Choosing health products to include in your routine can be a challenge. There are so many things available on the market, and many categories of health products don’t have rigorous certification standards. Sometimes words that you think mean something is healthy don’t mean anything legally. Companies don’t need to meet any criteria to use words like green and eco-friendly, and superfood. The following will help you narrow down your choices regarding just one type of health product—nootropics.
Of course, every person is different, and every medical history needs acknowledgment when making health-based lifestyle choices. If you feel unsure about anything, speak to a medical professional before trying a new supplement. This is even more crucial if you are breastfeeding, pregnant, or have a preexisting condition that requires medications. You always want to be sure that the things you are adding to your diet aren’t going to interact with medications.
Whenever including a new supplement or substance in your diet, make sure to pay attention to the cues your body is sending you. Things like allergies can have very mild symptoms but result in inflammation within the body, which is tied to an increased risk for many chronic illnesses.
WHAT ARE NOOTROPICS?
Before we begin navigating between all the options, it would be best to identify a definition of nootropics. In the broadest sense, many people use this word to mean any supplement (natural or unnatural) that supports brain function and health. This can mean products that support mental functions like memory and concentration or things that support a healthy mind to reduce the risk of dementia or other degenerative diseases in old age.
You need to be careful when examining products described as nootropics, cognitive enhancers, or “smart drugs” because there is no longer a standardized list of criteria products need to meet to be given this label. In the 70s—when the term was coined—there was a list of six elements something needed to meet in order to be called a nootropic. This is no longer the case.
When you have a few products you’re considering, make sure to read the customer reviews on them. First, there are in-depth descriptions of the product, as seen at this Mind Lab Pro review, that you can search. Second, look for multiple, consistent reviews from real people. If there’s a crazy positive five-star review or an aggressively-worded zero-star review, click on the reviewer and see what else they’ve commented on. There’s a chance they’re just a really positive or negative person. If the rest of their reviews are pretty balanced, more than likely, you can trust their response.
LEARN HOW TO DO YOUR RESEARCH
After reading reviews, you’ll likely have narrowed down the list of viable nootropic options. When looking at any products, not just ones designed to influence your brain, you want to learn how to do your research. It’s not okay to simply read the advertisement. It says it improves memory function, but that’s hyper vague. How did they determine this?
When considering a product, read the list of medicinal (or active) and non-medicinal ingredients. Anything you don’t know about needs to be researched. This doesn’t mean reading online articles; this means reading peer-reviewed academic studies that explain how the study was done and what results were found. Not all studies are created equal. Take, for instance, this classic mishap:
- A study asks 40 people how much money they make and whether or not they own a television.
- The study finds that people who have televisions tend to make more money.
- An article online reports the results: people who watch television are more likely to be rich.
- This is the causation vs. correlation fallacy.
- The study doesn’t prove that having a television makes you richer. It only proves there’s a link between the two characteristics.
- It’s just as likely that having a bit more money results in people having the money to spare for non-essential items.
When reading studies, make sure to look up who paid for the study. A university is usually a safe bet. But a company with a vested personal interest? Not so much. There’s a reason we believed fat was bad for us so long—the studies were paid for by sugar companies. Scary right?
The above information should be able to help you navigate the world of nootropics and clever advertising. Try not to incorporate multiple new products at once because then you won’t be able to figure out which ones are working for you and which ones are doing nothing.