Creatine as a Nootropic Supplement

Pictured above is creatine being measure in a spoon. This is not a recommended way to measure your creatine dosage.

The odds are that you have heard of creatine and its association with athletic performance. Creatine is a popular choice for athletes thanks to its effect on lean muscle mass and its energy-boosting properties.

But did you know that creatine also has nootropic properties? The benefits of creatine are myriad: increased memory, reduced fatigue, improved mood, and even reduced brain fog. Let’s take a closer look at the mental benefits you’ll receive from taking creatine supplement.

Memory Benefits of Creatine

Creatine can be used a nootropic to boost brain power.
Creatine is a proven brain-booster!

Creatine is  known to increase your short-term memory and this increase is one of the most well-documented benefits of the compound. Supporting studies abound: improvements in memory span[1], improvements in working memory[2], and prevention of memory decline [3]. Scientifically, the results are in: creatine is great for improving memory.

So how exactly does a supplement known for its physical benefits do so much for the brain? Creatine primarily works by increasing your synthesis of adenosine triphosphate, or ATP [4]. ATP is a nucleotide that functions as the primary source of energy for cells.

In other words, the more ATP that you’re synthesizing, the more fully and efficiently your cells can transmit information. Think of ATP as the “fuel” for the neurological vehicles taxiing information around your brain. Higher levels of ATP make calling to mind that elusive word or thought that much easier.

Creatine for Fatigue

Creatine’s ability to enhance your production of ATP also ties directly into another one of its main benefits: fatigue reduction. Studies have found that creatine’s abilities to reduce fatigue and boost energy are apparent even at low doses [5]. Since increased ATP boosts cellular performance, creatine is at least partially responsible for this energy boost, but there is more to the picture than that.

After a successful study on creatine’s mental-fatigue-reducing effects, a team of researchers measured an increase of cerebral-oxygenated hemoglobin in the brains of the test subjects. This increase was evidence of increased oxygen use by the brain. In other words, creatine primes your brain for improved performance.

Creatine for Mood

Creatine's nootropic side effects include increased mood.
Creatine can boost your mood.

Studies have found that taking a creatine supplement has mood boosting properties both on its own and synergistically with prescription anti-depressants [6]. This synergy too ties into creatine’s boosted production of ATP. Beyond that, creatine has also been shown to reduce some of the side effects of sleep deprivation, such as irritability [7].

Additionally, boosted energy levels means reduced stress making it much easier for your better moods to shine through. While the exact benefits of creatine for mood are not fully understood, what we know so far seems promising.

Creatine for Brain Fog

One of the bottom lines of nootropics is that, one way or another, you are probably going to deal with brain fog. Some people might be looking to alleviate existing brain fog, while for others brain fog may be caused by a nootropic.

Either way, the verdict is clear: having a gummed-up haze hampering your mental performance is no fun. The great news is that here too a creatine supplement will benefit you. Here is the impressive part: even this benefit is tied to creatine’s ATP production, albeit from a slightly different way. Increased ATP improves your brain’s ability to block negative effects by allowing the brain to more quickly deal with any deficiencies.  A study found that creatine supplementation improved the subject’s fluid intelligence, or their ability to solve problems and derive meaning from abstract knowledge [8]. Or in other words, directly counteract the effects of brain fog.

Bottom Line: Creatine as a Nootropic

Creatine is a harmless amino acid with many benefits for the keen-eyed nootropic user looking for something to top off their stack. As long as you keep your dosing at safe levels, creatine has tremendous potential for improving your mental performance. Not only that, but thanks to the ways a creatine supplement will benefit your mood and fatigue, creatine is an almost sure-fire way to improve your all-around quality of life.

SOURCES:

  1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14561278
  2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21118604
  3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17828627
  4. http://www.researchgate.net/publication/44694983_Dietary_supplementation_of_creatine_monohydrate_reduces_the_human_fMRI_BOLD_signal
  5. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11985880
  6. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22864465
  7. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16416332
  8. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1691485/

Protect and Enhance your Memory via Racetams with Antioxidant Properties

Racetams with antioxidant properties help protect the brain
pwb-rust
Rust is a commonly-seen form of oxidation

Racetams are one of the most popular nootropic supplements available on the market today. Since the discovery of the prototypical racetam, piracetam powder, in the 1960’s, racetams have become well-known for their cognitive-enhancement abilities. However, many of them provide additional antioxidant benefits, making them even more useful.

So why would you want a supplement that boosts your brain power as well as provides antioxidant advantages? While it may seem like a strange combination, antioxidants protect cells, including those within the brain. If your brain cells suffer damage from oxidation, reason stands that your memory could be similarly affected.

Adding a memory enhancer on top of an antioxidant might just be the smartest move you could make. So what are the racetams, how do they work, and which ones will provide you with a double dose of neuroprotection?

How Racetams Work

While the mechanism of action behind racetams isn’t completely understood, it is believed that they work by encouraging the formation of new synapses and enhancing synaptic plasticity, two factors that are critical in memory formation and learning.

Acetylcholine is a common neurotransmitter
Acetylcholine is a common neurotransmitter

These actions are accomplished by inhibiting the breakdown of acetylcholine within the brain; acetylcholine is the neurotransmitter primarily responsible for learning. Thus, by maintaining high levels of acetylcholine, cognitive enhancement is greatly increased.

Benefits of Racetams

Racetams are able to improve long and short-term memory and have been found to have logic, speech, and sensory-enhancement properties. Additional benefits include improved athletic performance and focus which makes them a favorite among fitness enthusiasts.

Racetams with Antioxidant Properties

Some racetams such as Piracetam have some antioxidant properties. Let’s first discuss a little bit about the process of oxidation and the role of antioxidants in our bodies.

Oxidation is defined as the interaction between oxygen molecules and all the other substances they may meet. The result of such a process in the body is chain reactions that can damage cells.

Examples of oxidation include the browning of an apple when cut open, and the rusting of metals. Simply put, antioxidants are molecules that inhibit the oxidation of other molecules. Antioxidants are widely used in dietary supplements. Free-radical theory states that the effects of aging are a result of the body’s inability to counteract oxidative damage.

Racetams have been tested on rats as well as humans
Racetams have been tested on rats as well as humans

These facts bring us to racetams and their anti-oxidation properties. Piracetam is one of the racetams that seems to posses such properties. In a study performed to assess Piracetam’s antioxidant effects on a rat brain, it was determined that Piracetam had the potential to scavenge free radicals. Free radicals cause the body to age more quickly and contribute to cellular damage, including within the brain, so preventing this damage improves longevity as well as memory.

In human experiments conducted to measure the effects of one dose of Piracetam on 12 healthy volunteers, it was determined that this single dosage affected the natural electrical activity that occurs on the scalp.

How about the other racetams like Pramiracetam, Oxiracetam, and Aniracetam? Although there hasn’t been ample research done on the antioxidant properties of these other racetams, considering the fact that they have very similar mechanisms of action with Piracetam, it is possible that they too posses antioxidant properties.

How does Resveratrol affect Testosterone and what other Benefits does Resveratrol Produce?

resveratrol can help fight the effects of aging

What is Resveratrol?

Resveratrol is a compound found in the skins of red grapes, berries, and other fruits. It is thought to act as a powerful antioxidant with a strong potential for fighting the effects of aging. These effects are largely due to the fact that this supplement helps to promote the increased production of something known as sirtuins. Sirtuins are enzymes involved in the aging process that are thought to increase the activity of the cells’ mitochondria. There are also additional research studies which indicate that resveratrol supplements may act as a neuroprotective substance by helping to protect against memory loss. There is even new research suggesting that resveratrol may help to increase testosterone levels.

How does Resveratrol affect Health?

Many people are interested in using a resveratrol supplement because it seems to be able to increase overall health. Because it functions as an antioxidant, resveratrol serves to make almost every major organ in the body run better. The elimination of free radicals is also quite important as the removal helps to reduce inflammation.

Another important benefit associated with resveratrol is its fighting of the effects of aging. Resveratrol covers just about everything from helping to protect the heart to making it easier to lose weight. One of the ways in which these benefits occur is by the activation of so-called anti-aging genes like the master gene, P53. There have been a number of experiments conducted on bacteria, fish, worms, and mice that have shown positive increases on lifespan based on activation of P53 by resveratrol. In some cases, this supplement has been able to extend lifespan up to twice the normal length. Of course, while there are huge differences between humans and mice or worms, in many cases we do have very similar genes. This similarity is giving research scientists hope that many of these health benefits can transfer over, especially in the area of longevity.

How does Resveratrol affect Testosterone?

There is some exciting new research into the effects of resveratrol on testosterone. Recent studies do seem to support that resveratrol affects testosterone, although more studies are needed. The researchers seem to think the reasons for this effect are two-fold. First, resveratrol inhibits aromatase, which is the main enzyme responsible for the production of estrogen. Second, resveratrol also seems to inhibit the body’s estrogen receptor.

As the body’s level of estrogen production is limited, resveratrol will help to balance out hormone levels and in the process increase testosterone. This increase is beneficial on a number of different levels. Not only will this hormone help sexual function, but it also helps to regulate red blood cell production, bone density, and even muscle mass. There may even be a role for this supplement to play in producing better emotional states, especially in those who are already experiencing lowered levels of testosterone.

What do Studies say about Resveratrol and Testosterone?

A 2008 Korean study examined the effects of Resveratrol supplementation on the New Zealand white rabbit, corpus cavernosum. The researchers were looking to measure ex-vivo penile erection and in-vivo sperm counts and quality. The in-vivo study measured the reproductive organ weights, blood testosterone levels, testicular histopathology, and sperm counts. It also examined and measured the epididymal sperm motility and deformity.

For the in-vivo study, mice were given a dose of resveratrol at 50 mg/kg for 28 days. The ultimate results were interesting, showing no increases in body weight, reproductive organ weight, or testicular microscopic findings. But, they did show increases in blood testosterone concentration of 51.6 percent, testicular sperm counts of 15.8 percent, and epididymal sperm motility by 23.3 percent. Incidentally, all of these effects were achieved without any significant influence on sperm deformity.

How does Resveratrol Work?

A 2012 National Institutes of Health study into the effects of resveratrol seems to have helped cast a bit of light into how this supplement might work. The supplement works not only as an anti-inflammatory compound (which testing had pretty much proven at this point anyway), but also as a genetic manipulator through both direct and indirect chemical pathways. It also helps to block the action of a muscle enzyme known as PDE4 that causes cell degradation. This supplement also appears to bind to many different types of proteins, which shows that there may be the potential for new help for heart disease, diabetes, memory loss, and more.

What is a Helpful Dose of Resveratrol?

In order to really have most of the desired effects, not only an increase in testosterone, you should be taking resveratrol every day. The recommended dosage level for resveratrol is 1000 mg per day or more depending on if there is a specific condition you are trying to find support for or protect against. Typical sources for your resveratrol supplements include Japanese knotwood or red grapes, with the Japanese blend being superiors (if you can find it).

Resveratrol supplement is also available in a powdered form, which can be taken with meals. The idea with your supplement schedule here is to use resveratrol every day with meals. It might take a little time before noticing results such as regulating and increasing testosterone levels and improving mood.

What else does Resveratrol do?

Resveratrol is also considered to help protect the heart against all types of damage. Part of this protection is immediately tied to resveratrol’s ability to work as an antioxidant supplement, helping to remove free radicals from the body and lowering the levels of inflammation. Inflammation can be stressful and detrimental to the overall cardiovascular system.

You will also note that a lot of the existing research into this supplement is still centered on the fight against cancer. There may actually be a role for some of these anti-cancer effects through the estrogen response systems, as discussed above.