4 Chemical Components of Naturally Occurring Nootropics

Imagine you had a smart drug with brain enhancing qualities such as childhood memory recall, photographic memory or high-level data analysis? While this may sound like the plot of a Bradley Cooper movie, the truth isn’t very far-fetched.

For centuries, humans have sought scientific and supernatural ways to make themselves more intelligent beings. While a lot of money has gone into modern research, history has shown that ancient humans discovered naturally-occurring substances with the same abilities. Some even date as far back as 5000 years ago.

Nootropic supplements help increase the cognitive functions of the brain, making it sharper, more attentive to detail and increasing focus. But what components make this possible? After decades of studies, scientists revealed the chemical compounds responsible and their functions.

  1. Bacopa Monnieri

Bacopa Monieri plant

This compound is found in the perennial creeping plant native to the wetland regions of Eastern and Southern India. For over five thousand years, traditional healers have used it in the practice of Ayurvedic medicine. The medicinal properties of Bacopa stem from its ability to increase serotonin levels in the brain.

Serotonin is one of the brains neurotransmitters, and is useful in reducing anxiety and calming bodily functions. With Bacopa Monieri, people experience improved mood conditions and eliminate stress. It also improves learning and memory with long-term use, as well as, increasing the brain’s information processing abilities.

  1. Choline Bitartrate, Alpha-GPC, Citicoline

Eggs, Animal LiverCholine is a water-soluble vitamin that is usually placed in the same group as B-vitamin complex. It occurs naturally in foods like egg yolk and animal liver. Without choline, it is difficult for the body to make acetyl-choline, an important neurotransmitter in the brain.

When it comes to cognitive function, acetyl-choline is responsible processing information in the logical parts of the brain. The cholinergic system is usually associated with improved focus, motivation and arousal.

Three most common forms of supplemented choline are:

  • Choline biterate- replenishing body choline
  • Alpha GPC- Contains choline and easily permeates the blood-brain barrier
  • CDP-Choline- works similarly to GPC
  1. L-theanine

A cup of black and green teaL-theanine is an amino acid, and a major component of black and green tea. When acting alone, theanine promotes mental relaxation, increases alertness and enhances arousal. It also works synergistically with caffeine to increase reaction levels, memory retrieval and mental stamina.

You can either get your regular supply of theanine from a capsule or drink one or two cups of green tea daily. For green tea, ensure you go for the type grown in the shades because such leaves have higher quantities of theanine.

  1. Racetams


This is a family of several related compounds, including well-known nootropics. The most common racetam is piracetam, but the most effective for nootropics are the aniracetam and phenylpiracetam. Although scientists are still studying how racetams works, it is widely known to be effective in mental stimulation.

Some functions of piracetam include:

  • Pheynylpiracetam improves brain cognition and helping victims of stroke
  • Aniracetam improves memory and has been shown to counter depression in rodents
  • Phenylpiracetam improves neurological functioning and helps victims of epilepsy.

There are other nootropic compounds such as ketoprime, artichoke extract and amphetamines. It is advisable to start small before proceeding to greater quantities when you start taking nootropics.


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