Wellness Blog

8 Important Ingredients In Nootropic Supplements

Posted by Dr. Paul Zickler

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February 14, 2017 at 10:17 AM

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Recall a time when working, studying, or competing when you were exceptionally productive and try to imitate that feeling. It’s hard right? Reproducing this feeling is the premise behind a group of supplements whose roots come from the Greek words nous meaning “mind” and trepin which means to “bend”.

The word “nootropics”, often used synonymously with brain supplements or smart drugs, is used to describe a mix of nutrients to enhance brain function. A nootropic stack refers to a combination of supplements that achieve a desired effect on mental functions like cognition or memory recall.

Essentially, nootropics are natural or synthetic compounds that are known to improve general cognitive abilities such as memory, attention, focus, alertness, and motivation. Different ingredients target areas of cognition that want to be improved, so it is important to know what is in your nootropics to make the most of your supplements. People who seek enhanced focus in short spurts will look for different ingredients than those who value a all day cognitive enhancer. In addition, some nootropics, like the contemporary formula of Bennett's Choice Brain Evolve, can help with speedy recovery from brain-related injuries like concussions.

It is important to note that every person’s body will react differently to any supplement, including nootropics. Nootropics are generally made with natural ingredients – usually extracts from herbs, roots, and flowers, making them relatively safe compared to using drugs. Here are some examples of natural ingredients used in nootropics.


L-alphaglycerylphosphorylcholine, or better known as Alpha-GPC is a chemical released from the breakdown of a fatty acid found in soy or other plants. Alpha-GPC is believed to increase a chemical in the brain called acetylcholine, which is important for the brain’s functions in memory and learning. In Europe, Alpha-GPC is used to treat Alzheimer’s disease and it is a common ingredient in supplements aiming to improve memory.

Recommendation: Prairie Naturals Neuroforce


L-glutamine is an important amino acid that is a precursor for the production of two neurotransmitters: glutamate and GABA. In addition, L-glutamine helps boost your body’s immune response, which helps the brain detox excess ammonia and handle stress better. It is a well-known supplement for weightlifters and athletes, as its best known functions are related to muscle recovery. However, the neurotransmitters that are affected by L-glutamine levels also help boost alertness, concentration, focus, memory, and mood.

Recommendation: Bennett's Choice Brain Evolve

Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)

As a nootropic, Vitamin B6 is a building block for the synthesis of neurotransmitters that help with brain functions, including dopamine, epinephrine, GABA, norepinephrine, and serotonin. This vitamin is involved in many enzyme reactions, so Vitamin B6 is visible across a spectrum of health-related concerns. A deficiency in B6 can lead to poor sleep, behavior, cardiovascular function, alertness, memory, and mood.

Recommendation: Natural Stacks Ciltep

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One of the oldest ingredients in the world that is used for health benefits, Ginkgo biloba was used to improve energy and treat a variety of conditions. Ginkgo biloba is made from the leaves of the Ginkgo Tree and has been used to treat headaches and combat memory disorders like Alzheimer’s disease. By increasing the blood flow and improving circulation in the brain, this ancient mixture has nootropic effects. In addition, Ginkgo biloba usually interacts well with other nootropic ingredients, so it is a common addition to many nootropic stacks.

Recommendation: Organika Super IQ


Derived from the Vinca Minor (periwinkle) plant, it has been suggested that Vinpocetine can help improve memory, focus, concentration, and learning, as well as provide help with age-related cognitive impairment. Although the links to memory formation are not well-researched, there is ample proof the Vinpocetine has positive effects on the brain, such as increasing cerebral blood flow. Vinpocetine has been a scientifically-proven treatment in Europe used for cognitive decline, stroke recovery, and epilepsy.

Vinpocetine and Ginkgo Bilboa have complementary interactions, as the combination of the two increases the potency and effectiveness of both ingredients. This “stack” boosts cognitive abilities, improves mood, and increases productivity.

Recommendation: Prairie Naturals Neuroforce



Phenyalanine is an essential amino acid, which means that our bodies cannot produce the amino acid and it must be consumed in other forms. Phenyalanine is found in many of the proteins that we eat or taken in supplement form. As an amino acid, it is used to make protein in the body and is a precursor for the production of dopamine to support mood and combat stress. As an ingredient in supplements, L-Phenyalanine is extremely safe, as it is consumed as a component of many other foods.

Recommendation: Natural Stacks Ciltep

Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)

Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is an omega-3 fatty acid that is critical for the health, structure, and function of your brain throughout your entire life. Normally found in the meat of cold-water fish like mackerel, herring, tuna, salmon, and cod liver, DHA works well with EPA (a common component of fish oil) to promote mental development. DHA helps improve your memory and has been used to prevent and treat a number of psychiatric disorders like depression.

Recommendation: Prairie Naturals Neuroforce

Alpha-lipoic Acid

Alpha-lipoic Acid is an antioxidant that is found in every cell in your body and helps turn glucose into energy. Antioxidants like alpha-lipoic acid help fight waste products that cause chemical reactions in the body, also called free radicals. Since alpha-lipoic acid can pass easily into the brain, it can help protect brain and nerve tissue, which is why it has been used as a potential treatment for dementia, memory loss, and chronic fatigue. In addition, alpha-lipoic acid is sold as a supplement to improve mental energy levels and promote enhanced cognitive performance.

Recommendation: Lorna Vanderhaeghe BrainSMART

Nootropics are still a relatively new field with plenty of research still to be performed. It is important to note that nootropics are generally safe because they are made from natural ingredients with little side effects. 


Topics: Nootropics, Mind Body Spirit

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