A Comparative Look into Popular Nootropics

With the present’s day pursuit of cognitive enhancement, a variety of substances have been put into spotlight to boost mental performance—ranging from already historic and traditional drugs, up to the emergence of newer and modern alternatives. Here is a comparative look at the most popular and trending enhancers.


Modafinil is a eugeroic agent with a relatively new reputation of enhancing wakefulness and alertness without the jitteriness usually associated with stimulants [1]. The drug was originally intended to address symptoms of narcolepsy but has established a market for its off-label use as cognitive enhancement ever since. Modafinil is only recommended for adults 17 and above and is in the form of tablet, taken orally. Amordafinil is a newer variation of the drug which offers slight effect differences.


Adderall is a combination of amphetamine salts primarily used for ADHD patients. Similar to Modafinil, it has been used for its mental performance boosting capabilities. This is made by increasing dopamine and norepinephrine levels in the brain; however, it comes with a higher risk of addiction and side effects [1].

Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo Biloba is an established ancient herb known for improving blood flow to the brain all the while possessing antioxidant properties. While the first two mentioned promotes wakefulness, Ginkgo Biloba is claimed to enhance memory and cognitive function, though with generally milder effects [2].


Ginseng is another herbal supplement also used for cognitive enhancement purposes. It is more known for reducing mental fatigue and improving reaction times. Just like Ginkgo Biloba, this herb offers a more indirect and less potent memory enhancement properties [2].

Vitamin B Complex

Vitamin B complex is essential for brain health, it impacts energy levels and brain functions. Although not a cognitive enhancer per se, it promotes a healthier brain’s overall health, which in turn is crucial for optimal cognitive function.


Probably one of the world’s most widely consumed psychoactive substances due to its varied availability and tasteful options, caffeine offers the same alertness and wakefulness affects. Although, sometimes, it can lead to quick energy boosts followed by crashes [3].

Overall, the demand for cognitive enhancers will only increase as time passes by. Newer and modern medications offer a more potent and sustained effect while traditional ones offer more subdued and milder enhancements. Choosing the right pill to take before a stressful and focus intensive day has never been more diverse.


[1] https://www.drugs.com/medical-answers/modafinil-adderall-difference-3125139/

[2] https://thrivous.com/blogs/views/supplements-enhance-cognition-more-than-a-pharmaceutical-drug

[3] https://www.drugs.com/compare/caffeine-vs-modafinil