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WHAT ARE NOOTROPICS AND WHY SHOULD YOU CARE?

WHAT ARE NOOTROPICS AND WHY SHOULD YOU CARE?

Brain training, meditation…and smart drugs? In the pursuit of a more effective way of thinking we’ve tried many things, and increasingly popular amongst the Silicon Valley set are Nootropics, ‘smart drugs’ responsible for heightening mental capacity.

This biohack has the goal of improving mental agility and allowing us to push ourselves beyond our mental limits, with nootropics providing benefits that include an increased memory, improved concentrated, lessened fatigue, greater creativity skills, and also serves as a mood enhancer.

With benefits such as these its no wonder nootropics are popular amongst high performers who need to be at the top of their game as the proper use of nootropics can help us to achieve a higher level of performance to perform at our peak and make the most of our 24 hours in a day. Despite these supercharged benefits, nootropics shouldn’t be thought of like ‘steroids for the brain’, rather “…nootropics grease the cognitive wheels, enabling the brain to operate at its ‘cleanest’ and for longer periods of time”[1].

What sets Nootropics apart from other energy and concentration boosters is not only the science behind them; Nootropics also differentiate themselves through the effects upon users. Alertness, focus and an enhanced mental capacity are what one can expect, with consistent mental clarity rather than the manic high and fast comedown that usually accompanies sugar and caffeine laden beverages we often turn to. 

So whether you want ace that exam, blitz through your work presentation or just need something extra to help you focus, nootropics are an effective and holistic alternative to energy drinks, as “Put simply, nootropics are supplements that promise to make us smarter.”[2]

Types of nootropics include:

  • Racetams: Includes Piracetam, Aniracetam, Oxiracetam and Pramiracetam. This strain of Nootropic stimulates the Acetylcholine receptors to increase energy, focus and motivation. Is also ‘neuroprotective’[3] to decrease the rate of brain deterioration, and as such prevents against diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

  • Ampakines: Increases glutamic activity that is responsible for “synaptic plasticity and how easily you are able to make new connections and recall past memories”[4]. Improves neural communication, memory formation and increases attention span.

  • Vitamin B Derivatives: Improves energy levels and reduces fatigue to make users more alert and focused. Is also noted to improve memory and similarly to Racetams, it also prevents against brain degeneration and cognitive disorders like Parkinson’s.

  • Choline: One of the most effective nootropics, Choline is a water-soluble nutrient found naturally in our body, essential for brain function and adept at improving memory and overall learning.

  • Peptides: Boosts overall cognition and works as a psychostimulant to increase mental alertness. Works extremely quickly and as such is ideal to take right before you need an extra burst of energy and focus. 

  • Natural Nootropics: Plant-based nootropics are abundant in natural benefits effective for brain health as well as cognitive performance. They include Vincopetine that reduces oxidative stress to enrich and protect brain function, Bacopi Monneri a natural memory enhancer, and Ginkgo Biloba, a powerful energy booster and mood elevator.

Nootropic Stacks

To get the most out of nootropics, frequent users suggest the practice of ‘stacking’. Stacking is the process of combining nootropics for synergistic effects to achieve peak cognitive performance, with this customization allowing users to achieve exactly the kind of enhanced mental agility they’re seeking, be it a steady focus or an intense burst of energy and concentration.

Popular Nootropic stacks that are recommended for beginners in particular include:

  • L-theanine and caffeine: An ‘entry-level’ Nootropic, the Nootropic stack of the two results allows for the mental clarity and alertness, with L-theanine calming nerves, cancelling out the jitters we can sometimes experience from caffeine. 

  • Piracetam and Choline: Ideal for studying, the synergy of these two works together to improve ability for memory and learning, attention span and neuroplasticity to encourage the formation of new synaptic connections to make sure you’re absorbing what you’re studying.

However, despite the ‘superpowers’ of Nootropics they shouldn’t be used as a band aid, in order to reap maximum benefits you still need to eat healthily, exercise and get enough sleep. Nootropics aren’t a substitute for good health, rather they enhance a healthy lifestyle to allow users to reach their maximum ability and get ahead the right way.

WORDS BY CLAUDIA STACEY-MURRAY


 

[1] http://observer.com/2015/04/nootropics/

[2] http://www.forbes.com/sites/mikemontgomery/2016/01/19/better-strongerfaster-why-nootropics-will-be-big-business-in-2016/#55b11c4876cd

[3] http://www.nootropicsinfo.com/types-of-nootropics/

[4] http://nootriment.com/best-nootropic-for-memory/

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