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What are nootropics?

What are nootropics?

Nootropics are natural and synthetic substances that improve the cognitive abilities of healthy individuals.

The term 'nootropic' can be fairly broad in meaning, especially in online usage. Though it is generally accepted that for something to be a nootropic it must be able to provide safe cognitive benefits to its user whilst lacking any sedative or toxic effects.

Corneliu Giurgea was the first to use the word 'nootropic' in 1972. He used it to describe compounds that could "turn the mind" (from the Greek: nous trepin). The Romanian chemist's definition of something that can be called a nootropic was that it had to:

  • enhance memory and learning ability,
  • help the brain function under disruptive conditions,
  • protect the brain from harmful chemical damage,
  • improve neuronal firing mechanisms, and
  • lack any sedative, stimulant or toxic effects.

Who uses nootropics?

The most commonly sought after effects for nootropics-users are enhanced concentration, motivation, and clearer focus.

For this reason you'll often find nootropics users to be students, shift-workers, high powered professionals, those interested in lifehacking/self-improvement, or generally anybody looking to increase mental performance over a period of time.

Due to this being a fairly nascent industry there is still a lot of experimentation going on by both researchers and consumers. This also means that different nootropics have different levels of legality and scientific understanding supporting their effect profiles.

Rest assured, every nootropic we use in Noocaf coffee is considered both safe and effective by the FDA and is supported by research.

What are the most popular nootropics?

Let's take a look at some of the most popular nootropics, what they do, and whether or not you can buy them online.

Modafinil (prescription only): the most popular nootropic around, and with good reason. Modafinil is excellent at enhancing cognitive ability for around 16 hours and is even used by astronauts on the ISS for improved performance and focus.

Caffeine + L-theanine (both over the counter): easily the most underrated nootropic combination available. Not only does l-theanine negate the undesirable aspects of caffeine, it actually boosts the positive ones. This seems like a match made in heaven, and has been considered a staple in the nootropic community from the very beginning.

Read more about this combination here.

Piracetam (unscheduled): this is the original nootropic and was actually created by Corneliu Giurgea (see above) sometime in the 50's. Despite having over 40 years of peer-reviewed studies attesting to its positive mental benefits and some countries accepting it as a prescription-only drug, Piracetam is still unscheduled in the USA.

To learn about the different nootropics in our coffee, take a look at Focus.

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