If you’ve seen the film ‘Limitless’, you’ll know that Bradley Cooper stumbles upon a miracle pill codenamed “NZT-48”. Amazingly, this pill allows him to perform multiple tasks at the same time. He is able to analyze information at a superhuman rate. After watching that film, I said to myself “wouldn’t it be great if NZT-48 was real?” I’d be able to pass all my exams, make lots of money, and have lots of girlfriends in no time!
Admittedly, that film inspired me and I started wondering whether smart drugs exist in real life. Something to help my brain to function optimally. This is when I discovered nootropics. Although I’d heard the name before, I didn’t really pay much attention to them for some reason.
But once they caught my attention there was no turning back. I began to realize that these supplements were designed to help the brain perform optimally. Most people tend to reach out for their favorite version of caffeine, whether it is a can of red Bull, a strong coffee or a green tea. Research seems to indicate that energy/caffeine drinks tend to do very little in terms of mental focus.
The Truth about Nootropics
It’s difficult to summarize Nootropics in a few sentences, so I have compiled a brief list of what a good quality nootropic supplement will actually do for you:
- increase learning capacity
- help retain information
- increase mental focus
- enhance memory
- enhance problem-solving potential
- enhance decision-making prowess
- enhance the mood
- enhance mental clarity
- help avoid memory blackouts
Research seems to suggest that in order for a person to be able to achieve all of the above, a healthy lifestyle consisting of a sensible diet and regular exercise, coupled with a quality nootropic is a must. Unfortunately, the age of NZT-48 hasn’t dawned upon us yet, so we have to take some necessary steps to reach the mental state that is required for success.
I spent quite a bit of time researching the best brain boosting ingredients available today. During the course of my research, I also discovered a number of ingredients that should be avoided because their effects can sometimes be counter-productive.
Moreover, I will review and present you with the best nootropics available today. But before all that, it is important to understand how nootropics actually work.
The Mechanics of Nootropics
All Nootropic supplements are in theory designed to boost the brain. A growing number of users see nootropics as safer alternatives to Ritalin and Adderall, because they are typically created from natural, plant based ingredients.
Did you know that Ritalin and Adderall fall into the same category as meth, heroin and cocaine? It’s true… These drugs have a reputation of triggering a number of potentially nasty side-effects. Worst of all, they end up being addictive for some individuals. This is precisely the reason why most sports governing bodies have banned them.
As a consequence, a new generation of “Nutraceuticals” has emerged. Although brands like Nuvigil, Provigil, and Modafinil provide the same end benefits as nootropics, they can only be obtained through a prescription, and they are extremely expensive. Moreover, doctors tend to need a lot of convincing before they prescribe these drugs due to the costs involved, and the potential side-effects.
Nootropics on the other hand, are designed to enhance cognition, and can be obtained without a prescription. Best of all, most brands are side-effect free and don’t tend to be addictive.
A good quality nootropic brand will almost certainly help to enhance both long-term and short-term memory, the speed your brain processes information and overall mental focus.
Things a Quality Nootropic Must Include
Most Nootropic products are created to perform several functions, all geared towards providing optimum cognition. These products claim to stabilize mood, provide more energy, more focus, all of which lead to better brain health.
When looking for a supplement, it’s usually a good idea to overlook the sometimes exaggerated advertising claims and get down to the nitty-gritty by deciphering the ingredients.
Luckily, I’ve done all of the hard work for you guys. I’ve read through literally hundreds of research papers and clinical studies and have managed to create a shortlist of the best ingredients in terms of the effectiveness and safety.
And here’s what I found…
- Cognizin: assists in protecting brain cells, whilst also regulating important enzymes.
- Phosphatidylserine: maintains cell membrane health, as well as supporting normal neurotransmitter metabolism.
- Hericium Erinaceus: help stimulate nerve regeneration.
- Rhodiola rosea: proven to stimulate brain activity and mental capacity.
- L-Theanine: helps provide concentration and supports healthy neurons.
- N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine: helps the body to produce neurotransmitters including dopamine, norepinephrine and epinephrine.
- Vitamin B6: helps restore neurotransmitter levels.
- Bacopa Monnieri: enhances cognitive function via improved transmission of nerve impulses.
- Pterostilbene: effective against anxiety disorders.
- Vinpocetine: helps sharpen mental focus, as well as short-term and long-term memory.
- Huperzine-A: increases acetylcholine, a vital neurotransmitter.
- Oat Straw: helps alleviate neurological stress and exhaustion.
- Cats Claw: powerful antioxidant and immune booster.
- Vinpocetine: enhances blood flow to the brain, as well as raising oxygen levels and improving cerebral metabolism.
Things to Avoid in a Nootropic
Thankfully, there aren’t too many side-effects attributed to nootropic supplements. At the very most, mild side-effects like headaches, difficulties in sleeping and irritability may surface by taking too much of these supplements.
Things I like to stay away from include high caffeine content because caffeine can be extremely addictive and a person’s tolerance to its effects can quickly rise, ultimately meaning larger doses of caffeine are required to achieve the same effects. Moreover, too much caffeine can cause restlessness, anxiousness, headaches, and palpitations.
More importantly, the pharmaceutical grade brain drugs (Nuvigil, Provigil and Modafinil) have shown to diminish the effectiveness of contraception pills. Individuals susceptible to addictive practices should also try avoiding these products. Typical side-effects associated with these brain drugs including hallucinating, random bruising, frequent sore throats, and high fever.
Another important element that should be avoided not only in nootropics, but in all health supplements are proprietary blends. Proprietary blends hide the exact ingredient amounts from you. This means that the user is unsure of exactly how much of each ingredient is going into the body. This is not ideal for people with allergies and low tolerance for certain ingredients.
The bottom line is that your ideal nootropic supplement must disclose the precise amount of each ingredient…
Top 3 Nootropics for 2016
I, along with a team of three full-time researchers invested considerable time and effort looking at the leading brands of nootropics available on the market because we were looking for a good product to use for ourselves. Taking into account the ingredients, the customer feedback, and brand reputation, here is what we came up with:
1. Mind Lab Pro (by Opti-Nutra Advanced Nutraceuticals )
Mind Lab Pro quickly rushed to our top spot for a number of compelling reasons. Firstly, the research that has gone into developing this supplement is unmatched at the time of writing this review. Secondly, in comparison to competitor brands, Mind Lab Pro contains the highest level of bioavailability in terms of ingredient effectiveness. And thirdly, it’s been receiving very positive customer reviews.
I’m not going to waste time discussing how clean and the clinical the packaging appears to be because any Tom Dick and Harry can hire a quality designer these days. Unlike most competitor brands, the capsules are completely vegetarian friendly, so there is no trace of gelatin anywhere.
The concept behind Mind Lab Pro is to help improve memory, and allow users to think clearly and quickly. After a bit of digging, I found that Opti-Nutra Advanced Nutraceuticals developed a unique formula after investing considerable time and money researching studies and intricately going through medical/scientific journals. The company have taken on board recommendations from world leading doctors, psychologists and scientists, and put them to good use.
Mind Lab Pro Ingredients
My team of researchers conducted our own independent research looking at the best possible brain boosting ingredients. It came as a bit of a surprise when we got to review Mind Lab Pro because a good 90% of our recommended ingredients are contained in this supplement!
All the ingredients are entirely natural, and have been extracted from plants and herbs around the world.
In a nutshell, Mind Lab Pro contains no less than 11 brain boosting ingredients and from the information my team has gathered, they are all adequately dosed. Best of all, you only need two capsules a day to keep bad exam results at bay!
At present, you can only buy Mind Lab Pro from the official website.
Going by the ingredients and real customer feedback, Mind Lab Pro easily trumps the nearest competition. The ingredients are well researched and adequately dosed, and we at Alverno Alpha recommend this supplement any day of the week.
Official Website: www.mindlabpro.com
2. Procera AVH (by Procera Health)
According to the official website, Procera AVH is a groundbreaking brain supplement that is formulated to support cognitive function and overall brain health. According to the company, this supplement will help to enhance your overall well-being because not only does it only support brain health, it helps to promote blood and oxygen delivery to the brain, enhance key neurotransmitters as well as providing comprehensive neuro protection.
Procera AVH Ingredients
Going back to begin the list of our preferred ingredients, Procera AVH contains two elements from that list, Huperzine-A and Vinpocetine. Both these ingredients are proven cognitive enhancers. Procera AVH also contains Acetyl L-Carnitine, which is suspected of enhancing the production of energy within the mitochondria, ultimately leading to a better memory, more mental energy and physical energy.
Unfortunately the precise amounts of each ingredient are not disclosed; therefore you won’t know exactly what you’re taking in.
The formula used appears to be well thought-out and going by what customer feedback seems to indicate, it really works. One major letdown for me is the omission of precise ingredient amounts.
Official Website: www.procerahealth.com
Designed to get rid of brain fog and assist users wake up in the mornings easier, and focus on the tasks at hand, whilst also allowing to increase work intensity. The official website states that the blend of vitamins and amino acids can help restore brain function, and allow users to focus for longer, feel smarter and memorize more.
With ingredients like Huperzine A, Tyrosine, Sulbutiamine, users can be assured to experience enhanced mental clarity, improved memory and more overall energy. The main downside is the caffeine content. Caffeine can cause nervousness and anxiety, is extremely addictive, and tolerance levels can quickly rise.
Other than the caffeine content, we were unable to find any “independent” customer reviews, which is a bit odd to say the least.
OptiMind contains a number of proven, cognition enhancing ingredients. The issue I have with this nootropic supplement is the caffeine content and the lack of independent customer reviews.
Official Website: www.getoptimind.com