What is nootropics and why we use them?

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By Nootropic Blend staff

Nootropics, also known as smart drugs or cognitive enhancers, have been developed for more than five decades and are a commonly used method to treat cognitive deficits.

Today, the popularity of cognitive enhancers is growing in an otherwise healthy population on college campuses, in business circles, in the field of sports competitions.

Before defining what is nootropics, we should answer a few questions.

Have you ever wondered why there is so much noise around nootropics and why we have started using them so much, especially in recent years? And, how much does this industry have to do with the modern way of life?

Table of Contents

What influenced the modern way of life?

The answer lies in the technological advances that resulted from the industrial revolutions that occurred in the nineteenth century.

Large factories and the first large enterprises began to be established. As a result, people left the natural environment even faster and began to inhabit urban areas, which over time became polluted and cramped for life.

In addition to this, the “standard of living” grew and the population of such settlements would often exaggerate in their menus, including in it various processed products of animal origin.

Stress was also increasing due to the unnatural environment as well as various pressures, night shifts, and obligations in modern workplaces.

So from this, we can conclude the following:

Unnatural living environment, poor diet, inadequate physical activity, stress and especially improper rest, as well as disregard for several other natural laws, have led to epidemics of various new diseases (including new autoimmune) in the civilized world XX century.

Reduced attention span

source: pngtree.com

Recent scientific research says that in the internet age the average human attention span is even shorter than the attention span of a goldfish!

If something has made an impact on the human condition in the last decades, it is the rise in technology and innovations of all sorts.

Researchers said our attention span has fallen around the time the mobile revolution began.

Following these trends, labor productivity demands continue to increase and people are at an unrealistic level of achieving work efficiency.

This is how a kinship relationship developed, with the desire to increase the strength of the brain by taking nootropics and various types of cognitive enhancers.

Nootropics can help us counteract the attention deficit, but are they also capable of much more?

Why people use nootropics?

In a world that favors efficiency and success, folks from all walks of life are under pressure to stay productive and efficient. Furthermore, social networks and forums are full of questions that people ask about solutions to the universal problems of memory loss, mental fatigue, anxiety, sleep deprivation, stress, etc.

It all comes down to the same few things, and nootropic compounds help address these conditions in a number of ways.

What is nootropics?

Nootropics are a class of nutrients, neurological enhancing supplements, herbs, extracts, medicines, and nutraceuticals. Each works in varying degrees of efficiency to improve different aspects of cognitive function. 

Nootropics improve memory, attention, executive functions, perception, language, and psychomotor functions. All that refers to a brain capacity for information processing, applying knowledge, and changing preferences. 

From both ends of the nootropic spectrum, we have intense pharmaceutical cognitive enhancers and natural brain-healthy nootropics.

We also called them smart drugs, brain boosters, memory boosters, neuroenhancers, drive drugs, study drugs.

This wide array of compounds target the brain in three main ways:

  1. Increase neurotransmitters level

  2. Increase the vasodilation or blood flow to the brain

  3. Protecting neurons from dying

These drugs are used mostly to deal with cognitive or motor function problems attributable to disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s illness, Parkinson’s disease, and ADHD. Some scientists, nevertheless, report more prevalent usage in spite of the issues for further research.

Although clinical research supports the beneficial effects of some compounds, the marketing claims of dietary supplement manufacturers are not usually formally examined and confirmed by independent entities.

In the academic community, nootropics have been utilized to increase productivity, despite their long-term effects that do not have conclusive research study in healthy individuals.

Stimulant nootropics on campuses

Using prescription stimulants is especially common among students attending academically competitive colleges. Surveys suggest that 0.7-4.5% of German students have actually used cognitive enhancers in their lifetime.

Stimulants such as Dimethylamylamine and Methylphenidate are utilized on college campuses and by more youthful groups.

Based on research studies of self-reported illicit stimulant use, 5-35% of college students utilize ADHD stimulants, which are primarily used for efficiency enhancement instead of as leisure drugs.

A number of factors favorably and adversely affect making use of drugs to increase cognitive performance. Among them are personal characteristics, drug qualities, and characteristics of the social context.

What is the value of the nootropic industry?

The requirement for these items is more noteworthy in recent years, and the market is pushing the nootropic industry toward mainstream culture and households.

  • Nootropics are part of the $1 trillion dollar drug industry

  • The US share of the above is 44.5%

  • The projected global spending on the drug is estimated to be $1.4 trillion by 2200

  • The growth is expected to be 10% per annum.

Nootropics meaning

what is nootropics?
Dr Corneliu Giurgea

It all comes to the modern term ”nootropic” with the discovery of one synthetic compound.

To be technically precise, the concept of ”nootropics” marked the true start in the 1960s. The first nootropic compound, known as Piracetam, was synthesized by Belgian pharmacologists S.Giurgea and V. Scondia in 1963. 

Later, in 1972, Dr. Giurgea has coined the term ”nootropic” to describe substances that improve cognitive functioning. He determined nootropic classification refers to cognitive stimulants with extremely low toxicity that can be taken for long-term use. 

By his definition, nootropics are safe and well-tolerated substances that are suitable for healthy individuals to take.

According to Dr. Giurgea, a nootropic should do the following things:

Nootropics in ancient history

Humankind’s have been taking herbs and various substances for the sake of healing, to alter the mindset and linking to spirituality since the beginning of humanity. While there are natural nootropics believed to have their beginnings prior to recorded human civilization.

The earliest records of nootropic usage have been dated from traditional Chinese herbalism, Ancient Egypt, and Greece. Our ancestors collected the plants from their environment and utilizing them in traditional mind-altering practices.

From that era remains coca leaves, chewed&brewed by South Americans for energy & alertness.

Kava drinks for mood & socialization may be one of the secrets behind the laid-back Pacific island lifestyle. 

Beloved native Americans were likely to have used peyote since at least five-and-a-half thousand years ago. Peyote serves primarily as an amplifier of emotions aroused by the ceremonies of religious and communal elements. 

Ayurveda, the ancient science of life is a comprehensive system of health care that also has its nootropics (Medhya Rasayana) that include Bacopa Monnieri, Ashwagandha, Celastrus paniculatus(an intellectual herb), and many others.

Some other herbs & substances that are well known from ancient times:

Nowadays, dozens of botanicals from ancient times may be considered as nootropic herbs for advanced brain function. Also, the extraction methods brought by the modern era of neurotechnology can boost plant potential and efficiency.

How has the modern definition of nootropics changed?

The definition of ‘nootropics’ has changed over time. Once only referred to as a very specific kind of drug that helps you perform better cognitively, it is now used to describe any cognition-enhancing substances. Today, pretty much every substance that is boosting the brainpower is considered to be a nootropic.

According to Merriam-Webster, the word ‘nootropic’ is defined as ”a substance that enhances cognition and memory and facilitates learning.” But there is no mention of side effects and neurotoxicity in that definition. By the original idea of Dr. Giurgea, these substances wouldn’t have been considered to be nootropics.

Many substances we consider to be nootropics do in fact have potentially serious side effects.

Take for example Adderall, or Modafinil, prescribed smart drugs that are still favorite among students and high achievers. Though they certainly meet several criteria for being a nootropic, it doesn’t meet them all. Many people in the nootropic community consider them powerful cognitive boosters. This is due to the ability to quickly improve mood, focus, motivation, energy. But they come with a whole list of potential side effects including anxiety, insomnia, nausea, twitching, even amphetamine psychosis that go with Adderall.

Also, the stimulants contain an element of dependence that develops into tolerance to the drug with constant use. Withdrawal symptoms from amphetamines can be quite bad.

So, normally, there is no need for that to happen, because there is a large list of safe natural solutions that do not lag far behind synthetic stimulants.

Nootropics and healthy lifestyle

If you are trying hard to keep the attention, having difficulty with the decrease in memory, stress management, or sleep disorders, nootropics may very well be for you. But, also keep it safe when you start experimenting.

To know which supplement is right for you, you need to know what your body is looking for. Do you feel tired all the time? Have you lost your appetite? Do you suffer from mental fatigue?

Find a good neurologist and inform well. You cannot escape responsibility as it is your own health and your own risk at the same time.

The good news is that the responsible use of nootropics gave results to many people’s lives.

Although magic pills exist only in the movies, neuroenhancement substances can be incredibly effective for some individuals. They block out distractions and increase productivity with a few side effects if any. Students are their greatest supporters. Many people as well start to realize that natural nootropics are far more useful than risky.

No matter what class of nootropics you use, the bottom line is that you will need to achieve a healthy lifestyle to get them to work for you. It is a prerequisite for taking them.

With only three things on your mind, you can maximize the efficiency of supplements.

You will need to exercise or meditate, sleep better, and diet healthier.

Healthy habits of users and non-users of dietary supplements:

Statista research
Source: Statista

The statistic indicates the healthy habits of users and non-users of dietary supplements among U.S. adults. This statistic is based on a survey conducted in August 2017. According to the survey, 59 percent of those who did not take supplements exercised regularly, while the percentage stood at 69 percent among supplement-users. The nutritional supplement industry has seen a large growth in the market, especially in protein supplements and vitamins.

Are nootropics safe?

After many decades from the discovery of an original family of nootropics, racetams, today we have a documented system of nootropic effects. It is based not only on scientific research, and human studies but also on anecdotal stories of normal folks that use them for years.

Although we can say there is no known risk of long-term addiction to nootropics, you should not self-medicate yourself with either herbal supplements or research chemicals. Like all things that play with your biochemistry, this can be dangerous.

Nootropic use has been discussed in the literature as either treatment or enhancement, although a clear delineation between the two has not been drawn.

The third use of nootropics refers to a category that crosses boundaries of neither pure enhancement nor treatment. It is an improvement for those people who have basic cognitive impairments but are otherwise relatively healthy. That way the users can be morally justified to improve their functionality in major life activities and enhance the quality of life

In each of these cases, it is always advisable to talk to a healthcare professional who will perform tests before you participate in a healthy culture of responsible usage.

Smart drugs vs. Nootropics

As you know by now, there is quite a blurry line between the two.

Nootropics are perceived as any natural or synthetic substance that may have a positive impact on mental skills. 

While this definition may be true today, it wasn’t the original idea when the term was introduced in the early 1960s.

The compound is considered to be ‘nootropic’ only if it improves cognition and neuroprotection and doesn’t pose the threat of neurotoxicity when used appropriately.

The terms ”smart drugs” and ”nootropic” are sometimes used interchangeably. Some people distinguish the two, but the vast majority of people use both terms to mean the same thing – any substance that improves cognitive performance.

Smart drugs are used illegally or are sometimes prescribed by a medical professional to address a variety of health issues related to lack of energy or focus. Choosing to take smart drugs is not an effective or long-term solution. They are not healthy for your heart or liver, as they are based on the amphetamine structure used in ADHD medications.

There are also unregulated synthetic nootropics. Some of which could easily be regarded as pharmaceuticals. Also, some nootropics are banned from athletic bodies, and certain exotic herbs and fungi further complicate use.

Most nootropics are available online or in brick & mortar stores without a prescription in countries like the United States. Though in some parts of the world they are prescription drugs. Every culture has its own famous nootropics that are rooted in the tradition and practice of that culture. As well as the prohibited ones.

Benefits of nootropics

The emphasis of effects remains on boosting the brain-power for conditions like memory, concentration, focus, attention, mood, motivation, etc. Around 85 of more or less researched nootropics care for that. And the list goes on with new ones.

With a lack of quality research for each individual ingredient, pre-made nootropic stacks are good to go because they use only well-known nootropics. Using these formulations is a great way to gain several benefits at once and protect yourself from side effects.

Nootropics can generally be grouped according to the specific effects.

The majority of people are at first attracted to nootropics for their memory-improving effects.  Nootropics are considered to have the ability to enhance all features connected to memory including new memory development, short-term working memory as well as long-term recall.

You can improve the capacity of your mind in 3 approaches to develop new memory links: by elevating acetylcholine levels as well as performance, by raising glutamate levels and efficiency, as well as by increasing blood and oxygen circulation to the brain.

Nootropics have in fact been analyzed extensively throughout the years with numerous of them showing cognitive boosting properties in cognitively impaired individuals and oftentimes in healthy and balanced grownups as well.

The nootropics in the racetam family members are one of the most well-known for their memory-boosting effects. Especially, at increasing acetylcholine receptors as is Noopept. However, there are lots of others that are effective as well. You could intend to include a choline supplement like Alpha GPC, Citicoline, so forth to additional increase levels of acetylcholine in the brain. Stacking various different supplements together will help you achieve these outcomes.

Nootropics are fantastic at increasing one’s level of attention as well as focus. Typically, a person with a low attention span can be incredibly smart, however, if their level of attention and focus is low, they will not be able to reach the max potential their cognition could allow.  When you experience brain fog, having a short attention span as well as have trouble continuing to be sharp after an hour or 2 of examining or working nootropic supplements may be able to help you.

This is an additional problem I struggled with within my work; I procrastinated greatly until I discovered nootropics. Then, with the help of an excellent nootropic stack, I suddenly was able to focus on the task at hand. Instantly, my level of intelligence expanded significantly since I was in fact using all my capacities. Rather than messing around with 10 lower, unimportant, or ineffective activities, I was able to focus on a handful at once, one by one.

Having the ability to focus is enormously important to be smart as well as using most of your cognitive capacity. Some individuals make use of “smart drugs” to raise cognitive power and get them focused on one job each time. But these drugs have some undesirable side effects. Numerous nootropics such as racetams, modafinil, adrafinil, etc will certainly assist you to increase your attention and inspiration.

Being in a bad mood or depressed state has an extremely negative impact on one’s cognition. Put simply, similar to anxiety or an absence of attention can cause a person to waste their mind’s potential, so can a lack of drive or motivation. Maintaining a good mood is very important, as well as often is not just a matter of mindset or self-discipline.

While someone with major depression needs to turn to medical help, if you have a lack of happy moods or rather minor depression, these nootropic supplements could significantly assist you. They have actually worked wonders in raising my ability to have a positive outlook on life. Having a positive expectation will give you the drive you need to dig into what needs to be done and use your brain to its max potential.

You could likewise create your mood as well as potentially restrain anxiety by enhancing the levels of dopamine and serotonin in your brain. These neurotransmitters are recognized to create sensations of wellness, joy, delight as well as bliss. Many nootropics such as Aniracetam, Noopept, Phenibut, Modafinil, and Adrafinil all can be outstanding alternatives for decreasing stress and anxiety signs and symptoms also could assist enhance your state of mind.

Ah, long life. These are nootropics that increase your general level of health and well-being. They promote maximum levels of efficiency in your body. These nootropics are even believed by some to prolong one’s lifespan and cognitive capacity before a decrease can set in. Tremendously important, these nootropics should be in every person’s stack. At the minimum, multivitamins and fish oil should be included daily.

Stress and anxiety can be an extremely turbulent part of one’s cognition. Regardless of how intelligent an individual could be, anxiety can overcome and dumbfound one’s level of thinking in the worst possible times. Intelligence is not limited to mere studying and learning in an exclusive area by oneself.  Rather, some of the most important knowledge must be gained by utilizing our most important discovering tool and that is, our peers and people around us. Stress and anxiety can dampen this by stopping us from using such tools. Because of this, I usually suggest supplementing and countering this negative aspect with nootropic supplements.

Sleep is another essential component of improving your cognition to the max! In my opinion, this is the area where most people lack the most. The good news is, there are many nootropic supplements that are great to take at night to improve your sleep, and recovery as well as enhance your cognition. Rest is necessary because that is when most of your neurogenesis takes place, i.e., brain development and recovery. Your connections are strengthened and reinforce while your body repairs itself. As a result, sleep is crucial.


Let’s be real about the advantages of nootropics on the human condition.

Do you want to have:

  • Better memory

  • Clearer reasoning

  • Comfort anxiety

  • More energy

  • Just feeling better

The fact is that modern science has made nootropic supplements better than ever in history, due to major innovations in concentrated extracts, bio-compound synthesis, standardized forms, research-backed stacks. And that’s only the start of the modern era of nootropic supplements.

To live a healthy lifestyle, lots of people will lean on nootropics, and made them an integral part of their daily routine, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make it without them. The remarkable results can be done with only three things in mind.

  • Do we sleep well?

  • Do we meditate or exercise enough?

  • Do we maintain a clean diet?

Because every individual comes with unique biochemistry, nootropics won’t work for all in the same way. It’s not a miracle pill that will solve all of your problems. It’s just a brain hack to improve mental health, everyday mood, and focus. Individuals who are looking to give their brains a smart advantage simply use them. With all the consequences that might have for the health.

And it’s not that we’ve reinvented the nootropic wheel to leap forward in cognitive abilities. We just gave it a new look.

Pick up nootropics that best reflect your goal

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Types of nootropics

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