Do Nootropics Actually Work?
Dietary supplements have long helped the health-conscious achieve their daily goals. Relatively new to the scene, however, are nootropics. You may have heard that these cognitive enhancers can help a student study for a final exam, a professional lead an executive meeting, an older adult stay focused throughout their day, a gamer dominate their next tournament, or an athlete perform their best out on the field. While the proposition of heightened mental functioning certainly sounds appealing to all walks of life, you may have some follow-up questions: How do nootropics work, exactly? Are they safe? Here, we’ll take a deep dive into the background of nootropics — and how Brain Performance Plus™ can help you be your best self.
What Are Nootropics?
The term “nootropics” was first used to refer to chemicals that made up prescription medications that impacted mental cognition. Now, nootropics also encompass natural and synthetic substances that boost brain function.
- Prescription drugs: Stimulant and non-stimulant drugs used to influence cognitive function are considered prescription nootropics. Adderall and Ritalin are two common drugs prescribed to individuals diagnosed with ADHD. Prescription nootropics can also be used to treat dementia and narcolepsy.
- Synthetic compounds: These compounds influence the neurotransmitters glutamate and acetylcholine. Racetam is an example of a synthetic nootropic and is known for boosting memory in those with brain injuries.
- Natural compounds: These over-the-counter (OTC) nootropics are a popular choice for improving cognitive performance in healthy individuals. Natural nootropics include caffeine and the amino acid creatine.
Since it can be very dangerous (and illegal) to use a prescription nootropic without a doctor’s guidance, people looking for a healthy way to improve their brain health turn to nonprescription nootropics. What many people do not realize is that they may already be using a nootropic: caffeine! That’s right: caffeine is a nonprescription nootropic that can temporarily boost focus.
Those trying to move away from drinking coffee, tea, and soda can opt for a nootropic supplement. Nootropic supplements typically contain L-theanine, Rhodiola, Omega-3 fatty acids, coffee berry, Acetyl-L-carnitine, phosphatidylserine, and a good source of choline such as alpha-glyceryl-phosphoryl-choline (Alpha-GPC). These ingredients enhance cognitive performance by improving memory, boosting alertness, and promoting brain health.
How Do Nootropics Work?
Nootropics increase dopamine levels in the brain, which helps enhance attention, focus, energy, and mood. If a person struggles with brain fog, they can add a nootropic supplement to their daily routine to shake away the cloudiness and give their full attention to any task they are working on. Combining nootropics with exercise, deep sleep, a healthy diet, and plenty of water can enhance brain performance even more.
Let’s look at some of the nootropic mechanisms suggested by researchers and experts that focus on primary brain pathways:
Sustained Brain Energy
By way of neuron maintenance and management, the brain consumes roughly 20% of the body’s energy reserves. When the body fails to provide enough energy to the brain or its metabolic efficiency wavers, symptoms of “brain fog” and mental fatigue begin to surface. Nootropics, however, may support brain energy by enhancing the metabolic activity of mitochondria (“the powerhouse of the cell”), transporting fatty acid material into brain cells, and increasing the cerebral uptake of oxygen and nutrients.
Healthy Synaptic Transmission
We can think of neurotransmitters as information carriers. Relevant neurotransmitter types — as well as their respective associations relating to cognitive performance — include:
Acetylcholine (ACh) - Memory, learning, and basic “thinking” cognition
Dopamine (DA) - A pleasure-reward pathway that influences mood and motivation
Serotonin (5HT) - Relaxation and happiness
Norepinephrine (NE) - Focus and attention
Epinephrine (EP) - Feelings of adrenaline
Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA) - Sedation and calmness
An imbalance at any step — including synthesis, release, or uptake — can result in disrupted emotions and cognition. Nootropics may optimize neurotransmitters by enhancing receptor sensitivity, promoting neurotransmitter synthesis, and supplying brain chemical precursors.
Aging takes its toll on the brain. Injuries come to collect on cognition, as well. However, thanks to neurogenesis, the brain is capable of regenerating new cells. A robust brain ecosystem may even engage neuroplasticity — the proliferation of new synaptic connections. Nootropics may assist with neuro-regeneration, possibly playing a crucial role in reversing age-related changes in the brain by way of promoting natural brain-boosting growth factors (such as NGF), providing neuronal building block materials (like choline), and maintaining brain cell membrane flexibility.
Optimal Blood Flow to the Brain
Healthy circulation goes beyond delivering brain-nourishing compounds; it involves removing neurotoxins from neuronal tissue. This balance is vital in cognitive longevity, as poor cerebrovascular function is linked with brain degeneration and age-related cognitive decline. Nootropics could support circulation in the brain by inhibiting homocysteine and oxidative damage on blood vessels and promoting nitric oxide activation and relaxation of blood vessels.
Are Nootropics Safe?
According to Psychology Today, the safety of nootropics has been heavily researched, and each study has shown there are no severe adverse side effects of using nootropics. Overall, nootropics are safe; however, each individual needs to take a nootropic supplement mindfully.
Brain Performance Plus™: The Nootropic That Works for You
Are you looking to enhance your productivity? Nootropics may be the answer for you! While the research on these supplements is still in its infancy, several studies have shown that nootropics can boost brain function. By adding a nootropic to a well-balanced diet and lifestyle, you can be your best self — whether you’re facing an exam, spending time with your grandchildren, landing a new sale, or gearing up for the big game.
Alkalife offers a natural dietary supplement called Brain Performance Plus™. This fast-acting nootropic supplement can fuel concentration, improve memory, sharpen hand-eye coordination, and enhance focus in adults. If you’re ready to maximize your mental performance, take advantage of the cognitive power unleashed by our nootropic! For more information about our brain booster’s active ingredients, reach out to our team today.