Nootropics and Best Study Drugs - Do they really work?

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Nootropics or Smart pills are of great speculation in the present times. While a large of individuals have already given in to using nootropic agents as a part of their daily lives, there is still a larger portion of the population who are skeptical of the effectiveness of the drugs. Modafinil is one of the most popular nootropics at the moment. In this blog, I’ll try to resolve some of the doubts about nootropics that you might have before you buy modafinil online, or any other nootropic drug, for that matter, which might in turn help you decide whether you should start using a nootropic medication for yourself.

What are Nootropics?

Nootropics is the scientific name of a group of drugs that are now popularly dubbed Smart Drugs. Technically, nootropics drugs were developed to alter brain chemistry to various degrees for treating disorders like narcolepsy and ADHD. However, it was soon found out that several such brain stimulators were capable of enhancing cognitive capabilities, an effect safe to be exploited by even healthy individuals. This marked the era of smart pills or cognitive enhancers. At present, we have quite a few drugs that primarily work by stimulating the CNS, that is, the brain, and increasing cognitive capacities like focus, memory, motor functions, and more.

The Nootropics around us

Although the idea of nootropics sounds quite futuristic or science fiction-like, nootropics have been around us since the beginning of civilization. Bacopa moneri, a tropical herb under major scrutiny currently for its nootropic effects was known to the Vedic civilization in 1100 - 1500 BC and mentioned multiple times in Ayurvedic texts as a cognitive enhancer. While this sounds all mystic and magical, there is an even more popular example of a nootropic that you likely consumed this morning. Green tea, an oriental staple, consists of theanine. Theanine has been found to be of great

The most widely used nootropic in the world at present was popularized by the Arabs in 1 AD, coffee.

Yes, the favorite cult beverage of the world coffee, contains a significant amount of caffeine, which is a nootropic. You have not been wrong about drinking coffee in the morning to begin your day properly! Caffeine has proven cognition-enhancing capacities and is also made available in a bunch of beverages like energy drinks and soft beverages, besides coffee itself.

Natural Substances

  • To enhance cognition, Bacopa monnieri is utilized in Ayurvedic traditional medicine. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning to producers of dietary supplement goods containing Bacopa monnieri in 2019 about making false and unlawful claims about the herb's therapeutic benefits. However, by 2022, the studies have been more in favor of the herb than against it.
  • Panax ginseng: The Cochrane Collaboration reviewed the available research on this supplement and came to the conclusion that there was a scarcity of compelling data to demonstrate a mental positive effect of Panax ginseng in normal controls and no decent quality scientific proof about its effectiveness in dementia patients. Nevertheless, the reviewers noted that the results of their analysis, proposed advancement of some aspects of intellectual function, behavior, and quality of life."
  • Ginkgo biloba - Ginkgo biloba leaf extract is marketed as a dietary supplement with claims that it can improve cognitive function in individuals without known cognitive problems. However, there isn't any credible research to back up these claims about how Ginkgo biloba may affect memory or attention in healthy individuals.
  • Salvia officinalis or lavandulaefolia (sage) - Some study has shown that specific preparations of Salvia officinalis may have favorable effects on human brain function, however, no conclusive results can be obtained due to serious methodological issues.
  • Salvia extracts include thujone, which may be neurotoxic. The herb Centella asiatica, which was the subject of a 2017 meta-analysis involving 11 research with 5 RCTs with placebo, and 6 with other botanicals as a control subject, showed no notable improvement in any aspect of cognitive performance, although it could be useful for reducing agitation and mood swings.

Dietary Supplements

  • Omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin B, and vitamin E were shown to have no influence on cognitive performance in healthy middle-aged and older persons, according to a 2015 review.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids: DHA & EPA, are two Cochrane Collaboration evaluations on the use of supplemented omega-3 fatty acids treating ADHD and cognitive impairments that have shown no support for their efficacy as a form of treatment. Two further systematic reviews showed no evidence of impacts on general population cognition.
  • Folate does not improve cognitive function in middle-aged or older persons who do not have a folate shortage.
  • Without a B6 deficiency, vitamin B6 has no cognitive-improving benefits for middle-aged or older persons.
  • Without a B12 deficiency, vitamin B12 has no cognitive-improving benefits in middle-aged or older persons.
  • Without vitamin E, middle-aged and older persons show no cognitive benefits

Medications

Low dosages of certain CNS stimulants have been used in clinical human studies, and systematic reviews and meta-analyses have revealed that these substances improve cognition in healthy individuals.

  • Amphetamine: According to systematic reviews and meta-analyses, both healthy persons and those with ADHD benefit from modest doses of amphetamine in terms of their ability to do certain cognitive tasks, such as response inhibition, memory formation, executive function, and attentional components. Low dosages of amphetamine also enhance memory consolidation, which enhances knowledge recall in non-ADHD young people, according to a 2014 systematic study. Additionally, it enhances task saliency and performance on laborious activities requiring a lot of effort.
  • Methylphenidate, a benzylpiperidine derivative, enhances memory performance, memory formation, inhibitory control, elements of attention, and planning delay in normal persons. Additionally, it could enhance performance on difficult tasks and task saliency. Methylphenidate has off-label effects that reduce learning when dosages are higher than recommended.
  • Eugeroics (modafinil and armodafinil) - These are referred to be "alertness-promoting drugs"; modafinil enhances attentiveness, especially in those who are sleep-deprived, and makes it easier for young people who are not ADHD to reason and solve problems. When straightforward psychometric tests were taken into account in a comprehensive analysis of small, exploratory trials looking at the effects of modafinil, executive function was improved. Whether a person is sleep-deprived or not, modafinil may not boost their mood or motivation.
  • Caffeine: A meta-analysis revealed an improvement in attentional and alertness performance.
  • Nicotine - A meta-analysis of several clinical trials found that smoking or nicotine treatment enhances alerting and orienting attention, episodic and working memory, and marginally enhances fine motor function.

Do Nootropics really work?

The Best Nootropics - Study Drugs in the Market

Although popular, there are not too many GRAS nootropics available in the market that you can use on a daily basis as a cognitive enhancer. In this segment, I will discuss some of the most common and, more importantly, safest nootropics that you can consider using as smart drugs.

CNS Stimulants

The CNS, or central nervous system consists of the brain and the spinal cord. Any compound that is capable of manipulating the function of the brain or the spinal cord to make them more active is considered a CNS stimulant.

Amphetamines

Low-dose amphetamine is shown to increase cognitive abilities in both healthy persons and those with ADHD, including response inhibition, memory formation, working memory, and parts of attention. Low dosages of amphetamine can enhance memory consolidation, which enhances knowledge recall in young people who are not ADHD, according to a 2014 systematic study. Additionally, it enhances task saliency (desire to complete a job) and performance on difficult, time-consuming activities.

Eugeroics

Eugeroics, like modafinil, are referred to be "wakefulness-promoting drugs" because they improve alertness, especially in those who are sleep-deprived, and help non-ADHD children and adolescents reason and solve problems. When straightforward psychometric tests were taken into account in a comprehensive analysis of small, exploratory trials looking at the effects of modafinil, executive function was improved. Whether a person is sleep-deprived or not, modafinil may not boost their mood or motivation.

Methylphenidate

In healthy individuals, methylphenidates, which are benzylpiperidine compounds, enhance memory skills, episodic memory, inhibitory control, various elements of concentration, and decision delay. They could also enhance performance on difficult tasks and task saliency. Methylphenidate has off-target effects that reduce learning when dosages are above acceptable levels.

Racetams

Racetams, including piracetam, oxiracetam, phenylpiracetam, and aniracetam, are often promoted and available over the counter as cognitive enhancers. Piracetam pills were mislabeled when sold in the US, according to a 2019 research. Although racetams are frequently referred to be nootropics, this characteristic is not extensively documented. While piracetam and aniracetam are recognized to work as benzodiazepine receptor stimulators of AMPA receptors and tend to regulate cholinergic systems, the mechanisms of the racetams remain poorly understood.

Cholinergics

Cholinergics are some of the nootropics that are most often utilized. Usually, they are choline-related substances and analogs. The creation of phosphatidylcholine and acetylcholine, two neurotransmitters, depends on choline, an important vitamin which is a primary component of neuronal membranes.

Citicoline

According to many meta-analyses, choline is beneficial for enhancing memory and learning in older persons with modest cognitive impairment and those who are recuperating from a stroke. Few studies have shown that it improves cognition in adolescents and healthy adults.

Choline Bitartrate

The tartaric acid salt called choline bitartrate has 41% of the molecular weight of choline in it. Choline bitartrate has been shown to be useless at enhancing cognitive ability, according to at least one meta-analysis.

Alpha-GPC

L-Alpha glycerylphosphorylcholine has only been investigated in relation to cognitive performance when combined with other drugs like coffee. Prior to actually drawing any firm conclusions on the efficacy of Alpha-GPC as a nootropic, a more thorough meta-analysis is required.

Amino Acids

The amino acid called Theanine may cause the brain's alpha waves to rise, according to a 2016 analysis. A calm yet aware mental state may be facilitated by alpha waves. Another study found that within 40 minutes of intake, oral theanine administration at levels of 50–200 mg increased "relaxation without producing drowsiness." Concurrent use of caffeine and l-theanine was found to have synergistic psychoactive effects that supported alertness, attention, and task switching in a 2014 systematic review and meta-analysis. The first hour following the injection was when these effects were the strongest.

Side Effects of Nootropics

Any substance that may affect, enhance, or greatly enhance cognitive performance, primarily due to the activation or suppression of specific neurotransmitters, is known as a nootropic. Misuse of nootropics has the potential to be harmful and destructive to the human brain, and some individuals who have taken to mental or substance use disorders may be especially susceptible to their negative effects. Healthcare professionals in general, and in the disciplines of mental health and drug abuse in particular, should be aware that the use of nootropics is a growing and underappreciated problem. When mental symptoms suddenly or unexplainably worsen in stable, medication-adherent individuals, nootropic usage should be taken into consideration. It's also crucial to keep in mind that the majority of nootropics are not picked up by routine drug toxicity screening procedures. The potential for negative physical and psychological side effects from nootropics' interactions with psychotropic drugs (or other pharmaceuticals) is not well understood clinically. Furthermore, since nootropics are frequently purchased from poorly regulated sources, including internet retailers, it is likely that the marketed nootropics will be replaced with other psychoactive substances.

Conclusion

To wrap it up, nootropics are brain stimulators that alter the brain chemistry to often enhance cognitive capacities like memory, focus, decision-making efficiency, and more. In this blog we discussed the different kinds of nootropics available to us at the moment and the leel of their efficiencies. While modafinil is one of the safest and most efficient nootropics available in the market, other options of nootropics are continuously being developed given the large demand for the drugs currently. If you are an individual curious about nootropics and inclined towards choosing the best nootropic suitable for your unique needs, I hope this blog helped you find out everything you needed to know about the alleged Smart Drugs available to you in the market. It must be comparatively simpler for you to make a decision about the best nootropic for yourself.

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