Nootropics are drugs, medications or supplements that claim to improve brain functioning, including memory, focus and creativity. They are sometimes known as 'cognitive enhancers' or 'smart drugs', and are becoming increasingly popular, especially amongst the younger generation that may be studying. This can lead to ethical concerns, as some of these medications are so effective that they can give students an advantage over their peers. Regardless, sales of Nootropic drugs reached $1.96 billion in 2018.
The Nootropic meaning was defined in 1972 by Corneliu Giurgea, a Romanian psychologist and chemist. He stated that for something to be classed as a Nootropic supplement, it had to fit the following criteria
Nootropics do not typically treat a specific condition but are used to enhance the brains cognitive abilities. The normal use for these medications are when people obtain Nootropics for focus, to help them to study, or to achieve a level of excellence in their work.
Although these are the typical uses for these medications, there are one or two conditions that Nootropic drugs can be used for. These are:
There are several medications that someone can find when looking to buy Nootropics online, which can be confusing. Two main categories that they can be split into are natural and synthetic. Some of the more common synthetic types are as follows:
Noopept - this synthetic medication was first synthesised in 1996 and claims to boost memory recall and brain function. There have been numerous animal studies with this supplement, which found that it speeds up how quickly the brain forms and retrieves memories. One human study that was conducted to see how effective Noopept was at treating traumatic brain injuries found that it had surprisingly effective rehabilitative effects.
Piracetam - this medication has been found to be one of the best Nootropics at treating age-related mental decline. In addition to this, numerous studies have been conducted where it was found people taking this medication were much more likely to do better at a variety of learning tasks.
Phenotropil - also known as Phenylpiracetam, it was originally developed in 1983 as a medication to treat the stresses of working in space that cosmonauts suffer from. Studies on animals found that it has anti-amnesic, anxiolytic, antidepressant, anticonvulsant, and memory improvement properties.
Modafinil - this medication is used to treat narcolepsy, shift work sleep disorder, and obstructive sleep apnoea. In addition to this, it is often used for studying, and is provided to military personnel to help them to treat sleepiness while conducting military operations in the field.
As previously mentioned, there are also natural Nootropics, derived from herbs, or from naturally occurring hormones already present in the body. Some people prefer to buy Nootropics that are natural, due to the perception that they have fewer side effects. Some of the more popular ones are:
L-Theanine - this is an amino acid that naturally occurs in green or black teas. A study in 2016 found that it increases alpha waves in the brain, which contribute towards a relaxed but alert state. It is said that it is even more effective when combined with caffeine.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids - these are some of the most well-known and best Nootropics, present in oily fish or as a supplement. They have been shown to help to build membranes around the body's cells. These are available over the counter in local shops all over the country.
Bacopa Monnieri - this ancient herb has been used for centuries to increase brain function. Studies found that it may speed up brain processing power, reduce reaction times and improve memory. It also contains compounds called bacosides, which protect your brain from stress.
Rhodiola Rosea - this is an herb that helps your body handle stress more effectively. In addition, it can improve mood and reduce feelings of anxiety and mental fatigue.
Nootropic supplements work in different ways. In fact, because the brain is so complex, scientists cannot really say for sure exactly how they work. They do, however, have some theories on how the mechanism of these drugs work. It is proposed that they work in six separate ways:
How long these medications last depend on the dose and Nootropic drug that has been taken. Just referencing the ones that we have already mentioned in this article:
In relation to the natural Nootropics, these are usually sold as supplements, so are taken over a long period of time, every day, to achieve the full effects.
Regardless of the specific Nootropic supplement that is being taken, any oral medication in capsule or tablet form should be swallowed whole with water. Generally, these medications can be taken with food, but it may delay the onset of the medication's effects.
It is important to consult your physician before taking any Nootropic, as it may not be safe for you to do so alongside any existing medical conditions that you have. In addition, please ensure you confirm that this medication does not interfere with any medications that you are already taking.
Like with any medications, there will always be Nootropic side effects. These medications are not known for their severe side effects however, if the recommended doses are taken, and you ensure that you do not take these medications alongside any other medicines that may interact with them. Some of the more common side effects are:
There are a variety of Nootropics, and not all of them are of the same type, which makes it confusing to know what to do when looking to buy Nootropics online. Some are natural, and some are synthetic versions. Although the natural ones tend to have less side effects, and are more easily available, they are generally less effective, and less scientific studies have been conducted into their safety and reliability. You should always conduct your own research into which ones suit you, before you buy Nootropics.
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Published: 11 August 2021
Review Due: August 2022