What Are Nootropics?
The term nootropic is a blanket statement for any supplement that is ingested primarily for its effects on the brain.
Nootropics are said to increase cognition, focus, alertness, and well being.
Other names for nootropics are cognitive enhancers and brain boosters.
How Do Nootropics Work?
Nootropics are neurologically active compounds which directly or indirectly enhance cognitive potential via increased capabilities (i.e. improving reflexes), states of well being, or learning potential.
The exact way they work is still unknown.
However experts do agree on the following:
Nootropics make the neurons in the brain more pliable and permeable. This means the neurons pick up nutrients more readily, get rid of wastes, and more easily interact with fellow neurons in the brain. These aspects all benefit the memory.
Nootropics modulate primarily the effects of ACH (acetylcholine) in the brain.
ACH is a neurotransmitter which acts as the mediator for signals involved in memory and concentration. This also helps with effects on memory.
Nootropics have a mild effect on AMPA receptors in the brain. These receptors are a particular type of receptor responsible for long term memory retention.
Other miscellaneous actions which contribute to the effect of Nootropics are their anti-oxidative, vasodilatory, and anti-coagulatory properties.
Benefits of Nootropics: Why Use Nootropics?
- Improve memory
- Increase ease of learning
- Resilience against stress and fatigue
- Increase focus and concentration
- Increase energy without jitters or crash
- Improve relaxation
- Improve social abilities
- Decrease anxiety
- Enhance cognitive ability
- No addiction potential or dependency
- Very few side effects (if any)
How to Use Nootropics?
Generally the best way to take Nootropics is in powder form.
Most dosages will be in milligrams so a milligram scale is needed to get the dosages right.
Which Nootropics should you use?
When choosing which nootropic to take, it’s important to consider what effect you want.
Piracetam – Best to use for a study aid, cognitive aid, improving comprehension, memory retention
Phenylpiracetam – an even stronger version of Piracetam (almost like an extract or concentrate)
Aniracetam – Best for socializing, anti-anxiety, pro-social behavior
Phenylpiracetam and/or Oxiracetam – Best for gym and physical activity
Classes of Nootropics
Nootropics are a broad class of supplements.
There are two common classes of Nootropics: Cholinergic and Racetam.
Racetam nootropics are some of the most commonly used.
Cholinergics are compounds that increase levels of acetylcholine in the brain. Increased acetylcholine can lead to improvements in reflexes and capacity to learn.
Racetam is a term for compounds which share a pyrrolidone skeleton structure and improve brain function. They are based off of their parent compound, Piracetam.
Common racetams are: Aniracetam, Piracetam, Noopept, Oxiracetam, Nefiracetam, Coluracetam, Pramiracetam, and Phenylpiracetam.
Possible Side Effects of Nootropics
Side effects are rare but still possible as with any supplement.
– Headaches (possibly due to reduced levels of choline in the brain)
– Tremors or palpitations
– Profuse sweating