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Let’s start with the obvious, what are nootropics?

Nootropic is a term used to describe compounds that improve any aspect of cognitive function, from alertness, concentration to memory to cellular health.

What are nootropics used for? This is a question that always comes up. Nootropics can be natural or synthetic. There are hundreds of different nootropics, and they all have other benefits ranging from improving short-term memory to recall speed, mood, and anti-aging protective functions.

Some of the common nootropics commonly referred to include Tyrosine, Lion’s Mane, Ginkgo Biloba, L-Theanine, Citicoline, and B12. In the evolving world of nootropics, there are always new nootropics promoted as the next ultimate ‘smart drug’. However, it’s not that simple. As the brain is a very complex organ, various nootropics will target different executive functions, having both acute and more extended term benefits, which will vary from person to person. For example, nootropics, such as Sibelius Sage, have an incredible impact on improving memory, alertness and brain health. At the same time, Bacopa Monnieri is an antioxidant involved in free-radical scavenging and promotes early information processing and improves visual information learning rate.

As various nootropics benefit different brain functions, they can be combined to form a ‘stack’ that is then conveniently delivered in a single tablet or powder to give a designed effect. This being the case, they are generally referred to as ‘multivitamins for the brain’ - some having comprehensive benefits, while others are highly targeted on specific functions. Each ‘stack’ will have an extraordinary impact depending on the nootropics used.

What are the Cognitive Function Benefits of nootropics? From a scientific point of view, nootropics work through various mechanisms in the brain, by increasing neurotransmitter release or modulating the release, modulating transmitter receptor sites, modulating neurotransmitter enzymes, influencing neuro-inflammation in the brain, reducing oxidative stress, act as precursors to various neurotransmitters.

Over the last five or so years, nootropics have gained broader interest as many entrepreneurs, and high performers have leveraged the power of nootropics to enhance their performance - Joe Rogan, the world’s leading podcaster, is a perfect example.

What’s a Nootropic Stack?

A nootropic stack is simply a combination of nootropics packaged together, typically in a capsule or tablet. A nootropic stack is a customised selection of nootropics tailored to the enhanced cognitive domains of the highest importance. This might be alertness, speed of recall, creativity, processing speed or a combination of these.

Each nootropic included in a ‘stack’ needs to be of an amount proven by clinical studies to have the desired effect. For example, 400 mcg of Folic Acid is the minimum amount required in a dose to maintain and support cognitive energy levels.

As such, when you are reviewing a stack or nootropic product, it’s pretty essential to know that you're getting at least the minimum amount proven in clinical trials to generate a positive result; anything less is a waste of time and money. The easiest way to know this is to select nootropics that have been listed in the ARTG. Otherwise, you might be flying blind.

Various nootropics will add smaller amounts of these ingredients purely for marketing purposes and give the false consumer hope. It is worth noting that high-quality nootropics ingredients are typically expensive, so this should be a red flag when you see products that seem to offer incredible value.

This is why nootropics listed in the ARTG (Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods) or FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) are required to be supported by deep clinical research and contain the amounts shown by clinical research to produce the desired result. Having the benefit of an independent review will become more critical in the world of supplements as authorities look to ensure producers of ineffective supplements are held accountable.

For more information on this check out the ARTG resources.

Changes to the law in Australia

A supplement can be classified as either a food or medicine in law in Australia. However, some supplements have stimulant or other medicine-like effects and are in a medicinal dosage form (e.g. tablets, pills and capsules) and should be classified as medicines.

Some producers of nootropics and other supplements have taken advantage of this loophole by offering nootropics in the form of powders or drinks to avoid complying with correct dosage levels and strict manufacturing processes captured under the rules for therapeutic good. This has led the Australian market to be flooded with products manufactured in Australia and overseas that are not effective by being classified as food.

So how do you spot nootropics that you can trust? And are nootropics legal in Australia? Goods that have been listed with the ARTG will have an AUST L or AUST R number on the front label to identify that these products are entered on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods - ARTG. In a nutshell, if a nootropic doesn’t have this number, it either has little therapeutic value or is not produced under strict conditions.

Nootropics with an AUST L number can legally make medical claims, as they are supported by deep clinical research. Products without this AUST L number can’t make any claims - and if they are, it’s a red flag. Claims include things like: improves memory, enhances recall, improves mood, and improves focus.

.Nootropics like Brain can legally claim the benefits which are indicated on the certificate received from the ARTG. Additionally each ingredient is supported by deep research from well-respected clinics and medical publications that are referenced on the Yootropics site.

The good and bad - What are the most popular nootropics?

Caffeine and nicotine are probably the most popular nootropics readily available and consumed en masse. The fact is that they work super effectively by switching on short-term or acute alertness, which is why caffeine is the drug of choice to kick start the day.

Caffeine is probably the most well-known and widely used natural stimulant and neuroenhancer. And there’s more good news - research shows that caffeine has potent effects on memory improvement when consumed early in the morning. The effective dose of caffeine is between 60 to 100mg, which is found in a regular cup of coffee.

But here’s a word of caution - if you're a slow caffeine oxidiser, you’ll more than likely carry the COMT gene that will make you produce high amounts of a catecholamine class of neurotransmitters, including dopamine epinephrine and norepinephrine. If this is you, you’ll probably suffer serious jitters from a single cup.

Nicotine is also a highly popular and powerful nootropic that has been shown to improve working memory. The problem is that nicotine is highly addictive, and you have to consume more and more nicotine to continue to feel the effects caused by releasing dopamine and glutamate. Quitting usually comes with withdrawal symptoms, meaning you have to consume nicotine to feel normal. It’s a bit of a vicious cycle.

Fortunately, the leaps and bounds in research around the working of the brain have led to an evolution in the research into nootropics. Today we are no longer confined to these mainstream nootropics, such as caffeine and nicotine, which have drawbacks. Today we have access to well-researched nootropics, such as BacoMind (Bacopa Monnireri whole-plant extract) to deliver both short-term and longer-term cognitive benefits - packaged in a single, convenient dose. Furthermore, these various nootropics are now perfectly blended in a signal daily capsule to optimise your cognitive performance across all stages of your life, without the short and long term issues.

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To you health,

The Yootropics Team

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