What are Nootropic Drugs?
Nootropics are substances that heighten your cognitive functions. Also known as cognitive enhancers and smart drugs, they increase mood, motivation, concentration and memory, but it should be noted that not all cognitive boosters are nootropic (caffeine for instance, is not a nootropic).
It should be stressed that nootropics cannot be used as substitute for studying: what nootropics do is enhance your mental strength, and will continue to do so the more you use it.
To use an analogy, muscle building supplements aren’t going to do the bulking up for you, you still need to pump iron, but the supplements ensure you’re going to get larger muscles than you would with workouts alone. The same thing can be for nootropics: continuous study will sharpen your brain, but nootropics will enhance that even more and help you reach your maximum potential.
What Do They Do?
Nootropics work in different ways, with some altering and supporting neurochemicals in the brain while other provide neurogenesis stimulation, but either way it will produce positive effects on the brain, i.e., increase cognitive functions.
To sum up the benefits of nootropics:
- Enhance your ability to learn
- Improve your memory
- Nootropics help your brain work under difficult conditions like electroconvulsive shock and hypoxia (low oxygen)
- The substance protects your brain from potential physical and chemical threats like barbiturates and anti-cholinergic drugs
- Increases neuronal firing control mechanism control in the sub cortical and cortical areas of the brain
- Nootropics are not toxic
Are Nootropics Effective?
Yes, nootropics are effective and go a long way towards improving memory and other cognitive functions. Apart from the benefits mentioned above, nootropics also improves blood flow, which plays an important role in glucose and oxygen delivery.
Aside from modifying neurotransmitters, nootropics also improve cell membrane fluidity, improve nerve growth and provide essential raw materials for your body such as choline.
What Supplements Should I Take to Support Nootropics?
Commercially sold nootropics have essential supplements for enhancing cognitive functions. That being said, you cannot ignore the needs of your body, which can happen if you’re focused too much on improving memory and focus. To prevent this, make sure to complement your nootropics with the following:
- Protein: protein isn’t just for bodybuilders as it’s also necessary for anyone who wants to be in good physical condition. Protein increases muscle and physical strength, promotes muscle synthesis, helps shed body fat and keeps your liver and other organs working properly.
- Greens supplement: greens supplement will reduce the ill effects of not eating fruits and vegetables regularly. Note that this is designed to minimize the damage, and should not be used as an excuse for not eating fruits and veggies.
- Fish oils: fish oils are well-known for their anti-inflammatory properties, but it’s also good for fighting cancer and cardiovascular diseases. To get the maximum benefits, your fish oil supplement should have 50% DHA and EPA.
These supplements do not necessarily improve your cognitive functions, but that’s what nootropics are for. These supplements focus on keeping your body going so it doesn’t affect your ability to think and focus.
Is There Any Validity to the Claims of Nootropics or Smart Drugs to Potentially Increase Your Intelligence and Memory Retention?
There is substantial scientific evidence to prove that nootropics improves memory retention and intelligence. Research has proven that nootropics stimulate nerve growth and reduce stress, and there’s evidence that it improves inhibitory synaptic transmission in the CA1 pyramidal cells as well.
Apart from improving memory and concentration, nootropics have shown promise in fighting Alzheimer’s disease and slowing down excitatory synaptic currents decay in the brain. The latest scientific research also shows that sulbutiamine enhances memory and even reduces dizocilpine amenesic effects, and there’s substantial research proving that choline is essential for brain processing and development.
What are Your Thoughts on Nootropics Compared to Caffeine?
Caffeine is sometimes classified as a nootropic, but it should really be labeled as a cognitive enhancer. Caffeine does improve cognitive function, but the effect is only for the short term. Second, high doses of caffeine produce side effects like anxiety and heart palpitations, and third, caffeine has a tolerance limit so the longer you take it, the less effective it becomes.
That’s not the way genuine nootropics work because the longer you take them, the more you benefit. This doesn’t mean caffeine cannot be used with nootropics: in fact some nootropic supplements list caffeine as one of the ingredients because in small amounts it does help.
Is it Safely Mixing Nootropics?
Commercially sold nootropics have been specially formulated to work as is, so don’t use one commercial product with another unless the product specifically says you may do so.
Now if you’re just starting out and want to stack or combine compounds, you may try the following:
- Caffeine + L-Theanine: 200 mg L-theanine and 100 mg caffeine will be good, but you can get results with and 100 mg of L-theanine and 50 mg of caffeine. Generally speaking, the 1:2 ratio is the most ideal.
- Creatine: for improved cognitive functions, take 5 grams of creatine a day. Effects will be felt in two weeks, but you can speed up the process by going with a loading phase of 20 grams every day for 5 days before going down to 5 grams a day.
- Bacopa Monnieri: for beginners, take 300 mg a day, but because this is fat soluble you should take this with some meat or any meal prepared with cooking oil.
- Rhodiola Rosea: this is a natural nootropic that has long been used as an anti-fatigue agent and mood enhancer. For the best results you should take 350 mg of rhodiola once a day.
- Asian Ginseng: Asian Ginseng has long been used for improving memory, physical endurance and reaction time. For the best results you should take 100 mg daily.
The Most Effective Way to Take Nootropics? (Eat it? Plug it? Snort it? Smoke it? Syringe it? Parachute it? Sublingual it?) And Why is This Method Most Effective?
The best way to take nootropics is swallow it whole (tablet or capsule) with a glass of water. This is the most effective method because the nootropic is able to travel in your body and brain quickly.
Some commercially available nootropics have to be taken with meals but others don’t. Check the product package for instructions and follow it to the letter. Don’t take more than what is indicated: nootropics are very safe, but that doesn’t mean you should take more than what’s required.
Best Supplements/Nootropics for Studying? For Language Learning?
The best type of nootropics for studying are the following:
- Racetams: (Aniracetam, Oxiracetam, Pramiracetam, Piracetam). These nootropics have been subject to a lot of research and proven to improve energy levels, learning, memory and focus. Racetams are comprised of hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen and they work with the Acetylcholine neurotransmitter to improve glutamate uptake.
Racetams also improves your cells’ ability to regrow and delays the onset of cell deterioration. Because of its many benefits, racetams have become among the most widely used nootropics today.
- Choline: choline nootropics naturally occur in the human body but most are deficient in it. Essential for memory and health, this water soluble nootropic offers numerous positive cognitive effects especially in the areas of learning and memory. Choline works fine as is but you’ll get more benefits if combined with other nootropics.
Choline nootropics positively affect cognitive functions in ways that other supplements cannot, and it’s especially good for increasing memory retention especially when combined with racetams. What makes choline so important is that without it acetylcholine won’t get synthesized.
Different types of choline nootropics are available such as Alpha GPC, Centrophenoxine and Citicoline, and it’s important that you choose the right one. Alpha GPC is the most potent and has shown promise especially when it comes to improving memory and even treat Alzheimer’s.
- Vitamin B Derivatives: the benefits of vitamin B have been well established, but these derivatives are especially good for cognitive functions. Sulbutiamine is one of the most potent and since it was synthesized in Japan, it’s been used to increase energy levels and fight fatigue, which will definitely come in handy whether you’re studying or working.
- Peptides: several types of peptides are available and they’ve become very popular because in terms of power, they’re superior to racetams. In addition, peptides are very good at passing through the blood and brain barrier and have positive long term effects.
- Ampakines: these are relative newcomers compared to other nootropics but it’s become very popular due to its strength. Research indicates that ampakines increases glutamate levels and has a profound effect on various receptors. Its effect on glutamate is especially important because glutamate is directly related to your ability to learn and memorize.
Would it be Unsafe to Take Nootropics Along with Vitamins?
Not at all; in fact many nootropic supplements include vitamins like B6 in their list of ingredients. The reason is simple: your body and brain needs nutrients and minerals to function at the optimum level, and vitamins will do just that. Also there’s no such thing as the best vitamins for nootropics because you need all of them to stay physically and mentally healthy.
What are Some Commonly Overlooked Nootropics?
Many people aren’t familiar with nootropics in general because they usually buy the commercially available ones, so the brand name is better known. However, there are some nootropics you need to know about as they provide a lot of benefits.
- Piracetam: piracetam is one of the oldest nootropics and is used to improve memory, concentration and increase blood flow to the brain. This nootropic has also been used to treat dyslexia, depression and anxiety and it is currently available under several brand names in the US.
- Huperzine A: huperzine A is an over the counter dietary supplement that’s extracted from Chinese club moss (traditionally used as an anti-inflammatory). Now the latest research shows that it provides protection for the acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that enhances your memory, learning and other important cognitive functions.
- L-Tyrosine: L-Tyrosine is a nonprescription supplement that provides support for brain neurotransmitters. L-Tyrosine is also an amino acid that plays a vital role in the production of norepeinephrine and dopamine, and it also plays a huge part in synthesizing thyroid hormones.
This amino acid can be found in supplemental form but it’s also available in bananas, soy, sesame seeds, lima beans, yogurt and milk. Because of the way L-Tyrosine interacts with your brain neurotransmitters, it plays an important role in increasing mental alertness, clarity and boosting energy. This amino acid also speeds up metabolism and thyroid functions.
Is it Bad to Consume Nootropics for a Long-Term?
No, it isn’t bad, and in fact it would be better if you take nootropics with the long term in mind because that’s when their benefits will be fully realized. Just like multivitamins and muscle supplements, nootropics don’t produce changes overnight and your body needs time to get used to them.
Those who try nootropics for the first time might notice side effects like headaches or feel a bit jittery, but that will wear off after a week or two. Those are not really side effects per se but indicators that your body is trying to get used to the nootropics. Give your body time to get used to it and when it is, you should continue taking the supplement.
What is a Good Daily Regime of Non-Prescription Nootropics?
There is no single best daily regime because there are more than a hundred different nootropic products available, to say nothing of those sold under various brand names. If you’re using one of those then just follow the instructions given on the package, which is usually 2 to 4 capsules a day.
If you’re stacking nootropics here is a suggestion:
- L-Theanine 2 x 100 mg
- Choline Bitartrate 310 mg every other day
- Sulbutiamine 2-3 x 250 mg
- Pramiracetam 1-2 x 300 mg
- Aniracetam 2-3 x 750 mg
- Piracetam 3-4 x 800 mg
If the dosage is a bit too high for you feel free to reduce it, but again remember that it’s normal to feel headaches and some irritability the first week or two.