Humans have always looked for ways to enhance their performance, whether on the sports field, office, school, or wherever they need a boost. Cognitive enhancement assists the brain and nervous system in various ways to improve function. The thinking parts of the brain are enhanced, but it can also help with motor abilities, which are the body's movement.
Suppose you’re considering taking cognitive enhancers. But for one to understand the full scope of what these cognitive enhancers could do, they need to take a look at what precisely the supplements are and how they work.
What Are Cognitive Enhancers?
A cognitive enhancer can be pharmacological or non-pharmacological, with most people opting for approved nootropics. Nootropics is another name for these enhancers and could include l-theanine, bacopa monnieri, and phosphatidylserine. Some enhancers have been around for many years, and pharmaceutical companies research and develop more of them each year.
Cognitive enhancers are widely popular because they assist with wakefulness and alertness and boost a person's mood. Other benefits include improved executive function or higher thinking, attention, and memory.
Although students and people with high-demand jobs tend to use these as supplements, doctors also use nootropics to help treat narcolepsy, sleep apnea, ADD or ADHD, Alzheimer's disease, schizophrenia, stroke, and shift work sleep disorder.
When used correctly, cognitive enhancers could be valuable in assisting daily functioning. Still, there are side effects to consider, and consulting a medical professional before using them is crucial. Furthermore, it is best to research and learn more about the different substances and choose one that will assist rather than harm.
How Do They Work?
With many variants of supplements available, there are different effects these can have on the body and nervous system. However, most of them can affect the dopamine receptors in the brain's prefrontal cortex, which is in charge of thinking, reasoning, and other essential functions.
Dopamine is essential to the brain's function by improving the pleasure responses in the brain. It also affects the motivation and reward responses of the neurological system. A lack of this neurotransmitter can often contribute to depression and other adverse reactions.
Some supplements may also increase oxytocin and decrease cortisol in the body. In addition, they can help assist people with socializing and reduce social anxiety. Oxytocin generally promotes the forming of bonds between people by improving social learning. It can help someone read non-verbal cues like body language during communication with others. On the other hand, cortisol creates a fight-or-flight reaction that increases anxiety.
Ideally, one of the roles of cognitive enhancers is to regulate feedback systems in the brain, so optimal levels of the various hormones and transmitters are in place. Thus, it can be easy to imagine that taking too much of these substances could have adverse effects on the body.
Furthermore, some research on various substances shows an improvement in brain chemistry related to risk-taking behavior, attention, sleep patterns, and weight loss. Still, it may come at the cost of other vital functions.
What Are The Side Effects?
People that use these supplements have reported minor side effects like increased anxiety, headaches, chest pains, dizziness, and nausea, and some have a decreased need to sleep. More severe effects on the body could be rising body temperature, paranoia, high blood pressure, and irregular heartbeat.
In some cases, long-term use of the chemical substances could cause stomach ulcers, malnutrition due to decreased appetite, skin disorders, inflammation of the heart valves, convulsions, or even death.
Because of the high risk for serious side effects, some people opt to use more natural supplements like vitamin B, fish oil, Ginko Biloba, and caffeine. Although these substances can have a similar effect on the brain, they may not give the same efficacy as chemical substances.
What Is The Consensus?
Cognitive enhancers have sparked many debates about ethics and their actual efficacy in treating various ailments. Some are for their use while others are against it, but the choice lies with the person that needs assistance. It is essential to weigh the pros and cons of using these substances and decide if it would be worth taking risks with their well-being.
Depending on the amount of help they need and in which areas of their brain function they need the boost, they may choose to combine natural supplements and chemical nootropics for the best results. The main takeaway from cognitive enhancers is that people should use them responsibly under medical supervision and advice to avoid serious side effects on their health.
Before doctors and patients reach a consensus, they need to discuss the different options, their effects, and the possible enhancements these supplements will provide. An informed decision should always be the best one to make.