The Complete Beginners Guide To Nootropics
You may have heard the term Nootropics before, but have you ever wondered what exactly they are? well if you are a complete beginner to the big wide world of Nootropics this guide is for you. We’ll delve into what Nootropics are, how people are using them and how you can use them to improve your cognitive performance but your overall wellbeing.
What are Nootropics?
Put simply, Nootropics are a broad category of cognitive enhancing supplements (or drugs) with a very low likely hood for any harmful side effects compared to say OTC drugs. The term “Nootropics” was coined by Romanian Doctor Corneliu Giurgea while conducting tests on the popular Nootropic Piracetam he decided to come up with the term by combining the words “nous” meaning “mind” and “trepein” meaning “to bend” and thus was born Nootropics.
In recent times Nootropics have surged in popularity with everyday people using a variety of different Nootropics to enhance their day to day life. These Nootropic substances can come from a variety of different sources some natural and others synthetic.
One of the more popular Nootropics, Piracetam which was one of the original Nootropics first synthesized in 1963 by pharmacologists S. Giurgea and V. Skondia is part of the racetam family and one of the more synthetic Nootropics which boosts cognition by:
- Boosting oxygen and glucose uptake in brain cells, promoting feelings of alertness and mental fluidity
- Increasing cholinergic neurotransmission which is of great benefit for general cognition and memory recall
- Protecting brain cells from damage and signs of aging
A popular natural Nootropics called Lions Mane Mushroom has somewhat similar effects popular for its ability to:
- Potentially relieve symptoms of anxiety & depression (1)
- Reduce Inflammation and Oxidative stress
- Boosts the Immune system
How do Nootropics work?
There are a plethora of different that do all different things in the human body, so it would be quite the long article if we named all of them, however, it’s worth noting nootropics won’t give you an instant rush of energy like Bradley Cooper in Limitless (we can all dream) but in general the benefits of Nootropics can boil down into these few categories:
1. Increase Vasodilation
Some Nootropics such as Vinpocetine, L-Citrulline or L-Arginine increase whats called vasodilation which essentially means increased blood flow (to the brain), with this increase in blood flow this means the brain is supplied with more nutrients that it needs to function during long periods of focus (i.e. 0xygen, glucose & others) glucose, being the primary energy source for the brain.
The brain, being the control hub that it is, even though its only 2% of a human beings total bodyweight it constitutes 20% of your bodies daily energy expenditure, meaning without proper fuel (and optimisation) we can’t expect an efficient brain.
By using Nootropics to increase vasodilation, you can immediately experience a greater total capacity for overall memory & focus, meaning your day to day tasks, concentration and learning are greatly improved.
2. Neuroprotection & Neuropreservation
One of the more interesting benefits of Nootropics is neuroprotection and neuropreservation. Nootropics such as Lions Mane Mushroom increase whats called Nerve Growth Factor or NGF which facilitates the growth of neurons an neurites, which put simply over time could potentially slow down signs of aging & even potentially counter the development of disorders such as Alzheimers Disease (2).
3. Synaptic Plasticity
The human brain is essentially a network of billions on billions of neurons connected by whats called synapses. Neurons communicate with each other and work together through whats called neurotransmitters:
Some of which you may have heard before, i.e. serotonin being the neurotransmitter used to regulate mood, Nootropics are believed to assist in helping these neurotransmitters send signals more effectively if your neurotransmitters are sending signals more effectively you experience improved concentration, better memory, mood elevation, and longer attention spans, this increase in neuroplasticity is one of the main benefits of Nootropics and why many people take them in their day to day regimen.
Nootropics which are popular for neuroplasticity include:
- Noopept: A relative to the racetam family, Noopept is a peptide that is a favourite among nootropics users who desire strong and significantly less subtle effects, like the Racetams. Noopept can be used to facilitate memory creation and retrieval. It is commonly prescribed in Russia for the purpose of memory enhancement, or just a simple nootropic.
- Racetams: Oxiracetam, Piracetam, Fasoracetam and many others, all appear to affect the actions of acetylcholine. hich drives our short and long-term memory, not only that but the racetams affect the systems of other receptors as well.
Should I Take Nootropics?
A common question that gets asked is “Should I take Nootropics?” and that depends on a number of factors, firstly you should always consult with a physician before starting any sort of supplement/nootropics regime to establish some sort of baseline, after which you can begin experimenting with what works for you. Generally, it will be a trial and error process finding out what gives you the ideal effects that you are after.
It’s also worth noting that no Nootropics or supplements will have the beneficial effects you desire without a properly structured diet & exercise plan, you should take Nootropics with that in mind and the goal of improving your overall health and wellbeing and the cognitive performance will follow.