Beginners Guide to Nootropics


Nootropics is an umbrella term for a class of chemicals — some naturally-occurring, some manmade — that give cognitive benefits to the human brain.  There’s so many gimmicks out there on the market lately that boast the term “nootropic” but are they really? Dr. Corneliu E. Giurgea, the man who coined the term “nootropic” set out a criteria that a substance needs to meet in order to be called a nootropic. 

The substance must…

  1. Enhance memory and ability to learn.

  2. Help the brain function under disruptive conditions, such as hypoxia (low oxygen) and electroconvulsive shock.

  3. Protect the brain from chemical and physical assaults, such as anti-cholinergic drugs and barbiturates.

  4. Increase the efficacy of neuronal firing control mechanisms in cortical and sub-cortical regions of the brain.

  5. Possess few or no side effects and be virtually non-toxic.

In common online usage, the term ‘nootropic’ is applied to any substance that can provide safe cognitive benefits to users, where ‘benefits’ has a very broad range of meaning.

For example, phenibut is often used as a socialising and extroversion booster, whilst tianeptine is often used for its mood-brightening and anti-stress effects.

In general, a substance can be called a nootropic if it grants the user more control over their neurochemistry and the resulting behavioural and experiential outcomes.


At Neuro Athletics we want every athlete performing at their peak and as we become more educated in the area of brain health research can now show how supplementing with nootropics can be beneficial for a person especially someone who is training competitively. 

People want control over their mental states, their moods and their cognitive abilities. Smart drugs, or ‘nootropics’ help with that! They are used for a wide range of function benefits such as; 

  1. Focus 

  2. Attention

  3. Productivity 

  4. Social anxiety 

  5. Brain health 


Combing your nootropics is a great way to get the most out of your cognitive enhancement supplements. Stacking refers to taking two or more nootropics at the same time. Why would someone do this? 

Put simply, nootropics can be compounding, which means their effects are stronger combined than when taken separately. 


  • Caffeine and L-Theanine: Caffeine is a well-known stimulant and wakefulness agent, but it also has the tendency to cause jitters and anxiety. In contrast, L-Theanine is an anxiolytic that can help reduce jitteriness while not affecting the positive effects of Caffeine. This is one of the most well-known and effective stacks.

  • The ‘racetams and Choline: Aniracetam, Piracetam, Phenylpiracetam and Noopept (which is similar to the racetams) sometimes cause headaches. It is generally believed that this is due to the depletion of the brain’s natural supply of choline, which is used in the process of creating the nootropic effects. 

  • Tianeptine and Adrafinil: Tianeptine is an effective mood booster but can sometimes make users drowsy. Adrafnil, on the other hand, is a wakefulness agent which can be employed as a counter-measure.

This should clear up any questions you have. In the following articles we will start to release which nootropic work well for what challenge you are currently facing. 

This will include a manual on where and how to start taking nootropics based on what you want to enhance.