Technically, you probably already use nootropics. I know I’ve said previously that nootropics use was on the fringes, but it turns out many of us have been gulping it down for like, ever.
That’s because coffee and black tea contains caffeine and green tea has L-theanine. Yep, caffeine is a psychoactive drug (a chemical substance that changes brain function) and L-theanine has reported psychoactive properties.
“Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death” Albert Einstein.
But, here’s the thing, whilst you’ve been guzzling caffeine laced coffees and teas, a whole cohort of people have sought out specially formulated synthetic drugs, vitamins and supplements to enhance their cognitive ability.
Below we share three groups of people who regularly consume nootropic supplements to give themselves the cognitive edge. I mean, who wouldn’t want to boost their natural intelligence, mental stamina, memory, focus or the 3 ‘c’s - concentration, creativity and clarity?
University students looking to kickass in study, exams and assignments
Who would have thought that students would be looking for a study to get the edge? No surprises there. Back in the day, I regularly dropped a few caffeine pills to pull an all-nighter. Who didn’t? What-ever works to get great marks and hopefully, that great job, right?
The number of Australian students who are using smart drugs, supplements and vitamins as a study aid is unknown, but we can gain some insights from nootropics use overseas.
A 2006 study reported by the US National Library of Medicine found that of a random sample of 4580 college students surveyed, 8.3% had a lifetime use of stimulants.
Of these 382 students, 65% reported that they used stimulants to help with concentration, 60% to help study, and 47% to increase alertness.
The US National Library of Medicine also investigated the prevalence of psychostimulant use amongst 1718 French medical students and physicians, finding that a 1 in 3 had used supplements to boost cognitive performance.
Other anecdotal evidence suggests that one in four Oxford students had taken Modafinil to help achieve their study outcomes. Another survey at the University of Cambridge found 10% of students admitted to using a nootropic supplement.
The BMJ, a resource intended for healthcare professionals' quotes that some 5-15% of college and university students report taking stimulants to help them study
Given that we have almost 1.5 million higher education students in Australia, if we extrapolate the number from overseas as 10% (which is starting to sound a bit low) – then that’s 150,000 students who are regularly using supplements to aid study. And that’s not even including caffeine laced drinks.
Let’s face it, increased work demands, longer hours and life’s growing complexity strains the brain.
And, many professionals are looking to maintain mental alertness so they can perform at their peak.
A survey undertaken by the Nature Magazine found that of the 1,400 readers who responded, 1 in 5 had used cognitive enhancing drugs. That’s 20%, which is even higher than the reported use by uni students.
Plus, there’s growing speculation that university students are taking their cognition performance habits into the workplace on graduation.
Makes sense. Once you take into consideration the competition for jobs, promotions, and the relentless requirement for professionals to perform and maintain their reputation.
So, professionals using nootropics to handle the pressure of maintaining their performance at work sounds perfectly logical.
The only unknown is the number of professionals that are using cognitive enhancing supplements. Maybe you have a colleague who is sharp, and just delivers. Might be time to ask them what they’re taking?
Wellness, exercise and fitness enthusiasts who want focus and intensity
Others turning to nootropics for a performance edge are fitness enthusiasts and athletes. Why? Studies have shown that enhanced cognitive ability increases athletic ability.
This is super exciting. I mean, the link that exercise helps the brain is well established, but enhancing the brain to boost physical performance. That’s trippy.
I guess it makes sense. I mean, you can train your body to perform at peak performance, but if your mind isn’t up to scratch – how competitive will you be? How often have you heard a coach say that the team needs to get their minds right?
For elite athletes, taking performance enhancement drugs or ‘doping’ to increase physical attributes like stamina and strength are a big no no, with strict controls and comprehensive testing. But brain or cognitive enhancers – especially the natural sources of cognition enhancement from herbs like Brahmi, Gingko and Rhodiola may give athletes the edge they crave - legally. Wow.
Also, there’s growing awareness that nootropics may pep up your reflexes or concentration during your workout or yoga session.
Have you ever finished your set and struggled to get back into high gear for work. Nootropic supplements could be the answer. Think pre-workout for focus or post work out rejuvenator so you can get hit the ground running when you return to work after your lunch time session.
The athletic, wellness and fitness spaces are definitely the sectors to watch in the uptake of nootropic supplements in the future where a small performance edge could be the difference between winning and losing.
Australian Nootropics - closing thoughts
Cognitive enhancement supplements or nootropics are being used by a growing number of students, professionals and fitness enthusiasts.
I suspect that as 2019 unfolds more and more people will discover the benefits that nootropics in Australia offers in dealing with our complex, information saturated lives.
Funnily enough, more and more people are also falling into all three sectors – a professional who is also studying part-time and enjoys physical fitness. This is how I got into cognitive enhancement and made me a believer.
Don’t forget to check out my next blog where go into the pros and cons of the most popular synthetic nootropic supplements like Adderall and Modafinil and the exciting natural alternatives.