Saturday, December 15The Voice of London

Nootropics: Secret behind biohacking of the brain

In the final frontier of the mind au naturel, we are now seeing the initial signs of brain augmenting. That’s right. Nootropics, or “smart-drugs,” are a new group of cognitive enhancing supplements which can improve an individual’s working memory, motivation, or focus.

Humans are always trying to be a better version of themselves. And in the latest attempt to self-improvement, the population of this world is now turning towards “smart-drugs”. You’ve likely seen these substances in fictional movies like ‘Limitless’ where Bradley Cooper’s character takes a pill and his focus goes from zero to 100 in a matter of seconds. Well, nootropics available in real life don’t have that strong of a reaction, but the concept is similar.

Here’s a video by Practical Psychology explaining what are Nootropics and how do they work.

These supplements work by safeguarding neurons in the brain, reducing the effects of harmful toxins and aging. Theoretically, nootropics tend to increase the flow of oxygen and blood to the brain, which later leads to advancement in different areas of cognitive functioning.

Photo by Stevepb from Pixabay

There’s a reason why most people feel the need to drink caffeine first thing in the morning, or while they’re working. It helps them retain information when they’re not exhausted. Similarly, medication like Adderall, Phenotropil, Concerta, and Modafinil help control and increase the attention span of humans by increasing the number of neurotransmitters in their brain, which helps neurons communicate better.

It is of utmost importance to know that not all nootropics work for everyone. Just like a GP’s prescription for one particular person doesn’t work for everybody, nootropics are the same. A person has to try different supplements and combinations over a period of time to find what works best for them. It might be possible that it affects an individual right away, but it might also be possible that it affects between a couple of hours and a couple of weeks to start showing noticeable effects as it has to build up in the body.

Photo by Cosby from Unsplash

A lot of these substances are sold over the counter and online websites like Amazon. According to The Telegraph’s report, up to 25% of students at top UK universities have taken prescription smart drug modafinil to boost their hyperfocus and tech start-up employees at the Silicon Valley are trying everything from Adderall to LSD for next level results. So smart drugs are here to stay.

A University of Southern California student told Voice of London, “ I didn’t feel any difference in the first few weeks, but it was when I decided to stop taking the pills I felt less focused and couldn’t pay attention. That’s when I knew it was working. It is a slow and steady process, and it can do wonders if you find the correct one for yourself.”

Cambridge University Professor of Clinical Neuropsychology, Dr. Barbara Sahakian argued that licensing study drugs to students might be a good idea.

“I think the Government should look at the front-runner drug that people are using as a cognitive enhancing drug, and actually get together with the drug company and assess whether it’s safe and effective for people to use,” she told The Independent.

“If it is, then let them license it, and maybe sell it in Boots, and have people have the usual information about the side effects and then they can also go to their GP before they take it.” she added.

Working of the Central Nervous System | Infographics created by Peony Hirwani

The most important part is that this is just the beginning. As more advanced technology and data comes along, these supplements will keep getting more and more effective and powerful. Neurologists and scientists are already looking past biochemistry of the epigenome. The future has begun.


Words and Infographics: Peony Hirwani | Subbing: Ruby Naldrett