If you are looking for the best nootropics, Reddit is an amazing recommendation source.
Nootropics are compounds that help to enhance productivity, memory, and cognitive ability.
Given that several nootropic supplements are not yet widely studied, Reddit provides a treasure trove of anecdotal experiences and dosage recommendations.
In this post, we will share the best nootropics on Reddit that are available over the counter and online.
Let’s pop into it!
What is a Nootropic?
Nootropics, also referred to as “smart drugs” or “cognitive enhancers,” are supplements and substances that can improve brain function.
They work by positively influencing chemicals and pathways in the brain to boost focus, memory, learning, motivation, and creativity.
The term “nootropic” was first coined in 1972 by scientist Corneliu E. Giurgea, who developed criteria that defined these brain-boosting compounds.
True nootropics should:
- Enhance memory and the ability to learn
- Help the brain work under disruptive conditions
- Protect the brain
- Increase the efficacy of neuronal firing control mechanisms
- Possess few or no side effects with low toxicity
Related: Seed Oils to Avoid: Complete Guide
Best Nootropics According to Reddit
The r/Nootropics subreddit has over 350,000 members who actively discuss nootropics, their effects, and ideal usages.
I analyzed over 800 comments on a recent thread asking users what the most impactful nootropic they’ve tried is.
Here are the top nootropics mentioned, emphasizing compounds that can be purchased over the counter.
1. Lithium Orotate
Lithium orotate was by far the most popular compound mentioned, with many Reddit users citing it as life-changing for reducing anxiety, depression, and intrusive thoughts at doses of around 5mg per day.
“Lithium orotate completely solved my anxiety issues. Bonus, studies suggest that it can protect against cognitive decline.”
“Feels like it straight up cured my anxiety and depression it’s wild I was able to go off prescription stims because of it”
Though lithium is often prescribed as Lithium Carbonate for bipolar disorder, lithium orotate provides the brain boosting effects at much lower doses. Start with 1-5mg daily with food and monitor your reaction.
2. N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC)
The amino acid NAC was frequently hailed for its ability to clear brain fog, reduce respiratory infections, and boost glutathione levels in the brain and body.
- Supports healthy antioxidant production
- Boosts brain health via glutamate regulation
- Aids liver/kidney detoxification process
The suggested dosage is 500-1,500mg per day.
“NAC, 500-1500mg/day, completely removed brain fog and helped clear up my respiratory system (chronic infections). Absolute game changer for me.”
“+1 for NAC”
NAC is considered very safe at recommended dosages, though a small number of users reported anxiety at overly high amounts.
Stay under 2,000mg per day and spread doses throughout the day to avoid this.
Related: Brain Fog Test
Glycine is an amino acid that acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain.
- Improves Sleep Quality
- Enhances Memory and Focus
- Reduces Stress and Anxiety
Redditors found it greatly improved sleep quality and duration when taken on an empty stomach at doses of 1-5 grams at night.
“Glycine. It fixed my sleep so now I can actually function.”
“Glycine gave me extremely vivid dreams”
Glycine has few side effects, though high amounts can cause digestive discomfort.
Start with 1 gram before bed and increase slowly as needed.
The choline supplement Alpha-GPC can readily cross the blood-brain barrier, where it increases levels of acetylcholine, a learning and memory compound.
Many cited excellent cognitive benefits from doses of 300-600mg.
“Alpha GPC for sure, can feel that stuff 30 minutes after taking it.”
“Alpha-GPC was a game changer for verbal fluency and quick thinking.”
Potential side effects include headaches, insomnia, and irritability if taking too high a dose.
Start with 150mg early in the day and increase slowly as tolerated.
This potent racetam nootropic provides a stimulant-like boost in energy, focus, memory, and motivation.
- Enhanced Cognitive Function
- Increased Alertness
It was hailed as one of the most effective compounds.
“Phenylpiracetam, taken with CDP choline. I would take it about 1-2 times a week from about 2019 to last year when it became hard to find.”
“Phenylpiracetam hands down, stuff made me feel like Bradley Cooper from Limitless”
Dosing varies widely between individuals.
It’s recommended to start at 20mg and work up to 100mg as needed.
It can be consumed sublingually and works instantly; however, avoid late-day doses as it can disrupt sleep.
Also, headaches can occur if phenylpiracetam is taken without a choline source.
One potential routine is to cycle 4 days on, 3 days off to avoid building a tolerance.
6. Caffeine + L-Theanine
It’s no surprise that this classic combo got plenty of mentions. Caffeine provides a solid energy and focus boost while L-theanine smooths out any jitters or anxiety.
- Improved Focus
- Increased Alertness
- Reduced Jitters
“Caffeine plus l theanine. I feel awake and alert.”
“L-theanine is my favorite. It helps me so much with anxiety.”
Dose 100-200mg caffeine with 200-400mg theanine.
The Reddit advice is to limit caffeine intake by 12pm to prevent sleep disruption.