protein tangles and plaque, and it can provide us with better mood and focus throughout the day–without dangerous stimulants or buying another coffee machine.


Nootropics have an interesting and winding history. For modern supplement users, however, it comes down to whether they’re safe, effective, and legal. By and large, the answers to all three of those are “yes.” But that doesn’t mean a wary consumer should conduct their research. We’ve lent a hand with articles about where Nootropics are legal, and what ingredients to avoid. And of course, you can always rely on us for the straight answers on all the product reviews we’ve already done.


Can Nootropics Help with Anxiety?

Yes, in some cases, they can. I’m writing a full piece on this subject soon, so stay tuned. In the meantime, it’s important to understand the placebo, or psychosomatic effect. This is basically the “mind over matter” principle, where it can be difficult to know if a product will really work for everyone when it comes to mood.

How do I Know if Nootropics are Legal Where I Live?

Check out this article I just put together. And be sure to check the end, where I give some advice on checking official government websites. There are fakes out there.

Are Nootropics Like Adderall?

No. And we cannot stress this enough. Adderall is a controlled substance, requiring a prescription and doctor guidance. Nootropic supplements are OTC, and don’t have the same chemicals at all. Also, Nootropics cannot treat diagnosed medical conditions.

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About the Author

Sam is a passionate health and fitness enthusiast who has been interested in supplements, fitness, and wellness for over 10 years. He is the founder of Great Green Wall - the health and wellness brand and has completed multiple fitness certificates, including personal training and nutrition certifications. Sam has been working as a personal trainer for the past three years and is dedicated to helping his clients achieve their fitness goals and lead healthier lifestyles. He believes that a healthy lifestyle is crucial to a happy and fulfilling life and is committed to sharing his knowledge and passion with others.

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