When the term nootropics was coined as such by Romanian psychologist and chemist Corneliu E. Giurgea in 1972, it is doubtful that he realised the extent to which the drugs that fell under that umbrella would become a heavy hitter in the pharmaceutical market. Based off of the Greek words “nous” and “trepein”, which together loosely translate to “mind bender”, nootropics are known as smart drugs -- they are able to enhance your cognitive ability thereby improving your memory and creativity.
In popular media, you may remember the novel Limitless, which has since spun off into its own movie and TV-series. Although the experimental drug taken by the protagonist is not described as a nootropic, it exhibits some of the similar behaviour, admittedly to a much exaggerated level. Improved cognitive and brain function in the series leads to the main character “unlocking” more brain power and being able to process information through a new light.
Whilst that might seem like a bit of a stretch, it has been suggested that nootropics are indeed able to optimize your cognitive abilities – albeit at a much lower than the dramatized movie.
Known to be a common sight among university students looking for an edge or improved efficiency during exam time, nootropics have continued their upward progression throughout international markets, with supplements available in major countries and outlets around the world. But what exactly is in these mind improving drugs?
Most of the main components are natural ingredients such as Huperzine A, a naturally occurring alkaloid found in firmoss which has been investigated in the past as a potential treatment for neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease. There are a range of other ingredients that are commonly found in nootropic supplements which have their own cognitive benefits. Compounds such as Choline, Bacopa and GABA all have their own roots within nature and have been known to have some effect on improving mental capabilities.
Choline is an essential nutrient which has been linked to reduced chances of neural tube defects and consumption during pregnancy leading to long-term beneficial effects on the child’s memory. Bacopa is the name of a genus of aquatic plants, which for millennia have been used in India as medication to improve comprehension, memory and recollection. GABA, or gamma-Aminobutyric Acid, is an amino acid found in our central nervous system, although primarily acting as an inhibitor, it has been linked to brain development.
Unlike many other drugs on the market, nootropic supplements are based on natural, holistic options that blend both old home-remedies and new-age science. Whilst medical practitioners have yet to catch up with the trend, nootropics are becoming more popular than prescription medication, with some believing it will jostle for control of that side of the sector within coming years as younger generations step away from big pharmaceutical in order to embrace more natural options.
This supplement, FOCUS, is the only one I've tried personally, but I love the effects. I do notice that I am more productive, focused, and generally more upbeat on the days I take them. They're my go to blog writing aid, along with a cup of bulletproof coffee! And unlike Limitless, I can just order them on Amazon, he he.