What "Nootropics" means.
The term "nootropic" comes from the Greek words "νους" (nous) meaning "mind" and "τρoπoς" (tropos) from the verb "tropein" (to modify, change).
It refers to a class of compounds or substances that act on the brain to improve cognitive function, such as memory, attention, creativity, and motivation.
The concept of nootropics was first introduced in the 1970s by Romanian psychopharmacologist Corneliu E. Giurgea, who defined nootropics as substances that improve memory and learning, without having significant side effects, and that protect the brain from chemical and physical injury.
Today the term "nootropic" has been expanded to include a wide range of substances that can have positive effects on cognitive function, but it must also be said that there are still many substances to be studied and evaluated in depth to confirm their effectiveness as nootropics.
Nootropic supplements can contain a wide range of a combination of substances and ingredients, including vitamins, minerals, amino acids, herbs, plant extracts, and synthetic compounds.
Some of the most common ingredients include caffeine, L-theanine, citicoline, bacopa monnieri, ginkgo biloba, and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
According to The Guardian, in 2010 more than 16% of college students are reported to have used so-called smart drugs, which in the following years have become increasingly popular and in demand on both sides of the Atlantic.
Who as a student does not remember using the legendary Acutyl Phosphorus at exam time and at the end of the school year? By taking Acutyl phosphorus we were supplementing a nootropic without knowing it!
The five characteristics of nootropics
The five criteria of a nootropic, as defined by Corneliu E. Giurgea, are as follows:
- Improved memory and learning: A nootropic should be able to improve memory, both short-term and long-term, and facilitate the learning process.
- Brain resilience under stressful conditions: A nootropic should help the brain resist stressful agents by protecting brain cells from damage caused by excessive stressful situations.
- Protection of the brain from harmful substances: A nootropic should have the ability to protect the brain from harmful agents, such as environmental toxins and free radicals, contributing to overall brain health.
- Improved cortical-subcortical control: A nootropic should promote better communication and coordination between the more evolved parts of the brain (cortex) and the more primitive parts (subcortex), allowing for greater cognitive regulation.
- Absence of significant side effects and low toxicity: A nootropic should not cause harmful side effects or significant toxicity, allowing safe and sustainable long-term use.
These criteria were established to define the desirable characteristics of a compound that can be considered a nootropic.
Let's discover together some nootropic substances
Some nootropic supplements we have tested and like
Below I have included some products with a nootropic effect that I have experimented with, but we will return to this topic soon with further discussion.
Specifically on Gaba-based products, tryptophan, and we will talk specifically about three very effective nootropic complexes that you will find in the Blog: