When you think of your memory, you may believe that there’s only one type. The truth is, our memory is very complex. Our working memory helps us store and manipulate information short-term. However, when focusing on long-term memory, this requires semi-permanent connections to be made.
There are many factors that affect our ability to make long-term memories. Our age, diet, and drugs, all influence of brain’s ability to retain information and prevent decay. If you are looking to protect your memory, there are supplements that you can easily incorporate into your regular routine.
How Long-Term Memories are Made
Our memories are processed, through long-term potentiation. What exactly is long-term potentiation? Well, it is our brain’s ability to process permanent memories, which are stored long-term. The establishment of long-term memories, occurs when a physical changes are made to your neurons.
Whenever you learn something new or process new information, neural circuits increase communication. Then, they’re either altered or strengthened. Through various neurotransmitters, communication is also strengthened, resulting in reinforcement.
Glutamate is a prime example, as it helps to solidify connections that are made between neurons. When comparing short and long-term memory, long-term memories are more permanent and stable. They will continue to maintain strong, until its connection is weakened, or replaced by a new memory.
Improving Your Long-Term Memory
Whenever focusing on memory, your brain’s plasticity plays a major role. This is how malleable your brain is, reacting to changes throughout your life time. We once believed that new neurons could not grow or develop, but we now know that this isn’t the case. While focusing on new connections, acetylcholine plays an essential role.
Acetylcholine influences many processes within our brain, especially in terms of our cognition. When you have a large abundance of this neuro-chemical, then you allow for faster growth of neural structures. This is why supplements that increase acetylcholine levels, help aid in long-term memory formation.
As we age, our brains change. We become less able to maintain balanced levels of both glutamate and acetylcholine. Since reactions can not occur as efficiently as they once did, decay begins to occur. As these changes continue, some individuals are diagnosed with various degenerative conditions, such s Alzheimer’s.
Since supplements that protect long-term memory focuses on protecting your brain, they’re also considered to be neuroprotective. By taking these types of supplements, you improve your current memory, while protecting your brain from future decay.
This is why omega-3 fatty acids (found in fish, seeds, and nuts), are recommended for brain health. They help fight oxidative damage, protecting your brain cells. When you maintain the health of your cells, you can reduce your risk of age-related decline.
Boosting Your Long-Term Memory Through Nootropics
Years ago, it may have seemed like science fiction. Now, we can enhance our cognitive abilities naturally and safely. While focusing on your brain’s plasticity, there are multiple nootropic options available. They help to enhance memory, while protecting your overall brain health.
Racetams were the first to become popular, as they aid in a number of cognitive processes. By increasing acetylcholine, you experience higher levels of concentration, mental energy, neuroprotecive properties, and improved memory. When supplements such as Piracetam are taken, you create ideal conditions for long-term memory formation.
Within the nootropic community, it is not uncommon to stack various supplements. This helps to enhance the overall effects, creating even more cognitive and health benefits. While focusing on long-term memory, there are multiple options.
The most popular product on the market is known as CILTEP, which stands for chemically induced long-term potentiation. It combines a number of nootropics, including Forskolin as one of its herbal remedies. When you consume this supplement, cAMP levels increase.
CAMP helps strengthen the connections between neurons (synapses). Since CILTEP also contains Acetyl L-Carnitine, it helps increase acetylcholine levels. In order to promote cell metabolism, vitamin B6 has been added. It’s a well rounded product, that encourages more effective long-term memory formation and recall.
Vitamins and Other Supplements Which Aid in Long-Term Memory
Above, we briefly discussed some of the options available for long-term memory. Let’s take a closer look at some of the vitamin and mineral supplements, which can help you improve memory. These vitamins will also target others areas of your body and mind, yielding multiple positive effects.
The B-complex vitamins are very important for optimal brain function and health. For years, researchers have been studying the connection between vitamin B12 and memory. This deficiency is most commonly seen within the elderly population, as well as the vegetarian/vegan population.
Those that are taking the diabetic medication known as metformin, may also suffer from low levels of B12. If you pay attention to your diet, incorporating foods that are rich in vitamin B12, you should not have any issues.
Consume more fish and meat, as these are the highest sources. Opt for leaner choices, reducing your consumption of red meat. If you’re vegetarian, there are some great fortified cereals, which provide you with vitamin B12. Not only have low vitamin B12 levels been linked to poor memory, but high levels of fatigue and weakness as well.
Magnesium has been studied extensively for the past decade. It is now being studied in human trails, after it yielded positive results within multiple mice and rat studies. For instance, in 2004, magnesium was shown to produce synaptic changes within mice, boosting their memory.
In 2010, magnesium helped rats improved both their short and long-term memory. While looking at humans, there have already been some positive results recorded. When given to older patients, magnesium supplements were shown to reduce stress hormones and promote sleep. Approximately 100,000 Americans are currently taking this supplement.
Choline supplementation has various positive effects on our mental and physical health. When focusing on consumption of choline, it may improve long-term memory (as seen in recent research). The first experiment shows that maternal consumption of choline, boosted long-term memory within offspring.
When focusing on the adult population, choline supplements have been shown to increase one’s attention-holding capacity. Although these results are related to rat subjects, it provides promising potential for human subjects. Choline is already an important compound, as it is grouped with the B-complex vitamins.
Memory is a highly complex process, with various stages and pathways. Many nootropics claim to improve working memory, but what exactly is working memory? How is it unique from other forms of memory, such as long-term? Majority of nootropic users are looking to improve their immediate memory function, which is often referred to as one’s, ‘working memory capacity.’
This memory is often referred to as one’s short-term memory or fluid intelligence. This allows us to absorb various pieces of information at once. Once this information is inputted, the information is used to make a larger connection. The brain then stores that information, along with other similar memories. In the future, these memories will be used to help plan and problem solve.
Working memory is linked to focus and attention span, as it’s vital that we absorb the right information. When supplementing, you can essentially enhance your working memory. Let’s take a closer look at working memory within the brain, and how nootropics can increase effectiveness.
How Does Working Memory Function?
It wasn’t until the late 1960’s, that researchers first compared the functioning of our brains, to computer processing. The way in which computers retrieve and then store information, gave insight into our memory. This insight created a model for human intelligence.
Before this connection was made, one’s short-term memory was based on recently acquired information. It was believed that short-term memory was simply retrieving recently processed information. Researchers began suggesting that information was manipulated, not just recalled. This was first noticed by Atkinson and Shiffrin in 1968 (which lead to the multi-store model).
According to this model, short-term memory is able to hold pieces of information for a limited time. During this time, there is little processing occurring. Working memory is essentially short-term memory, but it is broken down into two sub-memories: visual-spatial memory and auditory memory.
When you suffer from a weak working memory, you’re unable to hold onto information. This is especially troubling for reading, math, and overall learning. Typically, your working memory is able to hold around seven items or less at once.
During this time, these pieces of information are readily available. However, they’re only available for a short period of time (approximately 10 to 15 seconds). Working memory is the necessary step when moving towards retention and long-term memory. Once information is transferred to one’s long-term memory, it can be permanently stored.
How Is Working Memory Limited?
As mentioned, majority of individuals can only hold around seven pieces of information in their working memory at once. This could be in the form of pictures, digits, words, or other pieces of information. The fact is, we cannot hold too many bits of information at once.
Some researchers believe that chemical imbalances may hinder these pathways. This is because inhibitory and excitatory chemicals are essential when delivering various messages throughout the brain. Our working memory also appears to decline as we age. This is why supplements are great when attempting to prevent cognitive conditions, such as Alzheimer’s.
How Do Brain Chemicals Affect Memory?
Brain chemicals, also known as neurotransmitters, are the body’s way of communicating and triggering vital reactions within the brain. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that provides many benefits when elevated. It can actually increase the growth of new neurons and synapses, improving overall brain function and health.
Some of the other common chemicals, such as epinephrine, serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, also help create increased mental energy. When this occurs, focus, attention span, memory, and other cognitive functions begin to improve.
For one’s working memory to function properly, these chemicals need to be at healthy, stable levels. These chemicals help to fuel and manage working memory systems. When there is a lack of neurotransmitters that aid in memory, individuals can experience degenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s; or attention disorders like ADHD.
How Can Supplements Help Improve Working Memory?
When focusing on supplements, there are many you can take which naturally work with your brain chemistry. If there is an imbalance in chemicals, supplements can assist in correcting this issue. Many nootropics directly affect acetylcholine, which is highly beneficial for memory.
This racetam was one of the first nootropics to be released, and is currently the most well-known. By improving the efficacy of acetylcholine transmitters, brain communication is enhanced. When taking any racetam, it’s beneficial to take a choline supplement as well.
This can improve mental focus and spatial memory, while minimizing side-effects. For example; potential headaches from racetams. These headaches are generally due to an acetylcholine deficiency. Since choline is a precursor to this neurotransmitter, it can help boost levels, minimizing these negative effects.
Ginkgo Biloba is one of the oldest natural supplements, which helps to boost working memory. By improving overall circulation, the brain is supplied with higher levels of oxygen and nutrients. When taking this supplement, one’s attention span is improved, as well as the ability to memorize facts.
This supplement is often replaced with Bacopa Monnieri, which also provides powerful cognitive benefits. The easiest way to consume this natural supplement, is within the nootropic stack, known as Alpha Brain.
Coffee and tea are so commonly consumed, that many do not realize that they’re drinking beneficial nootropic ingredients. Caffeine is known to boost mental power. When it is taken in a stack with L-Theanine (which is found in green tea), any jittery side-effects are eliminated. This stack helps improve visual memory processing, while allowing the user to stay focused.
Improve Your Working Memory
When focusing on working memory and mental functioning, it’s important to view them as an active process. Information not only needs to be stored, but manipulated. Calculations, reasoning, and the ability to make associations are vital.
Making decisions and solving problems, are highly reliant on healthy brain chemistry. When relying on one’s diet alone, it is often not enough to influence these chemicals. This is why supplementation is highly recommended.
Nootropics can not only boost cognitive functioning, but protect brain health as well. The nootropic community is based on improved brain health and working memory, which is why many are beginning to recognize their incredible benefits. When working memory is improved, individuals can maintain focus and learn more effectively.
When trying to boost cognitive power and overall brain health, there are many proactive measures you can take. When you make positive choices regarding your diet, supplementation, and overall lifestyle; you can boost your brain’s ability to learn, improve memory, and treat various mental health conditions.
Our ability to mentally perform, starts with our diet. Throughout history, we have evolved to utilize a wide variety of nutrients in terms of mental nutrition. When we consume common compounds, they’re transformed into neurochemicals that fuel our brain. Lifestyle changes can also have positive effects, including exercise and stable emotional health.
Enhancing Your Brain Through Diet
In terms of overall wellness, nothing is more essential than our diet. Just as the food we eat affect our physical health, they affect our mental health as well. Our brain chemistry relies on various food sources, which help produce neurochemicals. The following brain enhances are found within the foods we eat:
This neurotransmitter is directly linked to learning, memory, and neural growth. When you consume choline sources in your diet, your body transforms it into acetylcholine. Choline is found within eggs, meat liver, nuts, and cod; however, only at small doses. This is why many individuals supplement with additional choline sources.
Up to 90% of the population is deficient in this nutrient. Since this is one of the most basic ways to improve brain function, individuals should focus on choline-rich food sources, as well as choline supplements. Some of the best options include Citicoline and Alpha GPC.
Amino acids such as tryptophan and L-tyrosine, help regulate brain metabolism. They also increase the production of various neurotransmitters. These amino acids can be found in foods such as turkey, dairy, nuts, and bananas. If you’re supplementing with Alpha Brain, then you will already be taking these amino acids.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
You have heard that fish is ‘brain food.’ This is because of omega 3 fatty acids, which help maintain brain health. It’s believed that consuming enough of these fatty acids, helps prevent degenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s. The most common sources are fish, seeds, and nuts. If you’re not fond of fish, you can take krill oil which is generally in capsule form.
Many plants have psycho-active effects, which are often utilized in teas. For instance, the herbal extract known as Bacopa Monnieri, helps stimulate nerve cell function. Green tea is another example, as it contains L-theanine. This supplement helps balance one’s alpha waves. Not only is one able to focus better, but levels of anxiety are reduced. Many plant extracts are currently available for nootropic stacks.
Exercising for Brain Health
You can significantly enhance your brain, by exercising regularly. Although exercise can help you lose weight and build muscle, it also has positive effects on a cellular level. When you exercise, you help keep cells strong and efficient. Increased exercise, helps inhibit natural decay.
If you do not take proactive measures against decay, you increase your risk of age-related degenerative diseases. This is why many users take supplements that boost brain metabolism. Acetyl L-Carnitine is a classic example, as it keeps the brain’s metabolism moving.
When you exercise, you also improve overall brain circulation. When you have poor circulation, there’s often a lack of oxygen. Exercise boosts oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to your neural tissues. Increased circulation helps to prevent dementia, stroke, and other neurological conditions. Vinpocetine is often taken when exercising, as it promotes brain circulation.
Emotional Stability and Brain Functioning
Our emotions are linked to our life experiences, as well as our brain chemistry. When you take proactive measures regarding a healthy mood, you can improve overall brain health. When your emotions are stable, you can effectively manage triggers that create stress. These triggers can cause inflammatory responses in the brain.
When your brain is unstable over time, you tend to experience hormone deficiencies. Over-stimulation of nerve cells is also often experienced. This results in feelings of depression, anxiety, and overall unhappiness. This is why it’s important to take part in activities that decrease stress levels, while promoting emotional stability. Some of the most beneficial activities include yoga, art, and meditation.
If you are already experiencing an imbalance, you may need to take action to return your chemistry to a healthy state. More and more individuals are moving away from traditional anti-depressant medications and anti-anxiety meds. This is due to their harsh side-effects and in some cases, their potential for additive behaviour.
There are various natural compounds that can be incorporated into your routine. B-complex vitamins are known for their positive effects on depression and stress levels. If you’re an anxious individual, L-theanine is highly recommended. Due to its effects on GABA receptors, it can calm overly excited nerves.
Enhancing Your Brain Through Lifestyle Changes
If you’re actively seeking positive brain health and improved cognitive functioning, you should focus on making lifestyle changes. Our diet provides us with so many benefits. Although food has long been the answer to enhanced brain chemistry, we now have access to some incredible supplements. Majority of nootropics tend to have little or no side-effects. This is why they’re highly preferred over prescription medications.
When you combine a nutrient-rich diet, regular exercise, and promote emotional balance; you will experience more positive moods and coping abilities. To enhance overall cognitive power, you can incorporate various supplements into your regimen.
The original nootropics were the racetams class. These racetams help to increase levels of acetylcholine in the brain. One of the most potent options is Pramiracetam, which helps boost memory and focus. All racetams are legal and are generally easily accessible. Incorporate all of these changes, and you’ll experience positive results.
Lion’s main is a mushroom, in which yields nootropic properties. It is very distinct looking, as it does not look like majority of mushrooms (it’s absent of any cap). It is an excellent natural nootropic, increasing Nerve Growth Factor levels, improved plasticity, while providing many minerals and amino acids. This makes it a great choice for boosting brain health, memory, and reasoning.
What Exactly Is Lion’s Mane?
As mentioned, lion’s mane is a type of mushroom. It is native to North America, Asia, and Europe. It grows long spine-like pieces, growing out from hardwood. This edible mushroom is best when it is consumed young. When cooked, it tends to have the texture of seafood, often appearing in Chinese vegetable dishes.
It has long been used within traditional Chinese medicine, as it’s considered a medicinal mushroom. There are many benefits in which this mushrooms brings one’s brain and overall health. It has antioxidant effects, it helps reduce blood glucose and blood lipid levels, it stimulates nerve cells, and much more.
Lion’s Mane is a source of minerals such as zinc, iron, potassium, and selenium. It is also a rich source of amino acids, polypeptides, and polysaccharides. This supplement is generally taken in a stack, as it provide long-term positive effects.
Brief History of Lion’s Mane
Both China and Japan have used Lion’s Mane for hundreds of years. Although it is most commonly known as Lion’s Mane, it is also referred to as Bear’s Head or Monkey Head. It has long been used within traditional medicine, and is now commonly prescribed for stomach ailments and cancer prevention.
At one point, this mushroom was reserved only for royalty. Today, Lion’s Mane is highly popular within Asia. You can purchase this mushroom fresh or dried at Chinese markets, as it’s commonly used to replace pork in vegetarian dishes.
How Does It Work?
Lion’s Mane typically works by stimulating Nerve Growth Factor. This hormone helps maintain healthy brain cells, supporting myelination. If you’re unfamiliar with myelin, it is the fatty layer of brain cells that form along our cells’ axons.
When myelin is present, the efficiency of neurons increases, allowing nerves to send electrical signals. When myelination is stimulated, this may help increase memory recall and thought processing speed. Therefore, it’s important that this is maintained.
Nerve Growth Factor is crucial for the growth of neurons, synapses, and the development of new neurons. We once believed that when neurons died, we could not replace them. We now know that Nerve Growth Factor can help develop new neurons later in life. It also helps neurons communicate more effectively, allowing different hemispheres to communicate.
In terms of intelligence, some theories believe that the more connections you have, the fluid your intelligence will be. For these reasons Lion’s Mane is typically added to a stack, as it helps one’s brain adapt, learn, and grow. This supplement can potentially aid Alzheimer’s patients and individuals who suffer from age-related cognitive decline.
What are the Benefit of Lion’s Mane?
There are many benefits associated with this supplement:
Lion’s Mane helps regulate one’s cholesterol and blood sugar. It is also helpful for reducing both the number of allergies and the severity.
Lion’s Mane is most importantly noted for potentially benefiting nerve disorders. There are many possible disorders. Some of the main conditions are Alzheimer’s, dementia, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, and potentially even autism. There is also research examining the possibility of helping ADHD patients. A study examined 30 Japanese men and women (aged 50-80). Those that had cognitive impairment, showed benefits after consuming 3 grams of powdered Lion’s Mane daily for 16 weeks. Although there were improvements recorded throughout the 16-week trail, Lion’s Mane needs to be taken continuously to yield these cognitive benefits.
By boosting your blood white cell count, Lion’n Mane provides immune boosting effects. An extract of Lion’s Mane was found to improve healing when applied topically. There was also a reduction in scar width and increase blood vessel formation (in comparison to wounds treated with distilled water).
Lion’s Mane stimulates a protein substance known as interferons. As these protein increase, your body is able to heal more effectively. This healing process is believed to take place throughout the entire body, targeting ulcers, stomach issues, and general inflammation.
Are There Any Significant Side-Effects?
To date, there have not been any side-effects reported. As there have been no reports of toxicity, it appears to be extremely safe. Before you begin taking Lion’s Mane, speak with your doctor if it will make you more comfortable. You should also approach them with any questions or concerns.
What’s the Recommended Dosage?
The majority of research studies have been conducted on animals, so a recommended dose tends to be complex. When studying on humans, high doses are generally administered to test for toxicity levels (1000 to 3000 mg per day). The average dose is 500 mg taken once a day, however everyone is unique.
Start with a small dose, seeing how it affects you. You can generally purchase this supplement on its own in both pill and capsule form; or you can consume it within a stack (such as Brain Stack). Remember, be conscious of the purity.
Our memory is essential for everyday functioning. As we age, our cognitive functions begin to decline. This includes one’s ability to make and retrieve memories. Many individuals begin looking for memory boosters, allowing them to combat age-related decline.
Before your memory begins to decline, there are ways in which you can protect your brain health. We can have a positive impact on our memory through exercise, healthy eating habits, and supplementation. Once you adapt certain lifestyle changes, you can begin to protect yourself.
How Can Memory Boosters Help You?
In terms of supplementation, it’s important to understand how they affect your brain. Once you understand how they work in terms of memory, you will be able to select supplements in terms of your personal goals. Our brains are highly complex, however, these supplements tend to target acetylcholine levels.
Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that is critical regarding overall brain health and functioning. Many nootropics have a direct affect on acetylcholine, creating many positive effects. It is not only known to improve cognitive functioning, but aids in the growth of healthy neurons and synapses.
It also helps to increase communication, which is essential for memory. When acetylcholine interacts with nicotinic and muscarinic receptors, it helps form memories within the hippocampus and cortex. Over time, acetylcholine does not function as effectively, leading to potential memory-loss. The racetams family of nootropics, such as Piracetam and Oxiracteam, are known to target acetylcholine levels.
Diet and Memory
Not all memory boosters come in capsule form. Your diet places a large role regarding brain health and memory. When you eat healthy, you not only limit your risk of heart disease and diabetes, but Alzheimer’s as well. The following foods should be incorporated into your diet on a regular basis:
Fish is brain food, literally. Majority of the population are deficient in omega-3 fatty acids. These are optimal for brain health and memory. You should try and consume fish three times a week. These include salmon, tuna, sardines, and other oily fishes.
Eggs provide you with choline, which helps to synthesize acetylcholine. Without enough choline, you cannot produce enough acetylcholine. Since acetylcholine is essential for memory, it’s important to consume enough choline sources.
Walnuts are rich in both omega-3 and antioxidants. Ellagic acid, is the antioxidant that helps protect one’s brain from free radical damage. Since free radicals are often linked to Alzheimer’s and other degenerative disorders, it’s important to combat their effects.
When you consume turkey, you’re providing your body with L-tyrosine. This amino acid is essential for the production of dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter responsible for both memory and alertness. You can also find L-tyrosine in fish, almonds, yogurt, chicken, and cheese.
Berries are known to yield neuro-protective properties through antioxidants. Flavonoids within berries can help fight memory loss. Another excellent source of flavonoids can be found within green tea. L-theanine is green tea also creates many benefits for one’s mental health.
Heart and Brain Health Are Directly Linked
If you take care of your heart, you’re essentially taking care of your brain. A healthy body and heart, means a healthy brain. This is mainly due to circulation. Our hearts’ pump nutrient and oxygen-rich blood to the brain. If circulation is restricted, then our brains do not receive enough oxygen and nutrients for its cells.
When your brain does get everything it needs, communication is improved. This helps form long-term memories. Not only can you improve circulation with exercise, but circulation can also be improved through supplementation. There are many natural vitamins that enhance circulation. For this reason, circulation supplements are commonly included in memory stacks such as Alpha Brain.
Boosting Our Memory as We Age
It’s common to forget a thing or two, but as we age, this becomes more and more apparent. Older individuals tend to have lower acetylcholine levels, along with damaged tissue. Brain tissue becomes more rigid as we age, losing it’s plasticity.
When brain tissue is stiff, it makes new synaptic connections and memories harder to form. When this is left unnoticed, degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s begin to form. In order to combat age-related memory loss, there are specific memory boosters in which you can take.
Noopept for instance, helps to release nerve growth factor. This helps to protect against decaying neural structures. Basically, any supplement that encourages the production or activation of acetylcholine or choline, helps to protect against this aging process. It is recommended that individuals supplement daily, protecting against memory loss.
The nootropics that are most well-known as cognitive enhancers and memory boosters are the racetams. They vary in strength, but all activate acetylcholine receptors. This helps to boost overall brain health and communication.
Best Natural Memory Supplements
There are supplements that come from all natural and herbal sources. They have been proven to aid in memory, allowing you to maintain brain health. The three best natural memory enhancers include; Bacopa Monnieri, Ginkgo Biloba, and Lion’s Mane. They also help improve focus, concentration, and one’s ability to learn.
Bacopa has been known to improve visual processing, allowing you to work at a faster pace. It’s known for improving both memory and learning ability. Ginkgo Biloba is also known to improve memory, which is why many take both of these supplements, amplifying results. Lion’s Mane helps replenish brain cells, allowing for higher functioning later in life.
We are still learning so much about the brain, as we still need to unlock so many unknown secrets. The aging brain is something that is continuously being studied. When it comes to cognition, there are ways in which we can improve functioning. As we age, our cognition declines, so it’s important to stay active and healthy.
Habits that Improve Cognition
The way you live your life has a lot to do with your cognition. You can actively improve functioning by making certain choices, creating a healthy, balanced lifestyle. You may not give each habit much thought, but once you make slight changes, you could potentially see incredible benefits.
Through research, it has been found that physical activity is beneficial for cognition and brain health. When you exercise, hormones are increased. These hormones are believed to help improve your memory.
During endurance exercise, a molecule known as irisin is produced. This molecule is believed to create neuroprotective properties. When researchers artificially increase irisin levels, genes involving memory and learning were activated.
Exercise also increases blood flow to the brain, allowing for better nourishment. If you are going to see these improvements, you need to make exercise a regular habit. It’s more beneficial to keep up regular exercise in comparison to intense exercise sporadically. So, start opting for the stairs instead of the elevator.
Being Open to Experience
Within a 2013 study, it was found that learning new skills, while being socially active, are both key for staying sharp. As we age, we have been encouraged to actively use our brains. Instead of doing crosswords, it’s recommended that you get out and do something. More specifically do something that is unfamiliar to you.
If you’re in your comfort zone, you may not enhance brain function. A training program in 2012 found that when cognition was boosted, so was one’s willingness to try new things. This was the first time that an intervention took place without the use of drugs, changing a personality trait that was believed to be fixed.
Human beings are social creatures. As we age, social interaction can decline. This is because older individuals are retired, are not actively raising children, and simply do not have the structure in their life to maintain social engagement. Majority of older individuals have a small circle of close friends and relatives.
It has been found that feelings of loneliness can actually trigger cognitive decline. When an individual feels isolated, there are several consequences. Blood pressure tends to increase, sleep patterns are disrupted, stress and depression increase, which then affects overall well-being. All of these factors play a role in reducing cognitive function.
Creativity is so beneficial, as it is not only linked to improve brain function, but simply enriches your life. Neuroscientists have discovered that musical training improves both the function and connectivity of various brain regions.
When individuals practice an instrument, brain volume increases, while brain areas strengthen. Playing an instrument can actually change the way you interpret sensory information (this is especially true if you learn before the age of seven).
Another study found that reading and writing at any age, may help preserve memory. When you read a book, you generally become engrossed in its content. This has been shown to improve connectivity, while improving brain function. This may be linked to flexing one’s imagination.
We’re discovering more and more about learning and memory each and everyday. In order to prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s, it is beneficial to expose yourself to a stimulant-rich environment. Problem solving is believed to be a contributing factor when preventing cognitive decline.
In 2014, it was found that ten sessions of cognitive training was enough to improve reasoning and processing speed. Despite what we believed before, neurons can be generated at any age. When we take part in complex mental activity (such as brain-training games), we protect our brains by building a reserve of neurons and synaptic connections.
Meditation is a regular part of many lives. Within a 2013 study, it was found that meditation, mindfulness, and stress reduction, may all play important roles regarding age-related cognitive disorders.
Actively meditating may slow down the progression of cognitive disorders like Alzheimer’s. The hippocampus is the part of the brain that is responsible for learning, emotion, and memory. This area of the brain is known to be affected when individuals progress towards Alzheimer’s. There is also a link between stress and Alzheimer’s disease.
When you meditate, your hippocampus is activated. Those who actively meditate, tend to have higher concentrations of grey matter. Although more research needs to be conducted, the findings are exciting thus far. Since meditation may reduce hippocampus atrophy, while improving functional connectivity; this would be a relatively simple intervention method.
When you are constantly under high levels of stress, cortisol levels can damage the brain. When you experience chronic stress, this can trigger long-term changes in brain structure. These changes can potentially lead to cognitive decline.
Cortisol is the ‘stress hormone,’ which may hard-wire certain pathways between the hippocampus and amygdala. This causes your brain to be in a constant state of fight-or-flight. It is believed that these hardened wires, may be associated with prolonged stress. This creates an excess of myelin, along with too much white matter.
When you’re highly stressed, this chronic stress has the ability to alter stem cells. When this switch occurs, stem cells turn into a type of cell that inhibits connections regarding the prefrontal cortex (which improves learning ability and memory). Instead of allowing for this positive connection, there’s a potential increase for depression, anxiety, and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).
Focus on Getting Enough Sleep
It has been known for quite some time that sleep is required in order to consolidate memory and learning. Since this is an intensive process, it’s believed that your brain benefits from sleep because there’s more energy available and less distractions.
Over time, sleep difficulties may lead to cognitive impairment. Sleep deprivation, daytime tiredness, oversleeping, and sleep-disorder breathing, may all play a role in cognitive issues as we get older.
If it were possible, we’d all like to be a bit smarter. How smart you are is determined by a number of factors. There’s of course important implications regarding neuroscience, but there’s also factors that are associated with your actions.
Researchers have been investigating intelligence for years, slowly unlocking bits and pieces. There is still a lot of controversy regarding nature vs nurture in terms of intelligence. Either way, you can sharpen your intelligence through nootropics.
Can Nootropics Actually Make Me Smarter?
Although taking a pill will not instantly make you smarter, it can enhance cognitive functions that occur within your brain each and every day. When various areas of your cognition are enhanced, then you see a substantial improvement in your mental performance.
Whether you’d like to improve your memory, enhance mental focus, or understand concepts easier, there are nootropics that will provide that desired effect.
Types of Intelligence
When trying to improve intelligence, you need to first focus on two types. There’s a distinct difference between fluid intelligence and crystallized intelligence. For a supplement to improve your intelligence, it needs to affect both types.
Fluid intelligence: This is your ability to perform cognitive functions. This is how well you can learn, solve problems, and reason. It’s our ability to think logically. Fluid intelligence is essential when problem solving or reasoning. This would be your ability to look at a mathematical question and grasp it.
Crystallized Intelligence: This is what we know; using our experience, knowledge and skills. This typically improves over the course of your life, as you add to your body of knowledge. Although this is not the same concept as memory, you do need to take information from your long-term memory. If you focus on nootropics that boost memory formation and recall, you could enhance this type of intelligence.
How Can I Improve Intelligence with Nootropics
The nootropics you take can affect both types of intelligence. If you take nootropics on their own, it’s pretty clear that you will not automatically increase knowledge (crystallized intelligence). However, nootropics improve your long-term memory storage.
For example, think about supplementing with protein in order to increase muscle mass. If you take protein each morning, you need to exercise in order to achieve increase the size of your muscles. The protein itself allows you to build muscles easier, as long as you’re working-out to achieve that muscle mass. The same is true for nootropics and crystallized intelligence. You can increase this intelligence if you put in the work. You need to experience new things, read more content, and improve your body of knowledge.
Fluid intelligence is easier to improve on its own. When we are learning new information or performing calculations, this is due to our brain’s synaptic plasticity. Our billions of neurons communicate with one another throughout the brain. Some connections are being formed, while others are eliminated. This is because our brain connections are always changing.
The easier these new connections are formed, the more ‘plastic’ your brain is. This plasticity tends to decline as we age, which is why we see some cognitive decline in the later stages of life. When you take certain nootropics, you can actually increase your plasticity. This is generally achieved through various neurotransmitters.
Two of these crucial neurotransmitters are glutamate and acetylcholine. These neurotransmitters play a direct role in memory, reasoning, and learning. For the most part, higher levels of neurotransmitters, mean more brain activity. In order to increase these neurotransmitters, you have plenty of nootropic options.
There are many options when focusing on intelligence. When it comes to glutamate and acetylcholine, the racetams class of nootropics is highly beneficial. Your options include; Piracetam, Aniracetam, Pramiracetam, Oxiracetam, and Phenylpiracetam.
Although they are all in the same family, they all work differently and have different potencies. Make sure you are aware of which nootropic does what and which is most effective for you. When racetams stimulate acetylcholine synapses, memory and cognition are enhanced.
Noopept is also closely related to the racetam class and is known to be one of the best brain boosters. Not only does it improve memory and alertness, but it also creates new connections and maintains neuron health.
In order for more acetylcholine to be made, you need a supply of choline. You can obtain choline from your diet, but it’s beneficial to take a choline supplement in a stack with racetams. Not only does this increase benefits, but it counteracts potential headaches created from racetam use. You can take Citicoline, Centrophenoxine, or Alpha GPC for this.
You should also focus on energy levels when enhancing intelligence. Yes, energy is not directly related to fluid intelligence, but it does allow you to perform better. When you take supplements like Adrafinil and Modafinil, you effectively improve clarity and alertness.
Improving Intelligence Through a Balanced Mental State
You can improve intelligence easier when you feel calm and emotionally stable. Unfortunately, we are exposed to a lot of stress throughout the day. We work long hours, go to school, and take care of every other aspect of life. This increased stress can actually decrease your ability to think clearly.
The neurotransmitter GABA, is essential for dealing with stress. GABA actually reduces your perception of stress and stops nerve cells from firing. This allows you to feel more calm and relaxed.
In order to continue feeling relaxed, you need to get enough sleep. GABA is also responsible for healthy sleep. Some GABA supplements include Phenibut and L-Theanine. When you are more relaxed and sleeping well, intelligence can improve through mental clarity and focus.
So, help your brain improve both fluid and crystallized intelligence. There are a wide variety of nootropics that offer benefits to make you smarter. Once you begin experimenting, try creating your own nootropic stack. This will allow you to achieve more effective and faster results.
Our brain does so much for us, yet sometimes we do not give it a second thought. It makes up a small percentage of our overall body weight, yet it uses a large amount of energy. In order to function at an optimal level, it needs a wide variety of vitamins and minerals.
Our cognitive function is directly related to the vitamins in which our brain has access to. They play such a vital role, so it’s crucial that you are getting all the vitamins you need.
Which Vitamins Does Your Brain Need?
It’s no secret that a nutrient-rich diet will improve brain function. There is a direct correlation with the foods and supplements we consume, and our cognitive ability.
These are perhaps one of the most essential group of vitamins regarding your diet and supplementation. Since these vitamins are not stored in the body, they need to be supplied on a daily basis. You can get all the essential B-vitamins through the foods you eat and the supplements you take. This group of vitamins consist of
- B1, also known as thiamine
- B2, also known as riboflavin
- B3, also known as niacin
- B5, also known as pantothenic acid
- B6, also known as pyridoxine
- B7, also known as biotin
- B9, also known as folate
- B12, also known as cobalamin
This group of vitamins is crucial when forming cells within our body, especially in terms of our heart, liver, and nerve cells. These B-vitamins are in many foods, yet a large portion of the population in deficient. This is commonly seen in people on weight-loss diets, those who are under large amounts of stress, and those that eat a diet high in refined sugars, caffeine, and processed foods.
These vitamins are not only great for cognitive functioning, but also for treating anxiety and depression. The most important are B1, B3, B6, and B12. The following displays the benefits of each vitamin:
- B1 or thiamine: Taking 500 to 3000 mg daily, has been shown to reduce irritability and mental confusion in healthy people. Within Alzheimer’s research, thiamine has been shown to improve memory loss. It is sited in depression, anxiety, and insomnia research, and is also known to boost brain energy.
- B3 or niacin: Taking 500 to 3000 mg daily, can help improve the effects of depression, anxiety, and insomnia. A B3 deficiency is also linked to mental confusion, headaches, issues with attention, irritability, and dementia.
- B6 or pyridoxine: Taking 100 to 1000 mg daily, is effective for a variety of disorders (anxiety, depression, ADHD, autism, and dementia.
- B12 or cobalamin: Taking 1000 to 3000 mg daily, is known to aid in a variety of neurological problems. The highest benefits are seen with chronic fatigue, depression, memory less, and neuropathy.
Taking vitamin C, is essential for brain health. It is known as one of the best antioxidants to eliminate free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules, which cause damage to brain cells. Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s are two diseases that are linked to an excessive presence of free radicals.
Vitamin C helps to combat these free radicals, and removes toxins from the brain. This allows our brain to stay healthy as we age. We need to protect our aging mind through the choices we make. Vitamin supplements are such an easy and beneficial addition to your daily intake.
Choline is generally grouped with the B-complex vitamins. Choline supplements are very common regarding nootropics, as they work well in a stack. It is found in a number of foods, such as chicken, eggs, beef, and peanuts. Many individuals are now taking choline supplements, especially when they’re taking nootropics.
Choline is essential for the production of acetylcholine. This neurotransmitter plays a large role in cognition, sleep, and memory. Many nootropics work by increasing levels of acetylcholine. This is especially seen with the racetams group, which includes nootropics like Piracetam and Aniracetam.
Which Choline Vitamin Should You Choose?
Since choline is such a vital component of cognitive functioning, let’s examine which options are available. Which are best and how do they differ?
This will be your cheapest options, yet it’s still highly effective. This supplement is choline combined with a chemical salt, which aids in absorption. Once ingested, it enters the blood stream where it makes its way to the blood-brain barrier. However, not all the choline bitartrate makes it to your brain. This makes it less effective than choline supplements like Alpha GPC and Centrophenoxine.
Vegetarians are often deficient in choline due to the lack of meat consumption. This supplement is popular amongst the vegetarian population because it is a great source of choline. This supplement comes from soybeans, as it is a source of phosphatidylcholine.
Before choline is turned into acetylcholine, it needs to be turned into phosphatidylcholine. In comparison to other supplements, soy lecithin is not absorbed as effectively. If you take a larger dose, you will likely urinate most of it out.
This is a more potent option, which provides nootropic benefits on its own. It supplies the brain with choline, which aids in acetylcholine production. It has great absorption and reaches the brain quickly. Once it crosses the blood-brain barrier, it boosts levels of acetylcholine. This improves memory and thought processing.
Not only does Citicoline improve acetylcholine production, it also has an affect on dopamine receptors. Dopamine is responsible for mood, as well as focus. It is also known to boost memory and increase brain energy.
This is one of the most popular choline supplements because it so effective. Alpha GPC is approximately the same potency as Citicoline, making it a personal preference for users. Once it crosses the blood-brain barrier, it is directly broken down into acetylcholine.
This supplement has improved both memory and cognition in people with Alzheimer’s, as well as healthy individuals. You will pay a little more for this supplement, but it is one of the most effective when used in a stack with nootropics such as Piracetam.
We have all heard the saying ‘you are what you eat.’ There is a direct link between the foods we consume and the way we feel and mentally perform. We all know that eating fatty junk food can result in heart disease, liver conditions, and even diabetes.
Our brain is an organ, and it is no exception. When you look at cognitive-decline due to aging, only a third is due to genetics. Two-thirds of our brain development comes down to the choices we make in terms of our lifestyle. Feeding your brain is essential. What foods do you choose? Which foods have nootropics effects?
How Can Food Produce Nootropics Effects?
Many take nootropics due to their cognitive effects. There is not doubt that a number of supplements are highly beneficial. Racetams for instance have been used since the 1960’s, targeting deficiencies in memory. Depending on the nootropic you take, you can increase your learning abilities, memory, motivation, focus, and attention. Nootropics also yield benefits in terms of your overall brain health.
Nootropics work with your brain chemistry to increase the production or re-uptake of neurotransmitters. This helps to increase cognitive function, improve mood, and reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. Brain energy is also involved when taking nootropics. Just as nootropics work with your brain, food does as well.
Acetylcholine for instance, is related to a number of nootropics. This neurotransmitter relies on choline in order to be synthesized. This is why many nootropics are taken in a stack with supplements such as Alpha-GPC. Choline is provided in a number of foods we eat, which will be discussed below. Therefore, eating a balanced diet WHILE taking nootropic supplements, will provide an even greater effect.
There are a number of nutrients involved regarding food and cognitive function. Some of these include antioxidants, proteins, omega-3 fatty acids, complex carbs, and B-Vitamins to name a few. Below you will find foods that boost your brain power.
Which Foods Increase Cognitive Abilities?
Eating a balanced diet is so important regarding brain health. We are a society that is eating far too many processed and fast foods. These foods provide very little benefits and actually harm our brain and overall health.
By choosing the right foods, you can actually boost your focus, concentration, memory, and slow down cognitive decline. The following foods should be a part of everyone’s daily life:
Nuts are packed with many nutrients, boosting mood and cognitive function. To be more specific, walnuts not only boost cognitive performance but reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases. Walnuts are high in antioxidants, which help to reduce the effects of free radicals in the brain. They are also associated with improved cognition and memory. This was reported in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, as walnuts improved memory scores.
Coffee and Dark Chocolate
Caffeine is well-known for producing nootropic effects. Having a cup of coffee in the morning stimulates the brain, leading to increased focus and attention. In order to get the most out of your caffeine, stack with L-Theanine. This stack counteracts any anxious feelings you may experience due to caffeine. It allows you to focus, while feeling calmer.
Pure dark chocolate is also highly beneficial. It not only contains caffeine, but it has antioxidants that protect your brain. The darker the chocolate, the more flavonoids are present. These compounds are known to improve the formation of long-term memories. They are also strong antioxidants, which promotes brain health.
Berries are packed with antioxidants. Blueberries delay neurological decline and improve cognitive function. Once again, berries contain flavonoids which may improve memory, learning abilities, decision-making, and reasoning.
They have also been shown to protect against cognitive decline, protecting individuals from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Berries also improve the way neurons communicate, which improves overall cognition, while preventing neuronal damage.
Fish is known as ‘brain food.’ That is due to the high level of omega-3 fatty acids. If you consume fish weekly, you can potentially slow down mental decline and reduce your risks of dementia. The human body cannot produce omega-3 fatty acids on its own. This is why it’s essential to include these fatty acids in your diet.
DHA is one acid that is related to improved memory. If you’re not fond of fish, you can supplement with pills. Those who eat a lot of fish are said to have higher levels of grey matter in the areas responsible for memory. In a study, it was found that those who eat fish once a week, had a hippocampus that was 14% larger than those who don’t eat fish. The hippocampus is the area of the brain that is related to memory and learning.
Dark leafy greens are so beneficial for your brain and overall health. You should try to eat greens as often as you can. Once again, spinach is packed with antioxidants that block free radicals. Free radicals are responsible for damaged cells, cancer, and mental decline (Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s).
When studied in rats, those that ate spinach did better on both memory and learning tests. Spinach is also high in Vitamin E, which increases brain tissue and helps release dopamine.
Choline and Glutamate
Choline is an essential nutrient, that is a precursor to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. This neurotransmitter is related to memory and motor control. Choline supplements are often taken with racetams such as Piracetam and Aniracetam. This helps to counteract headaches associated with low levels of acetylcholine.
Foods that are high in choline include:
Glutamate is another neurotransmitter that is involved in cognitive function. It is known to be involved in memory and learning abilities. Basically, glutamate gets your brain cells fired up. Glutamate is also responsible for producing GABA, which is what reduces feelings of anxiety. You can obtain glutamate from; cheese, soy sauce, walnuts, peas, mushrooms, broccoli, and more.
When it comes to nootropics, improved memory is a common benefit. There are a wide variety of choices regarding memory enhancement. Depending on what you’d like to achieve, you can take various supplements for different aspects of memory. For example, you may want to target the way your brain forms memories, or you may want to target your ability to recall information. Nootropics are available for a variety of needs.
How Can I Improve My Memory?
The key component regarding improved memory is synaptic plasticity. Basically, this is how effective your brain is at building new brain connections, while maintaining the old connections. When your plasticity is improved, you are able to recall information and learn more effectively. So, how do you increase your plasticity?
Increase Levels of Acetylcholine
Acetylcholine is so important regarding memory. It is a neurotransmitter that helps with connections throughout the brain. These connections involve both neurons and synapses. When acetylcholine levels increase, plasticity improves. Not only do the best nootropics produce higher levels of acetylcholine, but they also break down acetylcholine at a much slower rate.
When it comes to acetylcholine production, racetams are most effective. These include; Piracetam, Oxiracetam, Aniracetam, Phenylpiracetam, and Pramiracetam. Racetams produce benefits on their own, but it is a great idea to take a choline supplement to create an effective stack. Acetylcholine relies on choline levels, so it’s highly beneficial that you take Alpha GPC or Citicoline.
Increase Glutamate Uptake
Glutamate is essential when focusing on the communication between neurons. This neurotransmitter also has an effect on plasticity. Once again, this will determine how easily you can form new connections, while recalling old memories. Too much glutamate can be toxic, but when taken in the right amounts, attention and memory improve. Ampakines are the best types of nootropics to increase glutamate levels.
Improve Oxygen Flow
Oxygen is essential for your brain to work effectively. When you have higher levels of oxygen, you will experience higher levels of brain energy. Oxygen reaches your brain via blood, improving your ability to perform mental tasks.
It is beneficial to find nootropics that will increase blood flow, ultimately increasing oxygen levels. Oxiracetam, Piracetam, and other racetams, have shown to increase blood flow.
What Are the Best Nootropics for Memory?
As mentioned, racetams are known to improve memory. If experienced, it is a great idea to create a nootropic stack. Choline supplements are always a great option to take with racetams. If you’re a beginner, you can purchase pre-stacked capsules. There are many nootropics available, the following are some of the best options.
L-Theanine + Caffeine
This is a great stack, especially for beginners. Caffeine on its own is actually not the best cognitive enhancer. When caffeine is taken with L-Theanine, benefits are longer lasting and stronger. It has been found that this combination helps to increase working memory, while increasing visual processing and reducing distractibility.
L-Theanine crosses the blood-brain barrier, combatting the negative effects associated with caffeine (e.g. increased anxiety). Generally, this stack is taken in a 2:1 ratio. Begin with 50 mg of coffee (approximately one cup of coffee), and 100 mg of L-Theanine. Although L-Theanine is found in green tea, you will not consume enough by drinking it. You will need to order a L-Theanine supplement.
Piracetam + Choline
This combination is highly popular, as they work well together regarding acetylcholine. As mentioned, acetylcholine is essential for memory and other cognitive abilities. Piracetam boosts acetylcholine levels, while choline is the precursor for acetylcholine synthesis.
When taken together, not only do you improve spatial memory, but you reduce the risk of headaches. You can take equal doses of each to experience positive benefits. Many users will take approximately 300 mg of each, three times daily.
Although nootropics help enhance memory, your lifestyle also plays a vital role. The diet you follow plays a large role in your mental health. It is important to consume a nutrient-rich diet, high in healthy fats and protein.
It has been found that eating foods that are high in omega-fats, help maintain a healthy brain. It is important to eat a lot of fish, nuts, seeds, and healthy oils (e.g. olive oil). You should also eat items that are packed with antioxidants. Fruits and vegetables provide a wide variety of vitamins and nutrients, so try and consume a variety of colours.
Exercise is important, as well as getting enough sleep. High stress levels are not only hard on your mental health, but your overall well-being. There are a number of nootropics that help decrease stress and anxiety. L-Theanine for instance, is great for calming the mind and increasing relaxation. This is highly beneficial for your brain health, in turn improving your memory.
Who Is Using Nootropics to Improve Memory?
Many nootropics were developed to treat various disorders and conditions. Alzheimer’s for instance, has been targeted through various ‘smart drugs.’ Due to the benefits that are experienced regarding memory, research is continually being conducted.
With that being said, more and more casual users are surfacing. Many individuals are experiencing the benefits that nootropics bring. So, who’s using these cognitive enhancers?
‘Study drugs’ are becoming increasingly popular amongst the college crowd. Learning abilities are improved, and memory recall is strengthened. Adderall is still very popular, but various nootropics provide the same memory enhancing benefits, without the risks and associated side-effects. Although some nootropics require a prescription, most nootropics can be purchased online.
Alzheimer’s and Dementia Patients
As mentioned, Alzheimer’s and Dementia patients have used nootropics for an extended period of time. As we age, our brain begins to age as well. It is important to maintain your brain health, while targeting areas that are not working as efficiently.
Racetams for instance, target the acetylcholine receptors in our brain. It is believed that there’s a direct link to Alzheimer’s and these acetylcholine receptors. If they’re not functioning properly, complications arise. Increased acetylcholine, improves one’s memory. Although it is not a cure, nootropics may help to reduce various symptoms. Noopept for example, has yielded some great results regarding Alzheimer’s symptoms.