What are Nootropics?
Biohacking is a broad and amorphous term encompassing a wide range of activities. Depending
on who you ask, it can refer to those seeking to enhance their performance through intermittent
fasting and cold showers or individuals who insert technology into their bodies. Ultimately, it is
a catch-all term for optimizing your health through self-experimentation and supplementation.
Many in the biohacking community promote the use of "nootropics," colloquially referred to as
"smart drugs" or "cognitive enhancers." The term nootropic derives from the ancient Greek
words νόος (nóos), meaning "mind," and τροπή (tropḗ), meaning "a turning. " These are simply
substances reputed to boost brain performance, including memory, concentration and mental
Many people have never heard of the term nootropics. They have gained popularity in today's
highly competitive society and are most often used to boost memory, focus, creativity,
intelligence and motivation.
The history behind nootropics
A Romanian psychologist and chemist, Dr. Corneliu E. Giurgea, the founding father of
nootropics, was the first to attempt to define nootropics. He developed six key criteria to qualify
substances as true nootropics. Giurgea's criteria:
• Enhancement of memory and learning
• Improved cognition under stress
• Protection of brain cells (neuroprotective)
• Facilitation of cell-to-cell communication
• Backed by human research demonstrating brain bioactivity
• Absence of usual pharmacological effects of psychotropic drugs
By the strictest definition, only a handful of true nootropics exist. But as science has learned
more about the brain and identified more brain-beneficial supplements since the 1960s, the
original definition has expanded dramatically.