Brain Smart Pill

Smart Pill vs. Natural Mix Nootropic


There is a lot of resources online on nootropics, product reviews, or even reviews written about a certain group. What caught my eye is that there isn’t a topic that covers most of them that are available on the market. They are best separated into two main groups based on their origin, the smart pill group or synthetic nootropics and natural nootropics.

So, in this post, I am going to talk about nootropics in general and then try to classify them in groups and write usage recommendations.

  • What are nootropics?

Which substance can be referred to as a nootropic? – The same substances that improve cognitive function, creativity, motivation, suppress anxiety and depression symptoms, improve learning capabilities, memory etc.

It is possible to classify them into two main groups, natural herb extracts, and synthetic drugs. If you don’t prefer using smart drugs from a synthetic origin, you can go ahead and pick one of the natural blends that are most suitable for you.

You can use my list of Top Nootropics of 2017 for non-synthetic product reviews.

However, some people prefer something stronger than a natural extract. This is when the smart pill comes into play, there are actually many of them – each targeting different areas of the brain.

There is constant research in this area to date and probably will remain this way in the future. You can determine this just by judging from the fact that there is an enormous amount of demand. I don’t like putting numbers on things, but just in 2015, there were over a billion dollars spent on nootropics.

The interesting fact is that the demand is still growing since people want to become a better version of themselves.

Benefits in General

  • Who can benefit from a smart pill? 

In theory, anyone who puts a lot of effort into work with his mind can benefit from a substance like this. Here are a few categories of people’s current status or profession that can use them for their benefits:

  • Students
  • Businessman
  • Entrepreneurs

The list goes on. Anyone who stresses their mind with pieces of information daily can spot improvements while on brain enhancers.

The Classification (Smart Pill vs. Natural Nootropic)

Smart pills are actual drugs that went through heavy research and trials on animals and humans. Some of these substances have similar origins as recreational drugs.

  • What are recreational drugs?

Drugs like Amphetamine, Ketamine, and many others are used at parties just for pure enjoyment. Some of them result in high manic episodes, giving a sense of uplift – a source of energy.

People that enjoy these kinds of substances also report that it is possible to lose track of time, orientation, sense sharper and brighter colors.

But the main reason they are used as recreational drugs is for the effects that they have on your brain.

  • How are some recreational drugs connected to nootropics?

A very interesting fact is that Adderall, dextroamphetamine and some others are synthesized from Amphetamine itself.

Amphetamine has benefits in the range of cognitive abilities, inhibitory control, attention, and working memory.

All of the terms listed above are symptoms of ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

They tested low dosages of amphetamine on patients back in trials in 2014. These turned out to be true that this substance leads also to better memory recall even in the healthy youth without ADHD.

Natural Nootropics – Herbal Extracts

If you are not a fan of the above-synthesized substances you can pick something lighter for your own category.

Have in mind that natural nootropics will give you a buzz, without a doubt – some stronger some less strong. But if you need even a bigger buzz than that, you need to search for your answer somewhere among the smart pills.

Today’s mixes manufactured by many companies are extracts from very old herbs. This is just delivering the ancient powerful plants in a more civilized way using a coated capsule.

Some of the most common ingredients include

  • Bacopa Monnieri
  • St. John’s Wort
  • Huperzine-A
  • Vinpocetine
  • Gingko Biloba
  • L-Glutamine

And some vitamins such as B6, B12, B1, C etc.

Natural Nootropic Ingredients Overview

St. John’s Wort – multiple studies support this plant as treating depression due to the ingredients it contains but still, there is not a certain conclusion about replacing current studied treatments. The trials conducted in 2015 confirmed that this herb has significantly better results than a placebo pill. St John’s Wort works by supporting inhibition of reuptake of some neurotransmitters.

The important thing to note is that this is as effective as standard antidepressants and has fewer side effects.

Bacopa Monnieri

This plant with more than a few names can be natively found in Asia, South and North America. The trials that were conducted so far on animals show promising results in memory recall.



Naturally, Huperzine-A exists in a plant by the name Huperzia Serrata, it was being researched as a promising treatment for neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s Disease which is caused by neurodegeneration.

Further analysis of the data in 2013 concluded that there wasn’t enough quality data from trials. They discouraged it for further use as a treatment for Alzheimer’s Disease.

Today you can find it in some natural nootropic mixes since it comes as a dietary supplement. People use it as a nootropic separately, I doubt it has a significant effect as a standalone supplement though.


Vinpocetine is used as a treatment drug for cerebrovascular disorders and age-related memory impairment. It acts as a neuroprotectant and increases brain blood-flow.

The fact that it increases the blood-flow makes it a good nootropic substance. Unfortunately, it is not approved in the United States by the FDA due to its synthetic origin and a proposal for improper therapeutic uses.

The substance was first extracted from a plant by the name lesser periwinkle in 1975 in Hungary. The mass production also started later in 1978 in the same country.

Milder Natural Nootropics

Gingko Biloba

This native tree, cultivated in China has fossils dating 270 million years back. Its leaf has been researched for a longer period as a possible treatment for dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.

Today, people use it as a diary supplement for its known benefits for improving cognitive decline. It also improves memory in healthy young individuals.

However, there is not much evidence and trials to support these claims more firmly.



This compound already exists in the human’s body and it’s marked as non-essential. It means that your body can already synthesize enough for its own needs.

During stressful situations, glutamine demand in the body increases and must be obtained from a diet or a specific supplement.

This makes it a perfect substance in a mix or a stack that targets moodiness, especially anxiety or depression which comes with high-stress situations.

L-Glutamine is one of the few amino acids that is able to cross the blood-brain barrier. It was also approved by the FDA in 2017 to treat or prevent Sickle cell disease.

Natural Nootropics Into A Pill

Those were the common substances you can find in today’s marketed nootropics. Now, I will go through some of the top nootropics containing natural substances.

You can also find similar reviews in the Top Nootropics 2017 Guide.

The complete list:

  • Focus Elite
  • Onnit Alpha BRAIN
  • Neuro Peak
  • Neuro Clarity
  • Nootropic Brain Booster
  • Brain Boost
  • Focus Mode
  • Enhance MHz
  • Neuro IGNITE
  • OptiMind
  • Mind Rise
  • Brain Support Plus

There are significantly more than just this short list, but I picked these as the more important ones. Reviewing them will help me explain what I am aiming for.

Onnit Alpha BRAIN

Alpha BRAIN is clinically studied to improve memory and processing speed.

It contains the following ingredients:

  • Vitamin B6
  • L-Tyrosine
  • L-Theanine, Oat Extract
  • Phosphatidylserine Extract

These make the Onnit Flow Blend Formula.

The Onnit Focus Blend:

  • Bacopa Extract
  • Huperzia Serrata Extract

Neuro Clarity

This supplement targets less stress and anxiety with increasing brain efficiency.

It contains:

  • St. John’s Wort
  • Glutamine
  • Phosphatidylserine Complex
  • Bacopa Monnieri
  • N-Acetyl L-Carnitine
  • DMAE Bitartrate
  • Ginkgo Biloba
  • Vinpocetine
  • Huperzine-A

Neuro Peak

  • Vitamin B12
  • Bacopa Monnieri Extract
  • Ginkgo Biloba
  • Rhodiola Rosea Extract
  • DMAE


Focus Elite

  • Ginkgo Biloba Leaf
  • Phosphatidylserine
  • N-Acetyl L-Carnitine HCl
  • St John’s Wort
  • L-Glutamine
  • Vinpocetine
  • Huperzine-A

Nootropic Brain Booster

  • Vitamin A, C, D, E, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6
  • Folic Acid Pure
  • Biotin 1%
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc
  • Selenomethionine
  • Copper
  • Manganese
  • Chromium
  • Molybdenum
  • Potassium

The proprietary blend contains:

  • DMAE Bitartrate
  • L-Glutamine
  • Glutamic Acid
  • Green Tea Extract
  • Bacopa Extract
  • Choline Bitartrate
  • Inositol
  • N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine
  • Bilberry Fruit Extract
  • Gaba
  • Fruit Seed Extract
  • Olive Leaf
  • Cinnamon Bark Extract
  • Licorice Root Extract
  • Boron
  • DHA 14%
  • Vanadyl Sulfate 19%
  • Phosphatidylserine 20%
  • Huperzine-A

This one has a pretty lengthy list of ingredients.

Focus Mode

  • Guarana Seed Extract
  • Alpha-Glycerylphosphorylcholine
  • N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine
  • Mucuna Pruriens extract
  • Phosphatidylserine powder
  • Huperzia Serrata Extract

Enhance MHz

  • Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract
  • Phosphatidylserine 4% Complex
  • N-Acetyl L-CArnitine HCl
  • St. John’s Wort 0.3% Extract
  • L-Glutamine
  • Bacopa Monnieri Leaf Extract
  • Vinpocetine
  • Huperzine-A



  • Bacopa Monnieri
  • St. John’s Wort Extract
  • DMAE
  • Ginkgo Biloba
  • Phosphatidylserine 20%
  • Acetyl L-Carnitine HCl
  • Huperzine-A 1%


  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin B12

The focus blend contains:

  • L-Tyrosine
  • Taurine
  • Phosphatidylserine
  • Bacopa Extract
  • Gamma-aminobutyric Acid
  • Caffeine
  • Alpha-Lipoic Acid
  • Vinpocetine
  • Sulbutiamine
  • Huperzine-A – Huperzia Serrata Extract

Mind Rise

  • Ginkgo Biloba Leaf 24% Extract
  • Phosphatidylserine 4% Complex
  • N-Acetyl L-Carnitine HCl
  • St. John’s Wort 0.3% Extract
  • L-Glutamine
  • Bacopa Monnieri Leaf Extract 20% Bacosides
  • Vinpocetine
  • Huperzine-A – Aerial Plant

Smart Pill And Recreational Drugs Connection

As already stated above, people use some recreational drugs that have absolutely no idea of the nootropic benefits the drugs have.

Studies show that a lot of tech startups have already tried prescription drugs such as Adderall or Modafinil to boost their brain function.  A good part of students in the United Kingdom also took smart pills hoping they will get an extra bit of performance out of them.

Since the 90’s strong nootropics drugs are being more accepted among people and they are taking action in order to function better.

LSD or Lysergic Acid Diethylamide is very popular as a recreative drug and also a very strong hallucinogen. The powerful effect it has on the human nervous system is only manifested by a small dosage measured in micrograms.

There is a thing called micro-dosing LSD which is a popular method of using this drug as a nootropic. You need to reduce the dosage significantly and experience the benefits.

Pregnant women who tend to take LSD ( no matter what dosage ) will probably have a miscarriage. This is because the drug causes muscle relaxation and weakness as blood rushes into your brain. The womb muscles will then completely push out the fetus.

There are several threads on this matter on Reddit you can read.

Most Known Synthetic Smart Drugs

When it comes to finding the right smart pill for you, there is an arsenal out there. For some, you might need to consult your doctor first as you can only buy them on prescription or react very badly with your immune system. Adrafinil and Modafinil can react with your immune system and cause a life-threatening reaction, the chances of this happening are very small though (5 people in a million).

I managed to populate the following list from the internet as the list of the most known synthetic nootropics to date:

  • Desmopressin
  • Vasopressin
  • PKR Inhibitors
  • Cerebrolysin
  • Aniracetam
  • Oxiracetam
  • Vinpocetine
  • Phenibut
  • Adderall
  • Modafinil
  • LSD Micro-dosing
  • Selank
  • PRL-8-53
  • Ashwagandha
  • Selegiline
  • Methylene Blue
  • Dihexa
  • Fasoracetam
  • Piracetam
  • Pramiracetam

A Single Substance As A Silver Bullet?

You might have seen Bradley Cooper starring in Hollywood’s Limitless movie or Scarlett Johansson in Lucy. It looks pretty good to be able to take control of the world in a short amount of time, such as absorbing online knowledge or analyzing data to trade stocks.

Too bad, no such thing as NZT-48 or CPH4 does not exist. It’s just for making the movie more enjoyable.


Stacking Smart Pill And Powder

Most of the times one substance is not enough to get you where you want. So it is best to use a stack of multiple nootropics with lowered dosages for your desired effects.

You can build your own stacks according to what you want to achieve, be cautious and know what you are doing.

There are already built popular stacks online that work pretty good for most of the people who look to improve their brain function or lower their symptoms.

I was able to find anti-anxiety and depression stacks, mood improvement, learning, and cognition abilities enhancing stacks.


Cognitive Enhancement Stack

The main goal of this stack is to improve learning abilities. It will also reduce anxiety and produce a sense of fulfillment and well-being.


  • Aniracetam 700mg
  • Sulbutiamine 450mg

Take the two above substances in the morning.

  • Alpha GPC 500mg
  • Caffeine – Do not exceed 120mg
  • L-Theanine 250mg

In the afternoon:

  • Noopept 25mg

Mood Enhancing Stack

This stack focuses more on reducing depression symptoms, in some cases even discourage all of them. It works both for acute and chronic depression and stress.

It consists of the following substances:

  • L-Tyrosine 800mg
  • Rhodiola Rosea

Three times per day:

  • Vinpocetine x15mg


If you decide to go with a smart pill, you should definitely consider consulting with a doctor first. You might not know how some substances would react with your organism’s immune system.

Never take any of them without making a break, any substance that enters your bloodstream exits via your liver. This organ filtrates your blood when the time comes to the toxins to be expelled from your system this puts extra stress on your liver.

If you are pregnant you should be extra careful, I recommend not to take any synthetics during this period as a precaution method.

The blend of nootropics you can get on Amazon go without a prescription and are rated to be way more safe than the smart pill you’d take instead.

However, in some of the products, I have noticed the presence of Sulbutiamine and Phosphatidylserine. These are not of natural origin.

A good advice is to go for the natural option first, they will yield some results. If you really need something stronger and presumably you will, otherwise you wouldn’t have searched for it, take with great precaution.

If you have an important project coming up that the further development of your career depends on, or an important exam – go for a smart pill. You will also sense changes even after you stop taking them for a while.