In this day and age, many live very hectic and stressful lives. The constant piling up of obligations and tasks, both personal and work-related, can take a toll not only on the body but also on the mind. This is the reason why people who are easily affected by stress are not only sleeping poorly but they might also be suffering from a lack of mental clarity, focus, and memory. The constant battle with stress can lead to consequences in the form of brain or memory-related diseases. Over time, people suffer from memory loss and brain-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s or dementia can surface.1 Unfortunately, it is important to note that mild memory-related issues are part of normal aging, but not serious ones. This is the reason why intake of nootropic supplements can help in preventing memory-related diseases. But do they really?
Nootropics and Neurotransmitters
Nootropics, referred to as smart drugs, are compounds that have been used and developed over time to treat cognitive deficits. It comes from the term noos meaning “to mind” and tropein meaning “to monitor” and it is used to define agents that have dopaminergic and serotonergic effects on the brain.
There are many neurotransmitters present in the brain. Acetylcholine is the first neurotransmitter identified by researchers in the history of neuroscience. It serves as the main neurotransmitter for the enteric, peripheral, and autonomic nervous system. Patients who suffer from memory-related diseases often have low levels of choline acetyltransferase–an enzyme of acetylcholine. With this fact, many neuroscientists have developed drugs and have studied substances or compounds for their nootropic potential.2
Nootropics and Cognitive Decline Due to Stroke
Nootropics can help people suffering from cognitive decline. Citicoline, for example, can help improve the condition of people suffering from cognitive decline due to stroke. Nootropics have neuroprotective effects that contribute to the improvement on attention tasks, executive function, and temporal orientation. Studies show on experimental subjects that nootropics have the ability to assist with neural repair.3 Nootropics are not only beneficial among people suffering from an ischemic stroke but also among those who suffered from traumatic brain injury. Intake of nootropics can also help reduce the hospitalization of patients suffering from the aforementioned conditions and it can also help with the faster recovery of their neurological function and level of consciousness.4
Nootropics and Cerebrovascular Diseases
Cerebrovascular diseases such as carotid stenosis and stroke restrict the flow of blood due to the narrowing, blockage, and clot formation in the blood vessels. Patients with cerebrovascular diseases can benefit from the treatment of nootropics especially when improving their attentional and perceptual motor functioning. However, it is important to remember that benefits are evident for those who suffer from mild cerebrovascular diseases.5
Nootropics and Vascular Dementia
Vascular dementia occurs in at least 4 out of every 100 individuals at age 65 years old. No specific drug has been identified for treating vascular dementia, but many neuroscientists have studied the benefits of nootropics in treating such a condition. Among patients with vascular dementia, nootropics have been shown to improve the neural circulatory and cognitive functions. Based on such observation, there is a possibility of using nootropics in treating Parkinson’s dementia, but further studies have to be conducted.6 Studies show that nootropics can help in neural repair and it has some neuroprotective effects in patients especially those who suffer from neurodegenerative conditions. It is a safe and promising compound for cognitive recovery.
Nootropics and Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressively debilitating disease that results in the impairment of cognitive function among elderly people. Several nootropics such as the compounds found in Crocus sativus can benefit people who suffer from mild symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. It can also positively affect the verbal recognition among patients suffering from such condition. The use of nootropics for cognitive improvement has potential advantages during the early stage of the disease.7
Nootropics and Cognitive Decline Due to Anesthesia Effect
People who are exposed to general anesthesia may also be at risk of suffering from cognitive decline. Studies show that nootropics can help improve the cognitive functioning and memory of patients who just underwent major surgical procedures. They can help repair the neural damage caused by exposure to anesthesia. It is not only great for elderly patients but also among younger individuals who have undergone major surgical procedures.8
There are other diseases of the brain that may affect memory. For instance, hepatic encephalopathy does not only manifest cognitive deficits but also psychomotor symptoms. As such, it can also be used as a potential therapy for people suffering from hyperammonemia–a rare disease causing irreversible damage to the central nervous system leading to neural atrophy and cognitive decline.9
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Studies show that nootropics can not only improve memory, but it can also increase energy and well-being. It can additionally decrease levels of anxiety and depression for most patients. However, it is important to take note that nootropics do not only benefit the brain health but the overall well-being. Studies show that those who suffer from pulmonary diseases, mild renal impairment, electrolyte imbalance, and hepatocellular carcinoma can benefit from it.
The Rising Need for Nootropics
Nootropics is not a new discovery. It has been used for centuries by different cultures to help improve memory. For instance, Bacopa monnieri is used in Ayurvedic medicine to improve focus and so is Ginkgo biloba by the ancient Chinese. Additionally, rosemary essential oil is known for its memory-boosting effects and is found in our Active blend. Today, natural nootropics are combined together in the form of tablets, capsules, and supplements to make them more potent. There is an increasing market for nootropics which accounts for $1.8 billion sales in 2016 and it is expected to increase to $3.2 billion by 2024.10
Different studies show that nootropics are effective in strengthening as well as enhancing cognitive performance and the overall well-being of people who suffer from a wide variety of brain pathologies. However, more extensive studies should be conducted in order to determine the exact therapeutic effects on patients.
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