Description: Whey powder, creatine, phytoberry; what do they have in common? They are all supplements, more specifically nutritional supplements that are sold far and wide as nutrition additives that are touted to improve health and vitality or build muscle, bones or cells. They are largely unregulated and there are hugely varying claims as their scientific support (or the lack thereof). Should we be concerned about their use? Should they be more carefully researched and regulated? Perhaps so. Now what about nootropics like Noopept, Piracetam or Trubrain™? Ahh, yes, what IS a nootropic you ask? Well….. it could be a supplement for the brain or it could be a drug or we could not be sure as to which they are or how they work or whether they should be regulated. Perhaps they are, like caffeine supplements such as Red Bull™, substances that if used in moderation likely cause no harm while offering unproven advantages. Which are they, how concerned should we be and how should we view, and regulate, nootropics? Read the article linked below and then think about how, if at all, you are then prepared to address these questions.
Source: Self-dosing: The latest fad in ‘smart’ drugs intended to boost cognitive performance and focus. Melissa Tessler, National Post.
Date: December 31, 2016
Photo Credit: National Post
So, after reading the article linked above have you come to a clear understanding or what nootropics are and developed a strong opinion as to how we should think about them, research them and, perhaps, regulate them? Well, I certainly haven’t yet. We make decisions all the time on a personal level about what we do or should eat, what sort of exercise and how much exercise we should get, if we should drink alcohol and, in Canada shortly, should we smoke or otherwise ingest cannabis. The lines between recreational substances, nutritional choices and supplements, ‘essential’ supplements (vitamins etc) and drugs (or “nutraceuticals’) are blurred at best, especially out at the cutting edges where new substances and concoctions are being tried in largely unregulated fashion all the time. While regulation is not necessarily a simple or useful solution to what to do about nootropics a scientific approach to developing a solid understanding of what such substances are, what their short and especially their long term effects are on the human body and mind seems to make a lot of sense. Such an approach is not easily compatible with individuals using mail-order services to obtain and ‘experiment with’ new supplements/drugs with only themselves as ‘research participants’. So, what should we do? Most certainly we should start by getting more information AND more data!
Questions for Discussion:
- What are nootropics?
- How are nootropics related to dietary supplements or to drugs?
- What sort of investigative and short and long term regulatory steps should we take in relation to substances like nootropics (which we will surely be seeing more and more of)? Or should we leave decisions regarding the use of these substances up to self-dosing and self-assessment?
References (Read Further):
Rodenberg, R. M., & Holden, J. T. (2016). Cognition enhancing drugs (‘nootropics’): time to include coaches and team executives in doping tests?. British journal of sports medicine, bjsports-2015.
Suliman, N. A., Mat Taib, C. N., Mohd Moklas, M. A., Adenan, M. I., Hidayat Baharuldin, M. T., & Basir, R. (2016). Establishing Natural Nootropics: Recent Mole http://downloads.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2016/4391375.pdf
Gualtieri, F. (2016). Unifi nootropics from the lab to the web: a story of academic (and industrial) shortcomings. Journal of enzyme inhibition and medicinal chemistry, 31(2), 187-194.
Jeon, Jin Pyo, (2015). “Nootropics for Healthy Individuals”.The First-Year Papers (2010 – present) Trinity College Digital Repository, Hartford, CT. http://digitalrepository.trincoll.edu/fypapers/61
Savulich, G., Piercy, T., Brühl, A. B., Fox, C., Suckling, J., Rowe, J. B., & Sahakian, B. J. (2016). Focusing the neuroscience and societal implications of cognitive enhancers. Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics. https://www.nootropic.com/nootropics.pdf