If you've been wondering how you can improve your brain health as you age, you may be familiar with certain herbal supplements that you can take to help keep your brain sharp. While herbal supplements have been used for many years with great success, a new type of brain health supplement called nootropics has recently been gaining popularity, and for good reason. Not only are they effective, but they are also generally recognized as safe options for most healthy individuals.
What Are Nootropics?
The peculiar name may have had you wondering, "what are nootropics?". Nootropics are supplements that have been referred to as "smart drugs" that have positive effects on physical and cognitive function in healthy individuals. They help increase energy and concentration, stimulate proper neuronal firing mechanisms, and assist brain function while lacking any sedative side effects. There's not a set criteria for what qualifies as a nootropic, but any substance that provides safe cognitive improvement to its users can be categorized as so.
Almost everyone takes nootropics without even realizing it, as caffeine can even be considered one, as the natural stimulating properties have been proven to improve thinking skills. Not only does caffeine make you feel more alert, but it also enhances levels of chemicals. One of them being acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that can assist your brain with learning and short-term memory. People interested in taking nootropics to help with brain health typically look into supplementing with dietary supplements like the amino acid L-theanine, Ginkgo Biloba, and ginseng.
Where are Nootropics Found?
Now that you know what nootropics are, your next question may be, "where are nootropics found?" Nootropics can be categorized as naturally occurring (herbs) or synthetic (made in a laboratory). Synthetic nootropics include brands such as Piracetam, Modafinil, Methylphenidate, Vinpocetine, and Ritalin. Naturally occurring nootropics include various B vitamins, certain amino acids like L-theanine and L-tyrosine, American ginseng, Bacopa Monnier, ginkgo Biloba, zinc, magnesium, and copper.
Nootropics are found in blended supplement forms, synthetic drugs and also naturally occur in certain substances. There are specific supplements that have been created to blend certain ingredients for maximum effects. Combining or "stacking" the nootropics is a popular way to receive the most benefits to enhance their efficacy. Most nootropics are compounding which means they are more powerful when combined with one another. For example, caffeine and L-theanine are a good pair, as caffeine can provide stimulant effects while L-theanine naturally slows the brain waves. Green tea naturally contains both caffeine and L-theanine as well, which may be another great option for some.
What Are The Health Benefits of Nootropics?
Nootropics' health benefits include memory improvement, increased mental energy, improved concentration, mood balancing, better quality of sleep, and lower stress levels. While it may not seem like it, the brain actually consumes 20% of the body's energy, which places a significant demand on the body's resources. Nootropics may increase oxygen and glucose supplies to help maximize how the brain uses energy.
It's not always an easy task to stay focused on the task at hand. Nootropics may help improve multitasking and enhance the brain's ability to focus. Some of the herbal supplements can help quell anxious feelings as well as provide mood-stabilizing benefits. Amino acids may help aid short-term memory, minimize brain burnout, promote relaxation, and lower stress. Adaptogens can help provide better quality sleep and lower stress levels as they aid the brain in handling the effects of stress. Improving brain health may enhance your overall life, as the cognitive benefits may trickle down to other aspects of your life.
What Is The Most Effective Nootropic?
While all nootropics can provide significant benefits to healthy individuals, some are more effective than others. Especially when combined or stacked with other supplements, the efficacy of nootropics has been shown to relieve mental stress. If you've asked the question, "is nootropics effective?" you're in luck because we're going to discuss some of the most effective nootropics.
There are many supplements on the market today that use a combination of multiple different kinds of nootropics. Most blends contain at least four additional herbal supplements, so taking one pill of the supplement may be easier for some people. For those that want to take the single supplements, caffeine, choline, creatine, l-theanine, acetyl l carnitine, Rhodiola Rosea, bacopa monnieri, and omega 3 supplements may be great choices to start with. The most potent nootropic available without a prescription is most likely caffeine, as it improves focus and alertness while improving reaction times.
Do Nootropics Work?
While people react differently to substances, nootropics are generally pretty safe for healthy adults to take. Doctors may prescribe nootropics (usually a stimulant type) to patients for treating medical conditions such as ADHD, dementia, or other brain conditions. While they are effective, there are some side effects, including faster heart rate, insomnia, high blood pressure, and vision problems, so it's important to take them under the care of a medical professional.
Studies have shown that some of the nootropic supplements can and do affect the brain. However, there haven't been enough studies to prove their efficacy, so taking a natural supplement and viewing how it impacts your health may be the best way to determine if nootropics will work for you. Consuming supplements like caffeine, ginseng, and Rhodiola should be safe for any healthy adult.
Are Nootropics Safe Long-Term?
There haven't been many studies performed on long-term nootropics usage. As such, you'll have to do your best research to determine your comfort level in taking nootropics. Many of the food-derived supplements seem to improve brain health and function. Consuming fatty fish for omega 3s and eating berries and other healthy foods that positively impact brain health is not going to harm you since they are naturally occurring foods. When consumed in moderation, caffeine is more beneficial than harmful.
Many pharmaceutical nootropics have been proven to work well, but the long-term effects don't have enough data yet. Side effects like anxiety, insomnia, and headaches may occur with synthetic nootropics. If you're concerned about the long-term safety of nootropics, exercise has been proven to be effective and safe without any harmful side effects.
Are Nootropics Good For Your Brain?
Some people believe that nootropics can be considered brain food, as they provide the brain with nutrients to improve overall brain health. Consuming high-quality, nutrient-dense foods is a great way to provide your body with essential vitamins and minerals that fuel you and your brain. Eating two portions of oily fish per week is an excellent way to naturally consume an adequate amount of omega 3 fatty acids. The EPA and DHA in fish oil have been linked to improved brain health.
Consuming foods like eggs, meat, and fish can provide the body with creatine, which plays a critical role in energy metabolism. Not only is it naturally occurring, but it also comes in supplement form for those who would like to consume it that way. Eating grapes, raspberries, and even drinking wine can provide the body with the antioxidant resveratrol, which may help prevent the deterioration of a part of the brain called the hippocampus.
How Are They Beneficial To Your Body?
The health benefits of nootropics extend from the brain health benefits to improving your overall quality of life, as increased brain performance and decreased stress can provide a life-changing experience. Most nootropics can be taken daily or as needed, as herbal supplements are considered safe. Establishing a consistent routine for taking herbal supplements will be most effective, as they tend to build up in your system over time. If you're on any medications, especially an SSRI, it's important to consult your doctor for their advice on whether nootropics are a good choice for you.
Supplements Can Help
Taking high-quality supplements, like spermidine, is a great way to help your body's overall cellular health. Spermidine helps activate autophagy, which is the process where cells regenerate and rejuvenate. The world's first clinically tested spermidine supplement helps keep your cells healthy and functioning properly to help keep your body healthy. To keep your cells healthy while operating at the highest efficiency, spermidine may be an excellent addition to your supplement protocol.