Human brains are so complex that despite conducting clinical experiments and research for many centuries, scientists are still unable to understand them comprehensively. As more information about the brain becomes available, a large number of additional discoveries become made daily. Most people are aware of the fact that the mind is one of the most powerful organs in the body. However, researchers are still working on ways to unlock the full potential of the brain.
Nootropics are an important discovery of the neurobiological world. Nootropics are potent chemical compounds, often alkaloids, which have proven abilities to enhance the cognitive functions of the human brain. Some of these cognitive functions are abstract thinking, focus, short-term memory, and the ability to think critically. To summarize, the compounds in nootropics can maximize the brainpower of a healthy individual. In this article, we have put together of what we believe to be the most potent nootropics available as of right now.
What Makes Nootropics So Powerful?
Many people often wonder, what makes nootropics so powerful? What is the reason for calling them “Smart drugs,” and why are these supplements used for hacking the brain? To understand why nootropics are so potent, the minds of users must get examined. The brain is an essential part of
the body which is enhanced by the use of nootropic drugs.
The Human Brain
The human brain is an extremely complex organ. Though a large number of neurologists have researched it, many aspects of the human brain remain unknown. It is difficult for scientists to gather complete information on the different parts and functioning of the brain, this could be the reason why it is also difficult to understand how nootropics are so potent.
On an average, the human brain usually contains about 100 billion neurons. The trillions of these neurons control all interactions and connections in the brain. After many years of research, experts have gathered some information on the functioning of these neurons and can explain to some degree how these “smart drugs” affect them. However, users should note that to a significant degree, the effects and responses of the brain depend on the kind of nootropic used.
Scientists understand that different types of nootropics have various effects on the human brain. While some categories of nootropics may enhance memory, others may impact focus, mood, attention, and many other factors. Nootropics are naturally compatible with most user’s biochemistry and ensure that this chemistry and its functioning do not change.
Nootropics either encourage the brain to produce more neurotransmitters or slow down and reduce the reabsorption of neurotransmitters. Either way, this results in many positive effects like improvements in mood as well as cognition which many users will experience. For example, piracetam, (which was the first nootropic formulated in a laboratory), acts on the “corpus callosum” area of the brain, which is the area that connects the two hemispheres of the brain. This supplement optimizes the transmission of neurons to the different regions of the brain.
Neurotransmitters And Synaptic Receptors
Many people would like to find out what neurotransmitters are and how they function. Neurotransmitters are similar to the wires in electric circuits, as they are chemicals which help to transmit signals in the body from one neuron to another. Neurotransmitters are produced naturally in the body. They transfer messages to the receptor sites as required. Neurotransmitters along with their receptors combine to create a system used for transmitting signals. These individual systems interlink with each other to form the central nervous system. Nootropics act on these nervous systems. The most potent nootropics enhance the efficiency of the nervous system, improving cognitive abilities and brain functioning.
Some of the ways that nootropics enhance the cognitive functioning and abilities of users are:
Blood And Oxygen Flow To The Brain
Some nootropics improve the flow of both blood and oxygen to the human brain. Hence, energy levels in the brain become increased by improving the blood circulation, oxygen absorption, and glucose metabolism. When these improvements take place, the brain functions at its optimum capacity.
The increase in the supply of nutrients, as well as oxygen to the brain, makes the user become more alert and focused. The human mind functions in the same way from the time of conception and continues to work this way until death. Each day, the natural reserves of brain energy become continuously depleted. Most people are unaware of the fact that glucose and oxygen are the primary sources of energy required by the brain.
When the supply of oxygen and glucose in the brain increases, it’s functioning becomes “hacked.” This hacking improves cognitive abilities such as motivation, enhances mood and overall wellness of the user.
Many nootropics such as pramiracetam are considered to be excellent brain-boosters. Pramiracetam improves the energy levels of the brain and enhances focus. Piracetam and other powerful nootropic drugs also optimize the flow of blood to the brain and metabolism of glucose.
Nootropics help in improving the plasticity of the brain. These supplements improve brain plasticity by modifying the brain’s “synapses.” Synapses help in communication within the human brain. These synapses send signals to different areas of the brain, and ones individual memory capacity depends on how complex these synapses are. When the brain’s plasticity improves, these synapses will connect and communicate more efficiently with each other; so a users’ ability to recall information and memory may be enhanced.
Nootropics should not be considered literally as “magic” pills although their benefits are so significant that they are the modern-day equivalent to magic potions. These supplements are potent, and they affect the different functions of the organs of the body, which can have amazing benefits. However, it’s important to note that various types of nootropics have different effects, and may not affect every person in the same way.
Piracetam is often referred to as the father of all racetams since it was the first racetam to be discovered and developed of its class. Extensive studies have been carried out on this nootropic substance, and there is a lot of research information available on it. The existing research on this nootropic was used by scientists to develop many new types of nootropics; so this is the reason why this supplement is so unique. People use piracetam for enhancing cognitive functions. When prescribed doses of this supplement become consumed, many aspects of the brain may improve, resulting in significant benefits. Piracetam is one of many famous and highly appreciated nootropic substances since it helps in suppressing feelings of aggression with almost no adverse side-effects.
Though piracetam use provides many cognitive benefits, the exact mechanism of how it operates within the brain is not clearly defined. However, research shows that this supplement improves the fluidity of cellular membranes and this could partially explain why piracetam use provides so many benefits like:
- Enhanced memorization ability
- The improved cognitive ability of elderly persons
- Enhanced learning capacity
The recommended daily dosage of this supplement is between 1,200 and 4,800mg. The maximum amount to take is 1,600mg per dose three times a day. Users should note that piracetam is soluble in water and for best results, should not ingest it with solid foods.
Learning Neurotransmitter,” Huperzine-A is an effective and potent nootropic drug. This supplement derives from a Chinese herb called the “Huperzia Serrata Club” (a moss plant). Huperzine is an extract from this herb, and it works by inhibiting the breakdown of acetylcholine in the brains cells which increases learning ability as well as mental stimulation. This drug is also helpful for treating schizophrenia, alzheimer’s disease, and brain trauma since it helps in the development of new neurons in the brain; this process is also called “neurogenesis.” This supplement works great for treating herbicide poisoning, also called “Organophosphate Poisoning.” There are almost no reports of any adverse side effects from using nootropic, and the rare cases of side-effects reported are mild.
The alkaloid Huperzine-A works by inhibiting the enzyme “acetylcholinesterase.” It also helps in neurogenesis and improves the neuroplasticity of the human brain. Scientists across the world are continually investigating the use of this potent nootropic for treating diseases which involve neurodegeneration – specifically alzheimer’s disease. Other benefits of using huperzine are similar to those of piracetam and aniracetam. Some of the benefits include improving memory, cognitive functioning enhancement, focus, and enhanced learning ability.
Since Huperzine A is considered to be one of the most potent nootropics, scientists recommend only minute doses for daily use. Hence, daily treatment of Huperzine A varies between 100m mcg and 200 mcg. Please note that the daily dose is in micrograms, not milligrams which is essential for describing the daily dose for most of the nootropics available. The maximum dosage may increase for individuals who have Alzheimer’s and other diseases, to 400 mcg.
Being that it is a natural precursor to melatonin and serotonin in the human body, 5-HTP is an extremely potent mood enhancer. People often refer to serotonin as “The Happiness Compound” which is found in the human body and helps to regulate mood. In addition to boosting positive attitude, the right dose of 5-HTP may also suppress a users appetite, reduce nightmares during sleep, help users maintain a healthy body and reduce anxiety.
Digestive disorders are also often treated with this substance, like the leaky gut syndrome. However, this supplement has a few side effects. Users should take the necessary precautions to avoid its possible harmful effects as they can be dangerous and even lethal if combined with SSRIs.
5-HTP is the abbreviated form of 5-Hydroxytryptophan, and it is also called “Oxitriptan.” This nootropic is a chemical precursor to an amino acid. It increases melatonin and serotonin production in the human body, and this is the reason it provides the following benefits:
- Enhances mood
- Suppresses appetite
- Improves sleep quality
- This supplement gets marketed as an appetite suppressant, antidepressant, and sleep aid
5-HTP is available in many countries like the USA, the UK, Canada, and the Netherlands, as a dietary nootropic supplement. The average daily dose of 5-HTP varies between 300 and 500 mg, consumed once daily or divided into multiple doses. For those who wish to reduce appetite, it is best to take 5-HTP while eating a meal.
Phenibut functions in a way which is different from most other popular nootropics. Phenibut is also a very potent and effective compound. Most widely used nootropics work by stimulating the brain whereas phenibut tranquilizes mental anxiety.
For this reason, phenibut is a widely used anxiolytic, primarily used for the treatment of social anxiety when consumed in moderate doses. When consumed in large doses phenibut helps users to get a good sleep. Phenibut acts alongside GABA compounds, improving calmness, tranquility levels, libido, and increasing focus levels. Phenibut should be consumed only in prescribed doses which should be taken cyclically, otherwise addictive and aggravation side-effects may occur.
Some of the commercial names for phenibut are “Noofen,” “Fenibut” and “Phenybut.” Usually, it is excellent for controlling anxiety, improving sleep and for the treatment of insomnia. The scientific name for phenibut is “Beta-Phenyl-Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid,” and it originates from the neurotransmitter GABA. Additionally, this supplement functions as a neuroprotective agent.
Recommended daily dosage is between 250 – 1000 mg per day. For beginners, it’s recommended to start with smaller doses so that the organism can adjust to this nootropic.
Noopept is a very potent substance thousand times stronger than piracetam making it one of the most effective nootropic drugs. This supplement is included in the racetam group since it functions in similar ways; inhibiting the acetylcholine just like Piracetam. However, the molecular structure of noopept differs from that of those in the racetam class of supplements. While there is little information available about the side-effects of this supplement, they are likely to be less than those associated with phenylpiracetam and piracetam.
Noopept is considered a stimulant because of its ability to increase the flow of blood to the brain, enhancing memory as well as learning ability. It also is a very effective antidepressant and anxiolytic. Additionally, noopept helps in neuroprotection. The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant actions of this supplement are additional advantages of using it.
Noopept, though similar to piracetam, has a far lower recommended dose due to its high level of potency. A standard dose of this supplement is 10 -30 mg. Conversely, piracetam daily doses can be as high as
4800 mg. This supplement is only once daily, though the optimal treatment for humans is yet to be determined.
Lion’s Mane (Yamabushitake)
Lion’s mane is a constituent of herbal tea consumed by monks for many
centuries. It is a useful nootropic mushroom which is capable of helping the brain grow. Lion’s mane is called a “Smart Mushroom,” and in addition to being used for treating neurological disorders, it can also help in improving focus. This mushroom helps in brain growth since it helps in the construction of the “Myelin Sheath” of the axons of neurons. Thus, neurological regeneration, as well as growth, are boosted by using this nootropic. It also reduces mental deterioration, alleviates anxiety and depression, and reduces the overall decline of the cognitive system. Moreover, it also can slow down the process of menopause in women.
Research indicates that lion’s mane is a useful neuroprotective agent that also helps in repairing as well as growing new nerves. The mechanism which allows lion’s mane to enhance the nervous systems differs from other nootropics. Lion’s Mane improves cognitive functioning by boosting the effects of the “Nerve Growth Factor” (abbreviated as NGF) in the human brain, while other nootropics work by increasing the number of neurotransmitters produced by the brain.
The recommended dose of lion’s mane varies according to the extract used. The 10:1 extract which contains 30% polysaccharide is widely available. For this extract, the average daily dose varies between 500 to 3000 mg. It is advisable to consume “Yamabushitake” while eating
meals to supplement the effect of this drug.
Also called the “Golden Root,” rhodiola helps to increase and also preserve existing cognitive functions. This adaptogenic herb helps in boosting mental health and treating anxiety. In addition to making the user more energetic physically, the lifespan of some users has been reported to increase by twenty percent during some trials held in laboratories.
The rhodiola herb (Latin name: Rhodíola rósea), is widely appreciated for its nootropic properties. Over 140 active ingredients get extracted from the roots of this plant. This nootropic substance is only slightly stimulatory. Rhodiola works excellently for eliminating “burnout” effects. Its use will also significantly alleviate feelings of fatigue caused by exhaustion.
To control stress and reduce fatigue, users should take rhodiola in low doses of 50mg.
Vinpocetine is a very effective nootropic valued as a semi-synthetic supplement. Its compounds extracted from alkaloids found naturally in the periwinkle plant are quite impressive. In addition to being used for treating cardiovascular diseases, vinpocetine also works well for treating mental disorders like the degenerative alzheimer’s disease. Vinpocetine is a neuroprotector that preserves the existing cognitive ability of a user and prevents further decline.
Vinpocetine comes from the alkaloid vincamine, which derives from the periwinkle plants leaves. Its discovery was noted for the first time in the late 1960’s. In 1978 it was sold in many countries under the commercial brand name “Cavinton.” This supplement also works very well for
treating brain disorders related to lowered blood supplies.
The recommended daily dosage of vinpocetine is 10 mg three times orally each day.
Turmeric is considered to be one of the most effective natural nootropics used for medicinal applications. This herbal medicine has been used extensively since ancient times.
Turmeric is a botanical herb part of the ginger family, often used for its flavor, and its color also is what makes curry powder yellow. For many years, this herb was known for mitigating illness and its cell strengthening properties. You may read more information on how to use turmeric as a nootropic below.
Currently, many vendors sell turmeric as a dietary supplement for treating different types of inflammation like joint inflammation, stomach disease, liver disease, gallbladder disease, and skin related problems. Turmeric is consumed in its natural form or used for making pharmaceuticals. Turmeric is one of the many herbs widely utilized for mitigating a large number of severe illnesses like COPD, asthma and rheumatoid joint pain. Turmeric also has choleretic, calming, antimicrobial, and carminative properties.
Clinically it is observed that turmeric mainly acts on the stomach and other organs of the digestive system, for the treatment of various illnesses. For example, some of the problems turmeric treats are; “Familial Adenomatous Polyposis,” (inside the gastrointestinal tract), “Burning Bowel,” and colon swelling.
Curcumin, the phytochemical compound in turmeric is the active ingredient in turmeric which helps in treating many health problems. The exact mechanisms through which curcumin gets its anti-inflammatory effects are still currently unknown.
We have described below, the many different ways in which people use turmeric:
- For treating joint pain; medical professionals recommend that patients consume doses between 8 and 60 g of turmeric root.
- For treating dyspepsia three times a day, doctors recommend that 1.3 to 3g of turmeric root are used.
- In folklore turmeric has been used worldwide as a part of a large number of formulas used for treating various ailments.
In Ayurvedic research turmerics value is praised for its therapeutic properties such as improving the vitality of the human body, reducing gas and bloating, ridding worms and parasites, enhancing the mind’s processing of information, digestion, dissolving gallstones in the gallbladder, and reducing pain in the joints. In many south asian countries turmeric is used for cleaning cuts, boils, wounds, and for treating bacterial infections, due to its antibacterial properties.
In Pakistan and Afghanistan; turmeric is used for mitigating health problems, and for treating gastrointestinal disorders caused by irritable bowel syndrome and other stomach related issues. Turmeric is also very good at removing the dirt from wounds and helping a wounded person
recuperate faster. This cleansing is done by applying turmeric on fabric or a bandage and using it to cover the injury.
Therapeutic specialists; use turmeric as a “Cholagogue.” This term means to use it to increase the amount of bile in the digestive system; enabling the production of bile in the liver and ensuring that this bile is discharged using the gallbladder which enhances the capacity of the human body to process fats. Often, turmeric users may also blend the substance with a drink or water for treating these intestinal disorders, and even for treating colds, sore throats, and similar illnesses.
In the United States, many people also use turmeric for preventing and treating diseases. In this era of technological advances, researchers have been able to prove that turmeric has many medicinal properties which are incredibly beneficial. Some of these benefits include induced calming, anti-mutagenic effects, antimicrobial effects, ability to reduce the impact of malignancy and tumors, cardioprotective effects, anticoagulant effects, ability to advance neurogenesis, ability to minimize damage caused by alzheimer’s disease, and many more.
Turmeric, particularly turmeric oil and fat-soluble curcumin, strengthens a cells innate abilities by finding and neutralizing free radicals; increasing the levels of proteins in the body that help in preventing cancer, and reduces the process of peroxidation of lipids.
The curcumin and oils of turmeric are mainly responsible for the mitigating actions of turmeric. These actions reduce the possibility of forming tumors and burning of the lipid “Prostaglandin,” (which has hormone-like properties). The soothing properties of turmeric additionally help in alleviating joint pain, reducing the inflammation between finger joints and many other bones of the skeletal system.
Turmeric has been observed by scientists to prevent cancer in “test tube” (vitro) cases as well as in live organisms (vivo). Turmeric helps in preventing diseases like cancer by reducing the multiplication of its cells and also initiating “Apoptosis” of malignant cells. “Ar-Turmerone,” a medicine which contains turmeric, has activated apoptosis in human leukemia (or blood tumor) cells by dividing the DNA into oligonucleosome-sized sections, a significant discovery made during the time spent studying apoptosis.
Turmeric is also considered a stimulant similar to fluoxetine. Fluoxetine, a “Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitor” (MAOI), works by repressing the reuptake of serotonin. Since the reuptake of serotonin becomes delayed, levels of serotonin in the brain become increased. Conventional science believes that higher levels of serotonin in the brain can improve positive mood and brainpower. Additionally, since turmeric is an MAOI, like fluoxetine, it has a similar effect; acting as a stimulant improving positive mood. However, turmeric is considered to be much more effective compared to fluoxetine for reducing depression.
Turmeric also has anticoagulant properties and should not be used by patients who are likely to undergo surgery. Turmeric purifies the blood, enhancing the flow of blood to the brain, improving cognitive ability.
In the last century, turmeric has been a dominant component for making cosmetic products worldwide. For example, many sunscreens available use turmeric as a primary ingredient. A few multinational companies also include turmeric in face creams they produce. Historically, people have used turmeric extensively for ayurvedic formulations, purifying the blood and treating skin problems. Turmeric paste is also used by women in many parts of the world to remove unwanted hair.
Researchers, scientists, and fans alike are still unaware of precisely how nootropics work in benefiting the mind. Whatever the case may be, we know there is no easy answer to this mystery. What we do know however, is that nootropics are useful compounds classified into different categories. It is difficult to pinpoint which is the most effective nootropic; as the functions and benefits of different nootropics vary greatly.
There are no specific mechanisms which can entirely describe the functioning of these various nootropics, so it is not possible to determine precisely why they are so potent. However, researchers are aware that nootropics improve brain power, achieve positive effects by increasing the supply of various enzymes, neurotransmitters, and hormones in the human brain. This altered supply continues to yield positive effects on both the mind and body of nootropic users resulting in this mysterious “Brain “Hack,” we have all come to love and enjoy.