Nootropics Review: Rhodiola Rosea

Rhodiola Rosea is a known herb and nootropic that has been used widely for several years. It’s believed to boost the nervous system, fight off depression, improve immunity, increase energy levels, enhance memory and aids in weight loss. The herb is a highly potent adaptogen. Adaptogens are chemicals that enhances the body’s overall defense while optimizing body functions [1][2].

Stress Fighting

Rohdiola RoseaIn the event of a stressful event, taking in adaptogens creates a non-specific resistance that lets our body handle any stressful situation reasonably. It’s theorized that adaptogens function by enhancing the capability of cells to create and utilize cell fuel efficiently.

Rhodiola Rosea appearing to have a significant impact on the levels of central monoamine, it may also offer advantages and the primary adaptogen choice in illnesses characterized by an unbalanced monoamines in the central nervous system. This remains consistent with claims of improvement in schizophrenia and depression. It’s been suggested that research in areas such as chronic fatigue, seasonal affective disorder, fibromyalgia, and others have been observed.

Claims were also made indicating that the nootropic can treat asthenic conditions, physical and mental strain, and other viral-based illnesses. Two random and controlled clinical studies were done on the herb’s extract offer concrete evidence on its adaptogen properties [2] [3].

Memory Enhancement

Clinical studies via proofreading tests showed that the Rhodiola Rosea significantly improved the ability to recall and concentration over a prolonged period. It enhances the electrical activity within the brain, thus enhancing mental energy and memory.

In another study, forty students were randomly offered a 50 mg dose of the herb’s extract or placebo twice a day in a 20-day period. Students who received the extract showcased improvements in mental performance, physical fitness, and overall well-being. Those same subjects also saw a dip in mental fatigue, improved sleeping patterns, mood stability, and increased motivation to study. Average test scores between students taking the nootropic and placebo were at 3.47 and 3.20 respectively [4].

Immune System Benefits

Rhodiola Rosea shields and triggers the immune system by normalizing the metabolic balance of the body. It also multiplies the natural killer cells within the spleen and the stomach. Such action may be a result of hormone normalization via modulation of glucocorticoid release in the body [4] [5].

Other Notable Benefits of Rhodiola Rosea

There are a number of other benefits observed from taking the nootropic. Its capable of regulating blood sugar levels protects the liver from toxins and improves hearing [6]. The herb is also capable of breaking down fats and mobilizing lipids from the adipose tissue to the fat burning system to promote weight loss [7].

Rhodiola Rosea enhances thyroid function without triggering hyperthyroidism and delaying the aging process. It improves the adrenal gland reserves without any hypertrophy [2]. For many years, the nootropic is shown to enhance erectile dysfunction/premature ejaculation while balancing prostatic fluid [8].

References:

  1. http://www.med.nyu.edu/content?ChunkIID=111798
  2. http://www.herbwisdom.com/herb-rhodiola.html
  3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11410073
  4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25268730
  5. http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/QAA400399/Rhodiola-for-What-Ails-You.html
  6. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1596291
  7. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20623718
  8. http://www.medicinehunter.com/rhodiola

Nootropics Review: Asian Ginseng

Asian Ginseng is acknowledged to be one of the many highly regarded herbal meds in Asia. It’s also a nootropic capable of promoting health, prolonged life, and treating a number of ailments that include aging, depression, fatigue, nervousness, ulcers, pulmonary, and among other things [1].

History

The usage of Asian Ginseng dates back for more than 5,000 years. Its genus name, Panax, is a Greek word which means “all healing.” Asian Ginseng also has another meaning, “wonder of the world.” Both of these terms refer to the medical benefits of the nootropic. In recent years, the nootropic has been popular in the Western world along with a comprehensive literature of its advantages [2].

Treatments and Benefits

Asian Ginseng Asian Ginseng is also listed to treat cancer, depression, diabetes, insomnia, insomnia, hypertension, stress, certain long-term illnesses, and effects from cocaine and morphine use. It’s been said to function as a stimulant, enhance endurance, encourage adequate hormone functionality, minimize cholesterol levels, and increased resistance to certain diseases. The nootropic has been utilized to increase energy, appetite, increase fertility, ease childbirth, and adequately regulating menses [3].

Recent research shows the plant capable of functioning as an “adaptogen,” extending lifespan by fighting off viral infections including that of Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Current studies continue to support the plant’s protective role against anti-cancer drugs and modern treatment. It’s even said to counter the unpleasant side effects from chemotherapy [3].

Some have thought the nootropic to be particularly valuable in curbing dependence or overuse of psychostimulants or opioids.

The nootropic has been utilized in stimulating and calmed the nervous system. It promotes circulation of the capillaries within the brain and lessens the effects of stress. While there are different types of Ginseng today, none is as potent as the Asian Ginseng in terms of medicinal ingredients and health effects. It features close to 30 ginsenosides compared to its other ginseng relatives, which has an average of 10 [4].

Asian Ginseng features  anti-aging properties that include insulin-like ingredients and anti-oxidants not usually observed in other ginseng types [4].

Ginsenosides

Ginsenosides are a wide group of steroidal saponins capable of targeting a number of tissues, which result to varying pharmacological reactions. But most processes from ginsenoside activity have yet been studied. Since ginsenosides and other ginseng-based constituents offer effects different from each other, with one ginsenoside initiating a number of processes within the same tissue, the total overall pharmacology of ginseng is highly complex [5].

Cognition and Physical Improvements

Ginseng for brainIn a number of studies, a mixture of Asian Ginseng with other ginsengs is believed to enhance memory recall and thinking processes. Previous results from lab studies may indicate that the substances in Asian ginseng enable new growth of blood vessels, which may be valuable in the treatment of extended injuries [6] [7].

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the German Commission E monograph have supported ginseng use as a restoration agent and a prophylactic in improving physical and mental capabilities. Also used for tiredness, exhaustion, weakness, concentration loss, and during convalescence [5].

References:

  1. http://nccam.nih.gov/health/asianginseng/ataglance.htm
  2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ginseng
  3. http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/asian-ginseng
  4. http://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatmentsandsideeffects/complementaryandalternativemedicine/herbsvitaminsandminerals/ginseng
  5. http://www.herbwisdom.com/herb-ginseng-asian.html
  6. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21154383
  7. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD007769.pub2/abstract

Nootropic Review: Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Omega 3 fatty acidsOmega 3 fatty acids such as that of DHA and EPA are essential substances required for a number of body functions. These include the synthesis of the cell membrane (especially in neurons), control of inflammation, and blood clotting. Ingesting Omega 3 is related to a number of health benefits which include protection from cancer, stroke, heart complications, autoimmune and specific inflammatory diseases.

The fatty acid, also known as natural nootropic, offers adequate anti-depressive properties with a fair number of research details behind it. In treating ADHD, Omega 3 isn’t enough as a standalone treatment — but it has been helpful in certain aspects.

As a cognitive enhancer, for healthy individuals who don’t adequately attain Omega 3 fatty acids, it would seem that further DHA and EPA intake can be beneficial. Research indicates that an improvement is concentration, reaction time, and reduced stress can be observed.

Dosages

Between 1 to 2 grams in total of DHA or EPA daily would be adequate for most users. This would typically come from a bigger dosage of fish oil, usually at 6g with a 30% concentration of DHA/EPA per gram. If you happen to be suffering from depression, anxiety, stress, or inflammatory disorders, you can go for 3 to 4 g of DHA/EPA per day.

Benefits

While Omega 3 has a plethora of benefits, many will be wanted to see if there are any benefits for healthy individuals with a low Omega 3 intake. Hardly any surprise for an imperative nutrient, the nootropic has a number of benefits to the body, which include:

  • Enhanced triglyceride levels
  • Enhanced sensitivity to insulin
  • Reduced cardiovascular disease development
  • Enhanced reaction time
  • Improved memory and recall
  • Improved attention span
  • Reduced inflammation markers
  • Acuity in vision
  • Reduction in stress

Depression

Initial studies indicated that minimal Omega 3 fatty acids within the brain of infants closely associated with impaired visual acuity and perception. Based on recent human and animal studies, it showed that little Omega 3 levels within the brain is associated with cognition problems including a greater risk for ADHD, memory problems, and schizophrenia. Further studies also showed that low Omega 3 level intake in mothers lead to reduced neural development in their babies.

Alzheimer’s and Dementia

Conflict scientific evidence with regards to Omega 3 fatty acids efficiency and intake in Alzheimer’s and dementia treatment have been carried out. Small number of evidence indicated Omega 3 to be efficient in minimizing Alzheimer’s symptoms and risk to dementia.

Other studies indicate that the nootropic may be helpful in minimizing dementia risk while improving on Alzheimer’s symptoms. A study found that supplementing Omega 3 fatty acids enhanced EPA levels on the plasma membranes — a critical and clear indication of enhanced cognition capability.

Mechanisms

Omega 3 for brainOmega 3 fatty acids bring on their effect by minimizing the AA (arachidonic acid) derived from the production of eicosanoid. Eicosanoids that have been synthesized from the AA are said to play a critical position in a number of disease mechanisms including that of mental illness. AA coming from eicosanoids play important roles with regards to contraction of smooth muscles, inflammation, immunity, and platelet aggregation.

Omega 3 fatty acids, especially EPA, take effect by minimizing the metabolism of the arachidonic acid. EPA aids in producing alternative eicosanoids, which are thought to be less powerful, but still a beneficial. EPA also helps in producing Protectin D1 – a lipid mediator believed to play an integral part in protecting neuronal tissues from any destruction.

The nootropic is one of the many integral components found in a neuronal cell wall. Adequate consumption of Omega 3 lets neurons function normally by giving support to chemical transport and allowing for cell interaction. The substance also alters neuronal fluidity that aid in mood enhancement in depressed individuals and promote cognitive development in fetus and infants.

Safety and Side Effects

A number of studies indicate that ingesting Omega 3 is entirely safe. Possible side effects from the nootropic may include: GI upset, nausea, watery stools, and a fishy taste. These can easily be avoided when going for a premium produce or by not ingesting over 5 g of Omega 3.

Nootropic Review: Lion’s Mane Mushroom

Lion’s Mane is a nootropic mushroom going by the names of Sheep’s Head, Bear’s Head and Yamabushitake. The mushroom can be recognized immediately for its teeth-resembling spines compared to other mushrooms possessing the common cap-and-stem look. Lion’s mane has been utilized in Chinese medicine for centuries [1] [2].

Nootropic Stack

Lion’s Mane MushroomLion’s Mane is an excellent addition for a majority of stacks and can likely pair sufficiently with ALCAR, which is capable of enhancing NGF sensitivity in vitro. Further evidence indicate the nootropic to have memory-enhancing and anxiolytic properties that can mesh well with Bacopa [3].

Dosages of Lion’s Mane

A couple human studies to date involved using two to three grams of the nootropic extracted from fruiting bodies. Such studies noted a number of benefits through the given dosages. It’s still not clear if going above 3g/day would be a great benefit [4].

Nootropic Structure

Most of the research done involved focusing on two compounds: Erinacine and Hericenones. Hericenones usually found in the body of the mushroom while Erinacine taken from the mycelium. Both groups of compounds have a number of similar sub-components. The majority of them seem to trigger the release of growth factor.

Aside from the two compounds, the nootropic has a wealth of polysaccharides and some phenol content [4].

Absorption Properties

Certain absorption data for the Hericenones and Erinacine for humans has either been left unknown or never officially published. Recent studies in menopausal females indicate that it’s still not clear if such compounds made it past the blood-brain barrier [4].

Lion’s Mane Benefits

A study involving 18 rodents indicate that the nootropic has a neurodegenerative potential. Rats were divided into three groups: placebo, Lion’s Mane, and Methylcobalamin. The rodents were pre-treated for 2weeks by undergoing surgery to have sciatic nerve crushed, and then going for a 20-day post-surgical treatment.

Initial gait improvement was observed four days after both groups while the group without a placebo saw no changes. By the 10th day, the spreading of toes reverted back to its pre-surgical levels in both treated groups. Meanwhile, the placebo group showed no improvement. Scientists theorized that the nootropic improved recovery of the nerve via the neurogenesis.

A study that involved mice testing indicated the nootropic’s ability to support short term memory and recognition of objects after being exposed to beta-amyloid peptides. The beta-amyloid peptides are widely known for minimizing cognitive processes in rodents. Lion’s Mane was observed to curb cognitive deficit triggered by the beta amylase peptide by facilitating memory and object discrimination through a recognition test.

A Lion’s Mane extract of fruiting bodies found it to enhance healing of wounds when applied on the skin.Scientists observed minimal scarring and more blood vessel formation in the Lion’s Mane group compared to wounds treated with distilled water.

A one-month study consisting of 30 post-menopausal women showed that the nootropic was capable of minimizing anxiety and depression compared to those taking placebos. Volunteers were divided into two groups – one with powdered Lion’s mane (given in the form of cookies at four cookies daily consisting of 0.5 g of the nootropic), and the other with a placebo. After a month, patients from the Lion Mane’s group showcased less irritability, anxiety, and symptoms of depression compared to the placebo group [3] [5] [6].

Mechanism of Lion’s Mane

A number of studies showed how the Lion’s Mane is capable of improving the release of NGF. The compounds responsible were speculated to be Heroines and Erinacine. Human astrocytes cells study showcased how NGF expression through the JNK signaling along with the nootropic increased NGF and mRNA expression [7].

Lion’s Mane Safety and Side Effects

The nootropic has been culinary served in Asia for centuries and appears to be tolerated well by a majority of users.. One minor side effect observed in human clinical trials was gastrointestinal distress [8].

References:

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hericium_erinaceus
  2. http://www.perpetualcommotion.com/a/Lions_Mane.html
  3. http://www.smarternootropics.com/lions-mane-mushroom
  4. http://examine.com/supplements/Yamabushitake
  5. https://sites.google.com/site/forgetmenotps/mushroom/health-benefits-of-mushrooms
  6. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/paul-stamets/mushroom-memory_b_1725583.html
  7. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20834180
  8. http://nootriment.com/lions-mane

Nootropic Review: Bacopa

BacopaBacopa is a herb (also considered as a nootropic) that is dominant in Ayurvedic medicine [1]. It’s been recommended traditionally for enhancing memory and treating asthma and epilepsy. The nootropic is also classed as an adaptogen since it’s very effective in mitigating stress [2]. Bacoside, a class of compounds, are believed to be responsible for the majority of the nootropic’s effects, with Bacoside A being frequently studied [3].

Bacopa, as a nootropic, has been the referee frequently an anxiolytic, memory, and cognitive enhance. Based on a plenty of research done with the substance, Bacopa is capable of: [4]

  • Curbing drug-induced amnesia in animals
  • Normalizing levels of neurotransmitters in varying animals
  • Enhancing antioxidant content in the brains of rats
  • Improving memory for humans regardless of age
  • Minimizing anxiety
  • Enhancing workload capacity for individuals suffering from anxiety
  • Limiting error rates in varying cognitive tasks

Nootropic Stack

Bacopa is a recommended addition to the majority of nootropic stacks today. It functions to minimize anxiety and enhance memory. It seems to do so via adaptogenic means and by facilitating normal neurotransmitter levels while limiting dopamine and serotonin spikes after administering morphine in rats.

As a result of its unique processes, it can be stacked with most nootropics (adaptogens excluded), without worrying about overcooking a precise pathway. The supplement seems to take weeks to have an effect and shouldn’t be dependent on as an acute anxiolytic [5].

Dosages of Bacopa

Bacopa is mainly fat soluble and should be ingested with a meal. Each dosage of 150 mg, twice daily is a good starting point. Human clinical trials who have benefited from the drug utilized 150 mg of dosage [6].

Benefits of Bacopa

The nootropic is known to be a memory enhancer in Ayurvedic medicine. Research continues to back this traditional belief today. A rat study done indicated how Bacopa was capable of treating scopolamine-induced amnesia while offering protection against spatial memory impairment [7].

A number of human studies have confirmed that the supplement is capable of enhancing memory to individuals over 50 years of age, improving recall and memory retention and fighting depression.Whatever even more interesting is that a 12-week study done on 46 participants (between the ages of 18to 60 years), confirmed that the nootropic enhances verbal learning, early information processing speed,and memory formation [8] [9].

A study involving 40 children between the ages of six to eight years indicate how Bacopa is capable of:

  • Decreasing the time of reaction, performance, and errors in a visual-motor performance experiment
  • Dramatically enhancing digit span
  • Enhancing reaction time in a Raven’s definite matrices

Another study involving 35 participants with anxiety proved how the nootropic is capable of minimizing the average anxiety score, enhance behavior such as that of interaction, improve memory, and minimize mental fatigue. Such study was done without a placebo. The 35 participants were divided into 2 or 4-week treatment schedules. Both groups saw remarkable improvement, which suggests that Bacopa doesn’t require a lot of time to take effect. However, the biggest benefits were observed in the group who were treated for four weeks [8].

Mechanism of Bacopa

A number of studies indicate that the nootropic is capable of supporting antioxidant brain levels which include catalase, superoxide dismutase, and glutathione. In the brains of rats, Bacopa was shown to offer protection against aluminum and mercury neurotoxicity by minimizing oxidative stress [10].

Safety and Side Effects

Frequent observations in human trials done with Bacopa involved certain forms of gastrointestinal distress, cramping, increased stool frequency, and nausea. It’s sensible to ingest the nootropic with a fatty source (as frequently recommended) to ensure full absorption. Dividing the daily dosages to 2-3 servings may also aid in offsetting Gastrointestinal problems [11].

The recommended dosage of 250 mg per kg found it capable of minimizing spermatogenesis without affecting hormone and libido levels. Such effect can be overturned after termination of intake [12].

 References:

  1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20528765
  2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12957224
  3. http://www.wellcorps.com/Therapeutic-Effects-of-Bacopa-Monnieri.html
  4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19808086
  5. http://www.smarternootropics.com/bacopa
  6. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18683852
  7. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21607013
  8. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11498727
  9. http://www.bacopin.com/funchtionchild.htm
  10. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10815010
  11. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20590480
  12. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19041444
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