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Smart Brain Enhancement Drugs to improve Performance
It might seem quite appealing for college students, busy professionals, and older adults with dementia to pop a pill that enhances their brain function and power. Therefore, it is not surprising to see that more and more people have been turning to smart drugs, aka nootropics. Although medical experts usually agree that using smart drugs may be helpful, the use of such cognitive enhancers is a bit controversial.
The word "nootropics" was first referred to as ingredients that met specific criteria. However, it is now referred to as some natural or synthetic substances, which are known to have a positive effect on mental health. Generally, smart drugs are categorized into three classifications – synthetic compounds, prescription drugs, and natural supplements. They typically act on your brain and have neuro-stimulant-like effects.
Prescription smart drugs or nootropics are a type of medicines that have neuro-stimulant effects. They treat symptoms of neurological conditions such as narcolepsy (excessive sleepiness), shift work sleep disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or Alzheimer's (dementia). On the other hand, non-prescription smart drugs enhance your brain function, performance and focus, such as coffee (caffeine) and creatine, which do not treat any diseases but boosts memory, motivation, and other brain functions.
Prescription Smart Drugs
Doctors may prescribe a smart drug to patients who have a neurological condition. Usually, a prescription nootropic drug stimulates the brain function, treating narcolepsy, dementia, ADHD, etc. Please note that smart drugs do not cure these neurological conditions. Some of the commonly prescribed smart drugs include:
- modafinil (Provigil) and armodafinil (Nuvigil) – a smart drug that promoted wakefulness in people with narcolepsy
- amphetamines (Adderall) – a common nootropic drug prescribed to treat ADHD
- methylphenidate (Ritalin) – a neuro-stimulant that treats the symptoms of ADHD and narcolepsy
- memantine (Axura) – a smart drug that treats Alzheimer's disease
These prescription smart drugs are effective at treating certain neurological conditions but one should not take them without a prescription. Like many other prescription drugs, they may have a few side effects and drug interactions, so it is imperative to use it under the supervision of a doctor.
Non-Prescription or OTC Smart Drugs
Some natural substances or synthetic supplements can be referred to as nootropics or smart drugs because they have the ability to boost your cognitive function and mental performance. Here are some of the natural or synthetic smart drugs that do not need a prescription:
- Caffeine – Beverages that contain caffeine, such as tea or coffee, are known to have stimulant-like effects. Research has suggested that caffeine is one of the safe smart drugs if consumed in moderate amounts. Having a cup of tea or coffee regularly may boost your mental focus. However, you should not consume extreme amounts of caffeine, as it may be unsafe.
- Omega-3 fatty acids – Research has shown that foods containing omega-3 fatty acids are effective at boosting brain function because they help build nerve cells. Omega-3 fatty acids are well-studied cognitive enhancers, which also help in repairing and regenerating brain cells. Fish oil supplements and fatty fish contain omega-3 fatty acids.
- L-theanine – It is an amino acid that has been found to boost brain function and contribute greatly to mental relaxation. L-theanine is known to act well when taken along with caffeine. Studies suggest that this combination could help boost mental performance, attention, and alertness.
- Racetams – Racetams such as Piracetam, pramiracetam, phenylpiracetam, and aniracetam are synthetic chemicals that can have a direct action on the neurotransmitters or brain chemicals. They are known to have neuroprotective effects.
- Creatine – Creatine is yet another amino acid that helps improve overall exercise performance, as well as mental performance. It may help with short-term memory and reasoning. Research has shown that creatine supplements are safe up to 30 grams a day.
- Others – Ginkgo biloba, Panax ginseng, and Rhodiola are natural substances that work somewhat like smart drugs.
It is important to use prescription or over-the-counter smart drugs after talking to a doctor because they have some action on your brain. Prescription smart drugs, in particular, should be used exactly as advised by a medical professional. Although most smart drugs are non-addictive, it is safe to use them under the supervision of a doctor.