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Top Nootropics of 2019

L-Theanine

While many use L-theanine for its anxiolytic benefits, it also comes with the added bonus of improved focus. This is particularly true when it is paired with caffeine. This caffeine and theanine combination is often seen together in supplement formulas.

Theanine is an amino acid found in all teas and is popular for its ability to help you relax without the drowsiness, effectively reducing stress. A standard theanine dosage is 100-200mg. When pairing it with caffeine, most prefer either a 2:1 l-theanine to caffeine ratio or a 1:1 ratio.

Alpha-GPC

Alpha GPC is a nootropic in its own right; however, it works synergistically with many nootropics such as racetams to produce increased benefits. Alpha-GPC is a cholinergic compound that enhances cognition as well as athletic performance.

As a cholinergic, it increases levels of acetylcholine within the brain, which is the neurotransmitter responsible for learning and memory.

As for athletes, Alpha GPC can increase power output as well as stimulate growth hormones (two sources). Most individuals take 300mg one to two times daily.

Caffeine

Caffeine anhydrous is one of the most common ingredients pre-workout supplements, and it’s no different for nootropic supplements. From athletes to software engineers, anyone can benefit from the performance enhancing aspects of caffeine. In fact, caffeine can be so effective in improving performance that it was banned from international competition by the World-Anti Doping Agency up until 2004.

So just how does caffeine benefit your athletic and cognitive pursuits? Unlike most supplements that rely on anecdotes, caffeine has the science to back it up.

Caffeine has the ability to excite your central nervous system. In an athletic application, that means better muscle recruitment, less fatigue, faster reaction time and higher power output. In cognitive performance, it increases alertness and subjective well-being.

During exercise, caffeine increases your heart rate and blood pressure. With aerobic exertion, caffeine encourages the body to use fat as fuel, sparing the glycogen stores in your muscles. That spared glycogen is then available later in thus workout, thus prolonged perceived exhaustion. Not only that, but caffeine plays a huge role in muting the perception of physical pain and discomfort. That could mean the difference in running that extra mile, or grinding out that last rep or staying up another hour to finish an important work or school assignment.

In order to gain the maximum benefit from caffeine, it’s import to take the right dosage. If you’ve never taken caffeine before, or you know that you’re typically sensitive to stimulants, start with a low dose. As little as 20mg can be effective for someone without caffeine tolerance.

Depending on tolerance, the sweet spot typically ranges from 100-200mg for the average person. Any higher than that, and you start risking a decrease in physical or cognitive performance from overstimulation.

The caffeine will peak in your blood stream roughly 30-60 minutes after you ingest it, meaning you should be ready to perform starting within that time frame. But remember, caffeine tends to stay in your blood-stream for 6 hours, so if you work out or study late, it could negatively affect your sleep cycle. If you end up taking caffeine late, be sure to get caffeine out of your system before bed by taking rutaecarpine.

Sulbutiamine

This nootropic started as a solution for vitamin B (thiamine) deficiency, but was soon used for its cognitive effects due to the benfits of increased energy and alertness.

Thiamine (Vitamin B1) isn’t as efficient as sulbutiamine when someone is B1 deficient due to thiamine only being absorbed through the digestive tract. In contrast, sulbutiamine passes the blood-brain barrier which increases its bioavailability.

As a result of this enhanced absorption, the amount of phosphate esters circulating within the brain will increase. This means that sulbutiamine can act on the brain in a much lower dose than would be required of thiamine.

Aside from energy, sulbutiamine may increase memory, at least object-recognition memory according to an animal study.

Sulbutiamine is one of the most effective nootropics because of its impact on the cholinergic, glutamatergic, and dopamine receptor systems. Other benefits include increased attention span, increased alertness, and improved mood.

Ashwagandha Extract

This Ayurveda supplement is grouped under the category of adaptogens. As an adaptogen, ashwagandha complements a stressful lifestyle, or goes well with stimulants that increase stress—stimulants such as caffeine. Ashwagandha does this by supporting healthy cortisol levels and reducing this stress hormone.

Withanolide A, the active phytochemical in this extract, is responsible for indirectly increasing acetylcholine levels. Withanolide A achieves this by influencing the acetylcholinesterase enzyme. This benefit is similar to the effects of Alpha-GPC whereby learning and memory are increased.