What the heck are nootropics?

Updated: Oct 3, 2020

We’ve all looked for that magic bullet. The “limitless” pill that opens up cognitive and brain capabilities that we didn’t know were possible. Until recently, it seemed like this was only something one could fantasize about while watching a Hollywood blockbuster, but lately a form of vitamins have come to the forefront as a possibility to make our fantasies a reality.

Nootropics are known as “smart drugs”. The term "nootropics" first referred to chemicals that met very specific criteria. But now it's used to refer to any natural or synthetic substance that may have a positive impact on mental skills. In general, nootropics fall into three general categories: dietary supplements, synthetic compounds, and prescription drugs.

One example of a natural nootropic is mushrooms. Mushrooms have been known to be packed full of vitamins and macronutrients. Some beneficial effects of nootropic mushrooms may include: enhanced cognitive functioning and protection from oxidative damage or neuronal cell death. One of the most popular mushroom nootropics is Lions Mane. An ancient Chinese medicinal mushroom, Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus) enhances cognitive function and protects nerve cells. Ancient physicians used Lion’s Mane to treat neurodegenerative diseases because it can activate the growth of damaged nerves and restore brain function.

A summary of the nootropics benefits of Lion’s Mane:s

Improves brain function

Regenerates nerves and stimulates NGF

Enhances memory

Promotes remyelination

Reduces depression and anxiety

Besides nootropics, there are always time trusted ways to enhance your brain power:

Exercise. Cross-train with cardio to get your heart rate up and throw in some light weights for strength-training.

Thinking. Attempt challenging tasks at work or at home and do difficult puzzles or use rigorous brain-training apps.

Omega-3 fatty acids. Research shows getting omega-3s from fish is better than just taking pills, but if fish is too hard to get, prepare, or eat, then the pills are a good second option. Omega-3s are the real "smart drugs" in that you may not feel the effects the day you eat them, but you will be in much better cognitive shape a few years from now than if you had never added them to your die

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