Combining nootropics with other supplements is tough because the terms can be confusing. This guide explains it all and gives tips on creating an ideal plan for you.

Combining nootropics with other supplements can help give a performance edge to students, athletes, business professionals and other high-performance individuals looking to optimise their mental and physical wellbeing.

The first step is to understand that nootropics and supplements are not separate from each other. Nootropics are a type of supplementation and this may cause confusion for some people due to the significant overlap in products and categories. This quick guide will outline the main differences while answering some questions you may have.

What are Nootropics?

Nootropics are supplements that target brain functions such as memory, creativity, mood, focus and motivation. There are many categories of nootropics that include:


Cholinergic are compounds and analogues of choline, an essential nutrient that the body uses to synthesize acetylcholine – an important neurotransmitter. Products in this category include citicoline, choline bitartrate and Alpha-GPC.

Nootropic herbs, mushrooms and minerals

Products in this category include Ginkgo Biloba, Salvia officinalis (Sage), Lion’s mane mushroom, bacopa Monnieri, Panax ginseng, Rhodiola Rosea, magnesium l-threonate, L-theanine and 5-HTP.

Pharmaceutical/Recreational “Nootropics”

The following substances are listed as “nootropics” in some guides. Most are available only by prescription or are illegal due to side effects and unknown long-term effects of use. They include:

Central nervous system stimulants* such as Amphetamine, Methylphenidate and Eugeroics (armodafinil and modafinil). While many drugs in this category may help a person stay alert and focused, their use over time has been correlated with a decline in mental capacity.

Prescription drugs* such as Tolcapone, Levodopa, Atomoxetine, Desipramine, Nicergoline, Adderall and Ritalin. These drugs are usually available by prescription only due to extremely dangerous side effects and long-term consequences of use.

Supplements vs. Nootropics

It’s important to understand that all true nootropics are supplements but not all supplements are nootropics. There are many different definitions for supplements all over the internet, so for the sake of this article we will use the European Union definition as follows:

“Food supplements are concentrated sources of nutrients (i.e. mineral and vitamins) or other substances with a nutritional or physiological effect that is marketed in “dose” form (e.g. pills, tablets, capsules, liquids in measured doses).”

The definition also includes ingredients found in many supplements that include “vitamins, minerals, amino acids, essential fatty acids, fibre and various plants and herbal extracts”.

With this definition in mind, we can see that not all substances classified as nootropics are “supplements” under the European Union definition.

How To Combine Nootropics with other Supplements

The following steps should help you organise your program to include both nootropics and other supplements without any overlap.

1. Identify any health issues

The first step is to clarify what health issues you feel need to be addressed. Some common issues for many people include:

  • Lack of energy
  • Excess weight
  • Foggy thinking
  • Lack of focus
  • Poor sleep
  • Short attention span

Once these goals are clarified, you will have a clear picture of where you are right now and what you want to achieve in the future. This helps immensely in staying on track with your program.

2. Assess lifestyle factors

The next step is to look at your diet and try to figure out what vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients may be missing.

There is no “best” diet for everyone because each person has specific needs according to their environment and lifestyle. In most cases, it’s wise to consider culture, ancestry and tradition (how your ancestors ate) in order to figure out the best foods for your specific genetics. There are also common-sense guidelines that apply to most people that include:

  • Eating when you’re hungry and stopping when full
  • Drinking plain water and only when thirsty
  • Avoiding sugary drinks and other calorie-intensive liquids
  • Avoiding fake foods from packages that last for months without spoiling (these contain a lot of chemicals)
  • Avoiding the consumption of animals that have suffered intensely and been given large amounts of drugs and antibiotics (these pass into your body)
  • Buying organic fruits and vegetables whenever possible

There is no substitute for good nutrition, so once you have dialled in the right diet you can move on to the next step.

3. Choose supplement combinations to fill the gaps in your diet 

Your diet is supposed to provide you with the essentials needed to provide energy during the day along with the nutrition required to rest and repair at night. Any gaps can be filled with supplements such as:

Magnesium L-threonate – Boosts neuroplasticity and aids the nervous system. Magnesium is an essential mineral involved in numerous critical processes in the brain and body.

Lion’s Mane Mushroom – Helps with mental processes by increasing oxygen flow. Prescribed for many years in traditional Eastern medicine.

Ashwagandha – An important herbal supplement prescribed for hundreds of years in India to reduce stress hormone levels.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

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Wrapping Up

Nootropics and other supplements can be combined to help support your specific lifestyle and goals. Always keep in mind that they are not intended to substitute for a healthy diet, so it’s best to consult with a qualified health professional that knows your medical history and lifestyle requirements.

* The listing of any drugs in this article does not imply endorsement by Cerebra or any of its partners and use thereof is the sole responsibility of the user.

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