Nootropics (aka “smart drugs”) are a burgeoning niche of dietary supplements. As we gain a better understanding of the human brain and its untapped potentials, it’s only natural that we will discover nutrients and compounds that can help us think clearer, focus better, and reduce the risk of neurodegenerative disease.
After all, the human brain is the most powerful and complex organ known to man; it’s about time we start nourishing it and taking advantage of “next-level” consciousness. Nootropics may very well be the gatekeeper that allows you to do just that.
Read on to learn how smart drugs and these purported Limitless ingredients work, and how they can help you turn your mental performance up a notch.
The term “nootropic” originates from Greek words that translate to “mind-bending.” In 1972, Romanian chemist Corneliu Giurgea coined the term “nootropic” after creating a compound called piracetam (which is currently sold as an over-the-counter nootropic supplement) .
As such, we can broadly define a nootropic as any substance that alters the mind in a beneficial way, generally through biochemical and neurophysiological changes.
Fast forward to the 21st century and nootropics are rapidly becoming a popular niche in the dietary supplement realm. In 2015 alone, nootropics accounted for more than one billion U.S. dollars of global supplement sales!
It’s important to note that pharmaceutical nootropics exist as well, but we are more so talking strictly about nutritional supplements and ingredients that are available over-the-counter in this instance (especially plant-derived compounds).
For example, pharmaceutical selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), like citalopram and sertraline, are not naturally occurring compounds, but they can help treat depression and have “nootropic” qualities. Even psychedelics like LSD and psilocybin have nootropic properties, but they aren’t readily available over-the-counter for safety reasons.
By the same token, drugs like Adderall and Ritalin are controlled substances in the U.S. since they generally have much harsher side effects than “natural” nootropics; while methylphenidate and amphetamine salts definitely produce mind-altering effects, it’s illegal to use them without a prescription.
Hence, it’s important to make the distinction that nootropic supplements are meant to be beneficial without producing the side effects and withdrawals many people experience from pharmaceutical nootropics and certain psychedelics.
So, why are people gaining so much interest in smart drugs/nootropics? Well, we live in a world where people are constantly sleep deprived, working long, exhaustive hours at the office, and overlooking the importance of what they put in their bodies. This leads to cognitive decline and generally unfavorable conditions for the mind.
Plus, who doesn’t love the idea of being mentally and physically sharper, more productive, and more motivated every day, and protecting their brain from diseases like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia?
The potential benefits of nootropics should compel just about anybody to consider using these supplements. It doesn’t matter if you’re a student, business professional, desk jockey, construction worker, athlete, stay-at-home parent, or someone who just needs a morning pick-me-up — nootropics can help.
Since the mind is ultimately the basis for everything that we do, having the right mindset is key to being productive, happy, and leading a fulfilling life.
If your current daily routine has you feeling groggy, apathetic, irritable, and just generally not motivated to do much, then chances are your mindset needs to change. Taking the right nootropic can set the foundation for making that change happen.
Put simply, nootropic supplements feed your brain with the nutrients and compounds that help optimize your cognitive function and mental acuity so you can attack every day with a better sense of clarity, motivation, and ambition. In turn, you’ll feel revitalized, less stressed, and more driven.
Surely, after reading the last paragraph you’re skepticism about the promising benefits of nootropics likely grew. After all, feeling and performing better on a daily basis requires a total lifestyle change and more than just popping a pill.
To reiterate, nootropics are not “miracle drugs.” They are, however, a natural aid for better mental function, healthy mood, and enhanced vitality .
But how do nootropics work to accomplish these life-changing benefits?
Nootropics work through a multitude of different pathways, but the most common mechanism is by altering neurotransmitter balance throughout the central nervous system (CNS).
Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that your nerve cells (neurons) use to communicate critical information with each other. These messengers are ultimately what tell your brain (and rest of your body) to carry out certain actions.
More appropriately, neurotransmitters are either excitatory or inhibitory on action potentials; the former work to “stimulate” the brain, while the latter help “calm” the brain. The key with neurotransmitters is that it’s all about finding the right balance.
Every neurotransmitter in the body serves a purpose, whether it’s to calm you down, help you focus, enhance your mood, or amp you up. This is another way that nootropics can be so beneficial, as you can selectively target certain neurotransmitters at any time of the day.
In addition, nootropics may even work by altering the physical structure of brain tissue over time, leading to higher “baseline” cognitive function .
Recall from earlier the first compound that was called a nootropic: Piracetam. This nootropic is thought to increase the activity of the excitatory neurotransmitters glutamate and acetylcholine, both of which enhance arousal, memory recall, and motivation .
Another example of how nootropics work is the way L-tyrosine increases dopamine levels . Dopamine is an excitatory neurotransmitter that promotes reward-driven behaviors. Hence, dopamine plays a major role in attention and motivation.
The most relevant example of dopamine in action is the satisfying and sometimes blissful feeling you experience while eating a big meal after you’ve been starving all day.
On the other end of the spectrum, there’s nootropics, such as 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) and L-theanine, that increase the activity of inhibitory neurotransmitters like GABA and serotonin . In turn, taking nootropics can help you feel more calm and at ease.
Want to feel less anxious and reduce stress? There’s a nootropic for that.
How about feeling more alert and focused while you study for exams? Well, there’s also a nootropic for that.
Need more motivation to hit the gym and eat healthy? Yes, there’s a nootropic for that too.
The list goes on and on, but is that really a surprise given that nootropics are literally nutrients for your brain?
The reality is that nootropics are like the real-life limitless ingredient.
That may sound a little grandiloquent, but here’s a way to look at it: If you’re currently only able to use about 5% of your brain’s full potential and can still solve intricate Physics problems, then “unlocking” even the next half of a percentile would produce significantly enhance your mental faculties.
Nootropics might just be what you need to do that.
It’s safe to say that everyone who has seen Limitless (the 2011 hit movie starring Bradley Cooper) thinks to themselves, “I wonder if the limitless pill really exists?”
Crazily enough, the idea of a real-life limitless pill is not as far-fetched as you might imagine. Frankly, with the world of nootropics and smart drugs growing at a rapid pace, it’s not a matter of if the limitless pill is real, but when we will discover it.
In fact, many people's initial foray into the world of smart drugs and nootropics comes after they watch Limitless. They are eager to learn more about how they, like Cooper’s character Eddie Morra, can “unlock” their brain and a higher consciousness.
If you haven’t seen Limitless, it’s a film based around a fictional drug called NZT-48 (aka “the limitless pill”).
In the movie, Eddie Morra, a has-been writer starts using the drug and it instantly helps him tap into a higher level of consciousness, like nothing he’s ever experienced. He’s able to write thousands of words in a matter of minutes and basically kick ass at everything in his life. (Ironically, the drugs also get him into a lot of trouble later in the film.)
As of now, however, the reality is that NZT-48 is not an actual drug. Does this mean a drug or nootropic similar to NZT-48 will never be discovered or created?
Of course not.
The theoretical concept of a real-life limitless pill is actually quite reasonable from a scientific standpoint; however, it will be years/decades before a smart drug like NZT-48 is ever synthesized or discovered (not to mention whether or not it would be proven safe for use it’s anybody’s guess at this point).
Something to consider right off the bat with regards to a real-life limitless ingredient, especially something as stimulating as NZT-48 is portrayed to be, is that it will inevitably cause you to “crash” as it wears off. In fact, this is what leads to the plight Eddie Morra faces in Limitless, as he is essentially addicted to NZT-48 and can barely function without it.
Heck, most people can barely handle the brain fog and apathy they experience if they go one day without their usual pot of coffee.
This is one reason why the use of narcotics and “uppers” leads to an increased risk of suicide . The extreme high you experience after using something like methamphetamine or cocaine is going to have a reciprocal low once the drug leaves your system.
Some drugs, like Adderall XR, have a lengthy half-life, which is why those who use it illicitly often experience a long, debilitating crash after the high wears off.
This is, again, where nootropics prevail. The right nootropics will not make you go through crazy withdrawals and give you debilitating side effects like many drugs do. In fact, the nootropics you find in Pro Series Focus are safe, effective, and non-habit forming.
Moreover, research suggests that certain nootropics, like ashwagandha extract, actually become more beneficial when taken continuously .
In terms of potency and cognitive benefits, here are some of the best nootropics for focusing and being more productive:
The key thing to takeaway from this article is that supplemental nootropics (“smart drugs”) act like real-life limitless ingredients by:
Remember, though, the big difference between natural nootropic supplements and the “limitless pill” is that the best nootropics are not addictive and won’t produce harsh side effects. As discussed throughout this article, a compound like NZT-48 is so stimulatory that you would face some serious withdrawal if you ever used it.
A quality nootropic supplement like Pro Series Focus is the more practical solution for those who want to be more productive throughout the day and keep their brain in tip-top shape.
Comments will be approved before showing up.
There are several natural ways to boost testosterone levels throughout our 30s, 40s, 50s, and beyond. Learn why testosterone is such an important hormone for men and how you can increase free testosterone levels without the use of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT).
Tauroursodeoxycholic acid (TUDCA) is a mouthful to pronounce, but this bile acid metabolite has several therapeutic applications, supporting liver health, eye health, cognitive function, cholesterol metabolism, and more. Read on and we'll get you up to speed on all things TUDCA!