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What are Nootropics?

About the Writer:

R Elcoli holds a Master of Science (M.S.) in Biomedical Science and a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Biomedical Laboratory Sciences and is an avid medical writer. 

Nootropics are a class of cognitive enhancing drugs that improve concentration and boost memory and are often used to increase attention spans, help individuals focus and as studying aids. Nootropics are referred to as smart drugs, memory enhancers, neuron-enhancers, cognitive enhancers, and intelligence enhancers, motivational, and stress management as they are associated with increased intelligence, motivation, and mental energy. Nootropics are broadly any type of neuro-enhancing drug with very low prevalence of side effects.

Nootropics are used for increasing information processing and applying knowledge. They involve memory, attention, executive functions, perception, language, and psychomotor functions. The term nootropics was coined in 1972 when memory enhancing properties of Piracetam were observed in clinical trials. In the meantime, hundreds of drugs have been evaluated in clinical trials.

The concept and definition of a "nootropic drug" was first proposed by C.E. Guirgea, the principal Piracetam researcher. He coined the term"nootropic" from the italic words "noos" (mind) and "tropein" (to turn toward), to mean enhancement of learning and memory. The main features defining a nootropic drug are:

The Defining Features of Nootropics

  1. The enhancement of learning and memory acquisitions as well as the resistance to agents that to impair learning and cognitive development.
  2. Protection of brain against various physical or chemical injuries.
  3. Flow facilitation for information and efficient tonic cortical/subcortical mechanism.
  4. The absence of negative pharmacologic effects of psychotropic drugs.

How do Nootropics work?

Nootropics have actually been found as one of the reliable supplements for the mind; for that reason, its relevance has actually additionally led folks in the renovation of their memory as well as finding out ability or intellectual procedures.

Nootropics release or respond to acetylcholine. By increasing high-affinity choline uptake, these drugs facilitate acetylcholine production and turnover with varying actions at both muscarinic and nicotinic receptors.

Nootropics shows signs of neuro-preservation and neuro-protection. These compounds directly affect the level of neurotransmitters associated with slowing down the aging process. Nootropics elevate the density of frontal cortex acetylcholine receptors by 30- 40% restoring the levels of acetylcholine in the brain. Energy (ATP) is critical to the brain's very survival and brain cells must produce all their own ATP from glucose (sugar) and oxygen. They cannot borrow ATP from other cells. Brain carbohydrate metabolism is impaired in a variety of dementias and the degree of reduction in brain carbohydrate metabolism correlated with the severity of the dementia. Nootropics increase the activity of adenylate kinase enzyme that converts ADP into ATP and AMP.

Nootropics increase cerebral blood flow, cerebral oxygen usage metabolic rate and cerebral glucose metabolic rate in chronic impaired human brain function i.e., multi-infarct (stroke) dementia, senile dementia of the Alzheimer type and pseudo dementia, ischaemic cerebral (poor brain blood flow) infarcts. They reduce the platelet aggregation and have haemorrheological and antithrombotic effects. They also change the physical properties of membranes, and enhance membrane fluidity, presumably by binding to membrane phospholipids.

Nootropics improve red blood cell function, decrease the adherence of damaged and sickle cell red blood cells to the endothelium, increases prostacyclin (PGI2) production and activity, enhances phospholipids - metabolism and protein biosynthesis.

What are the benefits of Nootropics?

Nootropics can boost cognitive functioning. They can make you think better, faster, and even help you perform better on an IQ test.

Specific effects can include improvements to working memory, motivation, or attention. These drugs are purportedly used primarily to treat cognitive or motor function difficulties attributable to disorders such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, and ADHD.

While scientific studies support the beneficial effects of many nootropic compounds, manufacturer's marketing claims for dietary supplements are usually formally tested and verified by independent entities.

Nootropics are created to enhance our psychological capabilities and improve our social abilities.

Nootropics have been used to increase the productivity. Several factors positively and negatively influence the use of nootropics to increase cognitive performance specific effects can include improvement to working memory. Some nootropics will result in an increase in production of brains cells while slowing down their destruction as well.


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