The statement “I think, therefore I am” was authored by the philosopher Decartes in 1637.
Our thinking mind controls almost everything we do. That includes our actions, reactions, sense of self, plus the ability to reach our goals in daily life. However, who are we when our thinking mind is slowing? What happens when we are no longer capable of thinking clearly and succinctly? Names are just out of reach. We misplace items we should have located easily. We forget facts we just read. Simple daily details that years ago would have been no issue, are now elusive.
I want you to know there is help. Solid research-based solutions can relight the sharpness in our memory.
You can ask doctors about memory loss after a certain age. Many of them respond with the adage, “It is just your age.” That is simply not true.
Why? Because we all know 90 year olds who are sharp as a razor! If others can maintain mental capacities despite aging, then we know it is possible.
Second, we are blessed as never before in history. We have access to scientific research investigating the mechanisms responsible for memory. We are beginning to understand why we start losing our mental sharpness and memory.
Lastly, many of us are exploring any and all options to maintain our vital life energy. And we're ready to teach what we're learning. Understanding why is our goal. It offers us many solutions to this frustrating issue of memory loss. But, we must stay open minded and willing to step out of the conventional box of standard advice. Let's explore these options together.
What are Nootropics?
Nootropics are compounds that enhance brain processing speed, learning, and alertness. These can include plant based botanicals all the way to pharmaceuticals. My focus is informing you on primarily the natural safe options which can enhance and facilitate learning.
I must say however that preventing our mental decline should be the first line of defense against memory issues. This includes a lifestyle encompassing exercise, healthy stress management, sleep, low inflammation diets and nutritional supplementation. These habits certainly delay almost all health issues regarding father time including memory, however, even the healthiest lifestyles eventually succumb to memory and thinking issues. This is why I am excited to share options for quick acting supplements that can produce bullet-like brain activity as needed and often within two hours of the first dose.
Bacopa: The brain functions ideally when the neurotransmitters are optimal. Bacopa has studies showing its ability to help regulate dopamine and serotonin. These two brain chemicals are responsible for mood and pleasure, however all of it plays into the complex web of thinking and processing within our brains. Bacopa appears to be equally effective in young people making it a useful nootropic. Bacopa enhances the rate at which the nervous system communicates by increasing communication between brain neurons.
Lion’s Mane: I have immense respect for the power of medicinal mushrooms for a variety of health conditions. Lion's Mane is the specific mushroom that has potent abilities as a cognitive enhancer. Lion’s Mane works on multiple pathways within the brain and has both quick acting and long term support for optimal brain function. Quality is imperative when choosing Lion’s Mane or any mushroom. I take two or three capsules most mornings in order to increase my productivity.
Gotu Kola: Gotu Kola is a flowering herb that has been used for boosting brain power for centuries. Using (EEG) electroencephalography, the electrical activity of the brain was recorded and combined with cognitive testing. Researchers observed improved attention and reaction time in mental tasks just one hour after supplementation!
By the end of the study, other improvements in cognitive function were seen, including short-term working memory, word recognition, picture recognition and alertness. The pleasant side effect of Gotu Kola that was noted was balancing anxiety and stress!
Vinpocetine: Vinpocetine is an alkaloid from the periwinkle plant. This herb has a history in Europe for treating cognitive decline, stroke recovery and information retention. Students have utilized this herb for testing in schools for years for improved retention. Vinpocetine appears to have a role in reducing neural inflammation and may potentially increase blood flow to the brain and improve reaction time. Vinpocetine has a short effective time for results so it is best taken at the proper time.
Alpha GPC: Choline is a nutrient that the brain neurons utilize to actually send messages between brain cells. This is one reason that many drugs which have as a side effect of reduced memory work is because they reduce choline within the brain. Drugs such as those for bladder issues, some antidepressants, antipsychotics, antiepileptics, and anti-parkinson's.
Alpha GPC is a potent natural product that increases the cognitive-promoting power by increasing choline in the brain. The brain barrier the ability to prevent almost all substances from crossing it however Alpha GPC has the ability to cross this barrier. I highly respect Alpha GPC for effectively increasing this important brain nutrient.
Huperzine A: Huperzine A improved cognition by inhibiting an enzyme that degrades, (destroys) the vital choline that we need in our brain. These molecules are known as acetylcholinesterase inhibitors. As we age sometimes the enzyme that breaks down choline simply rises for unknown reasons. Huperzine used 3 to 4 times daily has shown improvement in cognitive function. Huperzine A mechanism of action is unlike most other nootropics.
Rosemary Essential Oil: Rosemary is an evergreen shrub. It's native to the Mediterranean and revered for its culinary and therapeutic uses.
The pungent aroma and sharp lemon-pine flavor make it popular in French and Italian foods. And it’s been used for centuries as a tool to strengthen memory. In fact, in ancient Greece, students would wear rosemary garlands while studying. They would eat the herb to improve memory.
I look for quality brands of essential oil of Rosemary. They have active ingredients that work within minutes to sharpen focus and recall for me. I put a couple drops on my wrist. Then I inhale several times. That helps me receive the benefits before speaking in public or if feeling brain fog. Occasionally, I will also drink one to two drops but only if very pure Rosemary. Look for brands that have instructions for internal use or do not ingest.
Rosemary essential oils may also combat migraines.
When and how to use nootropics
I personally consume most of these on the days when I have either brain fog, lack of sleep, doing a podcast, speaking on TV, or any even social events requiring creative conversation. Many great companies offer combinations of several of these or you can choose to experiment with one at a time.
Lastly please be aware that a host of synthetic options also abound that are advertised. I do not generally recommend them. However, in urgent situations they may be an occasional option. These include nicotine, caffeine, aniracetam, fasoracetam, centriogebixube and phenylpiracetam. Use caution and consult a health care professional before using especially if being treated for medical conditions.
I am an explorer within the world of nutrition, foods, and lifestyle. I realized decades ago that the miracles are hiding just around the corner for a better life. However they will continue to stay hidden unless you look. Life is over in a blink and if that is true why would we not embrace the highest octane living substances before the bear of death taps on our shoulder? Do not settle for the status quo. Join the growing numbers who embrace knowledge, wisdom, common sense and a teacher to guide us through the maze of options.
To add to Descartes: I think, therefore I am going to do everything to protect my thinking.