Nootropics – Types and Benefits

Nootropics – Types and Benefits

Short and long term support of the brains and the cognitive function

The intellectual activity is as exhausting as physical and sometimes the load on the brain and central nervous system can lead to more fatigue, difficult recovery of the brain.

Occupations that load the brain activity create additional requirements for recovery of the nervous system that can not be covered by normal diet or the amount of sleep that allows everyday. The restoration of the central nervous system is affected negatively by factors such as frequent exposure to monitors, wireless networks, and cell phones.

This article will look at some dietary supplements supporting the cognitive activity – the nootropics. To be most effective the intake of food supplements, there are two approaches – a momentary boost of the brain activity and concentration, and long-term support of the nervous system.

Short-term support of the brain activity

Caffeine + L-theanine – at heavy mental work

Caffeine is a stimulator of the nervous system and improves instantly the concentration and brain activity. The disadvantage of caffeine is its ability to exhaust the central nervous system.

An interesting fact is that studies show that combining caffeine with the amino acid L-theanine gives more stable and reliable results than taking either of the two components separately.

Taking caffeine and L-theanine dramatically improves concentration, mood, and duration of mental work. The key combination lies in the ability of L-theanine to suppress the stimulating and discharging qualities of caffeine while keeping its positive qualities.

Dosage:

Recommended intake of 200 mg of caffeine and 200 mg of L-theanine 30-60 minutes before mental strain. For better effect, it is good to be taken on an empty stomach.

Cholinergics

Cholinergics are a class of substances which increase the levels of acetylcholine in the brain. Acetylcholine is an important neurotransmitter that plays a key role in the overall cognitive activity, concentration, the tonus and recovery of the nervous system.

The most popular are cholinergics CDP-Choline, Alpha-GPC, Huperzine A and acetyl L-carnitine.

Their benefits can be felt in the short and long term. In the short term, cholinergics stimulate momentary concentration. Therefore, this is the reason why there is a wide usage of pre-workout products known as nitrogen booster. In the long run, cholinergics support brain function and recovery and functioning of the central nervous system.

Dosage:

Alpha-GPC – 300-600 mg daily;
CDP-Choline – 250-500 mg daily;
Acetyl L-Carnitine – 2,000 mg per day;
Huperzine A – 50-200 mcg daily.

Vinpocetine

Vinpocetine is a natural substance part of the plant Vinca minor. It demonstrates promising results during studies, made on people. Using a dose of 40 mg, 1 hour before mental activity improves strongly the memory, according to the Sternberg test. The positive effect of vinpocetine is in improving mood, focus and reaction time. The substance also demonstrates promising results in the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.

The possible mechanism of vinpocetine is associated with improvement of the blood supply to the brain, as well as protecting the brain tissues from damage by free radicals.

Dosage:

40 mg daily, preferably on an empty stomach in 1-2 hours before mental strain.

Long-term support of the brain activity

Extract of blueberries

Blueberries are one of the richest foods in antioxidants. They are a rich source of anthocyanins and important substances. It is these two substances can affect brain activity and protect the brain from damage.

Blueberries stimulate the activity of a growth factor known as neuronal growth factor / NGF /. When neurons grow, they connect with other neurons. NGF stimulates their growth and furthermore improves communication among the neurons.

At this stage, human studies support the effectiveness of blueberries only among adults, but many animal studies give reason to believe that blueberries have a positive impact on brain activity as a whole, regardless of the age factor.

Dosage:

About 500-1000 mg of anthocyanins per day are enough to support brain activity.

Bacopa monnieri

Bacopa is a marshy plant and nootropic herb and its ability to stimulate cognitive activity is part of the traditional Ayurvedic medicine. Although Bacopa monnieri is most effective for the elderly, a positive impact is reported in all age groups.

The scientific basis is established that Bacopa dramatically improves working memory, as there may be potential qualities for improving attention, speech, and reactions. Under the working memory capacity, we understand the ability to focus on the topic in order to understand and memorize.

Bacopa is not a dietary supplement, from which can expect an immediate effect. Studies show that the benefits of the herb occur after at least one month of use.

Dosage:

Efficient daily intake includes 150 mg daily.

Creatine

Creatine is an important source of energy for the cells but rarely is mentioned that one of the most important receivers of this energy is the neurons.

At this stage, it is definitely established that the intake of creatine supplementation has exclusive benefits for people who suffer from the deficiency of creatine in the brain. This may be due to genetic disorders, as well as the absence of meat in the diet, which is a major dietary source of creatine. Exactly the vegetarians belong to the risk group. Therefore, the serious shortage of creatine leads to significant cognitive abnormalities.

Creatine has potential benefits to support brain activity at healthy people. Besides the positive effect on memory, creatine is a powerful tool against fatigue, especially in the absence a stable sleep.

Dosage:

Recommended intake of creatine in the form of creatine monohydrate varies between 2 and 5 grams per day.

Fish Oil (omega-3)

Fish oil is an important and potent source of two major omega-3 fatty acids – EPA and DHA. Exactly DHA is an important element for the brain function, therefore, that the greater part of its contents in the body is concentrated in the brain.

DHA is a major building block in the brain, directly affects many brain processes and function of the nervous system. A serious deficiency of DHA can cause lots of cognitive and mental health problems. These are a loss of memory, depression, mood, dementia, Alzheimer’s syndrome, attention deficit (ADHD).

It was found that high doses of DHA directly improve mood, memory, nervous system function, and improve the condition by specific cognitive disorders.

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About Jane Peterson

Jane Peterson is a supportive nutrition and fitness coach and registered dietitian nutritionist known for her health advices and innovative ideas to inspire and motivate people to reach their goals. She has a passion for personal training and enjoys motivating people, using specific exercise programs and track their progression for success. As a parent herself, Jane Peterson knows what it means to have to work hard to keep a good shape during pregnancy and after having a baby. She is interested about improving the way children eat, pediatric nutrition and family meal planning. Jane has several years of personal and professional experience and is practicing as a freelance food and health writer. She works personally with a small number of hand picked clients, transforming their health and their physiques using her four key elements of wellness: lifestyle, exercise, nutrition and supplementation.