There are multiple pathways that nootropics take to enhance our mental and physical performance. These include boosting neurotransmitter levels, altering our brain waves, enhancing blood flow to the brain, and supporting brain cell growth and
Thanks to the ways in which they work, some nootropics have an immediately registered benefits, like reducing fatigue through stimulation. Others will take longer to make a noticeable impact as they act through slowly enhancing the function and health of our brains.
We all have those moments—we’re in a CrossFit class or in the middle of a big game—and we’re so exhausted that our brains can’t focus on anything besides our pain or how tired we feel. This lack of focus makes us likely to give up rather than push harder, leading to poor performance. Multiple nootropic compounds can strengthen both the intensity and the duration of our concentration. When we fully dedicate our minds to the task at hand, we are able to play all out.
Both mental and physical fatigue are the enemies of athletes everywhere. When we feel exhausted, whether mental, physical, or both, our performance suffers. When it’s severe enough, fatigue can stop us from hitting the gym at all. There are multiple nootropics that can help to fight fatigue. Some of these provide stimulation, like caffeine, while others increase how alert we feel through other mechanisms (for example, by altering our brain waves or enhancing energy production in our brain). The more alert we are, the harder we tend to push. This can help us to work harder, grow faster, and perform better.
Some nootropics are popular thanks to their mood-boosting potential. These supplements range from antidepressant and anxiolytic compounds, to those that simply improve subjective well-being. When we’re in a better mood, we are more likely to hit the gym and bring our A-game to competitions.
While every nootropic has cognitive enhancing benefits, a select few can directly improve our athletic performance as well, allowing us to push both harder and longer. These powerful compounds can increase our power output as well as boost our stamina through a variety of pathways, such as increasing the cellular energy that we have available or by reducing mental and physical fatigue.
Easy workouts don’t produce the same results as strenuous ones, and to work ourselves hard enough for an activity to be strenuous, we need to feel motivated enough to do it. When we’re motivated, we’re more capable of taking on challenges and succeeding, rather than backing down or not pushing hard enough. By improving our moods, enhancing concentration, and giving us more mental energy, nootropics enhance our motivation.
Bodybuilders and strength athletes have been ahead of the curve in terms of supplementation In 1966, Arnold Schwarzenegger, one of the most well-known bodybuilders ever, used strategic supplementation to improve his physical performance. This happened eight years before Romanian chemist Corneliu E Giurgea coined the term “nootropic.” Endurance athletes have developed their own strategies, but almost all high level athletes use some form of supplementation to improve physical performance. The supplements athletes use to boost performance are thought of as ergogenics: This is the category of dietary supplements intended to support physical performance, stamina, or recovery.
Caffeine is the most widely used nootropic world-wide. We all know what caffeine does for us; it speeds up our reaction time, reduces fatigue, and gives us the energy we need to perform at our best. With all these benefits plus a good safety profile, caffeine is one of the best nootropics for athletes.
DMAE is a compound used primarily to protect and improve brain health. It reduces the buildup of beta-amyloid, which is associated with age-related cognitive decline. As a supplement it’s used by neurohackers to improve energy, memory, mental clarity, and concentration, all while enhancing overall brain health.
B vitamins are important for proper cellular function and are involved in a variety of metabolic reactions. Two of these vitamins, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12, are both of particular importance, with research suggesting that supplementation my help to promote brain health and function. Vitamin B6 is used in the synthesis of the neurotransmitters that help to support a positive mood. Additionally, vitamin B6 plays a role in the conversion of food into glucose, the primary energy source used to fuel our brains and our bodies. Vitamin B12 is known to play an important role in protecting our brain health, with deficiency tied to cognitive decline and dementia. Additionally, it’s used in energy metabolism, with sufficient vitamin B12 important for our mental and physical energy and endurance. It’s particularly important for those who don’t each much seafood, such as vegetarians and vegans, to take a vitamin B12 supplement.
Huperzine A, an extract of the Huperzia serrata plant, has been shown in studies to improve memory and learning from young students to seniors.Recent research shows that it improves memory and slows cognitive decline by increasing levels of acetylcholine, the compound that functions as a neurotransmitter in the brain. It’s also been shown to help prevent neuronal cell death. Twenty randomized clinical trials involving participants indicated that it has a beneficial effect on memory, cognitive function, and quality of life.