WholisticResearch(pronounced new-traw-picks) are a group of chemicals and herbs that promise to improve cognitive function, boost energy and focus, and support mental performance. These compounds may be available in supplement form or as prescription drugs, and they’re often used by e-gamers to improve their reaction times.
But while nootropics might enhance performance, experts say that they aren’t magic pills and that most people seeking to optimize their brain function would be better off focusing on getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet and managing stress. And, if you do decide to use nootropics, it’s important to know the different kinds available and how they work.
Mindful Eating: Nootropic-Rich Foods for Cognitive Health
While some of the most popular nootropics are dietary supplements like bacopa monnieri, huperzine A, ginkgo biloba and L-theanine, others are chemically synthetic and available only with a prescription, including racetams such as piracetam. These compounds are believed to act on the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, and while they’re useful in older adults who have a decline in thinking skills, D’Adamo doesn’t recommend them for most younger, healthy people.
He says it’s also important to avoid combining several nootropics together in one formula, as the long-term effects of many of these substances aren’t yet well understood. Taking a few at a time and increasing the dosage gradually can help mitigate any possible side effects. And he says it’s best to start with a low dose to see how your body responds, and then increase the dosage slowly over time.