Nootropic has become a trending buzzword in recent years, with publications like Time, GQ, Goop and others featuring many articles around this word. But what are Nootropics? Are they legal, do they work, will they work for me, and why are so many people talking about them? Well, let us tell you more about Nootropics.
What are Nootropics & How do Nootropics Work?
Although they may feel like a new health fad, natural Nootropics such as Lion’s Mane, Ashawanga, and Ginkgo Biloba have been used for thousands of years.
Nootropics are popular compounds or supplements that enhance an individual’s cognitive performance. Recent studies have shown that they work to increase several different types of mental functions, such as memory, creativity, and attention. (1)
So for those of us who struggle to remember our acquaintance’s name at the grocery store, need help to stay focused on that particularly mundane task, or struggle to calm our nerves after a stressful day of Zoom meetings, Nootropics could be the help we’ve been looking for?
To break it down scientifically, Nootropics help to open up the small veins and arteries in the brain. These natural compounds help to increase blood circulation while also working to improve oxygen flow. (2)
In essence, these supplements are helping your brain achieve what David Goggins would call “Peak Performance”; they’re boosting brain function while also making your brain healthier. (3)
Natural Nootropics such as Lion’s Mane have a long history of being used to help with a number of ailments; the first written record of them was from the fourth century BC. During this time, Lion’s Mane was believed to support longevity and vitality. (4)
Chinese Buddhist Monks would add Lion’s Mane powder to their tea believing that it helped maintain their focus throughout mediation and increase their brainpower. (5)
Recent studies have shown that Lion’s Mane increases brain performance by stimulating the synthesis of Nerve Growth Factor (NGF), a protein that promotes the growth and function of nerve cells. (6)
Read more about Lion’s Mane HERE.
But the list of natural Nootropics options doesn’t just end at Lion’s Mane, the use of Ashawanga, a small flowering shrub, can be traced back to 6,000 BC in India where it was first used to refresh the system and increase lifespan.
Research has indicated that this little shrub has shown great promise in controlling cortisol levels which in turn helps regulate stress and alleviate symptoms of anxiety; it can also combat fatigue and boost stamina. (7)
Studies have shown ashwagandha to be an effective Nootropic that helps improve general memory, reaction time, attention and performance during tasks.(8)
So next time you find yourself exhausted at 2 pm, dreading that next meeting, stressed about that next impending project, or overthinking a conversation you had four days ago as you try to sleep, consider adding some Ashawanga into your routine.
Another natural Nootropic that has been a big topic of conversation amongst nutritionists and herbalists is Ginkgo Biloba. A plant that has been used in traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years; Its health benefits are thought to come from its potent antioxidant levels that provide protection against oxidative cell damage. (9)
What does oxidative cell damage mean and why does it matter? Well, first a free radical is an unstable atom that can damage cells, causing illness and aging. When free radicals enter the body, they can cause large chain chemical reactions with other molecules. This reaction, known as oxidation, can damage vital cells, including DNA and proteins. (10)
Additionally, research has shown a positive correlation between Ginkgo Biloba and treating people with ADHD, and general anxiety disorder.(11)
Lion’s Mane, Ashawanga and Ginkgo Biloba are only a few natural Nootropics. Other natural Nootropics include; Caffeine, Panax Ginseng, L-Theanine, Curcumin, Creatine Rhodiola Rosea and there are many more.
These substances have been used for centuries to help boost brain function, increase memory, decrease stress and help individuals live longer and healthier lives. So, the next time you’re walking in nature, think about all of the powerful plants underneath your feet or above you in the trees.
If you’re looking to add some of these brain-boosting ingredients into your everyday life, Spore Life Sciences has you covered. You can find Lion’s Mane, Ashwagandha, and Gingko Biloba in a variety of our Functional Mushroom Formulations! Check out Mike’s Mushroom Mix, Focus Performance, or Men’s Vitality Mix to learn more.