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What Are Nootropics and How Do They Work?

October 13, 2021

 Table of Contents

Nootropics, Energy, and Focus

Nootropic supplements have become popular for many people looking to boost their energy and focus. According to the thousands of men that took our Mdrive quiz, 57% were looking for increased energy when researching supplements. It’s no secret–we’re tired. If it's not the climb to your next promotion, it's finding enough hours in the day for family and self-care. Life makes high demands—and a little extra energy from supplements or boosters can go a long way.

Caffeine is usually the answer when your supply and demand for daily energy just don't meet up. It can enhance your energy, awareness, ability to focus, and your access to other positive neurotransmitters. However, caffeine is only one type of natural performance-enhancing supplement, also known as a nootropic.

caffeine nootropic structure

Nootropics are a popular solution when feeling sluggish due to their natural approach to boost the body's energy. Many people today are turning to nootropics to enhance focus and to stay energized throughout the day. But just what are nootropics? Where do nootropics come from—and are they healthy? Let's take a closer look.

What Are Nootropics?

In the early 70s, Dr. Cornelius Giurgea, a Romanian chemist and psychologist, was trying to invent a sleeping pill. In experimenting with both natural and processed ingredients, he discovered that several components contain something that could enhance memory, improve crisis management abilities, protect the brain from injury, and improve some cortical and subcortical controls. Dr. Giurgea composed this short list of identifying qualities for a nootropic—as he coined the phrase—while working on substances for his sleep medication project:

  • Caffeine
  • Ginkgo Biloba
  • L-Theanine
  • Creatine
  • Panax Ginseng
  • Rhodiola Rosea
  • Bacopa Monnieri

How Do Nootropics Work?

Nootropics activate your brain across multiple pathways. They support brain activity and energy by doing the following:

  • Enhance the mitochondria’s metabolic activity

  • Assist the transportation of fatty acid to mitochondria, which helps them function properly

  • Promote neurotransmitter synthesis

  • Improve receptor sensitivity

  • Promote blood cell health and function


Because of this, nootropics may enhance your ability to think, act, and remember by activating your brain and releasing positive neurotransmitters that you generate naturally.

Man sitting outside thinking

Nootropics require more in-depth study to fully understand their function. However, we know from the extensive research on caffeine that caffeine stimulates brain activity, aids the synthesis of the natural neurotransmitter acetylcholine, and decreases the production of adenosine, which reduces tiredness. This is why nootropics are also known as smart drugs, memory enhancers, and enhancers of cognitive function. 

What Are Smart Drugs or Cognitive Enhancers?

Nootropics are sometimes referred to as "smart drugs" or "cognitive enhancers." This isn't just a marketing claim—it's a requirement for something to be called a nootropic.

Dr. Giurgea initially defined five qualifications for a substance to be considered a nootropic. The first of those rules is that a nootropic must enhance memory, and the second rule is that it will improve behavior under adverse conditions. In simpler terms, nootropics can help keep you sharp and improve cognitive function.

Benefits of Taking Nootropics

  • Long-term improvement to memory storage
  • Quick free recall of memories
  • Strengthen resistance to mental stress
  • Faster reaction times and problem-solving
  • More attentive
  • Uplifted mood

Nootropics have both short-term and long-term benefits. In the short term, they may improve your access to your memory, improve your response time, and uplift your mood. In the long term, nootropics may help improve how you store memories and create a more predictable and restful sleep cycle.

Mdrive is the everyday supplement for driven men, providing you more energy, strength, and drive. Check out our products online or reach out to tell us your story.

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