What Are The Best Supplements For Focus And Energy?
There’s an incredible amount demanded of us throughout our day
Whether it be at school, work, or in our own personal passions and hobbies. We want to show up with our fullest capacity. We want to show up with peak focus and energy. When we can't, it can leave us feeling dejected and stuck playing the narrative that we’re not good enough, which can further affect our ability to perform. One of the most common ways we address this problem is with caffeine. It’s the most well-known natural supplement for energy and focus in the world. However, while caffeine is a natural supplement, it also comes with drawbacks, often leading to an eventual decline and crash in cognition. It can also burn out the adrenals when used too frequently. So, what alternatives are available that won’t make you crash?
5 of the Best Supplements For Focus And Energy
When it comes to choosing supplements, it's easy to get lost in the plethora of options available. There's so much choice with no real right or wrong answer. It depends entirely on your needs, and what you're trying to achieve. Here are some of the best supplements for focus and energy, which also have other associated benefits.
1. Bacopa Monnieri
Bacopa Monnieri is a well-renowned herb in Ayurvedic medicine. Its use dates back at least 3,000 years and has been used to improve memory, learning and concentration. It works by increasing the circulation, allowing for higher volumes of oxygenated blood, nutrients and glucose to be delivered to the brain. This, in turn, allows for higher cognitive functioning, which leads to an increased ability to focus, greater short-term recall, learning and concentration.
In fact, when tested against two other best-in-class cognitive enhancing substances - Ginseng and Modafinil - it outperformed them both, considerably. Bacopa works by balancing your levels of dopamine, serotonin and GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), helping to reduce the level of cortisol responsible for brain fog, which can lead to poor cognition.These neurotransmitters also play a significant role in increasing energy. However, the cognitive-enhancing effects are predominantly due to other bioactive compounds found within the supplement known as triterpenoid saponins. These are also something referred to as bacosides, the most important of these being bacoside A and bacoside B. If you’re considering taking Bacopa as a standalone supplement to assist in increasing focus and energy, you want to ensure it contains at least 55% bacosides. There have been multiple studies on Bacopa validating its effectiveness. In one review, analysing data from 9 studies which included 518 people, it was found 300 mg of Bacopa used daily improved brain function, considerably. Most notably, improvements were observed in the processing of information as well as response time. Although you should be aware, Bacopa isn’t as fast acting if you’re also looking for improvements in memory as well as focus. It takes around 4 to 6 weeks for Bacopa to have positive effects on memory according to the clinical trials conducted thus far. However, taking Bacopa as part of a formula has been shown to improve both its own effectiveness and bioavailability, as well as those it’s combined with.
2. Ginkgo Biloba
Ginkgo Biloba, also known as maidenhair, is an ancient herb that's been used in Chinese Medicine for thousands of years. In fact, it's most well renowned for its use in brain health. One of its most common usages is reversing the effects of cognitive decline, either due to short-term issues or age-related effects.
The most commonly accepted dosage for cognitive enhancement is between 120 and 240 mg, taken 1 to 4 hours before you need to focus. If you're intending to take Ginkgo to reduce the effects of age-related cognitive decline, taking 40 to 120 mg three times a day is the currently accepted dosage. It’s also been observed that taking 120 mg per day significantly alleviates both psychological and physiological distress and fatigue. Meaning, Ginkgo can also have a positive effect on energy levels. This is especially true when it's combined with other natural supplements that synergise well with Ginkgo. Much of Ginkgo’s effectiveness can be attributed to the increased circulation it promotes within the brain, as well as its capacity to aid in balancing brain chemistry. This facilitates protection against free radical damage due to its high concentration of antioxidants. Some of those antioxidants that aid in this process include flavonoids and terpenoids, which are well known for their positive effects in reversing various forms of physical and physiological decline. However, if you’re taking medications such as SSRIs, anticoagulants, and anti-platelets, you should avoid taking Ginkgo, as it can interfere greatly with the medications.
Phosphatidylserine is one of the lesser-known supplements used to aid focus and energy, however, it's very powerful and synergistic when combined with other nootropics. Phosphatidylserine is a fatty substance also known as phospholipid that covers and protects the cells in your brain, facilitating the transmission of messages between neurones. In short, it's a vital part of your brain chemistry. Your brain is composed mostly of fat. And so, you want to ensure that you're including not only the right nutrients, but adequate levels of them, as well. Although phosphatidylserine is found in certain foods, it can be challenging to incorporate into your diet. It’s also been observed that levels of phosphatidylserine decline as you grow older. During infancy, we have plentiful access to phosphatidylserine, as it’s found naturally in breast milk. However, our modern diet only provides about a third of the phosphatidylserine as it did 100 years ago. Sources of phosphatidylserine include animal products that, unfortunately, too few are willing to eat, making phosphatidylserine even harder to get on a plant-based diet. These include cow brains, mackerel, chicken hearts, eel, and offal. The typical modern diet contains about 130 mg of phosphatidylserine, whereas a therapeutic dose is considered to be in the region of around 300 mg a day. As well as contributing to the fatty layer within your brain, phosphatidylserine also helps increase the production of four major neurotransmitters including, serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine, and acetylcholine. Phosphatidylserine has also been shown to reduce cortisol levels in the brain.This is significant, as stress has been shown to contribute to brain fog, mood swings, memory loss and concentration problems. All of these prevent you from maintaining peak focus and energy during the day. However, one of the greatest benefits of phosphatidylserine is that it works synergistically to enhance other powerful cognitive enhancing supplements. Curcumin, the active compound in turmeric, which is known as one of the most effective all-around natural supplements for a host of ailments, is greatly aided when taken with phosphatidylserine. Curcumin also increases blood flow to the brain and boosts the production of serotonin and dopamine, thus aiding in cognition. However, it's poorly absorbed by the body. Approximately 85% of curcumin passes through the intestines without ever being absorbed. Studies have shown taking phosphatidylserine combined with curcumin greatly increases its bioavailability. Phosphatidylserine has also been shown to work incredibly well when combined with fish oil and Ginkgo Biloba.
4. Alpha GPC (alpha-glycerophosphocholine)
Alpha GPC is a form of choline, which is an essential nutrient for both the development of your brain and the formation of new neurotransmitters. It functions as a precursor to acetylcholine, which plays a key role in learning and memory. Unfortunately, choline supplements are not highly bioavailable and have difficulty entering the brain. Alpha GPC, on the other hand, can cross the blood-brain barrier much easier, promoting the formation of new cell membranes and new brain cells. Much like the other supplements on the list, Alpha GPC also works to increase levels of dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine, and GABA. GABA plays a key role in regulating your levels of relaxation, which also has a calming effect on the nervous system. People with low levels of GABA typically find themselves to be more susceptible to emotional triggering, becoming overwhelmed, overstimulated and generally more susceptible to stress than those with sufficient levels of GABA in their system. As one of the key components of maintaining focus is being well-regulated, this makes Alpha GPC an option well worth considering if you’re looking to increase focus and energy. Doses of alpha GPC are generally said to be between 300 and 600 mg. Although, there is currently no consensus on what a standardised dose is for Alpha GPC. However, in all studies carried out, participants in those trials were given 400 mg three times per day.
This patented supplement is a form of piperine that contains 95% piperine extracts. One of the main benefits of BioPerine is its ability to increase the bioavailability of other nutrients, which the body has difficulty absorbing. This is also sometimes known as “Bioenhancement.” One of the biggest examples of this is curcumin. As your body is only able to absorb around 85% of curcumin, taking it along with BioPerine can significantly increase its absorption. Some studies suggest that piperine can increase the bioavailability of curcumin by 2000%. Other nutrients that are known to be absorbed better with piperine include, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, selenium, Vitamin B6, and beta-carotene amongst others. Additional studies have shown that piperine may also improve dopamine and serotonin levels. And since these two neurotransmitters are responsible for feelings of positivity, they can also aid in lessening brain fog, which in turn can aid concentration. While there are no official guidelines for how much piperine you should take, the majority of clinical studies work with doses of between 5 to 20 mg a day. If you're taking Bioperine as a standalone supplement, it's generally recommended you take 5 mg three times daily for optimal results. However, it's important to be aware, taking piperine may affect the absorption of medication, such as blood thinners and those used to treat insomnia, pain and anxiety. So if you do wish to begin working with BioPerine and you’re currently taking any medications, it would be wise to consult with your doctor or physician before doing so.
Brain Booster Supplement
Dr. Becky Brain Booster doesn’t contain caffeine, but its unique composition means it keeps you alert. You can use it for a short period, for example to get through your exams, or use it every day to maintain your focus on your work or lessons. This supplement also contains ingredients that can have a calming effect on your nervous system, which will certainly be useful during stressful periods such as exam weeks. Favorable influence on cognitive functions such as memory, concentration and learning ability.
- Supports the proper functioning of the nervous system.
- Helps you to focus and perform better.
- Contains ginkgo biloba, which aids memory and concentration and promotes good circulation.
- Restores mental and physical balance.
- Activates your body’s natural energy.
- Enhances mental agility and helps you to think more clearly.
- Promotes red blood cell production.
- Helps you to stay alert without the use of caffeine.
- Balanced formula containing 11 different ingredients.
What Other Supplements Help With Focus And Energy?
It’s important to remind you, this isn’t a definitive list of the best supplements for energy and focus. There is a whole ecology of natural herbs and supplements that can help in maintaining your optimal levels of focus and energy. Here are some additional well-known natural supplements you might want to consider exploring:
- Ginseng: Ginseng has long been known as one of the best supplements for energy and focus. It’s famous for being able to significantly increase brain function. The active compounds are known as ginsenosides, eleutherosides, and ciwujianosides, which contribute to its cognitive enhancing effects.
- Sage: Although sage (salvia), is used predominantly for cooking, it’s also one of the best herbs for energy and focus, possessing impressive cognitive-enhancing effects when used as an essential oil. Its active compounds include luteolin, rosmarinic acid, camphor, quercetin, and apigenin, which can contribute to increased alertness, improved mood, attention and memory.
- Peppermint: Peppermint is another often overlooked herb for energy and focus. Working with peppermint essential oil has been shown to help boost energy, mood and alertness. There are multiple studies demonstrating that peppermint essential oil helps reduce fatigue while increasing alertness, memory, and energy.
- Rosemary: Rosemary is another common kitchen herb, that, when used as an essential oil may help improve your cognitive performance. Rosemary essential oil contains compounds known as terpenes, that enter your bloodstream and have positive effects on concentration and energy.
- Gotu Kola: Gotu Kola is an ancient herb that's been used to improve brain function for generations. One two-month study of 28 adults who received 250 to 750 mg doses of the extract a day found significant improvements in alertness and memory compared with the control group.
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