Updated: Oct 26, 2020
Nootropics seem to be the most prominent topic in the supplement market lately. But what exactly is it, and what does it do?
Let's begin by discussing what it is exactly. The word Nootropics (pronounced noo-traah-puhks) is derived from Greek, which means "to bend or shape the mind." They are compounds or supplements that enhance cognitive performance.
So what are some of the benefits of taking Nootropics?
Better Quality Sleep
How do these supplements seem to do this?
This super multivitamin assists in regulating neurotransmitters, including GABA, dopamine, serotonin, and acetylcholine.
WHY are these neurotransmitters so important?
Dopamine is the "feel-good" neurotransmitter in the brain that acts as a chemical messenger between neurons. Usually, it is released when your mind is expecting a reward. When you come to associate a particular activity with pleasure, mere anticipation may be enough to raise dopamine levels to cause a burst of energy. The Dopamine neurotransmitter is responsible for mood, attention, heart rate, pain processing, and motivation.
GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric acid). GABA is responsible for a healthy immune and endocrine system, appetite, and metabolism. GABA is a neurotransmitter that reduces the activity of neurons in the brain and central nervous system. It has a broad range of effects on the body and mind. Some of them include increased relaxation, reduced stress, a more calm and balanced mood, alleviation of pain, and a boost to sleep.
Nootropics also can assist in Serotonin management. Serotonin acts as a neurotransmitter and sends signals to neurons throughout your body. Serotonin is mainly found in your gut and your brain. Serotonin plays a critical role in mood, appetite, memory, sleep/ circadian rhythm, body temperature, fear, a fight or flight, anger, sexuality, and motor control. One of the places Seratonin is found is in the pineal gland. The pineal gland produces melatonin. Serotonin is an activator in the pineal gland for melatonin to be produced. Having healthy levels of serotonin can help you sleep better at night. The imbalance of serotonin can affect you in many ways, including influencing mood, breathing issues, stress, insomnia, and more. (1)
Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter found in all motor neurons and plays an active role in muscles' motor. In the PNS (peripheral nervous system), it is released when contracts smooth muscles, dilates blood vessels, secretion of bodily fluids, and slows the heart rate. An essential part of motor functions, acetylcholine, is found in the CNS (central nervous system) and plays a vital role in attention, learning, motivation, memory, and arousal.
So what are some supplements that help regulate these neurotransmitters? Are they inside nootropics?
L-theanine enhances alertness, cognition, arousal, and reduces anxiety. L-theanine may affect the levels of certain chemicals in the brain, including serotonin and dopamine. It assists with better mental focus, improved sleep, relaxation, increased cognitive performance, weight loss, boosting the immune system, and reducing blood pressure.
GABA can also be taken as a food supplement. Taken as a supplement, it helps cross brain-blood barriers prematurely. Doing this, it is more readily available in the brain. Taking as a supplement GABA also helps reduce stress, improve sleep, prevent brain damage, and relieve anxiety.
Ginko is an antioxidant, helps fight inflammation, improves circulation and heart health, reduces symptoms of dementia and psychiatric disorders, improves brain function and well-being, and can support the vision and eye health. Ginkgo Biloba's direct cholinergic actions include reducing scopolamine-induced amnesia, modulation of pre-synaptic choline uptake and acetylcholine release, and upregulation of postsynaptic muscarinic receptors and indirect effects on cholinergic function by modulation of the serotonergic system.
These ingredients are found in some nootropics. It's essential to read the ingredient list before taking the pill to ensure you are getting the correct health benefits.
Where do these supplements derive from?
We can coin the term "Nootropics" back to Romanian psychologist Dr. Corneliu E. Giurgea. Giurgea discovered nootropics by accident in the 1960s while trying to develop sleeping pills. This mishap led to him uncovering a new class of drugs and the first of its kind: Piracetam. The drug was initially designed to assist with sleeping, but in turn, enhanced memory, improved behavior, and improved tonic cortical and subcortical control mechanisms with little or no side effects. Although the coined term Nootropics has only been around for about 50 years, the supplement has been used for 10,000 + years. Ginkgo Biloba has been around since the Mesozoic Era. Ginkgo Biloba is found in southeast Asia, and the Chinese used to treat everything from coughs to bladder infections to unwanted freckling.
Taking brain boosters can help enhance your performance. But to get optimal brain function or biohacking, your brain Nootropics can assist with repairing DNA to get the best performance out of your body. It is essential to have a healthy diet, exercise, meditate, and sleep, along with taking Nootropics. This will get the best performance out of your body to make an impact on your everyday function.
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Berger, M., Gray, J. A., & Roth, B. L. (2009). The expanded biology of serotonin. Annual review of medicine, 60, 355–366. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.med.60.042307.110802
Boonstra, E., de Kleijn, R., Colzato, L. S., Alkemade, A., Forstmann, B. U., & Nieuwenhuis, S. (2015). Neurotransmitters as food supplements: the effects of GABA on brain and behavior. Frontiers in psychology, 6, 1520. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01520
Nathan P. Can the cognitive enhancing effects of ginkgo biloba be explained by its pharmacology? Med Hypotheses. 2000 Dec;55(6):491-3. doi: 10.1054/mehy.2000.1099. PMID: 11090296.
Suliman, N. A., Mat Taib, C. N., Mohd Moklas, M. A., Adenan, M. I., Hidayat Baharuldin, M. T., & Basir, R. (2016). Establishing Natural Nootropics: Recent Molecular Enhancement Influenced by Natural Nootropic. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2016, 4391375. https://doi.org/10.1155/2016/4391375