Nootropics are also known as “smart drugs” because they promise, not to mention, to increase our mental performance and strengthen our cognitive part. In recent years, their popularity has exploded to such an extent that thousands of people already include this golden pill in their lunch, thanks to which they can be more productive in their work.
Such a thing would allow us – apparently – to be more productive than Stephen King when he writes novels, to memorize the program of a competition in half the time or to activate those neural structures capable of arousing the musical or mathematical genius that is hidden in each of us. We obviously say “in appearance” because the reality is different, a reality that is undoubtedly better adjusted, more limited and less sparkling, but just as interesting.
The pharmaceutical industry, for example, invests monstrous sums (numbering in the millions) each year in the development of new nootropics and does so for a very simple reason: the demand has multiplied.
The pressure at work is increasingly high, we know it: you must always be alert, improve your concentration, be more mentally agile, more creative, more productive … Everyone wants to give more of his person without having to resort to dangerous substances, and this is where nootropics or smart drugs come into play.
Currently, we know that these drugs are highly regarded by academics, military pilots, computer programmers or creators of advertising companies who seek in these nootropics a seemingly harmless resource, thanks to where they can extend their minds, focus their attention, and give their best to achieve their goals.
Good, but … do nootropics actually work?
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Nootropics, an accidental discovery that gave shape to “Smart Drugs”
Some say nootropics are the “drug” of the future, a product of a fast-paced society that wants to go beyond its possibilities. However, this term bothers, does not please and is not accepted because – mostly – there are no side effects and it is not a “psychostimulant”. That’s why they’ve been called in a much more inspiring way: “cognitive enhancers”.
In addition, some also venture to say that nootropics will constitute our evolutionary menu tomorrow and that, thanks to them, we will push our brain development to another level.
As curious as it may sound, this is precisely the purpose of large corporations and famous entities. In fact, Silicon Valley – the world’s capital of the tech industry – has been working with nootropics for years and has found new mechanisms by which it can intensify their properties, effects, duration, and even usefulness.
Nootropics will not only serve to improve our attention and creativity; they also allow us to be able to experience lucid dreams or achieve a level of relaxation similar to what one would get after years of meditation. Good, but even knowing this, we realize that too many people, some data may sound like pure science fiction; it is therefore necessary to proceed step by step. Let’s look first at their origin.
Nootropics: From Sleep inducers to Attention Activators
We are in the middle of the 60s and, in the Belgian laboratory “Union Chimique Belge”, the Romanian neuropsychologist Corneliu Giurgea is working on the synthesis of various chemical compounds with a very concrete goal: to induce sleep.
However, what he actually discovered was a very special type of molecule that enabled him to create the first nootropic in history, Piracetam. This drug, far from reducing neuronal excitability and promoting rest, actually did just the opposite: alert the mind and improve cognitive functions such as memory and concentration.
The mechanism of action of nootropics varies. However, the majority of them have effects in vasodilation, that is, they improve blood flow to the brain, providing it with more oxygen, more nutrients and glucose, the source essential energy that the brain uses to ensure long periods of concentration.
In addition, and as a curious fact to which we must think, we know that Silicon Valley works with nootropics by combining them with biohacking, that is to say that it tries to “hack” certain brain functions to through various chemicals to strengthen the functions of thought.
It seems that the door to this evolutionary leap in our brain is already opening …
What effects do Nootropics have? Are they as beneficial as they appear to be?
The purpose of the pharmaceutical industries, with nootropics, is twofold. On the one hand, we know, they seek to improve our basic cognitive processes, something that they usually manage to achieve. The second aspect is that they should act like neuroprotectors and have as few nootropics side effects as possible (or should not have any at all).
One of the biggest nootropics side effects faced by health experts is that university students, as well as business leaders and others who have a lifestyle characterized by stress, acquire nootropics through the internet, without worrying too much about where they come from or, worse, how they should be consumed.
Let’s take an example. Caffeine is a natural nootropic, as are omega 3 fatty acids. If I drink 10 cups of coffee overnight, it is very likely that I will have headache, dizziness and high blood pressure. Thus, the student who buys a nootropic on the Internet whose composition and how to consume it, with the sole aim of passing the exam the next day, will certainly experience side effects instead to note this improvement in attention and memory.
Therefore, this should be borne in mind: Nootropics help, but are not a cure. Furthermore, we will only notice these benefits if we know how to consume them, accepting the advice of an expert in the field.
In addition, and curiously, it must be said that Russian laboratories have created a new family of nootropics derived from the corticotrope, the stress hormone, and GABA receptor agonists. These drugs are in great demand lately because of their anxiolytic and stress-reducing effect, but it should be remembered that nootropics side effects are undoubtedly the most dangerous on the market, as they lead to long-term dependence.
How to use Nootropics
Experts tell us that there are some basic standards we need to know when taking a nootropic.
Find the nootropic that best suits your needs.
It is necessary to consult a specialist who guides us towards the options that exist on the market.
Everyone has a type of neurochemistry, and in general it is common to start with very low doses, trying several nootropics before finding the most suitable.
If we experience any discomfort, such as headache or dizziness, it is necessary to stop this type of nootropic immediately.
Finally, it should be remembered that these drugs do not work immediately. The brain needs to get used to it; in fact, you will start to notice their effects after a few days or weeks.
They only work if we follow a proper diet and avoid a sedentary lifestyle
If we are to modulate our brain chemistry to function at the best level, we need a set of the right nutrients that activate the mechanism of action of these smart drugs. Therefore, a balanced diet rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids is essential for nootropics to work.
If we lead a sedentary lifestyle, we will have a slow, less efficient metabolism and our liver function will fail to optimally manage the components of nootropics.
Sport and a varied diet low in saturated fat are essential for these drugs to reach their goal.
Types of nootropics
It is important to point out here that not all nootropics are drugs. Many of them do not require a medical prescription because they have natural components and are very easy to find in herbal stores. Despite this, before starting to consume cognitive enhancers, it is always a good idea to consult a specialist.
We therefore need to know what we are looking for, because as we can see the supply of nootropics is quite large; everything indicates that it will be even more so in the coming years.
Nootropics to improve mood.
Nootropics to improve focus.
Nootropics to fight anxiety.
Nootropics to improve memory.
Nootropics to improve rest, recovery and sleep.
Nootropics as anti-aging or longevity.
To conclude, it should also be remembered that nootropics are not food supplements. They should not be used lightly, simply because the supply is higher and higher and because their efficiency is less and less reliable. Therefore, even if we all want to optimize our cognitive abilities to adjust to the current demands of the labor market, it will always be better to look for other strategies, other paths.
Despite this, we will continue to pay attention to the evolution of these cognitive enhancers and their impact on our future.