Do you suffer from constant brain fog? Wish you could stop drinking so much coffee and still be just as productive? Are you trying in vain to keep up with AI? Or maybe, you’re simply suffering from a case of the low IQs? In any one of these cases, you would be wise to learn about nootropics.
What are nootropics?
The word nootropic stems from a Greek phrase that translates to, “turn toward the mind.” Nootropics are brain supporting nutritional supplements. They can be found as single-ingredient supplements or as stacks – which combine two or more nootropics. Some people refer to them arbitrarily as “smart drugs”, but that’s a stretch—there’s little proof that they have the ability to increase the IQ of a person.
It is fair to say that nootropics are cognitive enhancers, but not all cognitive enhancers are nootropics. Some propose that in order for a substance to belong to the category of nootropics, they should be neuroprotective and have an exceedingly low toxicity level—meaning a person can take a significant amount without ‘overdosing’ or having any adverse symptoms. This would exclude medications like Adderall.
Some of our ancestors attempted to boost their brain power by using plants and herbs. Today, modern technology has allowed us to isolate specific substances from various sources. As a result, we now have nootropics. Certain nootropics contain highly concentrated (100 to 1000 times) more power extracts of minerals, vitamins, amino acids and other substances. Some nootropics occur naturally and have more subtle effects, while others are synthetic and may have more pronounced effects.
Who is using nootropics?
People who seek to perform better at school, people who are looking for a competitive edge in a high-stress work environment, or people who want to be the best version of themselves are more likely to look to nootropics: Academics, entrepreneurs, bankers, lawyers, doctors, pilots, software developers and students
If a person’s IQ is dismally low, consumption of nootropics, in all likelihood, will not make a big difference. On the other hand, if a person’s IQ is well above average, a 5% improvement could make a significant difference in edging out tough competition. For most people though, 4-5% is not noteworthy.
How do nootropics work?
How an individual will respond to nootropics depends on a variety of variables. These variables include a person’s inherited genetics, any interactions with prescription medications they might be taking, and their current state of health. The goal of a nootropic stack is to put together a collection of different nootropics that work synergistically and then potentiate (increase) one another’s effect. The benefits of nootropics cannot always be seen immediately; some need time to accumulate in the body to produce any kind of noticable effect.
Nootropics appear to help to assist brain processes in several ways by:
1. Promoting brain power
2. Balancing brain chemistry
3. Regenerating and protecting brain cells
4. Maintaining blood flow to the brain
5. Raising alpha brain waves
What are the best Nootropics to take?
Choosing which nootropics to take can be an overwhelming task at the beginning. Part of using nootropics successfully stacks is finding the right combinations and consuming the right amounts at the right times. Sometimes it can take quite a bit of experimenting in order to find out which combination works best for someone. Advanced nootropic stacking strategies can be found on internet forums such as Reddit. Stacks that are pre-made are also an option for beginners. Although there is no formal classification system yet, nootropics can be divided by type (vitamins, herbs, adaptogens, phospholipids, choline sources, antioxidants, aminoacids, etc.) They can also be classified by health benefits.
Here are just a few examples for beginners:
1. Cognition, decision making, concentration, focus and thinking: Caffeine, Nicotine, Choline, NALT, Ginko Biloba, Modafinil (brand name Provigil), Fasoracetam, Rhodiola Rosea, Gotu Kola, Bacopa, Cognizin (Citicoline)
2. Memory: Acetyl L-Carnitine, DHA (Omega-3), Creatine, Crill Oil, B-6
3. Anxiety and depression: Aniracetam, Bacopa Monnieri, Inositol, B-12, Phosphatidylserine
4. Energy and motivation: CDP-Choline, Sulbutiamine, Theacrine, Phenylpiracetam
5. Brain repair and mainentenance: Noopept, B-9, Maritime Pine Bark Extract
6. Relaxation and sleep: L-Theanine, Ashwaganda, Phenibute, Aniracetam
How safe are nootropics long term?
Unlike man, not all nootropics have been created equally. Some are FDA approved medications, some are research chemicals, while others are herbal extracts, vitamins or amino acids. The range of different nootropics is vast. Some would argue that by definition, a nootropic must either protect or enhance brain health – and without that, they shouldn’t be classified nootropics.
Some would also argue that nootropics must be free of all side effects. This is a tough standard to adhere to, as most herbs, vitamins, or medications will inevitably exert some sort of side effect on some people. Beginners should stay away from cheap, inferior nootropics that could very well have low-quality standards and poor safety testing methods.
Sensitivity to nootropics will vary from individual to individual. If you ultimately choose todelve into the nootropics rabbit hole, be wary of ones that could lead to the development of a tolerance, or those that could cause a rebound reaction when a person discontinues there use. Make sure you do your research! Cycling between various nootropics or nootropic stacks is the most common strategy to beat any sort of tolerance from developing. With many nootropics, however, individuals need not worry about this. Again, do your research regarding the issue of tolerance prior to consuming any kind of nootropic! Furthermore, by periodically taking breaks, biohackers lessen any risk of developing a tolerance for nootropics.
Conclusion on Nootropics
Not everyone responds the same way when taking the same nootropics. Some people are more responsive and will see noticeable differences, while others might not experience any difference. Some may even have negative side effects.
Nootropics are nothing like you see in the film ‘Limitless’. They are not a magic solution for unmotivated and lazy people to all of the sudden become productive geniuses. They’re designed to help productive people to become more productive.