What are Nootropics?
What are Nootropics?Humans have utilized plants and phytonutrients to optimize health for thousands of years. Willow bark, chewed by native cultures for toothaches, became the origin of aspirin. The mold penicillin became the first antibiotic. Adding iodine to salt is even credited with raising the national IQ! So it isn’t really a new idea to use a plant or supplement to improve human function. It’s an evolving science, though, a field with lots of recent advancement.
Are Nootropics New?While the concept of enhancement might not be new, the category, nootropics, is fairly new. Credit for coining the term goes to Corneliu Giurgea in 1972, a Romanian scientist. The term combines two Greek words, nous, meaning “mind” and trepein, meaning “to bend or turn.” Caffeine is in the nootropic category now, it’s energy and cognition-enhancing properties being long known (in the form of coffee or tea, but now extracted into many consumables). Many other substances or supplements, like certain amino acids or B-vitamins, have only more recently been studied for their nootropic properties. As the field expands, we capitalize on the supplements available for maximizing human potential.
What Can I Expect from Taking Nootropics?So, what are nootropics? A wide variety of drugs and supplements fit the “nootropic” category. Some of these substances are available only by prescription, or are prescription medications being used off-label. These substances are federally regulated and come with long lists of potential side-effects, from addiction to heart attack. Most supplemental nootropics are FDA-approved and safe to use for healthy people. They are extracted from plants--foods and herbs with nootropic properties. Nootropic supplements are anything which improve mental function, such as any supplement which has been shown to:
- Improve mental clarity
- Enhance memory and ability to recall quickly
- Maintain optimum cognitive function, such as delaying or preventing age-related mental decline
- Decrease feelings of anxiety, depression or nervousness
- Enhance mental agility or elasticity
- Aid more rapid learning
- Increase executive function (flexible thinking, self-control, that sort of thing)
- Improve focus or energy (even if only temporarily, like energy drinks or a cup of coffee)