More people are now jumping on the bandwagon for Nootropics. Nootropics is another name for “smart drugs,” “brain boosters” or “memory and cognitive enhancing drugs.” It seems to be proven beneficial for increasing and improving the functions of the brain and overall brain cell health and longevity.
There are natural and synthetic nootropics that increase blood flow, brain waves, cellular energy, neurotransmitters, alertness, cognition, recall and even decrease symptoms of brain fatigue, depression, anxiety, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s .
Although it only represents 2% of your body weight, the brain uses more energy than any other organ in your body. The brain is responsible for 20% of oxygen consumption, 25% glucose utilization, 15% of your cardiac output and 20% of total body energy consumption. It is common to experience brain fatigue, considering the amount of energy it essentially utilizes. Brain fatigue (Brain fog) can cause memory loss, lack of motivation, bad moods and depression.
Efficient signaling is a crucial to highly optimizing your brain. When your neurotransmission mechanism breaks down, your overall health suffers as well. Neurotransmitters send chemical messages between neurons. Through a complex chemical reaction a neuron sends a message to the synapse, this message binds to receptors on the receiving dendrites and repeats it. About 86 billion neurons are connected to up to 40,000 synapses.
Serotonin and dopamine are two neurotransmitters that influence the body’s emotions and movement. Serotonin dictates things like mood, appetite and sleep. Low levels of serotonin can result in depression and bad moods. Dopamine is more involved with controlling movement and aids the flow of information to the front part of the brain. Dopamine also can influence thought and emotion. Decreased levels of dopamine can lead to problems such as Schizophrenia, Parkinson’s and ADHD. While in working order, the glutamate receptors can help assist in memory loss and learning problems as well as decrease risk of degenerative diseases such as, Autism, OCD, Schizophrenia and Depression.
Since the beginning of nootropics and wellness supplements, there has always been an underlying question of what it means for “natural” or “synthetic,” and does it really make a difference?
The argument holds its stance that while synthetic nootropics may provide more of a perceptible and prompt impact and sometimes feeling like you just downed a couple shots of espresso. There are also substantial reasons to question their sustainability for long term usage and all around health. After all, taking synthetic anything is basically taking a substance that is foreign the body.
Now, you will not achieve to the extent as in the movie Limitless. However, In a basic sense, yes, some are drugs and supplements that can truly make you smarter. Nootropics differ greatly in their complexity and effects. They are produced by professional people in science labs or grown by farmers in gardens, and brewed in household coffee makers on a daily basis. Well if we dig a little deeper within this category to learn a bit more about some of these natural cognitive enhancers, and compare them with some of the favored artificial nootropics that are presently on the free market.
Adderall and Ritalin are controlled substances issued by doctors for patients diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and attention deficit disorder (ADD). These artificial prescription medications target the overactive minds to increase alertness and focus. It should be noted that these medications normally have to be prescribed and come with a plethora of side effects and possible deadly consequences from interactions with other possible prescribed or over the counter medicines.
Some examples of nootropics include:
- B vitamins (vitamin B1, B2, B6, B12, etc.)
- Vitamins A, C, D and E
- Gingko balboa
- Medicinal mushrooms, such as chaga, cordyceps and reishi
- Caffeine, such as from coffee or green tea extract
- Fish oil, including omega-3s like DHA
- Alpha GPC
- Bacopa monnieri
- Cat’s claw extract
- Artichoke leaf extract
- Rhodiola rosea root
- Macuna prurien extract
It’s hard to describe exactly how nootropics work exactly because each one in unique and has its own specific mechanisms of actions. Considering how many different “brain supplements”s fall into the nootropics category, there are dozens of possible explanations for how nootropics enhance cognitive function.
But what most smart drugs have in common is that they are capable of altering levels of certain neurotransmitters, enzymes or hormones in the brain, such as acetylcholine, adrenaline, dopamine, serotonin and GABA. Many increase energy (some via caffeine), promote blood flow and help protect the brain from oxidative stress.
So, perhaps if one finds themself in a routine where brain fatigue is occurring regularly, it could be worth giving nootropics the benefit of the doubt. Although with that being said, I have to admit, If you’re marxist, or a liberal lefty, there is absolutely no nootropics that could be beneficial or reparative to your intellectually disabled mind.