What are Nootropics and Their Benefits?chshkt
Smart drugs? Brain boosters? Cognitive enhancers? Whatever you call them, nootropics are booming in popularity recently—and for good reason. Let’s explore why this new class of products is turning so many heads.
What Are Nootropics?
Nootropics, from the Greek “nous” (mind) and ”tropein” (bend or turn) are a class of substances intended to boost brain function. Several types of nootropics exist—in the same way that several types of fruits and vegetables exist.
Generally, we can organize nootropics into two broad categories: prescription and non-prescription.
Prescription nootropics include conventional medications that doctors prescribe to treat or manage diseases; they also happen to be regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These include methylphenidate (Ritalin), Adderall (which contains four salts of amphetamines), modafinil (Provigil), and memantine (Namenda).
These drugs, which tend to have a stimulatory effect on the brain, are typically prescribed to people with conditions like narcolepsy, ADHD, and Alzheimer’s disease. But because they also feature potentially serious side effects and uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, many health experts assert that these substances are not “true” nootropics.
Non-prescription nootropics, on the other hand, aren’t usually regulated by the FDA. They can be purchased over-the-counter at pharmacies or in even health food stores and online retailers. Many health experts suggest that because these substances have a low risk of side effects and don’t present issues with addiction or withdrawal, they are more aligned with the “true” definition of nootropics. While their beneficial effects may be experienced more gradually and subtly over time, countless individuals attest to their positive impact on brain function and focus.
Non-prescription nootropics include:
- Herbs and botanical compounds including ginseng, Ginkgo biloba (maidenhair tree), Bacopa monnieri (water hyssop or herb of grace), and Rhodiola rosea, Inonotus obliquus (chaga mushroom), and Hericium erinaceus (lion’s mane)
- Nutrients including L-theanine, creatine, acetyl-L-carnitine, reservatrol, caffeine (in small doses), omega-3 fatty acids (like eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid) and phosphatidylserine—you can find these nutrients in supplements as well as in foods like meat, seafood, nuts, grapes, red wine, black and green tea, eggs, liver, and beans
- Unregulated substances (at least, unregulated in the United States), including racetams (such as drugs like piracetam, aniracetam, oxiracetam, pramiracetam, and phenylpiracetam) and glycinergics (including glycine, d-serine, and sarcosine—these act on a specific enzymatic system within the brain)
Benefits of Nootropics
It’s clear that nootropics are becoming increasingly popular—according to a recent report by the business consulting firm Grand View Research, the market for nootropics is expected to hit $4.94 billion (USD) by the year 2025, experiencing a compound annual grow rate of 12.5%.
So, is all the attention well-founded? It seems from the research that it is, at least with some types of nootropics. And while more studies are needed to fully clarify how they influence the brain (as well as to what degree and what dosage is needed for optimal effect), we do know of several scientifically-vetted benefits of adding these substances into a healthy diet.
For instance, nootropics may:
- Protect the brain against or help manage symptoms of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and Huntington’s disease
- Enhance the rate of brain healing while recovering from a stroke
- Slow cognitive decline associated with aging
- Boost mood by influencing neurotransmitter activity
- Optimize overall brain function and brain tissue health
- Increase mental focus, clarity, and alertness
There’s no one way to take nootropics. Your best bet? Select supplements from trusted brands to ensure you’re getting a high quality product, and consider taking a combination of these supplements as a “stack,” which may enhance their overall effectiveness and impact.
Are you on a mission to boost your memory, enhance your cognitive performance, improve your mood, and achieve greater clarity and mental focus? We are, too. That’s why we’ve launched Neuro Revival, our new nootropics product for iFlourish Labs.