I spend a great deal of time browsing Reddit, Longecity and discussing nootropics with people over email. Often,  newcomers ask one of the following questions:

“What’s the best nootropic?”

“What’s the best nootropics stack?”

“What’s the best nootropic for studying?”

It seems to be a common line of thinking. Indeed, looking at Google search statistics, you’ve got 100s people plugging in these sorts of terms on a daily basis. I expect this only to grow as nootropics become more popular.

Perhaps you even found this post by typing one the above terms into Google only moments ago. If that’s the case, please take the time to read this post and possibly save yourself some time and money.

So Where Do You Start?

Accept that there’s no “one size fits all” answer to cognitive enhancement, though there are certainly well trodden paths that most people find helpful and are good places to start.

It’d be easy to write an article saying take sunifiram. It’s hot at the moment.  But the truth is that sunifiram enhances some people’s cognition and for others it’s a short term stimulant that’s gone within two hours.

It’s too hit and miss to be considered a reliable first nootropic, though it’s certainly something worth experimenting with after you’ve got experience with the more well researched compounds.

Walk The Well Trodden Path To Start

I received an email not too long ago from a total newcomer to nootropics. He’d never trialled anything, and he wanted to maximize his mental energy for sporadic long shifts at work.

I asked him is there anything he’s leaning towards and he replied with sunifiram.

To me, that does not sound like a good idea. Sunifiram is a research ampakine without a single published human study and while I certainly don’t begrudge anyone wishing to trial it, is it really the first thing you want to experiment with?

I suggested he walk the well trodden path to begin with and pointed out our newcomers stacks article and in the end he opted for caffeine and theanine to start.

How To Decide On The “Best” Nootropic For You

Take a look at your current strengths and weaknesses and the demands on you at the moment.

  • Do you need motivation? To relax? To sleep better? To concentrate better?
  • Become familiar with the general classes of nootropics and cognitive enhancers. Anxiolytics, cholinergics , stimulants and racetams (to name but a few).
  • Read user experience reports (we have some in our database, as does Longecity and Reddit).
  • Read our stack design article, which covers important principles.

A better question than “what’s the best nootropic?”, might be

What are some reliable researched compounds that most people find beneficial for X?

It’s a little more tailored. It’s more towards the well trodden path.  Some reasonable “safe” nootropics to start with;

Note the absence of “cutting edge” research chemicals such as; IDRA-21, or PRL-8-53, Sunifirm, Unifiram and so on.  Too little is known about these compounds to consider them starting points.

In Summary:

  • Clarify your goals; the best nootropic is one that suits your current situation.
  • Don’t start with a research chemical, start with older more well researched compounds.
  • Don’t bulk buy anything you haven’t tried.
  • Walk the well trodden path to start; branch out from there.
  • Read the complete nootropics guide for newbies.