Ever find yourself asking “what are nootropics?” Can these brain boosters really work?
RELATED: 23 Metabolism Boosting Foods To Include In Your Grocery List
In this article:
- What Are Nootropics?
- What Are the Benefits of Nootropics?
- How Do Nootropics Work?
- Who Should Take Nootropics?
- Why Should You Take Nootropics?
- Where Can You Buy Nootropics?
- When Should You Take Nootropics?
What Are Nootropics: Your Questions Answered
What Are Nootropics?
Nootropics are substances that are consumed for the purpose of cognition enhancement. The term was coined by Dr. Corneliu E. Gurgea.
Nootropics are said to have the following abilities:
- Enhancement of learning and memory retention
- Improvement of cognitive skills even under stress
- Absence of side-effects present in other psychotropic drugs
- Facilitation of communication between cells
- Protection of brain cells
The most modern definition of nootropics (as of 2018) is if it is a supplement that helps the brain in any way. With this definition, it covers up to at least 80 supplements.
What Are the Benefits of Nootropics?
- Memory Enhancement – Memory pills enhance working memory and storage, recall, knowledge retention, and learning.
- Attentiveness – Concentration and focus enhancements boost productivity levels.
- Mood Enhancement – Some nootropics help boost mood balance, relaxation, and confidence, or help manage anxiety and stress.
- Creativity – They boost free-flowing thoughts conducive to introspection, creativity, and contemplation.
- Physical Motivation – While they may not have a direct link to improving physical activity, it improves performance by boosting focus and motivation.
How Do Nootropics Work?
Nootropics act as vasodilators for the veins and arteries in the brain. These help increase blood circulation to the brain, thereby increasing its nutrient, energy, and oxygen flow.
The brain’s neurons benefit from this increase in nutrients and energy. As they are irreplaceable cells, they are constantly in need of energy to repair themselves.
Nutrients such as glucose delivered to the brain are necessary for feeding the neurons. They help neurons with various electrical, maintenance, and neurotransmitting processes.
Nootropics also help protect the brain from toxins and prevent inflammation and brain aging. They boost brain activity and neuroplasticity by providing an environment conducive to neuron and brain health.
There are various kinds of nootropics, and they work in different ways. They can be taken in individual, single-ingredient pills and supplements.
Since they are available in stand-alone supplements, some people choose to customize various kinds for specific needs. For example, someone may choose to combine a supplement that enhances memory with a pill that enhances attentiveness.
What are neurons? A nerve cell that transmits information via chemical and electrical forms in the body.
What is neuroplasticity? The brain’s ability to form, as well as reorganize, synaptic connections. This process occurs as a response to learning or experiencing something new, or after suffering injuries.
Who Should Take Nootropics?
Those with ADHD and narcolepsy are among the people for whom regular nootropic use is necessary. However, many people who don’t have this condition also turn to nootropics.
Those who have trouble focusing at work, or are having trouble with staying awake in a humdrum office environment, may benefit from mild nootropics like caffeine. People with anxiety or who have trouble sleeping due to stress can also benefit from a nootropic that helps them relax.
Too much may always mean wading into dangerous waters, so it’s important to consult with your doctor. They may be able to prescribe proper nootropic supplements in the right combination and dosage.
Why Should You Take Nootropics?
The speed and stress of daily activities are turning out to be an indirect cause of humans’ cognitive decrease. Lack of proper sleep, exercise, nutrition, and even a good, healthy environment stack up to cause the notorious brain fog.
These factors also add to a lack of focus, as the brain will look for tiny distractions to give it short bursts of feel-good hormones. But this only contributes to inefficiency and less productivity.
Stress also aggravates these factors by creating a vicious cycle of raising cortisol levels and inducing more stress. Nootropics help by balancing out cortisol, reducing stress reactions and helping people feel and sleep better.
There is no magic pill that exists to make anyone of superhuman intelligence, but nootropics can improve your cognition enough to make a noticeable difference.
Even pharmaceuticals have stepped into the nootropic market. The drug modafinil is growing in popularity for its ability to improve energy, wakefulness, focus, and making decisions.
Modafinil works by creating a shift in the brain’s dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine levels.
A common nootropic that many people are unaware they’re already consuming is 1, 3, 7-trimethylxanthine. It improves several aspects of cognition by making consumers alert.
Of course, 1, 3, 7-trimethylxanthine has a more familiar common name, which is caffeine. Too much caffeine may be risky, but in moderate amounts like in coffee or green tea, can be more beneficial than it can be harmful.
RELATED: Want A Healthy Body? Dos And Don’ts To Feel Your Best
Where Can You Buy Nootropics?
Nootropics are as accessible to us now as over-the-counter medication than ever before. This is why it’s important to talk to your doctor so you can make sure you’re buying the right thing.
One factor to consider when looking for a nootropic supplement is quality control. With some research on suppliers, you can assess if they have a history of quality control issues or otherwise.
The most trustworthy suppliers take the extra step by pushing their products through third-party laboratory testing. This way, they can determine the composition, purity, and even potential for contamination.
One way to find the most reliable nootropics is to talk to other buyers over a variety of platforms. The community is sometimes the best road towards finding the best nootropic supplement supplier.
When Should You Take Nootropics?
Nootropic supplements and medications help with different cognitive demands, and that often depends on our lifestyles. When taken at the right time, we can maximize the effects of nootropics on our brain.
Since nootropics take a few hours to take effect, they are usually best when taken in the morning or the afternoon. This ensures that their effects are best felt throughout the day.
It’s also during the day that our brains are the most active. And since a majority of people work daytime shifts, their cognitive capacities are needed most during the day.
Taking nootropics during the day helps prevent the dreaded brain fog. It also helps people to focus more at work and reduce the effects of stress.
The brain works surprisingly hard at night as well. But the difference is that cognitive tasks aren’t as demanding as they are during the day.
Taking nootropics better suited for daytime activities may not be so effective when taken at night. But there are still nootropics more suitable for nightly consumption.
Nootropic supplements created to help with sleep problems are best when taken at night. They are often free of stimulants and help ease the brain into a calm state, which assists in the repair and recovery of brain cells and neurotransmitters.
Learn more about nootropics and what they can do in this video from Practical Psychology:
Nootropics may sound a little magical, especially when they claim to be able to make you “smarter.” While it’s not going to make you an instant genius, it can work with what you’ve got to make you more efficient, productive, and less stressed.
It is also important for adults to consume a healthy mix of daily vitamins. We recommend this Vitamin D3 supplement.
Do you have any experiences with taking nootropics? Share your experiences with us in the comments section below!