Can a pill make you smarter? That remains to be proven.
However, there is no doubt that certain treatments can enhance your ability to be at your personal mental and intellectual best – extending your brain’s most prolific mode further throughout your day. That is the function of nootropics – from the Greek meaning “to shape the mind”.
Nootropics are a category of ingredients that have been shown to improve various brain functions. Because they are believed to improve brain function and cognition, they are often called cognitive enhancers or brain pills. And interest in them has swollen the nootropics industry to more than $2 Billion in the United States alone.
For skeptics, consider all the nootropic treatments you already know of. For instance, prescription drugs are used to treat Alzheimer’s, ADHD, or narcolepsy. All of these substances work on the brain to stimulate cognitive function, producing alertness and a higher ability to process thoughts cogently.
And even nonprescription ingredients like caffeine are easily accepted to improve alertness and functionality. None of these treatments “cures a disease” but all of them improve wellbeing and healthy living.
1. Types Of Nootropics
Central Nervous System Stimulants
Reviews of multiple clinical studies in humans have concluded that low does of certain CNS (central nervous system) stimulants enhance cognition in healthy people.
The most effective ingredients were observed to act as either a direct or indirect antagonist to either the dopamine receptor D1 or the adrenoceptor A2, or both in the prefrontal cortex.
Use these supplements only as directed, however, as excessive doses of the same ingredients have actually been shown to reduce cognitive function. Examples of CNS stimulants include amphetamines, methylphenidates, eugeroics, caffeine, and nicotine.
Racetams are a class of drugs that share a pyrrolidone nucleus. Not all racetams are considered nootropics so consult a doctor for more detail.
This class of drugs is emergent, and more research is needed. However, the FDA considers racetams to be drugs – not supplements so, consultation with a physician is required.
Cholinergics are a widely used category of nootropics that are typically compounds or analogues of choline.
Choline is an essential nutrient needed for the synthesis of acetylcholine (a neurotransmitter), and phosphatidylcholine (a structural component of brain membranes).
2. Basic Health First – Then Enhancement
Before considering nootropics, be sure you’re doing well with the basics that affect cognitive function:
These basic foundations of health affect cognitive ability sufficiently that they must be healthy first before nootropic supplements can add their potential benefit. But if you’re in good health, getting good sleep and nutrition, and still wish to find a more acute mental state, talk with a doctor about nootropics.
If you have questions about nootropics, cognitive function, brain health, or any of the conditions discussed here, connecting with a doctor in a discrete setting has never been easier.
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