Let’s talk about nootropics, because it won’t be long before just about everyone will be talking abou them and getting on the nootropics band wagon. Nootropics have been increasingly popular over the last few decades and can sometimes be referred to as the ‘entrepreneurs drug’ because of their popularity in Silicon Valley and other start up hot spots. In recent years we have seen a spread to other performance based industries and a rise in popularity with professional athletes.
Nootropics is an umbrella term for a class of substances that enhance cognitive function in humans. Known to boost neurotransmitter production, blood flow to the brain, increase communication between neurons, help brain cell regeneration and support neuroplasticity. In simple terms this will improve memory, focus, energy, concentration, creativity and overall brain health. Nootropics are commonly confused with smart drugs such as Adderall and Modafinil which are prescription drugs and can have adverse side effects, which are illegal in the UK unless prescribed.
Why should you care?
If you’re prone to periods of procrastination and find that you’re suffering from episodess of brain fog all too regularly, then you definitely should start caring if you haven’t started to already. It’s frustrating to sit down to work and find that you can’t focus on the task at hand. You can’t excuse yourself by saying ‘today just wasn’t the day’ when in fact neither was the day before and the day before that…
Imagine if you could pull out 10% more ‘focused work time’ out of the bag…or even 20%? Or imagine if you could focus on work and not get distracted? Is it possible if you could stay alert and on the ball all day long…? Well, ask any nootropics advocate, because they will simply tell you ‘you can’, because they live this type of lifestyle on a daily basis.
Let’s highlight the facts
The term nootropic was first coined in 1972 by a Romanian psychologist and chemist Dr. Corneliu E. Giurgea who synthesized the first ever man made nootropic called Piracetam. The word Nootropic is derived from the Greek words nous (mind) and trepein (to bend or turn).
The true definition of a nootropic according to Dr. Giurgea, is something that meets these five criteria:
- Must enhance learning and memory
- Must help the brain function under disruptive conditions.
- Must protect the brain from chemical and physical assaults
- Must increase the efficacy of neuronal firing control mechanisms
- Must possess few or no side effects and be virtually non-toxic
*Sounds pretty bloody wonderful if you ask us!
But why do our brains let us down in the first place…?
Why do we get brain fog in the first place? What makes our minds easily wonder and what allows us to lose focus all too easily (or willingly)?! The answer is quite simply – toxins, unhealthy brain cells, and depleted chemical resources in the brain. Your brain is like an engine that kicks off exhaust fumes, except your brain kicks out toxins which are flushed away in your blood. Normally our brains are good at cleaning these toxins out (it happens in your sleep, that’s why naps are so refreshing!).
But our brains have limited resources, and because of all the toxins in our environment (bad food, pollution, fluorescent lighting), our brain cells become unhealthy and less efficient before dying off. As a result our brain then has to pull resources away from detoxing, to purge old cells (creating even more waste to clear) and to create new cells. Even worse, new brain cells are like rookie athletes who haven’t yet built up the skill or stamina to take on the pros, and even more resources have to go into training these new cells (this is myelin insulation – google it if you want to know more).
So instead of cleaning itself all day like a lazy house cat, your brain is crazily trying to rebuild itself like a bird putting its nest behind a jet engine.
But there’s more.
Remember those rookie brain cells? They don’t communicate as well as we would like, which means we have to use up more neurotransmitters to send the same messages via the rookies. Therefore, we’re burning more fuel for the same end result….
Right, so how do we fix this mess?
Easily enough, it turns out. There are substances that your brain needs to clean itself out and you can top those up. It’s a bit like if you were to overdose on prescription meds; the doctor would pump you full of activated charcoal to absorb the toxic chemicals, (but less dramatic!)
You can also give your brain more of the building blocks for healthy brain cells, so as cells die new ones can grow stronger and more quickly. Throw in some good DHA fats for myelin and you get those rookie cells to pro fighter ones in less time. Finally, top up your neurotransmitters so you don’t run out of fuel, at least not as quickly.
Can you do this by swallowing a magic pill? Cue natural Nootropics, who can do all of the above!
Natural vs. Synthetic
There are many types of substances that technically fall into the bracket of ‘nootropic’ however not all are naturally occurring chemicals. Synthetic nootropics are man made chemicals that stimulate the brain in the same way natural nootropics do. Although usually safe, under the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016, all synthetic nootropics are banned in the UK. Natural nootropics are derived from food sources and plant extracts, providing various benefits when used separately and giving your brain everything it needs to thrive! When stacked together the benefits compound and create great all round supplements that offer all the benefits a nootropic can provide.
How do I know what to look for?
Get a stack – a supplement with a blend of ingredients – that facilitates cleaning, supports healthy cell growth, and produces neurotransmitters.
This is how you can clear that brain fog and cut out procrastination just long enough to get 10-20% more done, whatever that more is for you.
Whilst you’re not going to suddenly find yourself equal to Bradley Cooper in Limitless (as wonderful as that would be), you will find the supplement gives you that extra drive to stay focussed on your tasks at hand. You can wave goodbye to endless to do lists that stay unfinished and hello to crossing a considerable amount of them off on a regular basis. What’s not to like?
By Josh O’Callaghan & Seamus O’Callaghan
Twenty-something’s Joshua and Seamus are the founders of natural Nootropic brand Project Better, advocates of those seeking to do more with their time so you can perform at your ultimate best self.
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