The health and wellness industry has gone crazy for nootropics and adaptogens in recent years. And while everyone from Joe Jonas to Travis Barker might be talking about them, it seems Ayurveda got there first. More than 5,000 years ago to be exact. But what exactly are they? And why should you pay attention? We reveal everything you need to know in our latest guide.
Adaptogens and nootropics: what's the difference?
Typically derived from plants, they help the body and mind to deal with stress. By helping us to stay balanced, our body and mind remain strong and therefore less susceptible to anxiety and stress. Plus, when we’re able to cope with these feelings more easily, the effects on our overall body are less.
Nootropics are supplements that help to boost our brain function, memory and cognitive abilities. They’re also great for increasing our alertness and concentration - which is something we probably all struggle with from time to time! There’s now even more ways that you can benefit from them too - thanks to the emergence of new supplements and drinks.
As with most things in life, there are a few myths surrounding nootropics and adaptogens. Here, we’re going to debunk some of the most common.
Do nootropics and adaptogens even work?
Perhaps the most common myth is that they don’t work. Unfortunately, there isn’t a magic pill out there that will give us instant powers and Ayurveda says nootropics and adaptogens should be enjoyed as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle. However, there is plenty of scientific evidence to back up the use of both.
How long do nootropics and adaptogens take to work?
You might have questioned how long it takes for nootropics and adaptogens to take effect. Again, these supplements are not there for a quick-fix. Instead, they’re designed to be part of a daily routine to enhance your wellbeing and lifestyle.
Will nootropics and adaptogens interfere with medication?
It’s important to remember that any supplement is not designed to replace existing medication, but instead to be used alongside it as a supporting tool. We do recommend that you get in touch with your doctor before starting anything new.
What are the benefits of nootropics?
Natural nootropics can help your brain to function better. This is because their ingredients like Ginseng and Omega-3 interact with the brain’s nerve cells and give its production rate and quality a kick in the right direction. But that’s not the only benefit you can expect:
Certain nootropics work to increase alpha waves in the brain. This then boosts the chemical messengers and neurotransmitters in the brain, increasing alertness and improving concentration.
By preventing inflammation and damage of brain cells, nootropics ensure optimum brain health. Not just this but it protects against future damage. Even better, they work to accelerate and stimulate protein production which further supports brain health.
Nootropics promote the growth of neurons in the brain and also protect them. These are also known as nerve cells and are responsible for sending messages around the body and help to keep our memory intact.
Stronger mental cognition
Again, by increasing alpha waves in the brain, nootropics can build up our mental cognition. They also help to improve transmissions from one nerve cell to the next and promote healthy regrowth of brain cells.
What are the benefits of adaptogens?
Adaptogens are effective at calming our body and mind, and helping us to deal with any negative feelings. Other benefits include:
Reduced stress and anxiety
One of the biggest known benefits of adaptogenic herbs, like Ashwagndha, is the fact that they help to reduce cortisol levels, calm the brain and even lower blood pressure. By reducing the psychological effects of stress, we can also prevent the physical impact of stress.
Better nervous system
Adaptogens have also been proven to aid the nervous system - thanks to their antidepressant and anti-fatigue qualities. By strengthening the internal processes within our body and stabilising mood, adaptogens can build up our body and mind’s resilience.
With such incredible benefits for our mood and stress levels, it’s hardly surprising that adaptogens can also help us to sleep better. This is because they promote feelings of calm and help our brain to switch off.
Stronger brain health
That’s not all either as some studies have even shown that adaptogens can boost brain function, brain cell growth, learning abilities, neuroplasticity and blood flow.
The best nootropics
From nootropics for motivation to nootropics for studying, we’ve rounded up some of the most popular nootropic ingredients and the benefits.
- Caffeine - Yep, most of us have this every day and we bet you didn’t even realise it was a nootropic. Naturally found in coffee, some nuts, tea and cocoa, it alerts the receptors in our brain and makes us feel less tired.
- Brahmi - Having been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years, this anti-inflammatory herb, also known as Bacopa Monnieri, is ideal for improving memory and brain health, and increasing learning speed and brain capacity.
- Shankhavali - For over 5,000 years, this has been used to boost cognitive performance, creativity and memory.
- Amla - Known as Indian Gooseberry, Amla promotes immune functions, enhances heart and liver health, and supports healthy digestion. It also protects against damaged brain cells and is great for memory!
- Ashwagandha - This wonder herb has been proven to relieve stress and anxiety, sharpens memory and focus, and lowers blood sugar making it easier for you to concentrate.
- Rhodiola Rosea - This herb is proven to have lots of mental performance benefits and reduces feelings of brain fog and fatigue.
- Ginseng - With memory-boosting effects and cognitive enhancing properties, this herb can boost mental performance and reduce fatigue.
The best adaptogens
Whether you’re looking for the best types of adaptogens for social anxiety or you just want a list of adaptogens and the benefits, here we round up some of the most popular ingredients:
- Ginseng - Effective at boosting memory and immune systems, it supports a calm mindset and healthy brain, and aids reaction times.
- Ashwagandha - Proven to reduce stress and anxiety (amongst other things around the body).
- Tulsi - Also known as Holy Basil, reduces physical and mental stress as well as depression and stress-related anxiety.
- Goji Berry - Sweet tasting, they can boost energy as well as physical and mental performance and provide a sense of calmness and wellbeing.
- Licorice Root - Helps to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.
- Rhodiola Rosea - Reduces feelings of physical and mental tiredness and gives you enough strength to tackle tasks.
- Turmeric - As well as being an effective treatment for health concerns around the body, Turmeric boosts the function of the brain and combats depression.
How can I take adaptogens and nootropics?
One of the best things about adaptogens and nootropics is that they can be taken together. You may have also realised that some ingredients, like Ginseng, are both an adaptogen and nootropic. Win-win! Some people choose to consume the plant directly but if, like us, you don’t have time to go foraging, you could just get your daily fix with one of our Ayurvedic-inspired dietary supplements.
Mind Balance, our natural nootropic supplement, is bursting with adaptogens and nootropics, and contains Brahmi, Ashwagandha, Amla and Shankhavali to name a few. It’s a mind-calming daily capsule that has everything you need to boost focus, feel calm and combat those stressful days.
And, if you’re looking to benefit from the positive effects of adaptogens, you can’t go wrong with a cup of our delicious Love Cacao Latte Powder. Packed with adaptogens like Shatavari, Ashwangdha and Maca, it boosts mood and energy, helps you to tune into your body and is great for connecting within on a deeper level.
Don’t forget, if you’re looking for any more inspiration, our Instagram is packed with advice and lifestyle tips and tricks!