A quick google search of nootropics will yield hundreds of results, presenting you with everything from caffeine and herbal supplements to complicated compounds that you can’t pronounce.
There tends to be a bit of confusion about whether natural nootropics are as effective as man-made nootropics and whether man-made nootropics are as safe as natural.
In this article, we’ll discuss the difference between natural and man-made nootropics, the benefits of each, and whether one is superior to the other.
What’s The Difference Between Natural Vs. Man-Made Nootropics?
Nootropic is a broad term that can be defined as a drug, supplement, or other substance that improves cognitive health. Nootropics may enhance a range of neurological activities such as memory, concentration, motivation, and attention. Some nootropics can be found in nature, in plants and foods, while others may be scientifically developed in a lab.
Natural nootropics may come in the form of whole plants, extracts of plants (specific compounds), or nutrients in foods. Some examples of natural nootropics include:
- MCTs (medium-chain triglycerides)
- Panax ginseng
- Ginkgo biloba
- Lion’s mane mushroom
Synthetic nootropics are formulated in a lab and are more highly regulated than natural nootropics. In general, synthetic nootropics tend to aim at specific cognitive-enhancing benefits such as focus, memory, and attention. Synthetic nootropics also require extensive trials to prove both their safety and efficacy.
Some examples of synthetic nootropics include:
- Sucrisomial Zinc®
Benefits Of Natural Nootropics
The primary benefit of using natural nootropics, such as herbs and foods, is that these supplements come packed with an abundance of nutrients. Aside from their cognitive-enhancing compounds, foods and herbs also contain vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients which can support overall health.
Natural nootropics may come in the form of pills, capsules, powders, or even whole foods or plants. Physiologically, there is less of a risk of side effects with natural nootropics as these sources of nutrition have evolved along with humanity and have been used for thousands of years. In general, natural nootropics tend to work synergistically with your body.
Furthermore, many of the nootropics found in the natural world have a history of use for enhancing the health of the nervous system in general. These plant and food compounds may be considered adaptogens, which support the resilience of your nervous system. Adaptogenic herbs work by helping your body adapt to stress in the way that your body needs.
For instance, some people may feel fatigued and depleted due to the stressors in their lives. In This case, adaptogens will help to enhance energy and performance. On the other hand, some people may find that they are too wired and hyped up from all the stress in their lives; in this case, adaptogens will help to calm the nervous system down.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3991026/
Natural nootropics, such as ginkgo Biloba, have been studied for their impact on neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Research suggests that some natural nootropics may impact the dopaminergic and cholinergic systems involved in the progression of these diseases.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27656235/
Benefits Of Man-Made Nootropics
The primary benefit of man-made nootropics is that they tend to have a stronger and more targeted effect than natural nootropics. Due to the rigorous testing that man-made nootropics require, these supplements or drugs tend to be tailor-made to act in a specific way that enhances cognition more accurately than natural options.
Man-made nootropics may also cross the blood-brain barrier more efficiently, as they can be designed for optimal bioavailability.
Which Is Better, Man-Made Or Natural Nootropics?
Both natural and man-made nootropics offer unique benefits, which makes it difficult to choose which one is best. While natural nootropics may provide more broad-range benefits to your brain and body, man-made nootropics tend to be more effective and targeted for specific cognitive needs.
This is where the concept of “nootropic stacks” comes in. A nootropic stack is a formula consisting of several different nootropic compounds that work together to enhance cognitive performance. Your stack may include a variety of ingredients, some natural and some man-made. By using a formula, as opposed to a single compound, you’re able to leverage a range of benefits without pigeonholing yourself and only focusing on one area of cognitive health.
With a vast array of physiological activity, some nootropics may enhance your memory, while others work on attention and focus, and still, others enhance motivation and creativity. This can make it somewhat challenging to decide which nootropic is right for you. Most people go the trial and error route, testing a range of supplements and drugs until they find the perfect fit.
While this method can work, a faster route would be to take a quiz that determines your specific cognitive needs at this time. If you’re interested in exploring which nootropics may be the right fit for you, start with a quiz to find your unique nootropic formula.
Are synthetic nootropics safe?
Synthetic nootropics are made in a lab, and they may come with side effects depending on your unique makeup. Therefore, you should consult with your doctor if you have had any neurological or mental health issues before starting on nootropics.
With that being said, many nootropic companies follow specific guidelines to try to ensure the highest quality and safety of their supplements and drugs. When in doubt, check with the manufacturer of the nootropic you’re taking for safety information.
Do natural nootropics work?
Natural nootropics such as ginkgo Biloba, bacopa, ashwagandha, caffeine, and lions mane have been studied for their efficacy in a range of cognitive conditions. These supplements offer a broad range of benefits while also providing nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals.
Can you combine nootropics?
It is often recommended to use a combination of nootropics for optimal benefits as each nootropic compound, or drug will enhance cognitive health in unique ways. Combining nootropics (also called nootropic stacking) can provide synergistic benefits that enhance several areas of neurological function.
What is the most effective nootropic?
Most people find that combining ingredients into a nootropic stack is the most effective way to use nootropics. This allows you to choose the ingredients that are right for you and leverage a range of benefits that you may not be able to find in a single ingredient.
What makes a nootropic natural vs. synthetic?
Natural nootropics come from either herbs or food and include ingredients such as MCTs, caffeine, or herbs such as ashwagandha and ginkgo biloba. Synthetic nootropics are made in a lab and are specifically designed to enhance areas of cognitive performance