The word Nootropic is derived from Greek roots “nou” meaning mind, and “trapein” meaning bend. These class of psychoactive drugs, earlier used for treating the incidences of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, and ADHD disorders; are now being extensively used by medical practitioners and consumers for dramatic cognitive improvements in terms of memory, concentration and focus, motivation and other cognitive abilities.
Nootropics work in three distinct ways:
- They modulate the neurotransmitters directly by altering the expressions of these. There are many neurotransmitters in the brain, but the most important ones which are influenced by nootropics are :
- Dopamine – relating to motivation, attention, learning, memory etc.
- Norepinephrine – relating to concentration, focus
- Serotonin – relating to the feeling of calm, peace and feeling good
- Glutamate – relating to Iearning and memory
- They act as vasodilators and improve the blood flow to supply more oxygen to the brain, which makes the brain cells function well.
- They help in improving Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) and Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which are vital for neuron survivability and neorogenesis, the formation of new neurons and synapses for better connectivity.
What’s Available in the Market?
- Racetams: are a class of nootropic, and their effect is longer; since they do not break down, they are considered very safe without any adverse side-effects. The different nootropic chemicals that belong to this group are:
- Piracetam: a water soluble drug, which is the most common and most prescribed drug. It enhances cognition, memory and other cognitive skills.
- Oxiracetam: is also a water soluble racetam and a mental stimulant.
- Aniracetam: is fat soluble and fast acting. It improves memory and creativity, and also acts as a stress-reliever.
- Pramiracetam: is also fat soluble and enhances memory, focus and motivation. It’s very popular among students.
- Noopept: was earlier imported from Russia, but is now available in bulk in the US. It’s a general nootropic.
Other important class of nootropics are Ampakines, Acetylcholine and few more.
Sources of supply
As the laws stands, drugs for treatment of diseases can only be approved by the Federal Drug Agency. Any drug that is meant to be administered to healthy humans can be approved. Since academic backwardness, not having sharp memory and intellect, or the process of natural mental ageing cannot be called as diseases; such drugs which correct such deficiencies cannot be approved by the FDA. Thus several such nootropics can not be sold in retail drugstores. However, there is no such regulations for health and nutrition supplements. They are available as health products and not medicines. Supplements are readily available in a host of websites on the Net. Occasionally, there are cases of disputes with the FDA, however, it has not discouraged the manufacturers of such nutrition supplements, and online sales takes place at a brisk pace.
In several developed countries of Europe and in Australia, most nootropics are legal and considered as prescription medicines, allowing their sale from chemist and druggist, on production of prescription from medical practitioners. There is also no bar on its possession; and in the extreme cases, it may be limited to three months stock. There are absolutely no restriction on the sale of supplement which are sold as Over-the Counter (OTC) products, requiring no prescriptions. However, although nootropics may not be allowed to be used on humans or sold in drugstore and chemists shops in the US; yet there is no bar on its manufacture and supply for research. Thus reputed manufacturers and suppliers of nootropics exist. One of the most popular online store supplies 99.9% pure pharmaceuticals grade nootropics, which are doubly checked at independent testing labs, to organization for the purpose of research.