The word “cognitive” refers to anything related to the brain, our mental processes, our thinking and any or all decisions that are made using our cognitive or psychological characteristic of the human body. Cognitive enhancing supplements or “nootropics” is one of the core concepts when we are studying our brain or cognitive dimension.
Cognitive enhancing supplements, or as they are called, “nootropics,” is an umbrella term encompassing a class of chemicals which can either be occurring naturally or can be manmade. They are used to give cognitive benefits to the human brain. Let’s see how these natural cognitive enhancers work.
Where Do They Come From? Brief History Of Nootropics
Ancient Man and Psychoactive Smart Drugs
The world has been introduced to the common nootropics, a short time ago, but the fascination with cognitive enhancing substances dates back centuries.
Psychosomatic compounds, now known as smart drugs or nootropics, have been a universal phenomenon since the old ages. They have been a part of ancient civilizations and cultures as far back as 10000 years. We don’t know how fruits and plants, bearing cognitive enhancing properties, were initially discovered by ancient man but man soon realized their potential to alter moods, thoughts, and perception of reality.
Researchers observed that drawings made by cavemen resembled the patterns that were drawn by the modern man while in mind-altering states. Turing Instabilities, specifically the neural patterns observed under the hallucinogenic influence and ancient drawings had an uncanny similarity to them. This points to the fact that cavemen took brain supplements that altered their mental state and enabled them to create those ‘meaningful’ drawings on cave walls.
Psychonauts is a term, coined by Ernst Junger, which refers to a person that immerses himself by choice, in an altered state of being in search of personal improvement. Researchers have found Psychonauts in pre-historic man.
In South America, researchers have found bowls which were used to prepare hallucinogenic drugs along with tubes for inhaling fumes and powders. Inhaling drugs is a method used through the ages but the use of bowls, made it easier for researchers, to pinpoint the time era, by determining the age of the bowl.
These objects were found to date back to 100BC and 400BC thus, signifying the fact that man has been seeking altered states of mind since pre-historic times.
Discovering Modern Nootropics
As time passed and science advanced, human beings started becoming more familiar with these minds enhancing compounds. A typical example can be seen in nicotine, a potent substance, refined from the tobacco plant. Different cultures from around the world have their own versions of nootropic like substances; Ginkgo Biloba, is a popular Chinese mind enhancing compound while the Indians are known for their potent Ayurvedic adaptogens. But it is seen that in these thousands of years since man has divulged his efforts into this mind enhancing realm, science hasn’t been able to fully understand how these drugs worked the way they did.
However, the use of such drugs in our history did end up serving as the stepping stones which made it possible, though until recently, to create and optimize nootropics for thought enhancement, memory, and overall mental improvement. The giant leap made by scientific advancement regarding nootropics, happened in the 1960s. The breakthrough came when Timothy Leary was theorizing that nootropics were the answer to man’s cognitive problems, while the chemists in Belgium were working to expand the boundaries of consciousness.
They planned to achieve this by synthesizing a derivative of the body’s major inhibitory neurotransmitter, GABA. This lead to the birth of “piracetam.” On the surface, piracetam was a failure. The purpose was to create a GABA-like compound which could mimic its effects such as relaxation and a reduction in stress. Moreover, they hoped that this GABA-like compound would cross the blood-brain barrier.
This first nootropic drug, piracetam, was developed by Dr. Corneliu Giurgea, a Romanian chemist, and psychologist. It was utilized as a tool to help people with motion sickness. After this, as related studies progressed, this drug was tested for memory enhancement. In fact, it was in 1971 when the first studies on piracetam were done to test if it could improve memory. The results demonstrated its benefits on mental performance, memory consolidation, and information processing.
Dr. Corneliu Giurgea was the first one to use the word “nootropics.” It comes from the Greek word “noos” meaning mind and “tropein” meaning towards or to bend. It appropriately fits the description of a substance that is capable of changing the shape of a person’s mind and its thoughts.
“Man is not going to wait passively for millions of years before evolution offers him a better brain.” – Dr. Corneliu E. Giurgea.
Those were the words uttered by Dr. Giurgea in the 1970s but its reverberations can be evidenced since pre-historic times or even earlier, as man’s attraction towards mind-altering substances was deeply ingrained in their quest to become better.
But as the scientists examined piracetam, the prototypical racetam, was born. Although, racetam has its origin in Belgium, it’s often associated with Russia, namely Ivan Pavlov, a physiologist, whose research practically bordered on mind control.
Outside the USA, these were often used by pharmaceuticals for the treatment of cognitive impairments and ailments. Since then, scientists have created aniracetam and oxiracetam; both are derivatives of piracetam and members of the racetam family.
Basically, most of the scientific studies have been done on these three mentioned drugs. However, there are currently other members of the racetam family like pramiracetam and coluracetam as well as several other families including acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, which have provided a wealth of information regarding their proper use and how can they improve our lives.
Effects Of Cognitive Enhancers
When discussing the medical technicalities of these cognitive enhancing supplements, according to Dr. Corneliu E. Giurgea, the substance must have the following aspects:
- They must enhance one’s memory and ability to learn.
- Help the brain to function under disruptive conditions, such as hypoxia (low oxygen) and electroconvulsive shock.
- Protect a person’s brain from chemical and physical assaults, such as anticholinergic drugs as well as barbiturates.
- Increase the efficacy of one’s neuronal firing control mechanisms in cortical and sub-cortical regions of the brain.
- Possess few or no side effects as well as being virtually non-toxic.
Popular Cognitive Boosters
Many nootropics enhance cognitive functions of the brain, such as memory, focus, concentration, learning abilities and so on. The list of cognitive enhancers is the following:
- Ginkgo Biloba
- Huperzine A
As well you can use a separate nootropic as a cognitive supplement or a combination of ones as known as “stack of nootropics” for improving your cognitive abilities. Let’s see how it works for particular life purposes.
Nootropics For Work And Business
Every type of business operating around the world, be it a multinational or a small enterprise has to cope with all types of stress while moving through all the clutter of competitors and aiming to achieve the objectives of growth and most importantly profit maximization.
Furthermore, to achieve the aforementioned two objectives, it is very necessary that the workers within the organization should be highly motivated which would hence, in turn, lead to an increase in the overall productivity levels. However, although a large number of these organizations are present and operating globally, some can cope with the stress while others cannot.
Thus, when analyzing this point in terms of nootropics, these individuals belonging to the corporate world often take phenylpiracetam which allows them to think logically and with a clear mind hence helping these people to make crucial decisions and assist in problem-solving. Also, this particular cognitive supplement helps a person to stay focused and avoid the stressful experience of jet lag.
You can find more info on how nootropics as cognitive supplements can help you in business and work in this article (https://nootropicsexpert.com/5-ways-nootropics-can-increase-your-success-in-business-and-life/ ).
Some individuals are ‘people averse.’ They do not “gel” easily with people and have difficulty interacting even at a basic level. Sometimes, situations arise which can lead to stressful experiences for such individuals. For example, a job interview, an exam, an awaited announcement et cetera.
Thus, when keeping these issues in mind, nootropics play a key role here as by taking them, people feel relaxed and can avoid such stressful experiences. Some of the nootropic supplements are subject to anxiolytic effects that help in reducing social anxiety thus giving the person more confidence. Others are known to improve verbal language skills hence making people communicate more efficiently.
Nootropics for health
As mentioned, Dr. Corneliu Giurgea is the man behind “nootropics,” and one of the conditions that he said was to be present for a chemical to be termed as a nootropic was that it had to offer protection from both physical and chemical damage.
For example, some nootropics function as potent antioxidants that neutralize free radicals in our body. In short, free radicals are molecules that miss one pair of electrons on the outer shell hence making them highly reactive.
Noopept is another supplement that increases the expression of genes associated with the production of BDNF and nerve growth factor. These are important for the survival and growth of neurons as low levels can lead to neurodegenerative conditions which include Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.
Nootropics as a study aid
Racetams are one of the most common types of supplements that are used by students as they help in focus, motivation, and attention. These are core components needed when studying for extended hours. Also, coupled with the ‘focusing’ benefits, stress and anxiety that college students face is reduced by taking nootropics.
The Benefits Of Cognitive Enhancers
In the table below you can find out what are the best cognitive supplements and what desired effects they can provide on your brain and body.
|Desired Effect||Nootropics that can provide you this benefit|
|Improvement of memory and memorizing abilities|
|Learning abilities enhancement|
|Improvement of the cognition in the elderly|
|Memory recall boost|
|Mental and physical fatigue reduction|
|Improvement of Focus and Concentration|
|Anxiety and Stress Control|
The Downside Of Cognitive Enhancers
Nootropics are great cognitive boosters that can help you to deal with many of the problems but still they have downsides and the most important one is side-effects. The majority or nootropics are totally safe and 100% free to use in the USA, Canada, the UK and other countries, however some side-effects can appear. These side-effects are mostly individual but you never know for sure how your organism can react. That’s why it’s strongly recommended 1) not to exceed the recommended daily dosage for a nootropic 2) to consult your doctor if you have some issues with your health before starting taking a nootropics. Let’s see what downside effects can appear.
For beginners, the combination of piracetam and choline help to enhance memory. Moreover, there are limited side effects which help to avoid headaches. Another supplement that is mentioned in the beginners’ category is that of l-theanine and caffeine which aid in focusing and attention while avoiding letting one become anxious.
By combining 100 milligrams of l-theanine and 50 milligrams of caffeine, a beginner dosage can be made which would have limited side effects.
When talking about people who are taking advanced nootropics, they have to go ahead with precaution. If precautions are not taken, intestinal issues may develop which give high-intensity levels of pain. Also, headaches are a common side effect. Thus, you should be aware of any of these side effects that you may or can experience.
How Safe Are These Drugs?
Nootropic is a trending topic if you happen to be surfing the ‘medical’ side of the Internet. The main question that potential users want to ask or know is that of whether or not these smart drugs are safe to use?
Now, even for such a case, there are always two sides to every story. This article will be particularly discussing the two sides in relation to the topic of smart drugs.
So, what basically are smart drugs? Smart drugs or nootropics are chemical substance drugs that help to improve brain function and thus help improve memory, attention, and focus. College students, to business personnel to socially shy people, all are using smart drugs.
Are Such Medication Safe?
Research done on the smart drug has helped to support the fact that smart drugs do tend to help improve focus and attention in person. Also, these particular drugs have also been known to boost confidence levels and thus lead to a boost in morale.
When we look at this particular aspect above, we can see that smart drugs do not have any adverse consequences, and they do deliver on their promise.
When discussing this particular aspect, two broad categories of users can be identified and defined and what consequences they will be subject to when taking nootropics.
The first category that this article will be discussing is that of the beginners. People who are new to the use of smart drugs would not encounter negative side effects as has been concluded by research and studies.
Are There Side Effects?
However, this particular aspect is being solely discussed in general terms and is not subject to specificity. Individual cases may exist. Moreover, by using these smart drugs initially, the new users tend to enhance or improve their brain functioning leading them to improve the particular pattern of cognition that they were facing a problem in. For example, memory is enhanced.
People who are socially awkward or shy in public speaking or even face difficulty when it comes to something as basic as communicating at a personal level, tend to report an increase in their confidence levels and thus this, in turn, leads to them boosting their morale and self-confidence.
It is said that the most basic negative consequence that these new users may face is that of a headache.
When discussing the next broad category – the advanced users; we see that they may suffer from more side effects if they are not careful.
Their side effects may range from headaches to migraines to intentional problems, which when and if developed can be very harmful and cause a lot of pain to that particular individual. Also, it is advisable for these advanced users of smart drugs to be in constant contact with their doctors and go for regular checks ups or whenever a follow up is due and to immediately notify their doctor of any uncomfortableness that they may be feeling due to the intake of these nootropics.
Nootropics are a great way to empower your organism and enhance the abilities you get. The desired effects can vary but systematical usage of these cognitive enhancers can help you in many ways. ‘Nootropics’ is a trending topic, and although it has its uses, it does have some side effects which should not be ignored, as these supplements deal with your brain and cognitions.
Moreover, it is advisable to tell your doctor about your nootropic intake and discuss everything that entails, appropriately.