Have you heard that we do not use our brain to its 100% potential on a daily basis? Well, that is NOT a fact. We do use each part of our brain for different activities. What differs among people are their cognition, logic and reasoning power, problem-solving aptitude, and communication skills. The fine skills of communication, logic, reasoning, and problem-solving depend on a person’s neural network, the connection between the two hemispheres of the brain, and countless other factors. In short, if you suffer from mind fog and fatigue that does not mean you are not using 100% of your brain. It just suggests you need to get better nutrition and rest.
Sometimes, the regular amount of rest and nutrition is not enough. People often do not get enough sleep, and that includes 70% of the American population. We are living a fast life. Getting enough rest, eating on time and healthy food is far below job goals, money problems and bill payments on our priority list. Every day, we push ourselves to meet new objectives and get the most out of the day.
We often end up with severe burnouts. Soothing music, meditation, yoga, and physical exercise can only do so much in boosting mental capacity. It is the age where everyone is looking for quick solutions and definitive results. It is easy to see how nootropics have become the go-to solution for bankers, Wall Street workers, thought leaders, inventors, economists and everyone else who makes a living from their mind power like Simon Manning.
What is the true power of a nootropic?
Nootropics are the new-age smart drugs that enhance the brain’s ability to think and solve problems. It ensures that your brain power is always at a hundred-percent anytime you need it. Although nootropics refer to all the smart drugs that enhance a brain’s abilities, they can have widely varying effects and results. For example – some work by increasing the secretion of dopamine.
Dopamine is the ubiquitous neurotransmitter in the brain that influences performance, and motivation whereas, others might work by boosting the blood flow into the critical areas of the brain by mediating other critical pathways. No matter which nootropics you choose they will all focus towards the same outcome – the enhancement of your brain’s abilities.
An actual smart drug will increase the abilities of your brain with few side effects. So let us get a few things out of the way. Caffeine no longer falls under the category of nootropics due to its intense side effects including tachycardia, high blood pressure, and anxiety-inducing qualities. Adderall is also no longer a part of the true nootropics family for similar reasons. On the other hand, the original compounds including piracetam are still a part of this giant family since it directly enhances the communication between the left and the right hemispheres of the brain. It is an incredible stimulant for the mind and the body. It gives one resistance to the sensations of cold and pain. At the same time, it increases a person’s motivation and cognition.
Similar compounds like Noopept, aniracetam, and oxiracetam help the system by boosting the acetylcholine secretion in the brain. All the nootropics we have mentioned here have a few shared qualities that include enhancement of focus, memory and learning abilities of the mind.
What are the natural options in nootropics?
When we talk about nootropics, the question of safety and contraindications are unavoidable. People have become more aware of organic and natural substances, sustainability and healthy living than they were even one decade ago. Almost everyone you come across has tried keto diet once or at least read about it somewhere. More people are becoming vegan for a toxin-free lifestyle. Therefore, it is only fair that people want to know what they will be taking to boost their memory, learning, and cognition. Apart from the laboratory-synthesized chemical compounds that are unique and not found in nature, there are a few nootropics that are entirely natural.
These natural nootropics occur in vegetables, fruits, roots and other gifts of nature. Sometimes, it is a part of the human system. For example – a derivative of Alpha-glycerophosphocholine (alpha-GPC) is a nootropic that increases the percentage of choline in the brain. This choline later converts to acetylcholine, and it boosts the overall mental ability of the consumer.
Other natural sources of nootropics include the Cat’s Claw extract and Bacopa monieri extract. Sources of Vitamin B6 act as a complement for multiple smart drugs. Vitamin B6 is a neuro-vitamin that delays the aging and degradation process of neurons. Moreover, it boosts the secretion of neuron-preserving neurotransmitters that help in reducing anxiety, stress, and fatigue. Coconut oil and medium chain triglycerides (MCT) can stimulate the production of ketones in the liver. Our brains prefer ketone over glucose as a source of energy, and increasing levels of ketones in the system can enhance your brain’s activity.
Many of the natural nootropics have prophylactic effects on our brain. For example – several research labs are now looking into MCT for its potential to protect the brain from early onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Some natural nootropics including Rhodiola rosea have the power to reduce stress and improve cognition without eliciting side effects. This plant-based nootropic is not a stimulant, but it enhances the overall mood and attention of an individual. It does not have several adverse effects that many synthetics have. Moreover, it has a significantly low addictive rating.
Why should you consider stacking your nootropics?
Experts now consider several of the original nootropics supplemental. As a result medical experts, neuroscientists and other experts recommend multiple nootropics. It is popular as a “stack.” Each component of a stack complements the effects of the others. One of the leading advantages of opting for a stack is their ability to negate the side effect of another compound completely. In the case of natural nootropics like Rhodiola rosea, there are fewer side effects and innumerable good effects. As a result, people can stack multiple natural compounds together without worrying about their harmful effects. According to the experts, these nootropics elicit a synergistic effect in combination with each other.
One of the most popular, yet somewhat outdated examples of a synergy stack is that of caffeine and L-theanine. They are both stimulants, and they can enhance the productivity by promoting wakefulness and motivation. They work amazingly in coordination with each other to create a full brain and body “upgrade” for an individual. The case is quite similar for two other naturally sourced nootropics – curcumin and piperine.
Curcumin occurs naturally in turmeric, but due to low bioavailability, its activity remains low in the body. Piperine is another natural compound that occurs in black pepper. Both of them anti-cancer properties and they are strong neuroprotective agents. In the presence of piperine, our body breaks down curcumin 20-times slower than the standard rate. It increases the bioavailability and the absorption of the molecules.
Concentration and cognition are the products of multiple elements and their interactions through complex pathways in the brain. Therefore, targeting a complete pathway is more beneficial than targeting the components individually. Right now, the most popular pathways include the cholinergic system. Choline supplements are indeed the most popular nootropics since they mediate the synthesis and availability of acetylcholine.
The increased leave of acetylcholine enhances memory and focus. However, people usually prefer taking choline supplements with alpha-GPC since the latter compound decreases choline uptake by neurons. The decrease in uptake rate increases the bioavailability of choline in the system, and that stimulates a higher level of acetylcholine in the brain.
At the same time, stacking choline supplements and alpha-GPC with docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) will increase the benefits of both. DHA is the primary structural component of a nerve cell, and it facilitates the choline transport into the neurons. That raises the in-cell availability of the primary molecule for the acetylcholine synthesis process. At the same time, other factors including Acetyl-CoA, (derived from Vitamin B5) is critical for the synthesis of the compound.
Therefore, adding vitamin B5 to the cholinergic stack may benefit you overall learning abilities by boosting the acetylcholine levels. There are several other compounds, both natural and human-made, that mediate the multiple neuronal signaling pathways for enhancing the brain’s ability.
What is the future of nootropics?
Apart from the conventional choline nootropics stacks, there are nootropics stacks for studying, motivation and energy. Our brain consumes the lion’s share of the energy (carbohydrate and fats) that we consume throughout the day. Even while we are asleep, there is a significant level of energy expenditure due to the brain’s NREM and REM activities. As a result, a majority of the nootropic stacks of the 21st century aim at the overall enhancement of the brain’s energy availability, cognitive abilities, focus power, and memory functions. Whether it is performing better in class, or giving better output at work, your nootropic stack should be able to help you achieve your goals within a short time.
With time, the science of nootropics is improving. Scientists are coming up with more effective smart drugs. The time is not far when human beings will be able to calculate faster than a supercomputer and protect themselves from neurodegenerative diseases by popping a combination of pills per day.