(Natural News) Yes, it’s possible to boost your mental performance with the right supplements. What’s even better news is that these supplements are all-natural and have far-reaching benefits besides helping your brain function better.
Cognitive enhancers are among the most popular types of drug today, especially among scientists, students, entrepreneurs, and other individuals whose activities are more focused on brainpower. Cognitive enhancers, referred to interchangeably – but often mistakenly – as nootropics, are substances formulated to enhance one or several aspects of cognitive function, such as memory, motivation, or creativity.
Brain supplements are different in that they don’t provide an immediate boost to your thinking ability or memory. They do contain plenty of brain-friendly nutrients and by keeping the central nervous system healthy, they tend to offer the same benefits as cognitive enhancers, albeit in the long run.
Needless to say, there are drugs and substances that have the traits of both cognitive enhancers and brain supplements. You could say they are the closest to the actual, technical definition of “nootropics,” that is, drugs that enhance brainpower but without any adverse effect. The term may also pertain to substances that protect the brain.
As it turns out, such cognitive enhancement supplements exist in nature. Here are four examples:
There’s a good chance you’ve heard of this plant before. Ginkgo, as it is more popularly known, is often bought for its ability to improve memory, as well as its benefits for sufferers of depression, anxiety, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
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The plant also contains high levels of antioxidants that protect your brain cells from free radical damage. It also has nutrients that improve blood flow to the brain and protect this vital organ from inflammation.
This species of ginseng, called American ginseng, is every bit the natural cognitive enhancer, what with its ability to quickly improve both short-term memory and reaction times. Better yet, these benefits take effect within a few hours after you take it.
Like the other species in its genus, American ginseng contains ginsenosides. These are special compounds that have antioxidant and neuroprotective effects. They also stimulate the release of acetylcholine, the neurotransmitter whose effects cover memory and learning ability.
In terms of cognitive enhancement, this herb is known to be superior than even ginseng. Its effect leans on its ability to effectively regulate the production of multiple neurotransmitters, allowing it to strongly influence learning, concentration, and memory.
Bacopa also has potent antioxidant capabilities that protect the brain from oxidative stress. If you need proof of its safety, you’d be glad to know that records of its use go back 3,000 years.
H. erinaceus, or the lion’s mane mushroom, has been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years. It is valued for its brain-boosting abilities, thanks to nutrients that restore old nerve cells and stimulate the growth of new neurons. Inflammation in the brain is counted among the causes of depression – the amycenone in lion’s mane targets this inflammation and gives this mushroom potent anti-depressant effects.
Amino acids you need for better brain health and performance
Amino acids are yet another class of cognitive enhancers you can use to gain valuable mental edge safely and naturally. Because they occur in nature, you can take them as supplements or make the foods that contain them a part of your diet.
- Tyrosine – This amino acid aids in the formation of dopamine, the neurotransmitter associated with motivation. It is found naturally in dairy and meat products.
- Tryptophan – This compound is crucial to the formation of serotonin, the happy hormone, and melatonin, the sleep hormone. It is found in meat, dairy, chocolates, and whole grains.
- Taurine – This amino acid has a calming effect similar to that of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a relaxing neurotransmitter. You can find it in seafood, meat, and dairy products.
- L-theanine – Unlike its fellows, L-theanine raises the levels of dopamine, serotonin, and GABA. It is very rare but can be found in both black and green tea. (Related: Supercharge your brain with foods that stimulate dopamine production.)
Learn about the different ways to improve brainpower at Brain.news.