Nootropics Frequently Asked Questions

What are Nootropics?

Nootropics, often called 'smart' drugs are those substances which are reported (and in many cases scientifically verified) to enhance memory, cognition and intelligence. Many are also reported to enhance mood. Nootropics are varied in their effect as well as their action.

It is very hard to recommend certain Nootropics for an individual, so it may be better off to give a summary of all those sold by Bulk Nutrients and detail which have what effect.

Alpha GPC

Bulk Nutrients Alpha GPC available in 50g pouchesAlpha GPC is most often used for cognition and memory enhancement, it is catergorised as a 'Cholinergics' as it affect the neurotransmitter acetylcholine or the components of the nervous system that use acetylcholine.

Alpha GPC rapidly delivers choline to the brain across the blood–brain barrier and is a biosynthetic precursor of the acetylcholine neurotransmitter. Alpha GPC is made from highly purified soy lecithin.

Studies have investigated its efficacy for cognitive disorders including stroke and Alzheimer’s Disease. In an Italian multicentre clinical trial on 2,044 patients suffering from recent stroke, all were supplied alpha-GPC in doses of 1,000 mg/day for 28 days and 400 mg three times per day for the five ensuing months. The trial confirmed the therapeutic role of alpha-GPC on the cognitive recovery of patients based on four measurement scales, three of which reached statistical significance.

Commonly used doses of Alpha GPC is between 300 and 1200 mg daily.

Bulk Nutrients stocks Alpha GPC in capsulated form.

Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA)

Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA) is unlike most other Nootropics, and classically speaking shouldn’t be considered one. Rather than enhance neurotransmitter action, it is usually taken for its sedative and calming effects.

GABA can be used to aid sleep due to its sedative effectGABA is the most abundant inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain. It helps induce relaxation and sleep, in addition to its relaxation effects, GABA stimulates the anterior pituitary, leading to higher levels of growth hormone. Increased levels of growth hormone can have positive effects on anti-aging, on lowering body fat levels and increasing lean muscle levels.

Many people see GABA as improving quality of life through it assisting the reduction of anxiety, improving sleep quality, and eliminating depression. These factors may indirectly affect cognitive performance, since happy, mentally and physically healthy individuals tend to do better than unhappy, anxious, unhealthy individuals, but that's just a pleasant side-effect.

Given its sedative effect, many users limit their GABA intake to evenings.

5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP)

5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) also known as oxitriptan is a naturally occurring amino acid and chemical precursor as well as a metabolic intermediate in the biosynthesis of the neurotransmitters serotonin and melatonin from tryptophan.

5-HTP has been studied and shown to be of benefit in the following conditions: Primary Fibromyalgia Syndrome, Friedreich's Ataxia, Depression, Anxiety, binge eating associated with obesity, and insomnia. There is no statistically significant difference between 5-HTP and placebo in treating chronic headaches (primary or otherwise).

5-HTP works in the brain and central nervous system by increasing the production of the chemical serotonin. Serotonin can affect sleep, appetite, temperature, sexual behaviour, and pain sensation. Since 5-HTP increases the synthesis of serotonin, it is used for several diseases where serotonin is believed to play an important role including depression, insomnia, obesity, and many other conditions.

Studies on 5 HTP are not conclusive however one of the more impressive studies involved 99 patients described as suffering from "therapy resistant" depression (3). These patients had not responded to any previous therapy including all available antidepressant drugs as well as electro convulsive therapy. These therapy resistant patients received 5-HTP at dosages averaging 200 mg daily but ranging from 50 to 600 mg per day. Complete recovery was seen in 43 of the 99 patients and significant improvement was noted in 8 more. Such significant improvement in patients suffering from long-standing, unresponsive depression is quite impressive prompting the author of another study to state "5-HTP merits a place in the front of the ranks of the antidepressants instead of being used as a last resort."

It is advised that 5-HTP should not be taken by people on SSRIs or other types of antidepressants.

5-HTP is stocked by Bulk Nutrients in capsulated form.


Picamilon is a nootropic made from Niacin and Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA). Niacin is also known as Vitamin B3 and as you may know, B vitamins are commonly supplemented for their ability to help improve mental focus, clarity and a sense of wellbeing.

The other component of Picamilon, GABA, is a neurotransmitter important for inducing sleep and relaxation. GABA supplementation has been shown to aid in relaxation and reduce anxiety of stressed individuals.

Picamilon may assist with relaxation of the mind and may ease the negative mental and physical effects of stress for anyone leading a busy life.

Picamilon is an active ingredient in our sleep formula Max Sleep.

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