In PART 1 we have mainly looked at the memory improvement associated with Nootropics. This article will describe other benefits, such as increased focus and concentration, that students can expect to experience after taking Nootropic and Learning Accelerators supplements.
Having a high level of intelligence is obviously a huge factor when it comes down to performing well academically. However, there are many different types of intelligence that must be considered. The first form, known as crystallized intelligence refers the cumulative amount of knowledge one has gathered over a lifetime, which is very much a factor of long-term memory.
This intelligence is often known as “book smart” and often increases as we grow, and tends to drop with old age because of memory deficits. The second one is known as fluid intelligence. It is not affected by knowledge you have received previously, and refers more to your ability to think with logic, to problem solve and recognize patterns.
It is believed that fluid intelligence is a function of working memory (not to be confused with short-term memory). Working memory is a series of processes within the brain that is able to temporarily manipulate and retain information. This requires neurons to constantly form and strengthen the synaptic connections between them.
Your brain’s ability to manipulate this process is called synaptic plasticity. With a higher level of synaptic plasticity your brain can work with more information, thereby increasing your chances to successfully solve problems, perform calculations, or carry other tasks that are commonly associated with this type of intelligence.
The synaptic plasticity can be enhanced by taking several types of Nootropics including racetams, such as Aniracetam, Piracetam, Oxiracetam and Pramiracetam. By increasing the levels of neurotransmitters and the sensitivity of their receptors these Nootropics allow the signals/messages in the neurons propagate at a much faster rate.
For example, some Nootropics increase the levels of two very important neurotransmitters (i.e. glutamate and acetylcholine) in the hippocampus and cerebral cortex regions of the brain. These areas are responsible for memory acquisition and can consequently ease the process of learning new information.
In addition, acetylcholine is the main neurotransmitter in the peripheral, autonomics and enteric nervous systems.
“This increase in working memory’s functionality and improved level of fluid intelligence can be very helpful when studying subjects such as mathematics, engineering and science.”
Focus and Concentration:
Any student will find that the ability to concentrate for long periods of time will be useful during lectures and independent study. Concentration can be thought as having the ability to pay attention to one specific stimulus, while at the same time ignoring other competing stimuli within the same environment.
This is a key factor of what is called the executive function which is associated with the prefrontal cortex of the brain. A state of mind to be able to focus and concentrate cannot be achieved without the activity of several important neurotransmitters. Thus if the neurotransmitter levels are altered, there is a positive effects on our concentration.
There are many neurotransmitters that are involved in this process. For example, dopamine is responsible for regulating our reward mechanisms and is used by the brain to help keep us focused on a specific task. Low levels of dopamine are associated with a decreased level of concentration.
Therefore, by taking Nootropics that stimulate the release of dopamine in the brain the opposite effect can be expected. The adrenal system is also known to be involved in the ability to maintain concentration. The epinephrine and norepinephrine hormones are typically released when exposed to stressful stimuli in order to prepare the body for a fight or flight response.
Nootropics increase concentration levels in various ways. Firstly, as mentioned above by using Nootropics to enhance dopamine activity the reward systems are positively affected. This helps students keep their attention focused on a specific task. Similarly, many Nootropics are cholinergic, which means that they increase the brain’s levels of acetylcholine activity so that the executive function can be made more efficient. Finally, other Nootropics improve mood and increase concentration by reducing negative mood swings which could potentially be a significant distraction.
Anxiety and Stress:
High expectations, many exams and tight deadlines mean that students are under a lot pressure. This may prevent students from performing to their full potential. Unfortunately this also sometimes means that students have to drop out from a course so they can reduce stress levels.
Although certain levels of stress and anxious can even be beneficial by motivating us to take certain actions and complete the tasks, too much of it stops us from being productive.
“Therefore, having the ability to control anxiety and stress is important for academic success as well as students’ welfare.”
Underlying mechanisms of excessive anxiety are still unclear, however some experts suggest that it may have a psychological basis, whilst others believe it is caused by neuroanatomical differences. In most cases, however, there is an increased stimulation in the brain that is caused by our body’s flight or fight response. Such overstimulation consequently results in a number of symptoms (e.g., loss of appetite, changes in sleeping patterns) associated with anxiety.
Luckily, many Nootropics can help you reduce stress levels. For example, Phenibut and Picamilon are derivatives of GABA that are converted into GABA by the body. This neurotransmitter is very important as it can prevent action potentials from propagating. Consequently, an overstimulated brain can calm and minimize the anxious thought cycles.
Being able to socialize, create new friendships and relationships is an important part of students’ life.
“Social acuity can also be seen as a significant factor in helping you achieve your personal and academic goals.”
Also, individuals who can interact with other people quite easily have a better chance to get a job as employers tend to hire easy-going, confident applicants over those you are nervous and lacking social skills. Furthermore, in academia students are required to do presentations and speak in front of a large group of colleagues. This is not an easy task, especially if you have never done it before and do not like large groups of people.
Therefore, Nootropic supplements can help you overcome such social anxiety. For instance, Picamilon reduces anxiousness and lowers inhibitions that stop us from making interactions with other people. Nootropics also stimulates parts of the brain associated with language skills, and although this does not directly prevent anxiety, the ability to communicate more effectively increases one’s confident.
In addition, if we can think with a higher sense of clarity and logic we should be able to understand other people better. The memory enhancing benefits of Nootropics can also help in avoiding certain social awkwardness, especially if you are the type of person who tends to forget faces and names.