Welcome to our new mini blog series, where we will be diving into the Best Nootropics of 2020, starting with the Brain Health & Memory category.
Nootropics are so diverse in their effects and their benefits that its wise to separate them into categories and not necessary lump them into a "one size fits all" solution.
As such, we would love to go over our 3 top picks for Nootropics in 2020 that can help support brain health and memory.
Why is brain health and memory important?
- Prevent and stave off cognitive decline or neurodegeneration due to lifestyle, disease or aging
- Keep you sharp and able to perform at your peak at all times
- Supporting memory, in particular working memory, is important with holding many pieces of information in your brain at once, and is associated with academic success and is hugely important for skill acquisition in life
#1 - Bacopa Monnieri (Synapsa)
Bacopa Monnieri is an ancient herb, having been used for 1000's of years in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Ayurvedic medicine.
It is commonly known as the king memory herb for its ability to support brain function, and in particular, memory in humans.
Bacopa contains numerous compounds called Bacosides which contribute to its potent, memory and brain enhancing effects.
There are studies that show that supplementing 150mg of standardized extract of Bacopa called Bacognize, twice daily, over a period of six weeks provided statistically significant improvements in cognitive function.
- anti-oxidant neuroprotection (via redox and enzyme induction)
- acetylcholinesterase inhibition and/or choline acetyltransferase activation
- β-amyloid reduction
- increased cerebral blood flow
- neurotransmitter modulation (acetylcholine [ACh], 5-hydroxytryptamine [5-HT], dopamine [DA])
Bacopa is one of few very well studied nootropic compounds. For this reason, it is one of our flagship ingredients in our daily neurovitamin, Enhance.
Be weary, however, anecdotally some users report to have reduced feelings of motivation after consuming Bacopa. This may be due to the fact that some standardized extracts contain higher amounts of Serotonin Active Bacopa Glycosides (SABG’s) which may contribute to higher serotonin and thus give a more calming effect.
We are controlling/countering this in our Enhance Nootropic by utilising the Synapsa brand of standardised Bacopa extract, and also suggesting that the dosage be split to morning/night.
Synapsa™ Bacopa has been the focus of seven foundational clinical trials and six targetted clinical trials over the past 35 years. A summary of some of these studies are:
The patented, standardized Synapsa extract has been the focus of seven ‘foundational’ clinical trials and six ‘targeted’ clinical trials over the last thirty-five years. The most intriguing studies include:
Stough, 2001 showed a statistically significant improvement in speed of visual information processing, learning rate and memory consolidation in subjects 18-60 years of age consuming 300 mg/day Synapsa. A statistically significant reduction in the rate of forgetting was also observed.
Roodenrys, 2002 conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled 12-week trial that demonstrated a significant effect of Synapsa (300mg/d) on the retention of new information by participants 40-65 years of age.
Stough, 2008 conducted a randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled 90-day study with 62 participants, ages 18-60, consuming 300 mg/day. Synapsa showed a statistically significant improvement in working memory, visual information processing (sustained attention) and accuracy in complex cognitive tasks.
Downey, 2012 studied two different doses (320 mg/640 mg) in a study on sustained cognitive performance, examining the acute (short term) effect of Synapsa in healthy adult subjects. Significantly improved performance was seen in faster information processing and improved decision-making time in a multitasking environment.
#2 - CDP-Choline
CDP-Choline, or otherwise known as Citicholine is the most bioavailable form of choline available.
Supplemental Citicholine/CDP-Choline is broken down into choline, the precursor to Acetylcholine (the learning neurotransmitter) and cytidine in the intestines so that is able to cross the blood-brain barrier. Once these cross the Blood-brain barrier the body uses them to reform citicoline where it can be used by the brain.
CDP-Choline has a variety of mechanisms of action where it exerts its effect including:
Improved memory: CDP-choline is used to increase levels of acetylcholine which is responsible for memory storage and recall during periods of high demand (e.g. mentally demanding tasks).
- Activating the biosynthesis of structural phospholipids in the neuronal membranes
- Increasing cerebral metabolism
- Acting on the levels of various neuortransmitters (Acetylcholine and Dopamine)
CDP-Choline is a water soluble molecule, with more than 90% oral bioavailability. Peak plasma levels occur one hour after oral ingestion. Doses of up to 2000mg have been observed in humans and animals without causing any toxicity.
Supplementation with citicoline can increase the amount of choline available for acetylcholine synthesis and aid in rebuilding membrane phospholipid stores after depletion.
Both in animals and in human beings, citicoline has been shown to possess proved neuroprotective properties.
The usual daily therapeutic dosage of citicoline in humans is 500–2,000 mg.
Citicoline has a lot of promising clinical data to back its efficacy, particularly for those suffering from brain impairments. We think this is an essential nutrient to supplement with if you really want to preserve your brain over the long term, and minimise neurodegeneration due to aging or disease.
We've outlined some useful studies below outlining the effect CDP-Choline can have:
#3 - Sharp PS Phosphatidylserine
Sharp PS™ Phosphatidylserine is a phospholipid and key component of cell membranes, including the myelin sheath surrounding neurons/nerve cells.
It plays an important role in cell signalling, and is required for healthy nerve cell membranes and myelin (the fatty sheath that surrounds and protects neurons, providing insulation and allowing electrical impulses to travel between them).
Supplementation with Sharp PS Phosphatidylserine has also been shown to:
1. Increase cell-to-cell communication,
2. Support neuron cell survival
3. Activation of various cellular enzymes that are important for synaptic plasticity
Sharp-PS is a patented form of Phosphatidylserine that has achieved GRAS status from the FDA and is derived from soy lecithin. Sharp PS has also recently been approved by FSANZ and the TGA in Australia to make brain health claims (one of very few ingredients).
Shapr PS is the form of Phosphatidylserine used in Enhance at a dose of 100mg/serve.
There have been over 50 clinical studies looking at Sharp PS and its effect on improving brain function.
Clinical evidence shows Phosphatidylserine has efficacy in improving memory scores in the elderly over a 6 week period (at a dose of 100-300mg/day).
Phosphatidylserine may play a big role in staving off neurodegeneration, and supporting short term and long term memory formation. This nutrient is essential to our cells and it would be wise to supplement with if you're not taking in enough from your diet.
Here's a link to a couple of studies for Phosphatidylserine: