top of page

David Sinclair: Understanding Nootropics

Nootropics are a category of supplements, drugs, or other substances that are believed to enhance cognitive function. They are sometimes referred to as "smart drugs" or "brain boosters". While some nootropics have been studied and have demonstrated benefits for cognition, many lack sufficient scientific evidence to support their claims.

  1. Nootropics are a broad category of compounds that include natural and synthetic substances. Some are well-known, such as caffeine and nicotine, while others are less familiar.

  2. Sinclair believes that some nootropics may have potential benefits for cognitive function, such as improving memory, attention, and processing speed. However, he also emphasizes that many nootropics lack sufficient research to support their claims.

  3. Sinclair has expressed concern about the long-term effects of some nootropics, particularly those that affect brain function. He believes that more research is needed to determine their safety and efficacy.

  4. Sinclair stresses that nootropics are not a substitute for a healthy lifestyle, including proper sleep, diet, exercise, and stress management. He believes that these factors play a larger role in cognitive function than any supplement or drug.

  5. Sinclair is also cautious about the use of nootropics in children and pregnant women, as their safety and effects on development are not well-understood.

  6. Nicotine: Sinclair has mentioned nicotine as a nootropic that can improve cognitive function, particularly attention and focus. He has also noted that nicotine can be addictive and has negative health effects when consumed through smoking.

  7. Caffeine: Sinclair has also discussed caffeine as a widely-used nootropic that can improve alertness and cognitive function. However, he has cautioned against consuming excessive amounts, which can lead to negative side effects like anxiety and insomnia.

  8. Modafinil: Sinclair has mentioned modafinil as a nootropic that is used as a cognitive enhancer and to treat sleep disorders. However, he has also noted that modafinil has potential side effects and can be habit-forming.

  9. Bacopa monnieri: Sinclair has discussed bacopa monnieri, an herb used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine, as a nootropic that may improve memory and cognitive function. He has noted that more research is needed to determine its efficacy and safety.

  10. Omega-3 fatty acids: Sinclair has mentioned omega-3 fatty acids as a nootropic that can improve cognitive function and reduce inflammation. He has noted that consuming adequate amounts of omega-3s through diet or supplements is important for brain health.


  1. Sinclair, D. A. (2019). Lifespan: Why we age--and why we don't have to. Atria Books.

  2. LaBerge, M., & Sinclair, D. A. (2018). The big questions of aging. Cell metabolism, 27(5), 957-969.

  3. Farah, M. J., Haimm, C., Sankoorikal, G., & Smith, M. E. (2019). Chasing the Adderall High: An Exploration of College Students' Motivations for Nootropic Use. Substance use & misuse, 54(4), 593-601.

bottom of page