Finally, Psychiatrists are Taking Nootropics Seriously as Potential Mental Health Treatment
If you are looking for a natural alternative to expensive prescription medications, many psychiatrists are finally starting to acknowledge the positive effects of nootropics and antioxidants on the brain’s neurochemistry.
More and more, psychiatrists are starting to realize that they need to understand these holistic and natural alternatives, and you should understand them, too.
Let’s talk first about nootropics.
What are Nootropics?
“Nootropics” are the technical name for so-called “smart drugs” or “neuronenhancers.”
They are supplements designed to take your physical performance to its peak. These are especially popular among hardworking young professionals or medical students who need to have their brain work at peak performance while working on difficult problems or studying for long hours.
Already, more than 16 percent of young adults in the United States take some form of herbal or prescribed cognitive enhancement to help get them through schoolwork.
Yet students and young urban professionals aren’t the only people using these supplements. Many surgeons use them to stay focused while working late at night without sleep.
Supplements such as modafinil work to help get these physicians through sleepless hours of long surgery. A number of contemporary bioethicists are even starting to support the use of such supplements.
If you are interested in improving your mental health and focus the natural way, it’s a good idea to look to herbs and other supplements, such as nootropics. Many natural herbs are known to boost your overall wellness and concentration, but research is ongoing (many of the studies around herbs and vitamins are longitudinal and take years – if not decades – to complete).
What are some of the leading Nootropics?
The most well-known nootropic is a blend of different herbs called “Alpha Brain.” Alpha brain mixes together vitamin B6 and a number of herbs.
The most important herb in the mix is huperzia serrata. The huperzia serrata herb is a cholinesterase reuptake inhibitor, working in a similar manner to donepezil and various medicines used in the treatment of dementia. In fact, the plant is current undergoing clinical trials and may be soon adapted into commonly prescribed medicinal use.
Alpha Brain has been clinically studied and tested by physicians as to its ability to produce advanced memory, focus, and clarity of mental focus. The study can be found here. Though I don’t suggest we buy into studies wholeheartedly just because they were published in a research journal, this does add some credibility to Alpha Brain’s claims of effectiveness.
Another great option is the nootropic called Qualia. This nootropic is named after the philosophical term popularized in the works of philosophers David Lewis and Thomas Nagel for the portion of our mental activity that cannot be measured scientifically: the feelings and thoughts that only we can access, such as what things feel like from our perspective or point of view.
Like the philosophical term itself, Qualia gives you unique access to a way of treating the various distractions and pressures the external world places on your brain, letting you retreat into the cabinet of consciousness for pure solitude, inner focus, and lasting concentration.
Optimind represents another great alternative. Optimind actually lets you try it for a month for free, letting you experience the positive effects of this nootropic yourself before putting down the cash.
This blend of herbs and vitamins includes caffeine for an extra kick, giving you an FDA approved substance. Many scientific studies have positive things to say about many of the ingredients inside Optimind, as do the clients who use them. Optimind promises to help you “unleash your mind,” letting you unlock the limitless potential of your mind’s faculties.
Another important nootropic is cannabis. Although the THC in marijuana has mixed effects, some people report being able to increase their concentration after inhaling cannabis. The concentration doesn’t come from the perceptual effects of the THC, but from another ingredient in the plant called cannabidol.
This has led many companies to work on developing a strain of marijuana with a low THC content, focusing on cultivating the cannabidol properties of the plant.
Many nootropics, as with all psychostimulants, can cause potential side-effects, including anxiety or insomnia. Just like when you drink too much coffee, you can’t sleep or feel anxious, we would recommend always using any nootropics with caution to give you the relaxed, concentrated effect you need to function properly.
What are Antioxidants?
Antioxidants are what we typically have in mind when someone mentions a supplement. Instead of augmenting your body on the mitochondrial level, they give your body the vitamins it needs to produce effects by means of the antioxidant system itself.
Older people, especially among the better educated classes, often take such supplements alongside multivitamins and fish oil. What are some examples of these supplements? N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) is one popular choice. Another major choice among users of such supplements is alpha-lipoic acid (ALA).
Many of these antioxidants have seen longstanding use in both traditional and modern medicine.
N-acetyl cysteine is one of the best ways to help treat an overdose on acetaminophen (headache medicine). Moreover, the supplement has almost no side effects and few if any negative interactions with other drugs.
Alpha-lipoic acid is mainly seeing use in the treatment of neurological degenerative diseases, liver problems, and treating diabetes. This too, can be potentially effective in the treatment of a mental disorder, or be used to improve mental wellness.
L-glutamine, along similar lines, helps speed up the body’s own healing process and can mend muscle damage. However, it also can have many negative effects, and should be used cautiously.
Are Supplements the Future of Medicine?
Although the forces of pharmaceutical companies continue to put pressure against such innovations, the powerful potential of substances is hard to ignore. Many of these have even begun receiving significant attention from physicians for use in a clinical setting.
Understanding the different options out there on the market can help you find the right way to boost your cognitive performance, reduce stress, and live the happy, healthy, and natural lifestyle you want.