Nootropics promise a razor-sharp focus, optimal concentration and an improvement in learning and memory performance. In short: They enable you to develop your full cognitive potential. But which substances actually belong to the nootropics? How do they work and to what extent is the increase in cognitive performance achieved through nootropics and brain boosters scientifically proven? We take a close look at the everyday mental helpers. You can also buy many of the presented nootropics in our online shop.
What are nootropics?
Nootropics are (mostly herbal) substances that cross the blood-brain barrier and thus influence the central nervous system. This enables them to improve brain performance, which can have a positive effect on concentration, focus and memory performance. Nootropics have little or no side effects and are an essential part of brain boosters.
The Scientific Discovery of Nootropics
The Romanian-Belgian doctor, psychologist and pharmacologist Corneliu E. Giurgea is considered the spiritual father of nootropics. In the 1960s, he tested new types of drugs on animals, which - it was hoped - would have a sedative effect. Although the attempts failed, the substance UCB 6215 caught the researcher's attention because of its influence on the central nervous system. Tests with people who suffered from a concussion showed that taking UCB 6215 significantly accelerated their recovery compared to a control group and was accompanied by a noticeable improvement in memory performance. A little later, UCB 6215 was marketed as Piracetam - and classified by Giurgea as a representative of a new class of substances: the nootropics.
Characteristics and requirements
Giurgea had very clear ideas about which properties a substance had to have in order to be classified as a nootropic. According to his definition, which is widely recognized to this day, nootropic substances have the following 5 properties:
- They support learning and memory performance.
- They also increase the resistance of learned behavior and memory to disruptive factors.
- They protect the brain against physical or chemical damage.
- They improve the efficiency of certain mechanisms in the cerebral cortex.
- In contrast to many other psychotropic substances, they have neither an overly sedating nor stimulating effect, have hardly any side effects and have extremely low toxicity.
More recent descriptions of nootropic substances are usually based on Giurgea's classification and add further points if necessary. The following features are often listed:
- Crossing the blood-brain barrier
- Stimulation of the metabolism and brain performance
- No influence on blood pressure
- No influence on the brain functions (no change in perception; expansion of consciousness)
Nootropics vs. Stimulants
Many substances that are often given the label of a nootropic are not real nootropics according to the criteria mentioned above. This is especially true for stimulants like Caffeine. The latter also acts as a psychotropic substance on the nervous system, but has no nootropic effect with most caffeine sources. This means: Caffeine has a mind-expanding and -changing effect to a certain extent. In addition, can CaffeineIf it is too concentrated, it will also cause physical or psychological side effects. In addition, the body gets used to stimulants such as Caffeine. So you have to continuously increase the dose to get the same effect.
For the formulation of brain boosters, stimulants are at least as popular as nootropics. For good reason, after all, thanks to their influence on the autonomic nervous system, they are associated with considerable advantages, some of which overlap with those of nootropics. Which coffee drinker can seriously imagine giving up his physically and cognitively activating morning coffee?
Still, there are a number of ways in which nootropics are superior to stimulants. Nootropics
- have little or no physical or psychological side effects,
- do not lead to a development of tolerance and
- can be used over a long period of time in a low dose - with the same effect.
Good to know: Many brain boosters rely on a clever combination of nootropics and stimulants in order to achieve a particularly high level of effectiveness on the psyche and cognitive performance.
Making full use of intellectual potential: This is how nootropics work
Because nootropics can cross the blood-brain barrier, they affect our central nervous system. In doing so, they promote blood circulation and supply our brain with energy on a cellular level, more precisely with the energy carrier adenosine triphosphate, which some of us might know from biology lessons as "ATP". This ensures that the brain can work optimally. In addition, nootropic substances are often involved in the production of neurotransmitters such as dopamine or acetylcholine, which also has a positive effect on our cognitive performance.
IQ hack via supplement? What nootropics can do - and what they can't
With nootropics, we can go cognitively to our limits - but not beyond. A common misconception about nootropics is that they are somehow "smarter" or act as "brain doping". That's not the case. Rather, nootropic substances enable us to develop our full spiritual potential. To put it another way: You have no influence on our IQ, but create the conditions for doing the best possible in an IQ test.
Who particularly benefits from brain boosters?
Many brain boosters use nootropics to optimize mental performance. Brain boosters are classically aimed at all people who are dependent on achieving maximum cognitive performance over a short or long period of time in their everyday life - despite stress or other disruptive factors. The following groups in particular benefit from taking it.
- Pupils / students: Learning (besides partying, of course) makes up the main part of everyday school life. Nootropics support learning and memory performance and ensure the best possible performance in important exam phases. It is not without reason that some students are now familiar with brain boosters.
- Office worker: Those who work with the mind depend on the latter to function reliably. This applies not only to particularly creative professional groups such as artists or writers, but also applies to almost every office job. Brain boosters can be particularly useful in stressful work-related times with a high level of mental stress.
- Athlete: Even athletes can benefit to a high degree from brain boosters. And by that we don't just mean e-athletes and hobby gamers, but also athletes. Since a sharper focus strengthens the mind-muscle connection, the latter can train much more efficiently - and thus get the most out of their workouts.
It is not without reason that nootropic experiences are to a large extent shared by people from these groups.
The study location
In order to be considered a "real" nootropic, the effectiveness of a substance must have been proven through clinical studies. In fact, this is the case for many of the substances advertised and used as nootropics - from ginko biloba to guarana to Choline - the case. While the study results for many substances are unambiguous, further investigations are necessary for other substances in order to research and prove the exact mode of action.
Core Labs X NZT Power "Energy Boost" 15 caps
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Boost your brain: the 10 best nootropics at a glance
Since the substance group was first classified in the 1970s, the list of nootropics has grown longer and longer. We present ten of the most famous - and most effective - nootropic substances that are used again and again for good reason and are largely responsible for the effect of brain supplements.
1.) Alpha GPC
Alpha GPC is considered a precursor of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine and has a particularly positive influence on memory performance. The nootropic is very popular among athletes, not least because of its razor-sharp focus. So support you Alpha GPC not only in developing your cognitive, but also your training potential.
2.) Ashwagandha extract
Ashwagandha is probably one of the longest-used nootropics ever. The medicinal herb has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for over 3.000 years - and thanks to its properties, it is now valued not only in (alternative) medicine, but also in the supplement industry. The substance increases cognitive performance and internal drive, strengthens the immune system and at the same time reduces tiredness and stress.
3.) Bacopa monnieri extract
With Bacopa monnieri The next traditional Ayurvedic medicinal plant is about to appear in our list of the best nootropics. Bacopa monnieri Extract ensures the functioning of existing synapses and the formation of new ones, thus ensuring optimal brain function. The substance is also popular in brain boosters because it also relieves stress, fears and depressive moods.
Choline, in supplements often as better usable Choline bitartrate used, is one of the best researched nootropics. In studies, the substance has already proven its extremely positive effects on memory performance and the ability to concentrate several times.
5.) Ginkgo biloba
Ginkgo biloba should not be missing from our list. The highly potent substance gives many well-known brain boosters their much-valued effect. Ginkgo biloba ensures better blood flow to the brain and, as a result, optimizes cognitive performance. And not only that. On top of that, Ginkgo biloba is able to lower the level of the stress hormone cortisol in the body - and is therefore ideal for first aid in stressful and psychologically stressful times.
6.) Guarana extract
The nootropic guarana is likely to be familiar to many from energy drinks, but it is also used again and again in brain boosters. For good reason. The antioxidant enables you to benefit from the stimulating effects of Caffeine to benefit without having to accept its typical side effects. This is what the guarana extract contains Caffeine released very slowly and evenly.
As a sleep hormone, melatonin is largely responsible for maintaining our full brain performance. Taken as a supplement, melatonin has a calming, sleep-promoting and balancing effect. In particular, people who suffer from insomnia and the associated lack of sleep, melatonin can help to achieve a natural day-night rhythm.
9.) Lion's Mane Mushroom
The Lion's Mane Mushroom proves that mushrooms can also have highly potent nootropic properties. The mushroom, which has long been used in traditional Chinese medicine, supports the formation of synapses, optimizes brain performance and protects the brain.
10.) Rhodiola Rosea
Rhodiola Rosea, also known in Germany as rose root extract, is not only a highly effective nootropic, but also a highly effective adaptogen. In other words: Rhodiola Rosea helps our body and psyche to adapt to stress. It doesn't matter whether the cause of the stress is physical, emotional or psychological. On top of that, Rhodiola Rosea is known to lift mood and can help prevent mood swings. Properties that make the substance a real all-rounder among the nootropics.
Brain supplements: clever combination, maximum effect
Every nootropic already has a positive effect on our cognitive performance as a single preparation. However, many brain supplements do not stop at a single ingredient. Quite a few of the most potent brain boosters even rely on a whole cocktail of nootropic and psychotropic substances in order to achieve the greatest possible effect. The highlight: The effects of the active ingredients used are not simply added up, but sometimes even amplified many times over. On the one hand, this is due to significant synergy effects. On the other hand, many brain boosters consciously rely on ingredients that increase the bioavailability - i.e. the physical absorption capacity - of the active ingredients used.
Conclusion: nootropics and brain boosters - mental everyday helpers
Nootropics and brain boosters have become an integral part of the modern supplement industry. All over the world people with a mentally demanding (professional) everyday life as well as athletes rely on the positive effect of mental everyday helpers. After all, the substances ensure that our brain can work optimally in every situation. Many brain boosters also increase stress resistance and improve mood. So brain boosters are one thing above all: A guarantee that no more (cognitive) potential is wasted!