What is the Difference Between Nootropics and Adaptogens? The “Big” 2 Smart Drugs

Article by: David Gracey
difference between nootropics and adaptogens

Although a lot of people use the term nootropic and adaptogen interchangeably, they’re not the exact same thing.

Learning what the difference is between nootropics and adaptogens is important to know before you start incorporating them into your brain enhancement regimine. 

The main thing you must keep in mind is “what is your end goal?”.  That’ll help you determine which one (nootropics vs adaptogens) is best for you.

As you’re going to learn, all adaptogens could be classified as nootropics, but not all nootropics are adaptogens.

The most important part is that they all offer incredible benefits for your body and mind; you just need to know which one is the best one for you and your specific brain enhancement goals.

Now, if you want to know not only the difference between nootropics and adaptogens,  but which ones are the most recommended (and how to take them together), you simply need to read everything I have outlined below.

There’s also a way to improve the benefits of each by taking them in a certain way.

So, the first question that you must ask is:

“What reaction do they cause in the body,  and how do they work?”

This is the key to understanding the differences between these two substances; (nootropics vs adaptogens) and how they can help you improve your daily life, particularly when it comes to enhancing brain function, elevating mood, aleviating stress, minimizing depression, and boosting energy!

Enhancing Performance VS. Reducing Stress

Reducing stress is important, but eliminating it would ruin your life.

As much as stress is demonized in our current culture, you actually need it to survive.  The problem isn’t having stress.

The problem is having too much of it!

Uncontrolled stress levels can lead to diseases like cancer, cardiovascular conditions, and neurological issues.

That’s why taking adaptogens can help improve the quality of your life.

Now, everyone wants to get ahead in life. When you’re a student or entrepreneur, you want to make sure your brain can work at its peak performance and optimal levels.

Imagine if you could think clearer, sharper, and faster than you currently can.  That’s why nootropics can have such a massive impact on your life.  They can help you optimize your brain function in a way that makes you somewhat superhuman.

The best thing is that you don’t need to choose between one or the other.  You can take adaptogens and nootropics together. 

Nootropics will optimize your brain cells without altering the structure of the brain.  While adaptogens will stabilize your endocrine system to reduce stress levels.

So, all you have to do is to decide which ones you want to take, nootropics vs adaptogens, or even a combination of both!

Start compiling a list of the benefits that you need to experience to greatly improve your overall mental performance.   Then seek out some nootropics and adaptogens that provide these benefits, and start building a custom stack based on what you find.

Not all nootropics and/or adaptogens should be mixed together, so be sure to do some deep research into any bad interactions or negative side effects associated with mixing any of the substances on your list.

Don’t just assume mixing 2 or more of these substances are okay without being 100% sure first.

In fact, its always a good idea to consult with your doctor before adding any new nootropic or adaptogen supplements into your regimine to be on the safe side.

Benefits Of Taking Nootropics

There are many benefits to taking nootropics.  They’re mainly geared towards improving your brain performance.  Even if you improve your mental performance by just 5 or 10%, this is huge when it comes to cognitive functions and mental performance.


So, what are some of the benefits of taking nootropics?

Benefits of Taking Nootropics:
Increased Focus
Improved Mood and Sense of Wellbeing
Reduces Symptoms of Depression
Reduces Symptoms of Anxiety & Panic Attacks
Noticeable Increases in Drive and Motivation
Improved Memory Function
Faster Learning
Boost in Creativity

Those are a just a few of the most common benefits that you can get by taking nootropics.

They’ll increase your NGF (Nerve Growth factor) levels on the brain, which will stimulate the growth of new cells. This means that your brain cells will regenerate faster and better.

You’ll notice within a few days that you can learn faster, focus better, be more motivated, and not feel so down all the time.

But, keep in mind….

It’s NOT a magic pill!

It’s just science at its best.  Although each person will experience the benefits of taking nootropics differently and at different degrees, everyone can enjoy at least some of these benefits from them.

So, if you want to take advantage of better cognitive performance, meaning that you can think, learn, and focus better, you should consider implementing nootropics into your daily supplementation.

It can have a serious, positive impact on your life.

Most Popular Examples of Nootropic Supplements

If you’re new to nootropics, you may not know all of them by name.  Still, you should familiarize yourself with them, so you can choose the best one for you and your cognitive goals. 

Below are some of the most popular nootropics, along with the benefits that they can offer you.

Lion’s Mane Mushroom

This nootropic (Lion’s mane) is recommended for long-term use.  It promotes neuroplasticity and regeneration of brain cells through the stimulation of NGF (Nerve growth factor – as mentioned earlier) production in the body.

The benefits are experienced after several weeks of administration.  It’s regarded as a premium cognitive extender that you can use in your favor to sharpen your mind.

Modafinil (Brand Name:  Provigil)


Another amazing nootropic, Modafinil, is a brain cognition enhancer. Although it isn’t regarded for long-term use, it’s a brain booster.

You can experience the benefits within minutes.  You’ll feel more focused, awake, and motivated to geth through any grueling work day.

The learning process and memory formation will become easier for you.  It’s not only one of the most popular but also one of the best nootropics you can find.  

Just make sure that you get it from a trusted source.  It requires a prescription in most cases, but some people order it online from pharpmacies in India.  If you plan to go that route, do so at your own risk.

If you want to go the 100% legal route, and don’t have a doctor’s prescription, you can also try a nootropic called “adrafinil” which is very similar in effects.  You can buy online adrafinil from a trusted source here.

The learning process and memory formation will become easier for you.  It’s not only one of the most popular but also one of the best nootropics you can find.  

Just make sure that you get it from a trusted source.  It requires a prescription in most cases, but some people order it online from pharmacies in India. 

If you plan to go that route, do so at your own risk.

If you want to go the 100% legal route, and don’t have a doctor’s prescription, you can also try a nootropic called “adrafinil” which is very similar in effects.  You can buy online adrafinil from a trusted source here.

We have an extensive article on Modafinil, along with the two most common nootropics that are similar (adrafinil and armodafinil) that you can read at the link below. (opens in a new tab)

>> Article: Modafinil VS Adrafinil VS Armodafinil

Maritime Pine Bark Extract

The main benefit of this popular nootropic is the noticeable increase the attention span.  The improvement in focus can be amazing in the short-term, making it a great nootropic for learning difficult tasks and subjects. (For example: studying for an exam)

This is another nootropic that it’s mainly used for short-term use.  Again, make sure that you only buy from trusted sources.  The ones I recommend are listed below from Amazon.

maritime pine bark

Benefits Of Taking Adaptogens

Adaptogens have relaxing effects on the body, which makes them the perfect solution for controlling stress.

The great thing about adaptogens is that they help you stabilize the stress you didn’t even know you had.  They act in the body mainly within the endocrine system as well as the autonomic nervous system.

These are the areas where hormones are regulated. Read some of the benefits below:

Benefits of Taking Adaptogens:
Reduces Stress Levels
Controls Anxiety Symptoms
Improves Physical Performance
Blocks Stress (Resistance to Stress)

Nowadays, we have seriously high stress levels that can harm the body and even create diseases.

What adaptogens do for you is help your body better regulate your hormones, including the stress ones, so that you can have less stress impact on your body and lower anxiety levels.

Again, it isn’t a magical pill but it can sure as  $#*&!  feel like one!

The benefits are noticeable within a few days of use.  You’ll start to notice that you don’t worry as much about deadlines and things that would normally keep you up at night.

It’s doesn’t mean you start to not care about things.  You just don’t over stress about everything which is why I absolutely love adding in adaptogens to my nootropic stacks.

Most Popular Adaptogen Examples

If you have a high-stress job, taking adaptogens can literally change your life.

Actually, if you live in the modern world, taking adaptogens WILL change your life.

That’s why it’s important to familiarize yourself with the most popular ones, so you can begin your journey to a less stressed and anxious life. 

So what are these popular adaptogen supplements? 


This is an amino acid found in tea as well as in various mushrooms.

It improves mental impairment, anxiety, and other stress-related symptoms.  It’s the perfect combination to help people with stress-related problems and to those that have problems controlling their anxiety levels.

As a result of taking theanine, you’ll be able to concentrate on any given task much better.

Rhodiola Rosea

This adaptogen is great for people who are experiencing physical and mental fatigue. 

It’ll help balance your stress hormones and act directly in the autonomic nervous system to relax the body and reduce overall fatigue.

Once you’re recovered, you can switch to another adaptogen.



Another name that it’s hard to pronounce, Ashwagandha has easy to understand benefits.

It reduces stress and anxiety levels.

As you can see, a great, standard adaptogen.  This is one of the most popular ones because it works amazingly well for just about anyone who takes it.  The mind and the body relax upon taking it, and is an amazing stress reliever!

I have personally tried at least 5 different ashwagandha supplements, and while they all seemed to work okay, one of them was much more noticeable, and seemed to work much better than the others.

The ashwagandha supplement that I have found to work the best for me (Just my personal experience), is the Organically Grown Ashwagandha from Nutra Herbals.

It’s the perfect balance of potency and price.

(You can Buy it Here…)

best ashwagandha supplement

Nootropics And Adaptogens – How To Take Them Together in a Stack

The same elements that work for nootropics work for adaptogens.  You should always have more than one nootropic / adaptogen stack that you cycle through every 4-12 weeks depending on multiple factors.

A great rule of thumb is to notice the effects on your body.

If they feel too good too fast, they’re likely to not be good for long-term use.

The substances that are safe and recommended for long-term use have a subtle effect that slowly enhances your brain performance.  When the change is noticeable within hours, (buzzed feeling) it means you should take it for short-term use. 

(This is prevelant in modafinil and adrafinil types.)

This is okay as long as you follow instructions and don’t overindulge in their usage.

Now, the only thing that you have to watch out for is when combining both nootropics and adaptogens at the same time.

You don’t want something that’ll relax you to one extreme along with something that will make you “too awake”.

These are contradictory benefits.

You may end up cancelling them out and ending up with zero benefits.

So, YES you can take adaptogens and nootropics together.

But you need to make sure that you don’t extend the use of the short-term ones, and always try to pair the benefits of each to get the most out of each pill.

This is the secret to success with cominging nootropics with adaptogens.

Nootropics VS Adaptogens – Final Thoughts

So, the difference between nootropics and adaptogens is that the main goal of adaptogens is to reduce stress levels while nootropics aim at enhancing overall brain function.

While reduced stress levels will improve brain performance as a side effect, it’s not the main goal of adaptogens.

The important thing is that you take both nootropics and adaptogens together responsibly!


Do you currently combine both types of supplements into your stack?  Or have you done so in the past?

leave me a comment below, and let me know!

About David Gracey

About David Gracey

Founder of SuperMindHacker.com

Hey! My name is David Gracey.  I am the brain child of SuperMindhacker.com and a Cognitive Brain Function Researcher, Avid Biohacker, Lucid Dreamer, Morning Ritual Master, and Self-Proclaimed Nootropic Junkie of Sorts! 

In other words, I am completely obsessed with anything and everything related to cognitive brain enhancement! 

Whether it's nootropic supplements, challenging brain puzzles, or even meditation techniques, chances are, I've tried it!  This website is my outlet to give back and share what I've learned in the past 15+ years in this field of study. 

You Can Read My Other Posts Here: 



Check out these other posts!

About David:

Hey! I’m so glad you’re here. My name is David Gracey. I am a cognitive brain function researcher, avid biohacker, and self-proclaimed nootropic junkie of sorts! (And, yes, a bit of a nerd as well...) I created this website as an outlet to share my passion for self improvement and cognitive brain enhancement. Got questions? Shoot me a message!










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