The word “nootropics” comes from the Green word “nous” which means mind and “trepin” which means to bend or turn. The word nootropic therefore means “mind turning”. So, what exactly are nootropics? They’re a substance that can be used to enhance cognition. However, the brain is a very complex part of the body.
“Nootropics” as a category was coined by a Romanian chemist and psychologist, Dr. Corneliu E. Giurgea. He was the first person to attempt to describe substances would qualify as a nootropic. Some of his criteria include:
- Enhancement of learning and memory
- Improvement of cognition
- Protection of neurons
- Facilitation of cell to cell communication
- Has adequate human research that demonstrates the brain bioactivity
- Has no pharmacological effects of psychotropic medications
If we were to follow these criteria, only a handful of nootropics would exist. However, since science and technology has advanced, the definition and criteria for nootropics have expanded dramatically.
As of the year 2018, there are more than 80 nootropics that can be associated to brain health. Since the expansion and increasing popularity of nootropics, more are aware of the benefits of nootropics. Some of the uses for nootropics include:
- Attention – Nootropics can enhance attention, concentration and focus, giving its users an advantage in productivity.
- Memory – Nootropics can enhance memory, storage, learning, recall, information retention and more.
- Learning – Many students and learners have found benefits from nootropics as it helps them with important learning processes such as the formation of memory, recall, and storage.
- Creativity – Nootropics can help the brain relax. This is important for creative thinking, contemplation, and artistic exploration.
- Mood – Nootropics may be able to help individuals relax, increase confidence, motivation, sociability, happiness, and decreasing anxiety. This leads to optimization of function and performance.
- Stress – Nootropics have anti-stress benefits that have been shown to improve performance of multitasking individuals and athletes.
- Physical – Nootropics may be able to improve motivation, promote focus, and intensify training in sports.
Nootropics work by boosting brain pathways by targeting one or more of the pathways:
- Brain energy is enhanced by increasing mitochondrial efficiency and the delivery of raw fuel material.
- Brain chemicals such as neurotransmitters are optimized to facilitate communication between neurons.
- Blood flow to the brain can be supported using nootropics.
- Nootropics can increase frequencies to stimulate brainwave frequencies.
- Nootropics protect the brain from antioxidants to reduce free radical damage.
- Some nootropics have been observed to succeed in supplying nutritional blocks and increasing growth factor synthesis for brain regeneration.
There are many types of nootropics such as essential nutrients, herbs, adaptogens, phospholipids, choline sources, antioxidants, and amino acids. Nootropics can be divided into individual nootropics or nootropic stacks. Individual nootropic supplements have a single ingredient that is used for a specialized purpose. Nootropic stack supplements are the combination of several types of nootropics into a formula to compound and synergize the ingredients for better effects.
Nootropics are beneficial as it enhances cognitive function, supports brain health, clean, safe, and free of side effects. If you’re interested in trying nootropics, remember to consult your doctor first.