What are Nootropics



Nootropics can be described as supplements or substances that improve cognitive function.
In particular they are known to improve one or a mixture of executive functions, memory, creativity or motivation.
I first started experimenting with nootropics by taking Vinpocetine or Vinpo as some people call it.
However we won’t get into discussions on specific nootropics here as this is just a general overview and introduction to the topic and my hope is that, after reading this post, you may understand a little bit more about nootropics, should you decide to investigate and try nootropics for yourself and maybe develop your own nootropic stacks.

Some benefits you might expect from nootropics

Increase in concentration

Nootropics can help to improve the ability to stay alert over extended periods of time.

Memory enhancement

nootropics have also been shown to have positive effects on memory including working memory and recall.

Improved brain health

improved oxygenation flow and improved brain cell growth.

Anti aging

Nootropics, or at least some of them, can help reverse several signs of aging and stress. impaired vision poor metabolism, wrinkles, grey hair and dark circles from a stressed out brain. They calm neurons in the brain and allow for improved sleep.

Improve mood

Carefully stacking nootropics together can help stimulate several mood enhancing receptors.
In general, nootropics have a positive effect on the brain, but the type of nootropic or nootropic stack, will dictate the response.

How Do Nootropics work?

The really is no single answer that helps describe how nootropics work as they achieve their positive effects by changing the supply of various neurotransmitters, hormones or enzymes within the brain.
Improved neural plasticity also plays the part as this determines how well synapses connect and communicate. Although advances have been made there is still a lot we do not understand about how the brain works, after all there are approximately 100 billion neurons making trillions of connections within the brain.
Although over recent years there has been much research, there is still a lot that we do not know and there is even more that is still left to be learnt about how the millions of connections within the brain interact with each other.
The average Brain has approximately 100 billion neurons creating trillions of connections and interactions and while there have been many advances over the last few years science still does not truly know how a lot of these nootropics or smart drugs actually work.

Piracetam was the first nootropic that was developed.

Piracetam optimises the transmission of neurons into the corpus callosum, which is the area of the brain that helps connect the two hemispheres.
Piracetam also increases levels of Acetylcholine and this is a neurotransmitter vital for brain function.

Neurotransmitters in brief

You may not be familiar with neurotransmitters so it would be beneficial to just to briefly explain what they are. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that transmit signals from one neuron in the brain to a receptor on the receiving Neuron.
These receptors and neurotransmitters create a system and basically improving the ability of these systems to work more efficiently will increase the speed at which the brain can function.

The Cholinergic system

The Cholinergic system is reliant on Acetylcholine as Acetylcholine play so important role in memory, learning, focus and decision making.
Normally we would obtain Acetylcholine from choline rich dietary sources, usually found in the highest amounts in things like eggs various animal organs like liver, kidneys, brain and various species of fish, whey and various other minor sources.

Without enough choline Acetylcholine cannot be synthesized.

The only problem is that to consume enough choline from the modern diet, you would need to consume around five or more eggs daily. This is why there are many options now available that provide choline as a dietary supplement.
The Racetam family of smart drug work in a similar way to the Cholinergic system but they improve the sensitivity of the Acetylcholine receptors as opposed to producing more Acetylcholine directly.
With Racetams an Acetylcholine precursor is generally taken just to eliminate the risk of headaches, which is the most common side effect.


The most abundant excitatory neurotransmitter is glutamate and glutamate is vital in terms of overall brain health as it affects aspects such as memory and learning. Glutamate needs a balanced level in the brain and it is not as commonly affected like Acetylcholine or Dopamine, some nootropics do rely on the Glutamate system, such as an Aniracetam, which reduces the sensitivity to Glutamate leading to an increase in brain activity and cognitive function is then improved.
Serotonin and Dopamine are neurotransmitters that play a very important role in the use of Nootropics. There’s a large effect on how we feel, in regards to mood and well-being, as well as the feeling of being motivated.
Any Nootropics that directly affect Serotonin will tend to be a supplement that has mood enhancing abilities. Sulbutiamine, for example, is a supplement that has this effect although any nootropic that affects Dopamine and or Serotonin in some way will generally have mood enhancing effects.

Improve Blood and Oxygen to the brain.

There are some Nootropic supplements that will affect blood flow and oxygen uptake in the brain and these tend to increase the glucose metabolism. Pramiracetam is an extremely effective nootropic for boosting energy levels and increasing focus and this is achieved through this same process.

The Plastic Brain

Crucial in terms of learning, brain plasticity or neuroplasticity is a term used to describe how the brain changes as a result of experience and learning.
Nootropics have an effect on brain plasticity by altering the synapses in the brain. memories for example involve very complex connections of synapses and how well we can recall memories and other information is dependent on how well these synapses are linked.
When brain plasticity is improved it makes it easier for the synapses to connect and when this happens, communication may also be improved between the two hemispheres of the brain, helping in an increase in learning and memory function

So there you go, A brief introduction to Nootropics.
If you want another source of further reading try introduction-to-nootropics over at Nootropics.com.
I hope you may have found this of interest and If you have any questions please leave them in the comments below.
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Until Next Time
I wish you Good Health and Happiness.

2 thoughts on “What are Nootropics

  1. As always, very interesting. Gives you a lot to think about. Thank you.

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