Nootropics are anything that enhances the brain. Although there are a variety of nootropics, our focus is on oral supplements which are usually created from two sources: plants or chemicals from a lab.
Why do people use nootropics and why are they becoming popular?
There’s a ton of research that supports a variety of supplements and instruments for attention, memory, daily motivation, reducing mental fatigue, reducing anxiety, better mood, increasing concentration of neurotransmitters, and promoting neurogenesis. And, they’re extremely convenient because all one has to do is pop a pill in their mouth and wait for the effects to occur.
The best way to pick a nootropic.
It’s highly suggested that you choose one area of your cognition that you’d like to improve. Through research and googling, you’ll find substances that promote this area of cognition. Once you perceive that you’ve reaped the benefits and it’s sustainable without supplements, you can move on to another area of cognition.
Types of Nootropics:
Plant Derived Nootropics
Ashwagandha for Anxiety Mitigation
Ashwagandha is an herb from India with a history of use of over 3000 years. Studies have shown that Ashwagandha is an anxiety mitigator by reducing cortisol levels. Stress negatively affects testosterone levels so Ashwagandha can indirectly increase testosterone levels by reducing stress and there’s also studies that support that it regulates the reproductive system and directly affects testosterone levels. It’s also commonly reported to produce relaxation effects. So. Using it at night is a better option than the mornings to avoid lethargic behavior. Additionally, it can be used as a sleep aid and is reported to induce vivid dreams.
Our personal experience of Ashwagandha: a calm, relaxing feeling and vivid dreams that we can remember better than dreams we’ve had without this supplement.
L-Tryptophan for Enhanced Mood and Sleep Aid
L-Tryptophan is a precursor to Serotonin which is a precursor to Melatonin. So, L-Tryptophan is directly associated with elevated mood and at night, promotes sleepiness. Taking this in the morning or evening depends on your intention. If your intent is to boost mood, taking it in the mornings is appropriate because it won’t induce sleepiness. Serotonin only morphs into melatonin without light.
L-Tryptophan works well for those who have symptoms of mild depression, seasonal depression, and circumstantial depression. Those with clinical depression are advised to see a medical profession.
Our experience with L-Tryptophan: Subtle euphoric feeling. Might help with sleep, but we can’t say with absolute certainty.
Fish Oil for Cognitive Health
The neurons in your brain are covered by a layer of protein and lipids that act as neuroprotectants. And, they’re crucial for neurons to communicate with each other.
So. The health of one’s myelin sheath is directly associated with one’s cognitive abilities. Fish Oil contains EPA which promotes the growth of myelin proteins and the fat that protects your neurons.
Our experience with Fish Oil: We take 8x the recommended dosage of fish oil. Although there are studies that claim that there’s an inverse relationship between dosage and efficacy, we FEEL good after we intake this heightened dosage.
Lion Mane for Neurogenesis
Lion Mane is a type of mushroom that has been used for therapeutic purposes in Asian countries like Korea, Japan, China, and India. They contain bioactive substances that benefit the gut, brain, and heart. Research supports that it causes neurogenesis
Another study found evidence of superior cognitive effects in older adults with cognitive impairment but diminished effects after discontinued use. As an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, Lion Mane is also seen to have combated ulcers and degenerative mental health.
Our experience with Lion Mane: We feel motivated and can jump into flow(the process where you get lost in work) much faster after taking Lion Mane.
Rhodiola Rosea for Combating Mental Fatigue
Rhodiola Rosea is an adaptogen meaning it relieves stress and has indirect effects such as reduced mental fatigue, which is what this substance is popularly known for. It also helps with physical and mental performance because of reduced stress, and alleviates mild to moderate depression.
Our experience with Rhodiola Rosea: It relaxes us so we’ve been using it during the evenings. Although we haven’t experienced it to directly reduce mental fatigue, we’ve experienced it to reduce stress which could’ve indirectly reduced mental fatigue.
Combination of Chinese Herbs known as ClearLungs for Increasing Oxygen Intake
Clearlungs is a combination of a variety of Chinese herbs for increasing oxygen intake. The premise of this supplement is, the body can produce more fuel with the increased availability of oxygen.
Our personal experience of ClearLungs: After supplementing, we’ve experienced far less headaches from a lack of oxygen to the brain from vigorous aerobic exercises like HIIT. We’ve even seen our performance surpass a stagnant point in aerobic intense exercises after supplementing.
Synthetic supplements are made from labs and are meant to stimulate or inhibit specific parts of the brain. And the effects of these drugs are sometimes subtle and sometimes very noticeable.
Some of these supplements are great for short-term effects. But keep in mind that a nootropic with great short-term effects means they’re extremely effective in manipulating the operation of the brain which can increase the chances of a dire effect on mental health after prolonged use.
Take for example, a commonly known nootropic used by college students, adderall. One can immediately notice drastic changes in their ability to focus that ramps up their productivity. That’s because this nootropic greatly manipulates the organ of the brain that secretes dopamine. Long term use of this nootropic is known to inflict mental health.
So if you’re one that’s looking for results that are far from subtle, then synthetic supplements may be of interest to you. It’s advisable that you thoroughly research the nootropic from a variety of credible sources and proceed with caution.
Find one particular area of cognitive important and research nootropics
The best avenue to take for determining a nootropic is to choose a realm of cognition that you’d like to enhance. For instance, if your interest is attention, then your best bet is to look through articles supplemented with scientific studies that suggest nootropics associated with attention.
For supplements, you’ll want to use a 3rd party website to scrutinize the supplement you’ve stumbled upon. One great resource for this is Examine.com.
Note that there are vendors on Amazon who manufactures supplements and claim that their supplements have the chemical structure of that known supplement but is lying, whether they know it or not.
There are horror stories of people purchasing supplements that were completely different than what they were advertised as. So. It’s important to find credible suppliers to avoid damaging your most important asset, your brain.
Credible nootropic suppliers have a Certification of Analysis associated with each of their products, so finding this which looks like this adds a thick layer of protection for your brain.
Words of caution
Nootropics in itself carry inherent risks. Because everyone is different, some individuals may react negatively to a supplement whereas it might greatly benefit another. The risk of infliction goes up if when one stacks nootropics meaning taking multiple supplements simultaneously.
Although Nootropics can help, they shouldn’t be prioritized over natural needs that support cognition: exercise, social engagement, correct diet, and adequate sleep. For maximum cognition, we highly suggest organic methods then utilizing supplements to further cognitive enhancement.