- Top Brain Supplements
When you start looking for mental focus supplements, the choices can be overwhelming.
With hundreds of cognitive enhancing vitamins, smart drugs, and herbs on the market, zeroing in on the formula that will work for your particular brain chemistry and goals can take some research – and some patience.
Most of us are already consuming mental focus compounds every day in the foods we eat. But while our brain chemistry is indeed evolved to take advantage of psychoactive compounds from dietary sources, these amounts are generally not enough to provide dramatic cognitive boosts. Excellent brain supplements can help bridge the gap.
Let’s explore some of the most common concentration supplements, as well as some more obscure ones you may not have heard of.
Caffeine, among the most ubiquitous focus supplements in the world, is so common that most people don’t think of it as a drug at all.
In fact, caffeine is a xanthine alkaloid compound which stimulates the release of dopamine, the powerful neurotransmitter associated with mental energy, focus, bright mood, and ambition.
Caffeine’s mood-lifting properties are famously short-lived, and are known to induce withdrawals after use is suspended.
Using caffeine as a focus booster can take many forms from drinking a daily cup of coffee to relying on the occasional energy drink. But some caffeinated supplements are more effective than others.
Many people pair the nootropic supplement L-Theanine with caffeine in order to minimize excitatory side effects and withdrawals. Both of these compounds are found in green tea, leading to its reputation as a less harsh source of caffeine than coffee.
The ability to concentrate is also closely linked to wakefulness and sleep cycles. Eugeroics are the class of nootropics and cognitive enhancers which promote wakefulness.
These smart drugs foster intense concentration by stimulating the catecholamine hormones dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. These same chemicals are released in the brain in response to light stimulus and are responsible for the sense of alert mental energy we feel after a good night’s sleep.
The only legal eugeroic that can be purchased without a prescription is Adrafinil. This pre-cursor to Modafinil (known as the prescription brand Provigil) has been shown to induce incredibly focused states of concentration in users. Adrafinil has few known side effects, and does not interfere with regular sleep.
Long-lasting attention to detailed tasks and the mental energy to complete labor-intensive studying, memorization, etc., are heightened by the release of catecholamines.
Racetams are the original and perhaps best-known class of focus supplements. By stimulating the neurotransmitter acetylcholine’s receptors, racetams promote enhanced concentration. Nerve cell function and signaling are enhanced, leading to faster reaction times and greater sensitivity to sensory stimulus.
While all racetams are known to enhance concentration and boost memory recall, individual varieties vary based upon strength and specific focus. Piracetam is the most well-used variant, promoting healthy neural tissue growth and excellent focus properties. Aniracetam and Pramiracetam are far more potent variations, with noted anti-anxiety and memory boosting effects, respectively.
Nerve cell metabolism also plays a key role in the ability to concentrate. Individual cells with healthy metabolic rates are able to gather chemical nutrients and expel waste effectively.
This leads to greater signaling capabilities. Enhanced metabolism also provides the source of physical and mental energy, key components of concentration.
Focus supplements which naturally boost nerve cell metabolism include L-tyrosine, an amino which improves nerve transmission, and Acetyl-l-Carnitine, which binds with choline to create the vital neurotransmitter acetylcholine.
This chemical promotes increased communication in the brain, heightens mental acuity, improved memory formation, and greater sensitivity to sensory information. Interestingly, some of these metabolism-related chemical reactions can also be spurred by intense physical exercise.
In harmony with these compounds, mental focus rises in tandem with physical energy. For this reason, metabolic brain supplements are often featured on body building websites for peak athletes.
A lot of prescription medications designed for heightening concentration (such as we see for ADHD treatment) involve the stimulation of dopamine. Drugs like Ritalin and Adderall are actually amphetamine stimulants which prompt the spiked release of dopamine.
The immediate effect is strong mental energy, but there can be a cost with these medications. Intense dopamine spikes like these are followed immediately by crashes which can cause withdrawal, depression, or severe emotional imbalances. These after effects can easily lead to dependence and addiction.
Many people question whether the concentration gains from drugs like these are worth the side effects, especially in children. There is a natural alternative.
Dopaminergics are a class of supplements which activate dopamine receptors without creating the hormonal spikes associated with prescription pharmaceuticals. Some dopaminergic compounds include Sulbutiamine, Phenylalanine, Phenylethylamine, and Tyrosine.
An optimum program of mental focus supplements would include many or even all of the above-mentioned compounds. Thoughtful supplementation offers a clear method to improve concentration, motivation and mental clarity, beyond what can be achieved via food sources.
Stacking various compounds together can amplify effects of the individual components. While finding the ideal combination of elements for your goals and individual chemistry may take some trial and error, patient experimentation with these nootropic supplements can definitely yield powerful improvements to all cognitive function.
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