Stimulants Boost Blood Circulation To The Brain
The best way to boost brain function is to get adequate sleep, exercise and nutrition. For people who want to boost their cognitive function, nootropic supplements offer hope.
Nootropics are often called smart drugs. They also are called cognition enhancers or memory enhancing substances. The best nootropics are actually compounds found in herbs, spices, vegetables and other plants. These compounds, which are often transformed into supplements, can improve brain performance for most people. The active ingredients in these compounds can help prevent the onset of neurodegenerative disease. Unfortunately, these powerful compounds won’t cure neurodegenerative disease, but they can help treat the symptoms.
Some nootropics require a prescription, while many do not. Prescription nootropics include:
- Modafinil (Provigil), a stimulant that addresses the sudden drowsiness of narcolepsy;
- Adderall, which contains amphetamines to treat ADHD;
- Methylphenidate (Ritalin), a stimulant that can manage symptoms of narcolepsy and ADHD; and
- Memantine (Axura), which treats symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
Most nootropics do not require a prescription. They are found at the health food store and the grocery store.
Many of the following foods contain nootropic compounds:
Ashwagandha is a medicinal herb that offers several health benefits. Also called Indian ginseng, it’s been used in traditional Indian Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years to ease pain and inflammation, boost mood, treat insomnia, and boost nutrition, along with other conditions. Ashwagandha is also considered an adaptogen because it helps your body manage stress. Ashwagandha increases acetylcholine levels in the brain, which are correlated with improved memory, brain function and intelligence.
Caffeine is consumed by millions of people because of the stimulant effect. A cup of coffee or tea is a proven way to boost mental focus. However, extreme amounts of caffeine may not be safe.
Centella asiatica is an important medicinal herb that is widely used in the orient and is becoming popular in the West. Commonly known as Gotu kola, kodavan, Indian pennywort and Asiatic pennywort. Researchers compared the effects of gotu kola extract and folic acid in boosting cognitive function after a stroke. Although gotu kola and folic acid were equally beneficial in improving overall cognition, gotu kola was more effective in improving memory. Gotu kola has the ability to enhance memory and nerve function, which gives it potential in treating Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers found that gotu kola extract had a positive effect on behavioral abnormalities in mice with Alzheimer’s disease. The extract was also shown, in lab and animal studies, to have a modest effect on protecting brain cells from toxicity. This could also protect the cells from forming the plaque associated with Alzheimer’s. It also seems to help reduce the symptoms associated with anxiety and depression. Some of these benefits may be due to the fact that it helps improve blood flow to the brain.
Creatine is an amino acid that may improve mental performance. Creatine appears to help with short-term memory and reasoning. Whether it helps the brain in other ways is unclear.
Ginkgo biloba is potentially beneficial for improving brain function, but it will require more research. Ginkgo biloba may help with dementia symptoms.
L-theanine is an amino acid in black and green teas. Researchers found that L-theanine may increase alpha waves in the brain, which may contribute to a relaxed yet alert mental state. L-theanine may work even better when paired with caffeine. Some evidence suggests that this combination helps boost cognitive performance and alertness.
Lemon balm is a calming herb that has been used for centuries to reduce stress and anxiety, promote sleep, improve appetite, and ease pain and discomfort from indigestion (including gas and bloating, as well as colic). Lemon balm is often combined with other calming, soothing herbs, such as valerian, chamomile, and hops, to promote relaxation. Studies have found that lemon balm may help improve cognitive function and decrease agitation in people with Alzheimer disease.
Lion’s mane contains a number of beneficial substances, including antioxidants and beta-glucan. Proponents claim that lion’s mane can help with a variety of health problems, including:
- Alzheimer’s disease;
- High cholesterol;
- Parkinson’s disease; and
Scientists found that lion’s mane helped purge the buildup of amyloid beta in the brain, which is associated with the onset of neurodegenerative disease. Studies have also shown a possible neuroprotective effect against ischemic stroke.
Omega-3 fatty acids are among the most well-known and well-studied mental enhancers. These polyunsaturated fats are found in fatty fish and fish oil supplements. This type of fat is important for brain health, and a person must get it from their diet. Omega-3s help build membranes around the body’s cells, including the neurons. These fats are important for repairing and renewing brain cells. One study found that omega-3 fatty acids protect against brain aging. The research has concluded that omega-3s are important for brain and nervous system function. Omega-3 supplements in various forms, including fish oil, krill oil, and algal oil. These supplements carry a low risk of side effects, but they may interact with medications that affect blood clotting.
Panax ginseng grows in China and parts of Siberia. People use its roots for medicinal purposes. People should not confuse Panax ginseng with other types of ginseng, such as Siberian or American varieties. These are different plants with different uses. One study found that panax ginseng may help prevent certain brain diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and Huntington’s disease. It also may help with brain recovery after a stroke. Panax ginseng interacts with many medications, so consult a doctor before taking it.
Racetams are synthetic compounds that can affect neurotransmitters in the brain. Some nootropic racetams include:
- Phenylpiracetam; and
Researchers found that piracetam may be neuroprotective. Piracetam is a chemical that is made in a lab. In Europe, it is used to improve memory and brain function. In the United States, some manufacturers sell piracetam as a dietary supplement. However, the United States Food and Drug Administration does not consider piracetam to be a legal dietary supplement.
Rhodiola, also known as Rhodiola rosea L. or roseroot, can improve cognitive function. Rhodiola may have neuroprotective effects and may help treat neurodegenerative diseases. One study found that rhodiola helped regulate neurotransmitters in the brain, having a positive effect on mood.
Rosemary is a rich source of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, which are thought to help boost the immune system and improve blood circulation. Rosemary is considered a cognitive stimulant and can help improve memory performance and quality. It is also known to boost alertness, intelligence, and focus.
Some small studies show that some nootropic supplements can affect the brain. But there is a lack of evidence from large, controlled studies to show that some of these supplements consistently work and are completely safe. As with any supplement, there is a risk of side effects and interactions with medications. Speak with your doctor about the safety of any supplement before taking it. Also, some supplements may not contain what their labels say. Only purchase supplements from reputable companies that undergo independent testing.
St. John’s Wort has been used for medical purposes for thousands of years. According to several studies, St. John’s it may be an effective treatment for mild depression. Taking St. John’s wort with antidepressants can cause a dangerous increase in levels of serotonin, a hormone that affects mood. People taking St. John’s wort were also more likely to continue treatment, as the herb was associated with fewer adverse effects compared to tricyclic and tetracyclic antidepressants, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), a noradrenaline reuptake inhibitor (NRI), a serotonin-noradrenaline reuptake inhibitor (SNRI), and noradrenergic and specific serotonergic antidepressant agents (NaSSAs).
There are proven strategies to help avert neurodegenerative disease, including smart nutrition, exercise and prion aversion. There is not a cure for prion disease, but smart nutrition can ease the symptoms. Smart nutrition also can help you and your family avert neurodegenerative disease. Preview and order the eBook now to defend yourself and your family.
Gary Chandler is a prion expert. He is the CEO of Crossbow Communications, author of several books and producer of documentaries about health and environmental issues around the world. Chandler is connecting the dots to the global surge in neurodegenerative disease, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, chronic wasting disease and other forms of prion disease. The scientific name for prion disease is transmissible spongiform encephalopathy.