Nootropics are supplements and other substances that may improve cognitive function, particularly executive functions, memory, creativity, or motivation, in healthy individuals. While many substances are purported to improve cognition, research is at a preliminary stage as of 2018, and the effects of the majority of these agents are not fully determined.
The word nootropic was first used in 1972 by a Romanian psychologist Corneliu E. Giurgea. Since then, the interest in this field has been dramatically growing.
Nootropics are also known as “smart drugs” because of the benefits of increasing mental capacity and enhancing cognitive function. Their popularity in the last few years has skyrocketed. The market is growing and it will triple until 2022.
Nootropics produce minimal or no side effects and are suitable for long-term use. These compounds include those occurring in nature or already produced by the human body (such as neurotransmitters), and their synthetic analogs. We already use some of them on a daily basis such as vitamins, minerals, and certain herbs.
There is an ancient precedent to humans using natural compounds to elevate our performance. People used coca leaves, coffee beans, and many other natural remedies to improve their performance. Nowadays, athletes consume protein powders and hormones to enhance their training, recovery, and performance. The most widely consumed psychoactive compound today is caffeine. Millions of people use coffee and tea to be more alert and focused.