If you’re looking to improve your performance inside or outside the gym, it’s time you considered nootropic supplements – they to do more than simply elevate your physical capacity by delivering a mental boost.

The pace of modern living, life’s daily demands and rising stress levels generally call for some mental support. And thanks to continued innovation from supplement brands, we can now find the support we need in the form of nootropics.

READ MORE | Nootropics Give You A Mental Edge

The nootropic benefits

These products may help to improve cognitive function to enhance reaction times and improve decision-making while also helping to increase focus and motivation during your training sessions, races or big games, and work just as well in the lecture hall, boardroom or office.

You can find a wide range nootropics at your local Dis-Chem Pharmacy or on www.dischem.co.za as either standalone products or included in a growing number of product formulations, including various energy drinks and pre-workouts.

READ MORE | Stop Stressing Out! Exercise To Manage Stress In Today’s Hectic Lifestyle

Know your nootropics

Nootropics can include various natural or synthetic substances based on their origin and composition.

Synthetic nootropics are artificially created compounds that are designed to enhance cognitive function. These substances are typically developed through chemical synthesis or modifications of existing molecules. Synthetic nootropics that are not scheduled are often included in various supplement formulations and products that don’t require a prescription to purchase.

As an example, Alpha-glycerophosphocholine (Alpha-GPC) is a nootropic compound derived from natural sources. However, the supplemental form of Alpha-GPC is typically produced through a synthetic process, where it is chemically synthesised or extracted from soy lecithin. As such, it is generally regarded as a synthetic nootropic.

Alpha-GPC is commonly used as a cholinergic compound to support brain health, enhance cognitive function, and potentially improve memory and focus.

The other class of nootropics includes various natural ingredients that you can buy over-the-counter or on supplement store shelves at your local Dis-Chem.

Natural nootropics are derived from natural sources such as plants, herbs, fungi, or other naturally occurring substances. Examples of natural nootropics include:

  • Bacopa monnieri: Derived from a herb, it is known for its potential memory-enhancing properties.
  • Ginkgo biloba: Extracted from the leaves of the Ginkgo biloba tree, it is believed to improve cognitive function and circulation.
  • Panax ginseng: A popular herb used to enhance mental performance and reduce fatigue.
  • Lion’s mane mushroom: A type of mushroom that may have neuroprotective and cognitive-enhancing effects.
  • Phosphatidylserine (PS): A phospholipid that forms an essential component of cell membranes, and is found in various foods, particularly in animal products and soybeans.

READ MORE | Manage Stress And Improve Mental Health With These Supplements

Amplify the nootropic effect with stacking

Many of these ingredients have been used in natural medicine for years. And we often consume substances every day that are technically classified as nootropics, like caffeine, creatine and amino acids like L-theanine.

A popular approach aimed at boosting performance looks to combine two or more synergistic nootropic substances together – known as stacking – to create a blend that delivers even greater cognitive and mental benefits.

Nootropic stacking involves the strategic combination of different nootropics to potentially amplify their individual effects or create a synergistic effect. The goal is to enhance cognitive performance, boost brain health, and optimise brain function.

Supplement manufacturers already provide specific blends that are often target specific areas of cognitive enhancement based on available research.

For instance, one study1 published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, which looked at the effects of alpha-GPC, caffeine or a placebo on on markers of mood, cognitive function, power, speed, and agility, found that Alpha-GPC “seemed to be beneficial for certain physical and mental performance tasks.”

The specific combination of nootropics in a stack can vary depending on individual preferences, goals, and desired effects.

It’s important to note that the effectiveness and safety of a particular stack may vary among individuals, as everyone’s brain chemistry and physiology are unique. Therefore, it is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplementation regimen, especially if you have pre-existing medical conditions or are taking other medications.


  1. Adam G Parker, Allyn Byars, et al. The effects of alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine, caffeine or placebo on markers of mood, cognitive function, power, speed, and agility. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2015; 12 (Suppl 1): P41. Published online 2015 Sep 21. doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-12-S1-P41