Science and big businesses are noticing the potential for brain boosting technologies and cognitive ability supplements, and they are pouring millions of dollars into researching this new frontier. This very old idea of using various substances to enhance our abilities is universal, spanning the entire globe and every culture throughout history. The current reemergence of this philosophy is likely caused by the enormous technological and scientific advancements in recent times. Lumosity, a company devoted to improving cognitive skills through brain training, disclosed that they received over $67 million dollars in funding for 2015. Similarly, Nootrobox and TruBrain, two companies focused on nootropic pills and products, each raised $2.8 and $1.6 million respectively (https://www.cbinsights.com/blog/11-startups-boosting-brain/
). Big companies are allocating so many resources to this idea of improving upon evolution, but just what are these new products designed to enhance humanity?
What Are Nootropics?
Nootropics are broadly defined as substances that are ingested primarily to alter brain functioning. The word is Greek in origin and roughly means ‘towards’ or ‘bend’ the ‘mind’ (https://examine.com/supplements/nootropic/). The general notion is that humans can shape, bend and improve brain-functioning through ingesting substances optimized by modern-day technology. Nootrobox, a nootropics supplier, explains their philosophy that “the human system can be quantified, manipulated, and optimized,” (https://nootrobox.com/). The concept may initially appear fantastical or a notion of science fiction, yet millions of people across the globe subscribe to this theory. One of the world’s most well-known and popular nootropic is caffeine, a substance that millions use to improve alertness. Over 90% of North American adults enjoy caffeine-enhanced beverages daily and openly attribute the psychological and physical benefits to the nootropic (https://www.purenootropics.net/the-history-of-cognitive-enhancement-supplements/
The Study of Nootropics
It should come as a surprise that there has been very little peer-reviewed research conducted in this fascinating field. The founder of Nootrobox, Geoff Woo, explains that data is limited about the effectiveness of their products (https://www.theguardian.com/science/2016/feb/08/silicon-valley-psychoactive-drugs-health-nootropics-biohackers
). In order to pass FDA regulations, the growing field needs more funding to sponsor clinical trials and produce credibility. These trials can literally cost billions of dollars, and this is only one of the many barriers that cause only about five percent of new drugs to make it to market. As it stands, those in the field are in agreement that more research is needed. The lack of a common standard or consensus among scientists leaves the study of nootropics mainly untouched.
Nootropics are not new. In fact, anthropological evidence has found that human use of such substances date back as far as 10,000 years. Nootropics were used socially, spiritually and medicinally. Nootropics were, for example, widely ingrained in ancient Indian medicinal practices. The Indian practice of Ayurveda medicine dates back around 5,000 years ago. Practitioners prescribed various herbs and minerals including bacopa monnieri and ashwagandha (https://www.purenootropics.net/the-history-of-cognitive-enhancement-supplements/
). The Chinese are known for their use of ginkgo biloba, ginseng and goji berries. Socially, cultures have used nicotine, caffeine, alcohol and other psychoactive substances during gatherings.
In the past, nootropics were not able to be optimized or selectively incorporated into our lives because we lacked the technology. For instance, nicotine has proven to enhance memory, reaction time, and coordination but was traditionally only accessible through ingesting (smoking) the tobacco plant. The idea of ingesting nicotine to boost brain functioning loses a lot of luster when coupled with the drawbacks of smoking tobacco. Today, technology has progressed to the point where we can selectively ingest a pre-desired amount of the specific nootropic and degrade the negative aspects of the drugs through various means. More recently, pop culture and mainstream media have pushed the notion of “smart drugs” with movies like Limitless, while the pharmaceutical industry prescribes Adderall to students who seem to need enhanced attention-spans. The public’s image of nootropics is slowly evolving as a field of study that is not only acceptable but desirable, inevitable and morally imperative. This has led to the more modern-day, optimized category of nootropics.
Modern-day optimized nootropics claim to enhance certain mental functions, reverse mental deficits, improve mood and promote neuroprotection. Modern-day nootropics are usually a combination of supplements and herbs. The most studied of these is the first scientifically created nootropic, Piracetam. Belgium scientists were attempting to create a compound that would induce effects like relaxation. Since the discovery, aniracetam, oxiracetam and countless other compounds have been created for similar goals. The discovery also spawned the reemergence of ancient nootropics. The current nootropic dealers are selling various mixtures of these compounds and herbs all broadly categorized as nootropics.
Where to Buy Nootropics?
The best place to purchase nootropic supplements is online. This is because there are tons of online resources that give you things like nootropic reviews & rankings
, information and the best sites to buy them for the lowest prices.
Nootroo, one of the leading nootropics suppliers, explains that these substances can “enable us to free ourselves from the biological limitations with which we have evolved.” The company goes on to state that “nootropics give you the ability to improve mental performance beyond baseline,” (http://nootroo.com/about/
). The nootropics movement is about more than simply improving upon our individual cognitive abilities, and the agenda clearly focuses on improving upon evolution and humanity as a whole. Clinical research and FDA regulations indicate that nootropics are in a giant grey area somewhere between science and pseudo-science, left mainly untested. The Nootroo products even arrive with the words “intended for use only in neuroscience research” written on them (https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/jul/11/hack-yourself-nootropic-drugs-upgrade-mind
). The industry is seeking to push for more regulation of these substances as well as create a smarter and better human race. Has human technology and science finally progressed to the point at which this ancient hope can be fulfilled?