- HEALTH & NUTRITION
The best nootropics for focus & concentration
The world of supplements is immense. You can find one for nearly every part of your body and health - and they can be tailored to help with specific body systems, organs, or simply to help maintain your overall wellness.
Jan 6, 2021|
Jan 6, 2021
One category of supplement that has taken off in popularity is nootropics, which include molecules like caffeine and MCT oil. These supplements work by supporting the brain and nervous system either by interacting with the neurotransmitters in the brain or aiding the transmission of nerve impulses.
While the effects of nootropics at a cellular level are interesting, most people are more interested in the effects that they will notice in their cognitive performance.
Below is a closer look at the types of nootropics as well as the best nootropic supplements to help improve focus and concentration. While these molecules won’t make you laser-focused on their own, they support your brain in a way that can better facilitate lengthy times of concentration and focus.
Types of nootropics
Nootropics include any compound or synthetic substance that enhances or supports neural functioning and cognitive performance. There are dozens of different types of nootropics, and they can be prescribed as medicines, or taken as a natural or synthetically derived supplement.
Nootropics have been around for decades, and you may be surprised to know that the most prescribed nootropic is Adderall – which is commonly used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Adderall works within the body by selectively binding to the receptor sites of dopamine and norepinephrine. This simple chemical interaction has profound effects on your mental function and helps to facilitate concentration, alertness, and focus.
Because nootropic medicines like Adderall are controlled substances due to their addictive nature, you can only receive this type of nootropic under the supervision of a physician, and only if you have a particular condition that could benefit from treatment.
Unlike the type of nootropics that must be prescribed, supplement nootropics can generally readily be purchased from any health and wellness or supplement store. Whether they’re naturally derived or synthetic, supplements mainly differ from any medicine you might be prescribed. Medicines aim to directly treat an issue (when there is a specific issue present), while supplements work to as a preventative health measure to support the body as a whole.
There are hundreds of different nootropic supplements available to consumers and it is important to find reputable companies to purchase them from. Unlike any prescribed medicines, supplements are less intensely monitored by the FDA which can allow for potentially harmful products to reach the consumer, before the FDA gets a chance to take them off the market.
When looking for nootropic supplements it is important to first look for a reputable retailer, then ensure they are utilizing high-quality ingredients. The best supplements to support your brain health should be backed by science and be transparent.
MitoQ accomplishes all of this with its nootropic supplement, MitoQ Curcumin for supporting healthy brain function.
At a first glance, MitoQ may seem expensive but when you understand that they are utilizing ingredients backed by science, it becomes clear that they have the commitment to deliver some of the best supplements available. With a similar cost to a good cup of coffee every day, MitoQ is a worthy investment in your cellular health and wellness.
You might be surprised to know that the majority of supplements you’ll find at your local health shop are actually synthetically derived. Some synthetic nutrients are said to be more effective and can be given at higher doses, while others are more bioavailable in their most natural form. Like other synthetically derived supplements, synthetic nootropics are a category of nootropic molecules that are man-made and derived from a lab. Most prescribed nootropics would be considered synthetic because the molecules were designed and created by biochemists to have specific actions within the body. For example, Adderall would be considered a synthetic nootropic medicine as the molecule is not readily found in nature.
Natural nootropics are those that can be readily obtained through natural means. The majority of natural nootropics focus less on the exact molecule that has positive change, and more on the ingredient itself.
A great example of a natural nootropic ingredient is ginkgo extract. The ginkgo biloba plant has a number of antioxidant and vascular -promoting molecules that make it ideal to support normal neurological function. By taking the plant and producing an extract, people are able to get more nutrition in a more convenient and natural manner.
The best nootropic supplements for focus & concentration
Nootropic supplements represent the category of nootropics that can be readily taken over the counter to help support focus and concentration, and boost cognitive function. Other forms of prescribed nootropics are simply inaccessible unless you have a medical diagnosis that warrants their use.
Below is a look at some of the best nootropic supplements to help support a healthy level of mental processing such as concentration and focus.
The brain is made of millions of neuronal cells that are interconnected. This network of cells and the signals they send back and forth make up your brain. While the brain only takes up a small part of your body, it is one of the most energy-hungry organs within the body. The heart and brain are constantly requiring energy to allow you to survive.
With an insatiable need for energy, your mitochondria (the powerhouses of your cells) work continuously to fuel the cells necessary for thinking, breathing, and living. From a nootropic standpoint, supporting your mitochondrial health can allow your nerve cells to have all the energy they need to function at their best.
CoQ10 is an antioxidant molecule found within the mitochondrial membrane that enables it to fight back against oxidative damage. Over time CoQ10 levels can decline, which can cause a decrease in mitochondrial efficiency.
CoQ10 supplements like MitoQ support the mitochondria by ensuring the levels of CoQ10 are ideal for optimal mitochondrial health. For the brain, this means that the nerves firing thousands of times a second to perform cognitively intensive tasks are supported with all their energy needs, thereby supporting brain fog, and promoting normal memory and cognitive function.
Caffeine is an interesting nootropic because it seems to cross all of the boundaries within nootropic types. Caffeine is considered a stimulant drug, supplement, and cognitive enhancer and can be derived both synthetically and naturally.
Caffeine is a nootropic that works by blocking the binding of adenosine within the brain. This results in a feeling of alertness and wakefulness. While caffeine can be effective at boosting mental performance in the short-term, long-term utilization of caffeine could result in tolerance and addiction, which leaves your body less capable of sustaining natural mental energy without caffeine.
Caffeine also can drastically impact your sleep due to its interaction with adenosine. Adenosine is the neurotransmitter that is responsible for making you feel tired and sleepy. Caffeine has a half-life of approximately five hours and it can take up to 10 hours to be fully metabolized and eliminated.
During that time caffeine is effective at blocking adenosine from binding to its receptor. This can result in an inability to fall asleep and contribute to sleep deprivation.
Ginkgo biloba is a tree native to China and the plant has been a part of traditional Chinese medicine practices for thousands of years. As such, the extract from the leaves of the plant is utilized in many supplements to support optimal cognitive functioning.
While studies have not consistently found ginkgo to provide statistically significant improvements in cognitive ability, it could provide support to your neurological functioning which is important for both focus and concentration.
Zembrin® Kanna Extract
Zembrin® Kanna extract is a supplement that is derived from the Sceletium tortuosum plant that is found in southern Africa. One study looked at the supplement and found that it was able to interact with the emotion, memory, and decision-making region of the brain known as the amygdala. In the study, fMRI imaging showed that S. tortuosum extract was able to reduce amygdala reactivity to anxiety-provoking stimuli.
The future of Zembrin® Kanna seems bright based on these findings, and by providing a calming effect, it can support a calm mind that is better suited to stay attentive and concentrated.
Huperzine A is derived from the Chinese club moss and it too has been utilized for thousands of years in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Within the brain, the substance decreases the breakdown of acetylcholine which increases its concentration within the brain. With more acetylcholine, people often experience a positive impact on cognitive tasks and memory.
In summary, there are many different nootropics and smart drugs available to support brain function, fight mental fatigue, support brain health, and prevent cognitive decline. The range of cognitive enhancers extends from controlled prescribed drugs to naturally derived supplements that can be purchased anywhere like caffeine.
The best nootropic supplements for focus and concentration include CoQ10, caffeine, ginkgo extract, Zembrin® Kanna extract, and Huperzine A.
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