Top 4 Natural Nootropics To Improve Your Brain Health

BrainSmart Natural Nootropics

What Are Natural Nootropics?

Often called smart drugs or cognitive enhancers, nootropics come in many forms. Some of these nootropics are produced in laboratories, whilst others are naturally occurring and found in many common foods and natural brain supplement formulas.

What natural nootropics have in common with the laboratory produced nootropics is their ability to significantly improve brain function specifically in the areas of cognition, concentration and memory. Some natural nootropics have also been shown to to protect the brain if it is under chemical or physical attack as well as reducing recovery time from brain injury.

This article outlines the benefits of using natural nootropics to boost cognitive function and highlights four of the most effective.

Why Use Natural Nootropics?

Why nootropics? We live in an increasingly non-stop, interconnected, go-go-go global world. This intensifying social dynamic creates a need to compete and a desire to be in the best physical and mental condition we can be.  When it comes to maintaining brain health throughout our busy competitive lives, the phrase ’use it or lose it’ is very relevant.

Our cognitive abilities and overall mental energy naturally decline as we age and for this reason many tens of thousands of individuals around the globe are using natural nootropics to improve their brain’s processing ability and to increase mental energy.

Top 4 Natural Nootropics to Improve Brain Health

1. Cordyceps Sinensis

Cordyceps Sinensis Also known as Chinese Caterpillar Mushroom, this naturally occurring nootropic has a number of brain health benefits.  Cordyceps Sinesis has been used for centuries as a brain boosting tonic in Tibet, China and India.   Its ability to deliver increased mental energy and focus has only become known more recently in the west. 

The use of Cordyceps as a natural nootropic came to world attention in 1993, when two female Chinese athletes both beat the world records for all their middle distance races in the track and field competition at the Stuttgart World Championships. Their coach attributed the increased focus and mental energy that contributed to their world beating performances to the use of Cordyceps supplementation as part of their daily training regime.

2. Chlorella (from Green Algae)


This natural nootropic is derived from a green micro-algae naturally high in choline, a phospholipid metabolite found concentrated in the membranes of the brain.  The choline from Chlorella has been shown to be well absorbed, easily crossing the blood brain barrier.

Choline helps support brain function and learning processes by increasing the creation and processing of acetylcholine – essential for neurotransmitter activity and ultimately improved brain health.  Chlorella is also an excellent source of antioxidants. 

Recent Swiss research shows that Chlorella (from Green Algae) may deliver significant long term improvements in an individual’s attention span as well as improvements in their overall mental drive and memory recall.

3. Coenzyme Q10


Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a very effective antioxidant and natural nootropic for brain health.  It plays an important role in creating energy in the mitochondria, which in turn deliver this increased energy supply to other parts of the body and brain.

CoQ10 is produced naturally in the human body, but the production of CoQ10 decreases with age.  Doctors prescribe it for their older patients to help them regenerate cells and increase their mental energy.

4. Niacin

Niacin Vitamin B3

Niacin, vitamin B3, is crucial for the metabolism of food in the body, turning it efficiently into energy. 

It acts as a catalyst in the formation of neurotransmitters in the brain, assisting in their creation and making them work more efficiently. Like many other natural nootopics, niacin is crucial to producing much needed energy for the brain.

Vitamin B3 has an important role in transforming the proteins, fats and carbohydrates found in the modern diet into usable energy. Niacin also synthesizes the glycogen held in the muscles and liver of the human body for use as energy. This process is not only vital for producing energy, but also protects the human brain against excessive age-related tissue damage.


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About the author  

Sam Jansen is a leading brain scientist, lawyer and author, studying nootropics, neuroscience, social behaviors and the science of happiness.You can find him at Google+

Brain Vitamins 101 – Ginkgo Biloba

What Is Ginkgo Biloba?ginkgo-branch1

Standardized extracts of the Ginkgo Biloba leaf (also known as GBE), are not only some of the most widely studied brain vitamins derived from natural plants to be used in modern medicine today, but also some of the oldest.

The Ginkgo Biloba leaf, from which the extract is derived, has been shown by botanists to be from one of the first tree species on the planet – the ancient Ginkgo tree – which has proven to be extremely resilient over the centuries with many examples having been found and dated to be over 1000 years old.

In fact, the National Centre for Complimentary Medicine mentions that some of the first recorded uses of ginkgo as a herbal medicine were recorded in writings found in China and across Cambodia from as long as 1000 years ago, which implies that from its very beginning the leaf from the Ginkgo tree was being used as a herbal medicine in some parts of the Far East.

These ancient texts found in China and Cambodia show that it was not only the leaves but also the seeds from the ginkgo tree that were ground together and applied in the form of a paste or taken orally with water.

Ginkgo Biloba & Modern Medicine

Ginko BilobaModern medicine however has moved away from using Ginkgo derived from the leaves and seeds of the tree to using a more standardised extract (GBE), which is also made from leaves but they are dried first to make the end result more concentrated.

The resulting extracted formula (GBE) is highly efficacious and subsequent comparison research has shown it to be more effective in treating standard ailments like memory loss or blood circulation problems than the non-standardized leaf alone.

The standardisation of Ginkgo to a more potent form has meant that brain vitamins for memory supplements containing extracts of Ginkgo are now widely used across the world and are consistently ranked amongst the most popular herbal remedies both in the United States and across mainland Europe.

Although Ginkgo has been used to treat a wide number of ailments and disorders over the centuries including protection from blood thinning and development of blood clots, today it is most commonly used to improve memory and prevent dementia or mild to moderate memory loss.

There have been a range of animal and human research studies, both formal and informal into the efficacy of extract of Ginkgo as a brain vitamin for memory and although the sheer number of studies makes contradictory results inevitable, the general conclusion amongst the wider scientific community is that extracts of ginkgo biloba may be extremely useful in treating mild to moderate forms of dementia that would include the early onset of Alzheimer’s.

How Does Ginkgo Biloba Work?

Ginkgo Biloba

These research studies as described by the Mayo Clinic have shown that the two main essential elements found in ginkgo extract (known as terpenoids and flavonoids) work to eliminate free radicals and thereby help protect cells, nerves and DNA in the human body. It is the antioxidant properties that Ginkgo biloba possesses that helps protect memory in humans, particularly as we get older.

Specifically these research studies appear to demonstrate the following memory related benefits associated with Ginkgo Biloba:

  • Improves overall cognitive performance
  • Improves quality of thinking
  • Improves memory recall
  • Improvement in overall positivity
  • Improvement in mood balance
  • Improvement in social functioning

In fact, a large amount of scientific research studies have concluded that extract of ginkgo may work as well as doctor prescribed medications for Dementia and Alzheimer’s and the considerable body of anecdotal evidence gathered over many centuries of use appear to back up the overriding scientific conclusions as to the efficacy of Ginkgo Biloba in helping protect memory.

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About the Author

Sam Jansen is a leading brain scientist, lawyer and author, studying neuroscience, social behaviours and the science of happiness. You can find him at Google+

Which Brain Supplements? – Some Essential Ingredients (Part 2)

which brain supplementsIn the first part of this article we examined some of the more specialised, but none the less essential ingredients to look out for when considering which brain supplements to use to improve your overall brain health.

Specifically we looked at the roles Ginkgo Biloba, Acetyl-L-Carnitine, Alpha Lipoic Acid, L-Methionine and L-Theanine can play in any effective brain fitness regime.

In this second part of the same article, we will examine some of the more commonly found brain supporting vitamins to be found in the most effective brain supplements, in order to understand the role they can play in protecting your brain as you get older and specifically the role these brain vitamins can play in maintaining the health of your central nervous system.

central nervous systemWhat is the central nervous system?

In the human body, the central nervous system plays a crucial role in maintaining the balance and function we need to perform at even the most basic level every day. The central nervous system essentially acts as the ’coordinator in chief’ for the body and works with the brain by gathering, ordering, regulating and assimilating all the information that comes in from the brain and body cells, making the necessary adjustments to ensure the behaviour and temperament of the whole organism is correct all day, every day.

This complex collection of cells and tissues are therefore essential to most aspects of human performance and in the same way the brain needs the correct balance of nutrients so too does the central nervous system.

Omega 3 fatty acidsOmega-3 – Eat More Oily Fish

Over the years there is been a great amount of conflicting debate as to the true value of omega-3 fatty acids and the role they play in overall brain and central nervous system health. What is clear however is that omega-3 is essential for maintaining memory as we age. Recent research has shown that individuals whose diets do not deliver the right amount of omega-3 fatty acids may be more prone to not only memory loss but also failing vision, schizophrenia and depression.

Omega-3 comes in several different forms and the most relevant ones to brain and central nervous system health – DHA and EPA – are typically found in oily fish like mackerel, salmon, sardines, anchovies and trout.

Vitamin B-12

Vitamin B12 is an essential brain nutrient found in nearly all brain supplements and it works to maintain the health of not only the central nervous system but also the blood cells that move around the human body delivering essential oxygen to the brain. Research studies have shown that individuals whose diets are lacking in vitamin B12 may develop weak limbs (which can lead to motor problems), mild forms of psychosis, memory loss and/or issues with their bowels and urinary function.

Foods that are high in vitamin B12 include eggs, most types of fish, liver, chicken and other poultry as well as dairy and some types of yeasts like Marmite or Vegemite.

vitamin b5Vitamin B-5 (Pantothenic Acid)

This essential brain supporting vitamin is essential for the synthesis of energy in the body and also assists in the correct functioning of the central nervous system. It also helps in the healing of wounds and the production of keratin which is important for nails and hair.

Vitamin B-5 is commonly found in eggs, avocados, red meat and some dairy products like yoghurt.

Vitamin B-6

Vitamin B6 is a very important brain and nerve supporting nutrient that is commonly found in a wide variety of foods. It works by helping protect the immune functions of the human body and researchers have found that it is also essential in producing both serotonin and dopamine (essential neurotransmitters that control and regulate mood). It is therefore believed that vitamin B6 supplementation can help prevent depression, anxiety and other types of mood imbalances and disorders. Recent research makes tentative links between vitamin B6 deficiency and the likelihood of developing Parkinson’s disease.

Typically the best sources for vitamin B6 are vegetables that contain starch like potatoes, non-citrus fruit like bananas, some types of fish and most types of red meat.

Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid)Vitamin B-9 (Folic Acid)

Folic acid (also known as Vitamin B9) plays a crucial role in cell development and growth and as a result it is often prescribed as a supplement to expectant mothers. Research from the 1970′s and 80′s has demonstrated quite clearly that expectant mothers whose diets were deficient in folic acid were more likely to have children with brain and spine related developmental diseases like spina bifida or other kinds of birth defects. For expectant mothers the advice is to take folic acid at least one month before pregnancy and to continue for the duration of the term.

In addition to potential birth defects some other common disorders associated with folic acid deficiency include memory loss, depression, damage to nerves, mouth ulcers, anxiety, irritability and other types of mental impairment.

The most valuable sources of vitamin B9 (folic acid) are leafy green vegetables, however since modern diets contain insufficient amounts of these vegetables, most folic acid in current diets is delivered through cereals and bread which have been fortified with folic acid. 

Sam Jansen is a leading brain scientist, lawyer and author, studying neuroscience, social behaviors and the science of happiness.You can find him at Google+

How to Improve Memory With Just A Little Exercise (And The Right Memory Supplements) – Ground Breaking New Research

how to improve memory

How To Improve Memory With Just 10 Mins Exercise – New Research

It is commonly know that aerobic exercise is good for both the body and the brain. Exercise increases endorphins and the production of serotonin in the nervous system as well as increasing the amount of oxygen delivered the brain. This oxygenation of the brain improves blood flow and ultimately helps if you are struggling to improve memory, your focus and concentration as well as your overall brain health and performance.

However, given how complicated our modern day lives are now and how difficult it is to find time in our busy schedules to exercise in a meaningful way, the question is, just how much daily aerobic exercise do we need to do?  Specifically what is needed to improve memory and brain health without cutting into the limited amount of valuable amount of time we have available in our day?

The reason this question is important is because it’s human nature to not do the things that are good for us if we don’t see immediate benefit.  But since exercise is so important to brain health it is vital to try and understand how much exercise is enough to keep our brains in tiptop condition.

Luckily for all of us, new research from the University of California (UCI) may have found the answer.

How To Improve Memory With Just 10 Mins of Aerobic Exercise A Day and N-Acetylcysteine Based Memory Supplements – UCI Research Study Findings

how to improve memory with exerciseThe UCI study involved two groups of adults aged 50+. The first group had no history of mental illness or memory loss while the second group consisted of individuals who had been struggling with how to improve memory and who had experienced some form of memory loss during their adult lives.

The first group were given a high level dose of the naturally occurring amino acid N-acetylcysteine (NAC) and tested by exercising on stationary bicycles (the type of equipment commonly found in gym spin cycle classes) for less than 10 minutes while the second group were not given NAC and did no exercise at all.

Both groups were then given a saliva test followed by a series of simple memory tests involving the recall of a number of uncomplicated images. Exactly one hour later both groups were then given another saliva test and then asked to recall the images again.

The results were as dramatic as they were surprising; the group that had exercised on the stationary bicycles and were given high doses of NAC were far more successful in remembering more of the images from the memory test then the group who had not exercised at all and didn’t take the NAC. Most surprising of all was that those individuals who had a history of memory loss and had exercised on stationary bicycles while using NAC actually doubled their ability to remember the images.

The test was then repeated a week later with no administration of N-acetylcysteine (NAC). In this instance both groups performed worse in the memory tests than in the tests before but crucially the group that did exercise had a significantly better memory recall than those who didn’t.

Small Amounts of Exercise + High Doses of NAC Memory Supplements  =  Less Memory Damaging Homocysteine + More Norepinephrine = Improved Memory Performance

The final saliva tests of both cohorts showed that the group who exercised on the stationary bicycles (and had demonstrated better memory recall of the images) had a higher level of the memory boosting neurotransmitter Norepinephrine in their saliva than the group who had not exercised at all.

The results of this research study has led the neuroscientists involved to conclude that very small amounts of aerobic activity (in this case no more than 6 minutes!) will result in the production of the memory boosting neurotransmitter Norepinephrine and this increase in production was higher in individuals who started from a position of poor or declining memory performance.

This study is all the more remarkable because it is the first time that the direct link has been made between using N-acetlycysteine (NAC) with small amounts of aerobic exercise and almost immediate memory recall  improvement.

It is important to note that because this is the first comprehensive study of its kind that there is still work to do in establishing a relationship between NAC supplementation, exercise and memory improvement but as researchers plan more detailed studies on the back of this existing one, the answer to the question of how to improve memory may have just got a small step closer

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Sam Jansen is a leading brain scientist, lawyer and author, studying neuroscience, social behaviors and the science of happiness.You can find him at Google+

Why Use Memory Supplements?

Why Brainsmart Memory Supplements?Many hundreds of thousands of us take vitamin supplements daily to top up the nutrients required for our bodies to perform at their best.

In fact, the vitamin supplement market had combined sales of over $40 billion in 2010 (source: dietary supplements regulatory and market Outlook report – business insights-January 2011). With the sports and speciality category of supplements showing the highest growth in the US.

Yet in spite of these impressive growth and usage statistics, the reality is the majority of us do not consider using supplements to protect our memory as important as using vitamin supplements to protect our bodies. There are a number of reasons for this but perhaps the most prevalent is the widely held belief that memory loss is inevitable as we get older and that this process is as irreversible as it is inevitable.

Given that over 10 million individuals, mostly of the baby boomer generation, are projected to develop some form of Alzheimer’s as they move through life, it is surprising that the majority of us do not recognise the importance of brain nutrition in protecting and improving memory performance for the long term.

This article aims to examine and explain some common reasons why the use of memory supplements as part of your brain nutrition program is essential in preventing age-related memory loss.

Memory Supplements Balance Brain Nutritional Needs

When it comes to diet and our bodies we all know the drill; eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables every day, drink a litre and a half of water, sugar and saturated fat are bad, a balanced mix of protein and carbohydrates are good.   Nonetheless many of us are tempted to stray down the wrong path and binge eat precisely the kind of foods we been told not.

And given how hectic modern life is more and more of us are being forced to over-rely on  processed foods and microwaveable ready meals in place of the recommended fresh fruits, vegetables, water and protein-balanced diet.

It is not surprising then that many people are going through their days feeling tired, depressed and unmotivated. The big problem arises when we begin to believe that how we are feeling is normal.

Because our brains and bodies are not getting the right kind of nutrients there is a danger that we will end up sleepwalking through life, operating subpar, believing this is just the way it is and making no attempt to change.

These principles apply to the brain as well is the body.  An increased understanding of how the brain works and what it needs to perform at its best, has allowed us to identify specific amino acids and brain supporting nutrients to improve and/or protect the various critical functions of the brain.

In the same way that the  best and most effective focus supplements contain focus boosting amino acids like L-methionine or Acetyl-L-carnitine  to naturally boost an individual’s ability to concentrate for longer periods of time, so too do memory supplement formulas like Brainsmart Memory work to naturally boost an individual’s ability to memorise and recall complex information consistently overtime.

Memory Supplements Reduce the Stress That Destroys Memory 

We live in an non-stop, 24-7, always connected, always-on world. The consistent need to be better and more competitive than the next man is set against the backdrop of recession, job insecurity, rising inflation, debt and anxiety.

No wonder we feel stressed!  It feels like we’ve always been stressed and we always will be stressed. We accept our stress and wear it like a heavy coat that weighs us down but we carry on regardless.

The very modern phenomenon of brain fog, which encompasses poor memory and lack of concentration has been shown to be almost certainly linked to stress.

A recent landmark research study in France, using thousands of adults over a decade-long period to examine the links between stress and memory loss has evidence that those subjects in the study who suffered from high levels of cholesterol and/or blood pressure were more likely to develop dementia as they grew older.

Specifically the research shows that individuals who smoke and /or had high blood pressure or cholesterol levels were between one to five times more likely to develop some form of memory loss than those individuals who led healthier and more active lifestyles.

There are a number of further studies (mostly with animals) that have sprung up on the back of the original French research. These studies are beginning to demonstrate the connection between brain nutrition to protect memory and brain nutrition to reduce stress.

The current breed of memory supplements aim to cross the divide between memory and stress by providing the brain/body nervous system with the correct balance of memory boosting stress-reducing amino acids.

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About the Author

Sam Jansen is a leading brain scientist, lawyer and author, studying neuroscience, social behaviors and the science of happiness.You can find him at Google+

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