Understanding Nootropics and How They Work

Arguably one of the most trending health and wellness words of 2019, ‘nootropics’ sits at the core of our entire business, which is modelled off science’s modern advancements into cognitive study and enhancement. But, for those new to the realm of biohacking, we’ve decided to go back to basics with a brief history lesson on nootropics and our current understandings of their benefits. 

First coined in 1976, the term nootropic was technically defined as “a substance that enhances cognition and memory and facilitates learning”. Now known more casually as a smart drug or brain enhancer, the concept of nootropics itself dates back even further to the1960’s, when Romanian psychologist and chemist Corneliu E. Giurgea invented one of the world's first smart drug compounds to help manage motion sickness. This invention saw the creation of a synthetic ingredient called piracetam, which over time became connected to boosting cognitive function in humans, including aiding managing dyslexia*, encouraging blood flow and focus. 

Nootropic [pronounced: new-trop-ick]

(1) Facilitates learning acquisition and enhances resistance to learning impairments

(2) Facilitates interhemispheric transfer of information

(3) Enhances cerebral resistance to aggressions

(4) Strengthens control on subcortical CNS activity

While the initial conception of nootropics was that of a synthetic development, it is significant to mention that modern nootropics also incorporate ingredients derived from natural plant-based extracts (also known as adaptogens). These more naturally derived ingredients date even further than the technical conception of the term ‘nootropic’ with records of use dating back to ancient Ayurvedic times. Having recently been categorized as members of the nootropics family due to their abilities to facilitate and enhance cognitive function, ingredients like Gingko Biloba, Bacopa Monnieri, and Ashwagandha are still used as common ingredients in modern medicine. This means that although nootropics were recognised as a scientific breakthrough in the last century, the notion of humans seeking products to enhance their cognitive performance and cure ailments has been practised through the ages. 

How Do Nootropics Work? 

Our brain is one of the most complex objects on the planet. And, while scientists and researchers have spent centuries uncovering its abilities, there is still much of the brain yet to discover. Acknowledging this point is significant because it further helps us understand that as a result, there is no one size fits all understanding about how substances like nootropics conclusively work on each individual. At this point in modern science, we then focus less on the mechanics of how and more on what nootropics have been recorded to do to the brain and body. For example, the brain is an extremely demanding organ, it uses more than 20% of the body’s energy on any given day. According to The National Center for Biotechnology Information, adaptogens like Rhodiola Rosea (found in Clariti) as well as L-Tyrosine, work particularly well at promoting mental performance by ameliorating stress-induced fatigue; with the distinct difference between these two ingredients being that Rhodiola reduces the steps leading up to the burnout, instead of replenishing "burnt out" neurotransmitters like L-Tyrosine. Nootropics have also been linked to encouraging blood flow, cell to cell communication, neuro-protection from free radicals (pollution) and regeneration. 

Further Understanding The Benefits of Nootropics

Even society's ever-humble coffee bean is considered a nootropic due to its ability to promote alertness, recall and elevate the brains state of focus. But, until Pope Clement VIII blessed coffee in the 16th century it was dubbed Satan's drink due to a lack of understanding of the benefits of its effects on the human body. Overtime, nootropics have too faced similar hardships with many health professionals requesting further research into each synthetic and adaptogen ingredient before deeming them safe for consumption. Despite this, the last 10 years, in particular, have seen the industry blossom in leaps and bounds as ongoing studies and discoveries continue to back their use. 

Advances In Use

As we continue to advance our research into nootropic ingredients (both naturally derived and synthetic) so does our advancements in optimal methods of consumption. Ancient civilisations would largely chew and brew these nutrient-packed herbs, which often took time, or sometimes saw the consumption of incorrect intakes. Today, these ingredients can be purchased in optimal portions and hybrid tablets just like our very own Clariti.

While nootropics continue to serve as a positive assistant to those looking for a brain boost, we must advise that these substances are not to be taken as a substitute to a healthy diet, sleep and routine. 

 

*Based on a study with NCBI - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/116285

Sources

https://nootroo.com/history-of-nootropics/

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/nootropic

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/116285

https://nootropicsexpert.com/caffeine/

https://www.catholicgentleman.net/2014/04/blessed-beans-how-the-pope-baptized-coffee/

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/326379.php#over-the-counter

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17513421

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov


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