Nootropics (/noʊ.əˈtrɒpɨks/ noh-ə-trop-iks), 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. Wikipedia
Coined in 1972 by the Romanian Dr. Corneliu E. Giurgea, the word nootropic is derived from the Greek words νους nous, or “mind,” and τρέπειν trepein meaning “to bend/turn”. Nootropics are thought to function in one of three ways:
- by increasing the levels of beneficial ‘neurochemical’ (neurotransmitters, ezymes, hormones)
- by improving oxygen supply to the brain
- by stimulating nerve growth.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome patient/expert and author Maija Haavista calls nootropics the best drugs/supplements that ME/CFS patients often miss out on. Nootropics, she reports (she includes stimulants in another class) tend to be safe and well tolerated.
“Nootropics are potentially a highly useful class of medication in the treatment of CFS/ME and fibromyalgia, but they tend to be poorly known to doctors in the United States, as they are mostly used in Europe to treat conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, stroke and ADHD.” Maija Haavisto – The Broken Marionette – CFS/ME and Fibromyalgia Treatments
Stimulant drugs to improve energy, cognition and stimulus overload can be helpful for some people with ME/CFS and FM. A successful ME/CFS Vyvanse trial was recently concluded for ME/CFS. A less successful methylphenidate trial suggested only about 20% of patients benefited but the low-dose methylphenidate and mitochondrial nutrient (Synergy) trial underway in 2014 could lead to a new approach to improved cognition and energy.
- Stimulating Results in Vyvanse Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) Treatment Trial
- Stimulating Energy: Enhancing the Mitochondria in the Synergy Clinical Trial for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Find out more about Stimulants For Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia here.
Many supplements/herbs have been proposed to assist with cognition. They include Bacopa, Gingko Biloba, Panax Ginseng, St Johns Wort, B-vitamens, Vit. D and others.
Dr. Downing-Orr recommends gingko-biloba, L-glutamine and evening primrose oil in combination with Nimodipine to reduce brain toxins and improve brain-blood flows in her book “Chronic Fatigue Syndrom – Your Step by Step Guide to Complete Recovery”.
Dr. Lapp recommends carnitine, gingko biloba, phosphatidyl serine (PS), B-12 – methylcobalamin, Procera AVH (acetyl-carnitine + vinpocetine+ huperzine) and vinpocetine, Find out more in Brain Drain – Brain Gain: Dr. Lapp on the Cognitive Problems in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and What to Do About Them