Nootropics are supplements, drugs, and substances that help in improving cognitive function. These drugs are clinically proven to improve memory, creative skills, and other brain functions.
Basically, they are chemical compounds that naturally boost your mental strength and capacity.
This topic is very wide and you should know everything about it. So, let’s discuss in detail…
What are Nootropics?
The word nootropics mean to turn the mind. There are many other names of like – miracle drugs, smart drugs, brain booster drugs, nutrients for the brain, etc.
It is considered as the best supplement to increase your attention span, improve your focus, memory, alertness, and other cognitive skills. Basically, it strengthens your brain so that you can easily perform mental tasks.
Millions of people start their day with a cup of coffee, Have you ever wondered why?
That is because the caffeine in coffee helps in improving mental alertness. So, it works like a natural nootropic. It improves your focus that helps you give your 100% throughout the day. Basically, you need a brain-booster.
This is the reason why brain boosters are becoming extensively popular all over the world. With today’s demanding world, people want to improve their brain function.
What are the benefits of nootropics?
The benefits are improvement in:
- mental health
- and more.
When you use it regularly, it improves the way your brain functions. Basically, it makes you smart and that is why it is considered as smart drugs. It improves the communication between neurons in your brain. This enhances your long-term cognitive capacities.
There is absolutely no doubt that different types of nootropics serve a different purpose for your brain. Some improve synaptic plasticity and some improve blood flow to your brain.
When blood flow to your brain increases more oxygen, nutrients and glucose reach your brain. This improves your memory, focus, and other brain functions.
There are some nootropics that work as anti-aging supplements. They slow down your aging process and help prevent damage to your brain. They also help to stimulate the growth of neurons as well as neurite.
Therefore, it is beneficial for all those people who want to improve their brain’s health.
Here are the top 5 benefits of nootropics discussed in detail:
- Improved Concentration
It helps to improve and increase concentration. In fact, it is one of the biggest advantage.
In today’s busy life, most people complain of having low concentration levels. With nootropics, you can easily overcome this problem.
It is scientifically proven to improve your cognitive skills like concentration, alertness, mental sharpness, etc. Also, it keeps you motivated.
- Enhanced Memory
Most people have the problem of poor memory. They find it difficult to remember things and they have cloudiness in their brain most of the times. If you have poor memory then you will easily forget the information that you see or read.
Often people do not struggle while reading a book, newspaper or learn new information. But the problem is retaining that information. If they are asked to recall it then they will not be able to do so.
Nootropics are the solution to this problem. As it enhances your memory naturally. It works as a brain booster. It supplies the essential nutrients that your brain needs to improve its function.
- Improved Brain Health
Taking good care of your brain improves its health (which is very important).
Usually, people take care of physical health but they don’t bother about their mental health. This causes the main problem of poor mental health.
Nootropics naturally improve your brain health by increasing the flow of oxygen to your brain. This helps in improving your brain cells and neurons.
Even doctors recommend nootropics like vitamin b derivatives and cholines to Alzheimer’s patients because it helps in improving brain function.
Another good thing is that it help in developing the growth of new brain cells. This improves mental health and reduces stress.
Today’s hectic and stressful life takes a toll on your health. As a result, you start seeing the effects of premature aging. In situations like these smart drugs work like an anti-aging supplement.
As it improves your mental health, your stress levels reduce. Now, the hormone cortisol is responsible for increasing stress. When your brain releases more cortisol, stress also increases. This results in many health issues including premature aging.
In order to reduce the formation of stress, it is important to increase the production of serotonin in your brain. Serotonin is the happy hormone.
Nootropics naturally increase serotonin and decrease cortisol. This helps control premature aging and it also enhances your mood. When your stress levels reduce your overall health improves.
- Improved Mood
When you have poor focus, memory, and concentration, you feel bored, dull and tired. In situations like these, it is important to improve your mood. A lack of sleep is often the reason behind a bad mood. So, it is very important to follow a regular sleep pattern.
It enhances your brain receptors so your mood improves. This reduces anxiety, depression, and stress. It also makes you feel good.
Nootropics Ingredients – The Formula Unleashed
Some people think that natural nootropics are not as powerful and worthy as the synthetic ones. But in reality, natural smart drugs are equally (if not more) good. They serve the same purpose but without the side effects.
Before introducing any new supplements to your diet it is very important to check the list of ingredients used in it so that you get the best stuff for your health.
What ingredients are in nootropics?
The ingredients can vary depending on the type of smart drugs you are using. For example – Ashwagandha and Ginseng. They both are standalone nootropics, you don’t really need to add anything else in them to increase the potency.
In the case of synthetic smart drugs, they are created in the lab with chemicals that are specifically used for this purpose and they are clinically proven. So, it is not like one particular ingredient.
Most synthetic nootropics cause side effects. Yes, this is true. They can be dangerous for your health. Therefore, they should not be used regularly for long-term. Instead of doing any good to your health they can damage your health. Always choose a natural supplement only.
Now let’s discuss 5 main nootropics ingredients…
Ingredient 1: Huperzine-A
The extract of the Chinese club moss plant is known as Huperzine-A. It is used to break down the neurotransmitter acetylcholine that is responsible for learning. Acetylcholine is a chemical that helps in stabilizing a communication between brain and muscles.
Huperzine-A works as an inhibitor of the chemical acetylcholine. This makes sure that this chemical level does not drop in your body. This improves mental health, concentration, memory retention, etc. It also helps in protecting memory against age-related impairment.
This is the most common ingredient that is used for treating the patients of Alzheimer’s disease. It helps in increasing energy, memory, and alertness.
Ingredient 2: Cat’s Claw
In the Amazon rain-forest, a vine known as Uncaria tomentosa is grown. Cat’s Claw is derived from this vine naturally. The main use of this ingredient is for treating osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. It is very popular in the United States of America and it has many medicinal benefits.
Cat’s Claw also helps to stimulate the nervous system and enhance the body’s natural defense mechanism against stress. It helps to repair cells of brain and body. This naturally improves brain health.
Ingredient 3: Bacopa
Bacopa is a herb that is native to India. It is rich in a compound known as bacosides. Clinical tests show that these compounds help to repair damaged neurons. It also promotes nerve growth.
This herb improves cognitive skills by reducing the bad effects of anxiety. It also improves the connection between neurons. This results in improved memory retention and mental performance.
There is another health benefit of this herb and that is treating the symptoms of dementia. It also leaves a very positive effect on people suffering from Alzheimer’s and other age-related mental problems.
Ingredient 4: Oat Straw
Oat Straw is obtained from wild green oats and it is also known as Avena sativa. It has been used as a brain booster supplement since the middle ages.
This herb helps in increasing the alpha-2 waves in the brain. This soothes the brain as well as the nervous system. It also increases blood flow to the brain by reducing inflammation in the artery walls. It increases alertness and mental sharpness.
Ingredient 5: L-Theanine and L-Tyrosine
Both L-Theanine and L-Tyrosine are amino acids that are naturally found in green as well as black tea.
L-Theanine helps to relieve stress, control anxiety and stimulate neurotransmitters in your brain. It relaxes your body and increases your focus.
L-Tyrosine helps to create dopamine and noradrenaline. Both these are neurotransmitters that increase mental alertness and focus. This reduces the damage of brain cells caused by stress and fatigue.
It is important to understand the science behind it, so let’s dig in…
Where did Nootropics originate?
A Romanian doctor – Dr.Giurgea was the first one to discover it. After synthesizing piracetam, he discovered it. In fact, Piracetam is one of the most popular nootropics to date.
After this discovery, many other supplements have also been classified and identified as brain boosters. In today’s world, there are around seven different types of cognitive enhancers available.
Alternative Criteria for Designing Smart Drugs
After Dr. Giurgea’s initial discovery, there have been several other doctors who researched on this brain booster. One of those many doctors is Dr.V. Skondia. He presented his own classification theory which was focused on its metabolic effects:
- It does not have any direct vasodilation effect.
- There should be no change in it’s EEG rhythm.
- It must cross the barrier between blood and brain.
- It must possess metabolic activity in your brain.
- There should not be any side effects.
- It should be clinically tested.
On comparing the theory of both the doctors it is believed that Dr.Giurgea’s main focus was on enhancing cognitive skills. Whereas, Dr.Skondia’s main focus was on enhancing brain metabolism.
These theories proved that all cognitive enhancements drugs or brain boosters cannot be classified as nootropics.
Who Uses Nootropics?
Nootropics were discovered back in the early 1970’s and slowly it gained popularity worldwide. It is touted as a smart drug that enhances your mental health.
So, let’s talk about who should use smart drugs:
There are countless individuals all over the world who use nootropics to improve their cognitive skills.
The brain is the most important part of your body. If your brain is not healthy then you cannot perform even small day-to-day activities. Therefore, it is extremely important to have good mental health.
People have been using some kind of supplements (natural or synthetic) to improve their brain health. So, even though the concept of nootropics is new but the purpose is not new.
They are basically “smart drugs” that work like nutrients for your brain.
Many clinical tests have been performed
Nootropics are very widely used in the medical community. Doctors often use racetams (a kind of nootropic) for treating many conditions like age-related mental issues and other disorders etc.
Sometimes people suffer from traumatic brain injury or loss of memory or any other mental disorder. In these type of conditions, the individual has prescribed Pramiracetam (a type of racetam). It helps to significantly improve cognitive response.
Racetams help to increase blood flow to the brain. This increases oxygen content and hence relieves many mental disorders like cloudiness, confusion, memory loss, and even age-related cognitive deficiencies. Basically, racetams create an interaction between neurotransmitters and the body.
Other than racetams there are not many nootropics that are used widely in medical treatments. However, this does not mean that research is not being carried out and there won’t be any better options in the future.
Mainstream use of Smart Drugs is also increasing
As Nootropics are gaining popularity, more and more people are getting inclined towards it. They want to use it for improving their cognitive skills.
Let’s discuss in depth about who uses nootropics…
Students use them to enhance their memory and learning capacity. This helps them remember and retain things that they have studied. It also helps them in increasing their focus towards their assignments.
Many professionals use them to improve their working capacities. They want to reduce their stress and anxiety. Also, they want to improve their response under high-pressure situations and improve their overall perspective.
Many fitness enthusiasts, sportsperson, and athletes in general use smart drugs. It helps to take their performance to the next level by improving their mind and body co-relation. It also reduces stress and improves their focus and attention.
Other people also use nootropics because it works like a brain booster. It improves mental health.
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
How can I make my brain function better?
You can make your brain function better by taking some nootropics. These smart drugs are easily available in the form of supplements, pills, etc.
These supplements are like a combination of various different chemical compounds that can be either natural or man-made. However, both these types offer benefits for your cognitive functions.
This term nootropic was first discovered by Dr. Corneliu E.Giurgea. He set up the criteria of five main points to determine:
- It should enhance memory and learning capability.
- Improve brain function in adverse conditions like electroconvulsive shock and low oxygen levels (or hypoxia).
- It should protect the brain from physical and chemical assaults.
- Increase the efficacy of neurotransmitters.
- It should not cause any side effects.
The important thing is to keep all these points into consideration. Therefore, any chemicals or supplements that do not fulfill these points cannot be considered as nootropics.
How Nootropics Work?
They are smart drugs that help to improve your cognitive skills. However, they are not a quick solution to increasing your IQ score.
They increase the production of certain vital neurotransmitters in your brain. This improves your brain’s health.
Neurotransmitters are chemicals that are responsible for carrying information between neurons. Therefore, it increases your brains efficiency to understand, remember and perform daily functions even better.
There are many different types of smart drugs available in the market today. Each and every nootropic works in a different way. Each serves a different purpose for the brain. Therefore, it is important to know how nootropics work before actually using them.
The main purpose of all nootropics is to improve the way your brain functions. They also help to improve your overall brain’s health.
Lets discuss how your brain reacts to it…
How Neurotransmitters and Receptors Work? – The Basics
Before understanding how nootropics work, you should understand how neurotransmitters and receptors work inside your brain.
Neurotransmitters are a chemical inside your brain that helps the neurons or nerve cells to form a connection with each other. The neurotransmitters activate the receptors so that your body can function properly.
There are countless neurotransmitters in your brain and all of them are required to perform a certain kind of action in your body.
Nootropics help to improve the efficiency of your brain function. This improves your overall cognitive skills.
The Cholinergic System – Acetylcholine
Acetylcholine plays a major role in improving your cognitive skills. It helps to improve learning, memory, focus, attention span, perception, decision-making, etc. When you consume a well-balanced diet, it increases acetylcholine in your brain.
Certain nootropics like the Alpha GPC, choline and citicoline help in the formation of acetylcholine in your brain. These substances should be consumed in combination with each other. In fact, you can also combine cholines with racetams like Aniracetam, Oxiracetam, Piracetam, etc.
The Glutamatergic System: Glutamate
Glutamate plays very important functions inside your brain. It helps to retain your memory, improve your learning capability and maintain your brain health.
Glutamate is converted into GABA in your brain. This means that it works like a mood-enhancing neurotransmitter. It is extremely important for the proper functioning of your brain.
If the levels of glutamate are too high or too low in your body, it can leave adverse effects on your brain’s health. Individuals may suffer from diseases like Alzheimer’s, ADHA, Parkinson’s and autism.
Some types like racetams, peptides, and ampakines help to stimulate receptors like NMDA and AMPA. These increase glutamate uptake. This helps in protecting against health conditions and improves your overall brain health.
Dopaminergic and Serotonergic Systems
Both Dopamine and Serotonin are the most important neurotransmitters that are responsible for pleasure and happiness.
Some Nootropics do not cause any effect on dopamine and serotonin directly. However, they are affected by mood, motivation, focus, memory, and good brain health.
There are some supplements like Ritalin and Adderall that are amphetamine compounds. They are addictive and hence, they should be used under caution.
In fact, these supplements are often used only after a doctor’s prescription. There are many other supplements also available that leave a direct impact on your serotonin levels and they are not even considered as nootropics.
Another important thing is that in some cases, certain type of nootropics may affect dopamine and serotonin levels. However, not as much as acetylcholine or glutamate.
Are nootropics legal?
Most of the nootropics are legal. They are considered as a dietary supplement which is food. As you know, most food is safe and of course legal.
There are some synthetic alternatives too that can be classified as legal as well as illegal. It really depends on the product that you are choosing.
What foods have nootropics?
Here is a list of foods that naturally make your brain function better:
- Dark leafy greens.
- Dark chocolate.
- Green tea.
- Extra-virgin olive oil.
- Broccoli sprouts.
- Fatty fish.
- Water (yeah it’s true – Water).
Are nootropics good for you?
Yes, they are good for you if you want to improve the performance of your brain. It boosts your brain health so your memory, focus, alertness, attention span all improve. In fact, it also works as an anti-aging supplement.
How long do nootropics stay in your system?
It does not stay for a long time in your system. For example – Caffeine. It stays for a few hours in your system, gives you the required energy and alertness and then it is processed out of your system.
Similarly, the prescription-only smart drugs also stay for a short term in your system. After delivering the desired results, they are also processed out of your system.
Do nootropics show up on drug tests?
The answer is no, but… you never know. Let’s discuss in detail:
Nootropics do not contain any restricted substances so ideally, they should not show up on drug tests. But sometimes false positives happen.
A false positive means that a drug test comes positive even if you have not taken anything. Basically, you are not screened for drugs directly. When drugs enter your body they are broken down into metabolites and you are screened for these metabolites.
Sometimes unrestricted drugs can break down into a similar type of metabolites and cause a false reading.
General drug tests certainly don’t look for the presence of nootropics. Common employment drug tests (Standard 5-panel) test only for cocaine, amphetamines, THC, PCP, and opiates.
Now, nootropics should not cause any kind of false positive for the tests mentioned above. However, a slight chance may be possible, so you must keep that in your mind before going through extensive testing.
Just remember that on a standard drug test amphetamines (including Adderall, Dexedrine, Vyvanse, etc.) will come out positive. So, unless you don’t have a prescription, it might be a problem for you.
Is caffeine a Nootropic?
Yes. Caffeine is a nootropic. It instantly shows results. When you have a cup of coffee, you feel more alert, motivated and active. It clearly has cognition-enhancing effects.
Is creatine a Nootropic?
Yes. Creatine is one of the best Nootropics because it not only enhances athletic performance but also cognitive performance. It improves energy levels in the brain and also relieves sleeplessness. Also, creatine is not a dangerous stimulant, in fact, it is very healthy and effective.
Can nootropics make you tired?
Not really but then again, no two people are the same. So, if something works for someone that does not mean that it will also work for you in the same manner. Ideally, nootropics reduce tiredness and make you more active. It also calms and relaxes you so you feel much better and your working capacity improves.
Are nootropics natural?
There are two different types – natural and synthetic. For example, natural ones are Ashwagandha, Ginseng, Caffeine, and more. The synthetic ones are made in a lab, for example – Piracetam, etc.
What is the most effective Nootropic?
The most effective and strongest smart drugs are prescription drugs like Adderall and Ritalin. However, if you want a more natural alternative that is available without a prescription but gives the same effect then you can choose NooCube.
Is 5 HTP a Nootropic?
5-HTP is a precursor of serotonin. Serotonin is a hormone that is secreted in the brain. It is a happiness hormone. This means when you feel happy, serotonin is released. So, it is extremely important to alleviate the symptoms of depression.
Now, all these hormones or chemical compounds in your brain are responsible for your memory, performance, cognitive skills, etc. So, with 5-HTP you can expect an overall improvement in your mental health. However, it should not be considered as a treatment for anxiety or depression.
Do you need a prescription for nootropics?
Some smart drugs are only available with a prescription like Ritalin and Adderall. So, if you want to use them then yes, you do need a prescription. However, there are other options also available that come under the category of a dietary supplement like NooCube.
Nootropics Side Effects
Here are some frequently asked questions on this topic. All of them are discussed in detail so that all your doubts regarding the safety of smart drugs are cleared.
What are the side effects?
Due to the growing popularity of nootropics among people worldwide, safety concerns are also increasing. People want to use a safe supplement and not something that can cause side effects.
Let’s take a closer look and find out about some of the side effects…
Side Effects of Nootropics
- Headache / Migraine
One of the most common side effects is headache or migraine. Often people complain that when they started taking nootropics they got a headache and it became bothersome for them. Ultimately, they stopped taking the supplements, but this is not the solution.
If you think about it, smart drugs are nutrients for your brains. So, you are actually asking your brain to improve its performance and work hard.
It stimulates your brain and helps with the release of more neurotransmitters. Keep in mind, if you include a choline supplement in your diet or consume a nootropics supplement that already has choline in it then you can overcome the problem of headache.
- Upset Stomach
A less common side effect is stomach upset. Some users report that their stomach gets upset after using nootropics.
If you experiment with the dosage of the supplement then you are most likely to get your stomach upset. There is absolutely no need to consume high doses. It is important to follow the recommended dose.
Another side effect of nootropics is crashes. This is quite similar to that of caffeine. Just like caffeine gives you an instant short-term cognitive boost but a crash shortly thereafter.
For Example – You are tired and you want to study or work for some more time but you are not able to focus then you will take nootropics supplement. In this kind of situation when your body is already exhausted and you are putting additional strain on it, it is bound to crash.
Therefore, you should never put too much strain on your body. Respect the signals that your body is giving.
Stop and relax because your body needs it. These supplements improve your performance, but you need to take care of your health.
Dependence is also one of the side effects. Long-term and regular usage of the supplement can make you dependent on it.
If you take it to improve your focus while studying or working or doing anything else then it will give amazing results.
However, if you stop taking it then you will again feel the stress and cloudiness in your brain and you will want to take it again. So, the dependence on anything is bad.
- Neurotransmission Depletion
Nootropics are believed to enhance your cognitive function and improve your neurotransmission. It even increases the production of neurotransmitters in your brain.
However, with long-term usage, you may deplete certain neurotransmitters. So, it is recommended not to continue using it for the long-term.
It Is Important To Understand These Side Effects
Most people report the positive effects of Nootropics. However, some people have reported side effects as well.
Do remember, both the positive and negative side effects before taking them. You do not want your body to suffer. All you want is to improve your performance and skills.
Some minor side effects like feeling jittery or having a mild headache are common when you initially start taking nootropics. This is because you are making changes in your daily routine.
You are giving your body and brain something that it has never received in the past. So, it takes time to adjust to it. Once your body and brain get accustomed to it then these side effects vanish naturally.
Are nootropics safe?
Natural nootropics are safe for use but the ones that have chemicals can cause side effects (read more about these side effects). Also, a healthy diet, exercise, and stress-free daily routine is a must for your overall brain and body health.
When you are buying, always remember that you should buy from a reputable and trusted company only. The supplement should not contain nasty chemicals and ingredients.
Are nootropics harmful?
No, they are not harmful but they can be addictive. So, when you start consuming it, you must consume it wisely and don’t abuse it. Otherwise, you might get side effects.
Keep in mind, that it is used to enhance your mental strength and not for becoming dependent on it.
Are nootropics addictive?
Anything that affects your thinking can be addictive. Usually, nootropics are not addictive but if you already have a history of addiction to other substances than anything is possible. So, it is a very rare case!
You will not experience similar withdrawal symptoms as you would with amphetamines even after prolonged use. So, unless you have a history of abusing substances or getting addicted, you should not worry.
A good quality supplement is not addictive. It will improve your cognitive skills.
Can nootropics cause depression?
Not really. In fact, it helps in reducing stress, anxiety, and depression. It is a complex mechanism so you should not solely depend on it, instead, you should understand depression in detail.
Depression is often believed to be a result of an imbalance in the neurotransmitters in your brain. However, considering it to be as easy as just balancing your neurochemicals is like over-exaggeration.
Depression is a complex disease that needs medical attention. Just changing your diet and taking natural nootropics is not the complete solution. Although, they do help.
Staying calm and happy is important and also having a positive attitude towards life helps in managing stress levels that can reduce depression a little bit.
Can nootropics cause anxiety?
No. In fact, it helps with soothing symptoms related to anxiety. You have to understand one thing that anxiety is a disorder. In some cases, the people who suffer from this disorder have increased levels of glutamine and glutamate. The right nootropics help with reducing anxiety issues.
Is it safe to take nootropics every day?
Yes, it is safe to take nootropics every day. It is recommended to take it on a daily basis for weeks and months. Some people may start noticing the first effects after a month. However, caffeine is different because it gives instant results.
If you are planning to use nootropics then make sure that you get the one that contains only natural ingredients. Lets be real, you are using this stuff to improve your health and synthetic or chemical based supplements can cause side effects… so, why choose them?
Go for the natural stuff like NooCube!
NooCube is one of the most popular nootropic supplement available today that is made from all natural ingredients. It has a blend of all the ingredients mentioned above. It contains vitamins, amino acids and other important building blocks of a healthy brain. Clinical tests also show that NooCube helps with memory retention, learning, focus, attention span, etc.