Nootropics are a popular group of cognitive enhancing supplements that improve memory recall, enhance concentration, and improve overall cognitive functioning. Nootropics are sometimes referred to as “smart” drugs since they are associated with improved intelligence, motivation, and mental capacity.
Our guide will help you understand just how nootropics work and how to find quality nootropic supplements to enhance your cognitive capabilities.
What are Nootropics?
The term “Nootropic” is actually a term loosely based on concept developed by Belgian pharmacologists who invented the first nootropic, now known as piracetam. Today, the term nootropic is used to refer to a compound that can enhance cognitive functioning while maintaining low toxicity so it can be used for long-term use.
Piracetam is the most well known nootropic and it is in the racetam family along with aniracetam, pramiracetam, oxiracetam, and noopept. All of these compounds are synthetic in nature, but there are additional herbal supplements used in nootropics like fish oil, grape seed extract, licorice, and bacopa monnieri.
How Do Nootropics Work?
So what exactly can Nootropics do? Although they are often referred to as “smart drugs”, nootropics aren’t going instantly make you smarter of give you a higher IQ. However, what they will do is boost your brain functions by increasing the production of various neurotransmitters in the brain.
Your brain is one large network of neurons connected by synapses. The neurons in your brain communicate and work together through a number of chemicals called neurotransmitters. When there are a greater amount of neurotransmitters in your brain, you will experience better memory, mood, and concentration. You’ll also have a longer attention span and increase your processing ability for mental work.
Continued use of nootropics can actually permanent increase the levels of the same neurotransmitters needed for greater mental capacity, which is why nootropics are sometimes known as “smart drugs.”
Another type of nootropic increases the blood flow to your brain in what is known as vasodilation. This increases oxygen, nutrient, and glucose supply to your brain. By increasing flood flow to your brain, you almost immediately experience improved memory and focus.
Third and finally, nootropics also help to protect and preserve the health of the brain. Some of these compounds directly influence the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain that slow down the aging process. Some nootropics also increase the production of brain cells and slow down oxidative damage to prevent the effects of aging in the brain like loss of memory and motor skills.
However, the best benefit of using nootropics hasn’t even been mentioned yet. There are many prescription drugs on the market that provide the same effects as nootropics but these supplements have one thing in common – they have nasty side effects.
Nootropics on the other hand have a low toxicity, which means they are able to improve brain functions without any of the negative side effects of prescription drugs. In fact, long-term use is actually encouraged to help produce a seemingly permanent state of improved mental capacity.
Popular Cognitive Enhancer Ingredients
Now that you know the basics of what nootropics are and how they work, let’s look at some of the most popular nootropics. Each supplement has its’ own unique mechanism that makes it different from other nootropics.
You can either take a supplement that best meets your specific goals, or you can combine several nootropic compounds and create what is known as a stack. Here are some of the most popular nootropic compounds:
As we mentioned in part one of our guide, racetams are the most common type of nootropic and piracetam, aniracetam, pramiracetam, and oxiracetam all fall in this family. Racetams work by considerably increasing the levels of several neurotransmitters and other chemicals like glutamate and acetylcholine.
Several studies show that racetams improve cognitive functions, prevent brain damage from oxidative damage and from the consumption of alcohol, and finally help to increase the communication between the both hemispheres of the brain.
Choline is commonly used in conjunction with racetams, specifically piracetam and aniracetam. Choline specifically helps to increase the production of the acetylcholine neurotransmitter in the brain. It is used with racetams since they demand and use more acetylcholine, so stacking choline with racetams will dramatically enhance results.
Studies have proven that choline supplementation can improve performance on memory tests and even improve social behavior. Choline is also very important In the production of new brain cells.
Vinpocetine is one of the most powerful nootropics useful for vasodilation to improve blood flow to the brain. After vinpocetine is taken, blood vessels become wider and are thus able to provide more blood (and in turn oxygen and nutrients) to the brain. This immediately causes a number of effects like improved concentration, higher mental energy and motivation, and faster brain processing.
Pyritinol is used to support the long-term health of the brain thanks to its’ anti-oxidative effects. However, its’ primary benefit is to aid glucose uptake in the brain for extended periods of time. If you’re a long stretch or work or studying, your brain starts to lose its glucose storage and you begin to break down and lose focus.
A few studies have shown that taking pyritinol can improved glucose uptake to help you maintain your concentration and learning ability during extended periods of mental work. It also helps to keep your mental energy levels higher.
Should You Buy Smart Drug Brain Boosters?
There are dozens of other nootropics on the market now that can enhance your cognitive functions in various ways. You can either buy nootropics in bulk-packs or create your own stack or you can consider buying pre-made nootropic supplements like Neuroflexyn or Alpha Brain, which come with specific formulas.
Beginners specifically will find these pre-made formulas better before they start to understand how specific their bodies react to specific nootropics.
At the end of the day, you should use nootropics based upon what you personally want to achieve. There are seemingly endless combinations of nootropic blends out there, so it may take awhile to find the right combination for you. However, no matter what nootropic you end up using, you can be assured you will take your cognitive abilities to new levels.