Smart Drugs Are On The Rise
Many prescription drugs can help with cognition – So why choose natural nootropics?
Using pharmaceuticals to boost mental performance is certainly nothing new; students in particular have used brain enhancers for decades, and the use of herbs and food extracts to elicit a mental boost is a centuries-old practice.
However, a thriving new industry has emerged in the form of nootropics; natural, pharmaceutical-grade supplements that significantly increase cognitive function and support brain health without inducing any nasty side effects.
Unlike the synthetic, immensely powerful and incredibly dangerous brain boosters of the past, this new generation of smart drugs offer all the benefits of synthetic nootropics without the risks, both legal and medical.
However, as with every supplement industry out there, the nootropics market is flooded with second-rate products: fakes, cheap imitations, and the downright useless.
This site will hopefully be a valuable resource for anyone interested in boosting mental performance without putting their minds (or their wallet) at risk.
I review the finest, all-natural nootropic stacks on the market today, so you don’t have to. I also try to give you every bit of information I can to help you as you delve into the world of brain supplementation.
What Are Nootropics?
The word nootropics comes from a Greek conjunction; noos, meaning ‘mind’, and tropéō, which means ‘to turn’.
However, not all ‘mind bending’ drugs class as nootropics; the word actually has a very specific meaning that separates it from the vast majority of cheap and nasty ‘smart drugs’ on the market today.
Strictly speaking, nootropics are supplements that elicit some kind of cognitive enhancement with little or no serious side effects.
While there is no strict definition of what constitutes a nootropic, it is generally accepted that the differentiating characteristic is a brain booster that can be taken for long periods of time, with no side effects, and with low toxicity.
Usually, cognitive enhancement refers to memory gain, increased focus, attention span improvement, and boosted mental energy or motivation. A standard nootropic supplement will usually affect one or two of these cognitive functions, while some will aim to boost mental performance generally.
Growing Acceptance of Nootropics
Nootropic drugs were once the preserve of obsessive neurobiologists and intrepid research chemists, who would create insane concoctions and test them on themselves. Entire forums existed, many of them on the ‘dark web’, where people would compare their experiences and discuss both where to buy and how to make different smart drugs.
The story today is very different.
Nootropics are very much in the mainstream, and their popularity is spreading quickly.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, natural brain boosters are proving to be a particular hit with Western, white collar workers. Today’s nootropics consumer is more likely to be a successful software designer in San Francisco or a corporate strategist in New York than a biochemist with a point to prove.
This trend towards wider acceptance is fuelled by two factors; the relative sophistication of the industry compared to just a few years ago, and our changing work habits.
Not only are ‘smart drugs’ becoming safer, more nuanced, and better manufactured, but the world of round-the-clock, mobile working and long distance travel has meant there is now a greater need for them.
Instead of giving them more freedom and leisure time, the ability to work from home has increased the working hours of many executives. Professionals at the top of their industry are now expected to be “on call” 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Many are finding the answer in nootropics.
All of this is compounded by surging media interest in the world of “smart pills” and what they can do.
With movies like Limitless presenting a fantastical view of nootropics, and well-respected journalists queueing to see what these new brain supplements can do for them, it is little wonder that the market is growing at such a phenomenal rate.
How Do Nootropics Work?
Different nootropics work in different ways, producing different effects. Because the notion of nootropic is so broad, a good answer needs to be supplement specific. However, generally speaking, nootropics work by improving brain function efficiency and capacity, either by stepping-up the production of neurotransmitters, increasing blood flow, or by encouraging the production of brain cells and inhibiting brain cell destruction.
Some supplements contain neuro-protective substances and compounds; these products will usually claim that these compounds improve mental function.
While the inclusion of cleansing and protective substances is to be welcomed, such substances do not directly improve mental function, so they cannot strictly be said to be nootropics when used in isolation.
What nootropics don’t do is increase your IQ, create new brain cells overnight, or repair synapses. They do not give you something that you do not already have; rather, they allow you to use what you do have to its full potential.
Why natural nootropics?
Natural nootropics are often dismissed as not as powerful as synthetic, chemical-based smart drugs. In many cases, that is true, but that does not necessarily mean that natural nootropics are inferior.
Ideally, we want to take nootropics on a regular basis, because we want to perform optimally on a regular basis, not just once in a while. Natural brain boosters are suitable for long-term, regular dosing, and when taking in combination with other supplements (known as stacking), they can be immensely effective.
The reasons for choosing a natural nootropic supplement over a synthetic or pharmacy-grade brain booster are not exactly difficult to sell. Some of the most powerful nootropics on the market, such as Modafinil, are potent cognitive enhancers, but they also carry with them some serious safety concerns.
Drugs such as Modafinil have been used to treat ADHD, which gives you some indication of how powerful they can be, but they are in no way intended for ingestion by a healthy individual, and they are certainly not designed for long-term, regular use.
Common side effects from taking synthetic nootropics include headaches, heart palpitations, dizziness, confusion, nausea and insomnia. Depending on the product in question, side effects can be as bad as intense comedowns involving depression and mood swings.
If you search the forums for a while, you’ll come across some people who take heavy-duty, industry grade products on a daily basis to avoid the comedown: in general, not a wise move.
Perhaps the most important safety concern with regard to pharmaceutical-grade nootropics is the fact that there are no robust, scientifically valid studies on long-term dosing; at least I have never seen any.
When people ask me about natural nootropics, I always ask them one question to find out if they’re right for them: Do you want to be insanely alert and awake for 23 hours straight, get the shakes, be unable to hold a conversation with people in a normal comfortable manner, and wake up feeling terrible the next day?
Or, do you want to feel more focused, motivated and awake, get a memory boost for a number of hours, and wake up feeling refreshed, having actually done your brain a favour rather than abused it? If you answer the latter, natural nootropics are for you.