What are Natural Nootropics?
Natural nootropics have recently taken the world by storm! There are a lot of fantastic natural nootropics out there, like one of our most popular mushroom products, Lion’s Mane Mushroom and a widely-used herb called Bacopa monnieri. However, the notoriety of these products have forced some other really interesting natural nootropics into the shadows. This is a shame, as there is an amazing color palette of interesting herbs, plant extracts, and compounds that get much less attention than they actually deserve. With this is mind, we thought we’d shine a spotlight on the shadows and illuminate some of these best, lesser-known natural nootropics. Let’s get into it!
What is 7,8-Dihydroxyflavone?
7 8 dihydroxyflavone is like one of those obscure, underground bands that you hear about through a friend. Almost nobody knows about them, but they produce unique, powerful and enthralling music. 7 8 dihydroxyflavone is similar, as it spends most of its time lurking in obscurity, but once you find out about it, you realize it is one of the best natural nootropics out there. 7 8 dihydroxyflavone is a naturally occurring flavone which does something really unique: it perfectly mimics Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) in our brains. BDNF is a large protein which binds to a receptor called TrkB, and by binding to TrkB, it produces structural changes in our brains. This process is called neuroplasticity which is an ongoing process in our brains that is crucial for overall cognitive function and brain health. There exists many supplements which can help boost BDNF levels, however, 7 8 dihydroxyflavone goes one step further and binds to the TrkB receptor with a similar potency as BDNF. This is very unique as there are practically no other, small molecule naturally and occurring compounds which can do this.
By supplementing with 7 8 dihydroxyflavone, you may help significantly boost neuroplasticity in your brain which may help you absorb information faster and apply complex concepts quicker. In addition to this, neuroplasticity is also highly involved in regulating our overall mood. By enhancing neuroplasticity with 7 8 dihydroxyflavone, you may experience a subtle, yet noticeable lift in mood. This effect seems to be especially pronounced with 7 8 dihydroxyflavone sublingual dosing. If you want to learn more about the specifics of exactly how 7 8 dihydroxyflavone works, we would recommend giving our 7 8 dihydroxyflavone blog a read.
What is Agmatine Sulfate?
If you are big into health and fitness, there is a good chance you may have heard about this supplement. Agmatine Sulfate can be found in various pre-workouts and “pump” products, where it serves the purposes of enhancing nitric oxide levels. This allows more blood to flow into our muscles during a workout, giving us a full feeling in our muscles which can greatly help boost our workouts. However, what often gets overshadowed is that Agmatine is actually a great natural nootropic!
Agmatine is found all throughout our bodies, but Agmatine concentrations are especially high in our brains. Within our brains, Agmatine interacts strongly with various neurotransmitter systems and brain pathways. In particular, Agmatine appears to interact the most with the glutamate receptors and pathways in our brains. In fact, it has been shown that Agmatine concentrations become elevated in some areas of our brains during learning tasks, and Agmatine appears to play an important role in memory formation in these areas. Thus, by supplementing with Agmatine, we can help turbo charge these memory formation events which may help increase overall cognitive function with an emphasis on learning and memory.
Furthermore, Agmatine may help regulate stress levels by exerting a gently calming effect. In addition to the stress-regulating effects, Agmatine benefits may also help promote a positive mood! What’s better than being in a great, relaxed mood whilst also being able to absorb information quicker? With Agmatine, this can be a very real scenario you may find yourself in during your next big study sessions or brainstorming session at work.
Agmatine also plays a very important role in protecting our brains from various stressors, such as oxidative stress and inflammation. Agmatine achieves this by regulating nitric oxide levels in the brain. As we mentioned earlier, Agmatine is well known for boosting nitric oxide levels which may lead to enhanced blood flow. However, in the brain, elevated levels of nitric oxide are not very desirable. Luckily, Agmatine selectively enhances nitric oxide levels in our blood vessels, leading to better blood flow while blocking excessive nitric oxide levels in the brain. This effect makes Agmatine Sulfate a great natural nootropic for keeping our brains healthy and functioning at the highest level possible!
What is Acetyl L-Carnitine?
This unique natural nootropic was somewhat of a legendary nootropic many years ago. It’s first claim to fame was in the bodybuilding world where it was being used as a fat burner and pre-workout ingredient. Some of these bodybuilders quickly realized that Acetyl L-Carnitine was giving them substantially heightened focus and it quickly started to become popular with students looking to gain that extra edge during long study sessions. Then, for whatever reason, Acetyl L-Carnitine started to decline in popularity, perhaps due to the saturation of the nootropics market with all kinds of exotic compounds and nootropic stacks. However, for some of the old school nootropic aficionados, Acetyl L-Carnitine is still a mainstay in their stack for one simple reason: it works really well!
Acetyl L-Carnitine does something different than most other natural nootropics. Acetyl L-Carnitine is naturally present in our bodies and participates in a process that turns dietary choline into the powerful cognition enhancing neurotransmitter, acetylcholine. Acetyl L-Carnitine achieves this by transferring its acetyl group to a compound called Acetyl-Coenzyme A in a process called Carnitine Acetyl Transferase. This Acetyl-Coenzyme A then enters a process called Choline Acetyl Transferase where the acetyl group from the Acetyl-Coenzyme A is transferred to choline. This then yields acetylcholine, which as you may already know, participates widely in the process of learning and memory.
By boosting acetylcholine levels, Acetyl L-Carnitine benefits focus while also making learning new skills and material much easier. In addition to this, the effects of Acetyl L-Carnitine can be quite stimulating, allowing you to focus harder and for longer periods of time with minimal fatigue. Furthermore, Acetyl L-Carnitine benefits are similar to Phoshatidylserine benefits (Smart PS), in the sense that it can serve as a fantastic component in most nootropic stacks. For example, Acetyl L-carnitine's benefits synergize really well with another product in this blog which we will discuss later called OptimALA. Acetyl L-Carnitine also stacks really well with choline sources such as Cognizin or Alpha-GPC. Just be sure to keep the dosages on your choline source lower as Acetyl L-Carnitine will substantially increase the rate of acetylcholine production. Acetyl L-Carnitine also helps make us more sensitive to the effects of Nerve Growth Factor (NGF). Similar to BDNF, NGF helps strengthen connections throughout our brain and may even help with nerve related pain. This also means that Acetyl L-Carnitine can stack well with other NGF boosting supplements such as our Lion’s Mane Mushroom extracts!
What is Berberine?
Berberine is another one of those supplements which is actually quite famous, however, it does not receive much attention for its nootropic effects. This is a shame because Berberine may actually act as an incredibly efficacious and unique nootropic. Berberine is special, because it acts on a receptor that not many other naturally occurring compounds act on: the sigma-1 receptor. The sigma-1 receptor is a really unique receptor that, up until recently, has not received much attention yet it seems to play a major role in cognitive function.
Activation of Sigma-1 receptors by Berberine may help enhance BDNF levels in addition to optimizing the function of NMDA receptors. Both BDNF and NMDA activity are highly related to the encoding of memories. By optimizing BDNF and NMDA activity through Sigma-1 receptors, Berberine may provide a powerful boost to cognitive function that is unique among other natural nootropics. Furthermore, Berberine may help boost acetylcholine levels which is yet another neurotransmitter that plays an important role in maintaining and perhaps even boosting cognitive function. Berberine achieves this by blocking an enzyme which degrades acetylcholine called acetylcholinesterase. By blocking acetylcholinesterase, Berberine may be able to help gently elevate acetylcholine levels throughout the brain. In combination with its sigma-1 effects, this makes Berberine a great option if you are looking for an efficacious and all natural nootropic!
GOTU KOLA EXTRACT
What is Gotu Kola Extract?
Although Gotu Kola is not the most obscure natural nootropic around, there is something unique about our Gotu Kola tablets that often goes under the radar. At Nootropics Depot, we always strive for new novel approaches to natural nootropics, and we decided to task ourselves with improving upon the cognition-enhancing effects of Gotu Kola. We quickly discovered that the majority of the bioactive molecules in Gotu Kola, such as asiaticosides and madecassosides, are easily broken down by our stomach acid via a process called acid hydrolysis. Luckily, the asiaticosides and madecassosides break down into asiatic acid and madecassic acid, which are responsible for the vast majority of Gotu Kola benefits. Asiaticosides and madecassosides have been extensively studied and have wide ranging effects, including prominent nootropic effects. With this in mind, we wanted to preserve the asiaticosides and madecassosides in Gotu Kola, by protecting them from our stomach acid. We achieved this by developing Gotu Kola tablets with an enteric coating that can resist stomach acid. This means, that our Gotu Kola tablets pass through the stomach, before they start dissolving. Through this process, the asiaticosides and madecassosides are preserved, and thereby the nootropic effects of Gotu Kola are enhanced!
Like many of the other products in this blog, Gotu Kola benefits help positively influence neuroplasticity. It does this in a fashion that is very similar to Bacopa monnieri, where the Gotu Kola benefits may take a few weeks to fully manifest themselves. This is due to the fact that Gotu Kola benefits slowly help our brains become more plastic, helping to strengthen certain connections in the brain which are essential to memory and learning. What makes Gotu Kola unique, however, is that it may also enhance sleep quality. Getting good sleep is critical for cognitive function, and thus, Gotu Kola hits a home run here by both enhancing cognitive function and enhancing sleep quality!
Gotu Kola also helps improve skin quality and has a plethora of other non-nootropic effects as well. If you would like to learn more about exactly what the Gotu Kola benefits can do for you, we would recommend reading our comprehensive Gotu Kola blog, where we discuss in great detail both Gotu Kola Extract powder and Gotu Kola enteric-coated tablets.
SHIITAKE MUSHROOM EXTRACT
What is Shiitake Mushroom Extract?
Commonly used as a culinary ingredient for its umami characteristics, Shiitake mushroom also has surprisingly potent cognition and mood supporting effects. The nootropic effects of Shiitake have only very recently been discovered so it is no surprise that it is currently a sparsely discussed mushroom supplement.
Shiitake mushroom, through its Lentinan content, appears to be able to enhance AMPA receptor activity. The AMPA receptors are currently a very hotly debated receptor, as activation of AMPA receptors appears to be able to significantly support cognitive function, in addition to AMPA activation being able to potentially help promote a positive mood. In the case of Shiitake, the beta-glucan Lentinan, which is present in Shiitake mushroom, binds to Dectin-1. Dectin-1 is a receptor that responds solely to specific beta-glucans, Lentinan being one of those beta-glucans. By binding to the Dectin-1 receptor, Shiitake can help increase AMPA receptor activation. By doing so, neuroplasticity is increased during a critical part of memory formation called long term potentiation (LTP). LTP is one of the main mechanisms by which we store memories, and thus by boosting AMPA receptor activity and strengthening LTP activity, Shiitake can make for a unique and versatile natural nootropic.
As a cherry on top, this same Dectin-1 receptor plays a role in immune function. Activation of Dectin-1 helps boost our immune function, especially in our central nervous system. Shiitake also contains a few other beneficial compounds that help boost overall bodily health.
Now, another unique shiitake mushroom benefit, is that it has a pleasant umami taste and it is often used in cooking to take advantage of this attribute. Adding a dose of dried Shiitake mushrooms into your mushroom soup may really help some of the flavors in your soup pop! Dried shiitake mushrooms are in fact quite commonly used to make great ramen shine, and our Shiitake mushroom is a powdered high quality dried Shiitake mushroom. This makes our Shiitake mushroom powder not only a great natural nootropic, but also a versatile culinary tool!
PANAMAX OPTIMIZED GINSENG
What is PanaMAX Optimized Ginseng by Natrium Health?
You’ve probably heard of Panax Ginseng and you may have even heard about Schisandra berries, but you’ve probably not heard all too much about PanaMAX yet. PanaMAX is one of the most powerful Panax ginseng formulations out there, using knowledge from Traditional Chinese practices to help build the "end all, be all" Ginseng supplement! PanaMAX combines both the roots and the leaves of the Panax ginseng plant, to create a very balanced but highly potent Ginsenoside profile. This balanced Ginsenoside profile is then elevated even further by the addition of a strong Schisandra chinesis extract, which helps with the absorption of the ginsenosides, in addition to smoothing out some of the stimulation and adding a pleasant mood-boosting effect. The end result is a natural nootropic which launches us into a higher state of being: dialing in focus, drive, mood and keeping stress levels low.
PanaMAX is the perfect natural nootropic for anyone that wants a nootropic that is gentle, yet powerful. A lot of nootropics out there lean quite heavily towards the stimulation side of the spectrum, and while this is great most of the time, excessive stimulation can often times get in the way of our workflow. PanaMAX, on the other hand, provides a nice level of balanced energy whilst also helping regulate tress levels. This makes it easy to stay in the groove without losing traction!
OPTIM-ALA | OPTIMIZED
ALPHA LIPOIC ACID
What Is Optim-ALA Optimized Alpha Lipoic Acid by Natrium Health?
OptimALA is a unique supplement that is a bit of an oddball in the world of nootropics. When our sister brand Natrium Health first formulated OptimALA, the goal was to try and design the best possible Alpha Lipoic Acid supplement. Alpha Lipoic Acid is a fantastic supplement, as it helps regulate oxidation and inflammation, while also boosting mitochondrial function in our cells. This makes it a great supplement for increasing cellular energy in our brains and keeping our brains protected and healthy. Yet, it never really had enough "zing" to it for us to truly consider it a nootropic. This all changed with OptimALA, however, as the end results were substantially stimulating and focus promoting which is something that caught a lot of us by surprise.
OptimALA, combines stabilized Alpha Lipoic Acid in the form of Sodium r Alpha Lipoic Acid which is then further amplified by the addition of cyclodextrin Alpha Lipoic Acid. We then combine this novel Alpha Lipoic Acid formulation with a potent, standardized Sesame extract which has been shown to synergize with Alpha Lipoic Acid for its fat burning effects. When we were doing the initial testing, we expected a minor energy boost but not much else in terms of noticeable effects. Yet, the complete opposite occurred in the people that tried it as they felt a sense of energized clarity, as though a fog had been lifted. It quickly became an office favorite after its release!
If you would like to optimize both cellular health and cognitive function, while perhaps also shedding some weight by utilizing the fat burning effects of OptimALA, then this novel Alpha Lipoic Acid formulation is the natural nootropic for you!
SLEEP SUPPORT CAPSULES
Add an optional 60ct. jar of 300mcg Melatonin capsules to your order of a 60ct. or 120ct. jar of Sleep Support Capsules by selecting "Yes, Please" from the drop down options below (+8.00)
What is Sleep Support by Natrium Health?
As you may have noticed, Sleep Support is a very new product from our sister brand Natrium Health. In fact, we only launched it a few weeks ago. With this in mind, we thought it would be a perfect fit for this blog because Sleep Support not only helps support our sleep quality, it may actually also produce nootropic effects while we sleep! This is literally the nootropic that enhances cognitive function "over night!"
This Sleep Support formula actually features an impressive list of powerful natural nootropics such as:
- Bacopa monnieri
- Primavie Shilajit
- Uridine monophosphate
- Microencapsulated Zinc
The above list of natural nootropics have remarkable effects on dialing in the best night of sleep possible, but as an added bonus are highly-revered natural nootropics too. Bacopa monnieri helps increase neurotransmission in the brain, in addition to slowly enhancing neuroplasticity. These effects will help keep your brain healthy and optimized while you sleep. Uridine Monophosphate then comes in to help support the cognition-supporting effects of Bacopa monnieri by further boosting neuroplasticity. However, Uridine Monophosphate takes it a step further, and together with Bacopa monnieri helps boost cholinergic activity in the brain. It is often said that memories are solidified during sleep, and by supplementing with nootropics at night, this should help further solidify these memories. Last but not least is Zinc, which not only helps ensure a great night of sleep but also plays a major role in keeping our brains healthy and primed to take on demanding cognitive tasks. Zinc is one of the most widely distributed minerals throughout our central nervous system and plays a major role in keeping neurotransmission strong and consistent.
As far as including a great natural nootropic in your supplement regime, Sleep Support is a "no brainer." Everyone could use a little bit of help obtaining better sleep and Sleep Support helps ensure great nights of sleep every night, in addition to helping support daytime focus and cognitive function. That’s a win-win situation if we’ve ever heard one!
SMART PS PHOSPHATIDE COMPLEX
What is Smart PS Phosphatide Complex?
Smart PS is one of those supplements that goes in and out of popularity but always seems to be the underdog of the bunch. This too is a shame, as Smart PS provides a stable and bioavailable form of Phosphatidylserine, which is pretty much impossible to come by outside of Smart PS softgels. Smart PS may not be the "sexiest" of supplements, and is often seen as being a little bit boring. To be honest, this is also kind of the case, but this is actually a good thing. What Smart PS does really well is provide a great base to build an advanced natural nootropic stack upon. Phosphatidylserine helps support the cellular membranes in our brains which helps support a strong and healthy brain. Phosphatidylserine is even so good at preserving brain mass. Helping to maintaining our brain mass is going to help keep our brains running at peak performance.
Phoshaptidylserine may also help regulate the effects of stress by lowering the levels of cortisol released during stress. Cortisol may be detrimental for cognitive function at higher concentrations, as are experienced during stressful periods. By blunting cortisol, Smart PS can help keep us sharp and focused during periods of stress. With these basic, yet highly important effects, Smart PS is a really great choice as a foundation for any serious nootropic stack, and we would urge you to try including it in your next stack!
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About Nootropics Depot
Nootropics Depot is an online-based vendor of high quality nootropics, novel plant extracts, amino acids, fish oil, choline supplements, vitamins, and more based in Tempe Arizona. We were founded in 2013 when we realized the industry needed a trusted source for these products and someone to champion the change the supplement industry needs. We have our own in-house analytical testing lab with some of the best analytical chemists in the supplement industry. We are constantly striving to advance and improve the purity and analytical standards of not only the nootropics industry, but the larger supplement industry as a whole.
Attention: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.