What Are Nootropics?
Nootropics are supplements that enhance your brain in various ways.
Some nootropics boost your memory, while others improve your focus. There are natural nootropics like gingko biloba and synthetic nootropics like Piracetam.
In many cases, people use terms like “nootropics” interchangeably with smart drugs, memory enhancers, intelligence boosters, and other terms.
Some people distinguish between different categories of nootropics, but most people just use nootropic as a “catch all” term for any supplement which boosts your memory.
At this point, you probably have a lot of questions about nootropics. Are they safe to use? Are they expensive? Where can you buy nootropics? Are they even legal?
Most importantly, do nootropics actually work?
How Do Nootropics Work?
There are many different types of nootropics and they all work in different ways. Here are some of the common types of nootropics along with their mechanisms:
Racetams were the first nootropic ever created. Specifically, Piracetam was the first nootropic ever created. It was made way back in the 1960s when researchers were trying to experiment with different study drugs and cures for Alzheimer’s. They stumbled upon Piracetam, which performed remarkably well in clinical testing.
Today, the most popular racetams include Piracetam, Aniracetam, Oxiracetam, Pramiracetam, and Phenylpiracetam. Because they share a similar chemical structure and similar mechanisms of action, they’re all classified as “racetams”.
Racetams are synthetic compounds. They’re not found in nature and must be manufactured in a laboratory.
Benefits of Racetams
Racetams have been shown to increase memory, learning, attention, and focus.
Some racetams are more powerful than others. Pramiracetam, for example, is thought to be about 30 times more potent than Piracetam.
How Do Racetams Work?
Racetams work in complex ways. Basically, they travel through your digestive system until they hit your bloodstream. Then, they travel through the bloodstream until crossing the blood-brain barrier.
After crossing that barrier, racetams bind to acetylcholine receptors, which inhibits acetylcholine breakdown and enhances acetylcholine efficiency. Acetylcholine is one of the most important neurotransmitters in the brain when it comes to memory formation and information recall.
It’s also thought that some racetams increase glucose metabolism, which means your blood is more efficient at delivering nutrients and oxygen to your brain. This can boost mental energy.
Cholinergics may be the second most popular class of nootropics. The term “cholinergic” simply means that a drug has some sort of an effect on the neurotransmitter acetylcholine.
Some cholinergics enhance acetylcholine, for example, while others inhibit its breakdown or mimic its activity. As we learned above, acetylcholine plays a critical role in memory formation, so cholinergics are primarily used to boost your memory.
The most popular cholinergics tend to be acetyl-L-carnitine, Centrophenoxine, Alpha-GPC, and Citicoline.
Benefits of Cholinergics
The primary benefit of cholinergics is to provide your body with choline, which is a precursor to the memory neurotransmitter acetylcholine.
Ultimately, this leads to benefits like improved memory, better focus, and fewer headaches (especially if you’re stacking your cholinergic with a racetam).
How Do Cholinergics Work?
When taken as a nootropic, cholinergics typically work in a similar way: they deliver high levels of choline to your brain. Your brain needs that choline to produce acetylcholine, which is the memory neurotransmitter.
This is exactly how Alpha-GPC works: it’s one of the best sources of choline you can buy.
Cholinergics are particularly helpful when taken as a “stack” with racetams. Racetams tell your brain to produce more acetylcholine, and cholinergics give your brain the choline it needs to produce that acetylcholine.
Anxiolytics are drugs which reduce stress or anxiety. In the nootropic community, anxiolytics enhance cognitive functionality while also improving mood, reducing stress, and altering certain neurotransmitter levels in the brain.
Anxiolytics are popular among people who want to enjoy the cognitive benefits of traditional nootropics while also enjoying the mood-boosting benefits of anti-depression medication.
With that being said, you should not use anxiolytics to treat depression unless advised to by a medical doctor.
Today, the three most popular anxiolytics with nootropic benefits include Sulbutiamine, Phenibut, and L-Theanine.
Benefits of Anxiolytics
Anxiolytics offer a number of powerful benefits. They promote a relaxed state and reduce stress, for example. They can also improve sleep quality and encourage your body’s natural sleep cycle.
Out of all the nootropics listed on this page, anxiolytics have the smallest effect on your cognition. Most people take anxiolytics to stack with more powerful nootropics: like racetams or smart drugs.
In fact, when taken on their own, anxiolytics can actually reduce cognition – especially if you go beyond the recommended dosage.
How Do Anxiolytics Work?
Many anxiolytics work by targeting one of two neurotransmitters: GABA or serotonin (or both).
Anxiolytics increase GABA levels in the brain, which tends to reduce anxiety by acting as an inhibitor. GABA is also the active neurotransmitter when you take benzodiazepines or drink alcohol.
Other anxiolytics raise serotonin levels, which plays a large role in our mood, appetite, social behavior, and cognitive functionality.
L-Theanine has the added benefit of boosting dopamine levels in the brain. Dopamine is our brain’s “feel good” neurotransmitter that is active when we eat good food or have sex.
The term “smart drugs” is used in a few different ways. Some people describe smart drugs as nootropics with stimulants. Others just use the term “smart drugs” to describe any drugs which don’t fall into the other categories.
For the purpose of this page, smart drugs are nootropic supplements which don’t fall into the other categories listed above.
Today, popular smart drugs include Modafinil, Noopept, Adrafinil, and Sunifiram – all of which have been linked to some powerful cognitive benefits.
Benefits of Smart Drugs
Noopept may be the most powerful smart drug in existence today. It’s 1000 times as potent as Piracetam and was actually developed by Russian scientists during the Cold War.
Suggested benefits include extreme memory boost, better cognition, and improved overall mood. Sunifiram is equally as strong and also comes with the benefit of improved motivation.
Meanwhile, adrafinil and modafinil are similar in terms of benefits – but modafinil is heavily regulated in the United States and other countries and requires a prescription. Adrafinil does not.
How Do Smart Drugs Work?
Sunifiram works by targeting glutamate receptors, which has been shown to increase motivation. Noopept is actually used to treat degenerative brain conditions because it vastly improves communication between the two hemispheres of your brain. Noopept has the added benefit of acting as an antioxidant within the brain – it targets harmful free radicals, something many people associate with “mental fog”.
Adrafinil, on the other hand, is simply a precursor for modafinil. It gets converted to modafinil within your body. Both adrafinil and modafinil are called “eugeroics”, which means they promote wakefulness. They’re primarily taken to enhance focus, fight physical and mental lethargy, and improve motivation.
Nootropics can easily be purchased online. Websites feature a diverse selection of nootropic supplements and tend to offer cheaper prices.
However, depending on where you live, you may be able to buy nootropics from local health food stores or grocery stores. Doctors may even prescribe certain nootropics to treat neurological conditions. In Russia, for example, doctors prescribe Noopept as a treatment for Alzheimer’s.
Who Should Use Nootropics?
Nootropics are popular among men and women of all ages. If you…
-Are a student trying to improve memory and focus for studying
-Work in a competitive, high-stress office
-Are experiencing age-related cognitive decline after 30
-Or simply want to feel smarter, think better, and process things more smoothly than ever before
…Then nootropics may be the right choice for you.