Around the early 60s a Romanian psychologist and chemist named Cornelia Giurgea synthesized a new drug, called Piracetam. This new drug was unique, due to it’s brain-enhancing properties. And about decade later Giurgea coined a new term – nootropic – in order to describe Piracetam and similar substances.
Giurgea saw something in these brain-boosting nootropics – he saw potential.Potential in discovering and creating substances that would improve the mind – treat cognitive disease, and give healthy individuals a means to improve and evolve their brains.
Now, fast forward to 2017 where these brain-boosting substances called nootropics hold massive potential. And not only for average individuals but for those who rely heavily on their brain’s performance – like competitive gamers.
For competitive gamers nootropics hold the promise to improving brain function, enhancing their performance.. and ultimately giving them the edge they to WIN. But with so much potential one needs to ask. Are nootropics safe? Or are they going to become the steroids of eSports?
Nootropics, smart drugs, neuro-enhancers. These cognitive boosting substances are often considered PIEDs or Performance and image enhancing drugs. But to separate nootropics from other PIEDs, they are distinctly defined by a set of characteristics – as laid out by Cornelia Giurgea himself…
Thus in order to be considered a Nootropics it must:
Enhance learning and memory
Hold neuroprotective properties
Enhance efficiency of brain functions
And it must have few side-effects and low toxicity.
In other words nootropics are drugs, supplements and functional foods that improve mental function with little to no side effects. And thus, the word Nootropics covers a wide range of existing substances – some of these being more effective than others, but each holding unique benefits and properties.
For example one nootropic called Ginkgo Biloba is an extract from the leaves of the maidenhair tree. It optimizes circulation in the body; increasing the blood flow to your brain.Ultimately it’s been shown to improving memory, cognition, and reduce anxiety. And on top of this it helps with your brain’s improving your brain’s processing accuracy and speed, as well as your reaction time.
Of course all of these are amazing benefits to anyone, but especially for a competitive gamer! But unlike Ginkgo Biloba, most nootropics have yet to be reliably researched.
Due to the lack of research among many nootropics, all we have to rely upon is the anecdotes of others – Luckily there are a lot of these anecdotes online, and by connecting with experienced users we can see that most popular nootropics are met with a lot of positive feedback.
And while most nootropic users report on their subjective experience, others use cognitive tests to measure their improvements.
Alright, so on the surface, most nootropics are backed by reliable research, or they have tons of anecdotal evidence. And the claimed benefits are amazing, especially for competitive gamers. But there is still a question that needs to be asked, are nootropics really that safe? Or are they the steroid of eSports? This comparison isn’t new, in fact it’s the hook point of a Motherboard documentary on nootropics…
So are they actually the steroid of eSports? No. Like confidently no. This comparison is completely wrong in terms of safety AND efficacy. But I’ll give the benefit of the doubt – there are clear positive correlations between the two.
Steroids for athletes provide an added advantage – it allows them to develop their physicality faster – thus improving their training output, and enhancing their performance.
Nootropics can provide an added advantage – allowing eSports athletes – or eAthlete – to develop their skills and mental abilities faster – thus improving their training output and enhancing their performance.
But this is where we draw the line and where the comparison goes bad – because with steroids comes massive drawback.Steroids are considered cheating in sports and rightly so – their magnitude of effect is like scripting or having an aimbot in eSports. And so they are BANNED. On top of this steroids are riddled with negative side effects – and can even be life threatening.
Nootropics on the other hand are not considered cheating, are not banned, and by definition can’t be toxic or have negative side-effects. So this calls for a way better comparison between nootropics and something within sports…
Luckily there is one…
For athletes and bodybuilders they don’t need to take steroids to get some sort of competitive edge. There are tons of better options. For example taking the right vitamins and eating sufficient protein is commonplace for optimizing the body. But even on top of this, there is another unique option.
For athletes there is a powerful supplement that effectively improves one’s physical development and performance – this supplement is called Creatine. Unlike steroids, Creatine has little to no side effects, it’s considered safe, legal and is allowed in competitive sports. On top of this it is effective.
One meta-analysis shows that Creatine is “Able to increase a 12% improvement in strength to 20%”. For the less serious athletes this is a desirable increase – but for those on a competitive level this is HUGE! When you’re competing, every single percentage of improved training or performance puts you a step ahead of the competition.
And so, if steroids are like an aimbot to eSports – Creatine is like an aim-assist. It effectively gives an advantage over baseline – without blatantly cheating.
So nootropics are NOT the steroid of eSports – a much more realistic comparison is that to Creatine – safe, and yet significantly effective – providing an advantage around the magnitude of 5% – 10% – which to a casual player is great, and to a competitive player, this is enough to put ahead of all of your competition.
Nootropics have amazing potential, and luckily they aren’t the steroids of eSports – inf fact they’re something that will become commonplace among competitive gamers, kind of like the Creatine of eSports.
But there is still one massive difference in this comparison – because Creatine is currently a well-known supplement among athletes, meaning that almost every athlete uses it. And this balances out the advantage that it gives.
But nootropics aren’t yet well-know in eSports… in fact they’re still a bit of a secret. Meaning that those who are using them now have quite a significant advantage over most competitive gamers. And since you are now one the few to know about this secret – you have the opportunity to make nootropics your secret weapons.