Nootropics: Benefits And Review

Remember the film Limitless, which saw Bradley Cooper become an absolute superhuman after discovering a magical pill that allowed him to learn countless languages, beat the stock market and be an all-round badass?

If, like me, you left the cinema wishing there was a real-life, legal version of Bradley’s much-loved NZT-48 Limitless pill, you could be in luck.

One of the major wellness trends of 2023 is Nootropics – brain-boosting supplements known to enhance cognitive performance and improve brain health. They work to produce a wide range of benefits across memory, focus, motivation and verbal fluency, and have adaptogenic properties, which help your mind and body adapt to physical, mental and emotional stressors and find balance.

We’ve long been talking about gut health so now it’s time to turn our focus to our brain health. The gut is our second brain, so why are we not taking the same care with our actual brain? The brain is arguably the most complex organ in the human body and recognised as the body’s command centre, influencing every aspect of life and that’s exactly why people will be supplementing with nootropics.

Ever since watching Limitless, I’ve made it my life’s mission to dive deep into the world of nootropics and trial every supplement under the sun. If you’re curious, read on for an expert guide to these clever little pills, plus a tried-and-tested review of the best nootropics out there.

What are nootropics?

According to Kinga Jasiak, Product Developer at Mind Lab Pro: “In a nutshell, nootropics are a class of supplements aimed at optimising brain performance. The benefits of nootropics can vary depending on the substance, but some of the commonly reported effects include improved memory, enhanced focus, increased motivation, and better mood. Some nootropics might also support long-term brain health potentially slowing down brain ageing and cognitive decline.”

Why are nootropics rising in popularity?

The rise in popularity of nootropics can be attributed to people searching for ways to boost their cognitive abilities and support their mental wellbeing in an increasingly competitive and fast-paced world, believes Kinga. “Natural nootropics are especially in demand; derived from plants or foods, natural nootropics are often a much safer and cleaner option than synthetic cognitive enhancers.” 

How exactly do nootropics work?

The gut is lined with a network of millions of neurones that are connected directly to our brain through our nerves. This network, which is known as the enteric nervous system, is so extensive that many scientists refer to our gut as our “second brain”; it actually produces more serotonin (our happy hormone) than our actual brain.

“The chemical messages that pass between the gut and the brain are hugely affected by our gut microbiome – the bacteria, viruses and fungus that lives there – and the things that we consume can therefore positively, or adversely affect this, with implications on the way that we think, act and feel,” explains Dr Simoné Laubscher, leading nutritionist and formulator for WelleCo.