Nootropics are often seen by the outside world as people administering foreign chemicals to establish a competitive (and often interpreted as cheating) edge over non nootropic users. The idea that you can take a pill and have it improve your brain function is actually quite hard to believe for everyday people.
It isn’t until you delve deep into the underground world of nootropics (one that is increasingly becoming mainstream), that you see just how real this movement actually is.
Nootropics work. Bottom line. And if outsiders actually understood a bit of the surface level chemistry behind nootropics, it’d be a far easier sell.
One of the important distinguishing factors nootropics users understand about particular nootropic compounds is that they are nutritional precursors to various chemicals in the brain that are partially responsible for certain types of performance.
Choline, for example, a complex B vitamin, is a nutritional building block (or precursor) to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Taking a choline supplement (like CDP Choline, Choline Bitartrate, or Alpha GPC), will partially yield (some of your dietary choline will be consumed by gut bacteria) acetylcholine in the brain.
Acetylcholine functions in the brain as a “neuromodulator,” which controls how other systems in the brain work. Areas of the brain that acetylcholine interacts with, are known as cholinergic areas, and they play a critical role in attention, focus, and motivation.
By providing the brain with this nutritional precursor, the brain has more raw material to make this powerful neurotransmitter/neuromodulator, and what typically results is better brain performance.
And there are others. L-Tyrosine is a nutritional precursor to a group of neurotransmitters involved in alertness, called the “catecholamines.” L-Tyrosine, as a nootropic compound has been demonstrated to improve cognitive functions in relation to stress, and anecdotally, people who tolerate it well have good results taking it, both for alertness and energy, and relieving some of their previously troubling anxiety.
Slowing cognitive decline
Nootropics users are champions of preventing cognitive decline. We spend a lot of our time reading the papers on Alzheimer’s disease, and thinking about how we can modulate the various systems of the brain that are implicated in the disease, to better prevent it.
We are not exclusively looking for performance optimization right now; we have a co-intention of ensuring our brains atrophy less fast.
Malfunctions in acetylcholine, for example, are highly implicated in the underlying neurochemistry of Alzheimer’s. This is one of the reasons that compounds that increase the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, like acetylcholinesterase inhibitors (compounds that stop the down-regulation of acetylcholine) are approved for treatment of the disease.
From my perspective, this is one of the major reasons I’m a huge proponent of Uridine monophosphate, a nootropic compound that has been demonstrated to increase axon and dendritic growth, and helping the brain form new synapses.
When I first discovered Uridine, and started using it, I immediately recognized the profound effect it was having on the functionality of my brain.
I felt 10 years younger, mentally, and my mental energy, verbal fluency, and focus capacity went way up. This influenced me to include the ingredient in the 1st generation of the Cortex stack.
Nootropics users are obsessed with the idea of controlling their brains. We do not accept the idea that the brain naturally atrophies over time. We want to control that process, and prevent it if we can.
A lot of what prevents ordinary people from such undertakings, is simply a lack of understanding of the underlying mechanisms. What constitutes the neurological underpinning of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, are often foreign concepts to people who don’t research neuroscience.
But in many cases, nootropics research is coupled with neuroscience research. On average, I read 10-30 scientific papers a month, on the topics of cognitive decline, neuroscience, and otherwise brain chemistry.
I want to be in control of my brain. If I can help slow down the degeneration of the brain’s functional systems, I will. I need to in fact. To some, one of the most important goals to work toward in life is the preservation of cognitive functioning.
Improving performance now
And then of course there is the great notion of improving brain performance now. I’ve come to realize that a lot of nootropics users are actually corporate and business personnel trying to get more out of their brains.
Corporate executives, productive corporate ladder climbers, and entrepreneurs are heavy nootropics users. These people understand the direct cause and effect relationship between increased mental output capacity, and upward mobility in their careers.
When I’ve taken a great nootropic stack, like Cortex, Aniracetam and CDP Choline , or one of my favorite stacks, ALCAR, Theanine, Caffeine, and ALPHA GPC, my verbal fluency functions better, my thoughts are more clear, and my mental energy to attack work related tasks improves.
It’s a night and day difference from baseline, and this quantifiably helps me to move faster in life.
I think that people are generally uninformed about how to improve their brain performance. They accept common brain fog as necessary part of life that they can’t control, and in lots of cases, that simply isn’t true.
It really is a matter of understanding what systems are malfunctioning, and delivering nutritional precursors, or otherwise chemically enhancing compounds that work on those systems.
I have taken myself out of brain fog, and into clarity, probably thousands of times now in my time experimenting and now being a regular user of nootropics.
Everyday nootropics users see nootropic compounds as a way to prevent cognitive decline, improve performance now, and take control of their brains. We recognize the connection between better brain performance and better outcome creation capacity.
And it doesn’t really take much, because..
Nootropics are convincing
One of the greatest things about nootropics is that it becomes relatively obvious, relatively quickly, that they’re working.
Users typically notice the improvements in cognitive functions that result from taking nootropic compounds.
People notice their words flowing smoother, a thing called “verbal fluency.” They notice their working memory functioning better, and they can tell when they’re more motivated to engage in work tasks.
Certain nootropic compounds work on improving the brain’s ability to focus, and for people that previously could not get themselves to sit down and give something the focus it needs to get done, nootropics are a game changer.
I have come across many people, based on the unique position I am in being the creator of a commercial nootropic product, that had previously never even heard of nootropics, that try Cortex, or other stacks I suggest to them, and immediately become nootropics converts.
It was obvious to them the benefits of increased mental performance from these compounds, and for most of them, they’d simply never go back.
So while the nootropics community seems like some fringe contingent of neural experimenters, it’s actually a large, science driven community, that has many practical reasons for using cognitive enhancing compounds.
A lot of us spend a lot of time reading scientific papers about the various mechanisms that underlie good brain function, and a great majority of us are interested in preventing cognitive decline as we get older.
I predict that within the next 10-20 years, nootropic compounds will be a lot more mainstream than they are today. That ordinary people will understand both the power, and necessity of these compounds. It won’t just be the startup CEOs in Silicon Valley, or the nootropics Subreddit community on Reddit. It’ll be everyone.