Nootropics 101: Unlock Your Brain Potential!

To celebrate Mental Health week, we’re looking into Nootropics for optimal brain health!

We will be diving into what benefits and harms our grey matter. And, in particular, we will be discussing those ‘smart drugs’ that are dominating the health scene: NOOTROPICS.

Let’s begin by looking at our lives, if we dare.

The danger of our caffeinated driven calendar full culture is that we’re addicted to the kick that caffeine gives us. (Think coffee, preworkout and energy drinks).

It helps us to drive our Monday morning forward – and every day after that. But unfortunately, the side effect of this lifestyle is that we’re becoming a wired and tired society. This lifestyle puts stress on the biology of our brain and can rapidly induce the aging process.

Our adrenals are pumping our stress hormones, cortisol and adrenaline at an epic rate. This depletes our nutrients and affects our heart, our mind and our body. Not to mention our affinity for fast processed food.

It’s no wonder we’re looking for something to help us de-stress and improve our focus and concentration. There is much on the market that claims to be nootropics designed to do just that: to calm and focus the mind while beating fatigue and stress.

So, what are Nootropics?

Don’t feel out of the loop if you’ve never heard the term. It’s a relatively new name that encompasses a huge range of drugs, nutrients, herbs and even things as common as coffee.

The urban term is ‘smart drugs’ however, more accurately it means something you would take to improve focus, concentration, memory and mood. Most drug-based nootropics are medications that are either used to treat conditions like ADHD or Narcolepsy induced sleepiness. It is to go without saying that some of these medications can have serious side-effects. This type of intervention is not the one that we have in mind.

For today we are going to focus on non-medicated nootropics which naturally enhancing a person memory, concentration and mood. Nootropics won’t make you smarter, despite what some wild clams on the internet may say, but in the same way coffee can help you study for an exam, nootropics and do that and more!

So let’s start with our first Nootropic: Lions Mane!

Lions mane or Yamabushitake is a medicinal mushroom that has recently become popular for short term memory enhancement. The research for this mushroom comes out of its native Japan where it was shown to greatly increased the memory of elderly men suffering from dementia.

This worked by increasing and solidifying brain connections that help with short term and long-term memory with no side effects. It also has some benefits in protecting the brain from oxidative stress which we know causes cognitive decline.

Theanine

Theanine is a non-essential amino acid responsible for the calming effects of green tea. As a nootropic it plays an essential role in mood regulation. This is especially true when it is used synergistically with stimulants like caffeine. There is research to suggest that theanine is great at reducing anxiety and can also play a role in sleep. If you rely on caffeine to get you through your day – theanine, or even a cup of green tea, might help to relieve the stress on your mind.

MCT oil

MCT oil (Medium Chain Triglycerides) has become a recent talking point especially with it’s the popularity with the keto diet. MCT, beyond assisting ketosis, has be found to have cognition benefits as increases ketones which are more readily used as energy by the brain. This has been correlated with increased capillary density in the brain, This simply means that an increase in ketones may improve blood flow to the brain resulting in more oxygen and increased energy to your brain matter.

Rhodiola

Rhodiola Rosea can be called the students herb. It can simultaneously help reduce fatigue whilst improving cognition. Provisional research also shows that it may be effective as a natural antidepressant. This powerful combination of actions can be useful during exam periods as performance related stress can lower energy levels and slow mental acuity.

Dietary Habits

Finally our fast-paced dietary habits, specifically high calorie processed food, has been clinically associated with a decline in brain function, even in children. These foods accelerate the aging process and can lead to much higher rates of dementia and cognitive decline.

You only have one brain, and it’s a pretty important piece of equipment. Whether is studying for an exam, concentrating for work or relaxing from the kids, nootropics can be used to prevent cognitive decline and empower your brain to achieve its full potential.

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