Nootropic: n, adj: a dietary supplement that helps support certain brain functions, such as memory, mental speed, and focus.
In a world of hyperactivity, distraction, energy depletion and mental fog, who couldn’t benefit from additional mental support and enhanced cognitive abilities?
In the past few years, it’s likely you’ve heard about nootropics. Or, if you haven’t heard the word specifically, there’s no denying there is no shortage of people seeking ways to enhance and increase their brain power.
Between college students pulling all-nighters to dedicated entrepreneurs expanding their business’ outreach and growth, seemingly everyone is perpetually on the hunt for the next best cognitive advantage.
What Are They
Nootropics comprise of supplements that enhance your cognitive abilities, especially when it comes to creativity, concentration, brainwave optimization, memory, motivation and nerve support.
Nowadays, nootropics are beginning to take center stage when it comes to maximizing our productivity, our ability to focus, and our memory. Understandably so, as we find ourselves in an ever-increasingly hyper-digitalized, distracted technologically age.
One could argue that our physical and mental well-being are some of the most essential ingredients for living an optimal life. Thus, nootropics as a whole are worthy of exploring and trying, no matter who you are and what your needs may be.
According to Dr. Corneliu Giurgea, who is credited with creating the first nootropic – piracetam – and for coining the term “nootropic,” it must abide by the following requirements:
- The substance enhances memory and the ability to learn.
- The substance helps the brain under disruptive conditions, like hypoxia and electroconvulsive shock.
- The substance protects the brain from chemical and physical assaults
- The substance increased the efficacy of neuronal firing control mechanism
- The substance possesses few or no side effects and is virtually non-toxic
While we could delve into the dozens of different types of nootropics and their benefits, for the sake of this article we will stick to different types of natural nootropics, and the most common and affordable synthetic ones you can find in the market today.
How to Save Money on Nootropics
Now, let’s get to the juicy part that we’ve all been waiting for: how to save money in the pursuit of cognitive enhancement. Because, let’s face it – despite their significant and indisputable benefits, purchasing a variety of nootropics can easily tax the wallet.
Therefore, at Frugal for Less, we have gathered some easy solutions for you.
1. Discount Codes
Regardless of the specific type of nootropics you’re seeking, or even which company you’re purchasing from, we are certain if you search for a discount or coupon code, especially for your first purchase, you are pretty much guaranteed to find one.
If there is even a “discount code” part of the checkout, as a truly frugal person, do not hesitate to take a quick search to find the code. These discounts can vary anywhere from free shipping, to 10% – 40% off your purchase, like this nootropic here.
Sometimes you’ll even find coupons on Amazon for specific nootropic supplements. Also, some companies like this one even let you try their product for free for 14 days, so you don’t have to make any investment before you decide it’s right for you.
When you are in no rush to purchase a specific type of nootropics, then one of your better options is to sign up for a company’s newsletter. Most often, these newsletters will hold coupon codes that you couldn’t otherwise find online.
Furthermore, when you are subscribed to the company’s newsletter, you are pretty much guaranteed to receive promotional material sent to your email, anywhere from once a month to once a week.
3. Bulk Deals
Another fool-proof way to maximize your saving in your nootropics journey is to simply buy in bulk. Just like eating healthy or working out, doing so once or even just sparingly will not have a great impact on your overall health.
The same holds true for nootropics: to optimize their benefits, we recommend using them regularly. Therefore, purchasing in bulk will be your best route to take.
Most nootropics sites these days have a bulk purchasing option or a subscription option already in place. These are either options such as “Subscribe and Save 15%” or “Buy 3 Get 1 Free” types of deals.
Either way, ask yourself what makes the most sense for you and your current budget and goals. Also, don’t forget to add those additional coupons and discount codes, even with your larger purchases. There’s no reason you can’t get creative with how much you maximize your savings.
Stacking is essentially just combining different types of nootropics for a greater, more optimal effect. Stacking is especially effective for less intense nootropics, especially natural kinds, so you can still get similar effects to the more expensive synthetic options.
We’ve got three of our favorite stacking options here that you can easily do once you get a hold of each of these ingredients. We recommend ordering in bulk, as this will clearly reduce your overall cost.
Stack 1: L-Theanine and Caffeine
This stack is one of the most readily accessible stacks to any of us. We need no pointers on where to find caffeine, and you can purchase L-theanine on Amazon for a two-month supply.
Stack 2: Algae + Another Nootropic
Any type of algae or fish oil contains Omega 3 fatty acids. These fatty acids play a huge role in supporting brain enhancement.
On their own, they aren’t considered a nootropic, so when you pair algae or fish oil with one of your favorite nootropics, you are going to get all the cognitive enhancement and brain support in one go.
Tremendous algae sources include spirulina and chlorella. You can find capsule or powder forms of each or combinations of the two on Amazon.
Stack 3: Lion’s Mane + Caffeine + Ashwagandha
Once again, we’re bringing mushrooms back into the conversation. Because you cannot discuss cognitive enhancement without discussing the power of mushrooms as well.
Lion’s Mane is a particularly special mushroom because it helps to build new brain cells. Ashwagandha is an adaptogen that aids in calming the body and protects it from the negative effects of stress. This is crucial to protect your central nervous system to prevent adrenal burnout.
We highly recommend Four Sigmatic’s Mushroom Coffee Mix. It contains the caffeine and the necessary dosage of Lion’s Mane. You can get a 10 count box on Amazon.
You can also get 90 capsules of Ashwagandha on Amazon.
5. Take the truly natural route
Now, there are a few truly natural nootropic options out there that we simply have no excuse not to try and regularly utilize. Why? Because they are free.
The best free natural options out there are:
There is an overwhelming amount of research and scientific evidence backing the positive impacts of a regular meditation practice. Research tells us that a consistent meditation practice increases the function and the volume of our hippocampus – the part of our brain responsible for our memory.
Get your endorphins kicking
No one can deny the power of a getting our endorphins flowing. The brain loves oxygen, so when we get our blood pumping, it allows oxygen to flow throughout the body and brain. Plus, endorphins feel good.
Just like our other natural options, Intermittent Fasting is something all of us can access – with a proper dose of discipline and willpower. Intermittent Fasting is simply the act of refraining from consuming any form of calories for a specific time period.
The most common types are 16-8: 16 hours of fasting, 8 hours of feeding. More intense examples would be 20:4, whereas the more relaxed version is 12:12.
Regardless of the window you choose, the act of refraining from food for a specific time period allows metabolic energy to be allocated to functions of the brain – such as thinking and processing information – over our gastrointestinal tract, where the same energy would be used for digestion and absorption.
Some of the cognitive benefits include improved memory, clearer thinking, increased stress resistance, energized mental output and optimized mood balance.
How Do They Work
To understand how nootropics work, we need to start with a basic understanding of the brain and how it functions.
In order for your brain to work most optimally, it needs the right level of neurotransmitters – the chemicals which allow the transmission of signals from one neuron to the next across synapses – in place at the right time.
Usually, our brains are not operating at their highest capacity (much like the rest of our physical bodies and what we are designed to do). This is where nootropics come into play.
Nootropics vary in how they affect the brain and how it functions, which is why people often “stack” – essentially, combine different types of nootropics – for optimum advantage. Furthermore, your overall state of health and well-being plays in role in how strongly you notice certain nootropics over others.
Let’s take the analogy of superfoods. If you never exercise, primarily eat fast food and sit for most of your day, eating a green superfood meal or smoothie will drastically alter your state in that moment.
However, the superfoods do not replace the need for all other habits required for a healthy life. Now, compared to someone who already eats very clean, regularly exercises and spends their time in motion and outside, this very same nootropic may affect the two individuals quite differently.
This is why reading reviews on nootropics can be incredibly misleading because one person will claim the substance changed their life and the next is certain it’s a placebo.
Regardless of where you stand on the health + wellness spectrum, it is safe to say we could all benefit from cognitive enhancement and additional mental support, which is why proper research and experimentation is necessary to achieve your desired results.
Types of Nootropics
Not all nootropics need to come in capsule form. There are more natural nootropics out there than most would even realize. A few of the most common include:
L-Theanine is an amino acid most often found in black and green tea. L-Theanine has been found to reduce anxiety, improve concentration, and even protect the brain against neurodegeneration.
Mushrooms have become increasingly popular lately, especially with the rise of companies such as Four Sigmatic whose mission is to spread the magical health benefits of mushrooms to the masses – especially in a world where the word “mushroom” only brings to mind portabellas or psychedelics.
Lion’s Mane has been shown to improve cognitive function, even for those suffering cognitive impairment. This mushroom has the ability to regenerate and protect brain tissue, as well as aid those struggling with anxiety and depression.
Yes, you read that correctly! Caffeine is one of the oldest and most widely used natural nootropics out there. Caffeine is a natural central nervous system stimulant, meaning it improves alertness and concentration. Studies have also found it assists in your reaction time and brain speed.
So, coffee addicts, you are in luck! Keep drinking – your brain will thank you.
Huperzine A is an alkaloid extracted from a Chinese club moss plant called Huperzia serrata. Research shows Huperzine A acts as an inhibitor of the enzyme acetylcholine esterase, which increases acetylcholine levels. Studies also find it helps with cognitive symptoms from depression and Alzheimer’s, and it works to protect the brain from harm while enhancing cognitive abilities.
The Omega-3 fatty acids, like DHA and EPA, are truly essential for a healthy operating brain. We are lucky Omega-3’s are naturally occurring in several foods, including walnuts, chia seeds, and certain fish.
Ginkgo Biloba is a tree native to China that has been grown and utilized for thousands of years. We primarily focus on the extract, which comes from the leaves.
Ginkgo holds several benefits: improves brain function and well-being, reduces anxiety, can elevate headaches and migraines, and improves circulation and heart health.
Synthetic nootropics cover the entire remaining types of nootropics. Some would argue that synthetic nootropics provide a more noticeable immediate impact, which are the effects some are looking for over the long-term health benefits.
There are simply too many types of synthetic nootropics to cover, however, the most common include: Modafinil, Methylphenidate, Vinpocetine, and Racetams.
For the sake of this specific article, we won’t delve too much into the specifics of these synthetic options, however, we fully support their moderated use. Coming from the highest rated and best quality sources, of course.
Now you know why we support the consumption of anything that will only enhance the quality of your life, increase your well-being, sharpen your focus and heighten your cognitive abilities. All you have to do now is try some out for yourself!
However, it’s important to note – you can’t “supplement your way out” of an unhealthy lifestyle. Nootropics are promising options to enhance the quality of your life, yet they will not replace fundamental necessary habits to build and sustain a healthy lifestyle.
Whether you opt for more of the natural route, you decide to create your own natural stacks, or you choose to go with the best synthetic options out there, we guarantee it will be a wise addition to your daily routine and daily supplement intake.
All we recommend is doing the necessary research to ensure your nootropics are coming from credible sources and use the highest quality and purest ingredients out there. The quality will be reflected in the impact you feel.
And as we believe whole-heartedly at Frugal for Less, you never need to spend 100%. It’s time we hack the system and become the highest performing versions of ourselves, at a fraction of the cost. So, what are you waiting for?