The use of nootropics is an increasingly popular way of increasing mental potential. The term nootropic refers to a wide variety of drugs and supplements that enhance cognitive function and mental performance, with a wide variety of purported effects. In this article, we look at some of the main benefits of nootropics, and how they might positively affect your life.
What are nootropics?
Nootropics are substances that improve cognitive function. They can either be prescribed or bought OTC (over the counter). Common examples include caffeine, ADHD medications such as Ritalin, Ginseng and Omega-3 fatty acids. In recent years, the nootropic market has exploded, leading to concerns over the number of options that have not gone through appropriate medical trials. Laws have recently been passed in several countries which control how nootropics are marketed, to attempt to limit the number of unverified products on the market.
What are the benefits?
The benefits of nootropics are incredibly broad, as they aim to improve a wide variety of brain functions. While many nootropics are currently understudied, ongoing trials suggest that some potential benefits include:
- Enhanced cognition
- An increase in alertness
- Increased brain energy
- Improved sleep
- Improved mood disorder such as depression and anxiety
Examples of nootropic groups
We spoke to the team at GREENHAUS in regards to common nootropics and their benefits, some of which are listed below:
- Stimulants: Stimulants such as caffeine are proven to help with concentration, combat drowsiness, and increase motivation. Caffeine is perhaps the most consumed nootropic; it’s found in a number of naturally occurring plants, such as in tea, coffee, cocoa beans and kola nuts.
- Antilipemic agents: Antilipemic agents (also known as lipid-regulating agents) such as omega-three fatty acids are proven to be critical for normal brain function and development. Found almost exclusively in fish, the majority of the population needs additional supplementation to consume recommended daily amounts. Fatty acids in particular help with memory and learning in general; lower levels of fatty acids in older adults have also been associated with smaller brain size.
- Racetams: Racetams are compounds that can improve how neurotransmitters function. They include options such as piracetam, pramiracetam and phenylpiracetam. They’re one of the more common neurotransmitter nootropics, however, the majority of studies are so far inconclusive as to their efficacy.
- Other options: Other nootropics include herbs such as panax ginseng, salvia officinalis (sage), and ginko biloba. If you’re seriously considering taking a nootropic that hasn’t gone through extensive trials, make sure that there aren’t any known dangerous drug combinations with medications you’re currently taking. Those who are pregnant or suffer from certain ailments might be more sensitive to side effects than the general population and should take more care.
There are a variety of side effects associated with nootropics, some of which will outweigh the benefits.
These include insomnia, addition, fast heart rate and high blood pressure. Prescribed nootropics, such as amphetamines, often have the most potent side effects.
It’s generally advisable to consult with a healthcare professional taking nootropics unless they’re objectively safe options such as Omega-3.