Nootropics aren’t new, but they have enjoyed a fresh slate of attention recently, thanks to the endorsement of wellness influencers and big media outlets.
As with any hot new trend, nootropics are destined to be misunderstood at first. Most people probably don’t even know what nootropics are – let alone can they hold a conversation on the relative merits of individual nootropic substances. Often, that leads to people making assumptions.
Let’s clear the air in this article. If you’ve seen the word “nootropics” bandied around recently and want to inform yourself, read this short guide.
What Are Nootropics?
Plainly put, nootropics are a class of substances that can help boost your brainpower. Some nootropics are famous for their ability to increase memory retention, while others are revered for their ability to sharpen your focus. But they all – in one way or another – act to increase cognitive function.
Great diversity exists within the wide world of nootropics. Some nootropics are synthetic, while others grow naturally (more on that in a moment). Scientists have studied some nootropics extensively, while others gained their reputation mostly on anecdotal endorsement. Finally, some nootropics are widely considered to be safe for consumption, while others carry certain risks.
Natural Versus Synthetic Nootropics
If you’re interested in trying nootropics, the first thing to assess is your comfort level with synthetic drugs. Several synthetic nootropic substances exist, but their safety and habit-forming potential shouldn’t be approached lightly. You should always consult with a doctor before trying synthetic nootropics like dimethylamylamine and methylphenidate.
On the other hand, most natural nootropic substances are entirely safe for use. In fact, humans have used natural nootropics for centuries as part of Chinese, Ayurvedic and other ancient medicinal practices.
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For the purposes of this article, let’s stick to substances that generally agreed up to be safe and effective: the natural stuff.
For instance, caffeine, which naturally occurs in your morning coffee, is widely considered a nootropic. (It turns out you’ve been drinking nootropics every day and didn’t even know it!). Ginseng and Ginkgo Biloba are two other natural nootropics popular with proponents of herbal medicine.
Perhaps the most exciting natural nootropic is lion’s mane mushrooms. These functional fungi, long revered in ancient medicinal practices, have recently seen a surge in popularity here in the west. Studies have shown that lion’s mane mushrooms can have a profound impact on memory, focus and overall cognitive performance. Just make sure you get lion’s mane mushroom powder from a reputable, organic source. You can learn more about where to buy lion’s mane powder at the link.
The Bottom Line
Nootropics are a class of drugs purported to increase cognitive function. They come in two primary forms – synthetic and natural. Synthetic nootropics may help some people who suffer attention and cognitive disorders, but they should be procured through a medical professional. Natural nootropics, like coffee, ginseng and lion’s mane mushrooms, can be purchased by anyone – and studies show that they may have a powerful, positive impact on ongoing cognitive performance.
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