Silicon Valley “Smart Pills”: An Introduction to the World of Nootropics

By: | April 30th, 2017

Patrick Mallahan III/Wikimedia Commons

What Are Nootropics?

Often referred to as “smart drugs,” nootropics are supplements that are designed to be cognitive enhancers. With so many on the market today, they all make different promises in terms of benefits. However, their main functions are to boost memory, increase focus, improve your mood, and ultimately jumpstart your productivity.

The term “nootropic” was coined by Corneliu E. Giurgea in 1972. Giurgea was a Romanian psychologist and chemist and he created the very first synthetic supplement that aimed to provide users with a cognitive boost. The supplement he created was known as Piracetam, which was originally intended to treat motion sickness. It wasn’t until after its creation that he realized it provided brain-boosting benefits. He even went on to set standards on what kinds of supplements can be considered nootropics.

Rise in Popularity

The use of nootropics has become increasingly popular in recent years. Many college students have found themselves taking these supplements in order to complete their school work, and many others rely on their benefits to get through a busy day at work. In fact, nootropics sales in 2015 came in over $1 billion dollars, which shows just how popular these supplements are starting to become.

Limitless Movie Trailer: 

If you’ve ever watched the movie Limitless, you may even recall seeing nootropics in action there. In the film, Bradley Cooper plays a character who becomes brilliant after taking a pill that acted like a nootropic of sorts. Of course, the impact this pill had on the character Cooper played was greatly exaggerated. However, the nootropics available today can certainly provide you with amazing benefits, just not as powerful as what the movie portrayed.

The Benefits of Nootropics

Nootropics promise to provide the user with a variety of cognitive benefits. One of the most common benefits of nootropics is that they aim to provide a memory boost. Many are geared more towards your short-term memory while others have been designed to provide long-term effects on memory function. There are even nootropics that have been shown to prevent mental degradation in some studies, which can ultimately cause diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.

If you’re having trouble staying energized during the day and focused on your work, nootropics may even be able to help you there as well. Some claim that users will notice enhanced focus and attention because they often contain stimulants such as caffeine, L-theanine, and ginseng.

Possible Side Effects of Nootropics

As with any kind of supplement you take, there’s always a risk of side effects. To find out the reported side effects of a specific nootropic, you’ll have to do some research online to see what you can find out.

Some of the side effects people have reported when taking various nootropics have included: headaches and jitters due to the combinations of L-theanine and caffeine in a supplement (as can happen when you take too much caffeine, even in your regular coffee). To avoid any side effects, make sure the supplement is safe to take with any medications or health conditions you may have and only take the recommended dosage.

The Most Popular Nootropics Today

With so many nootropics on the market today, it can be hard to choose which ones are truly the best, especially since it largely depends how your body responds to them. However, some of the most popular and well-reviewed nootropics include: Mind Lab Pro, OptiMind, and Alpha BRAIN.

You will notice they all share these common ingredients:

  • Bacopa Monniera: Known for being one of the oldest nootropic supplements, Bacopa Monnieri is a general cognitive enhancer. Research has shown that Bacopa Monnieri can improve the memory of elderly individuals as well as improve spatial learning. It has also been proven to reduce anxiety, depression, and stress, allowing for more mental clarity.
  • Phosphatidylserine: This nootropic is commonly used to improve the efficiency of the way your mind makes connections. A study performed on Phosphatidylserine found that after participants took 400 milligrams, they were able to increase the speed of their calculations by 20% as well as improve their overall accuracy.
  • Vinpocetine: Vinpocetine is used as a nootropic because it is a vasodilator. Vasodilation dilates your blood vessels, making it easier for supplements to get into your body and start working. It also has some anti-inflammation properties which work to reduce the dreaded “brain fog”.

Are Nootropics Right For You?

While Silicon Valley is popping nootropics like candy, you should be sure to do your research and talk to a doctor before trying any. Why? There is no such thing as a free lunch. Every supplement will have some type of side effect or drawback. Think about it, even coffee can cause you to crash. However, if you’re looking for an immediate boost in brain power, nootropics might be your best bet.

Owner of Digitalux.


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