(Disclaimer: The information here is clearly intended for informational purposes only and is not considered medical advice, which you should always consult with your primary physician about. We are not responsible for how you intend to use this information.)
Our contemporary world keeps presenting us with array of choices about everything.
But what about those who have a desire to upgrade their mental game?
If you don’t know about it yet, prepare to learn about the amazing world of nootropics (a.k.a. smart drugs), their reach, advantage, usage, and also their downside.
Even though nootropics and smart drugs are often used indifferently, there’s a slight difference between the two of them.
Both of them improve mental functions such as memory, creativity, and motivation, amongst others.
Types of Smart Drugs
There are several ways to increase our cognitive functions, from chemical products to some natural alternatives.
We’ll start by presenting some of the most popular smart drugs.
Modafinil (marketed as Provigil) is a “eugeroic,” which is a fancy word for wakefulness-promoting agent, thus originally this drug is used to treat people who suffer from narcolepsy or other excessive daytime sleepiness disorders.
Being a eugeroic many people started using it to get an extra punch of energy in their daytime jobs or activities, or to treat all sorts of fatigue-associated syndromes such as depression, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, myotonic dystrophy, spastic cerebral palsy, and Parkinson’s disease.
In testing the results of its effectiveness (i.e., the wakefulness-promoting aspect) has even led to the military and astronaut usage of the drug as a substitute for other drugs needed to tackle long-hour missions without sacrificing the cognitive capabilities that they might need.
This one was first discovered in the lab in Russia, 1970, and became fully developed by 1995 as the brand “Noopept” (from what it’s really called “N-phenylacetyl-L-prolylglycine ethyl ester”) and was originally promoted as a smart drug, taking the place of Piracetam. Noopept has a smaller dose than the Piracetam, yet better effects.
According to tests, this drug is capable of helping patients with Alzheimer’s disease in restoring cognition. The studies on animals show that Noopept is a neuroprotective and memory-enhancing agent.
It is a peptide-derived compound, which means that it is a compound of two or more amino acids.
Amphetamine stimulates the central nervous system and is sold as prescription Adderall with the intended purpose to treat people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; however, it has found its way to being a popular smart drug of choice typically amongst college students who have trouble concentrating on their demanding studies.
All in all, modafinil and amphetamine are like the brother and sister in the smart drug world. Which one should you go for? Here is one user’s experience and preference:
With the wide range of choices, you’d have to try several combinations and see which one yields the best results for you.
– Acetyl-L-carnitine (ALCAR or ALC)
1. Acetylcarnitine is a form of the amino acid, carnitine. It functions by creating the primary neurotransmitter required for learning and memory function, which is acetylcholine.
2. So, amongst its functions, it can improve mental clarity, alertness, processing speed, focus, memory, and mood.
3. You can find this amino acid in red meat; but if you’re a vegetarian, consider bottled acetylcarnitine as a supplement to your diet.
We are used to finding taurine as an ingredient in energy drinks, but as it turns out, it also has a positive effect on the brain. Taurine is also an amino acid that aids in the movement of potassium, sodium, calcium, and magnesium in and out of the brain.
This amino acid stimulates the GABA (gamma-Aminobutyric acid) neurotransmitters of the brain – the ones in charge of calming the mind and pushing the brake on brain activity when needed – and is a nootropic that helps minimize anxiety.
So if you’re nervous or incapable of focusing, this one is for you (which still may be surprising yet understandable if found in energy drinks to balance their over-caffeinated effect. If you’re one of those heavy energy drinkers due to reason being you get jitter from your coffee but not from your love for Red Bulls, now you know why with taurine and list of other ingredients found in them.)
Also known as L-theanine, is a brain enhancer that can be found in green tea. It helps you enter an optimal state of relaxation and concentration without drowsiness.
Theanine increases the levels of serotonin, dopamine, and GABA.
Is a relatively new brain booster, found on periwinkle (vinca minor). Vinpocetine has gotten very popular over Europe and Japan.
It also increases the blood flow to the brain, decreasing brain inflammation and balances neurotransmitters levels.
All of these above-mentioned ingredients can be used to craft your own nootropics to assist with your mental abilities, but be aware that if you’re not clear as to what you want to accomplish, your time and money spend on them will go to waste.
Natural Herbal Nootropics
Now if you’d rather rely on nature to boost your cognitive functions or you just want to have a healthier brain, let’s go over the natural herbs and planet-based extracts alternatives.