Nutrition Health Review

FALL 2017

Nutrition Health Review provides consumers updates on the latest medical research, news, trends, and products in nutrition and healthy living.

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15 Fall 2017 • Volume 117 NOOTROPICS: DO THEY WORK? A nootropic drug is a substance that's taken to enhance how the brain functions. Proponents of nootropics claim that they enhance cognitive efficiency, focus, and memory. Unlike a prescription drug that would have the same effect, such as Ritalin or Adderall, fans of nootropics are attracted to claims that nootropics are nonhabit- forming and aren't stimulants. Nootropics emerged onto the market in the 1970s and are still being researched for their safety and efficacy. Many nootropic products that can be purchased online are not approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) because the FDA does not evaluate dietary supplements for approval. The exact ways in which some of these drugs enhance brain function is still unclear, but there is some existing evidence of their benefit. The first nootropic drug put on the market was piracetam in 1971. Research on piracetam has shown it to have diverse physiological effects, which researchers theorize is due to its ability to restore fluidity to cell membranes. Theoretically, in restoring fluidity to the cell membrane, piracetam optimizes the performance of our cells. Additional studies have shown that piracetam influences membrane fluidity specifically when normal fluidity is compromised. This decrease in cell membrane fluidity is often seen during aging, which suggests that piracetam might provide benefits for us as we advance in age. Studies conducted on aged M a x i m i z i n g Y o u r B r a i n ' s P e r f o r m a n c e Brain-boosting supplements, puzzle games, or good ol' exercise and a nice book— Which of these can help us to optimize how well we focus, solve problems, and remember information? Here, we examine the evidence and discuss the best ways to boost your brain.

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