Best Nootropics | Top 5 Smart Drugs

Curious about the best nootropics and smart drugs available?


Have you recently been hearing about the rise in popularity of brain-boosting nootropics in 2023? Are you confused about how these smart drugs can be used and who they’re suited for?

Nootropics may sound like a bit of a fantasy, but they’re actually based in science. The term nootropic refers to a substance (either natural or synthetic) that positively impacts on your mental skills [1]. 

Nootropics are also known as cognitive enhancers for this reason, and have mainly been investigated for the ability to help patients with cognitive deficits. These include diseases like Alzheimer’s, stroke, or ADHD [1]. 

They’re also being used to:

  • Skyrocket focus
  • Enhance cognition
  • Increase memory recall

…And much more!

Do nootropics make you smarter? Maybe not – but they definitely help you focus and get more done.

Here at, we’ve been researching the best nootropics and smart drugs for everyday folk for years. Below you’ll find our top recommendations.


Top 5 Nootropics

Enough of the fluff, let’s dig in! Here’s a quick breakdown of the world’s best smart drugs…

P.S: Full reviews found below.

1. Modafinil

The top of our list is Modafinil, which is a U.S. FDA-approved central nervous system stimulant designed to promote wakefulness and prevent sleep at times when it’s inconvenient for you [3]. 

2. Armodafinil

Armodafinil is a very similar dry to Modafinil. It in fact has only one difference: It’s the R-enantiomer of Modafinil, which means that it’s chemically the same except that it’s a mirror image. 

This can provide different effects. In this case, the effect is that Armodafinil stays in the body longer than Modafinil [4].

3. Mind Lab Pro

This product is a combination of 11 nootropic ingredients, meaning it has combined a series of natural products to get the best mind-stimulating effects for you. Mind Lab Pro is potent.

4. VyvaMind

VyvaMind has been specially formulated to help keep you awake when you need it most. It’s a fast acting neurostimulant for students, programmers, or other high-performance night owls. 

5. Qualia Mind

The last on our list, Qualia Mind is designed to help support clarity, focus, and memory for people who struggle with holding onto the concentration to complete everything they need to do. 

What Are Nootropics?

The name nootropics actually comes from the Greek words for “guiding thinking,” and that’s the role of these supplements [2]. Many different nootropic products are available, including synthetic, natural, and combinations that act to compound the nootropic effects. 

Nootropics, as we’ve already discovered, are compounds designed to help the human brain to increase its cognitive ability. 

This could consist of several different factors, such as helping you stay awake, increasing focus or concentration, or helping build memory and increase IQ. 

Most nootropics are naturally derived compounds and are available as over-the-counter medications, which means you don’t need a prescription to get access to them. 

Nootropic is a general term that groups together the large number of substances that can lay claim to being able to increase intelligence. 

Nootropics are also generally used by people who are cognitively impaired, including people who have a brain-wasting disease like Alzheimer’s. However, nootropics can be used by healthy individuals, and have been used for treating memory or learning disorders. 

Generally, nootropics have few side effects in people who have a cognitive deficit, which helps make them an enticing treatment option. 

However, not enough long-term studies in healthy individuals have been conducted to know whether or not long-term effects are present [2]. 

Long-term studies are important because most nootropics don’t work as a miracle drug on the day you need them. Rather, most of these smart drugs work over time and help your brain function at its best by being used every day for months. 

Nootropics usually function to fulfill some kind of deficit. When synthetic compounds are prescribed, it’s usually to help the user to stay awake due to their unusual sleep cycle. 

Otherwise, these compounds are typically given to people with cognitive impairments as a treatment. 

Benefits of Nootropics

So, why would someone take nootropic smart drugs? These products are designed to help fill a variety of needs and are thus often selected for one of these specific benefits.  

Some general nootropic benefits include:

  • Improving cognitive function in people with impaired cognition: 

Nootropics can help repair the brain and are able to stimulate sections of the brain that are being cut off for some reason, for instance in Alzheimer’s disease or due to a traumatic injury. 

They’re also commonly prescribed in schizophrenia or dementia cases. 

  • Allowing someone to stay awake when they need to: 

Nootropics are particularly useful for people who work in shifts or who have sleeping disorders.

  • Availability: 

Because many nootropics aren’t prescription medications, they are dispensed without requiring a prescription from a medical doctor, which makes them more accessible. 

  • Stimulating brain health: 

Nootropics act through increasing the brain’s supply of oxygen and glucose, and help to protect brain tissue. They also help stimulate metabolism, depending on the product you use. 

  • Improving cognition and increasing learning speed in healthy individuals:

A lot of anecdotal evidence supports using nootropics as study drugs, and you certainly can see the benefits when you have to push out a large volume of work quickly. 

However, no long-term studies into side effects for healthy people who take nootropics have been performed yet. 

The Best Nootropics | A–Z Guide

So, now we know a little bit more about what nootropics are, let’s dive into what the specific benefits are for our top 5 nootropics offer..

In this section, we explain what each product is used for and what benefits each can give. We also look into how often you need to take each supplement and for how long. This will help you make an informed choice on whether or not nootropics could be suitable for you or a loved one. 

#1. Modafinil | Top-Rated Nootropic

Modafinil is an FDA-approved product, and it is among the products that has the most easily distinguishable effects. 

It’s also the world’s most powerful nootropic! And it’s easy to buy Modafinil online too.

Modafinil works to help to treat daytime fatigue and has been approved for use in treating narcolepsy (a disorder that causes sudden-onset sleep), sleep work shift disorder, and obstructive sleep apnea [3]. 

It works by inhibiting dopamine reuptake. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter, a chemical that sends and receives messages in the brain, that helps regulate how your brain responds to the environment around it. 

So, what are the benefits of taking Modafinil, and why would you use it?

  • Easy administration

Modafinil is usually administered as a once daily dose of 200mg, which then reaches maximum absorption around 2–4 hours after it’s been administered. It also has a half life of around 15 hours [3]. 

Because it comes as an oral tablet, it’s easy to take at home. It can also last for the entire day, which helps make it a more convenient medication as you don’t have to bring it with you when you leave the house. 

  • Few side effects

Modafinil has very few common or known side effects. However, a few have occurred in some individuals. These include rash, anaphylaxis, sleepiness, cardiovascular disease, tic disorders, and psychiatric disorders [3].  

However, the vast majority of these cases are exacerbations of existing conditions, so you should be fine if your doctor has prescribed Modafinil to you after a consultation [3].

  • U.S. FDA-approved

Unlike some other products on this list, Modafinil has been approved by the FDA. This means that it’s effective and safe for adults to take. 

  • Low potential for abuse

Some central nervous stimulants can be addictive due to the way they interact with dopamine in your brain. However, Modafinil has been found to have a low potential for abuse [3]. 

It also showed no withdrawal symptoms during clinical trials when participants suddenly stopped using the medication. 

  • Wakefulness

Of course, the primary benefit to Modafinil is its ability to keep you up. Some people struggle with sleep disorders, and this results in them feeling tired or even falling asleep during the day. 

When this is uncontrollable, it can be detrimental to that person’s work, or social life. It also can take a toll on their mental health; you can imagine that it isn’t fun to be constantly tired. 

Use of Modafinil can help reduce this feeling of tiredness, and reduce daytime fatigue. It’s taken most commonly by people with narcolepsy, or sleep work shift disorder [3].

Ready to optimize your mind? Just click here.

#2. Armodafinil | Potent and Powerful Option

Armodafinil is similar to Modafinil. In fact, it’s almost exactly the same. Armodafinil is what’s known as an enantiomer of Modafinil, which means its chemical structure is a mirror image. 

In chemistry, enantiomers are known to have different properties to each other. Armodafinil is a purified form of the R-enantiomer of Modafinil, while Modafinil consists of both R- and S-enantiomers [4]. 

Because Armodafinil has only R-enantiomers, it has slightly different properties than Modafinil. So, some people may prefer Armodafinil over Modafinil [4]. 

Some people prefer one, while others prefer the other. The Armodafinil vs. Modafinil debate rages on…

  • Long half-life

The most obvious difference between Armodafinil and Modafinil is that Armodafinil has longer lasting effects. It’s in the body for longer than Modafinil, which means it may be more effective [4]. 

  • Easy administration

Like Modafinil, Armodafinil is administered through an oral tablet. It’s given in a dose of 150mg and sticks around in the body for longer than modafinil. 

  • U.S. FDA approved

Armodafinil has been approved for all the same treatments as Modafinil, and is similar in its effectiveness and safety profile [4]. 

  • Helps treat sleep disorders

Like Modafinil, Armodafinil helps treat sleep disorders in people who struggle to regulate their sleep. This includes people who have narcolepsy or people who have adapted to a maladaptive shift pattern of sleep due to their job [4]. 

  • Off-label effects

Armodafinil has been studied for its off-label effects compared with Modafinil and may be able to help to treat other causes of daytime fatigue. 

These can include fatigue due to health issues like cancer or multiple sclerosis. Both of these conditions are known to cause suffering and make the person feel tired all day. 

In addition, Armodafinil may help treat fatigue associated with mental disorders like depression or ADHD; however, neither Armodafinil nor Modafinil should be used before attempting treatment with other more appropriate medications.

Because of Armodafinil’s similarity to Modafinil, it also requires a doctor’s prescription before it can be purchased or used. 

Click here to get your hands on Armodafinil.

#3. Mind Lab Pro | Great Over-the-Counter Nootropic

Mind Lab Pro is a nootropic product that has more of a cognitive benefit than the other products we’ve listed. However, it’s not an FDA-approved medication. 

Most notably, Mind Lab Pro has been studied in rigorous clinical trials at the University of Leeds in the UK, and was found to be effective due to its inclusion of 11 scientifically proven ingredients [5]. 

This can be shown from the large number of positive reviews from people who have tried it. These 11 nootropic ingredients work together to create great benefits such as: 

  • Enhancing memory and learning

The most well known effect of nootropics is to increase memory and learning. Mind Lab Pro was able to significantly improve the recall of patients who participated in the clinical trial, which was tested with known clinical function tests [5]. 

  • Improving processing and cognitive function

Mind Lab Pro was studied for increasing the reaction time of patients in a controlled scientific study. Within this study, they found that participants on Mind Lab Pro have significantly faster reaction times, especially if over 30 [5]. 

  • Protecting and supporting brain health

This product is full of great vitamins, such as B6, B9, and B12. These products are nootropics, but also help to support brain health and essential processes within the brain. 

  • Having no stimulatory products 

Unlike other smart drugs, this product contains no stimulatory products for the central nervous system. This greatly reduces the risk of addiction and changing the reward system in the central nervous system. 

  • Easy administration

This product is designed to be taken in 2-4 tablets on an empty stomach at home. It also does not require a prescription, so it is very easy to access. 

Order Mind Lab Pro here.

#4. Vyvamind | Strong Adderall Alternative

Vyvamind is another nootropic product that’s been developed with a combination of nootropic ingredients to have a compound effect. 

In this case, it’s been developed and designed for academics, executives, athletes, or emergency responders. It’s another one that hasn’t been approved by the FDA, but it has drawn on several scientific studies to back its claims. 

All six nootropic ingredients are known to have benefits for cognition. These benefits include:

  • Increasing energy

Some ingredients in this blend help support neurotransmitters in the brain and increase natural levels of focus and energy. 

  • Enhancing relaxation

Vyvamind is also able to interact with the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine to help support your brain by calming it down and letting you settle into a state of focus. 

  • Supporting brain health

This product also has vitamins B6 and B12, which help support brain health and reduce degeneration or cognitive decline. 

  • Improving focus and reaction times

Vyvamind includes amino acids that help provide your brain with all the ingredients it needs to make sure you have enough neurotransmitters available for learning. 

It also contains caffeine, which is known to help people to stay alert and focused on their tasks, and is probably the most consumed neurostimulant in the world.

If you are interested in Vyvamind, try it here!

#5. Qualia Mind | Solid Nootropic

Qualia Mind has been developed with an abundance of vitamins and other nootropic ingredients to promote brain health. 

This product is a great option for someone who doesn’t have a specific complaint they’re trying to address and are more interested in making sure they support their brain to reach its optimal capacity. 

Some benefits to this product include:

  • Promoting neuron and synapse development

This product contains lots of vitamins, which interact with neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine. These neurotransmitters help to carry electrical signals around the brain, which means that it is able to help to promote the development of those neurons. 

  • Providing energy and metabolic support

Qualia Mind contains a great deal of products that are used by the brain in synthesizing the components it needs to function. 

Thus, this product ensures that your brain has all the ingredients it needs to make new neurons and form new connections. This is how we learn, so it’s vital that the brain has the ability to make new connections. 

Get Qualia Mind here.

Are These Nootropics Legal?

Nootropics are legal, even if they feel like they’re giving you improvements in your memory and alertness that should be illegal. 

The only nootropics that are legally restricted on this list are Modafinil and Armodafinil. This is because these act as central nervous system stimulants, and are more likely to be addictive, so doctors want to make sure they’re able to control how much access you have to these products. 

However, it’s worth investigating the legalities of Modafinil.

The other products on our list are classified as foods because they’re supplementary. You get most of the ingredients in your usual diet, just not in such an easily absorbed or easy to take way. 

The debate around nootropics is more about morals and ethics than legality when looking at whether or not students should be able to use them. Some people see the benefits provided by nootropics as giving the people who use them an unfair edge over those who don’t.

Again, the only nootropics that are regulated have to be prescribed by a doctor, so if you’ve been prescribed any nootropics, you are clearly acting to reduce a deficit that you have compared to your peers rather than trying to gain some advantage over them. 

In terms of the more generic smart drugs further down the list, these aren’t illegal. However, they may cause issues with your school if they have specific guidelines against the use of such products, so be sure to check to be safe! 

Do These Nootropics Have Any Side Effects?

Nootropics can have some side effects, but overall they’re known to be very safe. In fact, they’re much less risky than standard nootropic prescriptions like Adderall. 

Some side effects can include headaches and dizziness as well as nausea, constipation or diarrhea, thirst, sweating, or dry mouth. 

You can also experience more severe side effects like a rash, blisters, or itching. Any one of these can develop into anaphylaxis if you’re allergic to any component of the nootropic product you’re taking. 

Nootropics often include natural products, which for some people can stimulate allergic reactions. So you should always check the ingredients before using a new medicine or supplement. 

The main issue for Modafinil and Armodafinl is that they’re central nervous system stimulants. This can create issues around insomnia or inability to stop working due to the constant stimulation to the brain. 

These products also interact with some drugs to make them less effective. This can include estrogen derivatives, which means that taking these products may lessen the effectiveness of your hormonal therapies. 

However, these side effects are the type that needs to be kept in mind every time you try a new supplement and aren’t specific issues with the nootropic products in general. 

The only exceptions on this list, again, are Modafinil and Armodafinil, which have to be prescribed by a doctor, who will walk you through all the potential side effects and risks. 

The World’s Best Nootropics | Verdict

While many nootropics are out there, we’ve found these top five to be the absolute best after rigorous testing and research. 

These nootropic supplements are of extremely high quality, and are available to help you to improve your cognition as well as your memory and focus. 

They primarily work through making available all the necessary nutrients for the brain to work to its highest capacity. They also keep you awake and focused when you feel like you aren’t able to stay awake. 

If you’re looking for the absolute #1 best nootropic, then we have to recommend Modafinil! It has everything that your brain needs to work at its peak levels.

Click here to learn more about Modafinil. 


[1] Froestl W, Muhs A, Pfeifer A. Cognitive enhancers (nootropics). Part 1: drugs interacting with receptors. J Alzheimers Dis. 2012;32(4):793-887. doi: 10.3233/JAD-2012-121186. PMID: 22886028.

[2] Malík M, Tlustoš P. Nootropics as Cognitive Enhancers: Types, Dosage and Side Effects of Smart Drugs. Nutrients. 2022 Aug 17;14(16):3367. doi: 10.3390/nu14163367. PMID: 36014874; PMCID: PMC9415189.

[3] Greenblatt K, Adams N. Modafinil. 2022 Feb 22. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan–. PMID: 30285371.

[4] Sison, Gerardo. 2020 Feb 20. Armodafinil vs. modafinil: Differences, similarities, and which is better for you. Internet:

[5] Utley Andrea, Gonzalez Yardria,  Abbott Carlie, Nykjaer Camilla, The efficacy of the nootropic supplement Mind Lab Pro on information processing and memory in adults: pseudo randomised, double blind, placebo-controlled studies. 2022. University of Leeds

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