Nootropics also referred to as smart drugs, memory enhancers, neuro enhancers, cognitive enhancers, and intelligence enhancers, are drugs, supplements, nutraceuticals, and functional foods that purportedly improve mental functions such as cognition, memory, intelligence, motivation, attention, and concentration. The word nootropic was coined in 1972 by the
Romanian Dr. Corneliu E. Giurgea, derived from the Greek words νοσς nous, or “mind,” and τρέπειν trepein meaning “to bend/turn”. Nootropics are thought to work by altering the availability of the brain’s supply of neurochemicals (neurotransmitters, enzymes, and hormones), by improving the brain’s oxygen supply, or by stimulating nerve growth.
Nootropics vs. cognitive enhancers
Cognitive enhancers are drugs, supplements, nutraceuticals, and functional foods that enhance attentional control and memory. Nootropics are cognitive enhancers that are neuroprotective or extremely nontoxic. Nootropics are by definition cognitive enhancers, but a cognitive enhancer is not necessarily a nootropic.