Nootropics are foods, supplements, or consumables that improve cognitive function, such as concentration, intelligence, memory, and creativity.
Nootropics have gained massive interest in recent times as people explore ways to maximize their brain’s potential.
The word itself, coined by the Romanian psychologist and chemist Dr. Corneliu E. Giurgea, who over 50 years ago synthesized the first nootropic piracetam, is a combination of Greek words nous (mind) and trepein (to bend or turn).
According to the definition of Dr. Giurgea, nootropics:
- Enhancing learning and memory
- Resistance to memory-disrupting agents
- Improve communication between hemispheres of the brain
- Increase the ability of the brain to protect against various physical or chemical injuries
- Lack of usual pharmacology associated with psychotropic substances and very few side effects with an extremely low toxicity profile
Piracetam, the first nootropic to be created, is still widely regarded as one of the best nootropics available, particularly the right choice for first-time users.
However, since Piracetam was first synthesized, several more nootropics have been created, meaning that we now have a whole range of options to choose from.
While nootropics are not a miracle drug that will make an ordinary person a genius overnight, research suggests that some nootropics can increase the human brain’s power, especially its memory capacity and ability to learn, essentially making people smarter.
Nootropics are not a substitute for a healthy lifestyle. When you learn, you still need to work hard. However, nootropics can provide an edge that allows your brain to function at its best.
Nootropics are also able to contribute to the overall long-term well-being of the brain. Millions of neurotransmitters and receptors control the mind. All its functions and modulate their behavior can lead to improved brain function.
In addition to providing enhanced learning skills, improved neurotransmitter responses mean more excellent resistance to average cognitive decline associated with aging and mental disorders such as amnesia and dementia.
Some nootropics work by increasing the supply of oxygen-rich blood to the brain or increasing brain acetylcholine levels. This neurotransmitter is responsible mainly for brain memory, learning, and mood functions.
Other nootropics, such as Lion’s Mane Mushroom, can even stimulate the production of Nerve Growth Factor (NGF), where protein synthesis results in brain cell growth, particularly in dendritic cells, making it possible to communicate impulses across the central nervous system. Dendritic growth means faster communication, which translates into improved learning and memory. It should be noted that some nootropics have to be taken for days or weeks to trigger their beneficial effects.
With so many options out there, it’s essential to do your research and find the right nootropics for your needs.
Nootropics are generally categorized into three main groups: racetams, stimulants, and nutraceuticals. Each nootropic group has a specific set of functions that contribute to preserving and improving brain capacity and health.
Racetams affect brain acetylcholine and, therefore, also affect memory, mood, mental agility, and focus.
The benefits of using racetams include increased memory capacity, improved mental clarity, increased concentration, increased calmness, better recall of ideas, factual or hypothetical and faster recognition of patterns, and distinctions in data.
Racetams reportedly allow both analytical and creative work to be carried out simultaneously, as is the case with rather lengthy essays requiring facts and careful positioning of those facts to convey a message correctly.
Whereas racetams increase the brain’s ability to gather and understand many ideas, stimulants increase attention and alertness, making concentration easier.
Motivations also make the mind more stress-tolerant by increasing energy levels, blood pressure, and heart and breathing rates. Still, the effects are longer-lasting than cognitive enhancers.
Nutraceuticals are simply food or food products whose content combines, but only to a limited extent, some of the effects of both racetams and stimulants.
They are safe to consume frequently as are racetams and motivations, but the results are much less pronounced.
They are safe to consume frequently as are racetams and motivations, but the results are much less pronounced. While already proven to be effective in preserving and improving brain activity, these can also be used as an additional means of treatment for more serious mental health conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Often, nootropics are used in combination with one another to potentiate and boost each other’s effects. This is known as ‘stacking,’ which results in a synergistic effect where the stacked combo produces an impact more effective than a single nootropic taken individually.
For example, taking Fasoracetam with Alpha-GPC is considered a stack. In this case, they will potentiate each other’s effects, and the choline from Alpha-GPC will ensure your acetylcholine levels stay balanced within the brain.
Suppose you’re a student facing difficulties during finals, a working professional looking for that extra edge, or an older adult who wants to continue enjoying the mental agility of a young mind. In those cases, nootropics may be the answer you’re looking for.