The Brainy Blog
Musings and insights into supplements for better, healthier living.
Deliberately kept short so as not to bore you to death.
So What's The Deal With These "Nootropics," Anyway?
Hardly a day goes by when I don't hear someone say, "What are nootropics? Do they work? Are they even safe?"
Sigh. Maybe it help if they knew the first recognized nootropic was... Vitamin C?
According to the National Institutes of Health:
"Ascorbate (vitamin C) is a vital antioxidant molecule in the brain. However, it also has a number of other important functions, participating as a co-factor in several enzyme reactions including catecholamine synthesis, collagen production and regulation of HIF-1α."
In other words, it helps your brain create critical enzymes needed for cognition. Without it, your brain would slow down and your ability to think clearly would suffer. So in that regard, vitamin C is a nootropic.
Nootropics Are Nothing New.
Nootropics (pronounced, "New-Trope-ics") are also known as cognitive enhancers or “smart drugs.” Does that sound a bit scary? Don’t be alarmed. Nootropics simply refer to natural (and sometimes synthetic) substances that have a positive effect on your mental skills, and are no more harmful than a cup of coffee in the morning. BTW, Caffeine? Yep, it's a nootropic, too.
If you're like me, you need something to get you out of bed and in the mood to be a productive member of society. Willpower alone after you've been up too late... not so much.
Your Mind Matters.
But what else can nootropics help us with? Losing your car keys isn’t generally cause for alarm – it happens to the best of us. But when you start losing focus mid-sentence, forgetting close family members’ birthdays, or forgetting your colleagues’ names during a meeting, you need to take action. According to the National Institues of Health, some Nootropics can help you regain focus, feel more alert and present, and remember important things.
If They'd Only Had Nootropics When I Was In College.
When I was in college, the state-of-the-art study-aid was... coffee. Yeehaw.
I didn't--and still don't-- tolerate it well so I only used it rarely. It often kept me up and gave me painful stomach issues. Not to mention breathe that could knock a buzzard off a garbage truck from 50 yards.
Fortunately, things have improved dramatically over the past few years. Nootropics such as Huperzine A, Phosphatidylserine, Ginkgo, and others have made a big difference for everyone from college students looking for better recall and retention, to seniors who are experiencing age-related brain shrinkage and cognitive decline.
The vast majoity of nootropics are recognized as safe, do not require a prescription, and are completely non-toxic if taken at their recommended dosages. The key is finding the right nootropic for your needs, which is something this blog will focus on in upcoming editions.
So to answer the original questions...
Nootropics are substances that can help us to potentially think better, have better memory, and perform at our mental peaks. Some help improve mood. Several are recommended by clinical studies to help with dementia, early-stage Alzheimer's, ADD, and ADHD, as well as to improve general cognition. Several have been shown to protect our brains as they age and nourish them.
But it's important to note, some may be more effective for specific situations than others, so it's important to research which ones work best for your issues. But most are healthy, safe, and don't cause any side effects when taken at recommended dosages.
Next Week: Phosphatidylserine- maybe the best thing you can take... that you can't pronounce.