“A person who never made a mistake, never tried anything new.” – Albert Einstein
What exactly are Nootropics?
What many may not be aware of is that Nootropics were first discovered by accident in 1964, when Romanian chemist and psychologist Dr Corneliu Giurgea, at the time was trying to invent a sleeping pill and instead created the substance Piracetam, which he called Nootropic. The word Nootropic is derived from the Ancient Greek words “noo`s” meaning “Mind” and ‘trope’ meaning “a turning”, Mind Turning! The concept behind this sudden discovery was that he stated the drug would have the following characteristics.
- Enhance learning and memory.
- Enhance the resistance of learned behaviours/memories conditions
- Help Protect the brain against various physical or chemical injuries
- It would increase the efficacy of the tonic cortical/subcortical control mechanisms.
- They would lack the usual pharmacology of other psychotropic drugs (e.g. sedation, motor stimulation)
- Possess low side effects and extremely low toxicity
But, in fact, what ended up happening is, as time progressed, the inventions of the “Smart Drug” that revamped the original formula made headlines for many good reasons as well as controversial ones. Nootropics are Cognitive enhancers, which means its aids in the functions of memory, creativity and motivation in healthy individuals and Not for those already on any prior medications for cognitive or any other disease.
These various chemical blends which are now available as Nootropics do claim their efficacy to improve cognitive functions, however currently in 2020 the research behind these effects of these drugs are yet not completely resolute. Even though it has been debated worldwide whether Cognitive-enhancing drugs taken by healthy individuals that don’t necessarily suffer from a medical condition, provokes a plethora of controversial issues regarding the basic ethics and fairness of the usage of such drugs.
And exactly such concerns took a very nasty turn when in Februruay 2010 when students from Wesleyan University were hospitalised by what they described as a bad batch of “Molly” (MDMA) but upon investigations of the students’ dormitory rooms, it was revealed that they had been taking a supplement known as Alpha-Brain, which was primarily known to help treat cognitive disorders such as insomnia, memory loss, mental function, creativity, athletic performance.
They also found marijuana and various kinds of prescriptions drugs. This dangerous incident that nearly killed these students indefinitely questions the primary concerns of having such drugs available to people who don’t really need it, they will and have been misused as evidence shows. Not knowing or understanding the seriousness of such medicines it remains critically essential that manufactures markets these “Brain-Enhancers” more sensibly.
These Brain-Enhancers contains Choline (which increases the neurotransmitter) Huperzia Serrata and L-Tyrosine which are also found in the blend, is known to prevent reuptake (the absorption by a presynaptic nerve ending of a neurotransmitter that it has secreted) of stimulating neurotransmitters, which causes a dangerous rise of adrenaline like chemicals in the body that cause, heart attacks, strokes and seizures. If one doesn’t follow the recommended dosage, drink caffeinated beverages or use drugs that have stimulating qualities, the risks remain higher.
While these supplement manufacturers claim positive effects on taking their drugs, there is still no warning on the labels that states, that these drugs are only recommended for a healthy person, or someone who consumes a healthy diet and its in general quite healthy without any cognitive disorders, they only promote their brand as a general supplement that can be taken by everyone, when in reality these drugs only increase the neuro transmitting chemicals to extremely dangerous levels and never to be taken by patients of any kind of prior medications.
In spite of the controversy surrounding these supplements, in 2015, the international sales of cognition-enhancing supplements grew to a staggering $1 Billion. In 2018, few Nootropic supplements were found to have misleading ingredients and illegal marketing in the united states of America. By 2019, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a warning to manufacturers and consumers of advertising and marketing under fraudulent scams in regards to Nootropic Supplements.
The major issues that arises is that the FDA cannot intervene and officially investigate the credibility of these drugs unless it is reported by a consumer, healthcare providers or other supplement companies, only upon doing so can the FDA step in and demand the removal of certain drugs that pose a danger. While such supplements don’t claim to diagnose, treat or cure any medical condition, the only thing the FTC can do is to ensure that the advertising of these drugs stay accurate and don’t scam the consumer. Which means Manufactures don’t fall under the surveillance of the FDA and don’t need to prove the efficacy of their drugs by showing detailed research of their drug testing procedures to prove its side effects, efficacy and safety in consuming such supplements.
Nootropics, who they are supposed to be meant for and why
Primarily meant to boost the brain functions for healthy individuals such as students, athletes, professionals, artists, gamers/ competitors, active 55+ (when age starts effecting your brain functions causing shorts and long terms memory loss, brain fog, fatigues and cognitive decline, due to deficiency of brains chemicals like serotonin, dopamine and sex hormones), Nootropics were initially designed to help all with being more alert, receptive, increase motivation, assist in age-related cognitive disorders, insomnia, memory loss and also help to balance the mood by suppressing certain neurotransmitters, these were made easily available to the public. But, when these chemicals can, in the long run, cause dangerous and fatal side effects would it be advisable to completely to stop depending on such supplements?
No surprise, our world today is filled with chaos and uncertainties. We as humans always need that extra nudge in the right directions as well some support to help us get by these difficult times that mentally, physically and emotionally drain us out. As we do depend on many other supplements to helps us live a balanced and healthy life, why not even for our very important brain functions that is the Master of our body. There is nothing wrong in turning to supplements such as Nootropics, however, it is undeniably important that you understand the adverse effects of these chemicals and try to opt for more natural supplements, that don’t harm and have equally proved powerful and effective in their qualities.
So, when you opt for more Natural Nootropics, what specific ingredients you must look out for, well here is all you need to know on the pros and cons of all ingredients you will find in Natural Nootropics that you buy off the counter.
Controversial, yet indispensable! How do you make the right choice?
Many companies will categorise Synthetic Nootropic as a natural ingredient such as Choline and Piracetam, but they still remain chemicals. Phosphatidylserine a natural ingredient found in meat and fish, does still have an alarming concern when sourced from animals as it’s known to transmit disease as Mad Cow disease. There are also many herbals mixes that help with cognitive functions which are extremely harmful that can cause permanent damage. Here is the all-important list of herbs to look out for that can be deadly and those which work miracles for you.
Herbs that Harm
Chapparal, Comfrey, Germanium, Coltsfoot and Kava are known to cause severe liver and kidney damage. Natural ingredients like Bitter orange, Country mallow, Lobelia and Yohimbe causes alarming stimulating effects that are similar to the ephedrine (which causes constriction of blood vessels and widening of the bronchial passages) The FDA has banned this stimulant.
Herbs that Help
Lions Mane Mushroom: Known as Hou Tou Gu or Yamabushitake is a large shaggy white mushroom and is called Lion’s Mane as it resembles it so. Medically used in China, India, Japan and Korea, their extracts are used in many over-the-counter supplements. Bioactive substances found in the mushroom have extremely positive effects on the body, heart, gut and more importantly the brain. Lion’s mane mushrooms contain, hericenones and erinacines that stimulate the growth of brain cells and guards you against Alzheimer’s diseases, reduce memory loss and prevent neuronal damage.
Brahmi (Bacopa Monnieri): The National Library of Medicine, the NCBI National Centre for Biotechnology Information, has done extensive studies on the use of Brahmi, which is the most famous safest Natural Nootropic that exists today. Bacopa Monnieri (EBm) have proved to promote Free Radical scavenger mechanisms, protect cells in the prefrontal cortex, hippocampus (region of the brain associated with memory), Striatum Cytotoxicity (Striatum, coordinates aspects of cognition, planning, decision-making, motivation and reward perception in the brain function) and DNA Damage implicated in AD (Alzheimer’s Disease). Research has proven that EBm improved memory score and brought on extreme improvements in logical memory paired associate learning (which is a classic memory paradigm used to encode and retrieve newly formed associations among stimuli) and reverses Phenytoin-induced memory impairment (Phenytoin is an anti-seizure medication).
Gingko Biloba: Also known as EGb 761, Gingko Biloba has roved through various studies that it effectively treated Alzheimer’s dementia and is also used to improve cognitive functions as it promotes good blood circulation in the and while it protects the brain and other parts from neuronal damage.
Panax Ginseng (Asian Ginseng): Numerous testing’s with Panax Ginseng has proved that it does majorly help with memory, behaviours and mood issues. Animals studies show that the components which are found in Ginseng like ginsenosides and compound K protect the brain from damage caused by Free Radicals (is a type of unstable molecule that can build up in cells and cause damage to other molecules). While it improves calmness and math skills it also does have positive effects on mental performance, mental fatigue and blood sugar levels.
Rhodiola Rosea: known adaptogenic nootropic, adaptogenic meaning non-toxic plants that help the body resists stressors and also aides in improving cognitive functions, memory, learning function and protects the brain. In 2012 a review found that Rhodiola Rosea helps in alleviating brain fog, and helps calms and protects you from emotional stress.
Green Tea and L-Theanine: is known to stimulate the Neurotransmitter productions, and lower anxiety and also generating a higher consciousness. As the brain is the Core Source of all we think and feel, having healthy Brain function does help you live and think in a very positive and productive way.
Caffeine: Is very commonly used around the world for many years to help you be more alert as it promotes stimulation to the central nervous system. Coffee boosts brain function and many rely on this natural source as it blocks adenosine, which is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that makes your brain feel sleepy. So, it’s no surprise why Caffeine has been very popular in boosting alertness.
Resveratrol: Found in grapes, wine, peanuts, blueberries, bilberries and cranberries, has the ability to reduce inflammation caused by beta-amyloid (are amino acids that are crucially involved with Alzheimer’s Disease)
Fish oil: Extremely rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are known to reduce inflammation, improve hypotriglyceridaemia (low levels of triglycerides) and improve brain functions in people with memory problems and Alzheimer’s.
Ashwagandha: Famously known for being a brain booster, this miraculous herb is known to be an adaptogen and nourishes your body and brain while it lowers blood sugar levels, cortisol levels and helps you fight against anxiety and depression.
So, as many manufacturers will claim that they have natural ingredients in their brand of Nootropics, they are still categorised as Synthetic Natural, which is indefinitely chemicals. Nootropics are a sensible choice to add to your list of Supplements, but would only recommend more Natural and herbal ones as they can be taken by everyone and not just healthy people who don’t suffer from any cognitive disorders.
How to be your 100% mentally, physically and emotionally!
No matter what we face in our life, its only natural that we as humans tend to carry the stress of it all on our shoulders and that constantly gnaws at our peace of mind and ability to function to our fullest. People who suffer from Cognitive disorders, which are termed as a mental health disorder that affects learning, memory, perception, problems solving issues, amnesia, dementia and delirium, affects many around the world. Sadly, they have no choice but to struggle each day with their inability to live life in the normalcy they were once accustomed to.
The fact remains is today, whether you are a healthy person suffering from other ailments, regardless it being a cognitive disorder, chances are you all need that little extra to help boost your brain function to aid you in living, thinking and feeling more productive, positive and efficient. Always remember before starting any over-the-counter Nootropics, natural or synthetic, you must always consult your doctor before doing so. They were initially designed for healthy people and not for those already who live on medications or are being treated for certain ailments.
As I am reminded by the quote I have shared with you from Albert Einstein, even though the sudden discovery of Nootropics, which led to many brands creating good and somewhat spurious blends, inadvertently it addressed very important issues that we all face and through this, generated the demand for more natural and effective ingredients to help tackle the little hurdles our brain faces every day. Nootropics may have had their downfall in few circumstances but through this, the efficacy of Natural Nootropics have certainly redeemed their misfortune of negative publicity. So, whatever supplements you choose to welcome into your life, always remember, living a balanced life by following a healthy regime would always benefit you, eat right, live right and the world will be less stressful!
Happy Healing Ya’ll!!!