Maybe you have already heard of the term „nootropic“. What is it all about? Nootropics are synthetic and natural substances, that are stimulating your brain, improving working memory, shortening reaction time etc. In the age of competition, more and more workload, and bigger competition on the market, nootropics are gaining more popularity each year.
The most famous nootropic in the world
The most famous nootropic in the world is coffee. Caffeine included in coffee is blocking adenosine receptors in the brain. These receptors are signaling tiredness. Besides that, caffeine also triggers epinephrine production in the brain. Epinephrine increases blood pressure , blood flow to the stomach gets limited, muscles contract a bit and they are ready for action. This is called „fight or flight mode“.
How can we lower caffeine consumption and still get the same benefits , like wakefulness and energy to do work? Nootropics can help. There are other mechanisms that can improve brain function, many of them are better than just pure caffeine stimulation. Lets take a look at what benefits can nootropics brings us.
Nootropics for memory improvement
The amount of informations , that we can memorize is reallz important since childhood. Many students have problems with concentration since young age. While in childhood ADHD does not have to be such an issue, this problem becomes more prevalent in adulthood. Nowadays, there is a lot of options for improving memory on the market.
Hupezine A is an alkaloid extracted from the plant Huperzia Serrata. It raises levels of acetylcholine in the brain. Huperzine A is improving memory and works as a prevention against Alzheimers Disease. A China-based study found that 50 micrograms of Huperzine A daily consumed for 4 weeks rapidly improved symptoms among students with ADHD .
Ginkgo Biloba is one of the most well-known adaptogenic herbs. Ginko raises acetylcholine levels in the brain. Acetylcholine helps with studying and memory. Besides that, Ginkgo contains a lot of antioxidant enzymes.
Bacopa Monnieri is an adaptogenic herb as well. It has been used in ayurvedic medicine for decades. It offers similar benefits as ginkgo does, raises acetylcholine and serotonine, and raises amount of antioxidant enzymes.
Turmeric is a spice , that many of us are using when cooking some exotic dish. What is interesting is, that
turmeric raises BDNF (Brain derived neurotrophic factor)- BDNF is a protein that plays a role in creating new nerves. Turmeric raises oxidative stress, that occurs in our body daily and can contribute to mental fatique. Turmeric also raises levels of the most powerful antioxidant in our body- glutathione.
CDP Choline , Alpha GPC, Choline bitartrate
You can either raise choline levels in the brain by using supplements listed below, or you can use a choline supplement. Alpha GPC is the most bioavailable form of choline- it steadily crosses blood brain barrier.
Nootropics for energy
Nootropics can provide us with extra energy levels, by stimulating brain to producew more nspecific neurotransmitters, or by providing building blocks for creation of these neurotransmitters. These building blocks can be used to create neurotransmitters such as dopamine, epinephrine and norepinephrine – when they are present in the brain in the right mount, we feel energized and happy.
L –tyrosine is the building block for dopamine,epinephrine and norepinephrin, as well as for thyroid hormones T3 and T4. During stressful times, levels of norepinephrine are lowered. When supplementing tyrosine, these levels are staying same, and a person can think more clearly during stressful period. L-tyrosine can also alleviate symptoms of depression, and is very helpful by eliminating symptoms of seasonal depression disorder.
Phenylalanine is a building block for L-tyrosine. It is good to supplement Tyrosine with Phenylalanine – these two amino acids are working synergistically and you will most likely feel a wave of new brain energy after using this combination. There are very minimal to no side effects when you use the right dosage of both. These amino acids are present in our daily food, but not always in optimal dose.
Acetyl-L-Carnitine is producing the energy by transporting fatty acids into mitochondria. After that they are oxidized. Unlike L-Carnite, Acetylated version can cross the blood –brain barrier and produce nootropic effects in the brain. Acetyl L Carnitine decreases fatique , improves attention , memory and learning. It increases synaptic plasticity , and it’s a potent antioxidant.
Nootropics for calming down nervous system
Nootropics can protect our mental health during stressful times, such as taking exams, attending job interviews etc. There are some natural ingredients, adaptogenic herbs and amino acids that can balance out the neurotransmitters in the brain so we can stay calm and focused.
L-theanine is an amino acid found in the green tea leaves. This amino acid can start alpha waves in the brain so we can concentrate on one task for much longer than we are used to. The most popular “stack” when it comes to L-theanine, is Coffee + L-theanine stack. Theanine stimulates the brain to release serotonin and dopamine, and these are 2 main neurotransmitters for keeping the healty mind.
Ashwagandha is a popular adaptogenic herb from ayurvedic medicine. Ashwagandha is regulating mood , prevents mood swings and anxiety. By lowering cortisol, it can boost concentration, executive function and cognition can get better by using ashwagandha daily.
Rhodiola Rosea is lowering the amount of stress hormones as well as ashwagandha. The difference is, that Rhodiola is anecdotally more energizing than ashwagandha.
Are nootropics worth a try?
Nootropics can rapidly boost our quality of life, give us extra mental energy, or lower the amount of stress during rough periods in life. If you are student, programmer, executive, entrepreneur or high performance athlete, nootropics can give us extra edge that we want and need.