Taking care of brain health and function is becoming increasingly popular in society due to the intensifying spotlight on neurodegenerative diseases. While there are some ways for you to improve your brain health by reading or doing brain exercises, you can benefit even more if you take nootropics to enhance memory and cognitive function.
Nootropics have been shown to advance the executive functions of the brain. This refers to a set of cognitive systems that help improve memory and work performance, which eventually increases productivity.
Included in the benefits of improving the executive functions of the brain are flexible thinking, working memory, self-monitoring, problem-solving, planning, task initiation, organization, and calmness.1
This is attributed to the actions of neural pathways and the release of neurotransmitters in the body. For example, studies show that intake of nootropics can increase dopamine, which is responsible for alertness, attention, and arousal. They can also increase GABA, thus reducing stress and increasing the feeling of calmness. Furthermore, they can help increase both acetylcholine and nitric oxide, which intensify memory and blood flow to the brain, respectively.
It’s important to note that an increase in blood flow and circulation is key for the brain to function effectively. So, what nootropics essentially do is stimulate increased blood flow to the brain, creating for an optimal state of alertness.
Natural Nootropics: A Better Alternative for Better Memory
Though synthetic nootropics exist, natural nootropics are typically a better alternative. Not only are they able to improve memory, but they can also improve mood, focus, and concentration.
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Highlighted below is an overview of some of the best herbal nootropics for improving memory and how they work.
This is an herbal extract that functions like an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor, thus it is effective in stimulating the cognitive function of the brain. It also has a neuroprotective characteristic, protecting the brain against damage.
Acetylcholinesterase breaks down acetylcholine in the brain, and inhibiting its breakdown can increase the amount available, meaning more of it can be used as a neurotransmitter for increased cognitive function. Studies also show that increasing acetylcholine has known pharmaceutical effects against dementia.2
Choline bitartrate is an effective way of increasing choline levels, thereby improving your cognitive performance and memory. It also has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that protect the brain and the rest of the body from the harmful effects of free radicals.3
This is an herb typically used in Ayurvedic medicine. Aside from promoting longevity, it increases cognitive function. Shown to enhance the proliferation of dendrites of neurons, this herb consequently enhances processing of signals from neurotransmitters.
Also known as lion’s mane, yamabushitake is a type of mushroom known to have potent effects in improving cognitive functions including memory. It works in various ways to improve brain function, including enhancing the expression of the nerve growth factor and myelination to protect the nerve from damage. It is also known to support a healthy immune system.5
Sourced from amino acids found in turkey, eggs, beef, soybeans, seaweeds, and cheese, tyrosine is crucial for the production of dopamine and norepinephrine. These are neurotransmitters that play a vital role in the regulation of mood. Low levels of these neurotransmitters are linked to fatigue, depression, lack of concentration, and memory. A typical dose of tyrosine is at 500 to 1000 milligram daily for best results.6
This is a form of amino acid that is sourced from foods rich in protein. Acetyl-L-carnitine is important for the production of acetylcholine, the neurotransmitter involved in learning, memory, and cognition.
Enhancing the body’s ability to produce acetylcholine through acetyl-L-carnitine can help improve alertness, memory, and focus.7
A type of amino acid found in foods like bananas, tryptophan is important for the formation of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that enhances the mood. Studies found that people who suffer from tryptophan deficiencies may have memory impairment or depression.
Aside from improving concentration, tryptophan can also increase the ability to focus. This is the reason why people who have ADHD are often given tryptophan supplements.8
Vinpocetine is a substance found in the periwinkle plant. It is known to boost brain power by reducing inflammation and increasing circulation to the brain. Additionally, it is known to balance levels of neurotransmitters in the brain.
Studies show that intake of vinpocetine can increase concentration, attention, and memory. The recommended dosage for vinpocetine is 5 to 15 milligrams daily. However, it has sometimes known side effects such as dizziness and weakness.9
Found in tea, L-theanine has been shown to promote alertness and concentration. Moreover, it creates a sense of calm focus in individuals. This compound works by increasing levels of different neurotransmitters, such as GABA, dopamine, and serotonin which help improve memory, mood, and other cognitive functions.
If combined with caffeine, it can improve the speed and accuracy of cognitively-demanding tasks. It can also reduce the susceptibility of individuals from distraction when performing memory tasks. It also protects brain cells from neurodegeneration, which is a process where neurons die or lose their function.10
This compound promotes the activity of the brain through the action of acetylcholine as it reduces its breakdown. It is found in many protein-rich foods such as meats and soybeans. It is also known to benefit athletes by increasing their power output. The recommended dose of this supplement is at 1200-milligrams divided into three doses daily.11
Caffeine may be the most widely-consumed psychoactive compound in the world, but it is as natural as can be. Found in plant sources such as cocoa, coffee, kola nuts, tea, and guarana, it is added to many beverages and medications for their beneficial effects.
It can also be taken as a supplement in conjunction with other substances. Caffeine blocks the adenosine receptors of the brain, making an individual less tired. Aside from boosting energy, it is also known to increase alertness and memory. A moderate intake of caffeine of about 300 grams can benefit memory.12
There are so many nootropics available in the market or naturally from the food that individuals consume, with different ones providing different health benefits. Because of how competitive modern society is—academically, socially, and professionally—having a good memory is more important than ever. Trying out some of the natural nootropics highlighted above can help. And, if you’re unsure of which specific ingredient to utilize, there are many products which include a variety of ingredients which, in combination, appear to provide nootropic effects. One such all-natural breathable nootropic is FOCUS MONQ, an organic essential oil blend.
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