Nootropics. Now there's a word you don't hear very often. Most likely a lot of readers have never even heard the word even though it's been around since the 70s. The first racetam was actually discovered in 1972 by Corneliu E. Giurgea, a Romanian chemist and psychologist... and that racetam was dubbed piracetam. I pride myself on keeping up with all the newest research available on anything holistic in nature that actually helps the mind, or body. Believe it or not, there are a lot of different things herbily, and naturally you can do to slow the aging process both visually, as well as internally. Nature has provided quite a lot of power to heal ourselves; the issue seems to be in getting the medical community to take it seriously. Most times they do not want you taking a bunch of supplements even if they're considered all natural. Why... is an entire other article but essentially it boils down to control. If you're exercising, eating decently, and are taking a number of very powerful and well known supplements, and Nootropics then you will age very well... and that's not putting money in their pockets.
Now back to our topic; Nootropics. What exactly are Nootropics, and how do they benefit the mind, and body? Well, Nootropics have been around for decades. There are also a number of them that have been clinically studied, and actually are effective at enhancing cognitive functions in the brain. They easily cross the blood brain barrier, and directly affect the mind in positive ways. Some have shown clinically that they do in fact help those suffering from Dementia, Parkinson's, or Alzheimer's. A few of them, notably Huperzine-A actually promote growth of new brain cells, and help those suffering from Alzheimer's.
Now the start of these Smart Drugs, as they're often referred to, begins with Racetams... the original Nootropics. Some, such as piracetam, aniracetam, oxiracetam, pramiracetam and phenylpiracetam are considered nootropics, while others such as levetiracetam, brivaracetam, and seletracetam are anticonvulsants. Piracetam was the first, and most widely used Nootropic. Chemically, piracetam is a derivative of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), the most abundant inhibitory neurotransmitter when it comes to the mammalian central nervous system. GABA’s major purpose in the brain is to reduce neuronal excitability, and has been clinically used to reduce anxiety, treat attention deficit disorder, and improve mood.
Piracetam however has had a number of other Nootropics emerge that are far more potent. Now it is still a very useful and powerful Nootropic, it's just been pushed down the list over the decades as new and more efficient Nootropics come on the market. Noopept for instance, is considered to be over 1000 times more potent that Piracetam with the dose being very small in comparison. A typical dose of Noopept is 10 – 30 mg while Piracetam is often dosed up to 3 or 4,000 mg.
Noopept boosts Alpha and Beta brain wave activity. Basically, you become calmer and more creative. More focused. Noopept also increases Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) and Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF). Critical for neuroplasticity and Long-Term Potentiation. NGF and BDNF are directly related to neuroplasticity. This ability to repair and even grow new brain cells can have profound implications especially with someone suffering from neurodegenerative brain damage like Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s. Brain health gets a boost along with long-term memory. An article here covers a fairly large amount of useful information on chemicals naturally produced in the brain, and how certain nootropics can affect them beneficially.
Another powerful Nootropic, Huperzine-A 1% is very beneficial to the brain in a number of ways. Huperzine- A is a water-soluble natural plant alkaloid nootropic that easily crosses the blood-brain barrier. Researchers discovered that Huperzine-A prevents glutamate-induced toxicity... protecting the hippocampus and other cerebral neurons from cell death caused by the amino acid glutamate. Huperzine-A boosts levels of available acetylcholine in the brain by blocking the effect of the enzyme acetylcholinesterase (AChE). Acetylcholine (ACh) is critical for encoding new memories, reasoning, concentration, cognition, and neuroplasticity. Not enough ACh can result in diseases like ADHD, Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases. It is also an antioxidant, and boosts nerve growth factor (NGF) in the brain. NGF is critical in brain cell development, maintenance and repair. Declines in NGF-levels in the brain as we age are associated with Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases. Studies show Huperzine-A not only prevents this drop in NGF from happening... but it actually helps boost the production of NGF.
Alpha-GPC is yet another very powerful nootropic to consider taking daily. Alpha GPC can cross the blood-brain barrier, so it helps deliver choline directly to brain cells. The blood-brain barrier is an area of cells that prevent most substances from reaching the brain... thus protecting it from pathogens and toxins. Some substances, such as Alpha-GPC can easily cross this barrier. Taking an Alpha GPC supplement may increase levels of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in the brain. Acetylcholine is involved in muscle contraction, blood vessel health, heart rate, and other functions. Alpha-GPC is also used throughout the body, and helps with the production of growth hormone. Alpha-GPC has gained popularity among weightlifters, athletes, and bodybuilders due to its ergogenic properties. In two studies on 61 young men, Alpha-GPC (250 – 600 mg) improved speed, power, and pull force.
We will cover a few more Nootropics in a different article. In that article we'll give you a more focused look at specific nootropics dealing with memory, and cognitive functions. As a regular user of these, and into my mid 60s... I can attest to their memory, and recall abilities. I consider my mind to be sharp, and focused whenever focus is required. I also find I do not struggle to recall memories, or information like many of those my age do.
Hope this info helped! Check back as we generally keep upgrading articles as we find more information, or more clinical trials emerge.