It would seem that the most important for a human being is high performance and physical endurance, without which we are unable to perform many everyday activities, not only those requiring a lot of effort. An equally important, but often completely neglected issue is mental performance, the proper functioning of our brain, which manages all other organs and systems of the body. The human brain can be compared to a central computer, an exceptionally powerful processor, which usually works at full power, and the mental effort usually turns out to be almost as exhausting as the physical effort. If this situation persists for a long time, some brain dysfunctions may occur, manifested by cognitive decline or reduced concentration. Therefore, it is worth counteracting this in advance, e.g. by using a properly selected diet, which promotes better oxygenation of this important organ and provides it with nutrients necessary for health. Unfortunately, sometimes it turns out that this is not enough, so you can reach for additional help, nootropics, substances created not only to support the work of our brain, but also to further increase its capabilities.
- 1 Nootropics – two Greek words and a Romanian doctor
- 2 Nootropics – why and for whom they were created
- 3 Nootropics – natural, which are particularly worth deciding on
- 4 Nootropics – other substances that they include
- 5 Nootropics – effects and possible side effects
Nootropics – two Greek words and a Romanian doctor
The word nootropic or nootropic, or the same as it, appeared in the dictionary only recently, but it has already made a huge success, being the name of extremely effective chemical compounds, giving our mind power that we had never even dreamt of before. It comes from the Greek language, namely the combination of the two words ‘noos’, meaning mind, and ‘trepin’.which is to bend and its creation is attributed to Dr. Corneliu E. Giurgea, a Romanian chemist and psychologist.
Nootropics – why and for whom they were created
For centuries or even millennia, man suffocates himself in the limitations of his cognitive abilities, which make it impossible for him to fully understand the world around him. Various methods have been tried throughout this time to increase intellectual capacity, but most often this has resulted in either failure or serious health complications. It was not uncommon to use illicit substances such as LSD or amphetamines to stimulate brain cells to work more intensively, but the consequences of such experiments were tragic. However, the problem remained and although our brain and memory are perfectly affected by natural methods, proper amount of sleep or proper nutrition, we were still looking for this one golden mean. After many years of intensive research, we managed to find a solution that we can use today, which is undoubtedly nootropics.
Defining them in the simplest possible way, we can say that they are carefully selected chemical compounds, which increase brain performance, in most cases guaranteeing extremely positive effects with no serious side effects. They’re meant for anyone who complains about..:
- weakened concentration;
- problems with remembering large amounts of information needed;
- lack of energy to do the mental work;
- negative mood and lack of motivation for any action;
- the effects of severe stress, an increasingly integral part of our lives.
Nootropics – natural, which are particularly worth deciding on
If the definition defines nootropics as chemical substances produced under laboratory conditions, then most often we think that they are completely artificial and we will find absolutely nothing of natural origin in them. Here we will surprise you a little bit, because many noootropics will be found in nature itself, characterized by virtually the same effect on the human brain as their synthetic counterparts. These are most often extracts from popular herbs, commonly known from other medical or even cosmetic applications, or sets of vitamins and minerals, and especially noteworthy is this:
1. Ashwagandha (Welcome Sleepy)
Fully deservedly considered by specialists to be the best natural nootropic, whose many valuable health properties cannot be denied. Also known as Indian Ginseng, it effectively helps in the treatment and prevention of various ailments. It is characterized by anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer effects, regulates the functioning of the entire circulatory and hormonal system, has a beneficial effect on the liver and kidneys, strengthens the immune system, slows down the aging processes of our body cells, facilitates post-workout regeneration. In turn, the group of nootropics includes it thanks to its anti-stress properties, comparable to many pharmacological agents. Ashwagandha will not only quickly remove the effects of this serious civilization disease, it also allows for deep relaxation and elimination of anxiety conditions often associated with severe stress. It gives a large dose of energy necessary for action, improves mood and motivates to the next effort, including mental.
2. Ginko Biloba (Ginkgo biloba/Japanese ginkgo)
This is another plant, which can be safely called a natural nootropic, originating from China and has in its composition more than 50 substances with proven health properties. Its action comes down primarily to improving the work of the heart and the whole blood system, lowering blood pressure and the level of “bad” cholesterol, and proper circulation automatically translates into better oxygenation of the brain. A better oxygenated brain works at its maximum efficiency and concentration is no longer a problem. Ginkgo biloba helps to fight stress, removes the feeling of tiredness, relieves strong, even migraine headaches, relieves the symptoms of dementia, helping to keep a good memory, so it is used in the prevention of Alzheimera disease, perfectly improves the mood.
3. Gotu kola (Centella asiatica)
The third most recommendable natural nootropic is the Gotu kola, an Asian Centurion, which has been used in Indian natural medicine for thousands of years. It has an excellent effect on the circulatory system, improving blood circulation and thus protecting against dangerous diseases such as venous insufficiency or thrombosis. However, we are interested in the support it gives to the nervous system to improve its overall functioning, which translates into increased concentration, faster thought processes and better memory. The conducted research showed that after the application of preparations having Gotu kola in their composition, the ability to learn and remember large batches of information at the same time increased. They also help alleviate all negative symptoms of stress and fatigue, delay the aging process and, like Ginko Biloba, increase brain cell oxygenation.
4. vitamins with beneficial effects on brain function
The importance of vitamins and minerals for our health cannot be underestimated, therefore, proper amounts of vitamins and minerals should be provided to the body together with food or specially selected dietary supplements supplementing possible deficiencies. Vitamins and minerals can safely be classified as nootropics, because of the way they affect the work of our brain and the entire nervous system. Those whose proper amount we should take particular care of are undoubtedly vitamins from group B, responsible for, among other things, proper, uninterrupted conduction of nerve impulses, reduction of stress, anxiety and lack of sleep problems, necessary for proper regeneration of the body. They also positively influence our memory skills, improve concentration, and their deficiencies may cause e.g. depression or acceleration of brain cell aging processes.
Let us not forget about vitamin D, not without reason called “sun vitamin”, which also has a huge impact not only on our mental abilities, but also on our health. Its deficiencies, caused, among other things, by the lack of sun during the winter months, can be seen practically immediately, as they manifest themselves as weakening of the most important cognitive functions and progressive degeneration of neurons. Vitamin D is even essential for long term good memory, protects against depression, anxiety and resulting immunosuppression.
The last three vitamins our brain demands are A, E and C. Lack of the first one adversely affects sight, one of the most important senses transmitting information to the brain, deficiency can also cause adverse changes in moods, increased nervousness or irritability. Too little vitamin E leads to dysfunction of the front part of the pituitary gland, which is also manifested by a growing excess of cortisol, called the stress hormone. While the correct amount of cortisol has a beneficial effect, allowing us to better cope with stress, its excess can even lead to neuronal damage. Equally important, and not only from the point of view of brain functioning, is vitamin C, one of the strongest natural antioxidants, which protects the brain against cell degeneration and oxidative stress. It is also considered to be a natural antidepressant, increasing serotonin secretion and effectively improving even the worst mood. Vitamin C also facilitates the absorption and assimilation of many other nutrients, including iron, which is essential to maintain good memory and concentration to help you learn.
5. minerals necessary for concentration, learning and memory
When it comes to minerals that have a beneficial effect on the brain, absolute priority is given to three minerals, magnesium, zinc and selenium. Magnesium can be safely considered as a necessary element for maintaining full mental fitness, and its possible deficiencies may have really unpleasant health consequences. The first symptom that should arouse our concern is the growing weakness, lack of strength and energy for the simplest activities, and the increasing level of cortisol in the blood adversely affects mental well-being and increasing stress. Zinc, in turn, is a mineral necessary for the proper course of learning processes and remembering the information we learn. The lack of it manifests itself through a significant decrease of intellectual capabilities and impossibility to concentrate e.g. on a simplest text or other mental task. Selenium, on the other hand, can be boldly called an improvement of every mood, even the worst, and when we feel sad, depressed and stressed, it can be a sign that we do not have enough of it. For this reason, it is of great importance in the treatment of depression, a disease that, if disregarded, can even lead to death.
Nootropics – other substances that they include
Nautural nootropics have repeatedly proven to be highly effective, becoming an important ingredient in many supplements that have a beneficial effect on the brain and the intellectual activities it directs. Other, equally effective substances, produced artificially in laboratories, are also commonly used, and the most common are:
- Piracetam, a component of many popular nootropic drugs, headed by probably the most famous Nootropic. It supports, among other things, the processes of learning and remembering, allowing you to concentrate on it as much as possible, it influences the better transmission of signals through neurons. Our brain works more efficiently, at maximum speed, and at the same time our body’s physical capacity increases;
- Aniracetam, a derivative of the pyracetam, was developed in the 1970s in Belgium and has an excellent cognitive effect. It is also characterized by anti-stress effects and can be said to increase our memory in a sense, allowing us to easily assimilate more information;
- Sulbutiamine, a synthetic derivative of vitamin B1, is better absorbed and assimilated by the body than the natural original. It perfectly influences the functioning of neurotransmitters, stimulates all metabolic processes in the nervous system, increasing the energy potential of the human brain. It is used to treat many mental disorders, from anxiety to severe clinical depression. By reducing the feeling of fatigue, both mental and physical, it improves our mood and motivates us to continue to act;
- Acetyl l-carnitine (ALCAR), a substance with antioxidant and neuroprotective properties, used, among others, in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. As a nootropic, it helps you to concentrate better, improves your memory, and our increased cognitive abilities allow you to acquire more knowledge in less time.
Nootropics – effects and possible side effects
As you can see from the above examples, there are a lot of nootropics, both natural and artificial, produced in the manufacturers’ laboratories. Thanks to this, everyone has the opportunity to choose the most suitable one, influencing the specific processes taking place in the brain. They not only allow us to increase our intellectual capabilities, but also open up new ways for us to achieve our goals and achieve the desired success in our private or professional lives. Taking them regularly, we can count on them, depending on their type:
- more efficient use of your brain, which is now working at higher speeds;
- a mind open to new experiences, even absorbing knowledge that can be used in an appropriate way later on;
- motivation to act, energy that allows to exceed all inaccessible so-far boundaries of intellectual learning;
- better concentration and nothing else will ever distract us from our work or study;
- easy coping with stress, without having to make costly visits to a specialist, psychologist or even a psychiatrist;
- no problems with sleeping, and after a busy day, falling asleep will also be child’s play;
- greater physical fitness of the body, and the composition of many nootropics is also conducive to rapid weight loss, making it easier to burn fat, for example.
Unfortunately, there is nothing for free in nature, so in addition to the numerous and undeniable advantages of nootropics also have some disadvantages, which should be familiarized with before you reach for them. These are usually side effects of their use, maybe not as troublesome, but if you take them, you may sometimes feel them:
- troublesome allergic reactions, which are most often caused by allergy to any of the components of the preparation used;
- gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhoea, stomach pains and even vomiting;
- mood swings oscillating from euphoric states to typically depressive behaviours, which usually results from an overdose of the applied nootropic. This should be vigorously avoided, always adhering strictly to the doses recommended by the manufacturer;
- headaches of varying degrees of severity up to and including migraine, also related to overdose.
To avoid them, you only need to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations, and the use of any preparation, especially those available without a prescription, consult a doctor. We never know how our body will react to them, and in the event of any of the above symptoms, it is enough to stop using the product and everything will quickly return to normal.
I am 31 years old and I am passionate about everything associated with a healthy lifestyle. I try to live according to its principles, and I want to share my experiences with you on this blog. You can find here the necessary information about slimming diets that give the best results in the shortest time, and also reviews of dietary supplements supporting this process, in order to help you choose the most effective ones. I am also waiting for your comments, which certainly will not remain unanswered.