Corneliu Giurgea, a Romanian psychologist and chemist, invented the word “nootropic” back in 1972. It comes from the Greek words νους nous or “mind”, and τρέπειν trepein, meaning to “bend” or “turn”. , therefore, refer to drugs, supplements or other substances that enhance a healthy individual’s cognitive functions. There are many nootropics available in the market – both in natural and synthetic forms.
Natural nootropics are becoming popular because they are more effective than their scientifically synthesized counterparts. They don’t rely on human-made chemicals. They also have less adverse side effects. This makes them safe for consumption in a stack customized to target your desired outcomes.
With so many natural nootropics available, which ones are the best for you? Here are some of the most established and effective ones:
Omega 3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are essential nutrients. They are necessary in numerous bodily functions. These include cell membrane synthesis, particularly for neurons. As a nootropic, research revealed modest improvements in reaction time, the level of concentration and stress reduction. A study conducted in 2002 showed that healthy infants who received infant formula milk with DHA improved their Mental Development Index (MDI) scores. Their scores are higher compared to infants who consumed formula milk without DHA.
Omega 3 works tremendously well when consumed together with other nootropics. It is also an excellent addition to just about any stack.
Technically, caffeine is a stimulant, not a nootropic. Still, it gains popularity for its ability to enhance brain functions and mental capacities. Caffeine is a xanthine alkaloid compound. It can stimulate the central nervous system and increase alertness temporarily. Caffeine works by subduing the production of adenosine, the brain’s stimulation control chemical. It also stimulates dopamine production, a neurotransmitter which enhances focus and concentration.
Caffeine is potent, but it can also lead to headaches and jitteriness when taken on its own. This makes it necessary to take caffeine with another nootropic, L-theanine. This aids in countering its negative side effects.
L-theanine is an amino acid that is naturally occurring. It is almost in green tea leaves. It increases the level of the neurotransmitter, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the body. This neurotransmitter reduces neuron excitability, thereby helping you attain a state of calm focus.
L-theanine is a great nootropic on its own. It is also an excellent addition to any stack, especially one containing caffeine. It can counteract the jittery effects of caffeine without reducing its effectiveness as a mental energizer.
This popular natural nootropic comes from Huperzia Serrata, a Chinese club moss. It acts as an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor. This lets it prevent the release of chemical, which breaks down the learning neurotransmitter, acetylcholine. This means that it also increases acetylcholine in the brain. Subsequently, this improves learning, concentration and memory. People of all ages – from high school students to the elderly – can enjoy these effects.
Like caffeine, Huperzine-A can be quite fast-acting, crossing the blood brain barrier within 15 minutes. Expect it to peak within 60 minutes. This makes it an excellent “quick fix” when you need an instant cognitive boost.
Used in traditional Chinese medicine for hundreds of years, Lion’s Mane is a nootropic mushroom. It increases the Nerve Growth Factor (NGF), which also promotes the growth of axons, the nerve cells that conduct impulses. With healthier and higher amount of axons, your brain can do impulses more efficiently, leading to better brain functions. NGF is also crucial to the growth of neurons. It contributes to neuron development, fighting cognitive dysfunction and age-related memory loss.
Lion’s Mane is safe. It can boost your immune system and control inflammation. You can add it to both natural and synthetic nootropic stacks.
The beauty of natural nootropics is that they are safe. They have fewer adverse side effects than scientifically synthesized ones. This is so without lowering their effectiveness. However, it is still wise to consult a medical professional before starting a new supplement routine.