What Are Nootropics and Can They Help with Weight Loss

Nootropics are medications, supplements, or other substances primarily used to enhance cognitive function. Some of them help improve wakefulness in individuals with sleep disorders, and others may help with weight loss. If you are looking for a way to boost your brain power and potentially shed some weight in the process, this guide is for you. It sheds light on the basics of these compounds and examines the evidence surrounding their safety and effectiveness when used to shed weight.

What to Know About Nootropics?

Nootropics, commonly referred to as “smart drugs” or cognitive enhancers, are substances used to enhance cognition. They may be medications, dietary supplements, or herbs and are typically available in tablet, liquid, and powder form [1]. Some nootropics are available over-the-counter or as prescription drugs, while others are illegal or banned in certain countries. It is important to confirm the legality of any nootropic before buying it.

Healthy individuals commonly use “smart drugs” to gain a competitive edge at work or school and ultimately increase productivity. It is a common belief that nootropics such as modafinil may help with weight loss, especially if they are used in a specific way. We will shed more light on that later in this guide.

Do Nootropics Contribute to Weight Loss?

Yes, nootropics may contribute to weight loss, but not directly and definitely not in the way that exercising and dieting would. 

Generally, some nootropics have effects on the body that could potentially lead to weight loss. Nootropics such as green tea extract and caffeine may have a positive effect on the process when combined with regular exercise and a healthy diet [2]. Although there is limited scientific evidence to support their use for this purpose, and their effects are not well established, people who have tried “smart drugs” such as modafinil have reported noticing interesting results.

The Link Between Weight Loss and Cognitive Brain Functions

On the surface level, it is hard to see the link between cognitive brain functions, cognitive enhancers, and weight loss. However, there is a strong correlation between them.

While it is true that eating fewer calories and burning more than you consume each day are surefire ways to lose weight, one of the most important factors that are often overlooked is the mindset. Most people who try to lose weight often find it difficult to stick to nutrition plans and exercise. They find that they lack the strength, focus, and overall motivation to be consistent or are rarely in the mood to exercise. Some cognitive enhancers improve these key aspects, and by so doing, simplify the weight loss journey and ultimately help make it a success. 

Motivation and focus are the core of life achievements, and weight loss is not an exception. Studies have shown that the more motivated an individual is, the more likely they will be to shed pounds successfully [3].

Top Natural Weight Loss Nootropics

There are several natural substances that people take, but the top nootropics for weight loss include:

Green Tea Extract

Great tea contains catechins and some other substances that are known to boost metabolism, increase fat burning, and ultimately help to shed pounds faster [4]. 

Rhodiola Rosea

Rhodiola rosea is a popular natural nootropic that helps provide most of the factors needed to lose weight. Studies indicate that it provides anti-stress and anti-fatigue properties. It also boosts energy levels and increases metabolism, resulting in a faster fat burn [5][6].


Caffeine is one of the most common and widely used nootropics. A lot of people use it without even realizing that it has fat-burning effects. One study revealed that it increased the rate of fat burn by 10% in obese individuals and by as much as 29% in lean people [7].

There are several other natural nootropics that actually work for weight loss. They can be found in their raw form or as part of the ingredients in dietary supplements. However, it may be best to get them via supplements since they have an established dose.

The Best Smart Drugs for Weight Loss

There are countless “smart drugs” available on that market, but not all of them help with shedding fat. If you plan on taking advantage of these substances to simplify and speed up your weight loss journey, these are the best available:


Modafinil is one of the most common and widely used medications for cognitive enhancement. Although it was specifically developed to promote wakefulness in individuals with certain sleep disorders, some healthy people use it to shed weight.

Studies have shown modafinil to be effective in curbing appetite and ultimately reducing total caloric intake [8]. Modafinil is considered one of the top 3 best “smart drugs” for weight loss because of its high safety profile and success rate. Researchers at Harvard and Oxford Universities even consider it the world’s first safe nootropic for that purpose [9]. 


Armodafinil is a popular nootropic brain booster with a similar chemical structure to modafinil, meaning it provides similar benefits & side effects. However, its effects are slightly stronger. Armodafinil has been shown to have a positive effect on body mass and ultimately lead to weight loss [10]. It is as safe and well-tolerated as modafinil and has a high success rate. However, it remains important to consult a doctor before starting treatment with it.


Adrafinil is a prescription medication that was formerly used in France to improve alertness, promote wakefulness, elevate mood, and increase attention, particularly in seniors [11]. Like modafinil, it belongs to a class of drugs called wakefulness-promoting medications. It plays a role in regulating appetite and metabolism, and people take advantage of that to accelerate weight loss.

How to Use Nootropics for Weight Loss?

While some nootropics can help boost the weight loss process, they are not specifically designed to do that. Consequently, to get the best out of them, you have to first understand their individual strengths & limitations and use them accordingly.

Here are 5 simple steps to follow to accelerate weight loss with modafinil.

#1. Set Realistic Goals

Most people looking to lose weight often hope to lose several pounds a week. While that is possible through the combination of intense dieting, exercise, and nootropics like modafinil, it is not sustainable. Shedding 0.5 to 1 kg (1 to 2 pounds) per week is a realistic and healthy goal. If you stick to these numbers, you will not only lose weight but also keep it off successfully [12].

Form a Concrete Plan

There is a popular saying that goes, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” It is true even when it comes to losing weight. It is important to know where you are and where you are headed and have an estimate of how long it will take you to get there. The Body Mass Index (BMI) is an excellent metric for determining all of this. Once you determine your BMI, you can form your weight loss plan based on this calculation.

Review your plans from time to time and get back on track if you notice you aren’t hitting them. It is perfectly normal to make mistakes; what matters is getting right back on track each time.

#2. Understand Your Energy Requirements

Understanding your daily energy needs is a great way to determine how much food you should be eating. It will help you avoid accumulating excess calories and ultimately promote weight loss. Your basal metabolic rate (BMR) – the number of calories your body burns while at rest – can help you determine your energy requirements. Eating below your BMR will help you lose weight.

#3. Plan Your Meals

You do not have to change what you normally eat to lose weight; a relatively easier and more sustainable thing you can do is to stick to the same meals you eat but reduce the portions by 25-50%. Reducing your portions will lead to the capacity of your stomach dropping over time, and before you know it, you will find yourself getting satisfied with portions much smaller than your body was previously accustomed to.

#4. Take Modafinil

Modafinil is known to reduce appetite, which, in turn, helps you achieve lower caloric intake without giving in to cravings. It reduces cravings by working the part of the brain that regulates the feeling of hunger and satisfaction. However, you have to take the right modafinil dosage for weight loss to be successful. Doctors recommend starting with the 200 mg tablet. However, it may be reduced if it causes discomfort [13].

#5. Exercise Daily

Exercise is an important aspect of the weight loss process. While dieting alone can help you shed some pounds, incorporating daily exercise into the process accelerates the process. It gets even better when you throw a nootropic into the mix.

The Safety of Using Nootropics

There are several nootropics that can be used to help with weight loss, but not all of them are safe. While some of them are backed by scientific research and are considered safe to use, others may be untested and potentially dangerous. It is advisable to do your own research and consult a doctor or healthcare professional before taking nootropics, be it a prescription medication or dietary supplement.

Additionally, it is important to keep in mind that the safety profile of any nootropic can vary based on several factors, including the specific substance, the dose, and the individual using it. Some nootropics may interact with other medications and lead to side effects. Consequently, if you consider their use, it is critical to be well-informed and cautious.

Possible Side Effects and Risks

Every drug has side effects, and nootropics are not an exception. It is important to be aware of the potential side effects before taking any of them. Nootropics such as modafinil, armodafinil, and adrafinil have similar side effects. The common ones include headache, nausea, dizziness, and upset stomach. However, it is worth noting that they result in more serious adverse effects if used incorrectly.

It is advisable to seek urgent medical attention if you notice any serious adverse effects while using any nootropic.

In Closing

Nootropics are substances (food supplements or prescription medications) that can enhance cognitive function and ultimately increase productivity. Many of them have been found to be helpful in shedding weight, and people across the world use them for this purpose. If you are considering using them too, it is important to understand they don’t work like magic. They help increase motivation, mood, energy levels, and other factors vital to weight loss.

Nootropics are a handy tool for accelerating the weight loss process and helping you stick to the plan, but they cannot replace the right balance between exercise and diet. Remember to consult your doctor before taking any nootropic substance.


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