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Brain Food - 7 Types of Nootropics to improve your brain

If you have any interest in nootropics, one of the first steps you should take is developing a better understanding of each type. After all, with seven to choose from you must understand what each does to select the right choice for your specific needs.

Each type of nootropic stands distinct from the rest and while some have been around for decades since the initial discovery of nootropics, others are relatively new and were released only years ago.
The seven types of nootropics include Natural/Herbal, Racetams, Cholines, Peptides, Vitamin B Derivatives, Ampakines, and Smart Drugs. 
Below, we’re discussing each, including their unique properties and benefits, to ensure you’re equipped with the knowledge you need to construct your own ideal stack.

Natural/Herbal Nootropics

Natural/herbal nootropics are plant-based nootropics that offer a host of natural benefits. Most notably, they increase brain health and functioning.

Being plant-based, many of these ingredients have been used for thousands of years; it’s just that people didn’t know at the time they were using nootropics! Many of these ingredients are also backed by a number of studies showing their positive effects on brain health.

Because they are natural, they are incredibly safe, giving peace of mind to those who are apprehensive to try nootropics for the first time.
Popular Options: Valorcine, Bacopi Monneri, and Ginkgo Biloba


If one type of nootropic were most popular, it would be racetams. After all, the first-ever nootropic synthesized by Dr. Giurgea was Piracetam, one of the most popular nootropics to this day.

All racetams share a similar structure and are composed of hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen. Each is known to improve core cognitive functioning such as memory and focus while simultaneously boosting mood and improving energy levels.
Racetams are also known to be neuroprotective, meaning they increase cell regrowth while protecting against deterioration.
Popular Options: Piracetam, Pramiracetam, and Oxiracetam


The majority of people are choline deficient, though it is a water-soluble nutrient found naturally in the body. But because it is essential for both brain functioning and health, supplementing your body with the substance is essential.

Although choline nootropics offer benefits such as memory and learning improvements, they are typically taken with other nootropics, specifically racetams. When combined, racetams stimulate acetylcholine receptor sites, allowing for the synthesis of choline nootropics and amplifying their results.
Each choline nootropic offers different benefits. For example, Citicoline increases dopamine levels in the brain while Alpha GPC increases memory and learning, even amongst Alzheimer’s patients. Learning more about each is important prior to make a purchase.
Popular Options: Citicoline, Centrophenoxine, and Alpha GPC.


Peptides are similar to racetams, though the most popular option, Noopept, is widely thought to be much more potent than Piracetam. These nootropics offer benefits similar to racetams as well by improving learning capabilities, energy, alertness, memory, and motivation.
As Dr. Skondia required of nootropics, peptides are well-known for their ability to cross the blood-brain barrier. As such, you can take less while enjoying the same results you expect.
Specifically, Noopept stimulates the release of Nerve Growth Factor, a protein essential for the growth and maintenance of neurons and nerve cells throughout the brain and body. By stimulating AMPA and NDMA receptors, this nootropic functions similarly to racetams and ampakines, promising great results for users.
Popular Options: Noopept

Vitamin B Derivatives

Although a small category, Vitamin B derivatives form another major type of nootropics and are used to combat fatigue while increasing both energy and alertness.
Vitamin B derivatives were first synthesized in Japan because the population was deficient in Thiamine, or Vitamin B1. Since then, it has become more popularized and is also used to improve memory by affecting choline, glutamate, and dopamine levels in the brain.
This category of nootropics is well-known for its positive effects on both Alzheimer’s patients and schizophrenics, giving it a more mainstream use.
Popular Options: Sulbutiamine


As one of the newest forms of nootropics, ampakines are also amongst the most potent options available. Like peptides, ampakines stimulate AMPA and NDMA receptors, thereby increasing glutamate levels in the blood. Glutamate is a neurotransmitter that greatly affects synaptic plasticity, making it essential for proper learning and memory.
Ampakines are often used as alternatives to stimulants such as Ritalin or something as mainstream as caffeine. However, they aren’t associated with the same negative side effects such as anxiety, insomnia, and a general feeling of restlessness.
Because there is little research on ampakines at the moment and they are relatively new, it’s best to stick with popular options if you want to add these nootropics to your stack. However, they are generally more expensive than other available options.
Popular Options: Sunifiram and Unifiram

Smart Drugs

Smart drugs are typically not nootropics. In fact, most of the substances that are classified as smart drugs do not pass the standards set by Dr.’s Giurgea or Skandia upon the initial discovery of nootropics.
Instead, smart drugs are amphetamine-based, making them stimulants (for example, Adderall). However, there are some drugs like Modafinil that is thought of as a nootropic because it increases levels of the neurotransmitter hypocretin, increasing energy, alertness, and motivation.
Several smart drugs, including Modafinil, are heavily regulated and restricted in the United States. As such, most users turn to alternatives like Adrafinil as an alternative because it converts into Modafinil upon digestion.
Popular Options: Adderil, Modafinil, and Adrafinil

Educate Yourself to Choose the Best Nootropics for Your Needs

Whether your goal is to increase synaptic plasticity with ampakines, improve memory and energy with racetams, or take a bet on smart drugs, there is a nootropic for everyone.
By learning more about each of the types of nootropics above, you can do your part to ensure you’re creating a stack that will promise the benefits you want. With the right combination, you’ll have the energy, focus, and drive to take on every day, all while improving your long-term cognitive health in the process.
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