Nootropics: How to Use Them

Have you seen our post on what ingredients to look out for in a cognitive function supplement and our review of Mind by The Power of Me yet? Find it here. Once you understand what these supplements can do for you, you might next begin wondering whether they are something you should add into your routine, and when.

Most nootropics are designed for everyday use. Those containing caffeine, even from a natural source such a guarana, should not be taken within a few hours of sleep. However, some may be caffeine free and have more calming ingredients such as the adoptogen ashwagandha and/or l-theanine, so might be beneficial before bed. When l-theanine is stacked with caffeine, as in Mind Support, it can reduce jittery negative effects while allowing us to still experience the positivies. Get familiar with what is in any supplement you buy and read the specific directions given by the brand carefully.

CDP-Choline, an ingredient we mentioned as a memory enhancer, can take 2-3 hours to start working and will be active for 6 hours*. Take early in the day before lectures or a day of work for best results. Caffeine takes around 45 minutes to be more or less fully absorbed, and will be effective for around 4-6 hours.

CDP Choline

Nootropic supplements can be a great choice to use pre-workout (disclaimer: drug tested athletes, always check the rules of your governing body). They can provide clean, non-jittery energy, mental focus, and drive. In a busy gym or on the field, it can be easy to become distracted or overwhelmed by what is going on around you. Academics and high level business professionals have been using them for years.

Side note: creatine, which has been used for decades to improve strength and power, has been shown to have huge cognitive benefits, especially in vegetarians. A very recent 2018 study found that creatine supplementation may improve short-term memory and intelligence/reasoning of healthy individuals*. There are a number of other studies pointing towards the same conclusion which can be easily found. This is because creatine is needed to restore energy in the brain, not just aesthetic muscles. There are even now suggestions that it could be used as a possible therapy for various euro-degenerative diseases including Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and Alzheimer’s disease.

As we know with caffeine, tolerance to some ingredients can build up. If you notice this with a supplement, it can be smarter to cycle off it rather than increase dose.

This is still a very new and exciting area of supplementation, especially for the athletic population. We hope to keep you updated as we find out more and build on our range of supplements in this category!

About the Author

Savannah Westerby, BSc Sport and Exercise Nutrition. IG:@savannahwesterby
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