When you think about it, your brain is a pretty amazing and fascinating organ. It helps you recognize loved ones, communicate, store memories, and basically runs the entire show. Yet sometimes, it seems to stop working for a moment or two – like when you just can’t remember where you put your keys or can’t find that one word you’re looking for. C’mon, haven’t you ever had a brain fart? Or even just wished you could remember things a bit better or have more focus on tasks?
What if I told you there was a way to improve memory and focus and essentially “hack” your brain? If you’ve been looking for ways to do just that, you may have come across the term nootropics before. What exactly does that mean? Nootropics are simply substances, natural or synthetic, that improve mental functions such as memory, motivation, concentration, creativity, and more. While nootropics have been around for centuries, the actual term was only coined in 1972 by Romanian chemist Cornelio Giurgiu to describe these compounds that could “turn the mind”.
HOW DO NOOTROPICS BENEFIT YOUR BRAIN
It’s not just improved memory or concentration that are benefits of taking nootropics (although those things are always a plus!). There are a plethora of benefits to taking these.
- provides essential brain nutrients often missing in modern nutrient-lacking diets
- provides missing nutrients for vegetarians
- neutralizes free radical damage to brain cells
- protects the brain from toxins
- stimulates the formation of healthy new brain cells
- increases circulation, energy, oxygen, nutrient and/or blood flow to the brain
- reduces brain inflammation
- minimizes effects of brain aging
- increases resilience to stress
Okay, all of that sounds AMAZING, right? But what are specific reasons people take nootropics besides general brain health?
WHY TAKE NOOTROPICS
Besides all the health benefits listed above, people take nootropics to “hack” their brains and improve. Since nootropics allow people more control over mental states and moods, they’re taken for a variety of reasons. For example, if you’re a student feeling overwhelmed by studying and exams, taking nootropics can provide productivity and motivational effects.
Love going to the gym and working out? Taking nootropics pre-workout can give you higher motivation to complete your exercise routine. Or maybe you’re a bit introverted when it comes to public settings, but you’d really like a boost of confidence or to up your verbal fluidity game. Nootropics to the rescue once again!
TOP TEN NATURAL NOOTROPICS
Now the question is which ones are the best for you? While there are synthetic nootropics on the market, here are ten of the best natural ones available.
- L-Theanine: This is an amino acid commonly found in tea (particularly green tea) but can also be taken as a supplement. It is known for producing a relaxing effect on the brain without any drowsiness. It works by decreasing brain chemicals that promote anxiety and stress while increasing levels of serotonin, dopamine, and GABA. In fact, it alters brainwave patterns putting you in the same brainwave pattern you would experience during meditation.
- AXIO: specially formulated to give energy to your mind, not just your body. Because when you’re feeling tired or sluggish, it’s your brain that needs a pick-me-up, for less fog and more clarity. Engineered with Nrf2 ingredients, AXIO is designed to wake your brain up, increase concentration, and deliver the right kind of energy, right when you need it without the jitters or caffeine crash.Improves mental endurance & mental acuity, concentration & memory retention. Enhances neurotransmitter function and the brain’s resilience to stress. Reduces mental fatigue & brain fog. Increases physical & mental energy while improving positive mood.
- Rhodiola Rosea: Also known as Arctic Root because it grows in arctic regions of Asia, North America, and Europe, this is an herb from the adaptogen family. Rhodiola aids in regulating cortisol, thus helping your body handle everyday stress. When it comes to your brain, Rhodiola encourages focus, reduces mental fatigue, and improves energy levels.
- Ginkgo Biloba: This herb you’re probably familiar with and may have even used before. What you may not know is that this herb is derived from leaves from the tree of the same name, trees which are actually living fossils as some of them date back 250 MILLION YEARS! Ginkgo works by increasing circulation to the brain, balances brain chemicals, and protects from free radicals. Use it for poor concentration, memory loss, fatigue, and depression/anxiety.
- Ashwagandha: This botanical is perhaps the most popular Ayurvedic herb in the Western world. Used to decrease stress and improve stamina, this herb may also be neuroprotective meaning it helps protect the brain from damage by factors such as oxidative stress.
- Protandim® NAD Synergizer: Scientists have been sharing the massive importance of proteins called sirtuins. Studies are showing sirtuin activity supports a healthy vascular system, maintains cholesterol levels already in the healthy range, supports the body’s healthy inflammatory response, supports joint health, heightens mental focus, improves mood, motivation, energy, and much more. However, sirtuin activity declines as we age (≃60%). This is specifically formulated to target NAD and has been shown to double sirtuin activity in 24 hours. Supporting increased health, focus, energy, mental clarity, and mood.
- Vitamin B12: While ALL the B vitamins are essential for a healthy brain, B12 in particular has the most impact on your brain and is often severely lacking in your body because of nutritional deficiencies. Low B12 levels are associated with poor memory and decreased brain volume, so supplementing this nootropic is vital!
- Vitamin D: 75% of Americans are severely deficient in Vitamin D which is a problem as this vitamin has profound effects on the brain through all stages of life. Known for improving memory, mood, and problem-solving ability, if you rarely get outside (or always wear sunscreen when you do), you could likely benefit from supplementing this.
- Fish Oil: It’s the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil that are hugely beneficial to your brain. Taking fish oil can enhance your memory and decrease reaction time and one omega-3 in particular, DHA, is a primary structural component of the brain, specifically in regions involved with memory, language, creativity, judgment, emotion, and attention. So be sure to add more fish to your diet or supplement accordingly!
- Curcumin: an extract of turmeric, commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine. In fact, the use of this spice may be at least partially responsible for the low rates of Alzheimer’s in India. Curcumin is a fabulous antioxidant, boosts serotonin and dopamine levels, and can improve memory and concentration by increasing blood flow to the brain.
WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?
This is hardly an extensive list of natural nootropics but it’s a good place to start. If you’re looking to “biohack” your brain and improve memory, concentration, and more, there are a plethora of natural nootropics available to aid you. And with so many options available there’s really no need to take pharmaceuticals with all their negative side effects.
If you’re wondering which will work best for you, contact me for a FREE consultation. As with any vitamin or supplement, talk to your health professional before you start taking anything. You can also find these specific nootropics by clicking on the links to each item above to get you started!