Nootropics (NT) are still pretty far out of the mainstream
- but they’re beginning to gather some steam as they head for the public consciousness (pun intended),
- it seems likely they’ll be getting increasing press in the near future.
What are NTs?
- aka “smart drugs, memory enhancers, neuro enhancers, cognitive enhancers, & intelligence enhancers”
- “drugs, supplements, nutraceuticals & functional foods that
- improve 1 or more aspects of mental function, such as
- working memory, motivation & attention”
History of NTs
- the term was coined in 1972 by Romanian psychologist Corneliu Giurgea & is
- a synthesis of the Greek words for “mind” and “to bend or turn”
- Giurgea synthesized piracetam - the first NT, in 1964 &
- he subsequently established a set of criteria, these drugs should meet:
1. enhance learning
2. increase the coupling of the brain’s hemispheres
3. improve executive processing (which involves tasks such as planning, paying attention, and spatial awareness)
4. be nontoxic and nonaddictive
- as he put it in his book "Fundamentals to a Pharmacology of the Mind":
- “Man is not going to wait passively for millions of years before evolution offers him a better brain”
- that seems inarguable
- history affirms that there’s a basic human drive to improve ourselves between the ears
Terminology refinement: NT vs AMP (amphetamine)
- a distinction between NT & other drugs must be made
- Wikipedia’s definition features synonyms such as “cognitive enhancers” & “smart drugs”
- this is a source of some confusion, since much of what you may read on the subject of NT
- includes in NT category such prescription drugs as Adderall, Ritalin & the like.
- but these are AMP & alike substances
- that were intended to treat specific conditions: ADHD, sleep apnea, shift-work disorder, chronic fatigue syndrome, and narcolepsy.
- but they are increasingly taken these days for off-label purposes
- for example:
--- Adderall is as freely available as pot on college campuses at the moment
--- It’s the drug of choice as a study aid, especially when deadlines are involved
- AMPs have the efficient but brief effect of promoting mental clarity & increasing focus
- in that narrow sense, AMPs are also cognitive enhancers
- but they are often erroneously called NTs, which MUST be nontoxic and nonaddictive
- AMPs are neither, plus they carry the risk of serious side effects
What are the NTs then?
--- a nutritional supplement
--- designed to improve brainpower
--- in healthy adults
--- over extended periods of time
- even after excluding the AMPs, the range of potential NTs is wide
First, a whole host of naturally occurring foods and herbs
- from ginseng to krill oil, grapeseed extract, yerba mate, even licorice & many, many more
- are touted as having NT properties
But let’s concentrate on the newer, more exotic compounds that are attracting the most attention
- a sampler from Nootriment (http://nootriment.com) - the most comprehensive website
- As noted above, piracetam was Giurgea’s original creation, but its group now includes many newer arrivals
- that purport to be stronger and/or better, such as aniracetam, oxiracetam, coluracetam, nefiracetam, and pramiracetam
- racetams work by increasing levels of neurotransmitters and other chemicals required for proper brain function
- Tests have shown that they improve cognitive function & increase the communication between the 2 hemispheres of the brain.
- newest kid on the block. Not technically a racetam
- though it is derived from this class and has similar mechanisms of action
- Said to be over 1,000 times more concentrated than piracetam
- Seen as being effective for disorders such as depression and anxiety
- activates receptors for dopamine as well as selective serotonin receptors &
- increases levels of nerve growth factor, which is a hormone involved in the maintenance and repair of healthy brain cells.
- naturally occurs in many foods & has been added to the B-complex family of vitamins
- precursor of acetylcholine, a crucial brain chemical, necessary for the development & maintenance of
- healthy brain-cell membranes to ensure effective signaling, structural integrity, and neuronal fluidity
- those heavily involved with NTs (so-called “noonauts”) usually take a combination of ingredients — a practice called “stacking”
- some form of choline is part of every stack.
- synthetic derivative of Vitamin B6 - a precursor of dopamine
- which it transforms into, once it successfully crosses the blood/brain barrier
- Pyritinol can: improve attention span, facilitate recall, elevate mood & eliminate hangovers
- also aids in glucose uptake, which can be beneficial during periods of mental strain
- that diminish the glucose stores, on which the brain depends for its energy.
- biosynthetic derived from an alkaloid, found in the periwinkle plant
- cerebral vasodilator, that improves & increases blood flow specifically to the brain;
- blood pressure in other parts of the body is not affected
- It’s been shown to increase the levels of many of the most important brain neurotransmitters
- including acetylcholine, noradrenaline, serotonin & dopamine, as well as ATP - the primary source of intracellular energy
- precursor to the prescription medication modafinil
- Modafinil — possession of which is a felony without a prescription
- belongs to a class of drugs, known as “eugeroics” which promote mental alertness w/o the side effects of AMPs
- for which they are used as a substitute
- stimulates hormones like epinephrine, norepinephrine, and dopamine
- the jury is out on modafinil’s long-term safety and susceptibility to abuse
- but committed noonauts take it (or adrafinil) anyway
All of this leads to some big questions:
1. Do NTs work?
- the answer: probably
- while the evidence with some is anecdotal, there has been a surprising amount of scientific research done on others
- citations are available on the Nootriment website
- although you have to dig around a bit to find them
2. Are NTs safe?
- they seem to be
- but since NTs have only arrived relatively recently, long-term effects are unknown…
- so we can’t be sure
- And of course, the consequences are unpredictable, if someone mixes up a big stack combination of his or her own devising.
3. Ae they legal?
- Yes; apart from prescription drugs, like Adderall & Modafinil
- possession of NTs in any amount is legal for US citizens
- However, they cannot be marketed as food supplements
- but only for purposes of “education & research”
- This restriction is the responsibility of the seller & doesn’t apply to the consumer
- Note also that other countries may have different laws
4. Is there any way to invest in NTs?
- since they’re already very popular in Silicon Valley,
- it’s likely just a matter of time before acceptance becomes much more widespread
- they could develop into very big business indeed
- but it’s not the type that many public companies are jumping into
- 1 problem is likely: the constraints on vendors’ abilities to market these substances as supplements
- the primary reason is - NTs are already in the public domain & exclusivity cannot be had
- most manufacturing is done in China and India
- while a big drug company like Belgium’s UCB does make piracetam, it’s a very small part of UCB’s business.
- the only pure play we can find is Optigenex Inc. (OTC Pink: OPGX)
- makers of AC-11, a patented botanical extract, that’s the main ingredient in a NT blend called AlphaBrain
- from private company Onnit Labs
- it trades for about a penny a share, with close to zero volume. Not a very good bet
- it’s possible that a way to profit from NTs will crop up in the future, as (& if) the drugs catch on
Почему назначаются ноотропы детям - http://dok-zlo.livejournal.com/1719211.html