Whether for work or school, consumers everywhere are looking for ways to operate at their best mentally—with optimal focus, motivation, memory, and creativity. In addition, awareness of the importance of cognitive performance in sports and exercise is on the rise. Nootropics are a category of ingredients well-positioned to address this interest. However, there is still a lot that consumers and manufacturers don’t know about them.
Here’s a look at four things to know about nootropics:
1. Nootropics Claim to Enhance Brain Performance
So what is a nootropic anyway? A nootropic is a substance that claims to boost brain performance. While some substances have long been associated with improving focus or memory, for example, a great deal of research is underway to determine the role these substances might play in the brain.
Some areas of exploration have included the potential to influence the concentrations, release, or uptake of certain neurotransmitters, hormones, or enzymes. These actions might lead to an increase of nutrients or oxygen to the brain, the stimulation of certain nerves, or the mitigation of inflammatory responses in the brain—all possible ways to cause a temporary improvement in the brain’s so-called executive functions.
2. Most Consumers are Unaware of Nootropics
As interested as today’s consumers are in optimizing their cognitive functioning, not very many people actually know what a nootropic is. Mintel reports that 78% of U.S. vitamin, mineral, or supplement users haven’t heard of nootropic cognitive supplements.1 And yet, certain nootropics—like caffeine—are very familiar to consumers.