A Guide to The 7 Types of Nootropics Supplements 2017-04-28T12:31:26+00:00

Nootropic Types

Guide to The 7 Types of NootropicsNootropics fall under different categories. There are over 100 different brain supplements that target certain neurotransmitters and potentially benefit different cognitive functions.

The majority of Nootropics fall under the natural category. Their functions are to improve and/or enhance short-term cognitive functions and to potentially protect the brain from long term risk.

Nootropics can either be synthetic or natural supplements. Most Nootropics are made from either minerals, herbs, vitamins or plant extracts (Natural Nootropics) or drugs that are made in a lab
(Synthetic Nootropics).

They all may offer different and unique benefits as well as potential side effects. Their benefits and side effects are listed under each supplement on Smartnoot.com.

Some of these supplements have been around for decades including Piracetam, which was the first Nootropic ever created over 50 years ago and some have just come out within the last few years.

Some of the elements of these supplements have been used in Ancient Chinese and Indian medicine for centuries to cure cognitive diseases.

Today, they are still being used to potentially enhance overall cognitive functions. In some cases, they are even said to be used to aid in the treatment of degenerative cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s.


Racetams are synthetic and the most commonly used group of Nootropics. They include PiracetamAniracetamPramiracetam, Oxiracetam, Phenylpiracetam, Coluracetam and Noopept (also falls under peptides).

Racetams stimulate a brain receptor called Acetylcholine, which is associated with improving memory, motivation, learning, focus and other cognitive functions. They all have structural differences so they all don’t do the same thing.

They may extend into the Ampakine category due to potentially stimulating Glutamate receptors but the benefits of this role is not completely clear.

Choline & Acetylcholine Intermediates

There are many types of choline and acetylcholine intermediates. Their desired function is to produce Acetylcholine in the brain in order to enhance certain cognitive functions including memory and clarity.

Some Choline supplements are more effective than others and may differ in their ability to convert into acetylcholine efficiently.

These Acetylcholine intermediates including CDP choline (Citicoline), Alpha GPC and Centrophenoxine which are known to be the most effective and are the highest quality choline Nootropic supplements.

High quality choline supplements are less likely to cause any side effects when taken in proper dosages, compared to other less expensive choline alternatives including choline bitartrate (choline salt) which may cause headaches and be less effective in efficiently converting acetylcholine needed for optimum Nootropic results.

Cholines are commonly used in Nootropic stacks with Racetams for better effects on acetylcholine release.

Natural Nootropics

These are made from herbs, minerals, vitamins and plant based substances that improve brain health and various cognitive abilities.

Many people who prefer to take natural herbal supplements, as opposed to synthetics, will have some great options to produce the desired cognitive results.

It’s good to note here that almost all Nootropics fall under this category. They tend to be very safe but are less effective than their synthetic cousins. They can be stacked with other Nootropics to enhance their effects.

Most popular and powerful natural Nootropics are Bacopa Monnieri, Vinpocetine, Ginkgo Baloba and Huperzine-A.

Vitamin B Derivatives

Although this category is limited, there are a few Nootropics that are derived from class B vitamins.

Sulbutiamine, which is a derivative of vitamin B1 and is used to improve mental energy, alertness and memory functions by increasing the association to choline, glutamate and dopamine.


This type seems to be of great interest in Russia where all peptides on the market were created. The most popular and effective peptide is Noopept which is derived from Racetams.

This is a strong peptide, you can take orally, in small doses to achieve considerable results. Noopept, stimulates receptors that release glutamate and acetylcholine making it similar to ampakines and racetams.

Noopept promotes improvement in energy, alertness, memory, motivation and learning capacities.


These supplements increase the level of glutamate in the blood. The name Ampakines comes from glutamatergic AMPA receptors that they interact with.

AMPA receptors cause fast excitation in the synapses when stimulated and Glutamate is a chemical that nerve cells use to send signals to other cells that plays a role in memory and learning.

However, unlike other stimulants including caffeine and Ritalin, they don’t seem to have the same side effects that are generally common such as anxiety and sleeplessness.

Popular Ampakine Nootropics are sunifiram and unifiram but the side effects on long-term use and their safety have not been determined.

Aniracetam and Piracetam are technically part of the racetam group but are considered weak Ampakines and therefore might be a better option to consider to stimulate this receptor.

Smart Drugs 

Smart drugs are often referred to as Nootropics but they are actually stimulants and are prescribed by a physician.

There are a few that fringe on being a Nootropic because they provide similar results. Modafinil, a prescriptive drug, also known as “Moda”, is used to treat extreme fatigue and boost energy levels.

It is associated to the hypocretin neurotransmitter that promotes alertness and motivation. Modafinil is often replaced by Adrafinil as a substitute because once adrafinil metabolizes, it turns in to Modafinil in the body.

Adrafinil is not recommended for people with heart conditions or taking other medications so it is advised to read the information first and check with your doctor before taking it.

There can be side effects using smart drugs, be aware of the risks before taking them and consult a physician about any questions you may have.

Stacking Nootropics

Stacking Nootropics, means using more than one Nootropic together to either enhance or supplement the effects. This is done because each Nootropic has it’s own unique effect and can’t provide all cognitive benefits in one supplement.

Although Nootropics may not generate negative effects, it is important to know what you’re ingesting and how they interact with each other.

On each supplement page, you will find some of the consumers suggestions to stack. Stacking Nootropics provides improvement of your overall cognitive and brain health by optimizing the effects of each supplement.