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What are nootropics?

Derived from Ancient Greek, with noos meaning ‘mind’ and trope meaning ‘a turning’, nootropics have been around for centuries to optimise brain health. These compounds are said to improve cognitive function and achieve that magical – albeit elusive – feeling of ‘flow’. In an era of burnout and mental fatigue, it's not surprising people are becoming more interested in nootropics'
 


 

What are nootropics?
Nootropics are a unique family of compounds that support different areas of cognitive function and brain health. They work by increasing mental function, including creativity, memory, and concentration (1).

Nootropics sit into two camps: natural-occurring compounds and lab-crated prescription medication. When we talk about nootropics, we’re referring to the plants, herbs, and phytonutrients that have extraordinarily natural brain-loving properties. Although some synthetic substances are also known as nootropics, we’re just going to focus on supplements derived from plant-based materials.
 

How do nootropics work?
Nootropics are pretty mind-blowing compounds. They serve as a vasodilator against the small arteries and veins in the brain, increasing blood circulation, energy, and oxygen flow (2).

Every nootropic affects the brain uniquely. Some increase mental sharpness, cognitive flexibility, brain longevity, and neuroplasticity, while others affect neurotransmitter balance and nerve health (3).

Are nootropics safe?
Naturally occurring, plant-based nootropics rooted in science are generally well-tolerated in healthy adults aged 16 and over. However, it’s important to be mindful that everyone is unique; some people may be more sensitive to certain nootropic ingredients. With this in mind, you may wish to chat with your health practitioner or GP before adding them to your supplement regime.

Whether you want to enhance your cognitive performance, protect your smarts in the long run, or simply get your head in the game, there’s a very compelling case to suggest nootropics can provide targeted brain health support.

Inspired by these fascinating compounds, we’ve formulated Curcumem™, which comprises high-strength turmeric, lutein, vitamin B12, and zinc to support cognitive function.

Did you know? Naturally found in tea, coffee and cocoa, caffeine is classed as a nootropic due to its psychoactive properties. Just 40-300mg can increase attention, reaction time and, in the short-term, give a ‘lift’ when feeling fatigued.

Types of nootropics
Although the term ‘nootropics’ feels somewhat new-agey, humans have always harnessed the power of these plants. Take adaptogens, for example, which have been widely used in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years.

Adaptogens are believed to support overall cognitive function, as well as help the body manage mental and physical stress. Gingko Biloba, ashwagandha, Siberian ginseng and Korean ginseng are some examples of these supercharged botanicals found to have neuroprotective properties (4).

Certain phytonutrients also have nootropic and apoptogenic qualities, most notably L-theanine. A natural constituent in tea, this compound is said to alter alpha brain wave activity, which may encourage a focused yet relaxed mental state (5). (Just think of that lovely cup of tea feeling.)

Here are our top supplement suggestions to support mental agility

Curcumem

Curcumem™ is our unique brain health formula with turmeric, zinc and 10mg of pure, free-based lutein. Lutein is a primary carotenoid in the brain, where it serves as an important antioxidant. Researchers believe the recommended daily amount should be 10mg, however, the average dietary intake of lutein is estimated to be as low as 1-2mg a day.

60 Tablets £15.95

Refreshall®

Refreshall has been specially formulated to include ginkgo, rosemary, sage and lemon balm extracts, all of which may help maintain memory. We’ve added iodine, a trace mineral known for its role in normal cognitive and neurological function, and vitamin B1 for normal psychological function, B5 for its role in normal mental performance and B12 for normal neurological and psychological functions.

120 Tablets £15.95

Fish Oil 1100mg

Our Fish Oil formula delivers a huge 700mg of total Omega 3s - the long-chain fatty acids, EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), which are important to overall health. DHA also contributes to the maintenance of normal brain function.*
*A beneficial effect is obtained with a daily intake of 250mg of DHA
 

180 Capsules £15.95

Ashwagandha 6000mg

Ashwagandha a revered herb of the Indian Ayurvedic system of medicine and a popular adaptogen. Our Ashwagandha 6000mg combines the important active compounds, withanolides, found in the herb together with added vitamin C and zinc which contribute to normal cognitive function.
Nature's Best Aswagandha can safely be taken alongside any Nature's Best multi.

60 Capsules £12.95
If you require more information on the products above, please do not hesitate to contact our expert Nutrition Advice Team who will be happy to assist you.
Click here to visit our online health library for comprehensive articles.
 

References:

(1) Suliman, N., Mat Taib, C., Mohd Moklas, M., Adenan, M., Hidayat Baharuldin, M., & Basir, R. (2016). Establishing Natural Nootropics: Recent Molecular Enhancement Influenced by Natural Nootropic. Evidence-Based Complementary And Alternative Medicine, 1-12.

(2) Kessler J., Thiel A., Karbe H., Heiss W. D. Piracetam improves activated blood flow and facilitates rehabilitation of poststroke aphasic patients. Stroke. 2000;31(9):2112–2116.

(3) Melkonyan K. P. (2006) 1.c.002 influence of nootropil on neuroplasticity of the brain cortex in conditions of hypokinesia. European Neuropsychopharmacology. 16: S224–S225.

(4) Nobre AC, Rao A, Owen GN. (2008) L-theanine, a natural constituent in tea, and its effect on mental state. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 17 Suppl 1:167-8.

(5) Suliman, et al. (2016). Establishing Natural Nootropics, 1-12.

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