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Our Guide to Nootropics

The term Nootropic refers to a class of drugs or supplements that positively affects brain function. The term originates from the Greek “noos” for "mind" and “tropos” for “growing”, and was first used in 1972 by the Romanian Dr. Corneliu Giurgea to describe drugs that stimulated brain activity. Today, Nootropics are also referred to as smart drugs or cognitive enhancers and are increasingly gaining popularity because of their recognised effects in improving mental focus, wakefulness, cognition, creativity, memory, alertness and because of their ability to protect and revitalize brain cells.

The exact science of how Nootropics work is still not fully understood but research has achieved huge leaps in outlining the mechanisms of action. Nootropics can be grouped into categories depending on their synthetic origin or their way of functioning, notably the most famous are the Ampakines and Racetams, which are thought to improve memory and the ability to focus even during severe sleep deprivation because of their actions on neurotransmitters. These Nootropics excite a larger than normal proportion of neurotransmitters in brain cells, thus commonly affecting the levels of glutamate or acetylcholine, two important neurotransmitters that are critical for memory and alertness.
Nootropics that have Vitamin B1 as a constituent are able to improve cognitive function in the long run by preventing or even reversing damage to neurons. They have the ability to help heal damaged neurons and research has shown that these Nootropics can improve memory in people with certain types of brain damage. Antioxidants also fall into this category due to their ability to prevent oxidative neuron damage.

Other Nootropics, such as the well known herbal supplement, Gingko Biloba, achieve cognitive enhancement by improving oxygen supply to the brain. Gingko Biloba increases blood flow to the brain, resulting in the delivery of more oxygen to neurons and is a popular supplement in vitamin shops across the UK and the world. Finally, some Nootropics are thought to build new neural connections in the brain, which would in theory allow the brain to function more efficiently. Racetams are thought to induce new neural connections in addition to their function as neurotransmitter level modulators. Some studies have suggested that non-drug mechanisms can also increase neural connections in the brain, and some examples of these processes include learning a new language, learning an exercise program that requires agility and coordination, and possibly even doing crossword puzzles or playing video games. Websites that encourage users to play brain enhancing games are common nowadays.


Future of Nootropics

The problem with the development of Nootropics lies in the complexity of the brain. An average adult brain contains about 100 billion neurons. Each of these neurons averages 7000 connections to other neurons, which allows for trillions of interactions. Neuroscientists have made little progress understanding whether these interactions take place individually, in clusters, or in sweeping, brain-wide interactions. The brain is arguably the hardest-to-understand part of the body, and greater understanding may take decades but progress is being made. The largest demand for nootropic development is not among the stressed-out student demographic. However, the real value of smart drugs lies with the elderly. Nootropics have shown great promise in treating many mentally degenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and senile dementia. Alzheimer’s disease strikes nearly half of all people over 85 and 10 percent of those over 65. It is believed that a treatment that delays Alzheimer’s symptoms by five years could halve the occurrence of the disease. Nootropics are being developed to do just that. For a list of medical journals/ ongoing research into Nootropics, please click here.


Why Take Nootropics?

This article has been sourced from Associated Content

From proposal writers to carpenters, mailmen to physicians, everyone could benefit from reduced stress, improved focus, and more energy. Many drink coffee and other caffeinated beverages to wake up and keep going throughout the day. Some risk their health, abusing diet pills and harsher drugs like amphetamines, just for the energy to get through the day. Regardless of their performance-enhancing poisons of choice, regular people act out of a bizarre paradox: seeking relief from stress in the form of “little base, black, thick, nasty, bitter, and stinking nauseous puddle water” and even more vile tablets, only worsening the situation. The working wounded might not need such resorts, if they only knew that time-tested, safer, more potent compounds existed. Enter Nootropic Compounds. What are Nootropics? Unlike caffeine and amphetamine, nootropics only act within the brain, so they lack the discomfort and danger of stimulants. Some researches dubbed nootropics “Smart Drugs.”Nootropics, while they can treat diseases, first and foremost supercharge mental performance beyond normal: instead of offering a cure, they improve something that already works fine. Unlike stimulants, which always have a let-down period after the initial rush, nootropics almost never have noxious side effects.

This guide points out some of the Nootropic “Greatest Hits,” the safe, tried-and-true compounds worth using. Piracetam. This is the reigning king of the smart drugs. First synthesized in 1964 by the Belgian pharmaceutical company UCB Group, the researchers developed piracetam as a drug to prevent motion sickness. Its other benefits, however, soon eclipsed its original purpose and actually led researchers to coin the term “nootropic.” Over the past forty years, study after study has demonstrated the safety of the compound, even in extreme doses. Piracetam increases communication between the left and right hemispheres of the brain and protects the brain from oxygen-deprived conditions, which can result from inadequate sleep or alcohol consumption. Benefits include better recall, reduced reaction time, and improved alertness. Many users also report an improved sense of well-being and frequent creative insight. Piracetam can even reduce symptoms of dyslexia, sickle cell anemia, and Parkinson’s disease, and may reduce the frequency of epileptic fits. Most dosing protocols call for an initial front-loading phase, where the user takes a higher-than-normal dose to sensitise the brain to Piracetam, followed by a lower, daily maintenance dose. One recommendation suggests taking 2400 mg—about half a rounded teaspoon—divided into smaller two or three smaller doses every day for a month, followed by taking 1200 mg, again divided into smaller doses, daily. Some more experienced, heroic nootropic users recommend taking 10,000mg, divided into three doses each day for two days, followed by 800 mg two or three times daily after that. Piracetam possesses almost no toxicity—even consuming 40 g daily is safe—so adjusting the daily dose is not only safe, but recommended.

Considering all the benefits they offer—increased alertness, improved mood, enhanced creativity, and a healthier, stronger brain—why not let some Nootropic alchemy into your mind?


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