One of the most controversial issues in our society today is the use of Nootropics. For those of you don’t know the term nootropics these are more commonly referred to as smart drugs, memory enhancers, or cognitive enhancers. Basically, nootropics are drugs, supplements, nutraceuticals or functional foods that stimulate your mind and help push the limits of your mental function.
The reason it is so controversial is because of how easily they can be obtained. While these drugs can serve a healthy and useful purpose to people with disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, and ADHD. Many people, especially academia students, will use these drugs outside of health purposes. It is not uncommon at all for a student, especially one in a competitive setting, to use a nootropic such as Adderall to help achieve a cognitive edge. In fact some campuses even experience a 25% usage rate among their students.
The main concern behind this use is that it hasn’t been able to be tested long term. Meaning, scientists aren’t sure what the actual effect will be down the road. All that to say though, nootropics are becoming a very prevalent thing in our society and it’s important to know the history behind it and be educated on its uses.
Nootropics – Where it All Began
Despite the word nootropic being coined in 1972 by Dr. Corneliu E. Giugea, the stimulants and substances themselves can be traced back to ancient times. Although it is unclear when they first came into play, natural nootropics such as certain plants and fruits have been used to alter the moods and mental states of the “ancient man”. In fact there have been cave paintings found depicting the use of certain leaves and plants in rituals that helped alter the mindset or mood of the user.
In South American artifacts, researches have found bowls that were used to prepare hallucinogenic drugs and tubes for inhaling fumes or powders. Other places such as China and India also have a history of using ancient brain supplements to help them in meditation and other ancient practices.
Nootropics have crawled along through history virtually unnoticed but regularly used until 1960 when the first official nootropic was released on the market. This nootropic was actually used to help people with motion sickness. Once that had been established scientists took the research and started to study the effects of nootropics on the brain and it eventually led to the memory enhancer piracetam.
Piracetam is probably one the most common nootropics because of its many uses. Some of those uses are for enhanced memory, age related neuro protection, a protectant after a brain injury, depression/anxiety relief, and it is the prescription drug for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. It is also the most researched and is considered one of the more safe nootropics.
Since piracetam, there have been many other nootropics released on the market. They are becoming more and more popular, especially among the youth in Western Society. And it’s not uncommon to see people use over-the-counter nootropics to help them increase their cognitive functions in their everyday lives.
Nootropics – The Science Involved
The actual definition of nootropics are natural and synthetic compounds that help to improve cognitiveabilities like focus, attention, memory, motivation, as well as a variety of other things. The actual name nootropics comes from the Greek combination of “nous” meaning mind and “trepin” meaning to bend. According to this definition the actual purpose of nootropics is to “bend the mind”.
There have been multiple studies done on these nootropics and while controversial some results have shown that individuals have been able to enhance memory, cognition, mental awareness, and energy. They were also found to be able to focus far beyond their regular capabilities. Nootropics (including compounds like piracetam) have also been show in studies to promote neuro-protection, as well as reverse mental deficits and improve mood, reduce stress, and sometimes even improve self-control. Sometimes cognitive enhancement is as simple as getting a good night rest and the right amount of particular nutrients.
While nootropics are still relatively new to the open market they have been around for thousands of years. And thanks to movies like Limitless they have only gained popularity, especially in younger generations. People are constantly looking for ways to reach beyond their already maximum mental potential and have found that certain nootropics are a way to achieve this goal.
While the future for nootropics is unknown, the market is becoming increasingly competitive to provide the consumer with a mental enhancer that will push them even further in their brain capabilities. And many researchers claim that the drugs are not only beneficial to enhancecognitive function, but they also can include some health benefits as well. Whatever side of the coin you fall on in the debate of nootropics no one can deny that it is becoming prevalent in our pop culture. What you need to ask yourself is, do you want to join in on the trend and reach your own limitless potential?