Five important nutrients that will leave your brain better than they found it!
Most of us at some point in our childhood dreamt of having a “superpower” but what if that dream didn’t die when our childhood ended? What if our desired superpowers just changed from the super speed, supersonic hearing, or super strength wishes of youth to the better brain performance desires of experience? Who wouldn’t want to support their brain to think faster, learn easier, and remember more? Well, then let’s talk nootropics! The influence of nootropics in improving performance in mental tasks like memory, creativity, motivation, and attention has been and continues to be widely studied.
Coined in the early 1970’s by a Romanian psychologist and chemist, the term “nootropic” was first used to describe substances that primarily activate cognitive functions, such as memory and learning, especially in situations where these functions are impaired.1 It comes from 2 Greek words, nöos, which means thinking, and tropein, which means to guide.
What are the characteristics of nootropics?
Originally, five characteristics common to nootropics were defined.2 Nootropic compounds feature:
- Enhance learning and memory performance.
- Guard against damage to brain tissues via various physical or chemical assaults.
- Support the efficiency of brain-initiated behavior control mechanisms, at both the cortical, executive function and subcortical, primal response levels.
- Lack pharmacological mechanisms of action such as sedation, hypnotic, motor stimulant, etc., possess a low side effect profile, and have extremely low toxicity.
- Improve resiliency of the brain and its stored memories and learned behaviors to events and conditions that favor disruption of those pathways (lack of oxygen, toxicity overload, or harsh therapies like electroconvulsive shock treatment).
How do nootropics work?
Though the characteristics of classifying something as a nootropic are well defined, the question of how nootropics work has been harder to answer for medical research and science, who have much more discovery to do because of the overall complexity of the human brain, Nootropics appear to impact the brain across multiple pathways allowing for optimization of different brain structures, functions, and performance metrics. Though full insight into exactly how nootropics work with the brain and its pathways has not been determined, there are 6 primary brain circuits (each with multiple avenues of activation) that could be potential targets3:
- Enhance the function of mitochondria (tiny powerplants that produce cellular energy).
- Promote the uptake of nutrients that are needed to support brain energy production.
- Promote sustained supply of neurotransmitter precursors.
- Support neurotransmitter production.
- Balance neurotransmitter receptor activation.
- Slow neurotransmitter recycling.
- Promote activation of molecules that open blood vessels to promote blood flow.
- Mitigate metabolic and oxidative damage to blood vessel walls.
- Make blood cells more slippery and less likely to stick together.
- Enrich higher brainwave frequencies to support fast and alert thinking.
- Promote alert but not overstimulated or overreactive mind states that can benefit mental performance factors including productivity, creativity, and relaxation.
- Provide robust antioxidant protection from oxidative stress.
- Impede the formation of abnormal protein clusters.
- Support detoxification processes in the brain.
- Guard against stress-induced damage and promote a balanced, healthy stress response.
- Support production of brain growth factors.
- Promote cell membrane flexibility and fluidity.
- Supply raw materials needed for brain maintenance, growth, and repair processes.
What are some common natural nootropics?
Ashwagandha: Human research reveals that administration of ashwagandha resulted in improvements to several areas of mental performance including positive impact to sustained attention and improving short term and working memory.4
Cat’s Claw: Studies on healthy individuals showed that short-term memory involving verbal recall and executive function had substantially improved with just 8 weeks of supplementation. Further studies showed improvement in scores achieved on standard thinking ability assessments.5 In research models, Cat’s Claw has been able to impact multiple internal environmental processes involved with memory and cognitive performance as well as support antioxidant protection.6
Curcumin: Mounting evidence shows that curcumin exhibits a wide variety of biological and pharmacological activities, including anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, protective properties, due to its ability to modulate numerous signaling molecules.7
Chaga: In addition to its well-known immune benefits and antioxidant status, experimental models have demonstrated Chaga can slow the degradation of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, helping to support learning and memory.8
Wild Blueberry: Findings from human studies indicate blueberry can yield consistent benefit for long-term memory and executive function across the lifespan.9 Specifically, wild blueberry has been shown to be so powerful that older healthy adults given 26g of wild blueberry powder experienced measurable benefits in vascular and cognitive function after just one serving!10
How do I use nootropics?
Each individual nootropic has its own individual effects, but the collaborative interaction that happens when nootropics are combined or “stacked” together means that their benefits can be stacked too! In the same way Vimergy Mixology supports developing unique combinations of nutrients to meet the needs of your body, nootropic stacking simply speaks to the practice of combining more than one nootropic nutrient with the intent of producing an individualized cognitive effect that meets your full brain needs. So really, it comes down to being able to level up your nutrient intake to specifically support what you need and those aspects of brain performance you are trying to enhance.
Though the field of alchemy may be considered a historical relic, the quest for superpowers is alive and well. Whether you are looking to home in on specific benefits, multiply effects, or create a complimentary and well-rounded routine, customizing your Vimergy Mixology “stack” to specifically address your needs in the way that is most beneficial to you allows for precision support for your health. How does your Vimergy Mixology stack up?
Shop our Nootropics and other cognitive health support supplements now!