You might have heard the terms “brain boosters” or “smart drugs” when referring to nootropics. While these terms are a bit of an exaggeration, they do hit on the foundation of what a nootropic ingredient should do: benefit your cognitive performance.
True, nootropics are those ingredients that have been shown in scientific studies to provide a variety of brain health-related benefits including increased production of neurotransmitters, elevated working memory, and faster information recall. When it comes to your workouts, nootropics can help with mental energy, focus, and learning new exercises. Let’s take a look at the most scientifically-studied nootropics, and how they can help your exercise performance.
Let’s kick things off with the godfather of nootropics: Huperzine-A. An extract of huperzia serrata firmoss, Huperzine-A is a powerful way to promote the production of acetylcholine, a key precursor to neurotransmitters. Acetylcholine helps with memory formation, and your speed and ability to recall information.
Studies have also suggested that Huperzine-A can boost your mental energy. Taken as a part of your pre-workout supplement, you may have more mental energy and a better ability to learn and remember new exercises.
Caffeine: It’s the reason you wake up in the morning. Each time you drink a cup of your favorite caffeine source, you are actively ingesting one of the most famous nootropics that is rarely addressed as such. You already know that caffeine provides that much needed spike to get your day started.
As a nootopic ingredient, caffeine can help with boosting your alertness, focus, and attention. This is why you’ll find it in every pre-workout supplement. Caffeine has also been shown to be effective at supporting intra-workout performance.
L-Alpha glycerylphosphorylcholine, more appropriately called Alpha GPC, is a choline compound that is naturally occurring; however, when it is used in supplement form, several benefits emerge.
Choline is a precursor to acetylcholine, which you’ll remember as a necessary compound in the production of neurotransmitters. As a pre-workout supplement, Alpha GPC can help to boost your mental energy.
It also helps with athletic performance. A study published in Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition demonstrated that Alpha GPC supplementation resulted in elevated levels of lower body strength output, and researchers confirmed it can be useful in promoting overall speed and power.
Finally, Alpha GPC has been said to pair extremely well with other nootropics, such as Huperzine A and caffeine, resulting in enhanced benefits.
Closely related in structure to yohimbine, rauwolfia vomitoria (also called Alpha Yohimbine) is a very popular pre-workout ingredient for a few reasons: It can boost fat burning, possibly more than yohimbine can, and it can accelerate performance along with those vein-bulging pumps during your workouts.
As far as workout energy goes, rauwolfia vomitoria packs a mean punch. Studies show that it promotes high levels of energy via increasing the release of epinephrine and norepinephrine, two fight-or-flight hormones.
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