What Are Nootropics?
Nootropics (also known as smart drugs or cognitive enhancer supplements) are a wide range of safe supplements for your brain. They improve cognitive functions, how you mentally process knowledge, thoughts, experiences and senses and act on them. Some people refer to the effects of some Nootropics as giving you a “super human mind” or “making you smarter“. The international sales of these supplements exceeded 2 billion in 2015 and is estimated to be 10 billion by 2020, the global demand is growing very rapidly. Research claims that half of all adults take some form of vitamins or supplements.
Here are some of the many Benefits of Nootropics:
- Improve memory
- Increase your energy
- Reduce Anxiety
- Improve your focus
- Increase your attention span
- Improve your mood
- Reduce stress
- Improve your concentration
- Improve learning ability
- Help with depression
- Gain motivation
- Overcome social anxiety
Who uses Nootropics?
It’s popularity grew largely from The Silicon Valley, the home of some the largest technology companies in the world that breeds mental gymnastics and high competition but the focus always remained on staying healthy while performing at optimum levels.
Whether you’re under pressure in a stressful job or in a highly competitive environment, at home and find you can’t seem to concentrate to get things done or simply have too much on your mind to remember or focus on anything, you’re not alone!
“It is estimated that we have between 33 and 49 thoughts per minute”
With every one of those thoughts, they stir up emotions like anxiety, depression and stress that lead us to another thought and than we act on that, we can definitely get very distracted!
I am constantly tired and stressed, I can’t think!
With all this mind action, we can tend to be constantly tired and we are generally moving more and more into wanting “healthier and safer cognitive solutions” that will not affect our health or cause any further health issues.
There are more and more Nootropics being developed each year to improve different brain functions and potentially cure cognitive diseases which are currently in different stages of development. Since Nootropics improve many different types of cognitive functions, they are being used globally by a wide range of people for a wide range of reasons. Here are just some examples:
- People with cognitive challenges
- The elderly and others with declining memory
- People who suffer from anxiety
- People with stressful jobs
- Public Speakers
- Night Shift workers
- Computer Engineers
There are many benefits for everyone. History proves that herbs, as supplements, have been used to help improve cognitive functions for thousands of centuries dating back over 3000 years.
In ancient Indian and Chinese medicine, bacopa monnieri a native herb to India, which focuses on the central nervous system, has been used to improve cognitive function and to cure epilepsy and many of these enhancers are still used today.
The mainstream use of supplements to enhance brain function is steadily increasing as history teaches us the basic fundamentals of herbs and compounds and reveals to all of us these ancient secrets that have been used since the dawn of time.
What they should do to be considered a Nootropic
In 1972, researcher and neuroscientist Dr. Corneliu E. Giurgia coined the word “nootropic” which, translated from Greek words “nous” meaning “mind” and “trepein” meaning ”to bend or turn” and blended the first Nootropic called Piracetam which is the most popular and widely used Nootropic today. To be considered a Nootropic, he states there should be these five elements:
1) Enhance your memory
2) Enhance the resistance to memories and behaviors that disrupt them
3) Defend the brain from chemical and physical injuries
4) Boost the effectiveness of the cortical/sub cortical control mechanisms
5) Should have low toxicity and very few side effects even at very high doses
Fast forward a few years to 1979 when a pharmacologist by the name of V. Skondia published a set of new and stringent criteria based on the metabolic effects of these compounds used in Nootropics and what they should display:
1) No direct effect on vaso activity
2) Shouldn’t change EEG rhythms
3) The substance must have little to no side effects
4) Must have metabolic activity in the human brain
5) Must pass the blood-brain barrier
6) They must reveal metabolical cerebral improvement through clinical trials.
Clear up the confusion on what is considered a Nootropic
There’s a lot of confusion on what is considered a Nootropic. Although both nicotine and caffeine are stimulants, therefore addictive, they are considered part of the “stimulants” category that people refer to as Nootropics. It’s good to note that most actual Nootropics are considered safer than caffeine.
One of the main criterias of Nootropics is that they should possess little to no side effects which includes being non-addictive and generally safe to use on a long term basis, similar to taking any other type of supplement. Also, Nootropics in general, do not require a prescription.
How Nootropics Work
Nootropics can range from nutritional supplements to synthetic products and are categorized in groups.
Nootropics increase the production of key neurotransmitters and blood flow to the brain that bind to receptors, in the case of Nootropics, acetylcholine and glutamate, the neurotransmitters responsible for decision making, learning , focus and perception.
Some Nootropics impact hormones while others impact neurotransmitters.
Nootropics act as both a cognitive enhancers and they help to prevent cognitive decline. They can enhance absorption or prevent absorption into the neurotransmitters.
WOW! What does this mean? It means that the door is open for future development of certain Nootropics to help treat declining mental health disorders such Alzheimers’ and Dementia where research has already shown very positive effects. Both having factors in the depletion of memory.
Smart Drugs and Nootropics, what’s the difference?
Nootropics are also know as ”smart drugs” but the two have different meanings. Smart drugs can fall under the category of prescribed pharmaceutical medications (unlike Nootropics that are sold over the counter) that are referred to as “nootropics” but considered stimulants, such as Adderall or Ritalin that help to treat symptoms of ADHD and ADD. What is publicly referenced as smartdrugs are not Nootropics. Nootropics possess little to no effect on the central nervous system and have a low degree of toxicity in the body.
Top 3 Questions right off the bat? I’ll help clear things up
Are Nootropics Legal?
Generally yes, however, there are hundreds of supplements that are considered Nootropics and the laws vary depending on which country you live in and which Nootropic you would like to use. For more information Legal Info.
Do Nootropics Really Work?
Yes they do and some are said to be very powerful and effective but like everything else, how something can affect one person, might not for the other. This doesn’t imply that Nootropics themselves aren’t effective, there are many people benefiting from using these supplements everyday, it simply means that you need to experiment which one works best for YOU.
Do Nootropics have side effects?
Nootropic side effects are very rare, however if you adjust the compound or take more than the recommended dosage you could have some potential side effects. These are listed in the information on every supplement page here.
They are deemed safe to take and the qualifications of Nootropics require that they are non-toxic to the brain and non addictive.
Types of Nootropics fall under seven different categories. Learn More