Nootropics are drugs and supplements that enhance intelligence, memory, and mental capacity. They are popular among university students, especially athletes who need a boost to their performance. But they’re also used by professionals such as lawyers, doctors, programmers, and writers – everyone’s looking for that edge in today’s competitive environment and what are the best nootropics.
Many nootropics are found in nature, like the neurotransmitter acetylcholine and the amino acid tyrosine. For example, Piracetam (oxiracetam) is made from yeast and looks identical to it. The difference between these two is that Piracetam occurs naturally only at low levels in human beings; it’s already a synthetic version of something in the body.
On the other hand, many are made from chemicals to which we are already exposed. For example, caffeine is found in many plants and beverages, and tobacco plants produce nicotine. The two most popular nootropics that come from natural sources are:
Caffeine: Found in coffee, tea, chocolate, and cola. Caffeine supplementation has been shown to enhance memory and mood in both humans and animals. It’s widely used in nootropic supplements because it’s cheap, effective, and can be found almost anywhere.
Piracetam: An anti-convulsant and memory enhancer with many positive benefits for the brain, such as improving memory, mood, mental energy, and focus. It is commonly considered to be the first smart drug ever invented. It is believed to work by strengthening cell membranes in the brain. Piracetam is also known for helping with learning and preventing age-related memory loss. It is produced artificially in a laboratory, but it still provides many of the same benefits (such as increasing mental energy).
Other Types of Nootropics
Eugeroics (Nootropics): Another group of nootropics is called “eugeroic” drugs, which stimulate the central nervous system. These are sometimes called “smart drugs,” but they can also be referred to as “mind enhancers.” They treat cognitive impairment, such as Alzheimer’s disease, ADD/ADHD, depression, and ADHD.
Ampakines (Nootropics): Ampakines are another kind of smart drug that shows strong promise in helping the brain and nervous system function better. The primary compounds in ampakines are a synthetic non-depolarizing version of the receptor for acetylcholine (ACh). This is the “learning neurotransmitter” in the brain.
CDP-choline (Nootropics): Studies with rats have found that supplementation of CDP-choline, a natural substance made by the body, helps improve memory performance in animals with damaged brains. While it’s not clear exactly how or why it works in humans, scientists think it may help increase brain cell levels of phosphatidylcholine (PC), a substance that regulates memory function.