In 2023, nootropics are all the rage among supplement takers. These so-called "smart drugs” promise a noticeable boost in memory, motivation, creativity, alertness, and general cognitive function.
But there’s more to nootropics that beat the eye.
In this article, we'll take a closer look at nootropics and if they live up to the hype. If you’re considering taking nootropics or want to add nootropics to your supplement line, by the end of this article, you’ll know if “smart drugs” are a smart move.
What Are Nootropics?
From social media to celebrities, mental health has gone from a taboo topic to the topic of conversation. And people who are prioritizing mental well-being are putting their money where their mouth is — quite literally.
There are dozens of over-the-counter (OTC) nootropic supplements that consumers are happy to swallow down with their green smoothies. But what are they, exactly?
Nootropics are compounds that affect how the brain processes information. Nootropics can help you get the most out of your mental abilities. So, whether you're looking for a cognitive boost for work or creative inspiration, nootropics may be able to help.
Some of the most popular supplements are a mixture of food-derived vitamins, lipids, phytochemicals, and antioxidants that studies have linked to healthy brain function. One popular pick on Amazon, for example, is an encapsulated cocktail of omega-3s, B vitamins, and plant-derived compounds that its maker claims can improve memory, concentration, and focus, according to Time Magazine.
Why Are Nootropics Popular?
Why the interest? Nootropics offer potential benefits that range from boosting cognitive function and memory to helping with anxiety and depression. They can also improve sleep quality, provide energy, and support weight loss.
High-achievers, entrepreneurs, and wellness enthusiasts are all putting nootropics on the map.
As mental health continues to become a priority, sales of mood-enhancing supplements — including nootropics — continue to skyrocket. By 2030, the market for these smart drug supplements will reach well over $33 billion.
A Brief History Of Nootropics
The story of nootropics starts with a chemical called piracetam, discovered by Romanian psychologist and chemist Corneliu Giurgea in the late 1960s. He coined the term "nootropic" to describe the drug's ability to improve cognitive function.
Since, researchers have identified several other compounds that share piracetam's cognitive-enhancing effects, including aniracetam, oxiracetam, and phenylpiracetam.
These so-called "analogs" are thought to work by increasing the level of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that plays a key role in learning and memory.
Types Of Nootropics
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There is more than one type of nootropic. Both natural and synthetic versions are shown to have cognitive-enhancing benefits. Here are some of the most common nootropics:
Organic, Naturally-Derived Ingredients: These include herbal mixtures like Ginkgo biloba and Bacopa monnieri that have been used for centuries for cognitive benefits.
Amino Acids: These are important building blocks for forming proteins and play roles in energy production and neurotransmitter function. Popular examples include L-theanine and taurine.
Vitamins and Minerals: Vitamin B12 is essential for energy production and mental clarity, while magnesium is beneficial for improving memory and reducing stress.
Probiotics: These “good” bacteria can be beneficial for gut health, which, in turn, improves mental performance. Including probiotics as part of your nootropic stack can help enhance focus and productivity.
Prescription nootropics, also known as cognitive enhancers, are drugs approved by the FDA to treat specific conditions.
Some examples of prescription nootropics include Adderall for ADHD, Modafinil for narcolepsy, and Ritalin for ADHD. Many people take prescription nootropics to boost their energy levels and mental focus during exam periods or to enhance their memory during work tasks.
Now, let’s dive a bit deeper. Synthetic compounds are lab-made supplements that target specific parts of the brain — earning them the “smart drug” nickname. Synthetic nootropics like modafinil and adrafinil help increase focus and alertness, while racetams can be used for their memory-boosting properties.
Nootropic Dietary Supplements
There are a wide variety of nootropic dietary supplements.
Some top contenders include omega-3 fatty acids, which help with mental clarity, focus, and memory; various B-complex vitamins for energy and brain health; and amino acid blends, which have been linked to improved cognitive performance.
Nootropics can also come in pre-made capsules or powders that contain multiple ingredients in one dose. These are particularly helpful for people who don’t want to buy all the individual ingredients separately and mix them themselves.
Popular Nootropic Ingredients in 2023
Let’s look at the five most popular nootropic ingredients in 2023
• Rhodiola - A traditional herb with adaptogenic properties, Rhodiola helps to reduce mental and physical stress and protect the body from fatigue.
• Bacopa - A powerful adaptogen and antioxidant that may improve cognitive performance, boost learning ability, and reduce anxiety.
• L-Theanine - An amino acid found in green tea that helps to balance your mood and reduce stress levels. L-Theanine is known to help with focus and is often used as a supplement for improving sleep quality.
• Ginkgo biloba - An herb that increases blood flow to the brain, improving cognitive performance and may help to prevent age-related memory decline.
• CoQ10 - An antioxidant that helps to protect cells from oxidative damage, improve energy production, and support the cardiovascular system.
Dosage and Safety Considerations
Nootropics are a relatively new category of supplements with a lot of potential.
Generally, low doses of nootropics are considered safe and effective for most people. Be sure to ask your supplement manufacturer about the correct dosing before you develop a supplement with nootropics.
To tap into this market with a trusted nootropic supplement development partner who understands these insights.
BevNutra Solutions has over two decades of experience in the industry, and we can help you bring your product concepts to life by collaborating with you at every step. Book your complimentary nootropic supplement development consultation.