Nootropics are nutritional supplements that enhance cognition and intellectual capability. These are not classic pharmaceuticals, like brain stimulants. Instead, nootropics are thought to improve mind function without the side effects commonly associated with brain-regulating psychotropics or antidepressants. Nootropics can be taken long-term without negative side effects.
You have possibly taken nootropics and not been aware of it. Fish oil, grape seed extract and licorice are all nootropics. This is because these supplements enhance blood flow to the brain, which supports superior cognition.
Can I enhance my IQ by taking a supplement? The process is a little more complex than raising IQ in a day. Nootropics, like all natural supplementation, build upon themselves over time. These ‘smart drugs’ raise brain function by increasing the production of neurotransmitters, rather like installing more memory on a computer. Just like a computer with more capacity, the mind on nootropics now has the ability for better concentration, more processing ability and longer attention span. As an added bonus, an experience of mood elevation occurs. This experience is understandable, because we know that reduced brain function is often linked to depression.
Some nootropics enhance vasodilation. These, as mentioned, increase blood flow to the brain, which makes for important processing improvements. Increased blood flow means more nutrients and oxygen, as well as glucose supply. The brain’s fuel is glucose. With continual use, there is the possibility of permanently establishing better blood and oxygen flow, as well as an extra boost from neurotransmitters.
What about nootropic effects on aging brains? Young people have pliable brains that form new connections very easily. Older people have years of knowledge that they can build upon, but the plasticity is no longer available. In fact, as we age, certain connections that the mind deems no longer needed are actually pruned away.
For instance, you forgot the name of your fourth grade teacher! But fourth grade was 40 years ago, and somewhere it was determined that, without a use for that memory, it should be scuttled.
Many nootropics work on glutamate and acetylcholine receptors in the brain. This enhances synaptic plasticity. Nerve Growth Factor can be enhanced as well. This is a protein in the brain that controls the development of new neurites and neurons. New memory pathways are formed during this development.
But what about impaired cognition in the elderly, like Alzheimer’s?
Some nootropics may be able to reduce or prevent this devastating sign of aging by removing lipofucsin, a lipid-containing residue occurring in the aging brain. New neurons and connections are formed, increasing cell membrane permeability and supplying the brain with better nutrients.
There is a significant potential for long-term benefit to the elderly through nootropics.
The brain, like all organs of the body, needs optimum nutrition to perform at its best. Nootropics could be the answer!