The Rise of Nootropics: What Are They and Do You Need Them?

The Rise of Nootropics: What Are They and Do You Need Them?

“Man is not going to wait passively for millions of years before evolution offers him a better brain.” - Dr Cornelieu Giurgea 

Ever found yourself in the depths of procrastination? Struggled to recall information you just learnt? Have you ever been unable to tap into your creativity? Or felt unmotivated, as if someone had switched off your internal light bulb? In today’s world, it’s no secret that we are expected to learn quicker, think faster, retain more, stress less, and perform better than ever before. Yet, our brain can’t always perform to the standard expected of it. 

The answer? Nootropics.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Noo-what? Sounds like just another whacky fad that’ll fill up my Instagram feed for a hot minute.” But, according to our reliable friends, science and history, ‘nootropic’ isn’t just another buzzword. There’s some serious credibility behind it. And, it’s not just us saying it: According to a report by Credence Research, the global nootropics market is projected to reach more than $6 billion by 2024, up from $1.3 billion in 2015 (PR NewsWire 2017). 

Whether you’re a millennial wanting to cram for those last-minute exams, a busy professional in a high-powered career wanting to enhance productivity, a full-time parent struggling to find enough hours in the day, or a fitness fanatic wanting to get more out of each workout, you’re going to want to pay close attention to this. 

What are Nootropics? 

Well, if we look at the origin of the word ‘nootropic’, it’s derived from two Greek words: “nous”, meaning ‘mind’, and “tropein”, which means to ‘bend or turn’. 

While the pioneer of nootropic research and development, Dr Corneliu Giurgea’s original definition of nootropics was much stricter, today, a nootropic essentially refers to a substance that enhances cognition. More specifically, a nootropic may help to improve brain function during times of heightened stress, increase the efficiency of brain processes, and enhance reaction time (Berry 2019). Cognitive function is an umbrella term that may include focus, concentration, mood, memory recall, attentiveness, stress, motivation, alertness and creativity. Simply put, nootropics are brain-boosters. 

To recap, brain-boosting supplements (aka nootropics) may assist with the following: 

  • Memory support - Nootropics may enhance your memory, learning, ability to recall and knowledge retention.  

  • Attention and creativity - Nootropics are suggested to help improve focus, concentration and free-flow thinking required for creativity, which in turn, may improve your productivity levels. 

  • Mood - Nootropics are known for their ability to help with relaxation, mood, anxiety, and motivation. 

  • Physical performance - Your results in the gym are determined by your ability to show up, train with intention and push hard. Due to the way nootropics affect the brain, they are suggested to help improve motivation, intensity and focus in the gym, allowing you to get more out of every workout. 


So, what actually substitutes as a Nootropic? 

With the modern definition of ‘nootropic’ covering essentially anything that boosts your cognitive function, it’s needless to say that there is an expansive number of products and ingredients that qualify as a nootropic, both prescription and over the counter. Even if you’re new to the world of nootropics, if you’ve had your morning cup of coffee already, guess what? you’ve got nootropics in your system right now. Makes sense when you think about it. Upon waking, you may feel a little flat and foggy, but after a quick pit stop at your local cafe and one double espresso later, you’re buzzing and ready to take on the day. 


Our Top 6 Brain-Boosting Supplements:

Now that you’ve got a better understanding of what a nootropic is, are you keen to experience what the masses are raving on about? Here are our top 6 recommendations for boosting your cognitive performance and mental capacity by calling on the age-old benefits of nootropics.

1. Lacking creativity? Try L-Theanine

If you’re a tea lover or a sports supplement user, you’ve likely noticed this mysterious ingredient listed on your packaging before. In simple terms, L-Theanine is an amino acid that can help relieve stress, boost mood and improve cognitive function. 

L-Theanine plays an important role in boosting brain function in several ways, but most prominently via the following: 

  • Brain Waves - L-Theanine helps to increase alpha brain waves, which are connected to mental relaxation and concentration. As a result, L-theanine is suggested to help reduce physical and mental stress.
  • Neurotransmitters - L-Theanine increases the neurotransmitters, dopamine, serotonin and GABA in your brain. Additionally, it is also suggested to help reduce the neurotransmitter glutamate, which is linked to stress, tension and agitation. 

On its own, L-theanine promotes relaxation, alertness, and arousal, which are conducive to creativity. When paired with caffeine, L-theanine is even more powerful as it’s suggested to enhance various areas of one’s mental performance, including reaction time, memory, and mental endurance (Julson 2019). 

Benefits:

L-theanine may help to promote: 

  • Calmness
  • Alertness
  • Reaction time
  • Mental endurance
  • Creativity

2. Struggling with your mental drive at work? Add Project U Vitality to your regime!

Project U Vitality contains a range of ingredients designed to help stimulate brain function, support gut health, boost energy, enhance mood, and lower cortisol. To supercharge Vitality, a combination of powerful nootropic and brain-boosting ingredients have been added. This includes:

  • Huperzine A - To help boost memory and neuro function
  • Cognizin Citicoline -  This is a patented CDP Choline product that works by helping to increase attention and learning while reducing age-related memory impairment 
  • Tyrosine - May help improve alertness and mental performance and reduce the negative effect of stress on memory. 
  • Lion’s Mane Mushroom - Can improve memory, relieve symptoms of anxiety, boost immune health, reduce inflammation and oxidative stress. 

Benefits:

Vitality may help to promote: 

  • Mood
  • Focus
  • Cognitive enhancement
  • Energy 



3. Feeling stressed? Try Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is a highly renowned ancient medicinal herb widely used in Ayurvedic tradition. It is known as an adaptogen, meaning it plays an important role in helping to protect the body from the effects of stress. In a 60-day study, 64 people suffering from chronic stress supplemented with ashwagandha. Of the participants, 69% reported a reduction in anxiety and insomnia, compared to 11% in the placebo group (Steffen 2019). Additionally, more recent research suggests that Ashwagandha may help to enhance focus and mental stamina. 

So, how does Ashwagandha work? While this incredible ingredient impacts your brain functionality in more ways than one, here are two prominent ways in which it works:

  1. Reduces anxiety - Ashwagandha is suggested to enhance GABA receptors and serotonin in the brain, which helps to reduce anxiety levels (Wadhwa & Kaul 2016).
  2. Boosts cognition - Ashwagandha is suggested to improve cognitive and physical reactions (psychomotor) in a healthy brain. 

Fun fact - Did you know that many of our products contain the ingredient KSM-66, which is a patented form of Ashwagandha. 

Benefits:

Ashwagandha may help to:

  • Manage stress 
  • Reduce anxiety
  • Enhance energy
  • Improve concentration 

4. Lacking motivation in the gym? Try Genius Consciousness

Whether you’re looking for a premium quality formula to enhance your mood and motivation or a highly effective and delicious drink to help you reach new heights in the gym, Genius Consciousness has been carefully designed to help improve your mental clarity, focus and cognitive performance. Containing Phosphatidylserine, Acetyl L Carnitine HCL and L-Tyrosine, this cutting-edge cognitive booster has been formulated by a doctor and tested by a third party to give you peace of mind that you’re investing in clinically proven and trademarked ingredients. 

How does Genius Consciousness work? Let’s take a closer look at the ingredients:

  • Phosphatidylserine - This ingredient, more commonly known as ‘PS’, is suggested to play a role in reducing cortisol in your body, which subsequently reduces the impact of stress. Additionally, PS boasts neuroprotective properties that may also aid in cognitive enhancement, while simultaneously helping with the symptoms of cognitive decline. 
  • Acetyl L Carnitine HCL - This ingredient is an acetylated form of L-Carnitine that is suggested to have anti-ageing, neuroprotective and nootropic benefits. Acetyl L Carnitine may help to decrease fatigue and boost attention, memory and learning. 
  • L-Tyrosine - L-Tyrosine is known to enhance your brain, mood and stress response. This nootropic is a precursor for three important neurotransmitters: dopamine, adrenaline and norepinephrine. When stressed, your neurotransmitter stores will become depleted relatively quickly. As such, L-Tyrosine plays an important role in replenishing those stores, allowing you stay mentally switched on for longer, especially in stressful situations. 

Benefits:

Genius Consciousness may help to promote:

  • Fast-acting energy
  • Mood
  • Drive and cognitive function
  • Motivation and mental clarity



5. Need a little extra kick throughout the day? You can count on your good friend, Caffeine

Did you know that caffeine is the most widely consumed psychoactive substance in the world? (Julson 2018). Caffeine is considered a nootropic because, when used in moderation, it is known to improve your reaction time, alertness, memory and mood.  

But, how does it impact your brain? Caffeine is a naturally occurring chemical that works by blocking adenosine receptors in your brain, which reduces drowsiness and enhance alertness and attention. Additionally, caffeine is also suggested to have a protective effect on memory. 

How to take: You can source caffeine from your morning brew, tea, or our go-to caffeine sources, Body Science Clean Coffee and Before You Speak One High Performance Coffee

  • What makes BSc Clean Coffee so special? In addition to Colombian Single Origin Coffee, MCT and Apple Cider Vinegar, BSc Clean Coffee also contains a revolutionary cortisol-lowering herb called Bluenesse, which supports your mental focus and cognitive performance. This incredible ingredient helps to reduce stress induced cortisol levels and the body’s response to stress. 
  • What makes Before You Speak One High Performance Coffee so special? One High Performance Coffee calls on the benefits of Single Origin Colombian Coffee, MCT Powder, Turmeric, Green Coffee Bean Extract, BioPerine and Siberian Ginseng, which is described as the ‘ultimate adaptogen’, as it helps your body regulate the stress hormone, cortisol. 

Benefits: 

Caffeine may promote:

  • Alertness
  • Attention and focus
  • Memory
  • Focus

6. Want to enhance your reasoning skills? Creatine is your go-to!

Creatine is the most widely studied supplement in the world owing to its physical performance benefits. However, what many people don’t realise is that it’s equally beneficial for your cognitive performance, too. Creatine is an energy recycler and booster that provides your muscles with an enhanced supply of energy that allows you to train harder and with more intensity. However, creatine can also help your brain cells in a similar way to your muscle cells, by essentially refilling your ATP supply so that your brain can also perform at its best, for longer (Julson 2019). 

How does it work? Upon consumption, creatine enters your brain and binds with phosphate, where it creates a molecule that your brain uses to fuel its cells. As such, creatine can help improve energy levels in the brain, minimise the symptoms of sleep deprivation, improve mental endurance and improve reasoning skills (Salcido 2018). In fact, while many nootropics improve memory, focus and attention, creatine is one of the few that enhances reasoning as well. It’s particularly beneficial for vegetarians and those who are highly stressed!

How to take: Creatine can be sourced from foods (ie red meat and fish) or in supplement form, by way of a creatine powder (for example, Evolve Creatine Monohydrate). 

Reference list:

  1. Brooks, S, Stressed Out? Why L-Tyrosine Can Help You Recover, Bulletproof, viewed on 9 December 2019, <https://www.bulletproof.com/supplements/aminos-enzymes/l-tyrosine-supplement-benefits-dosage/>
  2. Brody, B 2019, What are Nootropics?, WedMD, viewed on 6 December 2019, <https://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/features/nootropics-smart-drugs-overview#1?>
  3. Berry, J 2019, What are Nootropics (smart drugs)?, Medical News Today, viewed on 6 December 2019, <https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/326379.php
  4. Julson, E 2019, The 14 Best Nootropics and Smart Drugs Reviewed, Healthline, viewed on 9 December 2019, <https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/nootropics
  5. Kassel, G 2018, Stuck in a rut? These 8 Supplements Will Help You Concentrate, Healthline, viewed on 6 December 2019, <https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/natural-supplements-concentration
  6. PR News Wire 2017, Global $11.6 Billion Brain Health Supplements Market to 2024, PR Newswire, viewed on 9 December 2019, <https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/global-116-billion-brain-health-supplements-market-to-2024-300517802.html
  7. Kimura, K, Ozeki, M, Raj Juneja, L & Ohira, H 2007, L-Theanine Reduces Psychological and Physiological Stress Responses, Science Direct, viewed on December 9 2019, <https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301051106001451?via%3Dihub
  8. Wadhwa, R, Konar, A & Kaul, S.C 2016, Nootropic potential of Ashwagandha leaves: Beyond traditional root extracts, Science Direct, viewed on 9 December 2019, <https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0197018615300437
  9. Nichols, H 2017, What does Caffeine do to Your Brain?, Medical News Today, viewed on 9 December 2019, <https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/285194.php
  10. Salcido, B 2018, The Surprising Fitness Supplement That Can Help You “Bulk Up” Your Brain Power, Medium, viewed on 8 December 2019, <https://medium.com/swlh/the-surprising-fitness-supplement-that-can-help-you-bulk-up-your-brain-power-64c94a5c4b29
  11. Steffen A.D 2019, Here’s A Dozen Proven Health Benefits Of Ashwagandha, Intelligent Living, viewed on 10 December, <https://www.intelligentliving.co/health-benefits-ashwagandha/

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