The history of nootropics can be traced back to the 1960s when a Romanian chemist and psychologist named Corneliu Giurgea synthesized the first nootropic drug, Piracetam, in 1964. Giurgea created the term "nootropic" to describe substances that could enhance cognitive function without causing significant side effects.
Piracetam was developed by Giurgea while he was working at the Belgian pharmaceutical company UCB. Giurgea was studying compounds that could improve the circulatory system when he discovered that Piracetam had the ability to improve cognitive function and memory. Giurgea found that Piracetam increased blood flow and oxygen uptake in the brain, which improved brain function.
Piracetam was the first nootropic to be developed, and it quickly became popular in Europe in the 1970s and 1980s as a cognitive enhancer. Piracetam was found to be effective in improving cognitive function in both healthy individuals and those with cognitive impairments.
Following the success of Piracetam, other racetams were developed, including Aniracetam, Oxiracetam, and Pramiracetam. Each racetam has a slightly different mechanism of action, and they are all known for their ability to improve cognitive function, memory, and learning.
In addition to the racetams, other types of nootropics were also developed. Choline supplements, which increase the levels of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, were found to be effective in improving memory and cognitive function. Herbal supplements like Ginkgo Biloba, which improve blood flow to the brain, were also found to have nootropic effects.
In the 1990s and 2000s, the use of nootropics became more widespread, and the number of substances classified as nootropics increased. Some of these substances include Modafinil, which is used to treat sleep disorders and has been found to have cognitive-enhancing effects, and Omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for brain health.
Today, the use of nootropics has become increasingly popular, with many people using them to improve cognitive function, memory, and focus. While the safety and effectiveness of many nootropics are still being researched, the history of nootropics has shown promise in the development of substances that can enhance cognitive function and improve overall brain health.