Nootropics are substances or compounds used to enhance cognitive function such as memory, learning, concentration, and creativity. These compounds are also known as “smart drugs” or “cognitive enhancers.”
Nootropics can be natural or synthetic, and some examples include caffeine, omega-3, creatine, piracetam, modafinil, and acetyl-L-carnitine. Many of these compounds are used to improve mental performance in specific situations such as work or studying, and some are also used to treat cognitive and neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and ADHD.
It is important to note that although nootropics can have beneficial effects on cognitive function, they can also have side effects and can interact with other medications. Therefore, it is recommended to talk to a doctor before starting to take any type of nootropic.
There are many compounds that are considered nootropics, and some common examples include:
Caffeine: a stimulant found in coffee, tea, and other foods and beverages.
Piracetam: a synthetic compound used to improve memory and cognition.
Modafinil: a prescription medication used to treat excessive sleepiness and improve wakefulness.
Omega-3: an essential fatty acid found in fish and some dietary supplements that is believed to improve brain function and reduce inflammation.
Bacopa Monnieri: a medicinal plant used in Ayurvedic medicine to improve memory and cognition.
Acetyl-L-carnitine: a compound naturally found in the body used to improve brain function and reduce cognitive decline.
There are several mushrooms that have been studied for their potential to improve cognitive performance. Some of the most studied include:
Cordyceps: This mushroom has long been used in traditional Chinese medicine for its energizing properties and to improve athletic performance. It has also been shown to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that may help protect the brain.
Lion’s Mane: This mushroom has been extensively studied for its effects on cognitive function. Its active compounds, including erinacins and hericenones, are believed to stimulate the growth of new brain cells and improve neuronal communication.
Reishi: This mushroom has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries and is believed to have a wide range of health benefits, including anti-aging and antioxidant properties. It has also been shown to improve cognitive function in rats.
Chaga: This mushroom is known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It has also been shown to improve memory and learning ability in rats.
Methylene blue: Improves memory: Methylene blue has been shown to improve memory in animals and humans. It is believed that this is because methylene blue can increase the production of nitric oxide, which in turn improves brain function and memory.
Improves attention and concentration: Methylene blue can also improve attention and concentration. It is believed that this is because methylene blue can increase dopamine levels in the brain, a neurotransmitter involved in attention and motivation.
Increases mental resilience: Methylene blue can increase mental resilience, allowing people to maintain consistent cognitive performance over a prolonged period of time.
Protects the brain from oxidative damage: Methylene blue has antioxidant properties and can help protect the brain from oxidative damage.
Improves mitochondrial function: Methylene blue can also improve mitochondrial function in the brain, which in turn improves energy production and brain function.
Methylene blue is a chemical compound used as a dye in the textile industry and as a therapeutic agent in medicine. Although it is not considered a nootropic itself, methylene blue has been investigated for its ability to improve cognitive function and has been used in some clinical studies to treat certain neurological conditions.
It is believed that methylene blue may have beneficial effects on the brain due to its ability to increase the production of certain neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and serotonin, and improve mitochondrial function. Methylene blue has been shown to improve memory and learning ability in animal models and in some human studies.
However, it is important to note that methylene blue can also have side effects and should be used with caution. Excessive consumption of methylene blue can cause side effects such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and dizziness. In addition, its use is not recommended for people with a history of kidney or liver disease.
Some potential benefits of methylene blue in sports performance include:
Increased endurance: Methylene blue may increase endurance by improving the body’s ability to produce energy more efficiently. This can help reduce muscle fatigue during exercise and increase endurance.
Reduced muscle fatigue: Methylene blue may help reduce muscle fatigue during exercise, which in turn can improve performance.
Improved muscle recovery: Methylene blue may improve muscle recovery after exercise by reducing inflammation and oxidative stress in the muscles.
Improved cardiovascular function: Methylene blue may improve cardiovascular function by increasing the production of nitric oxide, which in turn improves blood flow and tissue oxygenation.
Adaptogens are natural substances used to help the body adapt to stress and physical and mental demands. These substances have been used traditionally in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine for centuries, and have recently gained popularity in alternative and complementary medicine.
Adaptogens help balance the nervous and hormonal systems, which can help reduce stress levels and improve physical and mental resilience. Some examples of adaptogens include ginseng, rhodiola, ashwagandha, maca, and eleuthero.
It is believed that adaptogens work at the cellular level to improve the body’s ability to resist stress and maintain a homeostatic balance. In addition, they have been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and neuroprotective properties.
It is important to note that although adaptogens are considered safe and have a long history of use in traditional medicine, not enough clinical studies have been conducted in humans to establish their long-term safety and efficacy. Therefore, it is always recommended to consult a doctor before starting to take any type of adaptogens.
Ashwagandha has been shown to reduce stress, improve cognitive function, and may reduce inflammation.
Reduction of stress and anxiety: Ashwagandha has been shown to reduce cortisol levels, the stress hormone, and may improve mood and reduce anxiety.
Improvement of cognitive function: Some studies suggest that Ashwagandha can improve cognitive function, including memory, attention, and mental processing speed. It may also have neuroprotective properties that help protect brain cells from damage.
Reduction of inflammation: Ashwagandha contains compounds that have anti-inflammatory properties. Studies have shown that it can reduce levels of inflammatory markers in the body, which may help prevent chronic diseases.
Improvement of sexual function: Some studies suggest that Ashwagandha can improve sexual function in both men and women, including increased libido and improved semen quality.
Improvement of physical endurance: Ashwagandha may improve physical endurance and reduce fatigue, which can help improve athletic performance.
Rhodiola rosea: Rhodiola has been traditionally used to improve physical endurance and reduce fatigue. It has also been shown to improve mood, reduce anxiety, and stress. Reduction of stress and anxiety: Rhodiola rosea can reduce the effects of stress on the body and improve the body’s ability to adapt to stress. Some studies have found that Rhodiola rosea can reduce anxiety symptoms and improve mood.
Improvement of cognitive ability: Rhodiola rosea can improve memory, concentration, and cognitive performance. Some studies have shown that it can improve performance on tasks that require attention and mental processing.
Increase in physical endurance: Rhodiola rosea can improve physical endurance and reduce fatigue. It has been shown to improve performance in endurance exercises and reduce muscle fatigue.
Regulation of the immune system: Rhodiola rosea may have immunomodulatory effects, which means it can help regulate the immune system and improve the body’s ability to fight infections and diseases.
Reduction of inflammation: Rhodiola rosea may have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which can help reduce inflammation in the body and prevent chronic diseases.
Tongkat Ali: Tongkat Ali is a plant native to Malaysia that has been traditionally used to treat a variety of conditions such as fever, diarrhea, and erectile dysfunction. Here are some of the possible benefits of Tongkat Ali that have been studied:
Improved sexual function: Tongkat Ali has been studied for its effects on sexual function in both men and women. In some studies, it has been shown to improve libido, semen quality, and erectile function.
Increased muscle mass and strength: Tongkat Ali has been studied for its effects on physical performance, and some studies suggest it may increase muscle mass and strength while reducing body fat.
Reduced stress and anxiety: Tongkat Ali has been traditionally used as an adaptogen to reduce stress and anxiety. Some studies have confirmed these benefits, suggesting that Tongkat Ali may lower cortisol, the stress hormone, and improve mood.
Improved cognitive function: Some studies suggest that Tongkat Ali may improve cognitive function and memory in older adults.
Other interesting supplements: Dietary supplements are products that are ingested to supplement the diet and provide additional nutrients to the body. These products contain vitamins, minerals, herbs, amino acids, or other ingredients, and come in the form of tablets, capsules, powders, liquids, or bars.
Dietary supplements are not designed to replace food, but to complement the diet and provide additional nutrients that may be lacking in daily nutrition. Some people may need dietary supplements to cover nutrient deficiencies due to a restrictive diet, illness, or medical condition.
Glycine: Glycine is a non-essential amino acid found in the body’s proteins and naturally produced in the body. Glycine has several functions in the body, including protein formation, energy production, and regulation of the nervous system.
Some benefits of glycine are:
Promotes healthy sleep: Glycine can improve sleep quality and reduce daytime sleepiness. It has been shown to reduce the time it takes to fall asleep and improve the quality of sleep.
Improves mental health: Glycine may have anxiolytic and antidepressant effects in the body. It has been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression in animal and human studies.
Helps regulate the nervous system: Glycine is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that can help regulate the nervous system. It can reduce neuronal activity in the brain and decrease the effects of stress on the body.
Promotes cardiovascular health: Glycine can improve cardiovascular health by reducing inflammation and protecting cells from oxidative stress.
Promotes joint health: Glycine is an important component of collagen, which is essential for joint, skin, and other connective tissue health in the body. It has been shown to improve joint flexibility and mobility in people with osteoarthritis.
The optimal doses are between 10 grams and 30 grams per day. It has a sweet taste, so it can be added to coffee, desserts, or any other culinary preparation.
Inositol: Inositol is a molecule found in many plants and foods, and it is also produced naturally in the human body. It is a compound similar to carbohydrates that is classified as a “sugar alcohol”.
Some of the benefits of inositol include:
Mood regulation: Inositol is known for its ability to improve mood and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. This is believed to be due to its ability to regulate the production and action of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine.
Improved reproductive health: Inositol can improve reproductive health in both men and women. In women, it has been shown to improve ovulation and fertility in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). In men, inositol can improve semen quality and fertility.
Improved brain health: Inositol is essential for brain health and can improve cognitive function and reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases. It has been shown to improve memory and concentration in animal and human studies.
Regulation of blood sugar levels: Inositol can improve insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes.
Improved liver health: Inositol can improve liver health by reducing fat accumulation in the liver and improving liver function in people with fatty liver disease.
The optimal doses range from 0.5 grams to 3 grams daily.
Creatine monohydrate is a dietary supplement commonly used to enhance physical performance in high-intensity sports such as weightlifting and sprinting. It is a natural compound that is found in small amounts in food and in the human body, and it can also be synthesized in a laboratory.
Some of the benefits of creatine monohydrate are:
Increased strength and muscle mass: Creatine monohydrate has been extensively studied and has been shown to increase strength and muscle mass in people who perform high-intensity workouts.
Improved athletic performance: Creatine monohydrate can improve athletic performance by increasing the body’s ability to produce energy during high-intensity exercise.
Improved recovery: Creatine monohydrate can reduce muscle damage and accelerate recovery after intense exercise.
Brain health benefits: Creatine monohydrate may have beneficial effects on brain health, such as improving memory and cognitive function in older people and reducing symptoms of depression in young people.
Improved bone health: Creatine monohydrate can improve bone mineral density, which may reduce the risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures.
The optimal dose is 0.7 grams per kg of body weight.
NAC: N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is a compound commonly used as a dietary supplement due to its antioxidant properties and its ability to improve respiratory function. NAC is synthesized from the amino acid cysteine and is a precursor to glutathione, a natural antioxidant in the body.
Some of the benefits of NAC include:
Antioxidant properties: NAC acts as an antioxidant by neutralizing free radicals that can damage cells and tissues in the body.
Improved respiratory function: NAC may improve respiratory function in people with lung diseases such as asthma and chronic bronchitis. It has also been shown to help reduce symptoms of sinusitis and respiratory infections.
Detoxification: NAC can help detoxify the liver and protect it from damage caused by toxic substances such as alcohol and medications.
Support for the immune system: NAC may strengthen the immune system and improve the cellular function of white blood cells.
Mental health benefits: NAC may improve symptoms of depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). It has also been shown to improve cognition in older adults.
It is important to note that NAC may interact with some medications and that high doses can cause side effects such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Therefore, it is recommended to speak with a healthcare professional before taking NAC supplements to ensure that it is safe and beneficial for health.
L-tryptophan: L-tryptophan is an essential amino acid that the body needs to produce proteins and other important compounds such as serotonin and melatonin. It is an important nutrient found in many foods including meats, fish, eggs, dairy, legumes, and nuts.
Some of the benefits of L-tryptophan include:
Mood regulation: L-tryptophan is a precursor to serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood and may improve symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Promotion of sleep: L-tryptophan is also a precursor to melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate the circadian rhythm and promote sleep.
Pain reduction: L-tryptophan may help reduce pain perception in people with certain conditions such as fibromyalgia.
Supports immune system: L-tryptophan is important for protein production and cell repair, which helps strengthen the immune system.
Improved cognition: L-tryptophan may improve memory and concentration, and has been shown to reduce symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease in some studies.
The optimal doses range from 0.5g to 3 grams daily.
Magnesium bisglycinate is a form of magnesium that is bound to glycine, an amino acid, which increases its bioavailability and absorption in the body. Magnesium is an important mineral that plays a vital role in many bodily functions including muscle contraction, regulation of heart rhythm, and energy production.
Some of the benefits of magnesium bisglycinate include:
Promotes bone health: Magnesium is essential for the formation of healthy bones and teeth, and may help prevent osteoporosis and other bone conditions.
Reduces stress and anxiety: Magnesium may help reduce stress and anxiety by improving nervous system function and reducing the production of stress hormones.
Improves sleep quality: Magnesium may improve sleep quality by reducing anxiety and excitability, and regulating the production of melatonin.
Reduces inflammation: Magnesium may reduce inflammation in the body and may help prevent chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.
Shilajit is a resinous substance found in the rocks of the mountains of Asia, especially in the Himalayan mountain range. It has been traditionally used in Ayurvedic and Tibetan medicine as a natural remedy to treat various ailments and improve overall health.
Among the benefits of shilajit are:
Increased energy: Shilajit can improve cellular energy production and reduce fatigue, which can increase energy levels.
Improved physical performance: Shilajit has been shown to improve physical endurance and performance in high-intensity sports.
Supports the immune system: Shilajit can improve immune function and protect the body against diseases.
Antioxidant properties: Shilajit is a natural antioxidant that helps protect the body’s cells against damage caused by free radicals.
Improved memory and cognition: Shilajit can improve memory and cognition by protecting the brain against oxidative stress and reducing inflammation.
Reduced stress and anxiety: Shilajit can reduce cortisol levels, a stress hormone, which can help reduce anxiety and stress.