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A lot of people are starting to ask what nootropics are and how they help. Nootropics are supplements and other substances that may improve cognitive function, particularly executive functions, memory, creativity, or motivation, in healthy individuals.
The term nootropics is relatively recent, the name having been coined in 1972 by Romanian chemist Cornelio Giurgiu to describe compounds that could “turn the mind”.
In theory, a substance can be called a nootropic if it grants the user more control over their neurochemistry and the resulting behavioral and experimental outcomes. On this view melatonin allows users to intelligently regulate their normal sleep cycles.
Nootropics are celebrated for their ability to allow individuals to gain some mastery over their brain and chemistry and the resulting mental states. For the history of the human species, brain chemistry has been largely inaccessible to targeted improvement, leaving us the prisoners of our biology.
Why People Use Nootropics
Nootropics allow users more control over their everyday mental states and moods, and cognitive performance. In the same way that caffeine can make your body ready for the day, nootropics can be used to support a range of functional benefits.
Productivity and Motivational Effects:
Nootropics provide a boost for getting essential tasks done. Ideal for high-pressure cognitive work such as studying, essays and exams.
Boost In Social Ability:
Some users take nootropics for a boost in social ability, including benefits to confidence, extroversion, and verbal fluidity. Ideal for public speaking, parties, and presentations.
More recently, nootropics have been included in pre-workout mixes to ensure that exercise can be carried out with an iron will. When your motivation needs an extra edge, nootropics can help.
Support Brain Health:
Some nootropics also provide neuroprotective effects, supporting brain health and stimulating normal production of neurons. Maintain and support the engine of your productivity and creativity.
The Different Types Of Nootropics
Caffeine is the most widely consumed psychoactive substance in the world.
It’s naturally found in coffee, cocoa, tea, kola nuts, and guarana and added to many sodas, energy drinks and medications. It can also be taken as a supplement, either on its own or in combination with other substances.
A low to moderate caffeine intake of 40-300 mg increases your alertness and attention and decreases your reaction time. These doses are especially effective for people who are fatigued.
L-Theanine is a naturally occurring amino acid found in tea, but it can also be taken as a supplement.
Several studies have shown that taking 200mg of L-theanine has a calming effect, without causing drowsiness.
Taking even just 50 mg has been found to support alpha-wave production in the brain, which is linked to creativity. (Study Proof)
L-theanine is even more effective when taken with caffeine. For this reason, they’re often used together in performance-enhancing supplements.
3. Bacopa Monnieri
Bacopa monnieri is an ancient herb used in Ayurvedic medicine to enhance brain function.
Several studies have found that Bacopa monnieri supplements can speed up information in your brain, reduce reaction times and improve memory.
Bacopa monnieri contains active compounds called bacosides, which protect your brain from oxidative stress and supporting healthy signaling in your hippocampus, an area of your brain in which memories are processed.
Creatine is an amino acid, which your body uses to make protein.
It’s a popular bodybuilding supplement that promotes muscle growth but is also beneficial for your brain.
After it’s consumed, creatine enters your brain where it binds with phosphate, creating a molecule that your brain uses to quickly fuel its cells. (Study)
Studies show that it’s safe to take 5 grams of creatine per day without any negative effects. Larger doses are also effective, but research on their long-term safety is unavailable. (Study)
5. Rhodiola Rosea
Rhodiola rosea is an adaptogenic herb that helps your body handle everyday stress more effectively.
Taking small daily doses of Rhodiola Rosea has been shown to reduce mental fatigue and increase feelings of well-being in college students during stressful exam periods. (Study)
The Bottom Line
Now, these are only a few of the Nootropic products that are out there. I only wanted to give you an idea of what’s available and the different cognitive benefits these products can provide. Do your research to figure out which nootropics you might benefit from to enhance your mental function.