What is a nootropic?

A nootropic is a supplement that, if used appropriately, safely enhances cognitive performance or mood for the user.

Are nootropics effective?

While certain nootropics have dozens of studies showing that they're effective for the average user, any given nootropic may or may not work for you. Successful use of nootropics is all about finding what works for you through patient and scientific self-experimentation.

Are nootropics safe?

Yes, if used in a mindful and science-based manner, it is possible to use nootropics safely.

How do nootropic recommendations work?

Based on all of the scientific evidence available for the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of all the nootropics we know of, we will find the most science-backed nootropic for the effects you selected.

If you have already tried the nootropic you were recommended, you can click &qout;Next recommendation&qout; on the page of the nootropic you were recommended to see the second most science-backed nootropic for the effects you selected. You can continue doing this until you find a nootropic that has the safety profile and benefits that you're looking for. All of the nootropics that we recommend are safe for most people if used appropriately.

When you found a nootropic that you want to try, you can buy it by clicking the green &qout;Buy Nootropic&qout; button on the nootropic page, and log your experiences with it by creating an account.

Our recommendation engine scrutinizes 527 placebo-controlled studies, each having some experimental group healthy human participants.

How should I interpret nootropic recommendations in the Nootralize app?

They're not a substitute for professional medical advice diagnosis or treatment. They're solely for educational purposes.

The recommendation consists of a nootropic that you are likely to respond well to if you self-experiment with it. It is your responsibility to understand the probable risks and benefits of any given nootropic before you may choose to use it.

Who should be extra careful with nootropics?

We at Nootralize have not investigated whether any specific nootropic is safe in pregnant or nursing women. For most nootropics, there's a lack of research on the safety of the nootropic for a developing child. We encourage you to talk with your trusted healthcare professional about the risks involved if you are pregnant, nursing, taking any medications, or have any other reason to believe that you are at an increased risk of negative side effects.

Short-term safety has often been confirmed by studies on specific nootropics, whereas daily long term use has usually not been studied in humans.

Which nootropic products do you recommend?

The products and companies we decide to work with have been picked carefully. For almost every product that we link to via &qout;Buy buttons&qout; in the Nootralize web app there will be a third-party certificate of analysis available. If you cannot find it on the page of the product, you'll most likely have one sent to you by email if you ask our partners' customer support. CoAs ensure us and you that what's on the label is what's in the product. They can also serve as proof of low concentrations of dangerous compounds (such as heavy metals).

What is a minute, small, moderate, and large effect size?

These terms are based on Cohen’s d effect size measures, that we use in our recommendation engine and for content on nootropic pages.

Basically, if the statistical size of the effect of a nootropic compared with a placebo on any given outcome measure (such as n-back accuracy) is 0 to 0.2, the term used is &qout;minute&qout;, 0.2 to 0.5 is &qout;small&qout;, 0.5 to 0.8 is &qout;moderate&qout; and 0.8+ is large. The calculations used for these effect sizes are complex, but simply put include the participants baseline scores and post nootropic use scores, with the end goal of the effect size calculation to find a difference in mood/performance compared with the placebo group.

We use these terms to efficiently communicate the science of the benefits and risks of a nootropic as accurately as possible. The value-to-word conversion is a generally valid and useful method for interpretation of the sizes of effects of medical interventions and is often used in various fields of science.

In some instances, a small effect can be very significant for a person in their life in practice, while in other instances a large effect size might not be experienced as a strong effect.

People also vary widely in how they respond to different nootropics, so the fact that Ashwagandha had a large beneficial effect on sleep in the 6 studies we reviewed on it doesn’t guarantee that you will get such an effect from the nootropic. It only means that if you use it, most likely you will get a large beneficial effect on your sleep. The study data based on which effect size calculations are made can be found in the studies of a specific nootropic, which are available in the studies section for any given nootropic. To read more about how we match measurement instances from studies to Nootralize effects (e.g. &qout;Sleep&qout;), read &qout;How Nootralize Researches Nootropics&qout;. In that article, you can also find the exact statistical equations we use for calculating the specific Cohen’s D effect size measure that we use.

What is a preliminary, moderate, and relatively large amount of evidence?

Your intuitive understanding of these terms is likely quite accurate (that’s why we chose them), so you don’t have to understand the details of our implementation of evidence amount calculations in order to make science-based nootropic use decisions.

In order to arrive at terms that are as accurate and useful as possible when it comes to communicating how much evidence exists on how large the effect of a nootropic is for a specific purpose, we’ve taken several steps. First, we gathered data from more than 500 healthy human placebo-controlled studies. Specifically, we gathered data regarding how many participants had some aspect of a Nootralize effect tested, were given a nootropic for a certain period, and then tested again. We started crunching the numbers of how many participants and measurement instances were found for a given nootropic to arrive at a valid and useful word for the communication of how much evidence exists on the effect size of the use of a specific nootropic for the purpose of getting a given effect.

To calculate the number of participants that have had the effects of a nootropic tested on them, we added together all of the sums of how many different participants had their mood or cognition measured for any given measurement instance to get a total number of participants that have been studied (weighed by how extensively their mood or cognition on/off the nootropic has been studied) for any given nootropic. Then we standardized these large numbers of participants to between 0 and 1 so that we could arrive at useful terms in the final stage of our evidence amount calculations, and we also made sure that for example an added 10 participants were considered more significant if a nootropic had only 10 other participants than if a nootropic had 1000 other participants. The reason we did this is because of the diminishing returns of gathering more and more data in the discovery of the true effects of a nootropic.

Here’s the exact equation we used for standardization of evidence amount and the weighing of the relative importance of new evidence: Number of participants / (Number of participants + 50). We then set values between 0 and 0.5 to &qout;preliminary&qout;, values between 0.5 and 0.65 to &qout;moderate&qout; and values between 0.65 and 1 to &qout;relatively large&qout;.

This methodology had good face validity, meaning that it appeared to us at Nootralize to represent the amount of evidence for a specific nootropic well. We have not used any other methods than subjective face validity judgment for the validation of these terms, since their primary purpose is to efficiently communicate scientific information to people with little to no scientific literacy. Considering the purpose of these terms, the high expected usefulness in combination with the strong face validity were the two criteria for the selection of these terms. Essentially no nootropic has a large amount of evidence as compared with how much evidence would be optimal for understanding the true effects of a nootropic. In general, more research is needed on the effects of any given nootropic, which is why &qout;relatively large&qout; is the largest amount of evidence possible in our categorization system.