5 Natural Nootropics to Enhance Your Life

5 Natural Nootropics to Enhance Your Life

Nootropics are a unique class of smart drugs and brain supplements which are purported to improve cognitive ability. Most nootropics share the characteristics of being non-addictive, relatively free of side effects, and   low abuse potential. As such, nootropics tend to have more subtle and generalized properties, rather than being aggressive and highly unpredictable.

With this fact in mind, it’s important to understand that each nootropic substance is different from the next. Furthermore, many individuals tend to respond the differently to the same substances. This can cause some confusion

There are various ways that people seek to improve the quality of their life. Some good starting places include regular exercise, healthy diets, and proper sleep. While these sort of lifestyle practices are essential for building a solid foundation in your life, sometimes they are not enough.

As a result of the increasing demands of daily life, people may end up searching for additional ways to further improve their wellbeing and reduce stress. Disappointed the pharmaceutical industry, many people may turn to natural nootropics and supplements.

Natural nootropics have the added benefit of having a long history of use in their native countries. This allows us to can confirm the long-term safety and effectiveness of these natural nootropics by looking at the populations who have used these over many generations.

There are many different natural nootropics and supplements out there and it’s hard to know where to begin. Below you will find a list of the 5 best natural nootropics available today.

1. Fish Oil

Fish oil is an omega-3 fatty acid that is important for brain health and longevity. Fish oil consists of both EPA and DHA, which provide benefits to mood and brain health, respectively.

Fish oil appears to be effective for improving mood and promoting longevity. It’s currently under investigation for its antidepressant qualities and for its ability to prevent cognitive decline. For these reasons, fish oil is considered to be among the best natural nootropics available today.

It would appear that EPA is responsible for its mood-enhancing features whereas DHA is better for brain health. However, it’s generally a good idea to have a good balance of each, as they may have a synergistic effect when taken together.

In nature, omega-3 fatty acids are most commonly found in fish such as salmon and krill. When coming from fish sources, omega-3 tends to be higher in EPA and comparatively lower in DHA. In contrast, algae tends to be very high in DHA relative to EPA. As such, fish oil, krill oil, and algae oil are some of the most popular sources of omega-3 fatty acid supplements.

If you like fish, eating a few 6 oz. portions of salmon a week appears to be a great way of getting ample amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. For those who don’t like seafood, supplementation can be just as effective. Viva Naturals and Nordic Naturals are among some of the highest-rated brands.

2. Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is an herb with a long history of use in Ayurvedic (Indian) medicine. It is an adaptogen – a substance which restores the body to its optimal functioning, resulting in reduced stress, reduced fatigue, and improved mood.

Ashwagandha is very well-studied and has been shown to provide numerous benefits to mental health. In one study, it was found to significantly lowers cortisol and stress levels. In this study, 64 participants were given a stress-assessment questionnaire and had their cortisol levels measured. After taking 600mg of ashwagandha per day for 60 days. At day 60, the treatment group “exhibited a significant reduction (P<0.0001) in scores on all the stress-assessment scales on Day 60, relative to the placebo group”.

Many people have reported very positive and beneficial effects of ashwagandha supplementation. If you  are struggling with stress and anxiety, ashwagandha may be a powerful natural nootropic to help you out. There are two proprietary ashwagandha formulations that are quite popular: KSM-66 and Sensoril. The former seems to be best at reducing stress and raising energy, while the sensoril appears to be more effective and inducing relaxation and improving mood.

3. Panax Ginseng

Panax ginseng is an herb that shares some similar properties with Ashwagandha. Ginseng is also an adaptogen that promotes homeostasis, helping the body adapt to physical and chemical stresses, ultimately improving mood and physical health.

Panax ginseng is perhaps the most generalized and nonspecific nootropic on this list. In other words, it tends to repair and restore at the level of the entire body, causing a normalizing effect on the physiological structures. Ginseng shows a lot of promise for reducing inflammation and boosting the immune system, is a powerful antioxidant.

Ginseng is particularly effective for stabilizing mood. It has a calming effect on the mind while simultaneously maintaining alertness and mental performance.

Ginseng comes in many forms and it may be a bit confusing to know which is the best form to take. The best kind of ginseng appears to be korean red ginseng (a form of panax ginseng), which has strong anti-depressive properties and is the one of the most effective natural nootropics for improving mood.

4. Rhodiola Rosea

Rhodiola Rosea is a flowering plant that has been used in Scandinavian countries for hundreds of years for general health purposes. It is the 3rd and final adaptogen on this list; in contrast with other adaptogens Rhodiola may have the strongest antioxidant effects and may be the most effective for reducing fatigue.

Rhodiola has shown potential for improving cognition and memory, primarily through neuroprotective features that prevent oxidative damage to the brain.

What sets rhodiola apart from panax ginseng and ashwagandha is its ability to enhance physical and mental energy levels. Interestingly, rhodiola can modestly boost levels of dopamine and serotonin, leading to improvements in mood and wellbeing.

Rhodiola is excellent as an energy-boosting nootropic, and is among the most popular natural nootropics on the market today.

5. Kava

Kava is an herb from the Pacific Islands that is commonly used to reduce anxiety, promote relaxation, and improve mood. In some ways it can be considered a much safer alternative to alcohol, as it does not have any serious side effects nor does it cause brain damage and cognitive impairment.

Kava has been shown to be as effective as benzodiazepines at reducing anxiety, with a considerably lower range of side effects.

Kava is sometimes subject to concerns over it’s long-term safety, however it does appear that these concerns are unwarranted. The World Health Organization published a report on the safety of kava and concluded that is it at an “acceptably low level of health risk.

While this does not mean kava is harmful, large doses over time have been linked to GI problems and loss of appetite, so it’s important not to rely on kava too often for anxiety relief.

Overall, kava is a very effective natural substance for managing mood and stress. In many countries kava functions as a safer and milder alternative to alcohol, and is great for socializing as well.

Who Can Benefit From Nootropics?

Nowadays, the term “nootropic” has become a fairly broad category that includes the full range of dietary supplements that are not regulated by the FDA. This may include things like herbal medicine, non-essential nutrients, and dietary minerals.

To add to the hype, many people think of nootropics as a magic pill that will give you superpowers and hack your brain beyond it’s ordinary limits. The reality is that no drug is able to do this, or at least do this in a way that is permanent and sustainable over time.

In general, most people view nootropics and supplements in a very black-and-white perspective. They either believe that nootropics will give them superpowers or think they’re snake oil that does nothing. The reality is much more complicated. It takes a lot of time, research, and experimenting to determine which nootropic can benefit you.

Generally speaking, just about anyone can find benefit from nootropics. However, it takes a bit of trial and error to determine which substance truly works for you as well as the appropriate dosage and frequency. Many people simply want results immediately and end up buying expensive, proprietary nootropic blends that do almost nothing.

To truly gain the most from nootropics it’s important to be patient and experiment with one substance at a time. If you try taking a bunch of them all at once, it may be hard to identify which ones are helping you and which aren’t.

Furthermore, like any other drug, nootropics can often have competing or compounding actions, which can lead to confusion and even frustration.

Nootropics have real effects on the brain just like any other drug, and thus should be treated with respect. It’s important to inform yourself of the possible side effects, drug interactions, and limitations. It’s also important to not rely on anecdotes from others, because this can give you an unrealistic expectations.

Many people may make wild claims about their experiences with nootropics, both good and bad, and it can cause a lot of confusion and misinformation. Always be sure to inform yourself so you can ensure you are taking proper doses and purchasing from trustworthy brands.