What’s the deal with… Nootropics?
The wellbeing crowd (… yes, that’s us included) can be a fickle bunch — we preach about all things wholesome and natural, until there’s something that can turn us into Bradley Cooper in Limitless, and then that’s all we can talk about.
The latest in the wellness whirlwind is nootropics. You’ve probably read about them; in short, they are synthetic supplements that improve brain function. Different compounds enhance different aspects of our cognition, such as memory, focus and mood, and help facilitate learning.
One can see the appeal in today’s speedy society: do the same amount and get more done? That will likely be a strong yes if all you have to do is choose an appealing-looking bottle that targets whichever part of your tiresomely human self isn’t quite up to scratch. Stressed? Go for L-Theanine. Lacking focus? That’s an Adrafinil for you. Or are productivity levels having a lull? Grab yourself a Phenylpiracetam.
But how do nootropics actually work?
Though they sound pretty newfangled, nootropics in some form or another have been around since use in Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese medicine. The early work in the 60s and 70s focused on B vitamins and has developed to include countless compounds, which can be taken on their own or in combination with others for different effects.
And are there downsides to these miracles substances?
The ‘smart drug’ movement has had considerable backlash, but nootropics, which are the current interest of the wellness space, are natural, plant and herb-based formulas. (Though, as with everything, it’s best to check with your GP if you have any doubts.)