It’s a commonplace that we live in the Adderall Age, a brave new world of quick-fix performance enhancement and pill-delivered mood boosts. These days, coffee won’t cut it. To stay in the competitive arena, caffeine will only get you so far as the starting gate. To win the race, you need something much sharper and potent and, well, probably dangerous, but you won’t have to worry about that thanks to these pills’ anti-worrying effects!
Feeling down? Turn that frown around with amphetamines!
Of course, the alarmism around these so-called “smart drugs” is a bit tiresome, even if the non-prescriptive use of prescription pills is at an alarming high. However, what’s unfortunate about the anxieties around “smart drugs” is how it’s tainting the reputation of genuinely brain healthy cognitive enhancers, such as nootropics.
Much has been said about how the highly competitive culture of Singapore is pressuring students and professionals to buy and take illicit cognitive enhancers at the cost of their long-term health. But not enough is being said about the not-so-illicit cognitive enhancers they can take that: A) actually improve cognition, and B) actually promote their long-term health in such a way that renders amphetaminic “smart drugs” virtually useless and unnecessary.
These compounds, called nootropics, are the new and improved coffee, so to speak. But what are the Best Nootropics in Singapore? Good question. Yet, before addressing that question, let’s first address this one:
Top Pre-Made Nootropic Stacks
Mind Lab Pro
Performance Lab Energy
Performance Lab Sleep
Nootropics vs. Stimulants: What’s the Difference?
While we tend to use the term “nootropic” interchangeably with anything believed to improve cognitive performance, there is a technical definition of nootropics that disqualifies many cognitive enhancing substances, namely stimulants, from being considered true nootropics.
Roughly, here’s the difference between true nootropics and stimulants:
How Nootropics Work
Based on the original criteria set by Dr. Corneliu E. Giurgea, the founder of the concept of “nootropics,” for a substance to qualify as a nootropic, its main features must consist of (verbatim):
- Enhancement of learning acquisition;
- Resistance to impairing agents;
- Facilitation of interhemispheric transfer of information;
- Enhanced resistance to brain “aggressions”;
- Increased tonic, cortico-subcortical “control”;
- Absence of usual pharmacological effects of neuro psychotropic drugs.
That last part is key: “absence of usual pharmacological effects of neuro psychotropic drugs.” In other words, nootropics are intended to not only improve cognitive performance but support long-term brain health. And while, sure, this sounds like having your cake and eating it too, it is a possibility, as demonstrated by the increasing abundance of natural nootropics legally available that do exactly that: improve cognitive performance and long-term brain health.
And these natural nootropics may work in a number of ways, from improving the neurochemical structures of memory and focus to combating the deleterious side effects of stress and fatigue; however, the important thing to note is that nootropics improve mental performance by supporting brain health.
Stimulants sort of do the opposite.
How Stimulants Work
If nootropics improve mental performance by supporting brain health, how do stimulants improve mental performance. Because let’s not fool ourselves: stimulants, such as prescription “smart drugs,” do enhance mental performance, however temporarily. However, the main problem with these stimulatory smart drugs, as many people have unfortunately found out, is that these stimulants improve mental performance at the cost of brain health.
Too many, this isn’t much of surprise. In fact, they probably began taking these mental performance enhancing substances despite knowing that these stimulants are probably not something they want to take every day for the rest of their lives. Many of us justify using these substances, usually without a prescription, by believing that we’ll only use them temporarily to temporarily get over a brief academic or professional hurdle.
This is understandable. By all means, do what you think is best for your long-term success.
Yet, if you feel that you’re often resorting to these “temporary” stimulatory solutions to often overcome these “temporary” hurdles, then it might be a good idea to reconsider your brain-game plan. Because these smart drug stimulants, when used too often, may actually diminish your mental performance in the long run.
Are Nootropics Legal in Singapore?
For the most part, yes—given that we’re talking about actual-factual nootropics, as classified by the Giurgean definition of “nootropic,” and not the synthetic “smart pill” stimulants (e.g., Adderall, Ritalin) that usually require a prescription to legally purchase and use. Most nootropics categorized as natural substances may be used without issue almost anywhere in the world (to where these nootropics are sold and shipped… which includes most of the globe).
Synthetic cognitive enhancers, such as racetams and modafinil, are another story. According to Singapore’s Health Sciences Authority’s Poisons Act, an “Act to regulate the importation, possession, manufacture, compounding, storage, transport and sale of poisons,” several synthetic compounds we might describe as nootropic (e.g., piracetam) are legally classified as poison. While this doesn’t stop many people from ordering and shipping these compounds internationally, technically it’s illegal to do so.
This all gets very complicated. For example, if piracetam is legally classified as a “poison,” what about coluracetam or oxiracetam, neither of which are listed on the Poison Act? (Here’s the list, by the way: source.)
Fortunately, the legal route to cognitive enhancement is also the most effective for safe, healthy, long-term cognitive enhancement. Common practice dictates that, when ordering nootropics, it’s best to stick to a maximum 3-month supply per order and to stick to the natural, good stuff. If you do this, you shouldn’t expect any legal issues.
Best Nootropics in Singapore
There are plenty of natural nootropics available to Singapore that you can use safely and legally to improve your overall brain performance and cognitive longevity. No doubt, the appeal of cheaply bought “smart pills” imported internationally is a big one. And if you feel the appeal is too great to resist, then at least consider some healthy nootropic companions to mitigate the negative consequences of stimulant cognitive enhancers. Nootropic companions such as the few listed below.
If you had to take only four nootropic ingredients, whether you live in Singapore or elsewhere, here are the best nootropics for daily cognitive enhancement and brain health support:
1. Citicoline (CDP Choline)
While used in some countries as a form of treatment, Citicoline (CDP Choline) is a legal and safe and, most importantly, effective nootropic supplement for daily cognitive enhancement. This is truly one of the best—if not the best—natural nootropic, one that essentially works as two nootropics in one, thanks to citicoline’s combination of two bio-active compounds:
- Choline: the precursor compound to acetylcholine, the neurotransmitter associated with memory, learning, and other high-order cognitive process.
- Cytidine: the precursor to uridine, an RNA nucleotide that seems to assist with ATP energy production and synaptic plasticity.
Whatever your brain performance goals are, it’s almost always important to start with an effective cholinergic base. Many supplements go with alpha-GPC, a choline-rich nootropic, whereas many other cheaper, inferior supplements go with choline bitartrate, a choline form incapable of crossing the blood-brain barrier. However, citicoline seems to possess the greatest brain health advantages with its powerful choline + cytidine combo.
Given acetylcholine’s role in the neuromuscular junction, where nervous tissue meets muscle tissue, citicoline may possess ergogenic advantages for the athletic sort.
2. Phosphatidylserine (PS)
Comprising roughly 15% of the brain’s fat content, Phosphatidylserine (PS) is a phospholipid used in the cell membrane bilayer to help maintain membrane fluidity, permeability, and receptivity. Brain cells need to community to one another for the neural brain network to work. PS plays an integral role in brain cell-to-cell communication, which is why age-related PS decline is such a detriment to long-term cognitive performance.
As a compound naturally found in the brain, PS plays key roles in brain cell energy metabolism, neurotransmitter activities, and brain toxin disposal. As a dietary supplementation, PS seems to improve various cognitive measures from memory to emotional wellbeing.
While typically viewed as a nootropic compound for elderly brain health support, PS also seems to possess cognitive benefits for the youthfully active in the forms of improved stress and anxiety resistance, mental clarity, and social acuity. Given PS’ strong correlation with many measures of cognitive performance, this seems a smart nootropic option to supplement for daily brain support.
3. N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine (NALT)
Ever felt tired and stressed after a night of bad sleep? How did I know! Of course, you feel tired and stress after a night of bad sleep. This is the punishment of bad sleep. However, many of us remain constantly in a state of mild sleep deprivation, due to our stubborn unwillingness to get to bad at a reasonable hour. This sleep deprivation puts us in a mild state of stress that further impairs our ability to sleep at a reasonable hour.
Fortunately, to help break this cycle we have N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine (NALT), an anti-stress amino acid that combats stress and fatigue by replenishing the catecholamine neurotransmitters (e.g., dopamine, norepinephrine) burned by stress and sleep deprivation.
Essentially, catecholamines help us stay awake, alert, and aware—or focused, so to speak. Yet, under conditions of high stress and activity, the brain burns through these catecholamines fast, after which, once our catecholamine reserves our spent, we experience total brain burnout. You know what I’m talking about: eyes glazed, mouth drooling, ears emitting sparks and smoke.
While NALT doesn’t solve sleep deprivation (only sleep solves sleep deprivation), NALT may significantly help us get back on track by ensuring that we have a more productive day. One that leaves us fulfilled and spent by the end of the day, so that we’re more than ready to get to bed for another awesome, fulfilling day tomorrow.
4. Maritime Pine Bark Extract
This is a relative unknown herbal nootropic that I suspect will soon be considered a go-to for many nootropic supplement manufacturers and users. Maritime Pine Bark Extract is a surprisingly versatile and multi-purpose plant extract, one that can be used for both work and working out, studying and exercising. And it’s all thanks to the extract’s potent complex of proanthocyanidins, a class of antioxidants that seem to benefit brain and body health by:
- Improving Circulation: by increasing nitric oxide (N.O.) activity, this extract helps relax blood vessels to improve blood flow to brain and muscle tissue;
- Combating Oxidative Stress: the antioxidant aspect of these compounds helps neutralize harmful free radicals that essentially age the brain and body.
In terms of mental performance, Maritime Pine Bark Extract is best known for its potential as an ADD/ADHD “smart pill” alternative. Not for having a comparable effect to smart pills, seeing that Maritime Pine Bark Extract does not have any stimulatory effects, but rather for alleviating the symptoms of ADD/ADHD altogether.
By promoting attention and reducing hyperactivity, Maritime Pine Bark Extract may ameliorate the *need* for focus-stimulating “smart pills” for many with mild inattention-related issues. This is, in the long run, a more sustainable and healthier option for improving focus and productivity.
Pre-Made Supplements to Buy in Singapore
The problem with stimulant cognitive enhancers is that they promote the illusion that a single pill can solve all of your cognitive problems. While they may give you that feel-good feeling of smiling, jittery productivity, they’re doing little to nothing to promote the brain structures underlying long-term brain health and performance. Likewise, while a nootropic may improve those structures, one nootropic ingredient won’t totally optimize the brain.
This is the advantage of taking a pre-made supplement, one that stacks several ingredients to improve cognitive performance from various angles. What’s more, you may also compound the benefits of one supplement by stacking it with others. Here is a supplement trifecta you can buy in Singapore that will altogether improve cognition, energy, and relaxation—the three parts of a totally optimized brain:
1. Mind Lab Pro
Our top recommended nootropic supplement, Mind Lab Pro is one of the best natural nootropics for total brainpower. Supplying the four aforementioned nootropics—Citicoline, Phosphatidylserine, N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine, Maritime Pine Bark Extract—and then some, this impressive nootropic stack tackles mental performance from all angles, optimizing all the key cognitive pathways without resorting to risky stimulants or weak, cheap, “knock-off” brain boosters. Check them out:
Citicoline: promotes cholinergic pathways, synaptic plasticity.
Bacopa Monnieri Extract: boosts memory, learning, longevity.
Lion’s Mane Mushroom: increases neuroregeneration capacity.
Phosphatidylserine: optimizes cell membrane structure.
N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine: alleviates fatigue, stress, poor mood.
L-Theanine: improves calm focus without sedation.
Rhodiola Rosea Extract: combats stress hormone cortisol.
Maritime Pine Bark Extract: amplifies cerebral circulation.
B Vitamins: B6, B9, B12—boosts mood, energy, circulation.
The synergistic interplay between the ingredients is what’s most impressive about this formula. While each ingredient targets a few specific bio-pathways, altogether these nootropics combine for a multiplicity of brain benefits that allows for each ingredient work better than if they were used alone.
For example, B vitamins co-facilitate NALT’s conversion to focus-sharpening neurochemicals.
Also, given the bodily benefits of, say, Maritime Pine Bark Extract’s boost on blood flow or Rhodiola Rosea’s relief from physiological stress, Mind Lab Pro offers significant performance advantages to more parts of the body than the brain.
2. Performance Lab Energy
In addition to Mind Lab Pro’s nootropics, Performance Lab Energy offers a simple, yet comprehensive complex of antioxidant energy boosters that, unlike stimulants, actually increase natural ATP energy at the mitochondrial level. Put another way, Performance Lab Energy actually boosts energy in support of long-term health.
Acetyl-L-Carnitine: amino cofactor for ATP energy production.
R-Lipoic Acid: enhances mitochondrial antioxidant activity.
Coenzyme Q10: assists with food fuel conversion to ATP.
PQQ: promotes the creation of new mitochondria.
Black Pepper Extract: improves nutrient absorption in the gut.
All ingredients contribute to ATP production, with exception to Black Pepper Extract, which improves the rest of the formula’s overall bio-availability.
By taking the antioxidant pathway to improved cellular energy production, Performance Lab Energy not only helps sustain daily elevated energy levels but seems to have an anti-aging effect on the brain and body. Oxidative stress may negatively impact all aspects of health and performance. By neutralizing these free radical stressors, Performance Lab Energy promotes and protects long-term brainpower.
3. Performance Lab Sleep
Elevated energy is only half the equation. And, if anything, it’s the lesser half, given the greater importance of sleep and relaxation to daily energy and performance. By supporting quicker, deeper sleep onset, Performance Lab Sleep is as much a daytime performance enhancer as a nighttime recovery stack. What’s more impressive is how this stack does so much with so little:
Magnesium: relaxes smooth muscle, pre-sleep blood pressure.
Montmorency Tart Cherry: supplies clean, natural melatonin.
L-Tryptophan: converts to mood-boosting serotonin, melatonin.
For many, melatonin is the go-to sleep aid. However, the problem with many melatonin supplements is that they use unreliable, synthetic melatonin that often leaves users feeling groggy with a headache in the morning. Performance Lab Sleep’s natural melatonin sourced from tart cherries is much safer and more effective than the synthetic stuff, namely due to the extract’s standardized potency of bio-active melatonin.
If used nightly, Performance Lab Sleep may help establish a healthy, predictable sleep-wake cycle, allowing the body to fall into a more regular Circadian rhythm for all-around improved mental and physical performance. The health advantages of adequate sleep, especially for the busy, stressful student or worker, cannot be understated.
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