Most people are well aware of how tough it is to abide by the USDA guidelines of how much protein, carbs, sugars, fats, and different vitamins and minerals we should be consuming daily. Even if you could follow the strict routine, workout 60 minutes a day, and get just enough sleep, how can you be sure that you’re keeping your body as healthy as you possibly can?
Before modern-day technology, the best you could do was eat right and keep your body moving. But then as medicine and supplements developed, the question with the potential to change lives came into play. If unhealthy people can take these medications to improve an aspect of their illness, can’t healthy people take them to enhance their already healthy mind and body even further?
In some cases, no, but in other cases, oh yes.
What are nootropics?
Nootropics are a name for supplements that have an impact on the brain. Some people call these “smart pills.” While some smart pills on the market are placebo at best, others can actually aid in memory, focus, stress, cognition, alertness, motivation, and other mental aspects and behaviors. Taking pills like these are not going to boost your IQ, or give you unlimited access to all corners of your brain as they do in fictional movies. They can however, have a positive effect on your work and social life, and help preserve the youth of your brain.
What’s currently out there?
There is a long list of nootropics, but some are supplements you’ve probably heard of, or have even taken before. Theanine for example, is a supplement found in teas. Theanine can be taken in pill form for its nootropic benefits, or simply in a cup of tea. It pairs well with caffeine because of its calming and soothing effects. Theanine also has been proven to positively impact anxiety levels, sleep quality, attention, and reaction time.
Other natural herbs such as Ginkgo biloba, ashwagandha root, Rhodiola Rosea, and even curcumin supplements have been shown to enhance brain health, cognition, and overall well-being.
There are tons of nootropics currently on the market, but because they’re widely un-regulated and not FDA approved, some unwanted side effects may come along with the benefit. Synthetic supplements can have just as good an effect as natural compounds, but generally, the natural ones are more accepted by consumers. To be specific, herbal nootropics work in stacks, meaning that different compounds work better when ingested together. This is exactly how theanine and caffeine work, as previously stated.
A completely unrelated nootropic that is said to be called “the learning molecule” is called choline. Choline is a very powerful nootropic with the ability to increase running endurance, reaction time, memory function, alertness, and overall cognitive ability. Along with its beneficial impact on the brain, the supplement is also said to reduce fat in the liver, reduce certain stress hormones, and improve overall cardiovascular health. Choline has been proven to be effective in very small doses but is typically taken in doses as high as 2g. While some users report getting headaches as a side effect of taking a choline supplement, they do not deny the cognitive benefits of the nootropic.
Phenylethylamine is another supplement that is considered one of the most powerful nootropics, or smart drug, on the market. PEA is known as the ‘love drug’ to some, and functions mainly as a dopamine booster. The compound works as a neurotransmitter and modular that controls the release of dopamine into the brain. Both people that suffer from depression and people that are perfectly healthy use PEA. The smart drug has a proven track record of increasing mental clarity, increasing attention spans, boosting mental concentration, improving learning capacity, and helps the brain to form new memories. Doses are typically large, ranging in 1-2 grams and very rarely do consumers have adverse side effects. The only danger of this drug, in particular, is that because it boosts dopamine levels, it could become slightly addicting.
Final thoughts on brain supplements
Out of all the smart drugs discussed here, PEA is probably the most closely related to the name “smart drug.” Scientists haven’t yet come up with a drug to open our minds to everything we’ve ever experienced, read, or heard, but there are drugs on the market that can enhance the person you already are. Some supplements used today have been around for centuries. One of these nootropics is now known as the Lions Mane. Lion’s Mane is an edible mushroom, which acts as a powerful agent in mental disorders and neurological conditions. It is one of the only known supplements that can actually regain lost neural networks.
The range in capabilities of nootropics or smart drugs is truly unimaginable. The cognitive enhancers exist despite some opposition. In many regards, nootropics can be found in naturally occurring things like food, herbs, and even pre-existing amino acids and neurotransmitters already found within your body. In coming years, the nootropic market hopes to be more regulated so that retailers, doctors, and nutritionists can wean out the “fake” smart pills and replace them with supplements that truly to improve cognitive function. –THE MALAYA POST
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