Let’s talk about nootropics and adaptogens! You may have come across these before, but there’s also a good chance you’ve never even heard of them and are wondering what they are all about. On the whole there has been an audible increase in people both talking about and using both nootropics and adaptogens. Both of which are becoming more widely used due to their mental and psychological benefits. The two are often referred to interchangeably, but in this blog, we’ll look at both in more detail and see what the differences are!
What is a Nootropic?
To put it simply, nootropics are substances that have a beneficial effect on mental skills and help enhance cognition. Nootropics typically come in the form of supplements or prescription drugs and can help improve memory, focus, mood and other brain functions.
Nootropics have become increasingly more popular and more widely used over the past few years. The rise of activities such as e-gaming have helped to amplify their popularity as more people are wanting to improve their focus and mental endurance. Due to the demand, established companies are starting to bring out their own range of nootropics.
This may surprise you, but most people consume a nootropic every day. That’s because caffeine is classed as a type of nootropic. We all know that caffeine can be an effective stimulant and can help you feel more awake and alert, but it also helps with short term memory and learning. Although it has beneficial cognitive effects, caffeine isn’t usually what people have when they are looking to take a nootropic supplement.
One popular choice of nootropic supplement is CDP-choline, which is said to help improve cognition and enhance memory. CDP-choline is also said to boost the release of dopamine and can potentially help with depression. Alpha-GPC is another type of nootropic that can be used to combat various cognitive issues. It’s actually a naturally produced compound, however it is also one of the more commonly used nootropic supplements amongst people with cognitive and memory issues.
What is an Adaptogen?
Adaptogens are plant-based pharmaceuticals that are generally used to help alleviate feelings of stress and anxiety, whilst helping maintain normal psychological functioning. More specifically, adaptogens help to regulate the release of cortisol, which is our primary stress hormone. They have historically been used in herbal medicines and although adaptogens have been around for decades, they have recently started to garner more attention. Adaptogens can typically be eaten with meals or taken as supplements, and there are many different types of these herbs available.
One of the most common adaptogens is Reishi, which is a type of mushroom that is said to calm nerves and relieve stress, whilst also helping to regulate hormones. Reishi mushrooms have been used in Asian cultures as herbal medicine for years, however it can now be found in food supplements such as Irish Botanica Reishi Mushrooms, whilst other brands also add Reishi to products like coffee. Many different mushrooms are types of adaptogens which are said to have different health benefits. Another popular one is Lion’s Mane, which can supposedly help to optimise cognitive performance for working and studying. Lion’s Mane has been used in traditional Chinese herbal medicines for centuries, but it is available today in supplements such as Irish Botanica Lions Mane Mushroom Capsules. Panax ginseng is another adaptogen that is said to help improve cognition. The ginseng plant has also traditionally been used as part of Chinese herbal medicines and is now being used by a wider audience. Panax ginseng are said to increase blood circulation, helping to boost your energy and stamina whilst also improving cognition.
Both nootropics and adaptogens have their uses and benefits and it’s easy to see why they are becoming increasingly popular. The benefits of the two can crossover, and some plants and herbs act as both nootropics and adaptogens. However, although there is often a crossover between the two, they typically have distinct characteristics. Nootropics usually help to enhance brain health and cognition, whereas adaptogens help us adapt to stress and reduce the feelings of anxiety.