Are you looking for supplements that will boost your brainpower? Are you looking for ways to boost your mental performance during exams or a tense job interview?
Mental or cognitive performance such as memory, reaction time, alertness, and mood are all very important in our daily lives. Hence, it is no wonder why many people look for ways – including drugs or supplements that promise cognitive enhancement – to enhance their mental ability.
One of the known ways of boosting your brainpower is by taking nootropics. This weird-sounding name is popular in the field of cognitive performance. But what exactly are nootropics? What do they do to our brains? Do nootropics work? What are the best natural nootropics? This article will explore just that!
If you are interested in nootropics, especially if you are interested in buying one and trying it out, then this article is for you. So, without further ado, let’s get started and find out what the best natural nootropics really are!
What Are Nootropics?
Nootropics are any supplements, drugs, and substances that are believed to improve cognitive function such as memory, attention, reaction, creativity, mood, and overall mental energy or performance.
Nootropics are also known as “smart drugs” or “cognitive enhancers.” As long as a supplement, drug, or any substance can promote or improve mental or cognitive performance, it can be considered as a nootropic.
If you’ve seen the movie “Limitless” with Bradley Cooper, you might remember him taking a drug that made him infinitely smarter than the average human being. Even the best natural nootropics can’t make you as smart as Bradley Cooper in this film, but they can still boost your brain health.
Benefits Of Nootropics
Just from the definition alone and the very nature of nootropics, it is already clear what we can get (or expect to get) from nootropics – enhanced or improved mental or performance. The best natural nootropics have a range of benefits, aside from just enhanced mental performance, such as:
- Better sleep
- Increased productivity
- Optimal protection and health for our nervous system
- Improved overall health
We don’t just need sleep; we need a goodnight’s sleep. In short, we need better sleep to function optimally and perform tasks during the day. If we don’t sleep properly, we’ll feel sluggish and tired for the day.
Some nootropics can help us relax and calm down, which leads to better sleep. However, not all nootropic provides the same benefit – a good example is caffeine. Caffeine boosts our alertness, energy, and overall mental performance. While it’s good for the day, it’s certainly not good when you want to sleep!
Nootropics Can Benefit Productivity
As a cognitive enhancement supplement, nootropics, in general, can help boost your productivity. In this case, caffeine can be your friend – if you need a kick of energy and boosting mental function, a dose of coffee can just help you with that!
Some nootropic supplements aren’t just for a short-term productivity boost. If used wisely and combined with a healthy lifestyle such as getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and working out regularly, these nootropic supplements may improve your productivity and overall mental performance in the long run.
Optimal Protection For The Nervous System
Some nootropic substances have high antioxidant properties, which allow them to protect your nervous system and overall body.
When we think about the nervous system, many of us think only about the brain. However, we must also not forget about the nerves – a special type of fiber that sends “messages” to our brain and different parts of our body. If our nerves are weakened or damaged, it can cause symptoms like tingling, numbness, and even pain. In the long run and in worse cases, it can even affect your brain.
Therefore, protecting and enhancing the health of your nervous system should be one of your priorities, and some nootropics can do the job for us.
Improved Overall Health
A healthy mind can lead to a healthy body, and since nootropics can promote a healthy mind, at least in terms of boosting your mental performance, such as memory, productivity, mood, and motivation, it can promote a sense of overall wellness. This is good for your emotional health and physical health, as well.
Simply put, when our mind is positive, it will eventually affect how we live – we may begin to exercise more, eat a healthy diet, take care of our looks, be more productive at work, engage in hobbies, etc. In turn, this will promote a better mental state, and the positive cycle will begin.
Best Natural Nootropics
Natural nootropics come in different types, and each of them may differ in one or many ways. From Ginkgo Biloba to Ritalin to bacopa monnieri, there are countless natural nootropics to choose from.
Below are some of the best natural nootropics and their characteristics. These brain boosters are a great choice for any healthy adult in both the short and long term.
If you’re new to nootropics, you may think that nootropics are something very different from what you’re encountering in daily life. But in reality, you are already consuming nootropics your whole life – at least, if you are a coffee lover!
Caffeine is considered to be the most well-known and most widely consumed psychoactive or nootropic substance in the world.
On average, caffeine can boost your energy levels, makes you more alert, and improves your reaction time.
Although caffeine is generally safe, some have low sensitivity and tolerance towards it. If you are one of them, consider lowering or even avoiding caffeine altogether – too much caffeine (relative to your sensitivity and tolerance) can cause mild to serious side effects such as anxiety, headaches, and palpitation.
If you are into lifting weights, you mostly would have heard about creatine, a supplement mainly known to help build muscles.
Although creatine is mostly known for muscle growth, it has positive effects on our mental performance. Specifically, creatine can improve reasoning and short-term memory. How?
When creatine enters our body, it can travel and enter our brain. From there, it will bind with phosphate. Once the two bound up, they will create molecules that increase the energy levels of our brain. This results in enhanced short-term memory and reasoning skills.
3) Gingko Biloba
Gingko Biloba is a natural nootropic known for its ancient herbal medicinal properties. Aside from its other medicinal and health benefits, Ginkgo Biloba can enhance our mental performance as well.
Studies have shown that Gingko Biloba will help improve memory while helping improve mental function. For instance, in one study, Ginkgo Biloba is shown to enhance memory and overall mental processing of healthy older adults. All of this has made Gingko Bilboa a popular natural nootropic; you can find it in many nootropic supplements, including Qualia Mind and Formula Focus.
L-theanine is another popular natural nootropic. It is an amino acid that can be naturally found in tea and is widely used within nootropic supplements, such as in Qualia Focus and Healthycell Focus + Recall. This amino acid can provide positive effects on our mental performance or state and is often compared to the pharmaceutical, Adderall.
Specifically, L-theanine was shown to provide a calming effect on its users without making them drowsy. In the same study, it is also shown that taking 50mg of L-theanine can increase the alpha-waves of our brain. This can lead to increased creativity as alpha-waves are linked to it.
Lastly, L-theanine is shown to be more effective when combined with caffeine. Interestingly, tea both possess caffeine and L-theanine.
Do Natural Nootropics Work?
Do nootropics work? Well, the short answer is: yes. Nootropics do work; however, they may not work as to how we may expect it.
Technically, nootropics work because these substances can positively affect our mental or cognitive performance in one way or another – be it boosting our energy levels like what caffeine does or calming our minds as L-theanine, a natural nootropic, can do.
However, nootropics are not “magic pills” that will instantly boost your mental performance. So, do not expect to “magically” get an ace on your exam or to be “instantly” confident in your job interview or presentation. So, don’t fall for any supplement that promises too-good-to-be-true benefits.
Finally, nootropics work best as a supplement. This means that if you want to take care of your mental capabilities, you should start by taking your overall health and wellness. Working out, eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, and managing your stress properly are just some of the ways to improve your mental skills (and your overall health, for that matter). Nootropics are just your support, not the primary way of boosting your brainpower.
Are Natural Nootropics Safe?
Natural nootropics are generally safe to take at low doses for healthy adults. While there are many negative side effects reported, these “smart drugs” don’t have a ton of research completed on them. When adding nootropics to your diet, start with a small amount to see if your body reacts positively to them.
These substances can alter cognitive performance, by stimulating your neurotransmitters, which can potentially be dangerous if you have a history of either mental disorders or substance abuse.
If you have a negative response to nootropics, contact your doctor immediately or go to the hospital.
Are Nootropics Right For You?
If you are considering adding a natural nootropic, or multiple natural nootropics to your diet, it’s important to first decide what you are taking them for. Is it for increased brain health because you’re at risk for Alzheimer s disease? Or it to increase blood flow to the brain to help elevate normal brain function? While there are many different reasons to supplement with a natural nootropic, in general, they are taken to increase brain function and maintain healthy blood flow.
It depends on the nootropic in question, although generally, nootropics are safe for the general public. Some of the more well-known and best nootropics include Ginkgo Biloba, Ritalin, bacopa monnieri, Rhodiola Rosea Rhodiola Rosea, and Panax ginseng. The impacts these nootropics have on the brain, surprisingly yield similar results to taking Adderall without any of the long term side effects.
But there are also a few things to be careful of when it comes to trying to increase blood flow through a nootropic, even if you’re a healthy adult. For example, nootropic supplements usually contain caffeine. If you have low sensitivity or tolerance toward caffeine, consider finding a caffeine-free nootropic supplement or nootropic supplement with as little caffeine as possible.
If you are pregnant, undergoing medications, or simply unsure, consult your doctor first to ensure that you will not face any unexpected side effects.