In these busy and hectic times, it is so easy to fall behind on what you need to do because you simply do not have the brain power to keep yourself going throughout the day. And it’s not your fault, as there are legitimate scientific reasons for that and there are also countless easily accessible solutions available to help mitigate those problems.
As a college student, it was difficult for me to stay concentrated on what I needed to know. Instead of studying for the big exam the next day, I’d rather just lay down and go to sleep, or watch some TV, or do anything BUT what I was supposed to do. And you couldn’t catch me not struggling to stay awake during a lecture. My dipping grades gave me a much needed wake-up call and I did a lot of research and now I have decided to channel that research and my own personal experiences to compile this list of the top 10 supplements that you can get right now to enhance your brain power.
These supplements can do a wide range of things, including but not limited to enhancing your memory, making you more creative, getting you more motivated and less lazy, as well as making you more alert. Let’s dive in!
I think everybody already knows what caffeine is. And a lot of people get plenty of it every day when they drink their morning coffee. But the scope of the average person’s knowledge of caffeine is that it energizes them. But how does it do this? Well, for starters, caffeine is what scientists call a stimulant. Caffeine energizes you by stimulating your brain and in turn making you more awake and able to concentrate.
Countless scientific studies have been done on caffeine and have found very positive results for caffeine’s ability to enhance your memory, reflexes, and overall brain performance.
Caffeine supplements do exist, but it is much easier and more affordable to get them from sources like coffee and dark chocolate.
How much caffeine should you consume during the day? Safe estimates reside between 200 and 400 milligrams. A cup of coffee can provide from a fraction of that to 400 milligrams in one fell swoop.
Make sure you keep track of how much caffeine you have had for the day, as overconsumption can lead to anxiety and sleep problems.
Creatine is a substance that can be found in our own bodies. It is actually a key part of the metabolism process that breaks down calories into energy. Most of the creatine in the human body resides in our muscles, but some can be found in the human brain as well.
Much like the case with caffeine, creatine supplements are available and are quite popular, but popular foods are also sources of it. Foods such as eggs, fish, and types of meat.
If you eat plenty of meat and other products made from animals, you shouldn’t even bother with the creatine supplements as you consume plenty of the nutrient already. Only vegans and vegetarians have been shown to be positively affected by taking the supplements due to their meat-free diets.
#3: Fish Oils
When I was younger, I would always see my mother taking these huge weird-looking gel pills and wonder what the heck they were. Lo and behold they were fish oil supplements! Now, why are fish oils good for us? Well, they are rich sources of two very beneficial types of omega-3 fatty acids, known as DHA and EPA.
Of the various health enhancements attributed to these acids, enhanced brain performance and health are among the most impressive and desirable.
The aforementioned DHA is pivotal in ensuring that your brain is working just fine. DHA makes up a sizeable chunk of all of the fat in your brain, coming in at about 25 percent. Of the omega-3 fatty acids in your brain, DHA makes up a whopping 90 percent.
The other aforementioned acid, EPA, is no slouch either. EPA isn’t renowned for its brain performance enhancing properties, but instead can work to stave off the damaging effects that aging has on the brain.
The bottom line is that DHA supplements on their own can serve all of your brain performance enhancing needs, but taking it together with EPA in fish oil gel caps will provide you with a plethora of benefits that will help you out in the long run.
Or, instead of taking supplements of gel caps at all, you could just eat two servings of oily fish a day.
#4: Bacopa Monnieri
Bacopa monnieri is one of those herbal treatments that you would see alternative medicine people talk about. And while a lot of alternative medicine is a load of hogwash, bacopa monnieri appears to be the real deal, with solid scientific backing behind it.
Studies have shown an improvement in cognitive skills and memory in those who have taken bacopa monnieri supplements. There is a catch, though. You won’t notice these improvements immediately and won’t start seeing them until the four-week mark.
Another catch is that you have to take the supplement every day and preferably with a meal as they can cause diarrhea.
#5: Ginkgo Biloba
This is another herbal supplement that is a hit among the supplement community and for good reason. A handful of studies have shown a correlation between taking the supplement and a decrease in the decline of a person’s brain performance as they age. Other studies found a correlation between taking ginkgo biloba and the enhancement of brain functions such as memory and cognition.
That said, it is worth noting that some studies have not found any benefits by taking ginkgo biloba supplements. That should not deter you from taking these supplements, however. As I said, they are very popular and plenty of people swear by them.
#6: Rhodiola Rosea
Rhodiola rosea is the final herbal supplement on this list and it’s a quite promising one. This herb comes from traditional Chinese medicine and is said to improve one’s overall health, including enhancing brain performance.
How does it stack up in the lab? Well, early studies have shown a correlation between consuming rhodiola rosea supplements and an improvement in brain performance and a decrease in tiredness. But, other studies have shown little or no benefit from taking it. Another blow this promising supplement has taken is a statement from the European Food Safety Authority deeming that more research is still needed to determine its effectiveness in enhancing brain function and combating fatigue.
Resveratrol is one of my favorite substances on this list. Why? Because its contained in a lot of my favorite things to consume. Fruits such as grapes and raspberries, snacks such as chocolate, and beverages such as red wine. Talk about a classy way to enhance your brain function.
There have been a handful of studies done to test the effects of resveratrol, an antioxidant, has on the brain. The results? Quite promising! Various studies conducted on animals have drawn a connection between consuming resveratrol and an enhancement in memory and overall brain performance. And while we can’t take results on animal studies to mean that it will do the same for humans, there was a small study done on elderly people that showed this connection as well.
The best part about resveratrol is that there is really no risk to taking it. You don’t have to shell out money for a supplement if you don’t want to, as it is in some really cheap and easily accessible foods! And to draw on my personal experience a bit, I did experience improved memory after including more resveratrol-rich foods in my diet. Take that as you will.
#8: S-Adenosyl Methionine
The last three substances on this list are ones that much like creatine, are found right in the human body. S-Adenosyl methionine, or SAMe for short, plays a relatively important role in the process of creating and degrading vital substances such as proteins and fats, as well as hormones.
Now, what does it do as a supplement? Not much if you are not suffering from depression. Studies have found that the benefits of taking SAMe supplements can only be experienced by those suffering from depression, as SAMe is essentially an antidepressant enhancer.
The studies showed that when taken with normal antidepressant medication, depression sufferers are 14 percent more likely to enter remission. Another study showed that SAMe supplements help mitigate the brain damaging effects of depression. A study done quite recently also dropped a bombshell when concluding that SAMe’s potency actually surpasses the potency of certain kinds of antidepressant medication.
Since I didn’t have depression and don’t have it now, I skipped this one. If you have depression, give SAMe a try.
This substance is an amino acid and is thus, found in and produced by the human body. Much like creatine, acetyl-L-carnitine is a pivotal part of the metabolism process, specifically in the creation of energy. And this specialization shows when turning acetyl-L-carnitine into a supplement and consuming it.
How? Well, the makers of acetyl-L-carnitine supplements allege that it has the ability to improve your alertness, enhance your memory, and stave off the effects of aging on the brain, especially those pertaining to memory loss. Studies conducted on animals have backed up these claims, but human trials murk up the process a bit.
You see, the only really positive results from taking acetyl-L-carnitine supplements have been found in people who are already suffering from brain problems. People with diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia reap the most benefit from taking acetyl-L-carnitine supplements. As for healthy people? It is not quite known if these supplements provide any kind of benefit.
Phosphatidylserine belong to a family of fatty compounds known as phospholipids. They take residency in the human brain, much like creatine, although in greater numbers.
Taking phosphatidylserine supplements has led to improvements in overall brain performance and has even been shown to help stave off the harmful effects that aging has on the brain. In fact, certain studies have been conducted which showed that taking phosphatidylserine supplements has led to enhanced cognitive skills as well as memory.
That said, the studies done on phosphatidylserine studies have been small-scale and I chose not to tread the waters here and instead I will wait for further studies. The early results are quite promising, however.
As you can see, there are plenty of options available (way more than the ten I just listed) for those looking to enhance their brain performance to live more productive and healthier lives. I listed ten of the most promising of these supplements, but I encourage you to do further research and pick the one (or more) that suits your needs most. Good luck!