Have you heard of nootropic supplements? People have been gravitating towards adding these little guys into their diet given all their wonder drug potential. Nootropic supplements are basically drugs or natural supplements that are known to boost brain function in healthy people. These supplements have been found to boost everything from cognition to memory, alertness, creativity and even motivation. They may also reduce age-related decline in brain function.
Here’s a list of the best nootropic supplements that you can take to enhance the functioning of your brain.
1. Fish Oils As Nootropic Supplements
Fish oils are a rich source of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), both of which are types of omega-3 fatty acids. Apart from many other health benefits, these fatty acids have also been linked with an improved brain health.
DHA is essential to maintaining the function as well as the structure of your brain. It accounts for around 25 percent of total brain fat, and 90 percent of omega-3 fat in your brain cells. EPA works as an anti-inflammatory, and protects the brain against damage and aging. DHA supplements have been shown to improve thinking skills, reaction times and memory in healthy people. It has also been proven to reduce age-related brain function decline. EPA is not always associated with brain function, but in people with depression, it offers benefits like mood elevation. Having said that, evidence for fish oil’s preservative effects on brain function is kind of mixed. You can get the recommended amount of omega-3 fatty acids by consuming two portions of fish oil weekly.
2. Resveratrol As a Nootropic Supplement
Resveratrol is an antioxidant that is found naturally in the skin of red and purple fruits like raspberries, blueberries and grapes and therefore makes its way into red wines and chocolates and peanuts – who wouldn’t want to have more of any of these! Resveratrol supplements may prevent the degeneration of the hippocampus, which is a critical part of the brain involved in memory function. This finding could be a breakthrough in slowing down the age-related decline of brain function.
A study on a small group of healthy older adults revealed that taking 200 mg of resveratrol a day for about 26 weeks improved their memory. But there aren’t enough human studies currently to be completely sure of the effects of resveratrol.
3. Caffeine As a Nootropic Supplement
Caffeine is a natural brain stimulant and can be consumed in tea, coffee and dark chocolate. You can also choose to take a caffeine supplement, but if you’re a coffee or tea drinker then chances are you’re already getting enough caffeine. Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system to make you more alert and less tired. Studies have also shown that caffeine can enhance your mood and performance and make you feel more energized. A regular cup of coffee can contain anywhere between 50 and 400 mg of caffeine. Single doses of 200-400 mg are normally considered safe for most people and are enough to reap all its benefits.
Don’t forget that too much caffeine has been found to be counterproductive and has also been linked to nausea, trouble sleeping and anxiety.
4. Phosphatidylserine As a Nootropic Supplement
This is a type of phospholipid and a significant component of the phospholipid bilayer that makes up cell membranes. Its significance here is that phospholipid is also found widely in the brain and is required for healthy nerve cells membranes and myelin. Research suggests that phosphatidylserine supplements may help preserve brain function. Studies have also shown that a dose of 100 mg of phosphatidylserine three times a day could help in reducing age-related decline in brain health and function, and also in neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s.
5. Acetyl-L-Carnitine As a Nootropic Supplement
Acetyl-L-carnitine is a non-essential amino acid that is produced in the body, and plays a vital role in metabolic functions, especially energy production. Acetyl-L-carnitine supplements have been claimed to make a person more alert and improve memory, including the slowing down of age-related memory loss. Some studies conducted on animals have shown that an intake of acetyl-L-carnitine supplements improved aged brain function as well as increased learning capacity. And studies conducted on humans also suggested that the supplement can be useful in reversing age-related decline in brain function. It may also help people with mild dementia or Alzheimer’s.
6. Ginkgo Biloba As a Nootropic Supplement
This is an herbal supplement derived from the tree of the same name. It is believed to increase the flow of blood to the brain. Some studies found its intake to improve brain function in older adults. Another study revealed that taking ginkgo biloba supplements helped improve the memory and thinking skills of middle-aged adults. It is important to note that all studies didn’t necessarily give the same results.
7. Creatine As a Nootropic Supplement
Creatine is a natural substance produced by the body and plays an important function in energy metabolism. It is found and mostly stored in our muscles and small amounts are also present in our brain. It makes for a popular supplement for vegetarians as it’s a naturally occurring biochemical substance, it is also found in eggs, meat and fish.
Creatine supplements have also been found to improve memory and thinking skills in vegetarians and vegans. A study found that vegetarians who took creatine supplements experienced an improvement in performances of their memory function and intelligence tests by 20-25 percent. Interestingly, meat eaters don’t experience the same benefits, this is probably because they aren’t already deficient, and get enough creatine from their diet.
8. Bacopa Monnieri As a Nootropic Supplement
Bacopa monnieri is a medicine prepared from the herb of the same name. It is used in traditional medicine including Ayurveda, to improve brain function. It has now been proven to have benefits in improving the memory and cognition of both healthy as well as elderly people suffering a decline.
While we discuss the benefits, it is also equally important to acknowledge the fact that it has shown its effects only upon taking repeated doses. People typically take about 300 mg a day, and the results may take four to six weeks to show up. This herbal medicine has also appeared to cause diarrhea and an upset stomach in some people.
9. Rhodiola Rosea as a Nootropic Supplement
Like bacopa monnieri, Rhodiola rosea is also derived from the herb Rhodiola rosea. It is used in Chinese medicine to promote the well-being and healthy functioning of the brain.
It is believed to work by reducing mental fatigue and those who take it have been shown to have an improvement in their brain function accompanied with significant decrease in fatigue. The findings however have so far been mixed.
10. S-Adenosyl Methionine As a Nootropic Supplement
S-Adenosyl methionine (SAMe) naturally occurs in the body and is required in metabolic chemical reactions in order to make or break down compounds like fats, proteins and hormones. It may work synergistically with some antidepressants and reduce the decline in brain function related to depression. A study found that prescribing SAMe along with an antidepressant for people who didn’t respond to only antidepressant medication therapy, improved their chances of relief by nearly 14 percent. Another recent study has found that it may also work the same as some types of antidepressant medications. This supplement however has not been found to benefit people who don’t have depression.