Imagine being able to effortlessly tackle any business problem. The relationship with your significant other is like a romance novel. You come out of an intense study session with energy to spare. And you ace your next exam.
This is the advantage of using nootropic supplements. Decades of clinical research and user experience show that you can support your memory, concentrate longer, improve your mood and have sharper focus. Simply by choosing and using the right nootropics.
Nootropics can even help boost physical energy and support long-term brain health. But let’s be realistic about the limits of using any dietary supplement.
Nootropics alone will not turn a couch-potato into an Einstein. They cannot transform a jerk into a great lover. You will not ace your next exam if you’ve never attended a class or cracked a textbook.
But the right nootropic supplements can help you step up your game. By supporting optimal brain health and function. A powerful tool to help you live life at your absolute best.
Step Up Your Game With Nootropics
Next are five far-reaching brain benefits, examples of the nootropics that promote them, and strategies in putting select nootropics together in a stack to amplify their effects.
Banish Brain Fog & Stay Energized All Day
I love the term “brain fog” because it describes exactly what it feels like to be mentally out of it. We’ve been conditioned to grab a coffee or energy drink to provide the jolt we need to get going.
But this is more than simply an energy problem. It’s more like cloudy cognition. Our brain is stuck in 1st gear. So we need something other than a stimulant for our central nervous system to get our brain to shift into drive.
We can select from several nootropics to revitalize our brain without defaulting to caffeine or other stimulants.
- Acetyl L-Carnitine (ALCAR). One of my favorite nootropics, ALCAR increases memory, mental alertness, fluid thought and is a potent antioxidant. ALCAR boosts acetylcholine (ACh) and transports fatty acids through cell membranes into mitochondria for use as brain cell fuel.
- Phenylpiracetam. A Russian derivative of Piracetam, Phenylpiracetam improves concentration, memory, motivation, mental energy and offers a stimulant effect.
- Rhodiola Rosea. Rhodiola increases AMPK which triggers the use of stored energy from fats in your brain cells. Boosting alertness, energy and cognition while decreasing depression and stress-related mood swings.
Stay Calm, Cool & Collected
The personal consequences of stress are brain fog, poor attention, mental fatigue, depression, and insomnia. It’s not only work that takes a hit. Our personal relationships suffer as well.
The World Health Organization has declared stress the “health epidemic of the 21st century”.[i] The term “work-life balance” that was coined back in the 90’s is only found in history books now.
Entire books have been written on how to deal with stress. The only way to turn it completely off is to leave the planet. Or become a Buddhist monk and live in a cave.
All kinds of things happen in our body and brain when we’re overwhelmed. Stress drains brainpower in part because it depletes catecholamines like dopamine and norepinephrine.[ii] Leading to short attention span, poor organization, and restlessness.
But we can turn to nootropics to help us deal with how we cope with stress. The right supplements will help you relax, and mange stress more effectively.
- Aniracetam. Another of my favorite nootropics, this member of the racetam-family of nootropics is well known for helping anxiety and depression. Aniracetam activates dopamine D2 and D3 receptors. Improving cognition, learning, memory and mood. And turns the meter down on anxiety symptoms.
- Ashwagandha. Used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine, this ancient nootropic helps relieve stress, fatigue, restores energy and concentration, and normalizes blood sugar.
- Lemon Balm. From the mint family, Lemon Balm inhibits the GABA transaminase enzyme. Which in turn helps maintain adequate levels of GABA in your brain. Resulting in a calming effect and relieving anxiety and depression.
- Sulbutiamine. Another of my favorite nootropics, Sulbutiamine is synthesized from Vitamin B1 (thiamine). It helps boost memory, motivation and is a heck of an antidepressant.
Increase Motivation and Get More Done
I remember a few years ago when I was diagnosed hypothyroid, it was another blow on top of being Adult ADD. The brain fog and fatigue were taking a toll on my career and marriage. The wind had been completely knocked out of my sails. And motivation to do anything was at an all-time low.
Fortunately, I was raised with a conviction that was lodged deep in my brain, “never give up”! Maybe you weren’t so lucky. If the idea of acting on a goal or idea never gets going for you. It falls under the “lacking motivation” category.
The good news is nootropics can help boost motivation too. We have tried-and-true hacks for that. More motivation will improve your productivity, your yearning to learn, and even put new life into your personal relationships.
Recent research has found that there’s more to motivation than boosting dopamine. For an in-depth investigation into the motivation missing link, see the post:
Here are some examples of nootropics that can have you springing out of bed in the morning. Looking forward to another productive day.
- Iodine. It’s highly unlikely that you’ll see Iodine on any nootropic list to boost motivation. But a malfunctioning thyroid which is often caused by not enough iodine results in poor cognition, difficulty learning, problems with recall, depression, anxiety and certainly a lack of motivation. Click on the link here > Iodine to learn more.
- Nefiracetam. This fat-soluble racetam nootropic is structurally similar to Aniracetam. Nefiracetam increases the amount of time calcium channels in neurons remain open. Enhancing glutamate signaling in the pathway critical for long-term potentiation and forming long-term memories. Which fires dopamine neurons leading to a boost in motivation.
- Resveratrol. Recent research shows this polyphenol works like an ampakine nootropic in the brain. Resveratrol is an inhibitor of enzyme PDE4 (Phosphodiesterase-4).[iii] Studies demonstrate that when you inhibit PDE4, you raise levels of cAMP in the brain. Inhibiting PDE4 and boosting cAMP also makes the effect of normal dopamine production more effective. Boosting processes in this stream of chemical pathways in the brain increases learning, memory and motivation.
Go Into Flow, Be Creative and Solve Problems
The flow state, or being “in the zone” is where you perform your best. And you feel your best. We’ve all experienced flow at some time in our life. A time when you were totally absorbed in what you were doing. It had your total attention. So focused that everything else disappeared.
When you’re in the zone, you accomplish tasks much more quickly than if you were constantly shifting from task to task.
A McKinsey & Co. report studied 5,000 executives during workshops. And concluded that senior executives in flow are 5-times better and more productive than those that aren’t.[iv]
Recent research has revealed what is happening during flow. And has even identified the variables you can influence to go into the zone more often.
For an in-depth look into the neurobiology of flow, how to recognize it, and a detailed examination of the nootropics we can use to enter this ultimate state of consciousness, go to:
- Mucuna Pruriens (L-Dopa). Mucuna works as an antioxidant and heavy metal chelator, improves memory and cognition, reduces depression and boosts libido. L-Dopa is also the precursor to dopamine. Adequate levels of dopamine and norepinephrine are required to go into flow.
- Oat Straw. This MAO-B inhibitor increase dopamine levels in your brain. It also helps boost nitric oxide and inhibits the enzyme PDE4 which helps dilate blood vessels and increase blood flow.[v] Boosting cerebral circulation keeps things flowing smoothly to prepare you for the full flow experience.
- Picamilon. This nootropic is used to boost GABA in your brain and helps produce Alpha brain waves. Picamilon also helps produce the endorphins that make you feel good during and after a flow state.
- Ginseng. Ginseng does double-duty during the flow state. This adaptogen provides neuro-protection on the dopaminergic-pathway. And is a potent serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI).[vi] Working as an antidepressant and contributing to a great conclusion to flow.
- L-Theanine. Commonly found in green tea, L-Theanine helps boost GABA, serotonin and dopamine in your brain. It also helps raise Alpha brain waves.[vii] Creating a “wakeful relaxation” mindset associated with free-flowing creativity and abstract thinking.
- Noopept. This potent nootropic modulates AMPA and NDMA receptors in your brain. Modulates levels of glutamate within neurons and protects brain cells. Noopept influences the Long-Term Potentiation needed to develop long-term memory. And boosts Alpha and Beta brain waves.
Remember More, Learn Better, Forget Less
Nootropic supplements have grown in popularity primarily as a way to boost learning, memory and recall. Memory affects every aspect of our lives, all day, every day.
Just think about the last time you stepped out of a mall and wondered where you’d parked your car. Or the grief you went through because you forgot an anniversary or birthday. All the things you have to remember simply to do your job.
With better memory you excel in school. Career prospects and advancement put you ahead. And relationships are easier.
For a more detailed look into how memories are formed in your brain, how neuroplasticity affects memory, the molecular biology involved in memory, and a list of nootropics that have been proven to help learning and memory, check out:
Here are some of the nootropics that can have a profound effect on learning and memory.
- Bacopa Monnieri. Often referred to as “Brahmi”, Bacopa was first mentioned in ancient Ayurvedic texts. In was recommended to devotees to help memorize long passages of text. Research shows Bacopa slows the rate at which we forget newly acquired knowledge.[viii] It improves learning and memory.[ix] And even helps cognitive performance when we’re under pressure.[x]
- Ginkgo biloba. Ginkgo is one of the oldest species of trees on earth. Ginkgo increases cerebral blood flow which improves delivery of oxygen and glucose to neurons. Boosting cognition, learning, memory and recall. And Ginkgo acts as a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) which boosts dopamine levels in your brain. Helping to reduce anxiety while improving executive function.[xi]
- Gotu Kola. This ancient nootropic is often called “the student herb” in Bali. Because it sharpens the mind. Gotu kola extract increases dendrite and axon growth in brain cells which helps memory. Gotu kola also helps prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine. Enhancing mood, cognition, memory and learning. And preventing degenerative brain diseases like Alzheimer’s.
Hacking Your Brain for Success
Are you ready to step up your game? How about kicking depression to the curb. Say good-bye to anxiety once-and-for-all. Go into flow and start getting things done.
A thoughtfully selected combination of nootropics can change your life. All it takes is a willingness to take the next step.
Do your research on the nootropics described in this post. Look at the areas you’d like to improve in your life. Then go to your favorite vitamin shop or natural foods store. Ask for help if you need to. And choose the highest quality supplements you can afford.
Follow dosage recommendations. Make sure you’re not taking something that interacts with other meds you’re on. And join a growing community of neurohackers. Ordinary people who want the best from life. Those of us who will do what it takes to live up to our potential.
Imagine that a small stack of nootropics just might make you a more effective version of yourself. What are you waiting for?
[iii] Li Y.F., Cheng Y.F., Huang Y., Conti M., Wilson S.P., O’Donnell J.M., Zhang H.T. “Phosphodiesterase-4D knock-out and RNA interference-mediated knock-down enhance memory and increase hippocampal neurogenesis via increased cAMP signaling.” Journal of Neuroscience. 2011 Jan 5;31(1):172-83 (source)
[v] Nie L., Wise M.L., Peterson D.M., Meydani M. “Avenanthramide, a polyphenol from oats, inhibits vascular smooth muscle cell proliferation and enhances nitric oxide production.” Atherosclerosis. 2006 Jun;186(2):260-6 (source)
[vii] Gomez-Ramirez M, Higgins B.A., Rycroft J.A., Owen G.N., Mahoney J., Shpaner M., Foxe J.J. “The deployment of intersensory selective attention: a high-density electrical mapping study of the effects of theanine.” Clinical Neuropharmacology. 2007 Jan-Feb;30(1):25-38. (source)
[ix] Stough C., Lloyd J., Clarke J., Downey L.A., Hutchison C.W., Rodgers T., Nathan P.J. “The chronic effects of an extract of Bacopa monniera (Brahmi) on cognitive function in healthy human subjects.” Psychopharmacology (Berlin). 2001 Aug;156(4):481-4. (source)
[xi] Uebel-von Sandersleben H., Rothenberger A., Albrecht B., Rothenberger L.G., Klement S., Bock N. “Ginkgo biloba extract EGb 761® in children with ADHD.” Z Kinder Jugendpsychiatry Psychotherapy. 2014 Sep;42(5):337-47. (source)