What are Nootropics & Smart Drugs?
Nootropics (Smart Drugs) follow two important rules to classify them in the category. Firstly, they must be non-psychoactive, meaning they do not noticeably alter perception or behavior. They should not cause impairment or any sort of noticeable change to actions or thoughts when used at the proper dosages. Keep in mind, that everyone reacts differently, so these rules are meant to be an overall guideline. Secondly, they must be relatively safe and mustn’t cause any serious side effects or significant addictive tendencies on a wide scale. With these things in mind, most supplements are not without risk and some may slightly alter perception in some people. These guidelines are strictly a rule of thumb to help classify these group of substances. As with any supplement, serious allergic reactions are possible. Also, people with liver problems or people who are pregnant or plan to come pregnant, should avoid consuming nootropics. Always consult a medical professional before using, especially if you are on medication.
How They Work
Brain drugs and supplements have been studied in the past and present (often in other countries like Russia). Certain smart drugs have limited study and rely heavily on anecdotal evidence backed up by users on Reddit, Longecity.com and Facebook groups. Unfortunately, due to limited and older study materials, it often provides limited data on human subjects. From some of the more well-studied noots, we have basic knowledge of how they work.
Nootropics work by altering brain chemistry temporarily and targeting various systems within the brain. These systems are controlled by chemical messengers called “neurotransmitters”. For every neurotransmitter there are receptors for the respective type of neurotransmitter. By altering the activity of these various chemical messengers and their receptors, various effects can occur within the brain.
Noots are separated into sub-classes. Each works slightly differently by interacting with different brain chemicals. Some of the most common classes are listed below:
- These types of brain enhancing drugs are most common and work by targeting a learning and memory neurotransmitter called, acetylcholine. Without getting to complicated, racetams basically amplify the signal of acetylcholine. This “amplification” improves the fuction of the brain chemical
- Ampakines work in a similar way to racetams except they target another learning and memory neurotransmitter known as glutamate. The chemicals in this class produce their positive effects at two types of glutamate sub-receptors.
- Brain enhancers relating to the dopamine chemical system are known as dopaminergic nootropics. Dopamine as a neurochemical have important implications in: memory, focus, learning and mood. The dopamine system (neurotransmitter and receptors) is a complicated network with many functions. Various narcotics, supplements and drugs have influence on the system producing a range of differing effects on cognitive processes
Do They Work & What Are The Risks?
Although scientific study backs up a number of nootropics, its not a “one size fits all” as with anything that is supplemented. People will have differing effects. Whether or not you will benefit, will depend on individual brain chemistry. Many people swear by these products; just don’t be expecting to much, and perhaps you might be pleasantly surprised.
On that tolken, be realistic. These substances are often extremely subtle and some may pick up more benefits than others. Also, keep in mind, just because you don’t “feel” different, doesn’t mean you aren’t cognitively benefiting quietly in some way. Also, keep in mind, some “noots” can take up to two weeks for their full spectrum of benefits to emerge.
So do the benefits outweigh the risks? Even though nootropics are generally considered safe, it is important to note that the US FDA and other national regulatory agencies have not studied or approved these substances for use. No such guaranteed safety exists with these products especially since chemical makeup varies drastically. Severe allergic reactions, although rare, are a possibility in a minority of people. Mixing products together and/or with prescribed medications can also up the risks. Talking to a medical professional is the best code of conduct in all cases.
Education is really the only way to make a concise choice. Do the research, weigh the pros and cons and then consult a medical professional before embarking on any brain enhancing supplement regimen. Only you can decide in the end. Feel free to browse through our blog to learn more about various related topics, and view our shop page to view product summaries.