The brain is one of the most essential parts of the human body. It’s what allows you to do whatever it is that you choose to. Everything conveyed inside your brain is what makes you react, and in return, defines what it is to become a human being.
Over the generations, there has been a constant search for the ultimate drug that will make human beings become extraordinary and stand out from the current state of normal human beings. Of course, there are several ways to accomplish this – such as physical training, knowledge gathering, emotional and spiritual balance, among other things. All of this just to reach that next stage of becoming a mightier you. However, since people are getting used to acquiring everything “in an instant”, researches are always attempting to find ways to make any individual become more than what he or she is capable of.
And from this desire to “hack” a humans brain, Nootropics were born and introduced to our clamoring society. They are becoming widely popular to the public nowadays as they are known to enhance one’s mental prowess. However, can a drug really do the trick?
Is it safe? Is it effective?
Could it actually be the key towards unlocking the mind and become a super being?
The Origin of Nootropics
It is uncertain when exactly mankind first discovered and used plants and fruits to alter their moods and thoughts. However, researchers have found evidence that this practice may have began as long as 10,000 years ago.
Drawings inside caves have been found and are believed to have described the everyday lives of those living at the time. What is interesting is that some of these drawings match the patterns created by other humans in recent tests as they were observed during mind-altering conditions. This conclusion has been based on Turing Instabilities wherein neutral patterns are observed under the influence of hallucinogens.
Several cultures all over the world also have nootropic-like substances. An example includes the Gingko Biloba, which is popularly known among the culture of China, and Ayurvedic adaptogen is well known in India. While such compounds have unique roles in the progress of humanity’s history, it is just in recent years that people have begun to adapt and be able to create and optimize nootropics for improving one’s memory and thought perceptions.
The term “nootropics” was coined by Dr. Corneliu E. Giurgea which came from the greek word ‘noos’ which stands for mind and ‘tropein’ meaning towards or to bend. These days, nootropics are typically used for enhancing the memory, focus and cognition far beyond the normal circumstances that the brain can handle. For many, taking nootropics is the key to better productivity, improving mood, stress reduction, and increasing self control in times of extreme mental pressure.
The Forms of Nootropics
There are many classes of herbs and supplements that may be considered a nootropic. According to NootropicsJournal, natural substances such as Adaptogens help the person in managing stress, and in return, can actually enhance his or her cognition. Examples of adaptogens include maca, tulsi, rhodiola, cordyceps and ginseng.
Another example of a nootropic supplement is called Alpha Brain. This herbal nootropic supplement is designed to improve concentration and enhance focus. Side effects have also been found to be minimal based on consumer experiences and studies. It is said to be more favorable than drinking a cup of coffee for alertness – which at times can bring unwanted nervousness and palpitations, in extreme cases.
CILTEP is another supplement which is referred to as a “nootropic stack.” It means that the food supplement is a combination of herbs created to improve the brain’s might. It’s been found that CILTEP consumers share similar results and experiences, especially with regard to having noticeable results, with much emphasis on concentration development.
Most natural foods and herbs are generally considered safe to intake which also boosts the functionality of the brain and at the same time, provides the nourishment that the body needs. Still, the best option to reach the optimum performance of your brain and overall health, according to experts, is a proper, well-balanced diet. Below are some good sources of brain-boosters which you may want to consider:
- Foods like oily fishes which are rich in DHA and EPA
- Bright colored vegetables and berries which have high antioxidant contents
- Coconut oil and MCT oil which are both healthy fats
- Leafy vegetables, bananas, and other sources of Vitamin K
The Trick of Nootropics
The effects of nootropics vary from one person to another, and users can end up having varying changes within their body. The primary effect of a nootropic is the increasing number of neurotransmitters that are present inside the brain. With this occurrence, the neuroplasticity of the brain increases as well, together with the rise of dopamine and serotonin levels. This phenomenon is responsible for helping one’s ability to focus and with enhanced memory levels and other cognitive performances.
There are several guidelines for a chemical to meet in order for it to be called a nootropic. Dr. Giurgea created the list as follows:
- A nootropic must aid in keeping the brain protected from physical, as well as any chemical injury
- It must, in some way, enhance the cognitive abilities of the brain and prevent such from being interrupted by a certain health condition
- A nootropic should help in improving one’s memory, focus, and learning process
- A nootropic must not be toxic or produce numerous and alarming side effects
- A nootropic should boost the control mechanisms in the cortical and subcortical sections of the brain
The aforementioned criteria aren’t met by a lot of potentially acclaimed nootropics since many do have critical side effects after usage. Then again, given the case, there are still other substances that already caught the attention of the public. Some of these include the off-label use of Adderall or Ritalin, popularly known for ADD/ADHD drugs, which can actually enhance the cognitive performance of the user. There is also a drug called Modafinil that is increasingly becoming famous for its effectiveness. However, in some rare cases, such stimulant drugs can actually threaten the user’s life.
The question now is: do nootropics really work?
According to recent studies, there is an abundant of positive results for substances like piracetam and many others. Nevertheless, there are many other compounds which also contain a lot of potential. Because of this, biohackers, or people who seeks to “hack” their own minds, have become more popular than ever in helping to discover the extent of nootropics’ capabilities on people.
In their quest for better understanding of these drugs, it has been found that there are various side effects and potential benefits which are all taken into account within scientific studies. However, unless enough people consume the compounds and provide sufficient statistics from their experiences, such compounds cannot be perfected. Even though there are still limits from researches, there is enough proof that nootropics really work (as supported by the compound users and manufacturers).
It is now for you to decide whether you will take the risk and personally gain the experience of using nootropics or not. Side effects are always a possibility with some of the substances out there so proper research and consultancy should be used with every attempt to use these drugs.