Over the last few years, there has been an increase in the use of cognitive enhancers among healthy individuals but before listing some of the most common cognitive enhancers we need to understand the term cognitive enhancer.

What Are Cognitive Enhancers?

Cognitive enhancers are supplements, drugs, and other substances that boost cognitive functions such as creativity, motivation, and memory in healthy individuals. Scientifically known as ‘Nootropics’ they help improve the brain’s performance by stimulating important receptors to increase learning, attention, memory, mood, and reasoning.

Types Of Cognitive Enhancers

There are two types of cognitive enhancers- smart drugs and nootropics. Cognitive enhancers are used by individuals to enhance mental performance. These substances provide a little boost to our brain to help increase our mental concentration to produce a better quality of work.


Nootropics include substances such as herbs and vitamins that provide a boost to the brain but are not subscribed by the doctor.  The most widely used nootropics are caffeine which is consumed by almost every adult in the form of coffee, tea, or energy drink. Many people believe that caffeine can help them focus better for longer periods of time.

Tea and energy drinks are also considered nootropics as they improve mental focus and give a positive boost to the brain. These substances act as stimulants which on the one hand increase our attention but on the other hand increase the heart rate. However, some nootropics like vitamin B helps to enhance cognitive functions by maintaining neurons or brain cells.

Smart Drugs

All nootropics are cognitive enhancers, but all cognitive enhancers are not nootropics. These cognitive enhancers are known as smart drugs and are slightly different than nootropics. These differences can be summarized as follows:

  • These drugs are usually prescribed by a medical practitioner for a medical condition that has resulted in deterioration of mental function, focus, and concentration.
  • These drugs are amphetamines which mean that they stimulate the central nervous system to improve cognitive abilities.
  • These drugs are also called study drugs because of their increasing use in students to help them finish their homework and stay on top of their class.
  • Drugs such as Adderall and Ritalin are prescribed for patients suffering from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. They can have adverse side-effects and are not endorsed by pharmaceutical companies to help college going students.

Best Cognitive Enhancers

There are a number of cognitive enhancer supplements available in the market and more and more research is being done to create more effective drugs. Following is the list of the best cognitive enhancers that you can buy:


Piracetam was introduced by a European pharmaceutical company in 1960. It is one of the most popular cognitive enhancers that has proven to increase brain power. The main purpose of this drug is to help the acetylcholine receptors in the formation of new memories and in helping the brain make new connections.

Brain power


Aniracetam works similarly as Piracetam but is much more powerful with a heightened influence of serotonin and dopamine. It also has a greater effect on glutamate receptors which results in increased concentration, energy, and motivation. This cognitive enhancer is also considered one of the best nootropics for treatment of depression and anxiety.

This supplement works on the part of the brain that regulates the formation of new memories and neuroplasticity. It also helps to decrease the rate of receptor desensitization which means that you will be able to remember events in more detail even after a long tiring day of studying or work. Aniracetam users are also able to remember specific numbers and facts after reading a complicated technical article.


Pramiracetam is considered thirty times more powerful and has a longer lasting effect on the brain. It works as learning, energy, mood, and memory booster with increased effect on concentration and focus. This cognitive enhancer is not suitable for everyday use but can be taken on days when you have to be extra productive in your studies or office work. This supplement is a fat-soluble Racetam and works best on a full stomach. It is the perfect choice for people looking for a cognitive enhancer for motivation and concentration.


This is a relatively new nootropic drug which has been made available in the last couple of years. It is sixty times more potent than Piracetam and has a wider range of benefits. The use of this supplement provides unprecedented levels of mental drive and focus with a clarity of thought. It is a great drug for athletes as it improves their performance by increasing the reflex time and stamina. Use of Phenylpiracetam can help increase communication between the two sides of the brain, promote faster cognition, and facilitate more creative thought.


This cognitive enhancer directly affects the brain which is why it is considered 1,000 times more effective than Piracetam. It stimulates the neurons in the brain which results in increased levels of reasoning, memory, and learning skills. This cognitive enhancer also has mood-enhancement benefits. It also increases the development and health of new neurons that is it is considered to have a long-term effect on brain intellect and health. It is also used in the treatment of patients suffering from Alzheimer’s and stroke.

A man with a newspaper near a tree

In Conclusion

From the above article we can summarize the following points:

  • Each supplement may have a different effect on every individual. You will need to try different supplements to find out which one suits you best according to your particular needs and goals.
  • There has been an increased use of cognitive-enhancing drugs in healthy individuals to secure a competitive edge at work, university, or school and for maintaining performance and attention when tired or sleep-deprived.
  • Patients and healthy individuals use a number of pharmaceutical substances such as psychotropic drugs to caffeine to nicotine to improve, enhance, and alter mental functioning. These cognitive enhancers have been developed to treat effects of impaired cognition like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia.
  • The possible side-effects and potential abuse raise a number of safety concerns in healthy individuals. “It is the duty of the pharmaceutical industry, national medical organizations, and Government” to work together to gather more information about the effects of these supplements on healthy individuals.

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