First of all, I must state: *One must follow the advice of their doctor in terms of using nootropics. No means no.*

What are they?

The term was first coined almost 50 years ago, in 1972, when clinical trials concluded that piracetam increased memory. A nootropic is a chemical that beneficially enhances cognition. According to Oxford Dictionaries, cognition is:

“The mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses.”

Why consider nootropics?

I include this section because mental illness symptoms and mental illness medications can harm one’s executive thinking, their cognition. If one wants to attend college, this can become a major issue.

Some people think nootropics add intelligence, others that they harness already existing thinking power, and of course some don’t think they do very much of anything. It’s difficult to levy an opinion on this, as they compose such a very diverse class of chemicals.


Nootropics bring up ethical and philosophical dilemmas.

  • Assuming everything else works out, how do we decide which substances are actually nootropics?
    • The majority of medical doctors?
    • By nation-wide vote?
    • Those with the highest IQ?
  • Is it okay to let people take drug(s) to think better?
    • Is it different from athletes taking steroids?
  • Should everyone have equal access to possible nootropics?
    • If so, how would it work?
  • Some might help for a short period of time, and then cause organ damage.
  • Similarly, there are highly addictive drugs that may improve thinking.


In the end, there is no substance that undeniably, according to everyone’s opinion, is a nootropic. There are many different, overlapping classes of nootropics. This isn’t just based on what studies you think are best. In fact, it’s more so based on personal experience.

Just the same as Prozac doesn’t cure everyone’s depression, and can worsen it, the same goes for substances and cognition.

My point is that simply because one doesn’t work out, that by no means indicates that none will.

But, why? It’s very simple. Analogously to Affirmative Action, I believe that those with mental illness should be given a handicap with respect to being successful in society. If your doctor doesn’t want you using any given substance known as a nootropic, one must abide by that direction. If one doesn’t want to otherwise partake, that’s perfectly okay with me. I’m simply here to lay down the facts.

The good thing: known as mostly harmless, caffeine can improve thinking. Black and green tea can improve thinking, too.

*Beware: you must be very, very careful when considering increasing cognition through chemicals. Just the same as with the supplement entries, I do not assume responsibility for the negative effects of taking any of the chemicals described herein.*

The following section consists of relevant studies picked out on many chemicals that are so-called nootropics.

Nootropics: What the Studies Say