Nootropics, also referred to as “smart drugs”, are natural supplements that are designed to improve mental performance and brain function. Nootropic supplements are popular among entrepreneurs, students, athletes, and professionals who need to perform at their best.
What Are Nootropics?
Nootropics include any substance that improves memory or stimulates learning. The term initially referred to synthetic compounds, though the best nootropics today often contain natural ingredients. Nootropic supplements have become a popular cognitive enhancer among students, athletes, and upwardly mobile professionals.
Today, nootropic supplements come in all shapes and sizes. The brain health supplements on this list contain botanical extracts such as Ginkgo biloba, Bacopa monnieri, and Rhodiola rosea. Numerous studies have established a link between these substances and elevated cognitive function.
Other nootropics contain dietary ingredients like acetyl L-carnitine and L-theanine. Adding a natural stimulant like caffeine can bring out the best mental benefits from these ingredients. Other smart drugs utilize prescription formulas or unregulated substances, such as racetams or piracetam.
Natural Nootropic Ingredients for Improving Cognitive Function
A fresh cup of coffee can make a significant difference in cognitive function. The psychoactive substance blocks adenosine receptors in the brain. This action prevents brain cells from getting messages about tiredness elsewhere in the body.
A moderate dose of caffeine can sharpen concentration and alertness. Caffeine can even assist in staving off fatigue and unwanted oxidative stress.
Lion's Mane Mushroom
Lion's mane mushrooms are shaggy-looking mushrooms that resemble, you guessed it, a lion's mane. The fungus has culinary and medical roles in Japan, South Korea, China, and India. It contains bioactive ingredients that can improve heart, intestine, and brain function.
The mushroom vitalizes brain chemicals to produce more healthy brain cells. This regenerative property has led researchers to cite it as a potential treatment for Alzheimer's disease.Other studies have found that the nootropic can reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Did you know that sipping tea may improve mental acuity? That's because tea is a rich source of L-theanine. The amino acid has a calming effect on the nervous system and can increase alpha waves in the brain, which correlate with creativity.
L-theanine works best when people combine it with caffeine. The two compounds enhance performance, whether someone's taking a test or playing basketball. What's more, people can find both of these natural nootropics in caffeinated beverages like tea.
Bacopa monnieri has a compelling case as the first smart drug. The ancient herb has been a part of Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. Researchers believe that it can improve memory retention, brain processing speed, and recall speed.
Don't expect an instant cognitive revolution after taking Bacopa Monnieri. The nootropic takes time to metabolize, leading to a delayed reaction. Experts believe that 300 to 600 milligrams of this herb per day work in improving memory.
If you venture into the mountains of Europe and Asia, you can find Rhodiola rosea. The adaptogenic herb promotes homeostasis in the body. After taking the nootropic, people can expect a wave of calmness to wash over their minds and muscles.
Rhodiola rosea serves as an antidote for burnout. The smart drug combats oxidative stress that can manifest itself as depression or mental fatigue. A review of more than 30 animal studies also found that it can elevate cognitive functions in mice.
Improving memory may be as simple as taking a Panax ginseng supplement. The medicinal plant hails from East Asia, where people use it to reduce mental fatigue and improve academic performance. It has robust anti-inflammatory properties that shield new brain cells from oxidative stress.
Panax ginseng works best in moderation. The body adapts to its effects, making the smart drug less effective over time. The best way to improve mental function with Panax ginseng is to take occasional breaks from the nootropic so that the body can reset.
The Chinese have used Ginkgo biloba in medicine for centuries. The tree contains numerous antioxidants and anti-inflammatories that make it ideal for improving memory. Some studies have determined that the nootropic can increase blood circulation up to 12%.
Evidence suggests that Ginkgo Biloba can improve brain function, too. Small studies have linked it to greater mental sharpness and well-being. Scientists still need to perform large-scale trials to understand the complete range of potential benefits.
Maritime Pine Bark Extract
Mediterranean residents have reaped the benefits of maritime pine bark extract for millennia. The substance has various medical purposes, with people using it to treat asthma and poor circulation. Because it can enhance blood flow, the nootropic can also improve memory and cognition.
Consumers can find the extract in capsules, powders, and liquid tinctures. The optimal dose will depend on a person's health, weight, and goals. The nootropic has no notable side effects, though pregnant women and older adults may experience sensitivities.
CDP-choline stands as a cornerstone of cognitive health. The body needs choline to synthesize acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that neurons release to send signals in the brain. Healthy neurons help the brain learn, recall, and memorize information.
CDP-choline also plays a role in repairing brain cells. It releases uridine so that the brain can repair, rebuild, and resupply neurons. The substance is even linked to increased ATPin cells, ensuring that individuals have the mental energy to conquer long days at school or work.
The body produces vitamin B-12 naturally, but a supplement can take mental performance to new heights. The vitamin plays numerous roles in the body, such as maintaining cells in the nervous system and synthesizing DNA. Most importantly, it may play a role in preventing the loss of neurons.
Neurons make it possible to send signals to the brain. These specialized cells deteriorate with age, which can lead to memory loss and dementia. Vitamin B-12 may be able to protect the neurons and slows cognitive decline