Natural Nootropics VS Synthetic Nootropics
You might not be familiar with the word "nootropics" but if you've ever taken fish oil supplements or enjoyed a caffeinated drink like coffee or matcha green tea, then you've had nootropics without even knowing it.
Nootropics are supplements, drugs, and other substances that can have a positive effect on brain function, especially when it comes to memory, focus, learning, and mental clarity.
However, it's important to note that not all nootropics are created equal.
There are natural nootropics (also called herbal nootropics), which are comprised of natural compounds, and then there are synthetic nootropics (aka "smart drugs"), which are made from chemical compounds and can have several side effects.
Natural Nootropics VS. Synthetic Nootropics
In today's non-stop world, it's no wonder more people are on a quest to improve memory, reduce mental fatigue, and enhance overall brain performance. After all, cognitive function can be thrown off simply from not having enough sleep, not eating well, not enough physical activity, or just being exhausted from the stress of everyday life.
But wanting better mental performance is nothing new. For centuries, traditional Chinese medicine and ancient Ayurvedic medicine have been using natural nootropics from plants, herbs, fungi, and root extracts—think Ginkgo Biloba, Ginseng, and Brahmi, for example—as a safe and steady approach to enhance mental function. And those old traditions were right.
On the other hand, synthetic smart drugs such as Piracetam, Adderall, Ritalin, Modafinil, and other man-made compounds have become more widely used over the last several decades.
If the side effects of synthetic nootropics aren’t reason enough to avoid them, consider the abundance of natural nootropics found in the natural world. Plants and herbs offer a wide range of adaptogenic, or stress-relieving compounds that support increased focus and relaxation.
Natural nootropics are much safer than synthetic forms because, in their purest version, they don’t produce side effects. Look for high-quality nootropic herbs that are standardized or that feature certain trademarks or labels, such as GMP, which denotes good manufacturing practices. Also, look for Nootropics without artificial ingredients or common allergens. Manufacturers concerned with safety will clearly define the presence of ingredients and allergens, such as gluten, soy, and dairy.
Synthetic nootropics are manmade pills designed to boost cognitive functioning using chemical ingredients. Smart drugs like Modafinil, Racetams, Adrafinil, and Noopept fall into this category. These compounds do improve mental function, but many also come with side effects.
Take Modafinil, for example. This drug for people with sleep disorders is becoming a particularly popular choice to boost alertness and energy. While the research on Modafinil remains scant, looking at how the drug works may offer insight into possible side effects down the road.