What is NRT?
NZT is a fictional tablet for improving brain function, shown in the film and the television series "Areas of Darkness." Thanks to NZT, the hero of Bradley Cooper (and his associates) got the opportunity to significantly increase their cognitive potential. The analogue of this pill is the CPh4 hormone from the action movie Lucy, which turned the brain of Scarlett Johanson into a supercomputer.
Despite the fact that NZT and CPh4 are nothing more than a beautiful invention, tablets similar in principle to the work do exist (starting from the well-known glycine, ending with prescription neurometabolic stimulants). But, unfortunately, none of these drugs is capable of exerting such a powerful and instant effect on the brain as a fictional NZT.
Interest in such drugs is shown by biohackers who seek to increase the capabilities of their brain. Recall that biohacking is a new science about improving brain potential and optimizing health using modern technology.
Many science fiction films (including the aforementioned “Areas of Darkness”) claim that a person uses the potential of his own brain only by 20%, while the NZT48 tablet allows you to include all 100%. Unfortunately, scientific studies have long disproved this myth - at any given moment the human brain makes full use of all available resources.
However, the brain can develop and literally become smarter - any learning process proves this. Among other things, there are many chemicals that gradually impair the functioning of the metabolism and, as a result, negatively affect mental abilities - from alcohol to trans fats and even table sugar.
Is there CPh4?
If the authors of the film and the series “Areas of Darkness” really worked deeply on the topic of neotropic drugs, combining the functions of real substances in a fictional NZT tablet, then Luc Besson and his CPh4 did not bother with in-depth research. First of all, CPh4 is an alternative name for the enzyme 6-carboxy-5,6,7,8-tetrahydropterin, which has nothing to do with improvements in brain function.
In Lucy, CPh4 is a molecule produced in extremely small quantities in a pregnant woman’s body after the sixth week of pregnancy. With the introduction of this molecule into the brain of an adult, sharp changes occur, characterized by the emergence of a number of superpowers. These statements are a complete fiction of the authors of the film.
Are there NZT tablets?
According to the description used in the Promotions of the film “Areas of Darkness”, NZT partially affects higher 5-HT levels in the synapse, increasing neorepinephrine neurotransmission and serotonergic neurotransmission by blocking presynaptic receptors and alpha-2 adrenergic receptors, while blocking certain serotonergic receptors.
Note that in the text there is a direct reference to the real drug 5-HTP (tryptophan in tablets) . Tryptophan is one of the essential amino acids that the body needs for the normal synthesis of the neurotransmitters serotonin and melatonin. Its drawback is associated with the development of depression and related problems - poor mood, chronic insomnia, and cravings for fast carbohydrates.
Harmful sugar for the brain
Modern dietitians are inclined to believe that excessive consumption of fructose , pure sugar and other fast carbohydrates is noticeably harmful to brain activity. More and more scientific studies link sugar-rich diets with the development of attention deficit disorder and a decrease in the general level of intelligence in children and adolescents (1) .
The reason is that the glucose contained in sugar over-stimulates the brain, while provoking the production of large doses of serotonin and other pleasure hormones no worse than NZT — the nervous system is gradually depleted, but the body literally “sags” on sweets as important source of positive emotions and joy.
Medications for improving brain function
Speaking about pills and drugs to improve brain function, it is important to note that they are all addictive. Receiving a stimulus from outside, the brain begins to "be lazy" and demand more and more doses to achieve the desired effect. That is why most of these substances are considered narcotic and addictive.
A vivid example of a real NTZ pill is nicotine and caffeine - already 10 seconds after it enters the body, they provoke the release of adrenaline and dopamine into the blood, acting as a sufficiently strong psychostimulant. However, after some time, the level of these hormones decreases, the brain works, and the person again reaches for a cigarette or coffee.
NZT analogue tablets
Closest to fictitious NZT tablets are various drugs of the category of neurometabolic stimulants. Over-the-counter glycine is considered the most popular - studies confirm that in large doses (about 1-3 g), it is really able to increase the level of brain activity and improve memory (2) . However, we note that such a dosage is a whole blister, and not a single tablet at all (it contains 0.1 g).
A special category of pills for the brain are nootropics, which are used to treat the symptom of attention deficit mentioned above and improve the cognitive system in the literal sense of the word - however, such pills are available only by prescription and are not intended for use by healthy people.
Serotonin and improved brain function
Serotonin is a key hormone responsible not only for a good mood, but also for the brain's ability to process information in a certain way. It is believed that a high level of serotonin increases attention to detail, forcing a person to think more rationally and logically (3) . Low serotonin, in turn, is associated with a defocusing of consciousness.
All kinds of antidepressants are typical drugs for increasing serotonin levels, however, it seems that over-the-counter melatonin tablets, a 5HTP supplement, and even a number of natural herbs (such as real saffron and turmeric) can also significantly increase serotonin levels and improve brain function.
The effect of meditation on the brain
Another important way to improve and normalize the brain is meditation , which consists, in essence, in the conscious ability to focus solely on one thought and clear one’s mind of other irritants. Scientific studies show that regular meditation affects the hypothalamus and increases the density of gray matter in the brain (4) .
At the same time, the brain does not rest at all during meditation - on the contrary, it actively works, however, in the control mode for key body processes (for example, breathing). Modern scientists are inclined to consider meditation as a process of "restoration" of brain functions, as well as in the form of a special training that stops its aging.
Neurometabolic stimulants are a direct analogue of NZT48 and CPh4 tablets to improve brain function, however, their use is recommended only for specific cognitive diseases. For healthy people to stimulate the brain, it is recommended first of all to abandon its excessive stimulation by bad habits and regularly train the brain with meditation.
Scientific sources :
- Correlation between attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and sugar consumption, quality of diet, and dietary behavior in school children, source
- The cognitive effects of modulating the glycine site of the NMDA receptor with high-dose glycine in healthy controls, source
- Rationality and emotionality: serotonin transporter genotype influences reasoning bias, source
- Mindfulness practice leads to increases in regional brain gray matter density, source