In the world of health and wellness management, there are countless different products available on the market. So many that it can be hard to figure out how to manage them all. What should you include in your diet and lifestyle? What do you need specifically given the demands of your day and the climate you live in? What are the things you're missing that could drastically improve your day-to-day life?
The following will explore one of these health trends—nootropics—and what benefits they offer. Of course, every person's needs are a little different. For a more in-depth recommendation of what you should include in your health habits, speak to a medical professional who has access to your medical history.
What Are Nootropics?
Nootropic supplements are sometimes called "smart pills" in marketing or advertising. There are supplements designed to support your brain's health and improve your mental performance in various ways.
The term was created in 1972 by a Romanian psychologist and chemist called Dr. Giurgea. He developed a list of six features that nootropics include:
- To be classified as a nootropic, a substance must be safe to use regularly, meaning minimal side effects.
- It must improve the capacity to learn new information and remember things.
- It must support the health of the brain.
- It must enhance focus and attention.
- It must protect brain cells from damage or deterioration.
- It must encourage cell-to-cell communication.
At the time, according to his criteria, very few supplements qualified as nootropics. As study and research continued by various scientists and labs, new standards were developed, and now, people consider supplements that help the brain in any way nootropics.
Not All Nootropics Are Created Equal
Because there are so many products that offer support to the brain in one way or another, the world of nootropics can be a bit difficult to navigate. Take, for instance, amphetamine-based products like Ritalin and Adderall. According to the new definition of nootropics, these prescription medications could be called nootropics. This being said, in some cases, they cause adverse side effects so that others will debate this definition. Many prefer the term cognitive enhancer for supplements that support the brain but don't meet Dr. Giurgea's original criteria.
Types Of Nootropics
The concept of nootropics has a bit of a fantastic reputation, given films like Lucy and Limitless. Because of this conception, many people think of synthetic compounds when they hear about nootropics. There are several nootropics that are derived from natural sources. The following all count as nootropics:
- Amino Acids: May reduce brain burnout, promote relaxation, and reduce stress.
- Racetams: Increase blood flow, maybe making it easier for cells to communicate with each other
- Choline: Found naturally in the body, choline may support brain repair and regeneration
- Eugeroics: Promote states of wakefulness and may support brain function, boost mood, and reduce fatigue
- Phospholipids: The type of fat that helps brain cells grow and repair
- Botanicals and Herbs: Various brain-enhancing options
- Vitamins and Minerals: Several different vitamins are directly linked to brain function.
- Adaptogens: Assist the body with stress management and the balancing of effects from stress on the body.
Benefits Of Nootropics
Of course, each nootropic will be a little bit different, and when you're selecting one, make sure to read peer-reviewed scientific studies on each of the ingredients. This being said, there are some expected benefits of nootropic supplements. The following are some of the more typical effects nootropics can have:
- Lowering stress levels allow you to focus with a clear head while also minimizing the damage that stress can have on your body.
- Increase mental energy. The brain uses around 20% of all the power you've got in your body. This is massive demand. If brain cells use energy optimally and glucose or oxygen supplies to the brain are increased, your mind can work more efficiently.
- Better sleep quality. Sleep deprivation is one of the easiest ways to have low concentration and memory. Promoting restorative sleep can ease this.
- Improved concentration. Nootropics might improve the ability to focus on one task and block out distractions. Some also claim to assist with the ability to switch between tasks.
- Memory improvement. Some nootropics may improve short-term memory in healthy adults.
- They are balancing mood. Fluctuations in mood and things like anxiety can cripple mental performance. Some nootropics focus on balancing spirit and reducing stress.
The above information should be enough to set you up for further research into nootropics. Again, before taking a supplement, always check with a medical professional to ensure the product is right for you and your health needs.