If you’re cramming for an exam or you want to sharpen up for a big presentation, please don’t take the amphetamine-based drugs that are now being referred to as “smart drugs”—like Ritalin and Aderol.
Yes, nootropics are cognitive enhancers–so, technically they’re in the same school as the drugs mentioned above, but they’re not in the same class. Nootropics work by healing and stimulating cells while protecting the brain from degeneration due to aging or trauma… and they are nontoxic. Racetams belong to a group of drugs called “ampakines,” which means that they affect the AMPA receptors of the brain.
Piracetam hit the market as a pharmaceutical drug in the 1970’s under the trade name Nootropil, and is still prescribed in Europe today where nootropics remain categorized as prescription medication.
While we are still unsure of piracetam’s exact mechanisms, but the fact that it influences neuronal, vascular, and cognitive function without a sedative or stimulant effect is apparent. By stimulating and improving some parts of the brain, and then also inducing heightened permeability in others, piracetam can have a huge effect on everything from memory to mood. The scientific research is finally catching up to the anecdotal success of piracetram treatment for a number of mental health issues.
The clinical use of piracetam is broad and includes limited scientific studies to support their efficacy. Without the side effects associated with other cognitive enhancers, many people are turning to piracetams as part of their treatment process. First of all, aniracetam is the only fat-soluble racetam—one possible reason that it’s more potent than the others.
We have recently seen a surge in the usage of aniracetam for both clinical and therapeutic treatments. As I mentioned earlier, it’s more potent and is well-absorbed by all of those healthy fats that are an important part of your regular diet. This list is narrower because aniracetam specifically targets certain parts of brain function, whereas piracetam has a broader effect.
When you are choosing a nootropic, it’s important to think about what you want it to do, then research your options. Also, make sure that you discuss any new health regime with your doctor, especially if you’re targeting specific clinical conditions. It’s awesome that nootropics are just starting to enter the mainstream conversation here in the United States. Just like anything else, we all react to things differently so it’s best to use caution when trying anything new. Thanks for linking my site in the article and thanks for writing such a thoughtful explanation of the difference between Smart Drugs and Nootropics! Thanks for being willing to go out on the fringe and give us a good foundation to work from. I was linked to this post from your newsletter right after popping an Alpha Brain from Onnit. After years of frustration, sickness, and increasing flab, I stopped listening to the “experts,” “gurus,” and even my doctors.
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They are not addictive, nor do they cause that whole laundry list of side effects. I like to use nootropics occasionally, and generally stick to the racetams.
Scientists there were struck by their ability to improve cognitive function in the brains of healthy subjects without any of the nasty side effects often attributed to other cognitive enhancers. These AMPA receptors are highly concentrated in the hippocampus, the area of the brain responsible for learning, memory, and spatial awareness. It’s a combination of oxygen, hydrogen, carbon, and nitrogen that works to stimulate several functions of the intricate neural superhighway that is the human brain. While this nootropic can be used to address specific conditions, it can also be taken by healthy individuals simply wanting to remember their dreams or where they put their car keys. You can see how closely related it is to piracetam…but that slight change in structure differentiates the way these two compounds work in the brain. While piracetam has a broad, mellow, general effect on the brain as a whole, aniracetam specifically targets creativity, holistic thinking, and mood. This is the nootropic that I tend to use occasionally for sharpening my memory or to get my creative juices flowing. As with all supplements, make sure you are buying from a reputable company. See my conversation with Gary Collins, an ex-FDA special agent from a few weeks ago for more information on that topic. Plus: learn the 3 worst foods you should NEVER eat and the 7 best exercises for rapid fat loss. Piracetam exhibits less toxicity on the body than table salt and in human trials, individuals who take Piracetam are often less likely to report side effects than those who take placebo sugar pills. I have two teen boys on stimulant medication for ADD, and I would love to find a better answer for them. Thank you for bringing to light this helpful brief as well as your personal experiences regarding Nootropics.
I’m trying to live a much healthier life and getting off adderall is at the top of the list. Although I appreciate the support for natural based nootropics they cannot be categorized into the same group. My name is Abel, and a few years ago, I decided to seriously focus on my health and made some alarming discoveries.
I buried my nose in the research and experimented on myself like a lab rat until I found the truth.
This is the nootropic I recommend the most to beginner users, although there are lots more powerful ones out there. The links are great for drilling down a bit more — not sure if these are actual drug? I started taking pine pollen after listening to the podcasts from fbm, but I’m a little hesitant to take this one. Having actually taken prescription smart drugs illegally without a prescription, I can attest to their danger. I created this website to share these discoveries and help people achieve their diet goals, in a fun, healthy and sane way!

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