Supplements are seriously trending right now and for good reason: Scientific research shows just how powerful they can be in boosting energy and improving overall body function. With so many vitamin options out there, it’s never been easier to keep your body in peak condition — there’s even a Birchbox-like service that sends you personalized, prepackaged vitamins. But what if you want to strengthen your brain? If you could take a supplement to improve your brain function, would you? For some, the answer is “Heck, yeah!” That’s where nootropics come in.

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The benefits

Basically, nootropic is a term used for any food or substance that helps boost brain power. Companies like Nootrobox have created supplements that are specifically formulated to help fast-track your cognition — all with the end goal of helping you get your work done more efficiently. Nootrobox explains its philosophy on its website, saying, “The human system can be quantified, manipulated and optimized. The human drive to self-improve is timeless, but modern technologies now allow us to enhance in precise and measurable ways like never before.” Sounds pretty legit to us. As you can probably guess, Nootrobox’s products are very popular with the Silicon Valley crowd, who are known for working and staying focused for long hours.

Are they safe?

Nootrobox’s supplements are all either generally regarded as safe (GRAS) or approved by the FDA as dietary supplements (though not specifically for the purpose of making your brain function at a higher level), so you don’t have to worry about their safety.

There are, however, some nootropics that are controversial and not possible to get without a prescription — like Modafinil, a medicine usually given to people with sleep disorders to help them stay awake. Modafinil can increase awareness and alertness, something that is highly desirable for those who log many hours in the office. Using these types of medications for improved cognition purposes is controversial, and they’re not available through Nootrobox or other subscription services.

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what’s Inside?

Nootrobox’s supplements have a mix of vitamins, minerals, amino acids and synthetic and naturally occurring substances. Research and effects of each are helpfully listed on their site, so you know exactly what you’re getting into when you take their FULL STACK, or recommended supplements.

Caffeine and creatine are two of the most common nootropics. Caffeine is, of course, found naturally in a whole host of food and drink products, while creatine is often used to help build muscle. Both have been studied in terms of how they affect your brain, and they received seemingly positive results. DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid, is also considered a nootropic. So if you’re taking fish oil or eating a lot of healthy fats, you’re already incorporating a nootropic into your health routine. Yay!

Some researchers have raised ethical concerns over whether or not people should take these kinds of supplements if they don’t have a cognitive disability or brain injury, but as of now, nootropics aren’t regulated. If you’re interested in adding them to your daily routine, but unsure of how they’ll affect you or interact with your medications, check with your doctor before taking them.

Have you ever tried nootropics? Would you? Tell us why or why not @BritandCo!

(Photos via Nootrobox)