Nootropics are substances that can be used to enhance memory and other cognitive functions. They work by increasing your mental functions such as focus and clarity in your daily tasks. The influence of natural nootropic compounds on the brain have been widely studied and found to have many beneficial effects.
The word nootropic comes from the Greek word noos meaning ‘mind’ and tropein meaning ‘towards’ and was coined in 1972 by Corneliu Giurgea to define a class of compounds that selectively act ‘towards the mind’. In actuality, they have been used for thousands of years in both Chinese and Ayurvedic medicines for cognitive function, however never collectively defined as such until modern times.
Nature offers an enormous spectrum of bioactive compounds we are only just beginning to harness the power of. In modern times, we are blessed with the science to be able to research and confirm our suspicions of their health-enhancing properties, as well as with the technology to extract what we need.
Many of the naturally derived nootropic products you will see available today are a blend of many compounds in measured dosages. But what are these individual ingredients, and more importantly, how do they actually affect your brain and body?
Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri)
Bacopa, also known as Brahmi, is a plant that has been used for centuries in traditional Ayurvedic medicine. Studies have show that Bacopa can supporting learning and information processing as well as supporting cognitive function.
Caffeine is a stimulant you may not have been aware is actually a nootropic, and arguably the world’s favourite nootropic! It has been widely studied and scientifically shown to reduce mental fatigue, increase attention, enhance cognitive function and increase your energy. In the right dosages, caffeine can truly be one of nature’s greatest gifts.
B vitamins play a critical role in the function of a healthy body and mind. They are responsible for a vast range of physiological functions such as blood cell health and growth, digestion, muscle tone, energy levels, nervous system regulation and the proper function of the immune system.
Zinc has been shown to play a central role in the brain’s synaptic transmission (the communication between cells). Evidence suggests that it is important for learning as well as the formation of memories.
You may see Vitamin C added to many foods and dietary supplements – this is because it’s role in the body is both immense and multi-faceted. The brain is the body’s biggest consumer of Vitamin C, using it to synthesise neurotransmitters as well as acting as an antioxidant to protect the brain from free radicals. Modern research has consistently observed that those who are cognitively intact (as opposed to impaired) had higher levels of vitamin C. site
Often referred to as ‘the forgotten vitamin’, it was once thought that vitamin K was responsible only for blood coagulation, however recent evidence suggests it plays a role supporting the nervous system. Data suggests that ‘vitamin K has the potential to influence psychomotor behaviour as well as cognition.’
Resveratrol has demonstrated the ability to block enzymes related to stress in the brain. Research supports its protective effects against stress-induced depression and anxiety.
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)
Ashwagandha, known for its support of stress, fatigue, and overall vitality, has been used as a herbal treatment in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. True utilises KSM-66 Ashwagandha in Zenn, as it is a branded, full-spectrum extract. It is produced using a unique proprietary extraction process, based on “Green Chemistry” principles, without using alcohol or any other chemical solvent.
KSM-66 Ashwagandha has been clinically proven to help reduce stress, mild anxiety, cortisol levels and stress-related food cravings, as well as promote enhanced memory and cognitive function.
Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea)
Rhodiola has traditionally been used for centuries to support healthy resistance to stress. It has been shown to assist the body and mind in adapting to environmental stresses, thereby supporting overall mental wellbeing.
Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)
Lemon Balm is an extract commonly used to support cognitive performance and mental wellbeing. True has chosen to include Bluenesse® - an innovative, exclusive extract - in True Zenn. Human studies confirmed that Bluenesse® supports cognitive performance, improving alertness, concentration, mental focus and working memory. In addition, it facilitates a calm and positive mood and improves the ability to cope with environmental stress.
Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata)
Passionflower has traditionally been used in Western herbal medicine to soothe and calm nerves. Perhaps more significantly, it has been used to quiet the mind and support healthy sleep patterns.
Which nootropics are right for me?
As you can clearly see there is a big list of nootropics out there to choose from and you may ask which nootropic is most suited to you? With different nootropics recommended based on individual and personal needs, the short answer is that many may be suited to you!
True Zenn and True Spark are two clearly defined and expertly formulated nootropics that offer formulas to support brain performance and stress relief. When used appropriately, they can enhance, support and maintain your cognitive function.
If its decision making, focus, brain performance and overall mental alertness you need support with, True Spark will be the nootropic for you.
For stress relief, mild anxiety and overall mental wellbeing, True Zenn is a great option to calm the mind and help you deal with the symptoms of stress.
Whether you need a boost with focus, memory, energy or need help coping with the effects of stress, anxiety or fatigue, there is likely a nootropic product out there for you. Simply adding one robust supplement into your routine can take the pressure off and help you focus more on the important things in life.
When choosing a nootropic product, be sure to do your research prior to purchase. Always read the label, take the product as directed and seek professional medical help if symptoms persist.
- Chandrasekhar, K., Kapoor, J., & Anishetty, S. (2012) A prospective, randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study of safety and efficacy of a high-concentration full-spectrum extract of Ashwagandha root in reducing stress and anxiety in adults, Indian journal of psychological medicine, 34(3), 255.
- Ferland G. Vitamin K, an emerging nutrient in brain function. Biofactors. 2012 Mar-Apr;38(2):151-7. doi: 10.1002/biof.1004. Epub 2012 Mar 15. PMID: 22419547.
- Froestl, Wolfgang, Muhs, Andreas, and Pfeifer, Andrea. ‘Cognitive Enhancers (Nootropics). Part 1: Drugs Interacting with Receptors’. 1 Jan. 2012 : 793 – 887.
- Giurgea C, 1972. Pharmacology of integrative activity of the brain. Attempt at nootropic concept in psychopharmacology. Actual Pharmacol 25:115-56
- Harrison, F.E., 2012. A critical review of vitamin C for the prevention of age-related cognitive decline and Alzheimer's disease. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, 29(4), pp.711-726.
- Suliman, N, Taibm C, etal. 2016. Establishing Natural Nootropics: Recent Molecular Enhancement Influenced by Natural Nootropic. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
- Zhu, X., Li, W., Li, Y., Xu, W., Yuan, Y., Zheng, V., Zhang, H., O'Donnell, J., Xu, Y. and Yin, X., 2019. The antidepressant- and anxiolytic-like effects of resveratrol: Involvement of phosphodiesterase-4D inhibition. Neuropharmacology, 153, pp.20-31.