According to the etymology of nootropics name created by Romanian psychologist and chemist Corneliu E. Giurgea, the word nootropics come from a combination of two Greek words: νους (nous- mind) and τρέπειν (trepein– repulse, recoil).
What are nootropics?
Well, there is no one modern definition of nootropics. We should focus on the definition created in 1972, which basic characteristics are:
- Nootropics should be helpful in terms of boosting memory and effectiveness of learning,
- Should have Neuroprotection features,
- Can’t be toxic and have any serious side effects.
How about adaptogens?
Adaptogens are pretty similar to nootropics in terms of assumptions, hence it may be pretty confusing to differentiate them. The main difference is the effect of taking them. Nootropics boost your brain, memory and cognitive functions while adaptogens are made to help you deal with stress and fatigue when a key function of adaptogens is stress relief, but sometimes adaptogens have side effects such as improving cognitive functions and boosting memory.
What are examples of nootropics and adaptogens?
- Caffeine – it’s so obvious, isn’t it? It’s naturally found in coffee, cocoa, tea, kola nuts and guarana. Most of the time when you drink your morning coffee you don’t think of its caffeine containment and nootropic effects, you treat that more like a habit.
- L-Theanine- In 2014 it was proved that L-theanine is supporting alertness, effectiveness and maintaining attention. What is important -the best effects can be achieved during the first hour after taking a dose.
- Bacopa monnieri- study shows it has various effects like improving memory and reducing anxiety. Bacopa monnieri is considered a nootropic as well as an adaptogen.
- Ashwagandhanda- Roots and fruits are well known in Hindu medicine for thousands of yearsere used as a supplement. Today’s studies show that supplying people suffering chronic stress with ashwagandha for 60 days helps to reduce cortisol „the stress hormone”. The other studies show that it helps physically active people- an increase muscle strength and muscle mass. Furthermore, the same analysis shows that it provides an increase in testosterone levels.
- Rhodiola Rosea- It’s energizing plant that boosts organism immunity and resistance to stress and diseases.
- Panax ginseng- Panax ginseng is one of the most commonly used and highly researched species of ginseng. This species, which is native to China, Korea, and Russia, has been an important herbal remedy in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years, where it has been used primarily as a treatment for weakness and fatigue. The results of two studies,10,11 each including about 30 young, healthy volunteers who received 200 mg of Panax Ginseng daily for eight weeks, showed improvement in certain psychomotor functions (i.e., better attention, processing, and auditory reaction time), social functioning, and mental health.
In conclusion, it’s crucial to pick the best adaptogens and nootropics wisely. It is highly recommended to talk to your doctor or pharmacist to pick the best and safest adaptogens and nootropics.