Are Smart Drugs the Answer?
Wanna give your brain a boost?
We all do! In a highly competitive world, we are all looking for that edge that will put us over the top of our competition. Some people believe that nootropics, or smart drugs, are the answer to heightening their performance. In episode 42 of MentorZ, Louisa Nicola a Neuroscientist and Brain Strategist gives us a crash course to smart drugs and the microbiome.
"Nootropics are smart drugs. They are natural synthetic substances. You can be taking them for mental preformance or just overall brain optimization and brain health. Now, I think they've gained a lot of popularity in such a highly competitive society ... because everyone is looking for that edge. Now, the thing with supplementation, not just nootropics, the thing with supplementation is you don't know where it's coming from. You don't know where it's sourced, you don't know if it's locally sourced, you don't know what you're actually putting into your body. And I've done so much research to identify what brands are doing well. I'm not even affiliated with any brands but I take them myself so it's important to me."
"Now, why would somebody take nootropics? Well first and foremost if you've got a neurotransmitter deficiency for example, if you are lacking serotonin, or you wanna get some more GABA, I think it plays well to have these certain nootropics. If you're in the lines of your mentally exhausted, I know many people, I've got a lot of clients on Wallstreet a lot of hedge fund and portfolio managers who just are exhausted, and we do a brain scan and we find out what they are eating. We do a cortisol test on them and then we kinda put a nootropics plan in for them. ... the one thing I will put out there, I don't believe its a necessity. I really don't think supplementation, I don't think anybody should be going out and doing any forms of supplementation less they've had a blood test, a DNA test, a test to understand if they are deficient in any of these areas"
Nootropics and supplementation, like Louisa mentioned, are two different substances. The lesson here being, if its nootropics you're after, do your research. and when it comes to supplementation, get tested first! Louisa also wrote down a list of her favorite nootropics that you can check out here: Beginners Guide to Nootropics
Increasing Focus and The Microbiome
However, nootropics are not a one-stop-shop for all of your problems. Most people want to fix issues like focus and mental clarity. But first, Louisa suggests that we need to focus what naturally occurs within us. Otherwise, we are treating the symptom and not the root!
"Let's start with, are you sleeping well? Are you sleeping correctly? Are you drinking enough water? What are you eating? Are you forming any type of neural inflammation? And we know from certain things that we do, certain activities, staring at a screen at night, all of that blue light can actually cause neural inflammation. We know that sugar can create neural inflammation and mess up our gut microbiome. I believe that sugar is the most detrimental drug on the earth and I think it's even worse then alcohol. So I think that if you are doing everything to take care of your gut microbiome - and we know that there is a clear relationship between the gut and the brain - there are actually more neurotransmitters of serotonin within the gut then the brain so a lot of the times when people are feeling down, and sad, and depressed, and they think it's because of their brain it's actually like well what are you eating? And how long have you been eating it? And is it accumulating in your gut to actually block, you know, the feelings of happiness and alertness? So I think first and foremost if you're trying to fix up your gut microbiome there are some awesome at-home tests... instead of going out and buying all of the pre and probiotics, get tested."
Neuro Inflammation can be such a hindrance to a person's mental preformance, clarity, and more. Louisa includes this article covering all about neural inflammation and how to avoid it: How To Train Your Brain to be More Successful
I think one of the most interesting takeaways here is how connected your brain is to your gut. this CalTech article says it's estimated that 90 percent of the body's serotonin is made in the digestive tract. And if you know anything about serotonin, also nicknamed the "happy chemical", this information can be the key to changing mood issues.
I've also included two more articles if you want to learn about the brain and the gut connection:
In the episode Louisa specifically recommends Viome. They test what your microbiome and set up a personal diet plan based on what your specific microbiome should be eating and what you should be avoiding.
I've been able to read up on the brain for several years now, and I can say with a lot of certainty that studying your control center is the most important thing you can do for yourself! And being able to talk with specialists in the field makes it even more incredible!