(Natural News) There are a lot of nootropic supplements in the market and considering that they exert a tremendous effect on your brain (they’re meant to improve mental performance, after all), you might be scared of their possible side-effects. The good news is that natural, side-effect-free nootropics actually exist.
The term nootropics can refer to any substance meant to improve mental performance. Unfortunately, this means nootropics can range from perfectly safe to definitely dangerous. That said, it is highly important to obtain your supplements only from sources you can trust.
Depending on the nature of the supplement you take, nootropics can perform their function in a number of ways. Some improve the delivery of nutrients to the brain by enhancing blood circulation, while others exert a protective effect against inflammation, toxins, and even the effects of aging. Some come with added adaptogenic effects which help your brain cope with stress better. In any case, the result is a clearer mind that’s more capable of handling challenges.
Now if you think these effects are possible only through man-made chemicals, you’d be surprised to find that natural and safe nootropics exist in nature. Here are five of the best nootropics you can take:
Also called ALCAR, this amino acid is just another form of carnitine. Its primary function is to create acetylcholine, the neurotransmitter responsible for learning and memory. By boosting your acetylcholine supplies, you will experience alertness, mental clarity, faster processing speed, and better focus and memory. ALCAR can even lift your mood, thanks to its anti-depressant effects. In nature, ALCAR is found almost exclusively in red meat, so taking it as a supplement is ideal for vegetarians or those who cannot incorporate meat into their diet.
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If you like energy drinks, then you almost definitely have had taurine before. This organic compound is a popular ingredient in many energy drinks because of its ability to enhance physical performance. It is found in abundance in the brain, where its primary function is to aid the movement of crucial minerals like calcium, potassium, magnesium, and sodium into the brain cells and vice versa. It is related to gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter with a calming effect. Because of this, taurine is ideal for those who have difficulty concentrating. It can also help with sleep, anxiety, and insomnia. In nature, taurine is found in shellfish and seafood, fish, meat, and sea plants.
If you constantly procrastinate, you probably need to supplement with tyrosine. It is a precursor to dopamine, the neurotransmitter concerned with motivation. If you have a problematic supply of dopamine, you could find yourself unable to focus, mostly apathetic, and constantly feeling tired. You may even suffer from mood swings, depression, and different kinds of addiction. Dopamine is ideal for people who need drive, are constantly stressed and overworked, or have difficulty sleeping. In nature, tyrosine is quite common as it is found in high-protein foods, including meats, dairy, and legumes.
Arctic Root (Rhodiola rosea)
This nootropic is also an adaptogen, a substance that helps your mind and body adapt to both physical and mental stress. Unlike the first three items in this list, Arctic root is linked to three neurotransmitters: serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. Norepinephrine is linked to stress response, while serotonin contributes to positive emotions. This unique combination makes arctic root ideal for people who are feeling low on energy, have trouble concentrating, or are suffering from brain fog. (Related: These supplements are proven to reduce cortisol levels.)
Yes, tryptophan is found in turkey but no, it’s not the reason you fall drowsy after Thanksgiving dinner. Yet tryptophan is essential to the synthesis of melatonin, a hormone that helps determine your cycle of sleep and wakefulness. It is also crucial for the synthesis of serotonin, the “happy molecule,” as others call it. Supplementing with tryptophan benefits those who are depressed and who have difficulty concentrating. This is why it’s also given as a supplement for people with attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Tryptophan is best taken as a supplement because the protein in its natural sources blocks the synthesis of serotonin, making it less effective.
Learn more about the mysteries of the brain at Brain.news.