We all have times where we strike mental fatigue, and this can have an impact on our lives in many ways and sometimes can take over our lives. To survive in today’s competitive job market and education system, developing self-improvement skills is necessary. People desperately want to improve their cognitive capacity to get any edge that provides them a better chance of success.
The idea of bypassing natural brain chemistry to curb undesirable feelings and improve memory, creativity, and other brain functions, is no longer only seen in science fictions such as Lucy and Bradley Cooper movies.
Nootropics are supplements or drugs considered to improve brain performance. This term encompasses a bunch of substances; natural and synthetic, over-the-counter and pharmaceutical, illegal and legal.
Coffee, tea, and turmeric are a few of the most common natural nootropics found in any kitchen. A recent survey found that nearly 30 percent of Americans had taken smart drugs at least one time in the past year.
What are “nootropics”?
Nootropics or smart drugs are substances that enhance cognition, concentrate, memory, and learning capacity. The term “nootropics” is derived from the Greek words; noos, meaning “mind,” and trepin, meaning “towards.”
Now, over 80 distinct substances could be categorized as nootropics, such as some herbs, vitamins, phospholipids, choline resources, amino acids, antioxidants, along with stimulants. A few of the compounds have short-term effects, providing a couple of hours of temporarily improved focus, energy, or imagination, but some function to support long-term psychological performance when taken frequently.
How do they work?
Scientists have identified many ways that nootropics can make the body to affect the brain. Nootropics can enhance brain function since they help raise the degree of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a naturally-occurring protein within the mind which protects nerves, promotes the development of cells, and controls their life and death. It may improve synaptic adaptability, which may accelerate data processing on your mind.
1-Nootropics improve brain energy
- Caffeine: Without adequate energy, all cognitive processing can slow down. Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system and increases energy metabolism throughout the brain. (1)
- Creatine: It not only increases muscle mass for athletes but also fosters brain energy by boosting the quantity of phosphocreatine, a form of stored energy in cells that can improve cognitive performance. (2)
2. Nootropics improve attention and focus
• L-theanine: An amino acid found in green tea, L-theanine has been shown to enhance awareness, particularly in people who are prone to elevated levels of anxiety. (3)
• Citicoline: As a naturally occurring chemical, it has shown to increase attention in healthful, middle-aged people. (4)
3-Nootropics reduce stress
• Rhodiola Rosea: Rhodiola has been shown to decrease mental fatigue in students during examination stress. It might also shorten the reaction rate and boost antioxidant capacity.(5)
• L-tyrosine: In studies, taking tyrosine before a single test session has been shown to prevent the reduction in working memory and information processing induced by demanding situations, such as cognitive overload. (6)
4-Nootropics improve memory and learning
• Panax ginseng: This herb can provide short-term improvement to speed up performing memory tasks and the accuracy of attention-based jobs. (7)
• Vitamin B6: If you take only 20 mg of vitamin B6 per day, for a couple of months, it has shown to moderately but noticeably enhance information storage in healthy adults. (8)
5-Nootropics improve mood
• L-theanine: This amino acid found in green tea can have beneficial effects on depression, anxiety, and sleep disturbance in patients with major depressive disorder. (9)
• Bacopa monnieri: In double-blind trials, this herb decreased cortisol levels and improved mood in healthy volunteers. (10)
The Bottom Line
Although nootropics comprise of vitamins, herbs, and amino acids that have been used for many centuries and seem safe as long as taken in the recommended dosages, the side effects will appear sooner or later when you begin stacking nootropics indiscriminately, taking megadoses, or buying them from unknown providers; Also, nootropics are supplements, so they are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.
If you would like to be sure whatever you are taking is safe, look for nootropics which were backed by clinical trials and have existed long enough to get any potential warning signals or proven benefit. Not to mention, you should always consult with a healthcare professional before taking any supplement.