The Benefits of Nootropics

Improved Memory, Concentration, and Focus

It’s time once again for a list of healthy nootropics and other types of supplements that help with healthy brain functioning, especially in the areas of focus and memory retention. You may be wondering, "What is a nootropic?" A nootropic is simply a "smart drug," or any type of supplement that aids in improving mental functioning. Just like last time, we are not talking about foods that promote memory, merely supplements that can be taken in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise to improve focus, concentration, attention, and memory. Sounds great, right? Then let's get started by discussing one of the more useful nootropic supplements out there, choline, which can be purchased in a variety of forms.

The Many Types of Choline

Can You Remember Them All?

The first type of choline supplement you might want to consider is Alpha GPC. The long name for this supplement is alpha glycerophospocholine. So try to remember that. Orrrr you could just remember that Alpha GPC is a form of choline that boosts basic body functions including growth and recovery. Which is good. Alpha GPC is the precursor of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, and so is thought to support increased attention span, mental focus, recall, and other brain functions. I will absolutely vouch for this supplement. If you have any amount of mentally-taxing work to do, Alpha GPC is a miracle at helping you to keep your attention where it needs to be. Alpha GPC has even better effects, though, as it can help with recovery from strokes, Alzheimer's disease, and other vascular brain conditions. It also assists cognitive disorder recovery.

Another way to get choline as a supplement for improving memory and focus is to take it as lecithin, phosphatidyl choline, or just plain old choline. Medical researchers use the term “lecithin” interchangeably with “phosphatidyl choline,” so they are basically the same thing. Choline is used to manufacture Acetylcholine and the cell membranes, and lecithin has been shown to benefit memory.

Choline molecule

The last type of choline we will go over is citicoline. This supplement is a type of B vitamin nootropic that is refined to create phospholipids that make up brain cell membranes. Citicoline helps enhance production of vital neurotransmitters. It is also known as cytidine diphosphate-choline, cytidine 5-diphosphocholine, or just CDP-choline. But whatever you want to call it, studies have shown that citicoline can improve memory and verbal learning. It can help increase mental energy and improve focus, and could potentially help to treat attention deficit disorder.

All of these types of choline are potentially useful for improving mental functioning, but there is a toxicity point. You should not have more than 3.5 grams of choline per day, or you might experience abdominal discomfort, diarrhea, nausea, or even a fishy odor. The best dosage is probably closer to 500 mg of choline per day.

Bacopa Monnieri

Indian Herb For Memory

Ayurvedic doctors in India have used this herb for centuries as a natural substance for improving memory and concentration. The natural phytonutrients in this herb, called bacosides, support brain transmitters during memorization, among other effects. Bacopa Monnieri is usually available in 200 mg or 500 mg size capsules.

Gotu Kola

This Is Why An Elephant Never Forgets

Elephant Gotu Kola

Gotu kola is a plant that grows in a widespread distribution in tropical areas like India and Sri Lanka. Gotu kola has long been a relevant natural supplement in the medicinal systems of central Asia. In Sri Lanka, even the elephants like it, as they often eat the leaves of the gotu kola plant. Just like bacopa monnieri, gotu kola is also used in Ayurvedic medicine as a cure for agitation, memory loss, anxiety, and even insomnia. An Indian study published in the Journal of Indian Medicine showed that children taking 500 mg of gotu kola a day increased their powers of concentration and attention, while those given a placebo showed no such improvement.

There are no significant side effects to taking gotu kola, and the recommended dosage is between 800-1600 mg per day. The scientific name for this herbal supplement is centella asiatica, and it is also sold as a supplement under that name. Pick some up if you are looking to improve sleep, boost your mood, and of course improve your concentration.

But Wait, There's More!

Nootropics are a very popular way to improve mental functioning these days, and these three categories do not nearly cover all the different types of chemicals and herbs available for that purpose. However, be aware that no amount of supplements can take the place of a healthy diet and exercise, so be sure to stay active and eat right in addition to using any of these nootropics.