Nootropic Basics Part 1: What are Nootropics


What are Nootropics

From the Greek word “noos” which means mind and “trepein” which refers to turning, nootropics are considered as drugs that turn the human mind. In this case, Nootropic drugs improve the cognitive functioning of the mind, both memory and concentration. It is called as a drug, a nutraceutical, a supplement, and even a functional food. It is believed to enhance not only a person’s memory and concentration but it also improves one’s learning ability, increased motivation and mental energy. Nootropic drugs are popularly known as “Smart drugs”. It is also known as cognitive enhancers, memory enhancers, neuro enhancers, and intelligent enhancers.

In 1972, a Romanian doctor, Dr. Corneliu E. Giurgea coined the term for this drug nootropic. Together with Doctor V. Skondia, the two doctors invented the first nootropic called “Piracetam” which was considered under the cognitive boosting substances classification. Piracetam also known as Nootropil is well-known as one of the best nootropic drug. Together with the other drugs such as Noopept, Aniracetam, Oxiracetam, and Pramiracetam, they form the Racetam family. These drugs are made from synthetic products together used with a large quantity of natural and herbal supplements like licorice, grapeseed extract, yerba mate and more.

Classes of Nootropic Drugs

There are actually 6 known classes of Nootropic drugs that we should know.

Class 1

The Medication. It is widely recommended by pharmaceuticals and clinicians around the world. But, the problem is the possible side effects that a user can get. Ritalin, a stimulant, for example, shows the same neurochemical effect as cocaine while Adderall is the same as crystal meth. On the other hand, in our culture today, stimulants are frequently taken in the form of nicotine and caffeine. This enhances the alertness, reaction time, and memory of the consumer.

Class 2

Neuro-Protective Agents.  These are very helpful to those who have been suffering from a central nervous infection, toxic pressures, injury of the head, etc. It aids during the healing process of the brain. Nootropic drugs here are considered as a “brain food”. They act as a repair and protecting the substance of the brain. This includes vitamins C, D, E, broad spectrum vitamin B, alpha lipoic acid, and omega 3 fatty acid.

Class 3

Blood Flow Boosters.  This is the one responsible for making one’s thinking ability better. Together with the support of vinpocetine and CoQ10, blood flow in the brain is increased.

Class 4

Specific Neurotransmitter Targets. Neurotransmitters such as Acetylcholine, Dopamine, and Serotonin are boosted by this class of Nootropic. Acetylcholine enhances the memory, Dopamine acts as the reward-motivated neurotransmitter, and lastly, Serotonin is what we call as the happy hormone.

Class 5

Targeted Herbs and Foods. A variety of herbs and foods are used in specific illnesses or improvement of the human body. When it comes to booting up mental state and ease psychological conditions, here are some of the herbs and foods responsible. Blueberries and red grapes are for Resveratrol, turmeric for Curcumin, green tea for Theanine, and all cruciferous vegetables that play as a good anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and enhance one’s performance.

Class 6

Adaptogens. This class includes the following: the stimulating products, Gingko Biloba, Ginseng, Shou Wu, and Holy basil; the calming, Valerian root, Lemon balm, Passionflower, and Kava. This helps us in adapting from all the stresses we get from school, work, business, and other aspects of life. Daily use of this will result in an enhanced vitality and strength.

How brain performance works

The brain is the most powerful organ in the body. It is the body that determines what we think, feel, hear or remember. In the brain, nerves are connected and work together. There is a connection of the nerves to the spinal cord. For you to be able to think, feel, hear or remember, the nerves in the brain are connected to various parts of the human body that perform the functions as mentioned earlier respectively.

How do Nootropics work?

Just as discussed above, any positive change in the brain is often executed by these “Smart Drugs”. There are quite a wide variety of this type of medicine, and each one’s working mechanism is different from the others. Just to mention a few of those nootropics, below is how they work: ·

Gingko Biloba The extracts have a function in blocking the accumulation of red blood cells in a mass. Some of the properties in this extract have a role in preventing brain damage. Also, a continuous use of Gingko Biloba increases the receptors that function in forming G protein receptor complexes the cell membranes of specific neurons.·

Piracetam This one mostly deals with matters of glucose in the brain. It greatly influences the rate of the glucose metabolism in the brain. Also, it reduces the amount of lactic acid produced so as to avoid any dismally of the brain as this may be quite fatal. Piracetam also makes it possible for the Red Blood Cells to be flexible as it prevents any accumulation by the Red Blood Cells. This drug has been seen to improve memory and enhance learning.

Nicergoline This medication prevents the widening of the blood vessels (vasodilatation). Over an extended period now, the drug has also been seen to treat different types of dementia. It blocks the accumulation of platelets and just like Piracetam and Ginkgo Biloba, and it gives room for the flexible nature of the Red Blood Cells.

Methylphenidate This drug deals with cognitive impairment. It improves the working of the memory and makes it easier for you to go about heavy duty jobs. The latter is made possible by this drug because it improves focus and concentration making it simpler for you to complete the work the work.

Nicotine This is a stimulant that has considerable effects on the memory, concentration and learning of an individual.

Tacrine This is another nootropic drug that was the first to receive approval for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. This medication did not stay in the market for long as it was considered unsafe.

Common Myths involved with Nootropics

There is quite a lot of false information being spread out there in regard to Nootropics. The myths include:

  • Creation of holes in one’s brain Rumor has it that excessive use of these drugs may lead to the creation of holes in the brain, and this is indeed a myth. No matter how hazardous or fatal a drug is, it has no capability of creating holes in the brain.
  • The capacity to which minds are put to use There is a myth about brain size that has spread for quite some time now. Apparently, the percentage in which one uses the brain is only 10%. It is impossible to measure the capacity at which the brains works because there are very many neurons functioning in the brain. Also, research has shown that a large part of the brain is always active all the time, and for this reason, it beats logic to say that only one used only 10% of the brain. It is not true that using these nootropics will enhance the capacity at which the brain works. The work of these drugs is to strengthen the performance of the brain, not to take over the work of the mind.
  • Duped into believing the media There are a number of people who think that everything that they see in the movies are true. This concept is a belief that clearly showed how naïve people are in the society. Most of those drugs used in the movies are used in exaggerated manners so as to attract potential viewers. You should not at any point believe that these “smart drugs” you use in real life will ever resemble those that movies employ.

The proverbial gold clearly summarizes this myth. You should not expect the drug to give you instantly test answers or immediately make you smart. The most important thing to do is to keep in mind is that the drug functions in boosting your memory and increasing your performance. You still have an enormous role to play even if you are using these drugs.

The Effectiveness of Nootropics

As discussed earlier, there is a wide variety of this drug. The effectiveness of the drug will depend on what your definition of “active” is, because each one has its independent working mechanism. Research has put it out there that effective Nootropics should:

  • Have very low toxic levels
  • Have very few side effects because side effects are inevitable even when it comes to those products are 100% natural.
  • Greatly function in improving the performance of the brain’s mechanism and its functions.
  • Improve memory, focus, and ability to learn.
  • Prevent the brain from any sorts of injuries. The injuries could be either external or internal.
  • Not be used in excessive doses as this may be fatal.
  • Not be used by certain groups of people. These people include those who have various health problems, alcoholics, those under medication and pregnant and nursing women. It is important always to consult your health practitioner before using the drugs. Is the prevention not better than cure?

Nootropic Basics Table of Contents

Part 1: What are Nootropics

Part 2: Alternatives to Nootropics

Part 3: Choosing the Right Kind of Nootropic

Part 4: Side Effects and Therapeutic Effects

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