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Boost Your Brainpower With Nootropics

It is often said that humans use only ten percent of their brains. Countless movies use this ordinary canard to transform ordinary characters into incredible minds capable of learning new languages, solving complex mathematical equations, and even controlling people with their thoughts. That's how the 2014 movie storyline went Lucy, in which the titular character becomes a super genius after taking a nootropic drug. Regardless of the fact that the ten percent myth of the brain is completely devoid of evidence, there is some evidence that a class of nootropic drugs can improve one or more aspects of mental functioning.

Is it a nootropic?

Before we begin, let us release you from the notion that greatness comes in the form of pills. If you take nootropics, you will not have extraordinary mental abilities. Suddenly, you can carefully play the piano like Mozart or write like William Shakespeare. At best, nootropics are medications that can boost work memory, motivation, and attention, making you look smarter. As such, there is little evidence that they can actually improve your IQ or turn you into some kind of mastermind in a flash.


Sold as drugs, supplements, or foods, nootropics include several classes of drugs that may have cognitive benefits, including stimulants, nutraceuticals, and racetrams. Scientific research on medicines in these groups is comprehensive and non-existent. Let's take some time to discuss each class individually.


The most well-studied, stimulant class of drugs is used primarily to treat patients with cognitive and / or motor function problems that result from disorders such as ADHD and Alzheimer's disease. Medical studies have found that certain stimulants can improve mental cognition in the general population, but only at low doses or concentrations. Drugs such as Adderall, Adranifil, Ritalin have been shown to be effective in improving cognitive control, alertness, and working memory, especially for those with difficulty concentrating for a prolonged period. However, in addition to caffeine, most stimulants are prescribed and taken by patients with cognitive impairments. In other words, they may not produce the desired results in normal people who want immediate brain stimulation.


Defined as a dietary substance (vitamins, minerals, herbs, etc.) that is believed to provide health or medicinal benefits, its nutrition is quite popular in traditional Chinese and Hindu medicine. The most common cognitive benefit in this drug class is memory enhancement, including both speed and accuracy. This supplement is very effective when used for long periods of time, as it may take time to adjust to increasing doses due to the development of tolerance.

Currently, the two most popular nutrients are ginseng panax and Ginkgo biloba. Both supplements are widely sold as memory enhancements; though different reviews come to different conclusions about their proper benefits. Because most nutritionists have no adverse effects, they are considered a safe and healthy alternative to prescription drugs for memory enhancement.


Often sold as over-the-counter cognitive enhancers, drugs in the racetam family have many applications. While not the magic drug you may see in movies, the most popular family member, piracetam, can improve cognitive function without acting as sedative or stimulant. Although the mechanism of action is not fully understood, researchers know that drugs increase blood flow and oxygen consumption in certain areas of the brain. Widely available for sale on the internet, racetam supplements have few side effects reported and considered safe by most medical professionals. Many medicines in this class work better over a long period of time. In fact, peak benefits may be unpredictable for several weeks when taking certain types of racetam.

Another nootropic

Like any large family of medicines, there are some nototropics that do not fit into the categories mentioned above; either because they are not there or they are not tested enough to determine where they are.


Used mainly as an antidepressant, tianeptin has been found to improve cognition in animal testing. Researchers have also noted a significant increase in the sensitivity of synaptic plasticity in animals administered the drug. These results indicate that tianeptin should improve learning and memory, at least in laboratory mice. Further testing is needed to determine whether tianeptin is a bona fide smart drug or just anxiolytic.

In conclusion

Whether we use 10 or 100 percent of our brains, it is clear that we do not know enough about nootropics to say with certainty how effective they are. However, what we do know is that some of the drugs in the large, well-known group have shown promising results in scientific testing. A small number of these drugs have actually acquired the moniker "smart medicine" as it enhances some aspects of cognitive function; not even Lucy.


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