Nootropics are often referred to as “smart drugs” because they can boost brain performance. These are substances may be over the counter or prescriptions. As a chiropractor in Colorado springs, I work with the body to improve the brain body connection but do not prescribe any medications as it is outside of my scope of practice. I’ll be focusing the over the counter nootropics in this article.
What are Nootropics
The word nootropics stems from two words: “noos” meaning “the mind” and “tropein” meaning “to monitor”. Drugs that influence the cognitive ability in a positive way are considered to be nootropics. They can either be naturally occurring like caffeine or synthetic like piracetam. The efficacy of these over the counter drugs is incomplete at this time due to the insufficient amount of research. It is believed that these drugs probably improve the oxygen supply to the brain, stimulate nerve growth, alter the levels of hormones, enzymes available to the brain & neurotransmitters (chemicals that send signals between nerve cells).
The Nerve System
The function of the nerve system is to act as the roadways for communication between the brain and the body. Different nerves travel to every cell and tissue in the body so a patient will experience different secondary conditions depending on which nerve is injured and where that nerve is traveling to in the body. A nerve in the lower back will travel down the leg and may cause Sciatic Nerve Pain but nerves in the lower back also travel to the bladder, lower digestive tract and reproductive organs. This means someone with an injury in their lower back can experience a variety of secondary conditions based upon which nerve is injured.
You may have realized already that you currently are taking nootropics in the form of caffeine. Other forms of nootropics that I’ll be discussing include L-theanine, Omeage-3 fatty acids, Racetams (a form of synthetic compounds), Ginkgo biloba, panax ginseng, rhodiola and creatine.
Whether you are a coffee or tea drinker, more than likely you are consuming caffeine. It should be noted that caffeine in moderate amounts is safe for most people. A regular cup of coffee or tea in the morning is a good way to boost mental focus although in excess, caffeine can have negative effects. Caffeine pills and powders can have extremely high amounts, the FDA recommends no more than 400 milligrams per day. That’s about 4-5 cups of coffee. There is also a link to higher chance of pregnancy loss for women who are or may become pregnant so caffeine is not for everyone.
You can find L-theanine in black and green teas or as supplements. It was reported in a 2016 review that L-theanine may contribute to a relaxed yet alert state by increase alpha waves in the brain. Most supplements recommend taking 100-400 mg per day but tere are no dosage guidelines for this nootropic.
Omega-3 fatty acids
One of the most well-known cognitive enhancers are omega-3 fatty acids. They are found in fatty fish as well as fish oil supplements and have been well-studied. They are known for repairing brain cells which can protect the brain from aging. The research is out though when it comes to it’s role in the function of the nervous system aka brain function. Omega-3 fatty acids supplements can be found in a variety of forms including krill oil, algal oil and fish oil. You should ask a doctor before taking them though as there is a low risk of side effects if the interact with medications that affect blood clotting.
These are synthetic compounds that increase neurotransmitters in the brain. Neurotransmitters are the chemicals that nerve cells use to send signals from one nerve cell to another. There are a variant of Recetams including piracetam, pramiracetam, penylpiracetam and aniracetam. These synthetic compounds are believed to have neuroprotective effects but there is limited evidence supporting that claim. Studies have not found adverse effects of taking racetams AS DIRECTED but there is no set dosage so it is wise to consult with a doctor before taking them.
A natural nootropic, Ginko biloba is tree native to Asian countries such as China, Japan & Korea. It has been used as an herbal supplement. There is more research that needs to be done but the leaves are thought to have potentially beneficial effects for improving brain function. It may help with dementia symptoms but it may not be the safest or most effective option available.
Another naturally occurring nootropic from China is panax ginseng. Its roots are used for medicinal purposes but panax ginseng should not be confused with other types of ginseng. They come from different plants and have different uses. Panax ginseng may help prevent brain diseases including Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. It may also help the brain recover after a stroke. One downfall of panax ginseng is that it does interact with many medications so consult with a doctor before taking it.
Also known as roseroot, rhodiola roseas L. may have neuroprotective effects and may help treat neurodegenerative diseases. A review found that is can regulate neurotransmitters improving mood.
An amino acid that is often supplemented by athletes can improve exercise performance may also have positive effects on mental ability. A 2018 review found creatine can help with short term memory & reasoning. There is limited research as to its safety for adolescent athletes.
Neurological stress is often overlooked. It is caused by Structural shifts of the spine. Remember how we talked about how important function was. Well the bodies command center is the nerve system, the brain & spinal cord. It controls & coordinates every function of the body. It is constantly sending and receiving messages throughout the body. And it’s so important that it is protected by the strongest bones in the body.
The skull fuses to one solid piece but the spinal cord is protected by a series of bones called vertebrae. These bones allow movement so we can bend and twist and rotate so we can be athletic. But Because they’re moveable, they are vulnerable to stress & forces that can cause them to lose their proper position. When that happens, rather than protecting the nerve system it actually causes nerve injuries and prevents the nerve systems ability to send those messages which control & coordinate the function of the body.
Structural Shifts of the Spine
Structural shifts of the spine case caused by spinal stress can have multiple impacts in the body. Pain in the muscles & joints leading to degeneration. Also nerve interference or a nerve injury lowers the ability to heal, interrupts proper physiology causing a lowered resistance to stress and leads to a variety of secondary conditions.
The Purpose of Chiropractic
The purpose of Chiropractic is to detect & correct those structural shifts to restore the structural integrity of the spine. Restoring the nerve communication throughout the body. Many people associate chiropractic with neck and back pain or making you feel better and even though people do feel better, that is not the actual purpose of chiropractic. Its purpose is to restore and maintain function in the human body allowing the bodies inborn intelligence to maintain homeostasis.
Chiropractor Colorado Springs
As a Chiropractor in Colorado Springs, I use an objective and conservative health care approach focused on the spine and nerve system. We assess how the structure of the spine is directly affecting the nerve system. In our office we run a premium model similar to Luis Vuitton as opposed to a model like Massage Envy. Our office uses objective indicators to identify structural shifts of the spine outside of a normal structural range, similarly to how an engineer assesses the structural integrity of a building. Then we use instrumentation to identify nerve inflammation as the nerve system are exits the spine. I pair this information to create a well-rounded assessment of a patient’s condition which is used to generate a plan to correct the issue. We identify symptoms that are really a secondary condition caused an injured nerve that resulted from a structural shift of the spine.