Building a Super Brain
What’s the secret to building a super-brain? To be able to unlock 100% of your neural power, will be extraordinary. What is the mysterious pill that made Lucy limitless is the question many entrepreneurs, students, and biohackers dwell on. Truth is, you miss the point. If there was one, we’d all know by now, so how do we navigate this?
- Building a Super Brain
- What are Nootropics
- How Do Nootropics Work
- Top 7 Benefits of Nootropics
- Types of Nootropics: Top 14 Cognitive Enhancers
- Coffee on Brain and Cognitive Function
- Key Nutrients for Brain Health
The path to a super-powerful brain depends on multiple factors, and it’s not a pill. Here are some steps:
- High-Fat, Healthy Fat Diet – eating foods rich in omega 3’s like avocados, olive oil, and walnuts
- Fasting or Keto Diet – to improve mitochondria function and metabolic efficiency
- Learning a New Language – or instrument, stimulates the brain to adapt
- Brain Games and Puzzles – problem-solving and hard thinking keeps the brain plastic
- Choline Boosters – adding choline-rich foods or nootropics can enhance learning and focus
- Optimize Your Sleep – cool and dark room, blue light glasses, and inhibitory supplements can help us sleep deeper
- Electronic Fast – reducing exposure to electronics (WiFi, Bluetooth) prior to bed reduces overexcitation or hyperstimulation.
So, no, no one magic pill does the trick. However, today’s focus is on one of the many things we can do to improve brain function – supplementing with natural nootropics. Whether you choose to add Reishi and Lions mane extract to your coffee to elevate cognition and immunity or enjoy some magnesium and l-theanine for a nice relaxation before bed, it’s on you.
What are Nootropics
Nootropics are substances known to elevate cognition and improve brain performance. Mostly used by entrepreneurs, students, and athletes, natural nootropics can improve attention, motivation, focus, and memory. Nootropic components, which can be found in foods or plants, are bioactive compounds or constituents that improve cognition.
The name nootropics refers to adaptability, or the brain’s capacity to change. Derived from two Greek words, nous meaning thought and tropein meaning to turn.
They are used to improve memory, motivation, mental agility, and concentration. Yet, natural nootropics are compounds that not only enhance cognitive performance but also strengthen and help repair the brain.
They function by changing the levels of hormones, enzymes, neurotransmitters, and other substances in the brain. Nootropics can improve blood flow to the brain, which enhances brain health and cognition.
Caffeine, which is frequently present in coffee and tea, as well as Gingko Biloba, a well-known supplement that is said to increase brain circulation, are examples of natural nootropics. The adaptogenic mushrooms Lions Mane and Cordyceps can boost neuroplasticity, while Bacopa Monnieri is great for memory. Resveratrol, which is present in grapes, and Omega 3, which is present in fatty fish, are two potent antioxidants shown to enhance brain health.
Can nootropics improve memory?
Certain nootropics like Bacopa Monnieri, alpha-GPC, or Ginkgo Biloba have been shown to enhance some aspects of either short-term, long-term, or spatial memory even in humans. Primarily, they work by improving brain circulation, increasing acetylcholine levels, or improving neural signaling.
Can nootropics make you smarter?
It’s tricky to define what smarter means, but if we can agree on a sharper focus, better memory recall, or boost in creativity, then yes. Nootropics can support neural signaling, some lengthen attention span, others balance neurotransmitters to improve mood, and some boost energy and fight fatigue.
Which nootropics are good for reducing stress?
Many adaptogenic herbs help the body adapt to stressors. The most common one used as a natural anti-stress reliever is Rhodiola Rosea. Especially if the stress originates from a work overload, leading to an overwhelmed state, Rhodiola can help boost energy back up and fight fatigue.
Smart Drugs vs. Natural Nootropics
To qualify as a nootropic, a food or substance must not only improve brain function but also protect and support the brain’s health while having minimal side effects and being low in toxicity.
Natural nootropics set themselves apart from “smart drugs,” which are synthetic and have more immediate, intense effects that come at a cost. Smart drugs, such as Adderall, Ritalin, or Modafinil, can have a significant impact on one’s heart rate, blood pressure, and brain activity. They can also lead to dependence, tolerance, mood swings, insomnia, stomach ache, and anxiety.
Natural nootropics contain bioactive compounds and phytochemical constituents like caffeine, flavonoids, and catechins, found in plants. They are a more reliable and long-lasting solution for improving cognitive function. Mushrooms, coffee, spices, and herbs are a few examples of natural nootropics that contain particular bioactive components that can improve brain function.
There are also synthetic nootropics on the market, including vinpocetine and phenylethylamine, as well as methylene blue, which enhances mitochondrial function and reduces the formation of amyloid plaque. To improve cognitive performance and encourage a healthier brain, our focus is on natural nootropics that may be incorporated into a balanced diet.
Are nootropics good for anxiety?
Certain nootropics like L-theanine, GABA, or Ashwagandha can act inhibitory, allowing the brain to slow down its (hyper)activity. L-theanine may improve alertness and reduce the jitters we get from caffeine, and GABA can help your muscles relax, potentially enhancing sleep.
How do Nootropics work?
Nootropics work in various ways, depending on the specific compound. Some may increase blood flow to the brain, enhance neural communication, or modulate neurotransmitter levels.
What nootropics increase dopamine?
Caffeine is a potent dopamine booster, hence why people love it so much. On the topic of mood, things like tryptophan or 5-HTP act as a precursor to serotonin, but can also increase dopamine levels, as l-tyrosine can. Mucuna pruriens, a velvet bean rich in L-dopa can also assist in raising dopamine levels.
How Do Nootropics Work
Nootropics work to enhance cognitive performance via a number of physiological mechanisms. They can improve neurotransmitter production, increase blood flow to the brain, encourage neuroplasticity, lower inflammation, and shield neurons from oxidative damage. Nootropics can increase cognitive function, such as memory, focus, and attention, by improving these processes.
Some of the famous mechanisms behind how nootropics work:
- An increase in Nitric oxide (NO) leads to improved blood flow in the brain.
- By raising the nerve growth factor, nootropics promote neurogenesis, the growth of new neurons (NGF).
- Nootropics increase the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) which supports neuroplasticy.
- Nootropics boost energy production via the enhancement of mitochondrial function, which improves brain metabolism.
- Nootropics affect the levels of acetylcholine, a vital neurotransmitter that promotes learning.
- Nootropics act as anti-inflammatory agents and shield the brain from oxidative damage.
- They modify the cellular structure and regulate ion transport in and out of cells.
- Cholinergic activity controls activation, arousal, and attention, and nootropics mediate this activity.
- The central nervous system may be stimulated or sedated by them.
- Nootropics raise dopamine levels, boosting dopaminergic action to improve mood.
Top 7 Benefits of Nootropics
Improve Memory Recall
Enhancing memory recall generally involves gathering, storing, and later retrieving information. To do so, it is critical to fortify the connections between neurons. Bacopa Monnieri boosts brain signaling, alpha GPC can help with memory and learning, creatine can give you rapid energy, and ginkgo biloba supports working memory.
Increase Focus and Concentration
Increasing focus and concentration requires the activation of the prefrontal and frontal cortex and directing one’s attention to a single point. L-theanine increases alertness and facilitates the onset of the alpha brain wave state, while caffeine is a strong stimulant that works by inhibiting the Adenosine receptors. Acetylcholine levels can also be raised by citicoline, which enhances alertness, arousal, and attentiveness.
Improve Mood and Reduce Stress
Other key aspects of cognitive performance are mood and stress levels. Many mood-enhancing nootropics function by raising the brain’s concentrations of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin because they serve as precursors to these neurotransmitters. While others enhance emotions of contentment and satisfaction, some nootropics also have an anxiety-relieving impact. Notable examples include L-tyrosine, 5-HTP, mucuna pruriens, and velvet bean.
Boost Energy, Reduce Mental Fatigue
Adaptogens help the body fight and adapt to stressors. They can improve energy levels and reduce mental fatigue through various mechanisms. They can reduce cortisol levels or increase catecholamines, which can enhance mental resilience and endurance. The adaptogens Eleuthero, Rhodiola, and Panax Ginseng are highly effective in this regard.
Enhance Neuroplasticity and Learning
Learning is based on the formation of new brain connections, and adaptogenic mushrooms like cordyceps and lion’s mane can promote neuroplasticity and learning by increasing NGF and BDNF levels. The brain becomes more “plastic” or adaptable thanks to these adaptogens.
Neuroprotection and Cognitive Decline
Countering inflammation and oxidative stress in the brain is a vital part of neuroprotection because as we age, our brains become less capable to regenerate. Strong antioxidants like Resveratrol, Acetyl-L-carnitine, N-Acetylcysteine, and Omega 3 fatty acids help prevent cognitive decline and protect the brain.
Promotes Relaxation and Sleep
By altering the levels of inhibitory neurotransmitters in the brain, nootropics can also aid in relaxing and improved sleep. Magnesium, L-theanine, and GABA, which are adaptogens, are known to slow down brain activity and promote relaxation and deeper sleep.
Types of Nootropics: Top 14 Cognitive Enhancers
- plant compound from the methylxanthine class, the most popular psychoactive stimulant
- blocks the adenosine receptors, boosts alertness and masks fatigue, increases energy, and improves processing speed
- Magnesium is a mineral that is necessary for the optimal functioning of the nervous system and the brain. It encourages synaptic plasticity and may be soothing.
- Calcium supports intracellular signaling and neuronal communication, which is crucial for brain function.
- Zinc has been demonstrated to increase spatial working memory and boost brain function.
- Cordyceps improves blood flow and oxygen consumption in the brain, whilst also increasing energy levels by alleviating fatigue.
- Lions Mane boosts NGF levels, encouraging brain regeneration and enhancing learning. Furthermore, it supports neuroprotection with its strong antioxidant capabilities.
- Reishi, a potent anxiolytic fungus with immunomodulatory properties, can be a fantastic stress reliever.
- Bacopa Monnieri has a strong memory-boosting effect and greatly improves cognitive function and memory recall.
- Ginkgo Biloba supports cholinergic function as it effectively restores or raises Acetylcholine levels. It can increase movement efficiency and precision during mental tasks.
- Rhodiola Rosea, a potent herb that has been proven to enhance learning, memory, and work performance. It’s one of the most effective adaptogens to mitigate stress.
- Lipoic acid, as a potent antioxidant, supports glucose metabolism in the brain, while reducing inflammation and free radical damage.
- DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid, promotes the release of neurotransmitters that assist neural signaling, potentially improving mood and cognitive function.
- EPA, develops the structural integrity of the brain and has an anti-inflammatory and mood-enhancing effect.
- N-Acetylcysteine (NAC) is a precursor to glutathione that has strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It may have potent neuroprotective properties that may slow down cognitive decline.
- Acetyl-L-Carnitine may prevent cognitive decline as it enhances mitochondrial function, cholinergic activity, and synaptic plasticity. It also has neurotrophic effects, which help neurons develop and survive.
- Alpha-GPC – enhances cognitive performance, supports learning and memory, and regulates acetylcholine levels.
Coffee on Brain and Cognitive Function
As a potent stimulant, caffeine improves cognitive function, concentration, and reaction speed. Caffeine belongs to the methylxanthine class and can be found in tea leaves, chocolate, energy drinks, and different plants.
Due to its similar structure, caffeine works by binding to adenosine receptors in the brain, altering neurotransmitter levels, and boosting mood. It also works as an antioxidant, an energy source, and a neuroprotective agent for the brain, slowing neurodegeneration.
- increases focus, alertness, and concentration
- has an ergogenic effect, boosts energy, and fights fatigue
- improves mood, reduces stress, and acts as anti-depressive
- protects the brain, may slow down cognitive decline
- improves brain performance and processing speed; reduces reaction time
- enhances spatial, short-term, and long-term memory
- a potent antioxidant; reduces inflammation and oxidative stress
Healthy Fats for Brain Health
The brain is the body’s fattiest organ, with a fat content of over 60%. While the brain contains more than two-thirds water, only 10-12% of its weight is made up of fats.
The structural integrity of the brain, which has a significant impact on cognitive function and general brain health, depends on these fats. As a result, it is imperative to eat more foods high in omega-3s, which are thought of as fats beneficial for brain health.
Healthy fats are vital for preserving a healthy brain and supporting the formation, regeneration, and maintenance of the intricate structure of the nervous system, including its cells, neurotransmitters, hormones, and mediators.
- Fats are a critical source of energy for the brain, although glucose is also necessary
- Unsaturated fats have anti-inflammatory qualities and can aid in brain protection.
- Fats constitute the structural integrity of the brain, being the building components of the nervous system
- Fats assist the creation of neurotransmitters, such as dopamine, acetylcholine, and GABA, which are chemical messengers involved in brain signaling
- A brain powered by fats may be more alert, less reactive, better in memorization, and less prone to energy slumps or lethargy
- Fats have a vital role in mediating the processes of memory, neuroplasticity, learning, and brain adaption
- Keto-powered brains are more energy-efficient, produce cleaner energy with less oxidative stress
Key Nutrients for Brain Health
Healthy, high-fat, brain-supportive foods include avocados, olive oil, flax seeds, grass-fed beef, chicken, walnuts, eggs, and seafood such as salmon, crab, herring, and mackerel. Besides providing crucial neurominerals vital for neural signaling, these foods also include 3 key brain nutrients.
Fat Soluble Vitamins
Choline, a crucial nutrient that supports brain and liver function by aiding in the production of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter involved in various neural signaling processes. It is also involved in DNA synthesis and fat transport.
Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA are essential for brain function and play a role in the construction of nerve cells, maintaining the structural integrity of the brain, and acting as an anti-inflammatory agent. They are associated with better cognitive performance, including improved memory, focus, and energy.
B vitamins are essential, water-soluble vitamins that are crucial for body and brain development. They can be consumed through food or supplements that contain the full B-complex spectrum.
Fats’ especially fat-soluble vitamins like D, E, and K can greatly assist cognition and brain health. These are potent antioxidants for the brain that can potentially reduce brain degeneration. It’s widely known that the deficiency of these 3 vitamins can be linked to cognitive impairment and greater neurodegeneration.
- Building a superbrain is not done with a pill. It’s about taking numerous factors into consideration. Eating healthy fats, learning new things, fasting or keto, optimizing sleep, and reducing EMF are key ones. Nootropics are the next level step-up for the brain.
- Natural nootropics are cognitive enhancers known to improve cognitive functions like memory, focus, and alertness. They improve brain health while having minimal to no side effects. Such include Ginkgo Biloba, Bacopa Monnieri, Lions Mane, and L-theanine.
- The most potent natural nootropic frequently used is Caffeine. It works by blocking the adenosine receptors, masking fatigue while improving alertness and focus.
- Smart drugs are synthetic, lab-made substances like Adderal, Ritalin, Modafinil, Vinpocetine, and Methylene blue. These have strong acute effects on the brain’s EGG, heart rate and can cause serious side effects and tolerance if misused.
- Nootropics work by various mechanisms. The most common are improving brain circulation, balancing mood hormones, increasing acetylcholine levels, fighting oxidative damage, and improving mitochondria function.
- The benefits of Nootropics are a sharper focus, mental clarity, greater alertness, better memory recall, neuroprotection, enhanced creativity, a boost in mood, a reduction in stress, and enhanced learning.
- The key nutrients for brain health include B vitamins, Choline, Omega 3 Fatty Acids, Carnitine, and Amino acids like NAC, Taurine, and alpha-GPC. This makes seafood, avocados, liver, walnuts, eggs, and olive oil brain-supportive foods.