A little brain boost can go a far way, right? The truth of the matter is that a significant proportion of adults feel that their brain isn’t as efficient as it should be.
See, even if you aren’t in your advanced years, there is a lot to be gained by using well-timed supplements designed to enhance your memory and cognition. Also referred to as “Nootropics”,
these supplements can improve your focus or alertness to help you perform better at your job or even your workout.
Wondering what supplements can help to supercharge your brain? Let’s check them out now.
SUMMARY AND DOSAGES OF THE 4 BEST SUPPLEMENTS FOR MEMORY AND COGNITION
Ginkgo Biloba: 120-600mg
Huperzine A: 0.2-0.8mg
Bacopa Monnieri: 300-450mg
WHAT IS GINKGO BILOBA/WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
Ginkgo Biloba is an ancient Chinese herb used for centuries for its ability to boost important facets of brain health, such as focus and memory. It may also help mitigate the rate of age-related cognitive decline.
WHO SHOULD TAKE GINKGO BILOBA?
Ginkgo Biloba can be taken by people in general good health as a way to improve brain power. It can be a useful adjuvant for students that spend long nights studying or anyone seeking to improve mental acuity.
HOW MUCH GINKGO BILOBA SHOULD YOU TAKE?
Total daily dosages of between 120-600mg daily is normal. Higher dosages than this will not lead to a superior experience but may increase the risk of side effects. It is also not advised to consume close to bedtime as it will interfere with restful sleep.
WHAT DOES THE RESEARCH ON GINKGO BILOBA SHOW?
Ginkgo Biloba has a significant body of research behind it, which demonstrates its benefit for the brain.
For instance, the results of a 2011 trial published in the Journal of Phytomedicine found that over the course of 6 weeks, subjects aged between 45-56 were able to significantly improve their recollection ability (short term memory) when compared to placebo.
Smaller studies have also demonstrated its ability to improve cerebral blood flow, as was published in the Journal of Neuroradiology in 2011. Reduced blood viscosity and enhanced all over cerebral blood flow were reported in elderly men judged to be in good health.
GINKGO BILOBA SIDE EFFECTS
In normal adult populations, side effects of ginkgo Biloba consumption are infrequent at recommended dose ranges. At higher dosages, insomnia, tremors, and increased heart rate is possible.
Interactions may also exist with anti-hypertensive medication, those used to treat heart failure or blood thinners. Be sure to consult your physician or pharmacist for guidance on these matters before starting consumption.
WHAT IS HUPERZINE A/WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
Huperzine A is a naturally occurring alkaloid found in the plant Huperzia Serrata native to the wet marshy areas of Asia. It acts by inhibiting the action of the enzyme acetylcholinesterase that breaks down acetylcholine- a key brain chemical involved in learning, memory, and focus.
WHO SHOULD TAKE HUPERZINE A?
Huperzine A can be highly beneficial for anyone suffering from cognitive impairment; such as people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease, to students looking to improve focus and retention, and even executives wanting to enhance their brain power and concentration on the job.
HOW MUCH HUPERZINE A SHOULD YOU TAKE?
The recommended dosage of Huperzine A can be considered small, as daily consumption very scarcely exceeds 1mg. The most common dose range stands at between 0.2-0.8mg, taken preferably in split doses throughout the day.
Huperzine A has a half-life in the body of approximately 5 hours, so to maintain a stable blood level you will need to consume it at least twice daily (during awake hours).
WHAT DOES THE RESEARCH ON HUPERZINE ASHOW?
Huperzine A is a thoroughly researched compound, and can arguably be considered the most promising supplement you can consume to improve your memory and cognition.
Effects On Memory
One double blind clinical trial published in the Chinese journal Zhongguo Yao Li Xue Bao compared the effects of Huperzine A against placebo in adolescent subjects.
Over the course of 4 weeks, Huperzine A administered at the dose of 100 micrograms twice daily yielded superior effects on memory and overall learning.
Effects On Accelerated Cognitive Decline
A reduction in cognitive abilities is expected with advancing age, but the onset of Alzheimer’s disease accelerated this process exponentially.
A study published in The International Journal of clinical and experimental pathology found that Huperzine A administration reduced inflammation and deposition of beta-amyloid protein in the brain, which both trigger neuronal cell death.
These findings are exciting because it means that the rate of cognitive decay can be mitigated with the use of Hup A.
There is also a strong likelihood that Huperzine A exerts a neuroprotective action on brain cells to protect against oxidative damage and environmental risk factors.
HUPERZINE A SIDE EFFECTS
Side effects of Huperzine A supplementation are rare when taken at the recommended doses, but when they occur, tend to be cholinergic in nature.
This is owing to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine which is increased under the effects of Huperzine A.
Side effects may include nausea, upset stomach, muscle weakness, and a reduced heart rate.
WHAT IS BACOPA MONNIERI/WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
A plant native to Asia and Australia, this “weed” is likely the very first nootropic that was ever used. It is known as a stimulating and calming herb at the same time that can help support a range of cognitive benefits.
WHO SHOULD TAKE BACOPA MONNIERI?
Bacopa Monnieri can be used by people across the age spectrum, ranging from students or executives that need a brain boost, to the older population seeking to offset cognitive decline. It may also be used to deal with acute or chronic stress and shows promise in managing ADHD.
HOW MUCH BACOPA MONNIERI SHOULD YOU TAKE?
The most commonly researched dosage of Bacopa Monnieri is in the range of 300-450mg daily. This refers to specific extract amounts, and not the overall amount of consumed plant powder.
WHAT DOES THE RESEARCH ON BACOPA MONNIERI SHOW?
Improves Cognition and Memory
Several studies have been conducted on Bacopa Monnieri when it comes to its potential for improving brain function.
A review of 9 studies involving a total of 518 subjects found that it positively improved cognition and attention selectivity, as well as reducing reaction times.
Yet another study found that it improved memory and can help counter the amnesic effect of date rape drugs.
Can Help Manage Depression and Stress States
Two small trials totaling 71 subjects found that Bacopa Monnieri could help reduce cortisol levels, known to have a negative impact on the memory centers of the brain. Other neurotransmitter changes such as lowered serotonin and dopamine levels experienced with an increased cortisol level are also countered via consumption of Bacopa.
BACOPA MONNIERI SIDE EFFECTS
When taken at researched levels, Bacopa Monnieri is very safe and only associated with mild adverse effects such as nausea. In rodent studies, high intake is associated with transient suppression of spermatogenesis (sperm production), which returns to normal quickly when the supplement is discontinued.
It may also potentiate the effect of tricyclic antidepressants such as amitriptyline so be sure to discuss any other medication/supplements you may be using with your health care provider.
WHAT IS CITICHOLINE/WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
Citicoline, otherwise known as CDP choline or cytidine-5-diphosphocholine is a molecule that raises levels of acetylcholine in the brain to boost memory, cognition, and also overall neuronal health.
WHO SHOULD TAKE CITICHOLINE?
Citicoline is safe for use for kids as well as adults. It can support learning even in states of malnutrition (according to animal studies), making it very useful in low-income settings.
It is also extremely promising in dealing with diseased brain states, including ischemia, dementia, or Alzheimer’s.
HOW MUCH CITICHOLINE SHOULD YOU TAKE?
Citicoline's daily dosage ranges from 250-2000mg, although there may be some benefit from as little as 100mg.
WHAT DOES THE RESEARCH ON CITICHOLINESHOW?
Can Protect Against Cognitive Deficits As A Result Of Impoverishment
It’s not surprising that nutritional deficiency can affect brain function in kids and adults alike, but rodent studies done using Citicholine have found that this impact can be mitigated.
The findings, published in the Journal Learning Memory revealed that over the course of 3 months, showed that rats given CDP choline compensated for the malnourished states and displayed superior memory and retentive skills than the control group.
Improves Memory Deficits In Diseased States
Studies have found that administration of Citicholine can help arrest the speed of senile cognitive impairment, or that which occurs following brain injuries such as a stroke or physical trauma.
By helping to reinforce cellular membranes (consisting heavily of phosphatidylcholine) and reinforcing the synthesis of acetylcholine many of the adverse outcomes can be reduced.
CITICHOLINE SIDE EFFECTS
Citicoline is found naturally in all cellular membranes found in humans. It is also naturally occurring in many foods we eat. However, because of its ability to increase levels of acetylcholine, cholinergic side effects such as nausea, diarrhea and increased perspiration are possible.
It may interact with anti-cholinergic medications, such as those used to help manage symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
WHERE CAN I BUY A GOOD MEMORY SUPPLEMENT?
Made with effective, high-quality, ingredients, Dawn to Dusk was designed to be a better and healthier alternative to the old fashioned energy supplements. With as little caffeine as a single cup of coffee, Dawn to Dusk provides up to 10 hours of clean energy and helps improve mood, heighten mental focus, and boost productivity.
Unlike coffee and energy drinks where you feel an instant burst of energy and a crash later on, Dawn to Dusk give you a smoother and longer lasting supply of energy with no jitters, no afternoon crash, and of course, with no calories or sugar.
- Kaschel R. Specific memory effects of Ginkgo biloba extract EGb 761 in middle-aged healthy volunteers. Phytomedicine. 2011;18(14):1202-1207. doi:10.1016/j.phymed.2011.06.021
- Mashayekh A, Pham DL, Yousem DM, Dizon M, Barker PB, Lin DD. Effects of Ginkgo biloba on cerebral blood flow assessed by quantitative MR perfusion imaging: a pilot study. Neuroradiology. 2011;53(3):185-191. doi:10.1007/s00234-010-0790-6
- Sun QQ, Xu SS, Pan JL, Guo HM, Cao WQ. Huperzine-A capsules enhance memory and learning performance in 34 pairs of matched adolescent students. Zhongguo Yao Li Xue Bao. 1999;20(7):601-603.
- Zhu N, Lin J, Wang K, Wei M, Chen Q, Wang Y. Huperzine A protects neural stem cells against Aβ-induced apoptosis in a neural stem cells and microglia co-culture system. Int J Clin Exp Pathol. 2015;8(6):6425-6433. Published 2015 Jun 1.
- Kongkeaw C, Dilokthornsakul P, Thanarangsarit P, Limpeanchob N, Norman Scholfield C. Meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials on cognitive effects of Bacopa monnieri extract. J Ethnopharmacol. 2014;151(1):528-535. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2013.11.008
- Prabhakar, S., Saraf, M.K., Pandhi, P. et al. Bacopa monniera exerts antiamnesic effect on diazepam-induced anterograde amnesia in mice. Psychopharmacology 200, 27–37 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00213-007-1049-8
- Sheikh N, Ahmad A, Siripurapu KB, Kuchibhotla VK, Singh S, Palit G. Effect of Bacopa monniera on stress induced changes in plasma corticosterone and brain monoamines in rats. J Ethnopharmacol. 2007;111(3):671-676. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2007.01.025
- Fioravanti M, Buckley AE. Citicoline (Cognizin) in the treatment of cognitive impairment. Clin Interv Aging. 2006;1(3):247-251. doi:10.2147/ciia.2006.1.3.247
- Teather LA, Wurtman RJ. Dietary CDP-choline supplementation prevents memory impairment caused by impoverished environmental conditions in rats. Learn Mem. 2005;12(1):39-43. doi:10.1101/lm.83905
- de la Morena E. Efficacy of CDP-choline in the treatment of senile alterations in memory. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1991;640:233-236. doi:10.1111/j.1749-6632.1991.tb00224.x