What Are Nootropics? How Do They Work?

Nootropics are substances with brain action, capable of increasing focus, attention, memory and reasoning.

They improve intellectual performance both in people diagnosed with ADHD and depression as well as in healthy individuals who want to increase cognitive performance, memory and productivity in studies or work.

But, how do they act?


In this article, we will address the functioning of these substances that are increasingly popular among professionals looking for increased performance.

Imagine if every morning, before going to work, you took a pill that, in addition to leaving you more connected and concentrated improves memory and boosts creativity and productivity.

This is what more and more people are doing in places like Silicon Valley – a region of northern California, in the USA, considered the world capital of the technology industry -, where the so-called nootropics have become popular in recent years.

These substances – whose name comes from the Greek “nodeos” (mind) and “trope” (direction) – are supposed to be able to help improve mental performance without producing negative side effects.

Despite the skepticism of the scientific community as to their effectiveness, these “cognitive enhancers” are increasingly used in competitive work environments, in which intellect is far more important than any other skill.

Basically, nootropics act as chemical messengers, transporting, stimulating and balancing signals between neurons, nerve cells and other cells in the body.

After the release of its substances, the neurotransmitter crosses the gap between cells and binds to another neuron, stimulating or inhibiting the receptor neuron, according to its characteristic, among the main ones are:

concentration, cognition and memory.

There are currently hundreds of these cataloged substances that work in many ways. But the action of nootropics has neurotransmitters as their main target.

These act as chemical messengers, transporting, stimulating and balancing signals between neurons, nerve cells and other cells in the body. After its release, the neurotransmitter crosses the gap between cells and binds to another neuron, stimulating or inhibiting the receptor neuron, according to its characteristic.

In the case of nootropics, the main focus is on transmitters linked to concentration, cognition and memory, such as acetylcholine, dopamine and norepinephrine.

Acetylcholine is involved in the process of forming new memories and concentration, as well as in increasing brain metabolism.

Dopamine is best known for its participation in the reward cycle, stimulating our brain to complete tasks. In addition, dopamine works to control movement, learning, cognition and memory.

Norepinephrine regulates activities such as sleep and emotions, causing a feeling of well-being. It also relates to cognitive processes of learning, creativity and memory.

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