An Introduction on Nootropics

First coined by Corneliu Giurgiu in 1972, nootropics are smart drugs used for increasing cognitive enhancement. They work on the brain pathways to boost mental functions like memory, focus, attention, and other cognitive abilities. Nootropics can be either naturally derived products or synthetic nootropics that are laboratory-made and dispensed as over-the-counter or prescription medications.

In general, any substance can be termed a nootropic if it grants users more control over their neurochemistry along with the resulting behavioral and experiential outcomes. According to studies, nootropics act as vasodilators and increase the nutrient supply to the brain and boost memory and enhance brain function.

What is Modvigil?

Modvigil is the generic form of the Modafinil medication marketed by Sun Pharmaceuticals India. Modafinil 200mg is a prescription medication used to treat sleep disorders and is used popularly as a cognitive enhancer. Because of its generic composition, Modvigil is more economical and more readily available than Modafinil. These two qualities have made it extremely popular, leading to a surge in its demand and use in the past few years.

Modvigil has been known to improve mental agility, accelerate concentration and focus, and decrease mental and emotional fatigue for a short period. It is available in 100mg and 200mg doses. It takes 2 hours to start working after consumption and reaches its peak within 5 hours of use. It stays in the body for around 14 hours, after which the liver metabolizes it.

How Effective is it as a Nootropic?

Research has proved that Modvigil effectively stimulates the brain’s histamine and dopamine levels, leading to increased wakefulness. It works on the adrenergic receptors of the brain. It increases the norepinephrine with the orexin levels to promote increased focus, regulate energy expenditure and modulate the visceral functions of your body.

Additionally, the increase in the norepinephrine levels helps break down fat with an increase in the blood sugar level in your body. It also decreases the stress levels of the mind along with promoting its reasoning and analytical processing.

A Short Note on Dopamine

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter released by the brain. It is used to send messages between two nerve cells, which is also known as a chemical messenger. Dopamine plays an integral part in our thinking and planning process. It has been known to regulate our pain processing and movement and other important factors like sleep, attention, learning, and motivation. It has been proved that irregularities in Dopamine can lead to ADHD symptoms as well as Schizophrenia symptoms, causing hallucinations and delusions.

Types of Memories

Memory is the ability of the brain to take in information, store it and use it later. Memory can either be working memory, short-term memory, long-term memory, or verbal memory. Verbal memory is the memory reserved for words, verbal things, and language-based memory. Working memory is the small amount of information that can be held in mind and used to execute cognitive tasks like remembering a person’s address or understanding a story coherently.

Short-term memory allows you to remember and process information at the same time, while long-term memory is a culmination of all the memories of your lifetime. With all these types of memories, there is also an Episodic memory that is a memory of everyday events and a collection of past personal events that occurred at a specific time.

Role of Modvigil on the Dopamine Receptors

Modvigil works on the Dopamine receptors of the brain by blocking the dopamine transporters. This leads to improved performance in short-term memory along with enabling inhibition control in sleeping disorders. In ADHD patients and people diagnosed with Schizophrenia, Modvigil helps improve verbal memory and working memory performance. Studies have also shown that Modvigil helps patients with remitted depression in improving their episodic memory with working memory.

In healthy individuals, Modafinil binds to the dopamine transporters and excites the dopaminergic and adrenergic receptors. This results in a more than 12-hour period of wakefulness and improved concentration. Glutamates are powerful excitatory neurotransmitters that play an important role in learning and memory. GABA transmitters are inhibitory transmitters that help you calm down and help to deal with negative emotions like fear, anxiety, and stress. Following Modafinil administration, the glutamatergic neurotransmission increases, and GABAergic neurotransmission decreases, boosting cognitive brain power.

Is it safe to use?

Medical professionals use it as a wakefulness-promoting drug and off the label as a cognitive enhancer. Research on Modvigil has been mostly confined to its effectiveness on sleep-deprived patients with neurological and psychiatric disorders. Research on its effect on normal individuals to analyze its enhancement effects are relatively less. The research on the long-term use of Modvigil on healthy individuals is even scantier so as to arrive at any conclusion regarding its safety parameters.

Minor side-effects like headache, nausea, and dizziness have indeed been associated with the use of Modvigil. Still, the metabolic capacity and level of effectivity of Modvigil differ from person to person. What might be a perfectly acceptable level of cognitive enhancement for one may be too much to handle for another and less than standard for another. There are no selection criteria to do an exact calculation.

When do problems arise?

A survey conducted among students about the usage and growing trend of using nootropics showed around 3% of the total students actively use Modafinil while 20% have a history of Modvigil abuse. While using Modvigil for narcolepsy and other sleep-related disorders is legally and medically justified, the increasing use of Modvigil as a psychostimulant is a matter of growing concern among healthcare practitioners and researchers throughout the world.

Using Modvigil in patients with ADHD and other sleep disorders can be helpful to the patient. But using Modvigil on a perfectly healthy mind to push it into a higher cognitive plane is a questionable step voiced by a lot of concerned medical practitioners.

End Thoughts

Taken in limited doses, Modvigil is one of the safest and most effective medications for being used on people with sleep disorders and normal people for enhancing their cognitive development. But its work is related to modifying the neurotransmitters in the brain for achieving its purpose. The long-term injudicious use of the medication without the physician’s advice may lead to irreversible brain damage with a host of other complications. That said, further research is a must to educate the people regarding its safety parameters and promote its efficacies to a broader extent.

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