How Do Nootropics Work?
Nootropics are a great way to boost concentration, focus, memory and generally make the most out of your mind – whether you’re studying, embarking on a fitness regime or simply wanting to maintain your mental peak. There are numerous different types of nootropics, however, which each strain working on different neurotransmitters in a unique way to optimise your cognitive power.
Neurotransmitters are cell-signaling chemicals that bind to receptors through synapses. It is this binding that enables the receptor to complete its function. Every neurotransmitter has its own receptors and set of actions – nootropics work to increase the efficiency of these systems.
Nootropics most commonly relate to the cholinergic, glutamatergic, dopamine and serotonin systems – here we explain how these work and the effect nootropics can have on them.
Acetylcholine and the Cholinergic System
The cholinergic system refers to acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that plays a key function in learning, decision making, focus, memory, and sensory perception. This system has two types of receptors, nicotinic and muscarinic – the former is activated by nicotine as well as acetylcholine. Nootropics in the racetram family can have noticeable results on cognitive enhancement in this area, especially when combined with a choline supplement. These can make it easier for people to understand concepts and retain things recently learnt.
Glutamate and the Glutamatergic System
This is the most abundant neurotransmitter and plays a key part in maintaining brain health and supporting both memory and learning. Proper brain function relies of the right amount of glutamate in the brain – in fact, excess amounts of glutamate can be a factor in the development of diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Racetams and ampakines are known to stimulate the Glutamate receptors like and AMP, and increasing the amount of glutamate through nootropics can increase energy, focus, memory and capacity to learn.
Dopamine and Serotonin
The neurotransmitters that promote happiness, dopamine and serotonin are integral to memory, mood, reward and focus.
Supplements that boost dopamine, however, can be very powerful, and as such aren’t recommended for everyday use as they can be addictive.
Ritalin is a good example of this. Moderate consumption of supplements to boost serotonin, meanwhile, can enhance mood and help improve brain cognition.