Introduction to Nootropics
Ever since Bradley Cooper starred in the movie Limitless, the general public has been searching for the real life “Limitless Pill.” While technically there is no such thing as NZT48, cognitive enhancement is a real thing.
Known as Nootropics, there are a variety of herbal extracts and chemical compounds that can help enhance brain function and protection. Chances are you’ve probably taken Nootropics before – even if you didn’t even realize it.
Caffeine for examine is considered a nootropic since it increases mental alertness and clarity, much like many other stimulants. L-Theanine, a naturally occurring amino acid is found in tea, and it is another nootropic many people have unknowingly taken.
What are Nootropics?
Generally speaking, a nootropic is any substance that enhances cognitive function. A nootropic may improve memory, concentration, mood, alertness, or just about anything else that relates to cognition.
If you think back to the movie, Bradley Cooper’s character couldn’t think, concentrate, and he had what is referred to as “brain fog.” After taking NZT48, suddenly he could think clearly, was more productive, and was able to outsmart and out think others.
While smart drugs don’t work to the effect as in the movie, they can and do enhance cognitive abilities. As long as a substance improve cognitive ability, are non-toxic, protect the brain, and stimulate neuronal connections, then it can be considered a nootropic.
The “Limitless Effect”
Thanks to the movie Limitless, interest in nootropics is at an all time high. While it is impossible to recreate a nootropic that delivers the same effects as seen in the movie, cognitive enhancing supplements can provide very real brain boosting benefits and cerebral clarity.
If you’re new to nootropics, then let us share with you the most essential information you need to know about the world of cognitive enhancement.
A History of Nootropics
While Limitless may have helped smart drugs become mainstream, the truth is that researchers have been searching for cognitive enhancement for decades. Some historical documentation shows the use of herbal remedies for cognitive enhancement dating back thousands of years. However, most people would agree that the 1970s are when the first nootropic was developed – known as piracetam today.
Piracetam – The First Nootropic
Dr. Corneliu Giurgea is considered to be responsible for bringing nootropics to the general public. He developed piracetam, named after the Greek words “nous” and “trepin” meaning mind and to bend.
After its’ development, piracetam was sold under the brand name “Nootropil”, and it was used as a dietary aid and for memory loss. Eventually the FDA ordered that Nootropil no longer be sold as a dietary aid since the evidence to support the claim was deemed inefficient.
Since the development of piracetam, the research into new nootropics and development of other nootropics has exploded. Noopept is the newest racetam, and it is marketed 1,000 times stronger than piracetam. It’s long term effects are not entirely known and it is not known whether or not it is safe for long-term use like its’ predecessors piracetam and oxiracetam.
Thanks to the movie Limitless, as well as several other factors, nootropics are rapidly becoming one of the most popular type of supplements used by the average person, and since nootropics must be “low toxicity” by definition, even the most skeptical users are joining the smart brain pill bandwagon.
The nootropic world is constantly evolving and it seems like every week there’s a new herbal extract or chemical compound that can provide cognitive enhancement.
However, there’s several known cognitive neuroenhancement ingredients that make up the core of what most nootropic stacks will include.
Some of the most popular nootropics include:
Racetams, particularly piracetam (the original nootropic), are the most common type of nootropic. Racetams work by increasing the production of neurotransmitters in the brain, and by influencing other compounds in the brain like glutamate and acetylcholine.
Choline is another popular nootropic that helps produce acetylcholine, a powerful neurotransmitter that is clinically proven to improve performance on memory test and improve social behavior. Other studies suggest choline may help with the production of new brain cells.
Besides chemical compounds, there are a number of herbal extracts that also may support cognitive enhancement. Bacopa monnieri, vinpocetine, ginkgo biloba, and St. John’s Wort come to mind.
Herbal extracts have less clinical support than racetams or choline supplements, but they still are considered nootropics based on the information available.
How Do Nootropics Work?
There are dozens of nootropic ingredients, all of which work slightly differently to enhance cognitive function.
However, we do know and understand how many nootropics work and the effects they have on the body. These are a few of the ways nootropics work to enhance cognitive functions:
— Increase Neurotransmitter Production And Function: Neurotransmitters are chemicals that transmit nerve signals from one neuron to another. They are essentially chemical messengers responsible for making sure our body responds to chemical messages.
Nootropics are notorious for increasing neurotransmitter production, specifically related to dopamine, serotonin, and acetylcholine. All three of these neurotransmitters help enhance mood, memory, alertness, or thinking.
— Increase Blood Flow To Brain: In order for your brain to function, it constantly needs a healthy supply of oxygen and other nutrients so it can produce ATP. ATP is the most easily usable form of energy in the body, and the brain uses up to 25% of the body’s energy in a single day. When glucose levels are low, ATP production dips, and you begin to feel tired, and often times you’ll begin to feel “brain fog.”
By increasing blood flow to the brain, your brain continues to be supplied with essential nutrients needed to keep it operating as efficiently as it can. Your brain will keep you alert, focused, and ensure you stay focused on whatever task you are trying to accomplish.
— Neuroprotection: We always hear about protecting our heart, our bones, and our lungs, but we never hear about protecting our brain. The brain is the most essential organ in the human body – without it, none of our other organs would function.
Unfortunately, we constantly expose our brain to chemicals and compounds that weaken neurotransmission and damage the brain. Alcohol, drugs, and exposure to other chemicals are common causes of neuro-damage.
Nootropics help to protect the brain from damage by strengthening neurons, providing protection against oxidants, and by eliminating chemicals and other compounds that cause harm to the brain.
Are Nootropics Safe?
By definition, in order for a smart drug to actually be considered a nootropic, it must have low toxicity and have few – if any side effects. While NZT48 caused severe side effects to Bradley Cooper’s character (sweating, blacking out, rebound effect, etc.), nootropics do not cause side effects in real life.
With that said, it is important to monitor your dosing and usage of nootropic ingredients. You should always follow the recommended dosage on the label and stop taking any nootropic supplement if you feel any negative side effects. While unlikely, side effects can occur when overdosing, so pay attention to this as you use nootropics.
While a few years ago nootropics may not have been as readily available, nootropics are so popular now that it’s possible to purchase a perfect nootropic stack with a few clicks of a button. However, before you go purchasing the first nootropic product you can find, you should know there are two ways to buy nootropics. You can either:
— Buy A Prepackaged Nootropic (capsule supplement)
— Buy The Raw Materials And Create Your Own Nootropic Stack
Most beginners would be wise to buy a pre-formulated nootropic supplement versus buying the raw materials. You may pay a little more than if you create your own stack, but it is well worth it as you learn more about nootropics.
Once you become more familiar with nootropics, your tolerance, and you understand how to dose nootropics, you can graduate to purchase the raw materials and creating your own nootropic stack.
Thanks to the Limitless movie, and now the upcoming series also titled “Limitless”, nootropics have been trusted into the spotlight for the first time. Hopefully now you’ve got a better understanding of what nootropics are and how they can help you enhance your cognitive abilities and how they help protect your brain.
The next step for you is to start searching for a nootropic product so you can start reaping the benefits of nootropics for yourself. There are quite literally, hundreds of nootropic products on the market, so make sure you do your research to find the best nootropic product for you.
A simple piracetam stack or a choline stack are often recommended for beginners, but you can also find prepackaged supplements that use herbal extracts, along with a combination of choline to support your overall cognition.
In reality, the choice is really up to you what you decide to use for your nootropic stack. Just remember to always pay attention to dosages, use products as recommended, and listen to what your body tells you, and you can safely use nootropics and reap their benefits for years to come.