6 Lesser-Known Nootropics

6 Lesser-Known Nootropics

If you regularly visit subscribe to our newsletter, you’ve read about dozens of the most popular nootropics being used around the world today. We generally focus on things like modafinil, l-theanine, piracetam, and other widely-used nootropics. In this post, we’re going to be taking a look at some lesser-known nootropics. Most of them are substances we’ve barely mentioned, if at all. But each one of the nootropics we’re going to discuss are generally safe, effective, and have at least some science to support their use.

6 Lesser-Known Nootropics

1. Huperzine A

This is a substance that is extracted from herbs in the Huperziceae family of plants. It is found in a number of nootropic products like Azoth, Herberall, and BriteSmart.

Huperzine A is an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor. What that means is that Huperzine A slows the enzyme that breaks down the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. This neurotransmitter is known to play a role in learning and memory, among other things. By slowing the rate at which it breaks down, Huperzine A supplementation results in increased acetylcholine levels. And more acetylcholine can have a beneficial effect on memory, learning, and other aspects of cognition.

The use of Huperzine A has been studied as a treatment for Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases. Research has demonstrated its safety and effectiveness. In clinical trials, Huperzine A has shown neuroprotective and memory-enhancing effects.

Nootropic users sometimes take Huperzine A on its own. However, people typically include it as part of a broader nootropic stack. Many users report that it stacks well with modafinil, piracetam, aniracetam, phenylpiracetam, and several other nootropics.

2. Agmatine

This substance is a metabolite of the amino acid L-arginine. Agmatine is known for its modulatory effect on neurotransmitter systems, nitric oxide synthesis, and ion channels. Nootropic users have been using it to improve mood, reduce anxiety, and improve overall cognition.

Agmatine not only works by modulating several neurotransmitters, it is actually a neurotransmitter itself. Though people can take this intriguing substance in supplement form, it is also naturally present within the body.Studies show that the agmatine naturally found in our bodies may have antidepressant and anti-anxiety effects.

Another interesting reason that people use agmatine is for its pain-relieving effects. Although agmatine exhibits mild pain-relieving properties independently, it appears to be most effective when used in conjunction with other pain medications. It’s also being investigated for its potential to help treat addiction.

3. Centrophenoxine

Manufacturers include this cholinergic nootropic, akin to Huperzine A, in a wide range of nootropic products. Users typically include centrophenoxine (also known as meclofenoxate) in a larger nootropic stack, although it can be taken alone.

In the United States, centrophenoxine is sold as a dietary supplement. However, in Japan and several European countries, doctors prescribe it as a medication to treat dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and other disorders. Clinical trials have demonstrated centrophenoxine to be both safe and effective.

Nootropic users often find that it can improve focus, memory, and concentration and may also slightly increase alertness. People often stack Centrophenoxine with one or more racetams, especially aniracetam, piracetam, phenylpiracetam, fasoracetam, pramiracetam, and/or oxiracetam.

4. Inositol

If you’re a fan of energy drinks, you’ve probably heard of this one. Just about every energy drink on the market includes inositol. This is due to its scientific demonstration of mood improvement, anxiety reduction, and various other positive effects, all achieved without causing any serious side effects.

A 1995 study showed that inositol had a significant antidepressant effect in people with depression. Another study for a couple years earlier showed similar results. Research has demonstrated that inositol effectively reduces the symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and panic disorder.

Nootropic users often add inositol as part of a larger nootropic stack. They frequently report that it helps to reduce some of the side effects of nootropics like modafinil. Though most users don’t experience any side effects, some users find that modafinil can slightly increase anxiety or reduce mood. By stacking inositol with it, users often report that those side effects disappear.

5. Pyrroloquinoline Quinone (PQQ)

This one is a mouthful. To keep it simple, we’ll just refer to pyrroloquinoline quinone as PQQ. This interesting (and hard to pronounce) substance was once thought to be a vitamin. But it is now know that it’s not a vitamin but rather a cofactor involved in several chemical processes in the body.

Kiwi, human breast milk, and other foods naturally contain PQQ. Similar to many substances on our list of lesser-known nootropics, people typically include PQQ as part of a larger stack when taking it. Users often report that it improves memory, reduces stress, and also has a positive effect on sleep. And there has been some scientific research to support these claims.

A 2016 study found that healthy older people given PQQ showed improvement on memory tests and had increased cerebral blood flow to the prefrontal cortex (the rational decision-making part of the brain). And a study from 2012 showed that PQQ supplementation reduced stress and fatigue, and improved overall sleep quality.

6. Pterostilbene

This one’s a little easier to pronounce, but not by much. Pterostilbene originates from resveratrol, the substance found in wine, grapes, and other fruits known for a variety of health benefits. The body often absorbs pterostilbene much more efficiently, leading to its frequent reference as “better resveratrol.”

Similar to most other substances on this list, people rarely take pterostilbene on its own. However, many people include it in custom-made nootropic stacks, as well as in various blended nootropic products. Pterostilbene exhibits powerful anti-inflammatory effects, which explains why many nootropic products include it. These effects are so powerful that they’re even stronger than the anti-inflammatory effects seen from resveratrol.

In addition to pterostilbene’s anti-inflammatory effects, it also acts as a powerful antioxidant. Although researchers have yet to study pterostilbene in humans, studies have shown that it has an anti-anxiety effect in mice. With all these potential benefits, it’s not surprising that so many nootropic products include pterostilbene.


Interest in nootropics has steadily increased over the past decades and shows no signs of slowing down. As time progresses, the already-long list of brain-boosting supplements will continue to have more and more substances added to it.

All six of the nootropics mentioned above have excellent safety records and at least some science to support their effectiveness. Though some users find them to be effective on their own, most of them usually take them only as part of a larger nootropic stack.

Also read our blog on Sulforaphane — Why Your Mom Was Right When She Said “Eat Your Broccoli, It’s Good For You.”

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