nootropics for beginners

7 Best Nootropics for Beginners

David Tomen
David Tomen
11 minute read

how to take nootropicsIf you’re like me and you’ve always been intrigued by the possibility of elevating your cognitive function, then you’ll appreciate this definitive guide on the best nootropics for beginners.

Given the ton of choices out there, it’s understandable to feel a bit overwhelmed. That’s why I’ve sifted through notes and my years of research and put together a list of suggestions for you.

My goal with this post is to help you make sense of the fascinating world of cognitive enhancing nootropic supplements. We’ll delve into the various categories, dosing guidelines, potential advantages, and safety precautions. So, let’s get started!

Key Takeaways

  1. Natural alternatives are frequently considered less risky and more enduring than artificial choices.
  2. Start with the smallest effective quantity based on my dosage recommendations and progressively increase your dose over several days to determine what works best for you.
  3. Take stimulating nootropics in the morning to avoid disrupting your sleep cycle.
  4. Always check the “Side Effects” section of each individual supplement review and find out if any supplement you are considering is not contraindicated with any prescription meds you may be using.

nootropics guideNootropic Categories for Beginners

For newcomers, the nootropic world offers a wide variety of choices. When selecting the right category, a key question to ask is whether you lean towards natural or artificial alternatives.

Plant-based nootropics like Ginkgo Biloba and Bacopa Monnieri are often perceived as safer and more long-lasting, as they generally have fewer adverse effects compared to synthesized ones.

Conversely, lab-made nootropics such as extracts of Ginkgo Biloba or Bacopa Monnieri may offer more powerful cognitive improvements. Compounds such as Noopept and Aniracetam also fall under this classification. While they may deliver more potent results, it’s imperative that you understand any potential risks and thoroughly read through each “Side Effects” section of each review.

Natural nootropic supplements can have a gentler, and enduring impact on your system, making them ideal for most first-time users.

Nootropics by definition must be non-toxic and safe to use by most people so you do not need to worry about dependency or withdrawal symptoms if you suddenly stop using them.[i]

Now that we have looked at natural versus synthetic distinctions, let’s next explore dosing and timing/scheduling guidelines for those new to nootropics.

Nootropic Dose and Timing Guidelines

Before starting on your nootropic journey, make sure you fully understand any contraindications or potential side effects that may be associated with each nootropic supplement. Nonetheless, there are some rules of thumb to consider regarding dosage and timing.

I suggest starting with the lowest effective dose and allowing your body to adapt and reduce the possible risk of adverse effects. Then slowly increase your dose within recommended guidelines until you discover the most effective dose for you.

The timing of nootropic consumption is equally important. Some compounds have a stimulating benefit, so taking them early in the day can prevent sleep disturbances. And some supplements have a short half-life which is why you often see recommendations to use a nootropic 2 or 3-times per day.

Be aware that some nootropics may contraindicated with prescription medications you’re taking. So, make sure you check before incorporating new supplements into your regimen.

beginner nootropic stackAdvantages for Nootropic Beginners

Advantages for beginners include better concentration, enhanced memory and recall, and elevated energy levels. Even if you do not fully understand neuroscience, when used as recommended, nootropics can significantly optimize cognitive performance.

Here are some key benefits you might want to consider:

Anticipated Advantages


Better Concentration

Nootropics can boost focus, allowing for a prolonged attention span during tasks. They can also minimize diversions and elevate productivity.

Enhanced Memory and Recall

Some nootropics have been proven to boost memory retention and retrieval, thus supporting the learning process, extended information storage, and later retrieval of that stored information.

Elevated Energy

Certain natural nootropics possess stimulant properties, delivering a pure, clean energy surge without the jitters commonly linked to Smart Drugs or other stimulants.

To integrate nootropics into your daily life effectively, begin by researching various options, weighing their potential gains, and possible side effects. Begin with the lowest effective recommended dosage and increase as required. Consistency is essential—taking them at the same intervals will help establish a regimen.

Nootropics Safety Measures and Potential Side Effects

Prioritizing your well-being is paramount when considering the use of nootropic supplements. It’s a common misunderstanding that these substances are entirely risk-free.

While not everyone may experience adverse reactions, be aware that these supplements can have different effects on different people.

Potential Side Effects range from headaches and nausea to increased heart rate and anxiety. And some supplements are contraindicated with certain prescription meds.

Approaching nootropic cognitive enhancers cautiously and responsibly is critical. Check each of my nootropic supplement reviews for dosage recommendations, potential medication interactions, and ongoing monitoring of how you feel for any signs of adverse reactions. If something does not feel right, then stop using it immediately.

Remember, your safety should always be the primary consideration when considering the use of nootropic supplements.

Guidelines for Selecting an Appropriate Nootropic

Choosing the right nootropic involves considering your unique needs and objectives. Several factors should influence your decision.

Initially, identify what you aim to achieve: is it heightened focus, better memory, or mood improvement? Once your goals are clear, delve into the different types of nootropics available.

Popular nootropic combinations, or ‘nootropic stacks‘, can also serve as beneficial starting points for beginners. These stacks blend multiple ingredients for synergistic cognitive enhancement.

Popular pre-made nootropic stacks might include Caffeine and L-theanine for heightened focus, or L-Tyrosine and CDP-Choline for improved memory.

When opting for a nootropic stack, consider both its efficacy and any potential interactions with medications you may already be taking.

It’s always good advice to check with your doctor before initiating any new supplement protocol.

nootropic guideWhat are the Best Nootropics for Beginners?

My go to picks for nootropic supplements that work for most people include:

CDP-Choline (Citicoline) 300 mg twice per day. This highly bioavailable source of choline easily crosses the blood-brain barrier.

CDP-Choline is metabolized in your body to supply choline and cytidine. Choline aids in the synthesis of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine (ACh) in your brain.[ii] And cytidine converts to uridine which is important for forming brain cell membranes.

Bacopa Monnieri (24% bacosides) up to 250 mg per day. Bacopa is an adaptogen which helps prevent the chemical and physical effects of stress. Instead of just suppressing them like prescription antidepressants.

Bacopa Monnieri is used to reduce anxiety, depression, and stress. And helps boost memory, concentration, and reaction time.[iii] Bacopa is also used for neuroprotection by helping to maintain a healthy balance of neurotransmitters. Bacopa is also effective in treating many of the symptoms of ADHD.

Lion’s Mane Mushroom 500 mg to 3 gm per day depending on polysaccharide content. Lion’s Mane helps repair neuron damage because it boosts Nerve Growth Factor which is important to forming new neurons (neurogenesis).[iv]

Lion’s Mane can help improve focus and attention, boost cognition, repair brain cells, and help anxiety and depression.

L-Tyrosine 500 mg twice per day. L-Tyrosine is a precursor for the synthesis of dopamine. And the neurotransmitter norepinephrine.[v]

L-Tyrosine helps boost alertness, concentration, executive function, focus, libido, memory, and for some it works as an antidepressant.

L-Theanine 100 mg 3-times per day.

Or you can drink 3 or 4 cups of organic green tea during your day. Green tea is an excellent source of L-Theanine. It works quickly and helps increase
GABA, dopamine, and serotonin.[vi] It boost Alpha and Theta brain waves for alert relaxation. And L-Theanine helps suppress cortisol.

L-Theanine stacked with caffeine provides a synergistic effect that helps promote cognition, motivation, and attention. With no caffeine jitters.

Pine Bark Extract 100 mg 3-times per day. Pine Bark extract helps boost cerebral blood flow by increasing nitric oxide which helps dilate blood vessels. And helps repair and maintain the health of blood vessel linings.

Boosting cerebral circulation with Pine Bark Extract increases levels of oxygen and glucose which maintains healthy levels of neurotransmitters. And promotes better concentration, focus and memory.

DHA (Omega-3) 1000 mg per day. Your brain is about 60% fat and much of it is in the form of DHA. This fat helps in the formation of brain cell membranes. And plays a vital role in how neurons and synapses function.

DHA works in synergy with phosphatidylserine (PS) and phosphatidylcholine (PC) for the formation and maintain of healthy brain cell membranes.[vii]

Low levels of DHA can contribute to ADHD, anxiety, depression, obesity, increased suicide risk, and increased risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia.

A Professionally-Formulated Nootropic Stack for Beginners

best nootropics for beginnersI highly recommend the bestselling pre-made nootropic stack in the world called Mind Lab Pro®. This high-quality stack has been proven in two University of Leeds clinical studies.[viii] [ix] And contains all of the nootropics mentioned above with the exception of DHA.

Try: Mind Lab Pro®

Another great option is Performance Lab® Mind which contains Citicoline (as  Cognizin®), Phosphatidylserine (PS) (as Sharp PS® Green), L-Tyrosine (as Ajipure®) and Maritime Pine Bark extract.

Try: Performance Lab® Mind

And a great, pure source of DHA is Performance Lab® Omega-3. This supplement contains life’s™ OMEGA algae oil which supplies natural triglyceride Omega-3s that are 70% more bioavailable than synthetic ethyl esters used in cheaper and lower quality Omega-3 and fish oil supplements.

Performance Lab® Omega-3 offers 540 mg DHA and 270 mg EPA in 3 NutriGels® capsules.

Try: Performance Lab® Omega-3

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Nootropics Habit-Forming?

The majority of nootropics are not habit-forming and are consider non-toxic and safe to use by most people. You should not feel any withdrawal symptoms once you quit using the supplement.

Can Individuals With Medical Conditions Use Nootropics?

Certainly, nootropics can be used by those with specific medical conditions. However, understanding the potential risks and consulting a healthcare provider is crucial.

Can Nootropics Be Combined With Other Medications?

Indeed, nootropics can safely work with other medications, but awareness of potential contraindications is critical. Always read the Side Effects section of each of my supplement reviews to find out if there may be a problem with any prescription med you are currently using.

What About the Long-Term Consequences of Nootropic Usage?

The long-term implications of nootropic use are a subject of ongoing research. While they can offer short-term cognitive enhancements, long-term impacts require further investigation.

Are Natural Nootropics a Viable Alternative to Synthetics?

Absolutely, natural options exist as alternatives to synthetic nootropics. However, it depends on the definition of “synthetic” you are using because for example, a plant extract could be considered “synthetic” compared to the natural and unaltered plant.

Final Thoughts

In summary, as a novice, selecting the best nootropics that align with your needs is crucial. Investigating different types, from amino acids like L-Tyrosine to plant-based supplements like Bacopa Monnieri, can offer various cognitive benefits.

Remember, if you have never used a supplement before, start at the lowest recommended dosage. And follow the recommended timing to achieve the best results.

While nootropics present exciting possibilities for enhancing cognitive performance, prioritizing safety and being aware of potential side effects is key.

Natural nootropic supplements are a healthy alternative for cognitive enhancement. Get started today and be the best you can be!

Try: Mind Lab Pro®

Try: Performance Lab® Mind

Try: Performance Lab® Omega-3



[i] Dimond, S. J., & Brouwers, E. M. (1976). Increase in the power of human memory in normal man through the use of drugs. Psychopharmacology49(3), 307–309. (source)

[ii] Agut J., Coviella I.L., Wurtman R.J. “Cytidine (5’) diphosphocholine enhances the ability of haloperidol to increase dopamine metabolites in the striatum of the rat and to diminish stereotyped behavior induced by apomorphine.” Neuropharmacology 1984 Dec;23(12A):1403-6. (source)

[iii] Calabrese N.D., Gregory W.L., Leo M., Kraemer D., Bone K., Oken B. “Effects of a Standardized Bacopa monnieri Extract on Cognitive Performance, Anxiety, and Depression in the Elderly: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial” Journal of Alternative and Complimentary Medicine 2008 Jul; 14(6): 707–713. (source)

[iv] Lai P.L., Naidu M., Sabaratnam V., Wong K.H., David R.P., Kuppusamy U.R., Abdullah N., Malek S.N. “Neurotrophic properties of the Lion’s mane medicinal mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Higher Basidiomycetes) from Malaysia.” International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms. 2013;15(6):539-54. (source)

[v] Slominski A., Zmijewski M., Pawelek J. “L-tyrosine and L-DOPA as hormone-like regulators of melanocytes functions” Pigment Cell Melanoma Research. 2012 Jan; 25(1): 14–27. (source)

[vi] Yamada T., Terashima T., Wada K., Ueda S., Ito M., Okubo T., Juneja L.R., Yokogoshi H. “Theanine, r-glutamylethylamide, increases neurotransmission concentrations and neurotrophin mRNA levels in the brain during lactation.” Life Sciences. 2007 Sep 29;81(16):1247-55. (source)

[vii] Stillwell W., Shaikh S.R., Zerouga M., Siddiqui R., Wassall S.R. “Docosahexaenoic acid affects cell signaling by altering lipid rafts.” Reproduction, Nutrition and Development. 2005 Sep-Oct;45(5):559-79. (source)

[viii] Abbott-Imboden C., Gonzalez Y., Utley A. “Efficacy of the nootropic supplement Mind Lab Pro on memory in adults: Double blind, placebo-controlled study” Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical & Experimental Vol 38 Issue 4 July 2023 (source)

[ix] Abbott-Imboden C., Gonzalez Y., Utley A. “The Efficacy of A Nootropic Supplement on Information Processing in Adults: A Double Blind, Placebo Controlled Study” BioMedical Journal of Scientific & Technical Research ISSN: 2574 -1241 (source)

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