If you’d like to enhance your focus, boost attention span, slash anxiety, and improve your cognitive abilities, then nootropics may be the answer. In this unbiased and evidence-based article, you’ll learn exactly what nootropics are, and how to use them for optimal results. We’ll also share with you some possible side effects and when NOT to take them. So, keep reading!
Nootropics: What Are They and Why Should You Care?
A nootropic is a compound – either artificial or natural – that can enhance cognitive functioning. How it improves cognitive abilities depends on the nootropic, but common ways are increased focus, improved energy levels and memory, and decreased anxiety.
Usually, nootropics work by increasing or decreasing certain neurotransmitters (brain chemicals), modulating neuronal metabolism, improving blood flow to the brain, raising neurotrophic factors, or by influencing other cellular processes.
Now, there's one important thing to note: nootropics are NOT a magic pill that will instantly turn you into a genius, like in the movie Limitless. Instead, they can give you a small edge in unlocking peak mental performance, so that you can study better for your exams, boost your productivity at work, or feel more at ease during social gatherings.
Are Nootropics Safe?
Since nootropics are relatively new, most of them lack long-term research. That’s why the long-term effects of cognitive-enhancing drugs are mostly unknown, and why the safety of taking them long-term can’t be guaranteed.
This uncertainty is even greater among children and young adults because the brain doesn’t fully mature until around the age of twenty-five (1).
That’s why it’s always best to optimize brain functioning by focusing on getting enough sleep, maintaining a healthy diet, and following a proper exercise plan.
Research shows that nootropics may inadvertently cause adverse psychiatric effects. One study found that commonly used nootropics may cause the following side effects (2):
- Gastrointestinal discomfort
- Insomnia or restlessness
- Memory loss or impairment
- Motor function impairment
- Feeling hot
- Psychomotor agitation
The study outlined four different cases of individuals taking nootropics who experienced psychosis outbreaks. All cases involved subjects between the ages of 17-28.
The most commonly reported side effects were depression, psychosis, paranoia, self-injuring behavior, substance abuse, anxiety, and insomnia. Three of the four patients were admitted into the hospital.
Don’t take nootropics if you take medications for anxiety or depression. Also, consult your doctor if you have any questions about the possible negative effects of nootropics based on your medical history.
That said, nootropics are generally believed to be safe as long as you use them properly, and some of them even have protective or health-promoting qualities for your brain and body.
What to Look for When Buying Keto-Friendly Nootropics
As with every supplement, the quality among nootropic products varies tremendously. That’s why, to benefit from nootropics and support your health and well-being, it’s crucial that you select the right product. Here are four important factors to look for when buying nootropics.
- Proper active ingredient. Many manufacturers use cheap ingredients to raise their profits. But if you want to experience the maximum benefits, it’s crucial that the active ingredient is present in the right form.
- Adequate quantity. Once you’re sure that the product contains the active ingredient in the right form, check if it’s present in the right dosage. No matter how potent an ingredient is, if it’s not available in the right amount, it’s still ineffective. Additionally, consuming too much of an active ingredient could have dangerous effects.
- Certificate of Analysis (CoA). Choose a product that has a CoA, which means that it’s independently lab-tested to ensure quality, potency and that it doesn’t possess any potentially harmful compounds. A few popular third-party testing companies include US Pharmacopeia (USP Verified) and Consumer Lab.
- Junk-free. Many products are loaded with compounds that are not keto-friendly, such as yeast, soy, preservatives, fillers, added sugar, or artificial flavorings or colorings, and so forth. Choose a product that doesn’t contain these compounds.
The Best Nootropics for a Ketogenic Diet
Below, you’ll find six powerful, scientifically-proven nootropics. Simply go through the list to discover which compound best fits your needs. You’ll also find our unbiased, thoroughly-researched supplement recommendation for each compound, so that you don't have to analyze products yourself.
Important! A few of the supplements outlined below are sold in powdered form. To use those safely and effectively, you need a scale to measure dosage. Not using a scale could lead you to ingest a dangerous or even lethal amount unintentionally. So, please, invest in a digital scale like this one so that you can measure your dosage accurately!
Keto Nootropic by Perfect Keto
Our #1 Choice for Keto Diet
If you’re looking for a pre-made nootropic “stack,” then this product by Perfect Keto is an excellent choice, as it’s jam-packed with potent cognitive enhancers and designed specifically for keto diet.
These include phosphatidylserine, ginkgo biloba, alpha lipoic acid, l-theanine, cat's claw, DHA, and Alpha GPC.
It also contains the following: MCTs and exogenous ketones to fuel your brain and deepen ketosis; a wide range of vitamins and minerals to support optimal health and brain functioning; grass-fed collagen peptides for lasting fuel; and many more beneficial compounds.
You would expect a product with so many beneficial compounds to taste terrible. Fortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. This product has a delicious chocolate-milk-like flavor which means you actually look forward to your next serving.
Besides, it also mixes well with your favorite beverages, such as smoothies, coffee, nut milk, or just plain water.
Recommended product: Keto Nootropic by Perfect Keto
- Contains a broad spectrum of beneficial nootropic compounds
- Has MCTs and exogenous ketones to fuel your brain and deepen ketosis
- Delivers a wide range of vitamins and mineral to support optimal health and brain functioning
- Feeds your mind and body with grass-fed collagen peptides for long-lasting energy
- Reputable company
- Delicious chocolate-milk-like flavor
- Mixes perfectly into beverages
- Because it’s a pre-made stack, you can’t individually dose each ingredient based on your needs
How to use: As stated by Perfect Keto, “Begin with 1/2 serving to assess individual tolerance. Gradually increase to 1 full serving if needed. Take 1 serving in the morning for a full day of productivity or prior to any activities requiring high focus or mental output.”
Where to Buy:
Click here for best price!
The Genius Brand makes a self-described super nootropic awakening formula with ten ingredients. The formula is said to encourage elite-thinking and boost brain power.
It contains the following ingredients:
- Acetyl-L-Carnitine HCI
- Lion's Mane Powder
- Huperzia serrata
According to the product description, Genius Consciousness Awakening aids in neuron development and repair, protects against neuron degeneration, and increases BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) levels to amplify energy, focus, and mood without affecting heart rate or blood pressure.
This product comes in powder form. It features a watermelon flavor and is sweetened with stevia.
Recommended product: Genius Consciousness by The Genius Brand
- Doctor formulated
- Third-party tested
- Comes in powder form
- Supports neuronal health
- Does not dissolve well in some liquids
How to use: add one half scoop to 6-10 ounces of water and drink about 30 minutes before you need a mental boost.
Possible side effects: Acetyl-L-Carnitine HCI may cause upset stomach, vomiting, nausea, headache, insomnia, and restlessness. Do not take this product if you take the medications Acenocoumarol or Warfarin, have seizures or hypothyroidism, are pregnant, breastfeeding or on chemo. Do not take Astragalus if you take medications that affect the immune system (3). Do not take if you have a blood disorder, diabetes, or hypertension.
Organic Lions Mane
Organic Lions Mane contains 2,100 mg of lions mane per three-capsule serving. It also contains 10 mg of bioperine to help you absorb it.
This product features 100% pure lion’s mane from hand-picked mushrooms grown in the USA. It was made in an FDA-registered, GMP certified laboratory in the USA.
Beta-glucans are the active ingredient in lion’s mane. They have been shown to possess bioactive compounds that might protect against tumors, boost the immune system, and support bone health (6).
Recommended product: Organic Lions Mane by Dr. Emil Nutrition
- Contains bioperine for better absorption
- Contains 2,100 mg of lion’s mane per two-capsule serving
- Made from hand-picked, USA grown mushrooms
- Free from artificial preservatives and top 8 allergens
- Manufactured in the USA in a FDA registered facility
- Contains high amounts of beta-glucans, which is the active ingredient in lion’s mane
- One serving size is three capsules
How to use: take three capsules per day with 8 ounces of water.Possible side effects: Do not take if you are currently on anti-diabetic drugs. Lion’s mane may also interact with blood clotting and thinning drugs. Side effects may include stomach discomfort.
Ginkgo biloba is a popular brain booster that’s derived from the Ginkgo biloba tree.
Research shows that it can increase focus and memory, which it does primarily by enhancing the blood flow to your brain (7).
Ginkgo biloba is also found to reduce age-related cognitive decline (8).
Research shows that taking it before a taxing task helps you cope with the situation by reducing stress-related high blood pressure, decreasing levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and impairing anxious feelings (9).
Recommended product: BulkSupplements Pure Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract Powder.
- Clean and pure gingko biloba powder
- No fillers
- Lab tested for verification and guaranteed purity
- Reputable manufacturer
- The bags often don’t reseal perfectly
How to use: To enhance cognitive performance, take between 120 and 240 mg one to four hours before your task.
Possible side effects: skin reactions, headache, and excessive bleeding (when taken with certain medications)
Where to Buy:
Alpha GPC Choline
Alpha GPC Choline is marketed as a beginners nootropic for brain support, memory, focus, motivation and energy. It features pharmaceutical-grade L-alpha glycerylphosphorylcholine (Alpha GPC) made in the USA and nothing else.
Research shows that Alpha GPC may be useful for increasing lower body force after supplementing with it for six days (10). This makes it an ideal supplement for athletes.However, one study found that supplementing with Alpha GPC (or caffeine) had no impact on mood, psychology performance, or cognitive function (11).
Recommended product: Alpha GPC by Double Wood Supplements
- Made in the USA
- May help improve athletic performance
- Pharmaceutical grade
- Tested for heavy metals and microbes in the USA
- Lacks scientific research to back its brain-boosting claims
How to use: take 2 capsules with food and do not exceed more than 8 capsules per day.
Possible side effects: Upset stomach, nausea, headaches, nervousness, diarrhea, fatigue, and GI problems.
Ashwagandha (Reduced Anxiety)
Ashwagandha is an Indian herb that’s been used in Ayurvedic medicine for over 3,000 years. It is a potent anxiolytic, which means that it can reduce anxiety levels.
So, if anxiety regularly overwhelms you, or you have an event coming up during where you need to be calmer, supplementing with ashwagandha can offer the solution.
The primary way in which ashwagandha decreases anxiety is by enhancing GABA signaling in your brain. This makes you feel more relaxed (12).
Besides, ashwagandha is also potent at lowering levels of the “stress hormone” cortisol, which reduces the adverse effects stress has on your body (13).
Recommended product: Organic Ashwagandha capsules by NaturalLife Labs
- Made with 100% pure organic ashwagandha root extract and powder (root)
- Has organic black pepper extract to enhance absorption
- Does not contain fillers, dioxides, magnesium stearate, preservatives, soy, gluten, sugar, yeast, starch, or any other unnecessary compounds
- Manufactured in an FDA-registered facility in accordance with Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP)
- Third-party lab-tested to ensure quality, potency and that it doesn’t contain any harmful compounds
- Certified Organic and made in the U.S.
- The manufacturer backs you with a 100% satisfaction or your money back guarantee
- Not the cheapest option
How to use: Take one or two pills of the organic ashwagandha by NaturalLife Labs daily. If taken only once a day, consume it with your first meal of the day.
Possible side effects: check with your doctor before taking if you have heart problems, high blood pressure, thyroid problems, or blood sugar problems. May cause sleepiness.
This product is not recommended for those who are at high risk for infection, are on chemo, or who have an autoimmune disease. Do not take if you have ulcers or stomach problems. May interfere with lab tests and the drug Lanoxin.
Huperzine-A is a nootropic made by Double Wood Supplements. It is said to promote optimal cognitive function.
It contains huperzine-A, which acts as an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor to promote acetylcholine levels in the brain (14).
According to one study, Huperzine-A could improve daily living activity, cognitive function, and global clinical assessment in certain patients (15).
Further research shows that Huperzine-A may cross the blood-brain barrier where it has protective effects against oxidative stress to improve cognitive function (16).
Recommended product: Huperzine-A by Double Woods
- Made in the USA
- Third-party tested
- May increase focus and attention
- Contains huperzine-A and nothing else
- Gluten-free and non-GMO
- Contains several preservatives in the capsule
How to use: take one pill in the morning with or without food for three weeks. Then take one week off before starting a new cycle.Possible side effects: Huperzine-A may interact with many medications, including antidepressants and medication for Alzheimer’s disease. Consult your doctor before taking this product if you are currently taking ANY medication.
Other side effects may include nausea, vomiting, headache, slowed heart rate, restlessness, blurred vision, loss of appetite, sweating, high blood pressure, slurred speech, muscle fiber twitching and contractions, and more
The Bottom Line on Nootropics
A nootropic is a compound – either artificial or natural – that can enhance cognitive functioning. While they can’t turn you into an instant genius, they can give you an edge when it comes to reaching peak performance, whether that’s by boosting your productivity on work, helping you remember your school work better, decreasing your feelings of anxiety during social gatherings, or another of the many benefits linked to using them.
So, if you’re ready to boost your cognitive functioning and take your performance to the next level, then here’s your next step.
Here’s What to Do Next...
Every nootropic outlined in this article is potent when it comes to boosting your cognitive abilities. While the one that is best for you depends on your personal needs and situation, when it comes to the average reader, we highly recommend the Keto Nootropic by Perfect Keto.
Why? Because Keto Nootropic is a product explicitly designed for ketogenic dieters, and it includes everything you need to ensure peak mental performance. This includes MCTs, exogenous ketones, a broad spectrum of nootropic compounds, vitamins and minerals, and grass-fed collagen peptides. It’s also delicious, and it mixes perfectly into your favorite beverages.
If you’re ready to explore the benefits of nootropics and boost your cognitive abilities, then give Keto Nootropic a try today. You’ll be glad you did!