Worried about the health of your gray matter? Nootropics—a class of supplements and drugs—may be the answer. Studies have shown that these brain power supplements can help boost memory, alertness, and other brain functions. They might also be able to stave off the effects of aging on the brain.
You’re no doubt already familiar with caffeine. It’s a stimulant found in coffee and tea, as well as dark chocolate. If you do decide to take a caffeine supplement, make sure you’re not doubling-up on the dosage by drinking caffeinated beverages, too. People can usually tolerate up to 400 mg a day, but after that, you may experience anxiety, jitteriness, and trouble falling asleep.
This antioxidant has shown some promising results in studies on brain function. Scientists believe that resveratrol can help preserve the hippocampus—part of your brain that helps control memory. The antioxidant is found in grapes, raspberries, and blueberries, as well as red wine and chocolate. A supplement contains much more resveratrol than you could eat in your diet, and it may be worth a shot to see if it helps you.
There’s a mouthful for you! Acetyl-L-carnitine supplements can help you feel sharper and more alert. It’s also been linked to slowing down memory loss and brain function decline. It’s a natural amino acid that your body already produces.
Fish oil contains two different types of omega 3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA. While EPA is a powerful anti-inflammatory, DHA is the real powerhouse here. DHA forms about 25 percent of the fat found in brain cells, and it’s vital to preserving the structure of your brain. DHA can help improve memory and reaction times. You can get these nutrients through your diet—salmon and tuna are your best bets—but you can also add a supplement.
Creatine is found naturally in meat, fish, and eggs, but you can also take a supplement. It effects your energy levels and thinking skills. If you’re a vegetarian or rarely eat meat, studies have shown that a creatine supplement can boost brain power by up to 50 percent!
Usually abbreviated SAMe, this naturally occurring compound works in the body in conjunction with proteins and hormones. Multiple studies have found that a SAMe supplement can help people suffering from depression to increase brain function. If you’re struggling with a mood disorder, you might talk to your doctor about taking this supplement.
This popular herbal supplement seems to help short-term memory and increase the clarity and speed of your thinking. Studies have shown mixed results, however, with some findings indicating improvement and others demonstrating no change. As with any supplement, you should talk to your doctor before taking ginkgo biloba.
It might sound like a hipster baby name, but this supplement comes from an herb used in traditional Chinese medicine. It seems to function similar to caffeine by reducing fatigue and stimulating your brain. Several medical studies have shown improvement in people taking this supplement.