The way the nootropics act and improve cognitive brain skills.
Present nootropic market offers a great variety of nootropic supplements, which can be ‘divided’ into the so-called ‘families’ and classes, like, for example, Ampakines and Racetams.
Even though many people wonder, whether there does exist a precise determination of the action that such drugs have over the brain, no one will be able to give one short description. This is due to the fact that investigations are still in process.
Though, of course, you might get some basic notions on the effects and influence that the nootropic drugs exert. However, different categories vary by their action on different parts of the brain and important neurotransmitters.
The information provided further, is an overview of the action mechanisms of different nootropic supplements categories, which will help you get a general idea of what you might expect from the use of brain boosters.
First of all, we should clarify the functions and the importance of neurochemicals for our cognitive functions. Our brain has numerous neuronal ‘systems’, which consist of receptors and neurotransmitters.
The receptor proteins enable the communication between the neuronal cells by chemical signals. The receptors can be both excited and inhibited by different neurotransmitters.
This divides the neurotransmitters into the excitatory that promote messages and the inhibitory that prevent messages from going further into the cells. Nootropics act on certain systems, depending on their action mechanism, by enhancing their efficacy, which leads to boosting certain cognitive abilities.
Even though we commonly consider these neurotransmitters to be really great for their ability of providing happiness and pleasure, there are certain risks in using the drugs that stimulate them. The main risk is related to addiction that may develop due to Dopamine-related action.
You should keep in mind that using such drugs (Ritalin, Adderall) every day is strongly not recommended, if you are interested in avoiding addiction to these amphetamine compounds. However, Serotonin system differs from Dopamine system.
Supplements that work on Serotonin improve your mood. Even though this is not a nootropic effect that people usually aim at, when taking cognitive enhancers, the influence on Serotonin and Dopamine systems contributes to their efficacy and overall results.
Glutamate is another neurochemical, which is essential for our memory and learning skills. It is also responsible for controlling the excitability in the nervous system.
Thus, the right Glutamate level in the brain is important for a proper mood, though it doesn’t mean that extremely high glutamate levels result in better mood. The level should be just right.
Excessive Glutamate level may indicate the imbalance of receptors and is also deemed a reason for some neurological conditions (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease).
Despite the fact that the binding-sites of Glutamate are numerous, we should concentrate on two of them, the nature of which is deemed nootropic. These are the N-methyl-D-aspartate and α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid receptors, the stimulation of which is among the major aims of literally all nootropic supplements.
Two categories of nootropic supplements are effective in the stimulation of the above mentioned receptor sites. These include Ampakines and Racetams, such as Aniracetam, Noopept, and Sunifiram.
Another important chemical messenger, which is widely distributed within the brain, is Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid. It is converted from Glutamate, and is capable of controlling the anxiety by reducing the activity of the overexcited neurons, thus calming us down.
Plasticity is an essential feature of the synapses, responsible for memory and learning abilities. There are nootropic supplements that beneficially influence namely this feature, thus providing you with a boost of important cognitive skills.
A very important neurochemical, which is capable of potentiating these skills, is Acetylcholine. Its primary component is choline, which you may get from different foods, like egg yolk, kidney, liver, brain, brewer’s yeast and wheat germ.
However, the amount you may get from food is quite low, and a good source of choline will be very beneficial, if your aim is boosting your brain abilities. Citicholine and Alpha GPC are considered to be high-quality choline sources, which are great for using in stacks with other nootropic supplements.
You should know that despite the beneficial action, Acetylcholine is not capable of exerting considerable nootropic effects, when used on its own. There is a nootropic category that provides a combined action due to the fact that these supplements boost the synaptic activity without an additional Acetylcholine production.
This family is called the ‘racetams’ and includes such Acetylcholine agonists, like Piracetam, Oxiracetam, Aniracetam and Pramiracetam. These supplements may promote quite strong combined nootropic effects, if you take them together with a choline precursor.
We have listed the most important neurochemicals, which are responsible for communication within the brain: Serotonin, Dopamine, GABA, Glutamate, and Acetylcholine. The way that the nootropic drugs influence these neurochemicals makes up the scheme, based on which our cognitive skills are improved.
Synaptic plasticity and communication between the neuronal cells highly affect our abilities of perceiving, feeling, moving, calculating, imagining, processing, reasoning, remembering, focusing and learning. In general, the nootropic supplements positively affect these five foundational neurochemicals by improving their intercommunication, which results in the beneficial effects we get from them.