Nootropics which are also called smart drugs and cognitive enhancers are drugs, natural supplements, and other substances that can enhance the brain function in healthy people. It may improve cognitive function, particularly executive functions, concentration, memory, creativity, or motivation. It can also slow down the age-related declines in brain function.
The word nootropic was derived from the Greek “to bend or shape the mind.” Here are some of the best brain supplements that may improve your brain function for better performance at work, school, or play:
1. Caffeine - it has a bitter taste and is found in the seeds, nuts, or leaves of a number of plants native to Africa, East Asia and South America which includes Coffee beans, Tea leaves, Kola nuts, and Cacao pods. It is a natural stimulant and it is the world's most widely consumed psychoactive substance. It stimulates the brain and central nervous system which reduce the feeling of tiredness and make you feel more awake by boosting your energy.
It can also improve your memory, mood, concentration and general brain function. According to a study published by Psychopharmacology consuming caffeine can increase alertness and improved performance on cognitive task. Another study shows a single cup of coffee can significantly improved auditory vigilance and visual reaction time.
For most people, taking 400mg of caffeine a day is relatively safe. Too much caffeine in your body can give you undesirable side effects like Restlessness and shakiness, insomnia, headaches, dizziness, dehydration, and anxiety.
Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) can improved brain function and have protective effects against brain disorders. Another study from Nutrients said that Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) can affect neurological function positively.
A journal from The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concludes that taking DHA regularly can improved memory and reaction time in healthy young adults. It can also prevents cognitive decline due to aging according to this study. Another journal from Neurology said that not only that it can reduce the risk and intake of cholesterol and saturated fat it can also improve cognitive function in middle-aged population.
This study from Advances in Nutrition stated that DHA and (EPA) can prevent cognitive decline in humans. A study posted by the Journal of the American College of Nutrition concluded that EPA may be more effective than DHA in treating depression.
Neuroradiology, Gingko biloba increased the blood flow to the brain significantly.
Studies have shown that ginkgo biloba supplements can help improve cognitive performance and reduce age-related brain decline. (Pharmacopsychiatry, Human Psychopharmacology, and Integrative Medicine Insights)
One study published by Phytomedicine shows the effect of Ginkgo biloba supplements on healthy middle-aged subjects. The result was a significant improvement on the subjects memory and cognitive skills.
study. Thiamin, riboflavin and pantothenic acid help in the cellular metabolic processes in which food are processed and turned to energy while cobalamin is needed in the development of red blood cells that carry oxygen to the brain. Cobalamin, pyridoxine, and folic acid also help in metobalizing homocysteine which reduce its concentration in the bloodstream that also help prevent long-term damage to brain tissue. Pyridoxine also affects the mood since it helps in the formation of neurotransmitters like dopamine, which is involved in our experience of reward, happiness and pleasure. If you have low levels of dopamine you may experience fatigue and depression.
Vitamin B6, folic acid (B9) and B12 can also affects the levels of brain chemicals that affect mood lie serotonin and norepinephrine. Low levels of serotonin can result to anxiety and body aches and pains. Vitamin B12 helps maintain the insulation around brain cells called myelin. Damaged myelin may cause dizziness, numbness and loss of vision.
Scientific Reports, taking resveratrol supplements may improve age-related memory and mood dysfunction by preventing the deterioration of the hippocampus, an important part of the brain that regulates motivation, emotion, learning, and memory. It is also said that resveratrol can slow down age-related decline in brain function, according to this study from Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity. One study published by the Journal of Neuroscience shows that taking 200 mg of resveratrol per day for 26 weeks improved memory.
study. The study also said that phosphatidylserine supports "cognitive functions, including the formation of short-term memory, the consolidation of long-term memory, the ability to create new memories, the ability to retrieve memories, the ability to learn and recall information, the ability to focus attention and concentrate, the ability to reason and solve problems, language skills, and the ability to communicate. It also supports locomotor functions, especially rapid reactions and reflexes."
Taking phosphatidylserine supplements improves cognitive function, mood and endocrine response according to this study published by the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. Phosphatidylserine supplements also improves memory function for old people according to this study from Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition.
study), age-related memory loss (study), depression, dementia (study), mental problems related to alcoholism, mental problems related to Lyme disease, and mental problems related to very poor liver function.
According to a study posted by the Current Opinion in Gastroenterology, acetyl-L-Carnitine supplements may help treat chronic fatigue syndrome, age-related memory loss, and depression.
British Journal of Nutrition. A study posted by the Proceedings of the Royal Society concludes that taking creatine supplements can improves brain performance.
Ginseng is also a brain booster, it can help improve memory, behavior and mood. According to this study using a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled trials the result was an improvement of some aspects of cognitive function, behavior and memory. Another study published by PLoS One taking ginseng resulted in improvement of brain performance among subjects.
Brain and Memory Boost - Korean Ginseng 350MG - panax Root - 120 Capsules
10. Bacopa Monnieri - it's a creeping herb that is native to Eastern India. It has been use in Ayurveda which is a traditional Indian medicine. Bacopa Monnieri is taken to improve memory, anxiety, Alzheimer's disease, and attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
According to a study published by Journal of Ethnopharmacology, the use of Bacopa monnieri extract has some cognitive effects like improvement in cognition particularly in speed of attention. A journal posted by the Indian Journal of Psychiatry said that Bacopa monnieri extract has been effective against age-related memory impairment. The result of the study revealed that taking Bacopa monnieri supplement for 12 weeks produced significant improvement on mental control, logical memory and paired associated learning. Another study published by the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine concluded that Bacopa monnieri supplements significantly improved memory acquisition and retention in healthy older persons. Phytotherapy Research posted a study in which healthy participants were given 150 mg Bacopa monniera supplements twice a day for 90 days. The result was cognitive enhancing effects in healthy humans.
study shows that taking 200 mg of Rhodiola rosea supplements twice a day for 4 weeks improves life-stress symptoms. Another study published by Phytomedicine shows taking Rhodiola rosea supplements improve capacity for mental work against a background of fatigue and stress.
BMC Medicine, S-Adenosyl Methionine (SAMe) can be use as cognitive enhancers for major depressive disorder (MDD) treatment. Another study from the Journal of Multidisciplinary Healthcare said that S-Adenosyl Methionine (SAMe) with betaine is very effective against mild-to-moderate depression. Once study published by the Journal of Affective Disorders concludes that S-Adenosyl Methionine (SAMe) supplements can improve memory-related cognitive symptoms in depressed patients.