Nootropic Supplements... Do they really work?

You might have questioned yourself before whether there are indeed pills that boost the functionality of the human brain. Well, after many years of research and testing, in 1972 Corneliu E. Giurgea a Romanian chemist and psychologist discovered that the human brain’s performance can be improved especially for people suffering from Huntington’s disease, Alzheimer, ADHD and Parkinson’s disease. These brain focus boosters can be consumed as functional foods, supplements or as drugs. They are used to enhance motivation, attention or the working memory of a person, especially when suffering from fatigue hence making it possible for a person to work his or her brain for a longer time while maintaining concentration.

These memory enhancers are categorized in four groups namely; Miscellaneous, stimulants, Nutraceutical, and Racetams. These categories help to differentiate the purpose of each drug depending on its chemical composition. This grouping also helps consumers in reducing the chances of having serious side effects from these compounds by giving accurate prescriptions for their use. In most academic institutions, students are known to be the highest consumers of various natural supplements for energy and focus like ginseng, guarana, caffeine, coenzyme Q10 and vitamin B12 among others. These stimulants take charge of the brain metabolism and enhance the neurons responsible for information processing in the human brain by enhancing its neuro-electrical functions.

The drugs or medication listed under the stimulant category include Amphetamine, Xanthines, Nicotine, Eugeroics, and Methylphenidate. Amphetamine and Methylphenidate drugs are normally used by people suffering from ADHD to improve their cognitive control in terms of episodic memories, inhibitory control and working memory abilities. However, Methylphenidate is also a used by people engaging in tedious activities though they can have serious side effects like activating neurons that are not required for the task or challenge at hand if not consumed under the correct prescription. Eugeroics are dependable in facilitating alertness to people who are deprived of sleep by their occupations and also those involved in solving systematic review problems.

Phosphatidylserine, Tianeptine, L-theanine and Valproate are the compounds grouped under the miscellaneous category. They are recommended for people who have concerns about focusing and cognition. They also prevent the human brain structure from shrinking via dendritic-remodeling, which is normally induced by stress. Some of the Nutraceuticals include Isoflavones, used to improve spatial working memory, speeded dexterity, and verbal fluency. Salvia Officinalis, Panax ginseng, and Bacopa monnieri are other compounds in this category that positively affect memory accuracy, fatigue reduction and are also highly capable of boosting the mood of an individual. 

Racetams are in the fourth group and are mostly purchased over the counter as cognitive enhancers. They include oxiracetam, coluracetam, pramiracetam, and aniracetam. They normally affect the action mechanism of a human brain though aniracetam and piracetam are also identified as positive allosteric modulators that are quite profitable in modulating cholinergic systems.

It’s important to note that as much as these racetam supplements for energy and focus can be beneficial to us, they can also have side effects such as; headaches, irritability, brain fog, mood swings and depression. They can also be highly addictive if not consumed under monitored dosages, which might demand therapeutic attention in order to avoid further harm to the consumer using the product.