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The brain

Are nootropic supplements going to supercharge your brain?

Gaining traction in the UK, nootropics make some big promises—but do they deliver?

Joel Freeman
Joel Freeman
October 31, 2020
5 min read

The hype around nootropics

Increased creativity, sharper focus, endless bursts of energy, and a cheery mood even before your morning coffee—nootropics are touted as nutrition and brain function’s Holy Grail. And if the long list of promised benefits sounds too good to be true, it’s likely because they are—before you splash out on seemingly magic pills, we consider why they might be a good solution for today, but not tomorrow.

Let's look at what are nootropics, are nootropics safe and what may be a better alternative.

What are nootropics and what do nootropics do?

Nootropics are billed as any substance that alters the brain, and—although often used as prescription medication—over-the-counter and natural options are gaining traction with claims of boosting concentration and sharper focus.

While the thought of popping a pill for a quick way to supercharge your output sounds like an easy solution, everything from nicotine and caffeine through to vitamin powders and synthetic drugs can be classed as a nootropic, leaving the space wide open to unregulated substances.

What’s the science behind nootropic supplements? Do nootropics work?

For the moment? Not much. Nootropic supplements do not have to prove their claims and that they work, meaning many of the ingredients have not been scrutinised or subject to rigorous testing. This means that not all nootropics are as safe as they may seem.

The other problem is the promise of a ‘brain boost’. If you are feeling a kick, it may be due to the large amounts of caffeine in some supplements, which will only last as long as the substance is in your body. They are only a short term brain booster and do not work in the long run.

Caffeine, a common nootropic ingredient, is also extremely addictive, and while small doses have been shown to help with memory and concentration, experts recommend no more than 400mg per day to be safe—and if surpassed, this can lead to heart palpitations and even death.

Read what a neuroscientist recommends for ultimate brain health.

Are nootropics safe?

Natural nootropic vitamins and over-the-counter pills are similarly shady—with some cases of incorrect and unabsorbable substance doses included. In one instance, a study by “biohacking” HVMN found that its SPRINT supplement was less effective than coffee (but with a heftier price tag), whereas another piece of research discovered that several brain boosting supplements contained various levels of piracetam—an unapproved drug which can lead to diarrhoea, anxiety, insomnia, and potentially kidney problems. Not quite what we would call safe...

As for the research on the effect of these ‘brain boosters’? In a preliminary study, popular nootropic modafinil was found to enhance performance in the immediate—but with the long term risk of altering brain plasticity and impairing cognitive function in the long run.  

Stripping back the superlatives

The quick oomph of these brain booster supplements is that they may offer a short term solution to fatigue, exhaustion or simply wanting to feel more switched on—but at what cost and for how long? When it comes to consistently performing at your best, the answer is far simpler: feeding your brain right to get a natural brain boost for the long term. Your optimal cognitive function relies on specific nutrients essential for every day-to-day function that your brain performs.

A smart supplement that works for the long term

Unlike many nootropics, Height’s supplements have been formulated using the latest studies to ensure improved metabolism and brain function in the long term—rather than a quick hit caffeine kick. Our capsules have been designed by leading neuroscientist Dr Tara Swart and clinical dietitian Sophie Medlin, who review the formula every three months to reflect the latest research.

Read the research that goes into our formula.

Nutrients for brain function

All the ingredients found in Heights have been included to help your brain perform at its best. What’s more, the health claims are backed by the European Food Safety Authority, along with the latest scientific data. 

The three highest impact ingredients we’ve included for improved brain function are: 

Check out the rest of our ingredients here.

Every ingredient counts when it comes to your brain’s performance

We’ve done our research which means everything in our capsule has gone in for a reason. Working with experts, our capsule contains meaningful doses of high quality, plant-based ingredients—all of which are encased in omega 3 algae oil to ensure absorption in the gut.

Why customers choose our natural brain supplement over a nootropic:

“I was looking for more energy and started looking into nootropics and biohacking. Around the same time, I heard about Heights from the founder at vegan festival, Vevolution. I gave Heights a try, and within two to three weeks, I started to feel an impact—I have the sustained mental energy that I wasn’t getting from my other supplements. I no longer drink coffee or tea, and can jump straight out of bed and start writing a journal or looking at data sets.” - Jessica, PhD student

Read more reviews on Trustpilot.

Curious to try a natural brain supplement? Check out our smart supplement.

References: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

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