Chemical supplements aimed at boosting brain performance.
Are you tired of having to explain that no, there is no “limitless” drug, and yes, nootropics really do work, and yes they’re perfectly safe? Then step right up because after answering the same old questions about nootropics for the hundredth time, we’ve put together a cheatsheet of comebacks and rebuttals you can swipe the next time you come across a skeptic.
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Does the New Year have you creating resolution lists designed to propel you to better health, wealth and well-being? If so, you’re far from alone. If you’re the average American, then according to Nielsen, “staying fit and healthy” topped your list last year — followed closely by “lose weight.”
And — surprise, surprise! — these were the same goals held by most Americans in 2014, as well.
It turns out there’s a reason for the lack of year-to-year progress. Most people, despite their stated goals, don’t follow any dietary health or weight loss program. The disconnect between goals and actions explains a lot, doesn’t it?
The other big 2015 goals fell under the general umbrella of “becoming more productive” — which would presumably then allow goal-achievers to set their sights on more fun goals like enjoying life, spending time with family, hobbies, etc.
Want to avoid this frustrating trend of “Resolution Recycling”? Clear the slate — at least your personal slate — so that a “new and noteworthy” goal can top your list for 2017?
Suggestions for turning resolutions into reality range from setting small, achievable goals, to telling others your intentions so you will be held publically accountable. All great advice.
But how about something even more concrete to help you conquer those goals related to achieving health, fitness and productivity?
What is a nootropic? The word derives from the Greek word noos, which translates roughly to “mind.” Nootropic is a general term for a class of chemicals — some naturally-occurring, some man-made — that offer cognitive benefits to the human brain.
To qualify as a nootropic a compound must be only beneficial, non-toxic and follow the hippocratic decree to “do no harm.”
Unlike some media representations (remember the Limitless movie?), nootropics will not give you superpowers… But they can enhance your mental strength and staying power — making you more alert and focused without the side effects associated with better-known stimulant chemicals, like the ever-popular standby, caffeine.
(While definitely a “cognitive enhancer,” caffeine doesn’t qualify as a nootropic because of its negative side effects — the potential for tolerance build up and the post caffeine “crash.”)
Nootropics are best known for improving mental clarity and focus, improving short-term and long-term memory and boosting mood.
Recent research has shown that some nootropics may also provide physical benefits as a nice bonus to their cognition enhancing qualities. These “smart drugs” also facilitate the body’s metabolic processes related to the production of new tissues and the release of energy from food and fat stores.
Here’s how the physical-cognitive double-whammy works: Increased blood flow and glucose traveling to the brain are boosts to cognition — but they also promote the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the body’s intracellular fuel. More fuel means more energy. Studies indicate that this energy boost can result in increased physical activity and performance and and thus, weight loss.
Try these four nootropics, each of which can give a double-bang for your neurological buck, and work through that list of 2016 Resolutions.
Taking nootropics will not magically transform you into a chess champion or an Olympic athlete. Nothing can compensate for poor diet, lack of exercise and sleep deficits.
And while some nootropics have fast-acting (“acute”) effects, many of their best results — like long-term neuroprotection — are not typically immediate, but build gradually.
Move your body regularly, get adequate rest, eat food that your great grandmother would recognize and try one (or all!) of these supplements.
You will be well on your way to reaching your 2016 goal to “Stay Fit and Healthy” (which we all know is really code for “Look Good Naked”).
Stumped on what to get your favorite smarty pants this holiday season?
Fear not! We’ve put together a short list of “favorite things” that help us stay smart.
Cognitive enhancers for brains that have been around the block.
Creatine’s not just for bodybuilders! Check out Episode 75, Creatine: Brains and Brawn? to learn more about the cognitive benefits of creatine.
Studies show that phosphatidylserine supplementation results in significant improvement in cognition for older brains. Listen to Episode 79, Phosphatidylserine: Extra Oomph, Even For Young Brains to learn more about the benefits of phosphatidylserine.
Give the gift of sleep. Teenagers and young adult students are among most sleep deprived populations. Sleep is critical for memory consolidation and systemic repair of both body and brain.
Get crafty and put together the perfect stack to promote a great night’s sleep.
L-tryptophan: 500 – 1000mg
5HTP: 50 – 100mg
Vitamin B6: 50mg
Sustained Release Melatonin: 0.3mg
Because holiday stress is real.
Check out Episode 49 for a discussion on the benefits of sensory deprivation tanks.
Give him a night he’ll never forget…with a supplement designed to promote Lucid Dreaming.
Galantanmine is often used by Lucid Dreaming hobbyists to make intense, vivid dreams more likely. (Don’t know about Lucid Dreams? Check out Episode #59 with Dr. Deirdre Barrett.) This can be strong stuff, and can disrupt your sleep if you take it at the start of a full night’s sleep. The “best practice” approach is to set your alarm to wake you after you’ve gotten a few good sleep cycles in the bag — maybe 5-6 hours after your bedtime — and take a quick dose of Galantanmine and go back to sleep. Then buckle up for some action-packed dreams!
Everyone’s busy these days, especially around the holiday season, so give the gift of energy to keep them going.
Research shows that as much as 40 percent of the population is deficient in Vitamin B12. B12 is integral to how your body produces energy, keeping your cells fed, happy, and healthy. Low energy and mood are common symptoms of a B12 deficiency. B12 is also very neuro-protective – specifically protecting your brain and nerve cell myelin.
What could be better than coffee and nootropics?