Can Nootropics Really Make You Smarter? Header Image

Can Nootropics REALLY Make You Smarter?


Nootropics, also known as "smart drugs" or "cognitive enhancers," come in various forms, including prescription drugs, dietary supplements, and synthetic compounds. People use them to improve cognitive function, memory, focus, and overall brain health.

What are Nootropics?

The term "nootropics" was first coined by Romanian psychologist and chemist Dr. Corneliu Giurgea in the 1970s. It is derived from the Greek words "nous," meaning mind, and "trepein," meaning to bend or turn. Over time, the definition of nootropics has expanded to include a wide range of substances that provide cognitive benefits.

Some popular examples of nootropics include caffeine pills, Omega-3 fatty acids, L-theanine, and Racetams. Prescription drugs like Adderall and Modafinil are also considered nootropics due to their cognitive-enhancing effects.

Nootropics available to consumers encompass a diverse range of substances, from natural to synthetic, all aimed at improving brain function. But, whether it's boosting alertness or enhancing memory, you'll want to learn more if you're looking to optimize your mental performance.

Health Direct | Can nootropics really make you smarter

What Are Cognitive Enhancers?

Looking to boost your brainpower and enhance cognitive function? A common shorthand term is cognitive enhancers, marketed for improved focus, memory, and overall mental performance. They are also called nootropics and are designed to support optimal brain health and function. If you're a student looking to ace exams, or a professional aiming to improve productivity, or simply looking to support your brain as you age, nootropics may have cognition-enhancing effects that can benefit you. 

"Smart Pills"

Smart drugs, including prescription stimulants and other prescription medications, along with natural nootropic supplements, are used to improve memory, focus, and overall cognitive abilities. Drugs can offer temporary benefits but often come with potential risks and side effects (and lots of small print disclosures.) Some nootropic natural supplements may have side effects for some people with health conditions. Generally, they are safe for healthy people, but as always, be sure to let your medical professionals know you're using a nootropic in either prescription or supplement form.

One potential risk of using smart drugs is dependence and addiction. Prescription stimulants, such as Adderall and Ritalin, which are nootropic drugs, can be habit-forming and lead to substance abuse if not used as directed by a healthcare professional. While these can be effective drugs, for those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder(ADHD), you'll want to try any nootropic supplement of nootropic drug slowly and closely monitor your body's reactions. If you have a health condition, please beware; these drugs can also have adverse side effects, including increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, and anxiety.

So, let's also set realistic expectations for nootropics and the opportunities for enhancing cognitive abilities for healthy adults they can provide. Nootropics are one proactive step to improve cognitive performance. Still, we also need to address anything in our lifestyle that might contribute to cognitive decline - isolation, lack of sleep, poor diet, and lack of movement, which are often common underlying contributors. 

The Benefits Of Nootropics

Are you looking to improve your focus, extend your attention span, speed up your responses and recall, enhance your memory, or simply boost your overall cognitive function? Nootropics may be just the solution you need. If you're getting older and are worried about cognitive dysfunction, some of the new breakthroughs in nootropics will be exciting to you. 

We've all heard that diet and exercise play a crucial role in our health, but they also have side benefits for our concentration, focus, and cognitive functioning. Your body naturally gets a brain boost from diet and exercise, but the problem is those returns diminish with age. We routinely notice a flash of a brain boost from things we ingest, like l-theanine and caffeine, very quickly. But supplements can also have a cumulative effect. Over time, they can continue to enhance mental performance, concentration, learning, and clear thinking.

When using nootropic supplements, it's important to find your appropriate dosage so you avoid potential side effects such as headaches, nausea, or insomnia. Remember, we are looking to improve cognitive function, memory, and overall brain health, not cause ourselves physical distress. When you understand the realistic benefits and potential side effects, I know you'll make informed decisions about incorporating these cognitive enhancers into your daily routine.

Dietary Supplements That Help With Brain Power

Dietary supplements come in various forms and are often marketed as brain boosters. Some common types include vitamins, minerals, and natural or herbal combinations.

Vitamins such as B-complex vitamins, vitamin D, and vitamin E benefit brain health by aiding in the production of neurotransmitters and protecting brain cells from oxidative stress.

Minerals like magnesium and zinc play a role in cognitive function and may help improve memory and learning, which helps with our mental ability in daily life.

Natural ingredients such as omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil and herbal combinations like ginkgo biloba are also often promoted for their potential effects on brain health.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids Feed Your Brain

Remember when your grandma said, "Fish is brain food!"  It turns out she wasn't wrong. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential nutrients that offer a wide range of benefits for overall health, and in particular brain health. These healthy fats play a crucial role in building and repairing brain cells, ultimately supporting our mental functions and mental well-being.

Remember, the human brain is 60% fat!

Sources of Omega-3 fatty acids include fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts. For those who may not consume these foods regularly, Omega-3 supplements are also available.

Although Omega-3 supplements can offer numerous benefits, it's essential to be aware of potential risks and interactions. High doses of Omega-3 supplements, particularly from fish oil, can increase the risk of bleeding and may interact with certain medications. When it comes to a safe dose and how much you should take, it's generally recommended that healthy people take a daily dose of Omega-3 fatty acids of 250-500mg. Different forms of Omega-3 supplements are available, including fish oil, krill oil, and algae-based supplements, so if you have trouble digesting one form or have a medical condition, you may do better with an alternate version.

Amino Acids

Amino acids play a crucial role in maintaining brain health and function, and they may even have positive implications for traumatic brain injury and mental disorders. They are the building blocks of proteins and are essential for producing neurotransmitters, chemicals that transmit signals in the brain. Neurotransmitters are vital for regulating mood, cognition, and overall cognitive performance - they are the source of our amazing brain power and communication from mind to muscle and back.

Health Direct | Neurotransmitters send chemical signals across the synapses between neurons

 

Amino acids can be obtained through various sources, including protein-rich foods like meat, dairy, and plant-based sources like legumes and nuts. Additionally, supplements are available for those who may not get enough amino acids through their diet. People often find that AminoSculpt Liquid Collagen, with all nine essential amino acids, has sleep and cognition-enhancing effects. Because AminoSculpt is triple hydrolyzed with fruit enzymes, you often see results more quickly than with other types of protein.

Certain types of amino acids are particularly beneficial for brain health. For example, tryptophan is necessary to produce serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood and sleep. AminoSculpt is the only liquid collagen that contains tryptophan! Tyrosine, another amino acid, is essential for producing dopamine and norepinephrine, which are involved in motivation, focus, and mental alertness.

Adverse Effects of Nootropics

While many people swear by the positive effects on cognition of their "smart pills," it's important to be aware of the potential adverse effects that may come with their use. It's essential to be well-informed about the potential risks and drawbacks of using nootropics so you can make an educated decision about whether they are right for you. While clinical studies generally show there are minimal adverse effects from using these brain-boosting supplements, if you have a medical condition like cardiovascular disease or other health issues, you want to be aware of the warning signs.

Regarding dietary supplements and omega-3 fatty acids, there are some potential risks to keep in mind. One of the main concerns is the interaction with medications affecting blood clotting, as omega-3 fatty acids could increase the risk of bleeding when taken with these medications. It's crucial to consult a doctor before starting any omega-3 supplement regimen to ensure it's safe, especially if you're taking medications that affect blood clotting. When taken as directed, omega-3 supplements generally have a low risk of side effects.

Smart drugs, prescription stimulants and nonprescription natural stimulants, and other nootropics that enhance attention span, brain connections, memory function, and mental sharpness are gaining popularity for their potential effects on brain performance and focus, but they also may have contraindications with any other medications you're taking. Luckily, new options, mechanisms of action, and new delivery systems for newly-researched nutrients for keeping the human brain healthy, well-connected, and firing with all systems "go!" have recently been shown in clinical testing to provide safe alternatives for healthy adults.

What is BDNF?

BDNF is short for brain-derived neurotrophic factor. This tiny protein plays a significant role in our brain health and function, from its impact on learning and memory to its potential in treating various mental health conditions; let's look at why it's earned the nickname "Miracle-Gro for the brain." 

Health Direct | What is Brain-derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF)

How Does Your Body Create BDNF and What Does It Do?

Brain-derived neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) plays a crucial role in the brain's growth, development, and maintenance of neurons (nerve cells). It is often referred to as a "neurotrophin" because it promotes the survival, differentiation, and function of neurons. It is essential for learning, memory, and higher cognitive functions. BDNF can be found in almost all areas of the brain and in parts of the body. It is essential for normal brain development and functioning throughout our lives.

BDNF is produced by the body when cells convert dietary proteins from foods such as salmon, nuts, and eggs into energy. This protein helps to strengthen connections between neurons in the brain and promotes learning and memory. Prescription nootropics are available for more extreme health concerns, but they may have many of the common side effects of stimulants. For most of us as healthy adults, our bodies ability to produce BDNF just needs a bit of support.

Exercise can also promote the production of BDNF. Studies have shown that regular exercise not only encourages neuroplasticity and neurogenesis but is also effective at boosting the production of BDNF in your brain and body -- wherever neurons are talking to each other and to your brain. Have you ever noticed that your brain works better and you feel brighter after exercise? Your short-term memory - like where you parked your car or where you left your keys - just comes more naturally to you.

What Happens When You Don't Have Enough BDNF

When you don't have enough of the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in your body, it can affect brain function and mental health. Here are some potential consequences:

  1. Impaired Neuroplasticity: BDNF is involved in neuroplasticity, which is the ability of the brain to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections. Insufficient BDNF levels may hinder neuroplasticity, affecting learning and memory processes.
  2. Cognitive Decline: BDNF is crucial for cognitive functions such as learning and memory. Reduced levels of BDNF have been associated with cognitive decline and may contribute to conditions like Alzheimer's disease.
  3. Mood Disorders: BDNF plays a role in regulating mood and emotions. Low levels of BDNF have been linked to mood disorders such as depression and anxiety. Antidepressant medications often work, in part, by increasing BDNF levels.
  4. Reduced Synaptic Plasticity: Synaptic plasticity refers to the ability of synapses (junctions between neurons) to change in strength. BDNF is involved in maintaining and enhancing synaptic plasticity. Insufficient BDNF may lead to reduced synaptic plasticity, affecting communication between neurons.
  5. Neurodegenerative Diseases: BDNF has been implicated in the survival and maintenance of neurons. Reduced BDNF levels are associated with various neurodegenerative diseases, and promoting BDNF production is a target for potential therapeutic interventions.
  6. Impaired Stress Response: BDNF is involved in the body's response to stress, and low levels may contribute to an impaired stress response. Chronic stress itself can lead to decreased BDNF expression, creating a potential feedback loop that exacerbates stress-related issues.
  7. Affects Physical Health: BDNF has been linked to brain health and overall physical health. It plays a role in energy metabolism and has been associated with conditions like obesity and diabetes.

Lifestyle factors such as exercise, a healthy diet, and adequate sleep have been shown to increase BDNF levels. But there are also new and exciting supplements that can help your body start replenishing your BDNF levels in as little as 30 minutes after a single dose. And those results compound over time for better and better long-term effects on your mental and physical health. In no time, you'll notice better concentration, quicker short-term memory and recall, sharper focus, faster reactions, and solid long-term memory access.

Produce More BDNF with Coffeeberry Extract

Coffeeberry, the fruit of the coffee plant, has been shown to boost brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) levels in the brain through various mechanisms. One key way is that coffeeberry is a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants help to protect the brain from oxidative stress, which can lead to a decrease in BDNF levels. By neutralizing harmful free radicals, coffeeberry helps to maintain healthy BDNF levels in the brain.

In addition to its antioxidant effects, coffeeberry extract promotes neurogenesis or new brain cell growth. BDNF plays a role in regulating neurogenesis. By promoting the development of new brain cells, coffeeberry extract supports healthy levels of BDNF in the brain.

Specific components of coffeeberry, such as chlorogenic acid and polyphenols, also play a role in BDNF production. Chlorogenic acid, in particular, has been shown to have neuroprotective effects and can help to increase BDNF levels in the brain.

Overall, coffeeberry's antioxidant properties, ability to promote neurogenesis, and critical components such as chlorogenic acid and polyphenols all work together to support healthy BDNF levels in the brain. All of the benefits can help reverse cognitive impairment and may even be able to stop or help prevent dementia and Alzheimer's.

Is Collagen Good For Your Brain

Collagen, known for its role in skin and joint health, may also have potential benefits for brain health. Studies have shown collagen intake is linked to cognitive function and brain health improvements.

Collagen may support brain health by reducing inflammation and protecting against oxidative stress. Inflammation is known to play a role in various cognitive disorders, and collagen has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects. Additionally, collagen contains amino acids that can help protect against oxidative stress, which can damage brain cells.

One study published in Nutrients found that collagen supplementation improved cognitive function in older adults. Another Journal of Neural Regeneration Research study suggested that collagen peptides may have neuroprotective effects.

In conclusion, collagen may positively impact brain health and cognitive function thanks to its ability to reduce inflammation and protect against oxidative stress. Adding collagen to your diet is a way to support overall brain health and function.

Health Direct | Nootropic Collagen is the first of its kind product that builds BDNF to support neuroplasticity and neurogenesis

A Totally New Way To Support Your Brain: Nootropic Collagen

Nootropic Collagen is a unique blend of collagen peptides and natural nootropic ingredients designed to support cognitive function and overall brain health. This innovative supplement may offer a range of benefits, including improved memory, increased focus, and enhanced mental clarity.

The ingredients in Nootropic Collagen work together to enhance cognitive function. For example, collagen peptides support brain health by providing essential amino acids integral to proper neurotransmitter function. Additionally, nootropic ingredients such as lion's mane mushroom and ginkgo biloba have been shown to support cognitive function and may have positive effects on memory function and focus.

Scientific evidence also suggests that the combination of collagen peptides and nootropic ingredients has cognition-enhancing effects, which may positively impact brain health. Research has demonstrated the potential of these ingredients to have long-term effects in enhancing cognitive function and reversing cognitive impairments and cognitive dysfunction, making Nootropic Collagen a promising option for those looking to support their brain health.

Incorporating Nootropic Collagen into your daily routine may be an easy and effective way to support cognitive function and overall brain health, making it an excellent choice for individuals seeking to boost their mental performance.

References

Koizumi S, Inoue N, Sugihara F, Igase M. Effects of Collagen Hydrolysates on Human Brain Structure and Cognitive Function: A Pilot Clinical Study. Nutrients. 2019 Dec 23;12(1):50. 

Ucar B, Humpel C. Collagen for brain repair: therapeutic perspectives. Neural Regen Res. 2018 Apr;13(4):595-598.

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration.  This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.  

Lisa Moretti is a Certified Health Coach from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition (IIN), the largest nutrition school in the world.  She was at the top of her cohort in 2015.  She's been involved in the natural health and supplement world professionally since 1981.  Some product recommendations result in a small affiliate payment from amazon.com.