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The rise of the nootropic is the latest tsunami to hit the Western world, yet their history goes back much further than current literature would have us think. Brain supplement reviews slant on brainpower enhancing natural or synthetic compounds are often negative, as the vast majority of users expect results without effort, rather like a morbidly obese binge-eating couch potato chewing on guar gum and being disappointed when they watch the weighing scales needle sway to the right or the neon glow of the triple digital numbers jump upwards.
So are nootropics safe? Are they really powerful enough to cause dangerous side effects? Are nootropics legal or do some slip between the narrow line set between true therapeutics and recreational excitement? Are they inside or outside of the law or is nootropic legislation a dappled area?
Are Nootropics Safe
The word nootropic comes from the Greek ‘noos’ or mind, and ‘trope’ or turning. A nootropic is a commixture ingested with the aim of increasing mental functions such as memory, motivation, concentration, and attention span. It can be either synthetic or completely natural. It might be an amino acid, a vitamin or mineral, an antioxidant or an unnatural chemical intermixture produced a laboratory. In the U.S., synthetic forms have to be sold under the name of ‘research compounds’, otherwise these manmade nootropics are not legal.
The reason there is such a gray area is that some nootropics risks have led to health contrecoup. The dangers of nootropics have not been abundantly researched to turn this grayness into monochrome black and white. Synthetic and natural brain enhancers generally offer one or more of three different effects, all of which are temporary:
- Wakefulness-promoting agents
- Glutamate activators
The reason why many nootropics are not considered safe is due to the addictive nature of psychostimulants. Drug abuse is rife in the majority of districts, counties, states, countries, and continents and is a global problem. Drug abuse occurs as a person requires more of a compound in order to receive the original effect which is usually one of reward or euphoria. As the body becomes used to the effect it requires similar stimulation but is unable to derive this from equal measurements. This eventually causes less pleasurable experiences in basic Maslow needs such as social interaction, sexual intercourse, or even an appetite for tasty dinners. The resistance to dopamine also ends with depression-like disorders. It is therefore understandable that these drugs are controlled.
What Kinds of Nootropics Are Out There? And Do Nootropics Work?
Nootropics ingredients, as already mentioned, have three different mechanisms. There is no doubt that they do work and with varying grades of effect.
Psychostimulants enhance psychomotoric activity, the combination of physical motion together with a thought process. While natural forms such as caffeine can be healthy additions to daily dietary intake, synthetic forms are usually addictive and often classed as illegal recreational drugs. Examples of illegal psychostimulant drugs are amphetamines, cocaine, and Ecstasy. Prescription psychostimulating medications use compounds such as methylphenidate of MPH (Ritalin and Concerta), dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine), and dextroamphetamine-amphetamine or d-AMP (Adderall). More will be discussed about the latter further on in this article.
Wakefulness-promotors such as modafinil and armodafinil (a modafinil prodrug), as the name suggests, prevent sleepiness. These drugs are also known as eugeroics and are rarely addictive. As atypical dopamine reuptake inhibitors (DRIs) these prevent the monoamine neurotransmitter called dopamine from being absorbed after the nerve synapse by the next nerve in the chain. This happens when the DRI block by dopamine transporter (DAT) activity. As dopamine is then left free outside of the cell concentrations are higher. A subsequent increase in dopaminergic neurotransmission is then possible. As low dopamine levels are linked to depression and depression is similarly coupled to forgetfulness, lack of drive, confusion, and insomnia, wakefulness compounds can be said to enhance brain function.
Glutamate activators encourage glutamate neurotransmission. Glutamate is an amino acid and excitatory neurotransmitter. Glutamate excitotoxicity, where astrocytes fail to remove glutamate (which has now become an excitotoxin) from the nerve synapses, extra calcium causes the release of phospholipases, endonucleases, and proteases (calpain) which in turn lead to degeneration of the central nervous system and even cell death or apoptosis. In correct amounts crucial for memory and learning and motor activity, unregulated glutamate causes brain damage.
Is OptiMind Safe? Nootropics That Work Without Side Effects
Nootropics expert advice informs us that vegan caffeine-, soy-, allergen- and gluten-free, non-GMO OptiMind contains the safe nootropics ingredients as listed below. Do nootropics work? In the case of OptiMind, the various effects of its ingredients require a positive answer.
- L-Tyrosine: Produced in the body and synthesized from L-phenylalanine with many roles. As a cognitive enhancer, the major part played is that of a dopamine precursor.
- Bacopa monnieri: This plant contains brahmine, herpestine, nicotine, saponin, monierin, hersaponin, Bacosides A1, A2, A3 and B, bacogenins A1 to A4, triterpene, and bacosine. It may limit the rush of calcium into the synapse and so prevent neurological damage.
- Taurine: This abundant non-essential amino acid also limits intrasynaptic calcium.
- Alpha Lipoic Acid: Generous levels found in bovine kidney, heart, and liver meat and improves aversive, spatial, recognition and temporal memory acquisition, and social novelty preference
- Phosphatidylserine: Endogenous phospholipid which helps to build healthy nerve cell membranes and myelin sheaths.
- Caffeine: Natural psychostimulant.
- GABA: Brakes the brain by lowering excitability. Found in green leafy vegetables like spinach.
- Vinpocetine: Derivative of vincamine and with an excellent safety profile, this comes from the periwinkle plant or
- Vinca minor. Protective through an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effect and also prevents calcium neurotoxicity.
- Sulbutiamine: Antiasthenic metabolite of neurotransmitters and thiamine precursor.
- D3: Buffers high intersynaptic calcium.
- B12: Synthesis and rebuilding of myelin produced by Schwann or neurilemma cells.
- Huperzine A: Enzyme inhibitor that prevents acetylcholine degradation.
Safe nootropics are very much available. The most effective nootropics according to nootropics reviews combine natural amino acids, vitamins, and neurotransmitter inhibitors or activators and are completely harmless. With current legislation and FDA guidelines potentially dangerous ingredients are rarely to be found in local products but standards of exports are not always sufficiently controlled. One should, therefore, be vigilant when purchasing such supplementations.
Brain supplements for students, however, are often purchased illegally and contain prescription-grade compounds which may or may not be addictive; additionally, young brains are still under development and the consequences of taking such drugs may end up much more damaging than current research shows as these children must still grow up. For examination support, teenagers and young adults should aim for natural nootropics based upon dietary ingredients but offering these micronutrients in larger quantities.