What Are The Best Nootropics On The Market?
Despite its relatively new name, nootropics have actually been used by ancient cultures for thousands of years.
Coined in 1972 by Dr. Corneliu E. Giurgea of Romania, the term “nootropics” has come to refer to natural as well as synthetic compounds that can help improve one’s general abilities of cognition including motivation, memory, focus, and attention. Read on to find out the different types of “smart drugs” that have become increasingly popular today.
Do Nootropics Work?
A basic, working knowledge of the brain and its neurotransmitters is required before you can fully understand how exactly nootropics work.
Neurotransmitters are in the same group as receptors which comprise of a system and just as there are various neurotransmitter types, each one of them has its own set of unique characteristics. A neurotransmitter is basically a cell in the brain that binds itself to a receptor.
This binding is done through what is known as a synapse which enables the receptor to be activated to in order to complete its functions. Each of these neurotransmitters has a set system of particular actions in the body’s nervous system. A nootropic helps to increase efficiency of the systems related directly to the brain’s cognitive function. Take note that a specific receptor is assigned for every neurotransmitter.
Given that, you should be aware of the different “families” of available nootropics such as Ampakines and Racetams, both of which use different sets of action mechanisms to work in ways that are slightly different from each other. While there is no single decisive answer as to how these smart drugs work, there are several basic ways that they work in regarding the modulation of the numerous chemicals in the brain.
A Look at Some of the Top Nootropics Available.
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Our second recommended choice of Nootropic is Adrafinil. It’s a smart drug that increases mood, mental alertness and learning capabilities. This nootropic is perfect for a wide range of professions from nurses, students and business leaders helping to improve your clarity and focus.
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A nootropic does not provide the user with any kind of mental abilities but enhances whatever mental strength he/she already has. This mental ability is developed by engaging in regular mental exercises, learning, observing, analyzing, and studying and this so-called smart drug does its job by giving this ability a boost by improving your cognition skills.
These smart pills work with the brain by increasing the number of neurotransmitters involved and the levels of oxygen as well. Some of these neurotransmitters include serotonin, acetylcholine, dopamine, and glutamate. When their numbers and oxygen levels are increased, there are positive benefits that are experienced. Remember that depletion in neurotransmitters may cause degenerative brain conditions.
In 1962, or a decade before the term was actually coined and used, Dr. Giurgea had already synthesized what is now considered the world’s first nutraceutical, Piracetam. According to the Romanian pharmacologist, smart drugs for thought and other brain function enhancement can only be considered as such if they have these characteristics:
- Enhance efficiency of brain functions.
- Protect the brain against different chemical or physical injuries.
- Enhance abilities of learned behaviors to resist disruption.
- Lack usual side effects associated with other psychotropic substances such as sedation and motor control loss.
- Has an extremely low level of toxicity.
- Enhance memory and learning effects.
Any drug, functional food or supplement which can help improve a person’s mental functions can, in fact, be a nootropic as long as they have the characteristics defined by Dr. Giurgea. Although they are not “miracle” pills, the best nootropics should be able to help you with the following cognitive functions (and should be factors that you consider when choosing your particular nutraceutical):
- Recall and memory storage.
- Ability to comprehend ideas and pay attention.
- Ability to communicate.
- Reasoning ability.
- Improve overall state of health.
Some Smart Pills Do the Job but Have Adverse Side Effects
To help you appreciate the best nootropic, you have to understand how it can help your brain achieve optimal functionality. The brain controls each and every organ in your entire body, from its metabolism to its digestive and nervous systems, to name a few, including how they function. Needless to say, a healthier and fully functional brain makes for a better physical in its entirety.
A person’s emotional makeup is also improved by these smart pills. Many modern maladies are traceable to unhealthy brain conditions such as anxiety, depression, and Attention Deficiency Disorder (ADD), among others. Some smart pills such as ephedrine or other psychoactive substances, however, will do the job but can also bring toxicity damage and other adverse side effects to the dopamine neurotransmitters of the brain.
A Short List of Nootropics and Their Different Functions
There are different types of these brain health pills; some have solid histories and others have seen fairly recent releases. Undoubtedly, each of them is unique with its own particular action and benefits. While there may be some kind of overlap that can sometimes occur between them, they have properties that are theirs alone and these go for whatever side effects they may potentially have.
This members of this type share similar structures, the oldest and most common of which is Dr. Giurgea’s primary discovery, Piracetam, as mentioned, alongside Aniracetam, Oxiracetam, and Pramiracetam. All of them are made up of hydrogen, nitrogen, and oxygen. Racetams improve glutamate uptake by their activation of NMDA and AMPA receptors and their stimulation of acetylcholine release to the brain.
These two functions of Racetams make them a very powerful stack of smart pills for the improvement of energy levels, mood, focus, learning, and memory. Additionally, Piracetam, for instance, increases neuroplasticity to enhance memory retention and improve learning by improving awareness and sensory perception. Racetams are neuroprotective and increase the rate at which cell regrows.
DHA for Improving Memory and Learning
Docosahexaenoic acid, DHA for short, is essential for the maintenance of an adult’s normal brain function and the functional development and growth of the brain in an infant. DHA, an essential Omega-3 fatty acid, can be found in seaweed and fish, among other food sources. It is protective against several psychiatric disorders and can help improve memory and enhance learning in adults.
Other studies show that DHA can effectively protect the brain from developing dementia, mild impairment of cognitive function, and acquiring the potential risk for Alzheimer’s disease and slowing down its existing progression. A high level of DHA in the brain’s hippocampus region enables memory cells to relay messages and communicate with other cells better. Memory is improved by a diet high in DHA.
CDP Choline for Lucid Dreaming
Also known as Citicoline, CDP Choline is the first in its class to have been shown effective in the stimulation of lucid dreams. A source of CDP Choline, Citicoline is used by the body for acetylcholine synthesis. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that can help a person not only to have more dreams but more vivid experiences in dreams as well. Additionally, it has positive effects on both norepinephrine and dopamine.
Only 10% of the population, however, gets a sufficient amount of CDP Choline in their respective diets. This can restrict working memory as well as functions for long-term memory. Citicoline helps not only in brain cell development but also in the maintenance of brain cells. The same material which comprises about 30% of the brain’s gray matter is in citicoline as well.
Peptides for Creative Activities Such as Writing
The most common peptide is Noopept, a close relation of Racetams, albeit a thousand time more powerful than Piracetam. Noopept is highly effective because of its bioavailability when it comes to crossing the BBB or blood-brain barrier. Additionally, it has similarities to a racetam because of its effect on acetylcholine and glutamate. It has been shown to improve brain energy, memory, learning capabilities, and motivation.
These short amino acid chains stimulate neurotrophin production. Neurotrophins are proteins considered to be growth factors that fuel neuron development by signaling the brain’s cells to grow. Additionally, they help prevent the programmed cell death – also known as apoptosis – of neurons and are critical in creating new neurons (neurogenesis). The four known kinds of neurotrophins include:
- Neurotrophin-4 or NT-4.
- Nerve Growth Factor or NGF.
- Neurotrophin-3 or NT-3.
- Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor or BDNF.
Smart pills like Noopept have been proven to increase both BDNF and NGF and is preferred by some because it remains the only peptide that the gastrointestinal tract absorbs easily. This peptide’s effect is protracted, meaning it continuously builds up from day to day which could mean the rapid adaption to changing beliefs and new ideas, the perfect smart pill for engaging in creative activities such as writing.
Phenibut for Preventing Hangovers
Derived from GABA — short for gamma-aminobutyric acid – Phenibut helps elevate levels of GABA to achieve sound sleep. Phenibut, which has a solid and long history of clinical use in Russia where it was also developed, is used in the relief of tension, stress reduction, anxiety prevention, and sleep improvement. Psychiatrists have used Phenibut frequently to treat stuttering and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
It has been used to help reduce stress, relieve tension, prevent anxiety, improve sleep. Psychiatrists frequently use phenibut in the treatment of psychiatric and psychological disorders such as depression, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and stuttering. Phenibut has also been used to avoid hangovers after consuming alcohol and there’s a theory behind this:
Your liver does a conversion of the ethanol in alcoholic drinks to Acetaldehyde through an enzyme known as Ethanol Dehydrogenase, albeit Acetaldehyde is ten to 30 times more toxic than ethanol. Acetaldehyde is then converted to Acetic Acid by Acetaldehyde dehydrogenase. Once alcohol consumption ceases, your GABA levels go haywire and thrown out of balance because of ethanol’s removal from your body.
This causes withdrawal symptoms which make your body react very strongly because of the significant drop of GABA receptors and results in a hangover. Taking Phenibut can help avoid hangovers by taking it after you consume alcohol since its half-life of five hours could prevent withdrawal symptoms before they begin. Taking too much Phenibut, however, can cause withdrawal symptoms, too.