As the popularity of nootropic brain boosters continues to rise, more people are expressing concerns about the efficacy and safety of these substances. Despite these concerns, established online nootropic stores like as Best Nootropics Now are trying to keep up with the increasing demand.
The use of nootropic brain boosters, also known as smart drugs, used to be confined to relatively small nootropic communities up until 2012. In 2013, the global sales of nootropics started to surge and eventually broke the billion-dollar mark in 2015.
Nootropic Brain Boosters
Nootropic brain boosters are substances that enhance the cognitive processes in the brain when ingested. The term itself was coined by Dr. Corneliu Giurgea back in 1972 to refer to substances and compounds that possess cognition-enhancing properties. Dr. Giurgea is also considered to be the father of nootropics for synthesizing the very first working cognition enhancer, piracetam. Nootropic is a combination of the Greek word for mind, which is “nous” and “trepein,” which means to bend.
Piracetam, which still is a popular nootropic to this day, paved the way for other nootropics in the racetam family. These include phenylpiracetam, coluracetam, aniracetam and oxiracetam.
Dr. Giurgea created a standard for substances to be considered as a nootropic. The standards include the following:
- The compound or substance should have the ability to improve memory retention and retrieval.
- The compound or substance must be able to improve an individual’s learning abilities.
- The substance should be able to help protect an individual’s memories even after an injury to the brain.
- The substances should not have negative effects commonly associated with sedatives or stimulants.
- The compound or substance should not be toxic or have the potential of causing injury to the brain.
Concerns and Misconceptions
One of the most prevalent concerns about nootropics is that such substances may cause irreversible damage to the brain. With Dr. Giurgea’s standards in mind, however, the opposite should be true. Nootropics should be able to protect the brain and help it retain memory even after suffering injury due to trauma or exposure to toxins. In fact, a good number of nootropics exhibit neuroprotective properties in some studies.
Admittedly, it might take more studies confirm the neuroprotective properties of nootropics. However, nootropics are already being prescribed for the management and treatment of various neurodegenerative diseases. Some of these diseases include Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and senile dementia.
Another misconception about nootropics is that some believe that they can worsen drug addiction. Again, the opposite is true. For the past decade, racetams have been used successfully to help former cocaine addicts recover faster. A number of studies also show that nootropics can help make it easier for smokers to quit.
At the opposite side of the spectrum, there are those who believe that nootropics don’t work at all. This belief may stem from the fact that it takes months of self-administration in certain types of nootropics before the results become noticeable. Although this may seem tedious, the rewards far outweigh the initial inconvenience.
So, are nootropic brain boosters safe to use? The answer is yes. True nootropics are nontoxic and should be able to protect your brain as it enhances your cognitive functions.
Types of Nootropics
As mentioned earlier, racetams are easily the most popular smart drug with piracetam leading this family of nootropics. Racetams vary in potency and users may respond differently to supplementation. For instance, while one user may experience improved memory with one type of racetam, another user may experience enhanced verbal fluency. Piracetam is a popular choice among long-time users owing to its time-tested effectiveness. However, there are those who prefer more potent racetams such as pramiracetam and phenylpiracetam. Regular supplementation of racetams should enhance long-term and short-term memory, improve logical reasoning skills and enhance your learning abilities.
Ampakines resemble racetams in their chemical structure as well as in its effect on the brain’s cognitive processes. The big difference between ampakines and racetams is potency. Ampakines are about 1,000 to 2,000 times more potent than racetams. Those who wish to take a short cut and experience short bursts of cognitive enhancements may want to try their luck with ampakines. One of the biggest downsides to using ampakines is that those who cannot handle its effects usually experience low-level headaches that may last for days. Others may experience brain fog as the effects of a dose start to wear off. Among the examples of commercially available ampakines are Sunifiram and Unifiram.
- Naturally Occurring Nootropics
Those who want to use nootropic brain boosters but are unsure of using lab-synthesized substances can supplement with plant extracts. Small-scale studies on some types of plants suggest that they may have the ability to impart cognitive enhancing effects. Plant extracts may not be as potent as racetams or ampakines, but they are a good option for those who prefer to go the all-natural route. The following are some plants that exhibit nootropic properties:
- Bacopa monnieri
- Huperzia serrata
- Lion’s mane mushroom
- Gingko biloba
- Mucuna oruriens
- Cat’s claw
- St. John’s Wort
- Celastrus paniculatus
- Melissa officinalis
- Other Types of Nootropics
There are hosts of other supplements that are being touted and marketed as nootropic brain boosters. Choline supplements have long been regarded as a brain enhancer. While it does have nootropic properties, users can only maximize its full potential by using it in a stack with racetams, ampakines or Noopept. Vitamins, particularly B and D, may also be considered as nootropics since they can have a positive effect on the cognitive processes of the brain.
How to Start Supplementing With Nootropics
If you are just starting out, it will be a good idea to exercise patience and begin by using the simplest nootropics available. Coffee combined with l-theanine is usually enough to set you on the right path. After a few days or weeks, you can begin adding racetam to the coffee and l-theanine or may want to drop the coffee if the effects of caffeine do not suit you.
As you become more familiar and notice the positive effects of your supplementation, you can start experimenting with the different types of racetams and by combining it with choline and other nootropic agents. Joining other nootropic users in online communities will also be a good idea as you can learn from the experience of others.
Don’t try and jump the gun by using insanely potent nootropic brain boosters. Be patient and let your nootropic work its magic on you.
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