This is a relatively young area of research and development in supplementation, particularly when considering how long products for improving body composition have been in the mainstream market. Benefits to cognition and mood etc. are implied in the name, but how does physical development tie in as well?
I’ll get to that, but first let’s look at the more obvious benefits of these supplements.
I won’t bore you with the history of nootropic supplements. If you want to check it out, just look up ‘Piracetam’ or ’nootropics’ in your search engine and you’ll get no end of information about it.
These days, ‘Nootropic’ is an umbrella term for many kinds of compound which in some way or another improve cognitive function – whether that be enhanced working memory, improved concentration, focus, mood or some combination of them all.
Like most supplements, they have different pathways and mechanisms of effect, such as cerebral vasodilation (widening of blood vessels to allow more oxygen to the brain), nerve growth stimulation and increased neurotransmitter activity. Even shorter term effects like cognitive stimulation (as with caffeine and taurine) are recognized as being nootropic by many people now.
It won’t surprise you that nootropic supplements are also known as ‘smart drugs’ and many students, academics and anyone who wants a cognitive edge are using them to expand their mind’s potential.
This might be what brings you here, in which case, check out some of the product reviews and see what you think. Otherwise you might be wondering if there’s another level to these products…and there is.
Neurostimulation and Performance Enhancement
Your brain is the orchestrator of everything you do, so it stands to reason that if you crank up its output, you will in turn improve your physical performance. And that’s the physiological aspect neuro-stimulation in a nutshell.
Did you know that a lot of the improvement you make as a novice in the gym for the first few weeks is down to neural adaptation? Your brain literally has to come to terms with lifting more and more weight. And it does so at a surprising rate, which is why your muscle growth is so fast and your curve of improvement in the beginning of your lifting life is so steep!
Acetylcholine is one of the principal neurotransmitters of the brain and Central Nervous System, and it’s where body and mind come together.
When you are focused, motivated and mentally engaged in every physical movement you do it’s as if you can do it ten times better. I’ll give you an example:
You’re on the bench press, looking up at the bar and it’s got your max weight on there. You get your breathing in rhythm and you tune everything else out but the metal. You forget the weight that’s on each end because to you it’s just another bench press. You find your hand positions without putting any force against it, and you start to let the energy surge through your chest and arms to the point where you feel you could lift the whole f^^king gym along with the barbell. You’re fizzing with aggression.
Then you take the bar, push it off, and lock out, ready for the full rep. That felt too easy. You take a breath, brace your whole body, and bring a controlled negative down to your chest. That was easy too. Before you think about it, you start to push. The spotter’s hands come down to hover below the bar – you’d forgotten he was there – but there’s no need; you’ve powered through the rep and racked the weight. Your 1RM just went up.
That long quote is all about the mind-muscle connection. And that, is the best description we’ve found of being in the zone.
You Find Them Everywhere
Recently, pre-workouts, fat-burners, anabolics and other categories of supplement all over the market are starting to include some nootropic/neurostimulating ingredients in their blends. This means that if you want to combine the benefits you can.
The other way is to get a real dedicated nootropic that uses all of the space inside the pill for brain health ingredients.
So, why am I going on about it?
The reason is that when you are looking for a quality product, do not underestimate the cognitive aspect. A lot of guys want the obvious anabolic ingredients, and so they should, but pre-cursors to neurotransmitters, for example, might be just as useful.