Cholinergic Nootropics – Guest Blog

Let me introduce you to Elite Nootropics, a dedicated nootropics ‘smart drug’ company based in Fort Collins Colorado, USA.

In this guest post from Elite Nootropics below, the focus is on nootropics targeting the brain’s cholinergic system and the neurotransmitter acetylcholine.

Any comments on your experience with Piracetam or other nootropics are encouraged. We want to share these ‘mind hacking’ experiments, particularly if you have combined nootropics with an evidence-based brain training app such as  i3 Mindware.

My own position on smart drugs is still evolving. I have experimented with Modafinil but not systematically. I suggest if you are considering using these kinds of cognitive enhancers, to get on forums (see links below) and try to form your own well-informed judgments about the benefit-risk ratios.

Here is the post from Elite Nootropics:

Nootropics – What Can They Do for My IQ?

People are constantly looking for ways to improve their IQ’s and cognitive processing skills. Brain training programs and games have been created to help “exercise” the brain muscles. These games have been known to improve IQ but what if there were supplements of drugs to chemically improve the functions of our brains?

There are actually supplements that help to improve the brain’s functions and they are known as nootropics. There is a main distinction between nootropics and stimulants. Stimulant supplements and drugs are also known to affect the ability of the mind by chemically influencing certain neurotransmitters in the brain. These stimulants cause changes to central nervous system that can bring a long list of side effects. Nootropics do not have these same side effects and generally do not affect the central nervous system.

So How Do Nootropics Work?

Nootropics are a general and broad category. Not every nootropic works in the same way to help improve cognition. Generally, most nootropics affect the cholinergic system. The cholinergic system involves the neurotransmitter acetylcholine which is prominent in: memory, learning, coordination, focus and sensory perception. Malfunctions in cholinergic system have been linked to cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease.

The most common and well-known nootropics are known as the racetam family. Piracetam 2-oxo-1-pyrrolidine acetamide is the most popular in this group however there are several others like aniracetam, oxiracetam and pramiracetam. Many people will combine or “stack” these racetams for a synergetic effect.

Most racetams act as positive allosteric modulators at the acetylcholine receptors. This stimulation helps to increase cognitive function in areas such as: memory, learning, sensory perception and focus. Racetams have been shown to be very safe with limited side effects, tolerance and addiction issues.

Not all cholinergic nootropics belong to the racetam family. Other nootropics like alpha GPC and citicoline work to increase the amount of acetylcholine in parts of the brain. This increase in acetylcholine is thought to help improve cognitive functioning. These types of acetylcholine increasing nootropics are often combined with racetams due to the synergetic effects between the two types of nootropics.

The third type of cholinergic nootropic works differently than racetams and acetylcholine precursors. There is an enzyme in the brain that breaks down acetylcholine. This enzyme is needed within the body to terminate muscle movements however having too much has negative effects on cognition.

The nootropic supplements that deplete this enzyme are known as acetylcholinesterase inhibitors. This is the method behind many modern-day Alzheimer’s drugs. Galantamine is an anti-Alzheimer nootropic that can be obtained over the counter. As with acetylcholine precursors, acetylcholinesterase inhibitors may also be combined with racetams.

cholinergic nootropics

Are They Safe?

To be considered a nootropic, the substance must have a very good safety and tolerability profile. There are side effects that can occur with nootropics however they are generally considered very subtle and non-severe. A nootropic must also be non-toxic and therefore risk of overdose in almost impossible. Nootropics must also be non-addictive. They do not build tolerance and many nootropics have shown to have cumulative benefits that increase over time.

Certain nootropics may have health benefits by reducing brain aging. Brain aging is phenomenon that occurs when free radicals build up within cells and cause oxidative stress. This oxidative stress causes damages to cholinergic and other systems. Several nootropics have shown in studies to reduce this oxidative stress. This is another great benefit of nootropics.

Overall nootropics are a great choice. We recommend that you visit They are a great learning resource about brain supplements.

Further Reading and Resources

My own introduction to nootropics and other IQ increasing methodologies can be found here:

How to Increase IQ? Working Memory Training, Smart Drugs and tDCS Reviewed

Here is a recent article on Modafinil (Provigil) use in the Silicon Valley

Here is an article on nutraceuticals (nootropics) and other ways to upgrade your brain by Dave Asprey (Bulletproof Executive). Note that the dual n-back training he recommends is i3 Mindware. This is the software that Dave and Andrew Clark from BPE used to increase their IQ.

Exploring Dave’s site can link you to relevant nutraceutical comments and forums. Dave has posted a number of blogs on smart drugs, and has used them extensively himself.



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I am a cognitive scientist specializing in health, resilience and performance (HRP) brain training interventions and self-quantification. I have a joint Ph.D in cognitive psychology and neuroscience from the Center of the Neural Basis of Cognition (Carnegie Mellon/Pittsburgh) and for a number of years was a researcher at Cambridge University.

1 Comment

  • Hello Mark, I just discovered this blog while searching some good nootropic supplements. I am thankful to you for sharing such a detailed information here.

    Clints Hanks 23.02.2017