“Nootropic” is a term initially coined by Dr. Corneliu Giurgea, a Belgian chemist from the 1970s. These substances have become extremely popular among the pharmaceutical community since then, and are used to provide many benefits to patients and users worldwide. Nootropics often are used as cognitive enhancers, neuroprotective agents, anti-depressants, and much more.
What Are Nootropics?
So what exactly are nootropics you may ask? Well, nootropics are drugs, but more specifically they are considered to be cognitive enhancers or “Smart Drugs.” Nootropics work by improving the cognitive abilities of their users. Users may experience enhancements in many areas such as memory, concentration, information processing, productivity, and more. Nootropics were originally invented to help prevent age-related brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s, but over time they were found to have many other benefits as well. The discovery of nootropics was a scientific breakthrough, and they are amazing substances; however, they are not “perfect,” there is no perfect brain pill, and it’s important for readers to understand that. Using nootropic substances may help to improve many cognitive and physical abilities, and that’s why many college students, professionals, and athletes utilize nootropics to boost their performance in their fields.
Choosing Between Natural And Synthetic Nootropics
There are many types of nootropic drugs to choose from, so it may take some research and experimentation before you find the perfect substance for you. There two main types of nootropics, synthetic nootropics and herbal or natural nootropics, and there are also semi-synthetic versions as well. Natural or “Herbal” nootropics are substances taken in their natural forms or chemicals that extracted from a natural herb that has not been modified or altered in any way. Natural nootropics have been around for thousands of years and are considered to be safer and recommended for beginners. The effects of natural nootropics may not be as potent as synthetic ones, and in some cases, their results can take weeks or months to take place. Synthetic nootropics, on the other hand, are substances that have been chemically engineered or altered to create the desired effect. Synthetic nootropics have more potent effects when compared to natural ones. Therefore users may experience the effects of synthetic nootropics within hours after taking them. There are also semi-synthetic nootropics available which are a cross between the two.
All nootropic drugs whether synthetic or herbal originate from natural sources and the chemicals in these substances work inside the brain to:
- Promote the development of new neurons and synapses
- Enhance the overall health of brain cells
- Optimize the communication and metabolism of energy in neurons
- Enhance neuroplasticity
- Balance neurotransmitter levels
Multiple nootropics, nootropic stacks, and nootropic variations are available for sale. There is no guarantee that the most popular nootropic will be the best fit for you. Everyone’s body works slightly differently since not everyone has the same biochemical makeup, and because of this, it’s important to understand your body’s needs before selecting a nootropic drug that will work well for you.
After some research and testing, you may even find that taking a combination of two nootropics or more may be optimal for you to achieve the desired effects that you seek. This way of taking nootropic substances is called “stacking.” Stacking nootropic substances can be a compelling and beneficial way to achieve cognitive enhancement, and there are many pre-formulated stacks available for sale online and in store. One can also create their nootropic stack by purchasing ingredients separately and mixing them to form a stack. It’s important to do your research before taking or creating any nootropic stacks for consumption and its recommended to take individual nootropics separately first to understand how they work with your particular body before consuming them as a stack.
Best Nootropics For Cognitive Needs
As we stated earlier there are many different nootropic substances to choose from, but we have listed some of the safest and most popular ones below:
Lion’s Mane is a herbal nootropic that derives from a medicinal mushroom used since ancient times. Some of its main benefits are its ability to work as a neuroprotective agent protecting nerve cells, and it also works well as a cognitive enhancer. Lion’s Mane is also commonly used to treat degenerative diseases because of its unique ability to repair and restore specific functions of the brain by reactivating damaged nerve cells. Taking this drug consistently increases the levels of NGF (nerve growth factor), in the body. NGF is vital to the survival and overall functionality of nerve cells. Moreover, lion’s mane also enhances cognitive ability by promoting neuronal growth in the brain. Studies show that this substance stimulates nerve myelination which helped to decrease symptoms of anxiety and depression in patients in as little as just 30 days. Since lion’s mane is a herbal nootropic is has little to no adverse side effects. Lets sum up the benefits of this nootropic substance:
- It works as a memory enhancer
- It can help to treat depression and anxiety
- It can enhance a user’s overall cognitive ability
- Stimulates nerve myelination
- Boosts NGF levels promoting nerve growth
Bacopa Monnieri is another herbal nootropic most commonly found in the wetlands of Northern India. This herb is considered to be a perennial shrub found in Ayurvedic medicine for many years. Some of the main benefits of using this substance are improvements in cognition, perception, and memory. This unique medicinal substance also can help enhance mood and reduce stress levels. When taken, Bacopa monnieri works by boosting serotonin and decreasing dopamine levels in the brain; this results in positive mood enhancement as well as reduced stress levels and enhanced memory. Neuronal communication is also enhanced which results in other benefits occurring such as increased learning ability. Many elderly individuals take this substance to improve their memory retention abilities. To sum it all up, bacopa monnieri can:
- Increase serotonin and decrease dopamine levels
- Enhance focus, concentration, and attention
- Subjective well-being enhancement
- Increase memory retention abilities
- Decrease levels of anxiety and stress
- Improve overall brain health
L-Theanine is an amino acid extracted from tea leaves. This substance is known to reduce levels of stress and promotes relaxation and clear thinking. This substance also optimizes heart rate, keeps users feeling alert by boosting alpha brain waves, and works exceptionally well as a stack with caffeine. When combines with caffeine, more benefits have been noted such as improved short and long-term memory retention, endurance, and reaction times. Another good reason to stack l-theanine with caffeine is that it can help to cancel out some of the adverse effects of caffeine such as jitters, increased blood pressure and heart rate, sweating, headaches, and more. L-Theanine, in summary, is a unique substance that can help too:
- Enhance learning abilities
- Speed up reaction times
- Increase mental alertness
- Boost concentration
- Reduces stress levels and promotes relaxation
- Balances out the adverse effects of caffeine
The nootropic substances we have discussed so far have been focused mostly around improving cognitive abilities. Rhodiola Rosea is a bit different since its main benefit is its ability to maintain and preserve cognitive functionality rather than just enhancing it. Rhodiola Rosea is a natural nootropic herb that derives from mountain ranges in Asia and Europe. This substance has been used traditionally in Chinese, Russian, and Scandinavian medicine for thousands of years. Studies show that this drug can also reduce symptoms of fatigue such as headaches, muscle soreness, brain fog, and sleepiness. Taking rhodiola rosea may also increase productivity levels and enhance the mental capacity of users. Improved short-term memory, learning ability, concentration, and mental health are some other benefits of taking this substance. Many students use this drug as a way to improve their test-taking and studying abilities. There was a study done on students which showed that students taking rhodiola rosea scored an average of 8.4% higher on tests when compared to those who did not. To re-cap rhodiola rosea is a potent substance with many benefits such as:
- Energy restoration
- Reduces levels of fatigue
- Enhances mental alertness
- Decreases stress levels
- Improves cognitive abilities
- Subjective well-being enhancement
- Maintains and preserves cognitive functionality