Nootropics smart drugs on the rise

(SWEEPS FEED)- Are you interested in an extra edge in the workplace? Would you welcome something to get the wheels in your head spinning a little faster?

If so, you may be interested to know more about nootropics, so called smart-drugs that some people are using for exactly those reasons. Experts say the interest in nootropics is on the rise, but do they really work? And are they safe?

When corporate strategist Ben Sand was wanting to improve his performance at work, he looked to nootropics, compounds designed to enhance cognition.

“For me, it’s sort of like coffee but a bit smoother,” said Sand.

He actually cut out the coffee, and started taking a regimen of four pills daily.

“It’s just a simple way to kind of get the alertness that I’m looking for.”

Sand uses supplements from a company called Nootrobox. They’re available online, and no prescription is needed.

Ingredients include things you’ve heard of like B vitamins and caffeine, as well as some you may not know about like Bacopa monnieri and Rodiala rosea.

The idea behind the products?

“They affect your mental state, they affect your cognitive abilities, they can help with things like memory or focus or attention or clarity of mind,” said Michael Brandt,
Nootrobox co-founder.

Brandt says demand for nootropics is huge, with more people looking to make the most of the time they have each day.

But can a cognitive or mental enhancer supplement actually have a positive impact on the way your brain functions?

Dr. James Giordano is a professor of neurology, who researches optimizing brain functions.

“Nootropics are designed to affect brain functions in those ways that are able to improve, or at least modify in positive ways, a variety of processes of cognition,” Giordano said.

Experts point out though, the world of nootropics isn’t limited to supplements available over the counter, with some people using prescription medications off-label, or purchasing substances on the gray market.

“There’s a lot of people eating different forms of nootropics and that ranges anywhere from pharmaceuticals to supplements to illegal substances, all over the spectrum,” Brandt said.

Giordano notes that although there are small amounts of literature that say they may be effective, more research is needed when it comes to nootropics in general.

“To be able to demonstrate not only the effectiveness of these compounds in real world settings, but also the effects, side effects, and potential burdens and risks,” Giordano said.

For consumers interested in trying them out, Giordano warns it’s a buyer beware marketplace.

“Every consumer probably has to be their own researcher, do their due diligence, look into the available research,” Giordano said.

As for Sand, he feels like nootropics combined with a healthy lifestyle and meditation have made a big difference, “I do feel like I have an edge in the workplace that, that comes from a kind of holistic approach in using these products in combination with, with everything else that I’m doing.”