What are nootropics and are they actually good for you?

Written by: Jenna Lo

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Healf Journal

Have you ever found yourself unable to focus even on the littlest of tasks at work? Nootropics might just be the solution to this problem.

 

Nootropics promise to sharpen cognitive function. But are they truly beneficial? This article explores the potential of these brain-boosting supplements, offering guidance on usage and highlighting popular options for those considering their use.

 

What are nootropics?

Nootropics, often referred to as "smart drugs", are substances designed to combat brain fog and enhance cognitive function. These enhancements, available in the form of prescription medications, over-the-counter supplements or dietary aids, have been extensively studied since the 1970s. Operating at a cellular level, they exert their effects by influencing neurotransmitters and neurons in the brain. Commonly known as cognition enhancers or memory boosters, nootropics can improve brain performance, mental function and mood. Their functions vary depending on the specific type of nootropic, with potential benefits including enhanced creativity, increased motivation and reduced anxiety.

 

Are nootropics good for you?

While they promise improvements in memory, creativity, motivation and attention, the question remains: Are nootropics truly good for you?

 

Research findings and anecdotal evidence suggest that certain types of nootropics may indeed offer cognitive benefits. For instance, studies have shown that specific substances like caffeine, omega-3 fatty acids, creatine and herbal supplements like ginkgo biloba and L-theanine can potentially improve various aspects of brain function, including memory, focus and mood. These substances have been linked to enhanced energy levels, improved attention span, better memory retention and effective stress management.

 

Before you decide to try nootropics, there are a few important things to note. Whether you need a prescription for nootropics depends on which country you live in and the nootropic of your choice. You should always speak with your doctor before trying any supplements as they may interact with the medications you are taking. Nootropics are also meant only as complementary enhancers and are not intended to replace any treatment you may be on.

 

Here at Healf, we supply the highest quality organic vitamins and functional mushroom supplements to support your natural diet. Whether it’s brain health, energy, or immunity we think supplements like nootropics can significantly aid in your desired health goal. We have put together a list of some of our favorite nootropics and which supplement products you can choose from to get started.

 

List of popular nootropics and their benefits

It is important to note that some small studies show that some nootropic supplements can affect the brain, but there is a lack of evidence from large, controlled studies to show that some of these supplements consistently work and are completely safe. While experts cannot say with full certainty that non-prescription nootropics can improve thinking or brain function, the following nootropics have been found to help with brain fog to a certain extent. These are just a few of our favourite nootropics and which supplements we recommend you take a look at if you are interested in taking nootropics!

 

Caffeine

As the most popular nootropic on our list, there is a high chance you already regularly intake this nootropic! It is a natural stimulant most commonly found in tea, coffee and dark chocolate that stimulates the brain and central nervous system, making you feel less tired and more alert.

 

Studies have shown that caffeine can make you feel more energised and help improve your memory, reaction times and general brain function. Taking too much caffeine, however, can be counterproductive and lead to anxiety, nausea and trouble sleeping. Mushroom-based blends, such as those made by London Nootropics, often have the benefits of caffeine without these associated side effects.

Our recommended product: Ancient + Brave: Coffee + Collagen

 

Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are linked with many health benefits, especially improved brain health. These substances play a vital role in maintaining the structure and function of your brain by accounting for around 25% of the total fat and 90% of the omega-3 fat found in your brain cells.

 

Additionally, omega-3 fatty acids are linked with improved thinking skills, memory and reaction times in healthy people and have been shown to help reduce the decline in brain function associated with ageing.

 

Creatine

A natural substance that plays an important role in energy metabolism, creatine is found naturally in the body, mostly in muscles and in smaller amounts in the brain. Although creatine is a very popular supplement for exercising, some studies have found that it can help improve memory and thinking skills as well.

Our recommended product: Thorne: Creatine

 

Ginkgo biloba

An herbal supplement derived from the ginkgo biloba tree, ginkgo biloba is a popular supplement many people take to boost their brain power. It increases blood flow to the brain and is claimed to improve brain functions like focus and memory.

 

However, studies show mixed findings in the effects of ginkgo biloba. Some found that taking these supplements can help reduce age-related decline in brain function. Another study found that it helped improve memory and thinking skills in healthy middle-aged people. Not all studies, however, have found these benefits.

Our recommended product: Form: Edge Capsules - Cognitive Enhancer

 

L-Theanine

Although L-Theanine is a naturally occurring amino acid found in tea, it can also be taken as a supplement. Studies have shown that taking 200 mg of L-Theanine can produce a calming effect without causing drowsiness. By increasing alpha-waves in the brain, this supplement has been linked to enhancing creativity. Additionally, L-Theanine has been found to be more effective when taken with caffeine.

Our recommended product: Form: Boost Capsules

 

There are many benefits with taking nootropics, but it is important to remember that nootropics are not a substitute for any treatments you may be on. They are a great complementary enhancer to mental focus and mood enhancement.

 

If you want to start trying nootropics, make sure to set a goal and take a look at your current lifestyle to see if you can achieve your goals with some healthy lifestyle changes first like changing your sleeping habits. Not all nootropics are the same, so figuring out your desired outcome can help narrow which supplements might work for you. Make sure to do research about the side effects of specific nootropics and take a low dose before increasing to the full recommended dose.

 

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