Ever since the dawn of time, mankind has always been competitive. After all, survival of the fittest had a whole different meaning back then. As humans we have always been looking for new ways to boost performance whether physical or mental. Even in the early ages, we have been using a natural substance to enhance our performance. In traditional medicines, there are many different herbs that are herbal stimulants that boost our physical and mental performance and have plenty of other health benefits.

Today, with the growing hunger for power, knowledge and money, people tend to work harder and harder until it exceeds their mental ability and physical capacity. We are always in a rush and don’t have enough time to sleep. This has resulted in a severe imbalance in our lives. So, we try to replicate the effects of the herbs in the form of synthetic stimulants, which can be highly addictive and have dangerous side effects in the long run.

However, with the unwavering and relentless efforts of experts who are looking for a solution to the diminishing intellectual capacity of people, we discovered “nootropics” aka “smart drugs”. These drugs are natural or synthetic substances that can be taken to improve mental performance in healthy people. They are most often used to boost memory, focus, creativity, intelligence and motivation.

Essentially, people use nootropics, because it is easier than learning a language and doing some exercise. Also, because we simply cannot do so many things in merely 24 hours, thus we need something to fuel us up and keep moving forward. Thus, experts have been striving towards making people function beyond the boundary of their biological limitations and quench their thirst for wanting more.

Memory Boosters and Performance Improving Drugs

Now, before you start using these smart drugs for whatever reason, make sure you do your homework. There are different rules for each nootropic and if something works for your friend, doesn’t mean it is going to work for you. Some general thumb rules to follow are: listen to your doctor, start with lower dosages and slowly increase, listen to your body, and cycling nootropics are very much recommended. Nootropics are not magic pills but using them might dramatically increase your performance. Just like in the movie Limitless. Additionaly, remember that there is still a lack of research on most nootropics, so stay smart.

Coming to the nootropics themselves, the most common use for smart drugs is to improve our memory. Here we need to pay particular attention to choline or acetylcholine content of the drug. This molecule acts as a transmitter between the nerves thus improves both short and long-term memory. The most common and popular drug on the market is ALPHA GPC. It is proven to increase the acetylcholine levels. Another one is Bacopa Monnieri, an Ayurvedic herb used for centuries. Its active compound is called bacoside and is responsible for information transfer at cell receptor sites which improves our long-term memory.

The Nerve Nourishing Energy Boosters

Centrophenoxine is the quick absorber, Citicoline is the nerve nourishing one, Noopept modulates the neurotransmitter glutamate in the brain, and Pramiracetam is the fat-soluble one. Then there is Gingko Biloba, one of the oldest tree species on Earth. Extract of this helps neurotransmitters, protects brain cells from degeneration and help in microcirculation in the brain. Nicotine can also be a powerful nootropic when taken sparingly. It has a direct impact on mitochondrial energy thus has a beneficial effect on memory. But this is not recommended for anything more than a very occasional boost.

Overall Cognitive Enhancers

If improving your whole cognition is what you are looking for then there are a few nootropics that are cognitive enhancers. A naturally occurring one is Pterostilbene, which is an antioxidant found in blueberries and grapes. It helps in controlling brain inflammation, boosting dopamine production, and fighting brain cell ageing. A highly concentrated extract from a Chinese club moss plant called Huperzine A is a traditional Chinese medicine and improves memory and learning skills.

Other such traditional medicines include Lion’s mane, which has neuroprotective and cognitive enhancing properties; Rhodiola Rosea, which helps the human body adapt to stress and is a good remedy for poor concentration, decreased memory and mental fatigue. Then there is Phosphadityl serine that allows a more efficient transfer of nutrients and also involved in building mitochondria in the brain cells.

The Bestselling Nootropics in the World

A natural alkaloid found in the periwinkle plant called Vinpocetine is one of the bestselling nootropics in the world. It works by increasing blood flow to the brain and reducing oxidative damage. Tyrosine is an amino acid which helps our body’s natural dopamine and norepinephrine production. It is found in eggs, turkey, beef, soybean and Swiss cheese.

Talking of eggs, if you are a regular at the gym, you must have heard about Creatine. Up until now, it was only considered as a strength building supplement, but recent studies have shown that creatine also contributes to improving cognitive functions and quicker problem-solving. Although completely safe to be used on a daily basis, anything more than 5g per day, will oversaturate your muscles. Another amino acid found in protein-rich food is L-Carnitine which improves our secretion of acetylcholine and increases cognitive functions such as focus, alertness, memory and clarity.

Now memory and cognitive enhancing nootropics are completely useless when you are not in the mood for productivity. You can end up in the lost realms of the internet that you never even knew existed. So, for improving your mood and well-being, try Cobalamin, more commonly known as Vitamin B12. By increasing cerebral circulation, it flushes the brain keeping it healthy and functioning properly. It also helps with serotonin and dopamine production and fighting anxiety, depression, fatigue and pain.

Another nootropic is Inositol or vitamin B8. It is frequently used in antidepressants and is proven to reduce mood swings, panic attacks, and OCD. One of the most powerful stimulants is Caffeine. It increases your physical and mental strength. However, people can often develop resistance to caffeine. L-theanine is often combined with Caffeine because it gives us the clarity of mins and reduces the potential jitters caffeine might induce. It is naturally found in green tea.

Lastly, if you have a serious problem, please consult a specialist. Also taking many different pills can definitely be detrimental to your health, but it also depends on what you are taking. For all the smart drugs, it is recommended to take the minimum prescribed dosage and not to mix and match the pills like Gems or M&Ms.

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Transforming caffeine into content, Poonam is a specialist in delivering insights across a wide variety of genre. Her business and technology acumen comes from hours of researching the industry and studying data-driven facts. Having a deep understanding of what makes businesses succeed and fail, Poonam has been contributing to the 'world of tech' for four years. She’s a vivacious personality who strives in finding the cure for curiosity in data, and delivers the panacea through captivating and informative content.