Beginner’s Guide to Nootropics

Beginner’s Guide to Nootropics

Taking nootropics is an excellent way to increase your cognitive potential. There are several supplements and combinations of supplements that can protect the brain, improve memory, increase focus, increase motivation, and more. If you are new to nootropics, it can become overwhelming when selecting the right one for your needs. This guide is designed to give you information to help make your decision easier.

Where Do I Start?

When first delving into nootropics, it is best to start with the basics. These cognitive enhancers are a great introduction to the nootropic world.


Piracetam is the original racetam. This supplement has been around the longest, so it has the most human studies and reviews. This nootropic does not have stimulating effects and is not a sensory product. This makes it a great choice to ease into nootropic supplementation. Though this supplement is recommended to beginners, it is also a staple in most advanced nootropic user’s stacks—a testament to its efficacy.

Piracetam Benefits[1,2,3,4,5]

  • Improves Memory and Learning Capacity
  • Boosts Creativity
  • Reduces the Risk of Cognitive Decline
  • Improves Cognitive Impairment Caused by Age or injury


Noopept is a more potent derivative of piracetam. Because of this, only a small dosage is required to experience the benefits. The small dosage makes noopept an easy and convenient way to take a nootropic powder. It is recommended to take noopept sublingually for maximum results.

Noopept Benefits[6,7,8]

  • Reduces Anxiety
  • Boosts Mood
  • Increases Focus

Choline Bitartrate

It is important to take a choline source with your nootropic supplements, particularly the racetams. Racetams and other nootropics increase choline uptake, which can result in headaches. Taking choline eliminates this issue.

Choline is an essential brain food that most of us lack in our diet. Choline aids in transferring messages to the brain, so supplementing with choline alone increases cognitive function as well.

Nootropic Sampler

Powder City offers a nootropic sampler designed for those new to nootropics or those wanting to try something new. Purchasing a sampler gives you the opportunity to try out several nootropics before buying them in bulk.

Can I Take Several Nootropics Together?

We encourage mixing and matching these supplements to achieve maximum benefits. These supplements are often synergistic with one another. As mentioned above, you should take all nootropics with a choline source to achieve maximum results as well as counteract any negative side effects.

The Nootropics Stack

This is a great place to start when you are testing out a stack. With this stack you can combine several nootropics to create the best cognitive enhancement for you. Everyone’s brain functions differently so this can be a process of trial and error. Purchasing a nootropics stack is an easy way to find your combination before purchasing a large amount of powder.

Piracetam and Alpha GPC

Taking these two supplements together amplifies each of their effects. Adding Alpha GPC to piracetam increases the amount of time piracetam’s effects are felt. Alpha GPC is a choline source, so adding this supplement to any racetam counteracts unwanted side effects like headaches.

Caffeine and Theanine

Caffeine is a popular supplement used for its stimulant properties. Most of us need coffee or an energy drink in the morning to get us going. Others rely on pre workout powder to give them the motivation to get to the gym.

But did you know caffeine also has nootropic properties? This supplement increases motivation, mental energy, and clears brain fog.[9,10] However, taking too much caffeine causes over stimulation leaving us feeling anxious and jittery. Adding theanine to caffeine counteracts these side effects allowing for a much smoother stimulating experience.

Piracetam and Noopept

These nootropics can be taken daily and are a good foundation for any nootropic user. A great way to use this stack is to take piracetam in the morning and follow it up with noopept up to three times daily. Noopept will increase piracetam’s benefits while adding an extra kick when needed.

More Nootropic Stack Options

Looking for other stack suggestions? Check out nootropic stacks on for more synergistic combinations.

What Next?

After feeling the benefits of nootropics, it is common to want to try something that is more potent or stimulating. Listed below are some advanced nootropics.


Aniracetam is a potent racetam that can also be stacked with several other nootropics. This racetam supports the central nervous system and increases glutamate sensitivity in the brain by preventing desensitization.[11] Increased glutamate sensitivity leads to enhanced cognitive function, higher stress tolerance, and improved mood.[12,13] Aniracetam is a fat soluble nootropic, so it is recommended to take with a meal or fish oil.


Oxiracetam is another member of the racetam family with an added kick. This racetam, like other racetams, improves memory, focus, verbal fluency, and overall cognitive function.[14, 15] Oxiracetam also has stimulant properties, so it battles fatigue and increases motivation. This nootropic also improves reading and verbal recall abilities.


Phenylpiracetam is a powerful derivative of piracetam. This nootropic is another supplement that increases mental and physical energy. Phenylpiracetam is known for improving memory as well as increasing learning capacity, motivation, and focus.[16, 17] This supplement can also reduce motion sickness, fear, and anxiety. It is important to take phenylpiracetam with a meal or other fat source like fish oil or CLA.


Adrafinil is a powerful nootropic with stimulating effects.[18] This nootropic is a supplement to add to your stack once or twice weekly when you need a little extra motivation. Adrafinil fights off fatigue without the negative side effects commonly experienced with other stimulants.[19] You should not take Adrafinil daily but on an as needed basis only. This is a great supplement to use if you need to stay up all night to get ready for a presentation or need to perform well after a night of no sleep.

Alpha GPC

Alpha GPC is the superior choline choice. If choline bitartrate isn’t cutting it, alpha GPC may be the choice for you. This supplement increases choline levels in the brain[20] and can also increase growth hormone.[21,22] Increased growth hormone improves sleep, exercise endurance, energy production, weight maintenance, and more. Even without stacking with other nootropics, this supplement alone increases memory retention and attention span.

CDP Choline

CDP Choline is another popular and potent source of choline. This form of choline seems to be the easiest to absorb and the fastest acting. This is a great supplement to protect the brain from age-related memory loss.[23,24]

What If I Can’t Focus Due to Stress and Anxiety?

There are several nootropics that help you calm down during times of stress.


Phenibut is a supplement to help you relax and overcome stress symptoms that get in the way of work that needs done. Phenibut is a derivative of GABA that is able to cross the blood brain barrier.[25] GABA is what keeps the brain balanced and at ease. Adding this supplement decreases stress, anxiety, and counteracts the effects of too many stimulants. This supplement is designed to take only as needed when you are having a particularly stressful day.


You can take L-Theanine with stimulants to counteract their negative side effects, but it is also a great anxiolytic to add to your daily regimen. Theanine relieves stress and can also improve sleep quality by increasing the production of GABA.[26, 27] When it comes to focus and memory retention, sleep is crucial. This supplement also promotes mental recovery.[28]

NALT (N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine

NALT is a potent form of L-Tyrosine which is an amino acid. This particular amino acid increases dopamine in the brain.[29,30] NALT also protects the brain from neurotoxicity.[31] Taking NALT promotes healthy blood pressure levels during times of stress.

How Do I Find a Stack Based on Certain Needs?

Some of us are looking for a boost of energy while others may need to relax. As such, we separated the supplements into different categories to make this search a little easier.

Here is a list of the category breakdown and some corresponding nootropics:

  • Energy
    • Caffeine
    • Adrafinil
    • Oxiracetam
    • Phenylpiracetam
  • Relaxation
    • L-Theanine
    • Phenibut
    • NALT
  • General Cognition
    • Noopept
    • Piracetam
    • Aniracetam
  • Choline Sources
    • CDP Choline
    • Choline Bitartrate
    • Alpha GPC

Can I Use Nootropics Pre Workout?

Nootropics are an excellent choice to use before a workout. You have the option to add them to your current pre workout supplement or use them to cycle your preworkouts.


Adrafinil is a great nootropic to use up to two days a week to cycle off of your current pre workout. Adrafinil has stimulating properties, increases physical as well as mental energy, and increases focus.[18,19]


Noopept is a great addition to any pre workout supplement. Sometimes pre workout powders alone don’t make the cut. The energy is there, the pump is there, but something is missing: Focus. Lack of focus can completely ruin a workout.

Caffeine and Theanine

The caffeine and theanine stack boosts energy and motivation without over stimulation. Sometimes too many stimulants taken pre workout can cause nausea, headaches, and jitters making it difficult to stay motivated in the gym.[9,10]

Alpha GPC

Alpha GPC increases choline levels in the brain which will help you focus in the gym. While feeding the brain, Alpha GPC is also feeding the body by increasing growth hormone. Growth hormone increases power output and endurance while decreasing recovery time.[21,22] This supplement can also be stacked with any pre workout powder.

How Do I Cover Up the Taste?

There are many supplement powders out there that are hard to take due to the taste. There are several ways to get around this so you aren’t turned off by taking your favorite nootropics.

Citric Acid and Stevia

Adding Citric acid counteracts the bitterness of these supplements and stevia will make them sweeter. These can be added to a beverage of your choosing.


Sucralose is a sweetener that you can add to your nootropic supplement without adding calories. Sucralose is 600 times sweeter than sugar, so a small amount goes a long way.

Nootropic Capsules

Powder City offers several nootropics in capsules form, making supplementation easier and more convenient. We also sell products so you can cap your own supplements. This is a great way to stack several powders together in one capsule.

Check out this article for more information on masking the taste of nootropic supplements: Racetams and Taste

How Do I Know Nootropics are Working?

One way to test if these supplements are working for you is to try some brain training games. First, try a few before taking nootropics then try them again after supplementation. Testing your brain is a great way to gauge your cognitive responses to nootropics.

Brain Training Websites:

There are also several apps that you can download on smart phones and tablets for brain training on the go. Check out this article on the top 10 Brain Training Apps.

Non Supplemental Ways to Improve Cognition


Exercise not only promotes healthy metabolism, body weight, and muscle tone, it also increases focus, memory retention, and overall cognitive function. Studies show that exercising yields immediate cognitive benefits in children and adults.[32,33,34,35]


Meditation is a great daily practice to add to your brain fitness regimen. It is extremely beneficial physically, mentally, and emotionally. Meditation increases attention span, memory, and verbal fluency. Meditation also protects the brain from cognitive decline.[36]


The benefits of nootropics are endless. Adding these supplements to your daily regimen can help you get an edge, whether it is to pass a test, get that promotion, or to feel better in general. Remember, it can take some time to find the right combination for you, but once you do you will unlock your brain’s true potential.

Check out these other related articles for more information:



Leave a Reply