Could Nootropics Boost Your Everyday Wellness?

We all need a little extra boost these days with so much uncertainty ahead of us. Daily stress and anxieties can impact our memory, concentration, and mood in many negative ways. Thankfully, there are natural ways we can help our brains and boost our wellness. Natural nootropics are plant-based supplements that have the ability to improve our mental function. While there are also synthetic nootropics, these can often come with negative side-effects and are usually only prescribed by doctors for serious conditions.
Why Nootropics?Nootropics have gained a lot of popularity since the 90s when more research on the brain was being emphasized in the US. With popular culture churning out sci-fi films that tout taking magical pills to enhance the human experience (The Matrix, Limitless), more and more people are looking for a quick fix to improve concentration, memory, and brain performance. While this leaves a large playing field for snake oil cure-alls (more on this later), there are legitimate plant-based extracts that work within our bodies to enhance functional processes.
What Do Natural Nootropics Do?
Natural nootropics work in a few different ways in order to enhance brain function and health. Some of the short-term benefits of nootropics include increased focus, improved short-term memory, and reduced stress. Like with most natural supplements, benefits are cumulative the more regularly they are consumed. Some of the long-term benefits include neuroprotection of brain cells which can lead to support for memory function, mood, and overall cognitive function.
Top 3 Nootropics
CBD (Cannabidiol)
CBD as a nootropic has shown to have natural antioxidant properties that help reduce oxidative stress in the body. This is important for helping to protect the brain against degeneration and cell death. In addition to having protective antioxidants, CBD is also a neurotransmitter enhancer.  CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system, the system responsible for digestion, immunity, hormones, moods, and other important functions. CBD responds to the CB1 and CB2 receptors in our endocannabinoid system to regulate hormones and neurotransmitters like cortisol, serotonin, and dopamine.
Finally, there is preliminary research that suggests CBD may also impact us as a vasodilator. More research is required, but one study showed that participants were given a high dose of CBD experienced increased blood flow to certain regions of the brain; specifically the hippocampus and the orbitofrontal cortex in the prefrontal cortex. These areas are associated with memory, planning, and decision-making.
CBD is available in various forms from CBD oil to capsules, creams and even gummies like UK’s trendy ZenBears gummy range. Adding CBD to your daily routine can be a great start to boost your wellness, especially since CBD is very low risk for interaction or side-effects.
Here is a complete list of the science-backed benefits of CBD oil by Dr Dani Gordon.
L-Theanine
Green Tea is antioxidant-rich and known for its health benefits. L-Theanine is an amino acid found naturally in green tea and is great as a neurotransmitter enhancer as it boosts focus, reaction time, and even helps promote sleep and relaxation.
L-Theanine is able to cross the blood-brain barrier and increases the production of GABA, an important chemical responsible for cortisol control. Increased GABA levels mean lower anxiety. Getting your L-Theanine through a high-quality loose-leaf green tea is the best way to ensure you’re getting pure ingredients without fillers and pesticides.
 In addition to the benefits of L-Theanine on its own, you can “stack” (a term used when you combine nootropics to create additional benefits) L-Theanine with CBD for an additional boost against anxiety, stress, and sleeplessness.
Lion’s Mane Mushroom
Lion’s Mane is a type of shaggy mushroom native to China, Japan, India, and Korea. It is often used in these cultures as medicinal and has been shown to have positive benefits for the brain, heart, and gut. You can enjoy Lion’s Mane raw, cooked, steeped in tea, or dried. Hear Me Raw sells pre-inoculated mushroom logs with Lion’s Mane so you can enjoy the benefits fresh from the log!
As a nootropic, Lion’s Mane offers antioxidant protections and can offer healthy brain function and cognitive function as it stimulates Nerve Growth Factor, a molecule that is responsible for regenerating brain cells. This could help delay cognitive decline as we age. The research is limited to animal studies at the moment in terms of Alzheimer’s research, however, some small scale human studies did show improved cognitive function over a 16 week period compared to the placebo group.
There is also new research being conducted that shows some promise in Lion’s Mane being a neurotransmitter enhancer with some positive effects on depression and anxiety.
One side-effect to be aware of is that it may not be for those suffering from allergies or asthma. Being a fungus, it could trigger attacks in sensitive people. If you’re interested in learning more about nootropics, Prof. Michael Barnes recently published an article on the best nootropics.
A Word of Caution
When diving into the world of supplements and nootropics, it’s important to watch out for curative claims and statements. While there is a lot of research being conducted in this field, most of it is still limited to mice and other animals, with only small-scale human trials. There is a lot of promise and early indications of health benefits in the field of nootropics, however we’re still a long way away from a magic pill.
Although mostly viewed as safe, nootropics can have negative interactions with prescription medication so always speak with your doctor before beginning any supplement. Also, always check the ingredients to ensure you’re not consuming anything you may be allergic to or anything you’re not sure of.

What we put in our bodies can have powerful impacts so treat your supplements the same as you would prescribed medication and follow dosage indications to get the most out of your health.

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