Simply put, Nootropics are drugs, supplements, or other substances (like herbs) that enhance cognitive function like creativity, memory, motivation, logic in healthy individuals
Nootropics are compounds that show evidence of improving the cognitive abilities of healthy individuals; nootropics ONLY work if you maintain a descent healthy lifestyle; they don’t do magic and don’t set your expectations high!
In other words, “Nootropics are not medicines: medicines bring you back to health when you’re sick, whilst nootropics help you improve when you’re healthy”.
Brain Chemistry is a fundamental factor to take into consideration; people are different and our bodies react differently to the same substances (natural and synthetic alike). The most commonly sought-after effects are enhanced cognition, motivation and concentration.
Over the years, nootropic drugs have gained traction. They are regarded as simplified compounds for boosting brain functionality. More and more people resolve to use these compound drugs to offer their minds an extra boost. Scientists have realised that many students and high-end employees resort to the use of such drugs.
This is because of the cognitive effects they experience. These drugs often share the same action mechanism. They enhance faster communication between neurons in the brain. This in turn helps to promote the health of brain cells by helping to balance your neurotransmitter levels.
Additionally, some of these drugs aid in boosting your neuron’s energy metabolism.
The word itself, coined by the Romanian psychologist and chemist Dr. Corneliu E. Giurgea who synthesized the first nootropic piracetam over 50 years ago, is a combination of the Greek words nous (mind) and trepein (to bend or turn).
According to Dr. Giurgea’s definition, nootropics:
- Enhance learning and memory.
- Enhance the resistance of learned behaviors/memories to conditions which tend to disrupt them.
- Protect the brain against various physical or chemical injuries.
- Increase the efficacy of the tonic cortical/subcortical control mechanisms.
- Lack the usual pharmacology of other psychotropic drugs (e.g. sedation, motor stimulation) and possess very few side effects and extremely low toxicity.
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 the brain’s capability and health.
- Racetams – Racetams affect the acetylcholine in the brain and therefore also affect memory, mood, mental agility, and focus. The benefits of the use of racetams include increased memory capacity, enhanced mental clarity, greater concentration, increased calmness, better recall of ideas whether factual or hypothetical, and quicker recognition of patterns and distinctions in data. Racetams reportedly allow both analytical and creative work to be performed simultaneously as is the case with answering rather lengthy essays that require facts and careful positioning of those facts to properly bring across a message.
- Stimulants – Whereas racetams augment the brain’s ability to gather many ideas and to understand them, stimulants increase attention and alertness which make concentration easier. Stimulants also make the brain more tolerant to stress by increasing energy levels, blood pressure, and heart and respiration rates, but the effects are longer-lasting compared to those of cognitive enhancers.
- Nutraceuticals – Nutraceuticals are simply food or food products whose content combines some of the effects of both racetams and stimulants but only to a limited extent. These are safe to consume frequently as are racetams and stimulants, but the effects are much less pronounced. While already proven effective in preserving and improving brain activity, these may also be used as supplementary means of treatment in the case of more severe mental health conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease.
HOW DO THESE DRUGS WORK?
Nootropics will not give you a higher brain IQ instantly, nor will they fix you diseases (They are not medecines); they will,however, boost your brain’s functionalities by increasing the signalling and production of various neurotransmitters. The human brain is a web of billions of neurons. The synapses interconnect these neurons.
Neurotransmitters are the chemicals that aid the neurons to work together and communicate. With a more efficient signal communication in the brain, you will experience enhanced cognitive abilities, mood elevation, boosted memory processing capabilities, as well as long concentration spans.
With the continued use of such “smart” drugs, you will experience an improved synaptic plasticity of neurons. As a result, you get a long-lasting improvement to the functioning of your health and a general healthy brain. Some of these drugs are stronger than others. Here, we will discuss a bit more regarding Modafinil, which is the most commonly used drug for memory enhancement.
Noopept is one of the strongest nootropics available on the market today. It provides a boost to overall cognition and has a slight psychostimulatory effect. Contrary to most nootropics, Noopept's effects start within mere minutes of ingestion making it an excellent choice right before mentally demanding tasks.
Noopept is a nootropic supplement that’s been getting a lot of attention lately. It has close ties to the popular racetam family of nootropics that are known for their benefits on cognitive ability as well their neuroprotective properties
Modafinil is a wakefulness-promoting agent that is often used off-label by healthy individuals that want to enhance their mental performance. Its effectiveness has been well-documented in several studies over decades of research.
Modafinil is a powerful stimulant and wakefulness-promoting drug that was developed for the treatment of narcolepsy and other daytime sleep disorders. But its ability to prevent sleepiness and fatigue is only part of the picture; extensive testing has shown that Modafinil offers an impressive list of cognitive benefits ranging from enhanced mood and mental alertness to increased motivation, improved reaction time, reduced fatigue, and better memory.
This particular drug is ideal for enhancing alertness in patients sleep. This is often associated with sleep disorders like narcolepsy. Moreover, it can also be used to counter various conditions. An approved medical consultant should only determine such conditions.
The precise manner in which this component works is yet to be determined. However, medical practitioners believe that it works by altering the neurotransmitters in the human brain.
With that said, a number of situations do not favor the use of this smart drug. Such scenarios include:
- Modafinil comprises of many ingredients. Each of these ingredients has a specific role to play. In a situation where you may have an allergic reaction to any of the ingredients contained in the drug, you should consult a medical official before you use the supplementary drug.
- A number of people have a history of developing certain complications after they use the drug. One common sign of such complications is the occurrence of rashes on the skin. If you experience such a symptom, you should desist from taking Armodafinil or Modafinil in any way.
- The final instance is whereby you have a pronounced history of heart complications. These may include the left ventricular hypertrophy or the mitral valve prolapse.
Ashwagandha is an ancient Ayurvedic medicine used for millennia as a tonic and rejuvenator. New research confirms its capability as an exceptionally effective anti-stress agent and brain protectant, and is quickly becoming a key component in many nootropic stacks.
The ashwagandha plant (or withania somnifera) is native to India and northern Africa, where it is traditionally considered a restorative. Ashwagandha is a Sanskrit word that translates to “smell of a horse,” which is thought to refer to both the odor of the plant’s roots and to the recuperative properties of the medicine, believed by Ayurvedic practitioners to confer a stallion-like vigor.
Piracetam, also known by its trade name Nootropil, is a revolutionizing member of the nootropic category of supplements. It was originally synthesized over 50 years ago as a cognitive booster and still remains a popular choice for nootropic users.
It is known to allow your creative and logical thoughts to run together into a stream of higher level thinking and can increase the amount of knowledge that your brain can retain for later access.
Piracetam is most known for its ability to enhance cognitive functions, even in healthy adults.
Piracetam’s effects are considered less strong compared to its more modern counterparts but still remains a very popular choice for a well-rounded nootropic supplement that has stood the test of time.
Medical studies have also shown piracetam to be beneficial in treating conditions that affect the brain such as alcoholism, Alzheimer’s disease, and children with dyslexia. Despite its clinical use, it is commonly used by healthy individuals that would like to expand their cognitive functions.
- How it works
It works to increase memory by making the transfer of acetylcholine more effective. It also affects NMDA glutamate receptors which also play a role in the memory formation and learning processes. Scientists believe piracetam works through these possible mechanisms in the brain:
- Compromised neuronal cells experience a loss of fluidity which prevents signaling molecules from crossing the lipid bilayer membrane of the corpus callosum, the part of the brain separating the left and the right hemispheres. It is believed piracetam can restore or even increase in the membrane fluidity of these neuronal cells, making neurotransmission a more effective process.
- Protein synthesis is an important part of memory-storage in the brain. Piracetam can possibly cause an increase in learning and memory when they are transported by various steroids in the brain. It was noted that when steroids in the brain were blocked, the effects of nootropics were blocked as well.
- Recruitment of AMPA receptors that are not normally part of synaptic transmissions, essentially making more receptors available, when would certainly cause an increase in learning.
- And of course, acetylcholine increases and increased transmission of this critical neurotransmitter which is one of the most important in memory storage and learning processes.
- Side Effects
Side effects from piracetam are considered very rare. The entire racetam family of nootropics has been shown to be extremely safe with low toxicity rates. The few reported adverse effects include headache, anxiety, and insomnia. Headache is the most widely reported side effect which can often be remedied by stacking with a choline supplement. Piracetam has been observed in clinical studies including Alzheimer’s patients taking 8 grams per day without any reported side effects.
Adrafinil is a wakefulness-promoting supplement that also happens to have impressive nootropic properties. Used responsibly, it can be an effective tool for supporting lengthy mentally demanding tasks.
Adrafinil is a synthetic nootropic supplement that acts as a central nervous system stimulant, preventing fatigue and increasing energy and wakefulness. But adrafinil does more than just fight sleepiness; it has also been shown to enhance mood, motivation, and reaction time, and its potential cognitive benefits include improved memory, heightened focus over longer periods, and even increased learning capacity.
Overall, before you resort to the use of any nootropic or supplementary drugs, you need to consider a number of factors. You should know the reasons behind your use of these drugs, how to use them and when, all the crucial safety information, the possible side effects, what to do in case of an overdose as well as any additional general safety information.