You probably already know enough about bodybuilding supplements, most guys and women who lift weights are aware of supplements such as whey protein, creatine, and pre-workouts! In a world obsessed with physical appearance, lots of people will do whatever it takes to gain an advantage. Sadly, however, not many pay as much attention to other areas of wellness, such as mental health and improving cognitive functioning.
There are many natural steps that one can take to improve their mental performance in the long term, but for those looking for a quick fix, there are plenty of nootropic supplements that can be consumed to boost mental performance.
A nootropic is a substance that can enhance certain cognitive functions and improve overall mental performance.
There are various nootropic supplements and drugs on the market today, which include herbal formulations, natural substances, and synthetic compounds.
Lots of people rave about herbal nootropics, although not all of these herbal supplements have been fully backed up/tested with clinical trials. That said, lots of nootropic compounds have been clinically trialed, are deemed safe, and work exceptionally well!
Let us take five of the most commonly used nootropics and review their potential effects and benefits:
1. Rhodiola Rosea
The root of the Rhodiola rosea plant is known to have ‘adaptogenic’ properties. This means it can aid you in adapting to high-stress levels and reducing the adverse effects of stress on the body and brain.
Rhodiola rosea helps reduce mental fatigue and improve mental abilities in people under stress, as studies show. It also works as a mood enhancer in people prone to anxiety or stress.
Overall, Rhodiola rosea can have significant calming and positive effects on the brain, relieving stress, fatigue, and anxiety, which leads to enhancement in some cognitive functions, such as concentration and memory.
Avoid taking this herb before bedtime; it does contain stimulant compounds that might have a disruptive effect on sleep.
2. Lion’s Mane Mushroom
Another natural nootropic, given its name due to its similarity to a lion’s mane as the mushroom grows.
It’s a mushroom that has long been consumed in Asia for medicinal purposes. There it is eaten raw, cooked, dried, or made into a drink.
In the West, a lion’s mane mushroom is sold as a dietary supplement in the form of raw powder or its extracts in capsule form, which people use for various health purposes.
This mushroom is mostly recognised for aiding with memory. It provides such an effective brain boost, and it can be beneficial to take before an exam or when a period of prolonged cognitive activity is required.
Several studies on animals have been undertaken in which significant memory capacity and mental function improvements have been recorded as a result of supplementation with Hericium Erinaceus, aka lion’s mane mushroom. So much so that scientists are hopeful of using it as a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease in the future.
It also seems to help in cases of mild anxiety and depression; hopefully, more research is underway.
This is the first synthetic nootropic that we will analyse. It is derived from amino acids and brain chemicals and available to buy over the counter in most countries, although it is not widely approved for medical use.
Piracetam uses a different way of boosting cognitive capabilities and improving memory; it assists the left and right-hand sides of the brain to better communicate with each other.
Studies have taken place to evaluate the efficacy of piracetam in the treatment of dementia in elderly people. While some studies reported positive results, they failed to reach conclusive evidence, and lots more reviews need to be conducted before reaching any reliable conclusions.
Many people take piracetam in capsule or powder form to boost memory and other mental abilities. It is also used to alleviate anxiety and depression, but again, there is little evidence to support these claimed benefits.
Noopept is a relatively new nootropic compound that was developed in the 1990s, so there is still a lot to be learned about the effects and side effects of this one.
Available as capsules, powder, and liquid drops, noopept is a fast-acting memory and cognitive enhancer. It is notably cheap compared to other nootropics, which might explain its high popularity. According to morris-health.com, a 30-capsule bottle of USA-made noopept sells for about $10 at online stores.
Consumers have reported experiencing improved memory retrieval and capacity after taking noopept regularly. It is also believed to provide a short-term enhancement in cognitive performance.
It is not known if noopept is effective for healthy people, but it does not seem to cause any significant side effects when used correctly.
Awaiting further studies, it is still too soon to conclude the effectiveness and safety of this novel nootropic.
I’m sure you are very familiar with this substance? But this might be the first time you learn that caffeine is considered one of the most potent nootropics on the market, although some argue it is not a pure cognitive enhancer.
Caffeine is a stimulant compound that is found in coffee beans, tea leaves, and other plants. It has been shown to enhance both mental and physical performance.
People often take caffeine supplements or drinks to increase alertness, wakefulness, concentration, energy, and memory. Many of its benefits are an indirect effect of its main stimulatory action in the central nervous system.
You should be careful when taking caffeine in powder or supplement form. Consuming high levels of concentrated caffeine can be dangerous, leading to serious side effects and even death in extreme cases.