Are Nootropics Effective?

Here’s the short answer: Yes.  But this question is a bit like asking “Is food healthy?”.  Sure there are foods that are healthy but then there are also foods like deep-fried sugar cookies that most certainly are not.  So, like most things in life, it’s necessary to do dig a little bit deeper to find the truth. 









The term nootropic is simply too broad and encompasses too many specific compounds to be talked about in such general terms.  Are there a few nootropics that may not be effective?  I’d wager a fair sum of money on it.  Are there other nootropic compounds that amplify your ability to get and stay motivated, pay attention, and think clearly?  Absolutely.

Scientific studies demonstrate the effectiveness of nootropics and an ever increasing amount of testimonials from athletes, artists, businessmen, and entrepreneurs provide further support for their benefits. 


What are the effects?

Expectations must also be addressed.  Some people become interested in nootropics because they are operating under the false belief that these substances are the real-world equivalent to NZT-48.  If that last sentence makes no sense to you, NZT-48 is the drug from the movie Limitless that made Bradley Cooper’s character a super genius millionaire playboy.  If that’s what you’re looking for, you’re going to be disappointed.  But for those with more down to earth aspirations, specific nootropics will prove very effectual.

Nootropics aren’t mythical mindblowing super drugs.  They’re designed to produce subtle yet profound effects.  And subtle effects are very often the all the difference in the world between failure and success.  

Not all nootropics are created equal

That being said, not all nootropics are created equal and it’s worth talking about the ones we know are truly effective.  In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re currently ingesting a nootropic containing hot cup of delicious coffee almost every day.  What’s that?  Coffee is a nootropic?  Well not exactly coffee but the caffeine definitely is.  Caffeine has been extensively studied it is generally said to be quite healthy and it provides a whole host of benefits.

Of course, we still need to pay attention to the dosage.  I don’t think anyone would recommend 12 cups of coffee on a daily basis.  But the effectiveness of this nootropic cannot be denied.  Everyone knows the focused feeling they get after a good cup of java. 

Another effective nootropic that gains in popularity every day is a substance called l-theanine.  l-theanine is naturally occurring and is found in a variety of plants.  In all likelihood, your body is already familiar with this nootropic.  You know that calm feeling you get when you enjoy a warm cup of green tea?  You can thank l-theanine for that relaxing sensation.  

Obviously, one cup of green tea does not contain a high level but the fact that you can feel the effects with essentially a trace amount demonstrates its power.  L-theanine seems to work synergistically with caffeine.  This makes sense considering both are found in green tea.  An analysis of 11 studies was published in Nutrition Review and concluded that, when combined, l-theanine and caffeine enhance cognitive abilities such as attention, task switching, and alertness.

Many athletes and entrepreneurs are adding l-theanine to their morning coffee and reporting these exact effects.  

Another powerful and effective nootropic is choline.  Some may say that modafinil is the most powerful but modafinil is illegal in many countries and often requires a prescription.  Choline, on the other hand, is naturally occurring and can be found in many foods.  

Unfortunately, the majority of us do not get adequate choline through the modern diet.  Some sources state that up to 90 percent of the population is deficient in this most important substance.  Choline is the precursor to acetylcholine which is a neurotransmitter responsible for mental clarity and memory.  Increasing choline levels leads to improved attention, focus, and recall.  

Many people also report enhanced verbal articulation and logical thinking as a result of choline supplementation.  Choline is also known as a nootropic potentiator.  This means it strengthens the effectiveness of other nootropics. 


We’re still learning and studying how nootropics improve cognition.  Without a doubt some are more effective than others.  There’s plenty of science supporting the effectiveness of nootropics and you can read thousands of positive testimonials where people describe their personal experiences with these amazing substances.  But the only way to really know just how effective nootropics can be for you is to give them a try for yourself.  

With a little patience and experimentation, you’ll likely find yourself less anxious and more focused with improved learning capacity and other cognitive capabilities.