Are you suffering from brain fog... memory loss, or you just don't have enough gas in the tank to to take you through an entire day without five espressos? Then READ on...
Back in our cave man days we only had a few impulses that our brains had to worry about. Sleep, hunt, gather, care for your young and try not to get eaten by any saber tooth tigers. Now we have complex languages (yeah I’m even counting text speak and emojis in there), demanding jobs, rich family lives, incredible technological advancements and serious TV addictions to contend with. Since our lives are demanding so much from us at all times it’s not surprising that our brains are struggling to keep up.
These days my only real connection to those cave man days is when my husband grunts at me when he’s concentrating on his phone screen, but rather than wanting to revert to a time of less brain function it’s time to help our brains reach their full potential.
Did you know that humans only tend to use 10% of our brains? And when you think about it, a lot of the functions that our brains perform aren’t active functions, they’re the automatic ones that we need to live such as breathing or moving around. As technology progresses we’re using fewer and fewer opportunities to challenge our brain purely because we definitely have an app for that.
Why use a map when my GPS will tell me how to get there - as well as the routes that have the most traffic and my estimated arrival time? Why take the time to read up on a subject to find out an answer to a random question that pops into my head (Which artist was famous for his polyphasic sleep patterns again?) when I can just Google it to get the answer in 3 seconds? (I was thinking of Leonardo da Vinci, by the way).
Hell, when was the last time you did a simple math question without using the calculator on your phone? It’s not surprising that most adults no longer know their multiplication tables or bother to memorize phone numbers. Our phones have basically replaced our brains.
There are lots of ways we can help our brain to work better, even just being sure to constantly challenge it and occasionally take a break from mindlessly staring at our screens to read or try something new is incredibly beneficial, but another way is to boost our brain power with Nootropics.
AN INTRODUCTION TO NOOTROPICS
Your memory, motivation, alertness and creativity can all be affected by poor brain function. The cause of your sluggish brain could stem from a number of things including stress or a lack of sleep, but if you’re topping it up with brain-loving nutrients from the get go then you’re starting your day off on the right foot.
Let me take a moment to introduce you to my new little friend, Nootropics! Nootropics are natural drugs (I use that word lightly here, think nicotine) or supplements that have a beneficial effect on brain function in healthy people and can even help to reduce age-related declines in brain function. They can be taken in a drug form or in some cases (such as caffeine) they can be incorporated into your diet to help with memory, focus and creativity.
Your brain isn’t the fixed form we see it as - it can change, grow and improve. Nootropics that are beneficial for brain function are derived from naturally occurring compounds such as Phosphatidylserine, a type of fat compound found in the brain that can help to improve thinking skills and memory. Supplementing your diet with these drugs assist your body’s ability to regenerate and function at its highest levels - especially when you have dietary gaps because of food intolerances or a vegetarian diet.
When you think about it, our bodies are not only fueled by the foods we eat but made up of them and if we’re not giving it enough of the good stuff it needs then it’s going to start depleting its own resources.
Generally, unless you’re specifically getting a multivitamin, when we take the regular old supplements that you pick up from the pharmacy or supermarket you’re getting one type of compound that has been synthesised in a lab. Think those chewable Vitamin C tablets or iron supplements - that is all you’re getting when you pop one of those little tablets.
A lot of Nootropics work like this as well, where you can pick one type of ingredient or benefit and select a single Nootropic that has been designed to specifically target that field, and by taking it regularly you’ll definitely start to see some improvements - but only in regards to that one function.
However, to really get the most out of Nootropics it’s better to find a Nootropic stack that will get you covered from every angle and support all the gaps in your brain chemistry. If you make yourself a big bowl of spinach leaves for dinner, say it’s a salad and then call it a night, nobody can claim that you’re not being healthy. Spinach is full of beneficial vitamins and nutrients that have a positive impact on your body, but they work in tandem with the other foods we eat to nutritionally support all of our body’s functions.
Nootropic stacks work in the same way. By combining - or “stacking” - together multiple nootropics you’re able to support the various needs and functions of your brain. You can buy nootropic stacks in a single dose or stack them yourself. You should always start by trying single doses so you can assess the benefits and affects individually first.
Before we jump into my favorite 5 nootropics to help improve brain function, it should be noted that not all nootropics on the market - especially those made from previously unknown, exotic compounds - may not be thoroughly tested. In addition, everybody’s brain and body reacts differently, and there’s no definitive way to tell how your body will react to any compound, so you should always proceed with caution and consult your doctor if you feel you’re having a bad reaction.
5 NOOTROPICS THAT CAN IMPROVE YOUR BRAIN FUNCTION
This is the main nootropic stack I’m currently using so I definitely wanted to start here. Qualia is a combined stack of 10 nootropics that helps your mental focus, creativity, alertness and even your ability to feel empathy. When I take Qualia I feel more present and aware, with better brain function and an increased ability to problem solve. Basically, I’m my best version of me.
This is one of the most common nootropics and is a member of the “racetam” family of nootropics that are designed to help cognitive function. It has been shown to have an effect on the release of neurotransmitters and the activation of acetylcholine which helps the brain take up oxygen with improved blood flow, as well as promoting transference from one brain hemisphere to the other.
This is an incredibly popular nootropic with a wide variety of devoted users. It helps to increase brain function in a number of ways, but two of its main uses is to increase your resistance to fatigue and improve your mood. It has been used to increase brain function in sleep deprived doctors, so is definitely one to keep in mind if you regularly find yourself running with less than the optimum amount of sleep. While it is not a stimulant (ie. it won’t keep you awake) it does help your brain to function at a higher level when you’re sleep deprived which in turn will stop you from being a slave to fatigue.
Bacopa Monnieri is a creeping marsh plant native to India and is used as a nootropic to help improve cognitive function. This nootropic works in two ways: it helps to improve your mood and reduce feelings of stress and anxiety, while also helping to improve your memory and overall cognitive function. This does seem to take a bit longer to work than others so it is recommended that you try it for a month before giving up on it.
When it comes to accurately named products you can’t beat Unfair Advantage because its ability to help power up your body by providing your brain with energy without the jittery caffeine high of coffee. It works on a cellular level, supplying your mitochondria with the raw materials it needs to repair cells and function at its highest capacity.
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