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 become learned on the nootropics topic. This article is designed to help you out with that.
What are nootropics?
The word nootropic stems from a Greek phrase which 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 arbitraririly as “smart drugs”, but that’s a stretch—there’s no proof that they have the ability to increase the IQ of a person. It is fair, however, 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 exlclude medications like Adderol, which are cognitive enhancers, from being labeled as cognitive enhancers. This is an ongoing debate, however.
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, and 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 an 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 liklihood, 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 stacks is to put together a collection of different nootropcis that work synergistically, and then potentiate (increase) one anothers 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:
- Promoting brain power
- Balancing brain chemistry
- Regenerating and protecting brain cells
- Maintaining blood flow to the brain
- 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:
- Cognition, decision making, concentration, focus and thinking: Caffeine, Nictoine, Choline, NALT, Ginko Biloba, Modafinil (brand name Provigil), Fasoracetam, Rhodiola Rosea, Gotu Kola, Bacopa, Cognizin (Citicoline)
- Memory: Acetyl L-Carnitine, DHA (Omega-3), Creatine, Crill Oil, B-6
- Anxiety and depression: Aniracetam, Bacopa Monnieri, Inositol, B-12, Phosphatidylserine
- Energy and motivation: CDP-Choline, Sulbutiamine, Theacrine, Phenylpiracetam
- Brain repair and maintenance: Noopept, B-9, Maritime Pine Bark Extract
- 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, to be a nootropic, must either protect or enhance brain health, and without that they shouldn’t be classified nootropics. Some would also argue that by definition, 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 which could very well have lower quality standards and poorer safety testing methods.
Sensitivity to nootropics will vary from individual to individual. If you ultimately choose to delve 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 needn’t 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 other 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 majic 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.