Nootropics by the Numbers (2018): Statistics, Demographics & More

Nootropics by the Numbers in 2018: Statistics, Clinical Research, Demographics, & Market Size

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Nootropics by the Numbers in 2018: Statistics, Clinical Research, Demographics, & Market Size

Nootropics, also known as smart drugs, were created to improve cognitive functions in those who utilize them. They fall under the more broadened category of PIED or performance and image enhancing drugs.

PIED drugs are used to increase performance in a number of things including:

  • Cognition
  • Memory
  • Athletic performance
  • Sexual performance

These class of drugs can be sold in supplement form or through prescription under a variety of names and manufacturers,

While many of the supplement forms combine a number of vitamins and herbs, the primary ingredient in nootropics that helps create improved function are the stimulants contained in them such as caffeine.

The Science Behind Nootropics

The goal of nootropics was to target a nutritional or metabolic aspect of brain function as it pertains to attention and memory. Through this metabolic pathway, the drug is created to enhance neurotransmitters, enzymes, and metabolic processes in the brain. The brain is an organ that crazes metabolic activity, and you may notice when the body is stressed, and the metabolism does not function as well, you may seem lethargic and confused.

While the theory behind the process seems plausible, it requires clinical trials to see how it will affect someone with Alzheimer’s disease as well as if it can increase normal memory and brain function on an average person that does not suffer from cognitive impairment.

Clinical Studies on Nootropics

There have been multiple clinical trials performed on a number of nootropics to see if the proposed theory of increasing cognition and memory holds true. One of the most popular nootropics is piracetam. This nootropic has been said to increase brain function and memory as well as improve conditions such as seizure disorder, anxiety, and depression.

Clinical trials were performed on the use of piracetam as a treatment for people with cognitive impairment or symptoms of dementia. Some of the findings the study showed were:

  • There was a global impression of change in cognitive function.
  • The changes were not enough to warrant its use for treatment of dementia,
  • Further research should be conducted even though clinical claims were not completely met.

Another popular nootropic choice is the cognitive enhancer called modafinil. The drug is a stimulant often reserved for use for those struggling from ADHD, narcolepsy, and cognitive fatigue as a result of a brain or neurological injury.

In a clinical study on modafinil, the research found that:

  • Those taking modafinil had delayed responses.
  • They did not have any higher accuracy in responses.
  • The drug stimulates the frontal lobe of the brain.
  • The drug seems to provide the user with a balance between cognitive function and speed.
  • Continued studies are recommended to pursue possible cognitive benefits.

Modafinil and the Hayling Sentence Completion Test

An experiment with modafinil using the Hayling Sentence completion test was used to determine whether or not the slowing experienced in healthy volunteers given modafinil will be a sufficient condition for cognitive enhancement.

In the experiment, 64 healthy volunteers were given either a single dose of modafinil or a placebo. The results of the experiment were as follows:

  • Participants given modafinil had longer response latencies than those receiving a placebo.
  • Both sets of participants made similar errors on the completion test.
  • Modafinil did not increase the accuracy of the participant’s answers.

Nootropics Demographics

While nootropics are considered to be a new wave of wonder drug on the market, the question is who is most likely to use these products? While it seems like users come from all walks of life including athletes, students, seniors, professionals, and artists, young adult males seem to have the highest reported use of nootropics. In a recent survey, participants were asked if they have used or regularly use nootropics:

  • 75% of males aged 20 to 29 answered yes.
  • 11% of males between 30 and 39 have tried them.
  • 5.5% of males aged 40 to 49 have claimed use.
  • The lowest category of use for males was 50 to 59 years of age at 4%.
  • Few females in the survey claimed to have tried the new smart drugs. Those up to age 19, and in the age group 30 to 39 had users less than 1%.
  • The highest amount of use was with females aged 20 to 29 at 3%.
  • Females aged 40 to 49 had 1.5% saying they had tried them.

Nootropics Industry

Due to the purported benefits of nootropics, there are multiple companies throwing their hat in the ring to build up the nootropics industry to improve cognitive function for students and professionals as well as possibly find ways to stave off cognitive disorders such as dementia.

Nootropics have actually been on the market for several decades often marketed as a multivitamin or dietary supplement with caffeine as a primary ingredient.

In recent years the focus on the market has seen a push from health and wellness multivitamins to formulas designed and marketed to students to help with study and improve brain function.

Though the FDA has approved the components as generally safe dietary supplements, they have not been listed as healthcare products as more clinical trials and research will need to be completed to show the health benefits.

When it comes to nootropics, it is marketing as a memory enhancer gains it its largest share of the market.

Nootropics seem to be most dominant in North America and have the largest consumer base in those countries. Factors that have been theorized to play a role in this include:

  • A large population
  • High awareness of preventive and cognitive health
  • Channel proliferation
  • Self-directed consumers

The next fastest growing market region is Asia where countries like India and China have long used natural remedies to increase cognitive health and awareness.

While there are new entrants into the Nootropics industry as the market continues to grow, the key players in the supplement market include:

  • PureLife Bioscience
  • Cephalon Inc.
  • SupNootropic Biological Technology C. Ltd.
  • Onit Labs LLC
  • Powder City LLC
  • Nootropic Source
  • Clarity Nootropics
  • Nootrobox Inc
  • Accelerated Intelligence Inc
  • AlternaScript LLC

Nootropics Market Size

With nootropics becoming a global phenomenon as consumers from all over the world have developed a renewed interest in cognitive health you may find yourself wondering, exactly how large it the nootropics market?

  • In 2015, the global market for nootropics reached as high as $2.7 billion.
  • The value of the market in 2015 was 48.1% larger than it was in 2012 seeing an increase in the value of $1.4 billion.

You can see the continued growth year after year in the nootropics market:

  • $1.3 billion in 2012
  • $1.5 billion in 2013
  • $1.7 billion in 2014
  • $2.7 billion in 2015
  • $2.9 billion in 2016
  • $3.3 billion in 2017

With a steady growth of almost 11% year-over-year, the market value for nootropics continues to increase.

While there are numerous players in the maker of nootropics, the top six products that are most often calculated in market research figures include.

  • Noopept
  • Pramiracetam
  • Modafinil
  • Adrafinil
  • Aniracetam
  • Phenylpiraceta

Even though the growth is expected to continue, the market is not expected to be free from obstacles as with the increase in popularity there is a likelihood of increases in regulations by various governments throughout the world.

Nootropics Stock Market

In a research study performed by Credence Research in 2016, it was found that the nootropics market is not expecting any type of slow down and are estimating a stock market growth of 18% each year up until 2024.

This means an estimated market value of over $6 billion by the end of 2024. Not only is the U.S. expected to be the largest consumer in the market but also have the largest companies controlling it.

A recent report that lists the top 29 nootropic drugs in order or their value on the market include:

  1. Adrafinil
  2. Phenylpiracetam
  3. Noopept
  4. Sulbutiamine
  5. Pramiracetam
  6. Sunifiram
  7. Piracetam
  8. Oxiracetam
  9. Aniracetam
  10. Alpha-GPC
  11. CDP-choline
  12. Gynostemma
  13. Ashwagandha
  14. Bacopa Monnieri
  15. Phenibut
  16. Rhodiola Rosea
  17. Galantamine
  18. Phenylethylamine
  19. Alpha-Lipoic Acid
  20. Uridine Monophosphate
  21. Centrophenoxine
  22. L-Dopa
  23. N-Acetyl-Cysteine
  24. L-theanine
  25. Acetyl L-Carnitine
  26. Huperzine A
  27. Picamilon
  28. Vinpocetine
  29. Ginkgo Biloba


As consumers continue to look for ways to increase their cognitive functions and improve memory, the market will continue to grow and more, and more types of nootropics may be introduced as supplements in the U.S. and globally.

While there is likely to be a few stumbling blocks as federal regulators may seek more restrictions on the use of nootropics, it is expected that the market will hold and continue to rise throughout the next decade.



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