Nootropics is a term coined by Dr. Corneliu E. Giurgea to describe a class of drugs, supplements, and other synthetic and naturally occurring compounds that improve cognitive function in our brains. They’re often called “smart drugs,” as they can help us think faster and more efficiently.
Although used by pretty much everyone, these nootropic supplements are especially popular among younger and older generations. Students use nootropics as performance-enhancing drugs to enhance the benefits of a late-night study session or improve their alertness during test season. Young professionals use nootropics to get started early in the morning and burn the candle at both ends late into the night.
Senior citizens and the elderly are especially interested in nootropics. The U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health found older hospitalized patients are especially susceptible to decreased lower cognitive function, which reduced muscle strength. This makes our brains one of the most important organs to keep healthy.
Check out one of these 8 highly recognized nootropics to keep your brain functioning at its best today.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is gaining popularity since the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill legalized hit throughout the United States. HaraFlow is at the forefront of this industry, ensuring strict ethical standards in sourcing our CBD with their Hemp Gems CBD Nootropic.
While non-psychoactive, there are distinct differences in the dosage and safety of the extracted and infused products you buy on the shelf or online. Haraflow’s CBD is extracted using CO2 in a scientific, closed-loop system. This provides a full-spectrum CBD extract that includes all the phytocannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids left out of lower-level products. It’s also tested by a reputable third-party lab for contaminants like mold, pesticides, and heavy metals. This ensures their CBD products are top notch and of the highest standards.
CBD is one of the most effective nootropics on the market and has been scientifically proven to help treat childhood epilepsy. Medical research is continuing on its effects on pain, sleep, anxiety, and other uses. It works by attaching to receptors in your body’s endocannabinoid system, making CBD a great natural remedy.
Caffeine is recognized by the U.S. NLIMNIH as the most widely used psychoactive drug in the world. It’s found naturally occuring in a variety of seeds, nuts, and leaves we use to make teas, coffee, chocolate, and more.
A healthy adult can consume up to 400mg per day of caffeine without too much concern, but people with diabetes, ulcers, high blood pressure, or even pregnant women and children should really limit caffeine intake. This is difficult with the sheer number of energy drinks on the market, much less the amount of caffeine in everyday products.
Caffeine makes you feel less tired by blocking adenosine receptors in your brain. This increases alertness, therefore decreasing reaction times. It should be noted that caffeine withdrawals may cause negative side effects.
Nicotine is another widely used nootropic, and it’s the drug most often cited as the reason people smoke. The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention found we spend $170 billion each year to treat smoking-related diseases in adults. Although naturally occurring in many plants, nicotine is known to be extremely addictive. It’s also lethal in high doses, something cloud-chasing vapers should be aware of.
Still, it does its job – nicotine causes an increase in blood sugar by increasing adrenaline and heart rate. It also encourages the pancreas to produce less insulin. This causes your body to experience nootropic effects, such as improved motor function and attention span. Just exercise caution when using.
4. Ginkgo Biloba
Ginkgo biloba leaf extract gained popularity at the turn of the century. This supplement has been extensively studied over the years and found to increase blood circulation (especially blood flow to the brain) and act as an antioxidant. Anywhere from 80-400mg per day can help treat Alzheimer’s, dementia, anxiety, diabetes, limb pain, vertigo, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), glaucoma, and schizophrenia.
Gingko supplements are also regularly taken by adults looking to improve memory and reduce stress (by lowering cortisol levels). The increased blood circulation oxygenates your body faster, making it much more efficient. It’s similar to the reset your body feels after a meditation session.
Creatine is an amino acid found in your body’s muscles and brain. It’s created by our lier, pancreas, and kidneys, and we also consume it through seafood and red meat. Creatine supplements also became popular as a bodybuilding supplement in the 2000s. This makes creatine easy to find in any GNC or health food store.
Creatine binds with phosphate in your body to create a molecule that’s essential for fueling your muscles. Because your brain is your strongest muscle, it experiences improved short-term memory, faster thought processing, and better reasoning skills. Creatine is generally recognized as safe, although high doses (especially when combined with caffeine) can be a toxic combination.
Noopept is fast-acting supplement that was first synthesized in Russian in 1996. There was a clinical trial in 2014 showing this smart drug may actually be effective in combating the negative effects of traumatic brain injury. And unlike many natural nootropics, the effects of Noopept are felt almost immediately.
Noopept is often compared to modafinil, the fictional superhero drug used in the movie and TV show “Limitless.” While it does help with recovery, it’s not yet known how far this wonder drug goes in reaching the full potential of our brain (nor how safe that is).
Adderall, Ritalin, and the street drug meth are all part of a certain class of nootropics that act as brain stimulants. These drugs increase the availability of dopamine and noradrenaline in the prefrontal cortex area of your brain. This has the effect of speeding people’s thinking up (or, if one has ADHD or other such hyperactivity disorders, it actually slows them down).
While these uppers have documented effects on cognitive thinking, they’re very dangerous and therefore only available by prescription. Use extreme caution when taking such medications.
8. Panax Ginseng
Ginseng root came to prominence alongside ginkgo biloba as a miracle supplement at the turn of the 21st century. There are several varieties grown in different regions around the world, and the most prominent of the active ingredients found in it are ginsenosides (aka panaxosides).
Like cannabinoids, they’re used to treat a wide variety of symptoms across our bodies, with dosages as high as 9 grams per day. Also, like CBD, ginseng can be consumed orally or applied externally for benefits to the skin. It’s an antioxidant and protects our brains from damage while increasing mood, memory, and behavior. There’s even evidence to suggest it can boost immunity, help erectile dysfunction, and even help in the fight against cancer.
Whether synthetic or natural, there’s no shortage of nootropics available on the market. While the term may be new to you, we’ve been using these medicines for generations. It’s only now that we’re starting to fully understand their benefits and uses.
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