Nootropics are a type of cognitive enhancers that boost cognitive functions such as creativity, motivation, and memory.  Scientifically known as “nootropics” they help improve the brain’s performance by stimulating important receptors in the brain to increase learning, attention, memory, mood, and reasoning.  Nootropics include substances such as herbs and vitamins that provide a boost to the brain but are not subscribed by the doctor.

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All nootropics are cognitive enhancers, but all cognitive enhancers are not nootropics. These cognitive enhancers are known as smart drugs and are slightly different than nootropics. These differences can be summarized as follows:
  • These drugs are usually prescribed by a medical practitioner for a medical condition that has resulted in deterioration of mental function, focus, and concentration.
  • These drugs are amphetamines which mean that they stimulate the central nervous system to improve cognitive abilities.
  • These drugs are also called study drugs because of their increasing use in students to help them finish their homework and stay on top of their class.
  • Drugs such as Adderall and Ritalin are prescribed for patients suffering from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. They can have adverse side-effects and are not endorsed by pharmaceutical companies to help college going students.
  • These drugs are also called study drugs because of their increasing use in students to help them finish their homework and stay on top of their class.
  • Drugs such as Adderall and Ritalin are prescribed for patients suffering from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. They can have adverse side-effects and are not endorsed by pharmaceutical companies to help college going students.

  Short-Term Nootropic Benefits

Memory

The use of nootropics helps to improve memory and recall.  Every person’s brain has a certain level of Nerve Growth Factor (NGF), the component that accelerates the growth of cells. One of the benefits of nootropics is that it increases NGF levels which increase cell regeneration.  The increased cell regeneration leads to improved short term and long term memory and more efficient memory recall due to the production of higher quality neuropathways.

Mood

Nootropics are often used to improve different mood disorders such as anxiety, depression, and stress.  Mood disorders have a significant negative impact on brain functions and both the mood and the brain functions can be improved by adding nootropics to your regimen.  Most mood disorders are linked to poor circulation in the brain, brain chemicals being out of balance, low brain energy and a low resistance to stress.  There are several nootropics that can alleviate these issues and lead to overall improvements in brain health.
  • L-Theanine – this nootropic helps to regulate alpha brainwaves and encourages a reduction of anxiety and a more relaxed state of mind.
  • Bacopa Monnieri – a perfect nootropic for the person that is on the go and doesn’t have time for anxiety, Bacopa Monnieri reduces anxiety and enhances mental performance without drowsiness.
  • Lion’s Mane Mushroom – this nootropic provides a balanced and uplifted mood and increases NGF.

Energy

The benefits of nootropics in increasing energy is one of the most sought-after benefits.  Nootropics work without stimulants so energy increases without side effects, such as jitteriness, that is commonly associated with stimulants.  The brain consumes twenty percent of the body’s energy.  Instead of stimulants, nootropics increase brain energy through increasing blood flow and oxygen to the brain, optimizing the brain cells to produce energy more efficiently, increasing the brain’s resistance to the draining effects of stress and by increasing alpha waves to create a feeling of relaxation and wellbeing.

Attention

Attention is an important factor in performance particularly in situations that are related to study, work or competitive activities.  The benefits of nootropics in enhancing attention include an increased ability to focus in three main ways.
  • Selective Attention – improved ability to maintain focus on one task despite distractions.
  • Alternating Attention – increased ability move focus between tasks
  • Divided Attention – Multitasking, the cognitive ability to perform multiple tasks simultaneously.

Focus

Do you often find yourself struggling at work because you are unable to focus on a task? Being able to focus is a combination of habitual practice as well as a brain function. It is almost impossible to align our complete attention and have a sharp mind without neurologically being in the “zone.”  The zone is essentially that position where your mind aligns with your body functions and narrows down your attention towards only the important task and hand and cuts down other distractions from our mind. That way your mind stays focused.  Nootropics help in getting and staying in that zone in the long run. The ideal mental place where an individual is the most focused is exactly between feeling overwhelmed and anxious and being bored and unchallenged. Nootropics create a balance between these two opposites and keep the user in equilibrium point in the long run so that they are more focused.

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Sleep

The link between proper sleep patterns and optimum brain performance has become an established paradigm in the medical world. A well-rested brain simply works better.  As this link has becomes better understood more people are seeking solutions to ensure optimal sleep patterns.  Nootropics aid in improved sleep by creating a sense of relaxation which allows one to fall asleep faster and to sleep more peacefully which allows for full cycles of sleep including the important dream state.

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Productivity

One of the main reasons that people choose nootropics is because they increase productivity.  This is because of the compounding results of nootropics, where nootropics gradually increase productivity, but this increase stays for the long term.  This means with the long-term use of nootropics, you are able to focus more efficiently on the important tasks, memorize content easily and recall it even easier.  Unlike other cognitive enhancers, such as stimulants, the benefits of nootropics are not short-term.  For example, if you are taking exams, stimulants will provide a quick and volatile result that will fade in a few hours immediately decreasing your productivity.  Nootropics give a consistent and constant increase in productivity providing a reliable and long-term benefit.

Stress

Stress can have an immediate debilitating effect on mental performance and can cause long-term mental fatigue.  Nootropics help to relieve stress and its negative effects by strengthening the mind and body’s resistance to stress.  They also help to maintain a proper brain chemistry balance which leads to a feeling of well-being.  A brain that is stressed cannot perform to its full potential.  By alleviating stress, nootropics not only enhance our mood but improve our cognitive functions.

Learning

Students and professionals alike are always being challenged to learn new things.  The cognitive demands that are required to learn new information and skills include focus, attention, mental energy and storage and retrieval of memories.  There are many benefits of nootropics that assist in these essential tasks as well as reducing stress so that you can think clearly and perform efficiently under pressure.  Two of the most commonly used nootropics to support learning are Bacopa Monnieri and Rhodiola Rosea

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Creativity

Creativity manifests in many forms.  It can present itself in the creative resolution of a problem at work as much as it does in the creation of works of art.  No matter how talented the individual may be, sometimes creativity can be elusive.  Nootropics can help by relaxing the mind and allowing it to enter a more free and relaxed state.  A combination of relaxation and focus are essential for the creative process.  Nootropics like L-Theanine, Citicoline, and Rhodiola contribute to a mind that is both energized, focused and relaxed allowing the creative process to flow freely.

Motivation

A person’s ability to perform well and to meet their potential relies on their ability to remain motivated and to have the drive to accomplish the task at hand and their long-term goals. Talent and intelligence without motivation are wasted tools, despite this fact, many people have a hard time finding or maintaining motivation they need to succeed.  Nootropics can contribute to an individual’s motivation by regulating chemicals, such as dopamine, in the brain.   Dopamine is a chemical that provides a sense of pleasure as a reward when we accomplish a task or goal.  Low dopamine levels have been linked to slowed cognition, low energy, and sluggishness.  Nootropics such as L-Tyrosine, Rhodiola Rosea, and Vitamin B9, can help to bring the dopamine levels into balance to increase your drive and motivation.

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  Long-Term Nootropic Benefits

The difference between nootropics and other cognitive affecting solutions like caffeine and Adderall is that while these are short-lived and offer only temporary solutions, nootropics offer more lasting and long-term benefits.  The benefits of nootropics aren’t immediate, the benefits are gradual and increase over time.  Because of this, nootropics are a better solution for accelerated brain function, as it is a steady and reliable improvement rather than a quick fix that rapidly fades.  Nootropics give compounding results, for example, if your normal brain productivity is at 50% and you use some immediate cognitive improvement method which will increase productivity by 20%, your productivity will increase to 70% for a few hours until the effects wear off.  However, if you use nootropics, it will give you a gradual increase in productivity, for example, a 5% increase for a certain period of time.  With continued usage, the productivity increase would compound, and in the long-term, although it will take some time, you will reach a 70% brain productivity which will stay in effect all the time.

Anti-Aging

Most people take nootropics with the intention of increasing their present-day cognitive functions with little thought of future brain health.  The overall benefits to long-term brain health are equally as important as your current mental cognition.  As we age, there is a decline in cognitive performance.  Research has shown that cognitive decline can start as early as age 20 and worsens over time.  These age-related issues most often manifest as poor memory and reasoning skills, mood disorders and an inability to focus.  It is believed that free radicals contribute to cognitive decline as the brain ages.  Free radicals, left unchecked can damage brain cells over time.  Antioxidants, a type of nootropic, reduces free radicals and their threat to your long-term mental health.  Nootropics that offer antioxidant benefits include Pine Bark Extract and BacopaMonnieri.

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Neuroprotection

What sets Nootropics apart from others is the fact that they offer neuroprotection. Neuroprotection is essentially a function where nootropics increase the blood flow in the brain, which leads to a prevention of cerebral damage due to a low oxygen supply. When the brain’s supply of oxygen is hindered for any reason it causes damage to the cells in the brain.  This damage can lead to a huge range of fatal health problems, which can be prevented by nootropics neuroprotective benefits which leading to your brain functioning in a healthier state for longer years. Nootropics achieve this by consisting of anti-excitotoxic agents which are responsible for preventing brain damage. Primarily, they prevent other agents from binding themselves to the brain cells and damaging them. Secondly, nootropics are also responsible for creating a balance in the body’s glutamate distribution, which prevents cell damage.   Another role of nootropics is that they work on reducing oxidative stress. Oxidative stress has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease, and oxidative stress basically dictates how many cells in our brain are destroyed, and with what frequency. Cholinergic nootropics contain components which work on combatting the effects of oxidative stress and therefore prevent long-term brain diseases like Alzheimer’s. And that’s not all, most nootropics have Rev-Erba agonists which are known for their regenerative properties, and they are extremely helpful in repairing cell damage as well as for creating new cells in the long run. Nootropics also prevent a wide array of health problems such as combatting high cholesterol levels, suppressing various inflammatory problems and much more!

Brain Regeneration

The brain is a living, growing organism in the body that constantly regenerates itself by producing new brain cells to replace the old and creating new neuropathways as we learn and experience new things.  Nootropics can provide long-term enhancements to the regeneration process.  Nootropics improve brain regeneration by providing the raw materials the brain needs to rebuild itself.  The nootropics that have shown to have the most benefits in brain regeneration are Citicoline, Maritime Pine Bark Extract, and Lion’s Mane Mushroom.

Nootropic Benefits for Seniors

As we age, there is a natural cognitive decline that occurs.  A lot of research is being done to determine the benefits of nootropics in people over 55 years of age.  It has been found that while the long-term benefits of nootropics can go unnoticed in the early years, there is a notable and dramatic improvement in cognitive function in senior citizens who have been on a nootropic regimen.  Nootropics protect the brain from the ravages of age and the slow decline of mental cognition.  A steady regimen of nootropics such as citicoline, vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Phosphatidylserine, L-theanine and lion’s mane mushroom can prevent many of the mental consequences of age and allow you to remain sharp, productive and health well into your senior years.

  Conclusion

The nootropic benefits of improving overall brain health are one of the most overlooked of their benefits.  The long-term and slow-acting benefits of many nootropics are not as apparent or gratifying as more instant reactions received from some nootropics and other cognitive enhancers.  As the benefits of the nootropics slowly increase over time they are also providing the additional and hidden benefit of shielding your mind from the damage that comes with age.  The consistent and regular use of nootropics can ensure a mind that is sharp and focused and that can provide quick and accurate recall of memories and information well into your senior years.

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