Nootropics: What Are They And Do They Really Make You Smarter?

Nootropics: What Are They And Do They Really Make You Smarter?

Nootropics are also known as “smart drugs.” That has to do with the benefits they claim to offer which are significant. Proponents say they increase mental capacity and improve cognitive function. Over the past few years, their popularity has grown rapidly. Thousands of people are now adding this little golden pill to their breakfast to be more productive at work.

To give some context to nootropics, just think of the movie  Limitless  . In this movie, Bradley Cooper took an experimental drug called “NZT-48.” Soon after, his world became more alive. For his senses were sharper. And his cognitive function worked as much as 200%. He could easily learn multiple languages ​​and take a dominant position on Wall Street. Moreover, he could remember everything he had seen, read and heard.

Why are they used?

It  seems like it’s something that will help you be more productive than Stephen King writing one novel after another. You could learn a subject in half the time. Or you can activate your neuronal structures to awaken the mathematical or musical genius within you. We say “seems.” Because the truth isn’t all that amazing. In reality, the effects of the drug are limited and less impressive. Yet they are still interesting.

For example, the pharmaceutical industry invests millions of dollars each year in developing new nootropics. The reason they do this is very simple – a rising demand.

The pressure at work is getting more and more intense. We all know that. You have to be alert, improve your concentration and be mentally faster. Your employer wants you to be more creative and productive. Everyone would like to be able to offer more without having to resort to hazardous substances. And this is where nootropics or “smart drugs” come in.

We know that today college students, military pilots, computer programmers and creative designers in sales regularly take these seemingly harmless drugs. They want to expand their minds, focus their attention and do their best.

The question is… Do nootropics really work?

Nootripica – an accidental discovery that led to the development of “smart drugs”

Some people call nootropics “the medicine of the future.” It’s a product of a fast-paced society. We want to challenge the limits of what is possible. But proponents don’t like or want to accept this term. Because  usually they do not experience any adverse side effects. Nor are they stimulants. But they have been given a different, more inspiring name: “cognitive enhancers.”

There are also those who dare to say that nootropics will soon be on our evolutionary menu.  Because according to them, they will help us reach the next level in brain development.

It may sound strange. But this is exactly what large companies and well-known organizations suggest. Silicon Valley, the world’s technology industry capital, has been working with nootropics for years. They have even discovered new mechanisms. Thus, they can enhance the properties and, as a result, the duration of action and usefulness of these agents.

Because they don’t just want to improve attention and creativity. They have also made it possible to have lucid dreams. They have also managed to experience levels of relaxation comparable to what people experience after years of meditation. To many of our readers, these claims seem like pure science fiction. That’s why we have to look at it step by step. So what is the origin of nootropics?

From sleeping pills to products that stimulate attention

We return to the sixties, to a Belgian laboratory called ‘ Union Chimique Belge.’ The Romanian neuropharmacologist Corneliu Giurgea worked on a composition of various chemical components. He had one goal in mind: to induce sleep.

But what he discovered was actually a special type of molecule. This gave him the opportunity to create the very first nootropic. The name of this product was Piracetam. The drug did not reduce neuronal arousal. Nor did it promote sleep. But it actually did the exact opposite. It made the mind alert and improved certain cognitive functions such as memory and concentration.

  • The chemical conversion of neurotransmitters such as acetylcholine and glutamate makes this possible. And the amazing thing is, they do it with adverse side effects.
  • Corneliu Giurgea’s Piracetam was quickly commercialized. This meant that other similar drugs came on the market soon after. We list some of them: Oxiracetam, Aniracetam, Pramiracetam and Phenylpiracetam.

The mechanism at work in nootropics varies from one drug to another. But most cause a widening of the veins. This means that they improve blood flow to the brain. And increased blood flow means more oxygen, more nutrients, and more glucose. Glucose is the essential source of energy that the brain uses for long periods of concentration.

We also know (and this is an interesting fact) that in Silicon Valley they are working with nootropics in combination with biohacking. In other words, they try to use different chemicals to ‘hack’ certain brain functions and boost the brain’s performance.

What Effects Do Nootropics Have? Are they as beneficial as they seem?

The pharmaceutical industry’s goal with nootropics is twofold. First, as we know, they want to improve our fundamental cognitive processes. And most of the time they have succeeded. Second, they want nootropics to act as neuronal protectors and have a minimum (if nonexistent is impossible) of side effects.

One of the biggest problems health experts see with nootropics is that stressed college students, business people and so on can buy them on the internet. They don’t worry too much about where the drugs come from, or worse, how they should be taken.

We give an example. Caffeine is a natural nootropic, as are omega 3 fatty acids. If I drink ten cups of coffee in one night, I will probably have a headache, dizziness and high blood pressure. Similarly, the student who buys the nootropics on the internet has no idea what they are made of or what the appropriate dose is. He only buys them to pass his exam tomorrow. So there is a good chance that he will experience adverse side effects before he sees any benefit such as improved attention and memory.

Nootropics, a medicine?

It’s important to understand that while nootropics can help, they don’t cure everything. Moreover, you will only feel the benefits if you know how to take them. So you should always follow the advice of an expert.

An interesting note is that Russian labs have created a new breed of nootropics. Those are derived from the stress hormone corticotropin and GABA receptors such as Phenibut or Tolibut. The demand for these drugs has been high recently for their relaxing and anti-stress properties. But it is important to keep in mind that their side effects are without a doubt the most dangerous on the market. Because in the long run they cause dependence.

How do you use nootropics?

Experts say there are some basic guidelines to follow if you want to take any form of nootropic.

  • Find the nootropic that best meets your needs.
  • Consult a specialist who can tell you what options are available on the market.
  • Each person has a unique neurochemistry. In general, you should start with very low doses of nootropics. Try different ones until you find what’s right for you.
  • If you experience side effects such as headache or dizziness, stop taking the drug immediately.
  • You should also remember that these drugs do not have an immediate effect. Because the brain needs time to get used to them. In fact, you will only notice effects a few days or weeks after you start taking it.

They only work if you follow an appropriate diet and avoid a sedentary lifestyle

If you want to regulate your brain’s chemistry to maximize its function, you need to eat a healthy diet. Certain nutrients activate the mechanism behind the action of smart drugs. A balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables and omega 3 – and omega 6 – fatty acids is fundamental for the nootropics to work.

  • In addition, if you lead a sedentary life, your metabolism will be slow and less efficient. As a result, your liver will not be able to fully process the components of the nootropic.

Exercise and a balanced diet low in saturated fats are essential for the nootropics to work properly.

Types of Nootropics

It is important to understand that not all nootropics are drugs. You do not need a prescription for many of these products because they consist of natural ingredients. Some are very easy to find in spice shops. However, it is important that you consult a specialist before taking a cognitive stimulant.

You also need to know what you are looking for. Because as we have seen, there is a wide variety of nootropics. And we will see even more in the coming years. But nowadays you can find them in the following categories (according to their effect): 

  • mood enhancers
  • Improve concentration
  • holding back fear
  • Improve memory
  • Enabling rest, recovery and sleep
  • Preventing aging and promoting longevity

Be careful when using nootropics

Finally, we must not forget that nootropics are not dietary supplements. So you shouldn’t just take them, especially since there are more and more available and their effectiveness is questionable. We know that we all wish we could boost our cognitive function. Because we all want to meet the demands of the labor market. But it is always better to try alternative strategies to achieve these goals.

But we will continue to closely monitor the evolution of these cognitive enhancing drugs and their effect on our future.

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