Nootropics for Studying

Nootropics for Studying | 3 Scientifically Proven

So, you’ve heard about Nootropics for Studying but unsure where to start… All assignments have been completed. You were on time and paid close attention to every class. Now you’re face-to-face with the exam. This is where all your hard work comes together to take the mark that you truly deserve.  The only problem is that every time you try to study, you struggle to maintain ample motivation and the attention to fully absorb the information you need. It only becomes worse when you begin to stress about how little progress you’re making… Trust me, I’ve been there and know how difficult it can be. This is where nootropics for studying may help, and it’s a solution more and more are turning to. So today I decided to do some research. 

Nootropics For Motivation - Rhodiola

You’ve probably heard about the growing use of Nootropics for Studying. And it’s true, they are receiving more attention than ever before. And if you look around the internet, you’ll be sure to hear many stories. Their main use is believed to be their capacity to enhance aspects of learning, concentration, and memory. After reading the latest scientific articles around these compounds, their popularity came as no surprise  So, this research goes all to all those late-night stimulant-seeking-studiers. Now caffeine (or even prescription meds like Adderall) are not your only options. These days there are many options available and free of side effects of traditional stimulants. Let’s first dive into the biochemistry behind what makes the best nootropics for studying. 

What Brains Need to Study

To focus, our brains utilize neurotransmitters. Our attention span and concentration relies on the neurochemicals; acetylcholine, dopamine, and norepinephrine.
  • Acetylcholine – used by the brain in signal processing within the sensory regions, acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter integral to attention and focus. It is also recognized as a chemical that enables us to avoid distractions.
  • Norepinephrine – closely follows the processing of dopamine and is a key component of wakefulness, alertness, cognitive capacity, and thought-processing speed.
  • Dopamine – accountable for conducting the reward-response system in the brain. In short, its the chemical released after a reward that works to reinforce the behavior. Not only is it stimulated following modern-day rewards like social media, but it also rises in response to problem-solving and learning, and is a key factor in motivation.

See our guide to the 5 Best Nootropics for Motivation here

  Now that we have discussed the biological process’s behind what an effective nootropic may do, let’s dive straight into the top scientifically proven Nootropics for Studying.  

Best Nootropics for Studying #3

Our best approach toward finding the best nootropics for studying relies on the effective increase of these aforementioned neurotransmitters;  acetylcholine, dopamine, and norepinephrine. After digging around through many clinical scientific papers I have found evidence for the most effective nootropics, shown to elevate these neurotransmitters with little risk of side effects.

Bacopa monnieri

Nootropics for study Bacopa Bacopa monnieri is a plant originating from southern and Eastern India, Australia, Europe, Africa, Asia, and North and South America. It is sold throughout many supplement stores commonly under the name “Bacopa”, or “Brahmi”. The plant is an integral part of traditional Ayurvedic medicine, and has been used for thousands of years for its ability to improve;
  • Memory loss,
  • Anxiety
  • Poor cognition
  • Loss of concentration 
  • Inflammatory disorders like arthritis. 
Scientists have researched the physiological mechanisms behind the ayurvedic plant to test these claims. A great deal of very exciting evidence has been found. All of which may now be attributed to the inhibitory action it has on inflammatory pathways in the brain. One 2016 study titled, “The Ayurvedic plant Bacopa Monnieri inhibits inflammatory pathways in the brain [1]” concluded the following;
Our results suggest that bacopa can significantly ameliorate the M1 microglial response by reducing the release of TNF-α and IL-6, leading to a decrease in neuroinflammation.”
The researchers continue to discuss the use of this data in terms of its effect on systemic inflammation and hypothesize that the mental health benefits of the plant may be a product of its anti-inflammatory effect on the CNS.  These findings have been supported in both animal and human models both that show robust evidence [2] for the plant’s ability to improve memory, attention, and the processing of visual information. As well as the numerous studies [3] revealing bacopa’s effectiveness to treat anxiety, the plant has similarly been found to alleviate symptoms of restlessness and impulsivity in ADHD subjects [4].

Studies on Bacopa monnieri supplementation for Studying

The nootropic properties of bacopa are well-founded and numerous studies conclude significant cognitive boosting effects following ingestion. Although best results are observed with consistent use. One fine example of this effect is shown in this double-blind placebo-control study [6] testing the effects of 300 mg of a 45% bacosides extract. The results concluded that after three months of supplementation there were significant improvements in; spatial memory, memory accuracy, and ability to process visual information.  The scientists discuss the mechanisms behind these effects and attribute the benefits to inhibition of acetylcholinesterase, allowing the brain to utilize more choline. As we mentioned earlier, this is a key component to improving one’s focus while studying.

Dosage for Nootropic/studying Purposes

For a supplement containing 45% bacosides, a recommended dosage of 200 – 450 mg per day is usually given, whereas a 20% bacoside formula should be dosed up to 700mg per day. Absorption of this supplement will be aided by the ingestion of fat, therefore users are advised to take the supplement with a meal, fish oil supplement, or some coconut oil.

Bacopa monnieri Safety

Bacopa monnieri is usually considered as a safe and natural approach to the treatment of many mental health disorders, however, some people may notice nausea, stomach pains, and diarrhea following supplementation.

Pregnant women and those taking any medications, particularly pain relievers/ anti-depressants are advised to avoid this herb.

 

Nootropics for Studying #2

CDP-Choline 

CDP-Choline is a molecule commonly found in the body as a component of cell membranes. Its structure consists of a uridine group and a choline backbone. This essentially provides a “two birds one stone” effect as the body can break down and utilize each of these molecules separately. Not only can CDP-choline provide an available form of choline (which again is necessary for thought processing), uridine has also been shown to be one of the best supplements to improve one’s motivation. This is visible in studies reflecting uridines’ potential to upregulate striatal D2 receptors. In this study, researchers suggest that this upregulation could in turn provide the alleviation of urges, particularly those related to drug-addicted. This ties in very strongly with having an effective study session as many aspects of our everyday modern-day lifestyle has been shown to cause addiction-like brain changes. I have discussed these concepts in detail and for those looking to recover dopamine receptors, I encourage you to check out my research on “Nootropics to Repair Dopamine Receptors”.

Studies on CDP-Choline supplementation for Studying

  • CDP-choline supplementation shows significant improvement in cognition amongst cardiac ischemic subjects. Mechanism of action believed to be of vascular origin [6]
  • CDP – choline supplementation shows cognitive improvements amongst young, non-demented subjects [7]
  • Citicoline raises verbal memory in elderly subjects [8]
  • CDP-Choline magnifies the release of norepinephrinedopamineserotonin, and acetylcholine in the brain. [9] [10]
  • CDP-Choline improves cognition and impulsivity in marijuana abusing subjects [11]

CDP-Choline vs. Alpha-GPC for Cognition

CDP-choline and alpha-GPC are both comprised of choline however, the body metabolizes and uses them in various manners. Normally CDP-choline releases choline and cytidine (which will turn into uridine), this then gives the body an option; to create phosphatidylcholine, which the brain utilizes to construct acetylcholine or to build cell membranes. This is slightly different from Alpha-GPC as it often prefers the pathway for the production of acetylcholine [12].

CDP-Choline (Citicoline) Dosage for Study

The following amounts yielded beneficial results in clinical trials: Cognition and memory improvements: 250 – 1,000 mg/day  Age-related cognitive decline: 1 000 – 2,000 mg/day Drug addiction, depression, and stroke recovery – 2,000 – 2,500 mg daily    Check out more: Best Nootropics for Social Anxiety

Nootropics for Studying #1 

Phenylpiracetam

More and more who are seeking increased potency when attacking their study session turn to the effects of phenylpiracetam. It is a molecule produced by the addition of a “phenyl” group to piracetam which in effect, creates a greater bioavailability for the compound as it is granted easier access through the blood-brain barrier. Albeit limited, there are promising findings around this compound and scientists are optimistic about the relatively novel compound (1983). This means that this nootropic is not as extensively studied when compared to our aforementioned supplements, but despite this, phenylpiracetam continues to grow in popularity as many swear by its superb cognitive boosting and anxiety-relieving benefits. Although a lot of questions still remain about phenylpiracetam, scientists are aware of its ability to increase the blood supply to the brain, raising oxygen availability. Many scientists are now asserting that the compound also has the potential to increase the density of receptors of dopamine, serotonin, and GABAa  [20]. Needless to say, this supplement does sound very promising however no long-term studies evaluate the long-term consequences of supplementing this compound. Thus this nootropic should be not be approached lightly and user discretion is very necessary.

Studies on Effects of Phenylpiracetam

Alleviation of symptoms of anxiety and depression

  • 1 Month of supplementation found to significantly Reduce Anxiety and Depression in 99 Brain-Damaged Patients [13]
  • 35 patients with Anxiety and Depressive Disorders, treated for 12 weeks found to have a significant Reduction in Anxiety [14]
  • Found to significantly reduce behaviors of Anxiety in mice subjects when placed into an unknown environment [15].

Improvements in Cognition

  • Significantly increased memory quiz scores of 55 patients with energy-related (asthenia) disorder as well as chronic fatigue syndrome (n=59)  [16] 
  • Significantly increased aspects of memory function in mice [17]
  • Increased nicotinic acetylcholine and NMDA receptor density – shown to beneficial in aspects of learning and memory [18, 19]
So, scientists are optimistic about the evidence for this nootropic, hoping that one day it may not only provide patients with relief from anxiety disorders but also improve learning and memory issues. Those reading should not take this as a reason to eagerly start supplementing with phenylpiracetam. Further research clearly needs to be performed to learn the full extent of this compound. As of now, researchers believe that it may be useful for addressing receptor irregularities in some unhealthy subjects.

Possible Adverse Reactions

As with any drug, phenylpiracetam can cause some unwanted effects. Some of which may include; Headaches, sleep disturbances, and irritability As most of this may reside from the increased expenditure of acetylcholine, to decrease your chance of experiencing side-effects, users are advised to supplement with choline. The studies that have been performed on phenylpiracetam suggest that it the compound of very low toxicity. This nootropic tends to increase endurance and tolerance to cold weather. Because of this, it is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency for in-competition use. If you decide to “test” this relatively new compound, ensure awareness of adverse side-effects. It is strongly advised to consult your doctor prior to use   

Final thoughts before taking Nootropics for Studying

Research continues to unveil potential uses for certain brain-altering compounds, suggesting improvement across various aspects of cognition and function. When considering study enhancing supplements, one should consider compounds that support the integral reactions observed in attention an focus; Dopamine, Acetylcholine, and Norepinephrine. Research suggests that supplementation of Bacopa, CDP-choline (citicoline), and phenylpiracetam could all alter these neurochemical reactions leading to improvements of cognition. Risk comes with taking any supplement and research behind nootropics still has further progress to be made. That being said, many are now beginning to recognize nootropics as a way to boost cognition in the mentally deteriorated. It similarly provides a debatably safer option that well-known stimulant drugs e.g. Adderall. What do you think about the growing use of Nootropics for Studying?🤔  Is this something parents and uneducated users should be concerned about? 🛑 Let me know in the comments down below ⬇⬇      

References

  [1] Nemetchek MD, Stierle AA, Stierle DB, Lurie DI. The Ayurvedic plant Bacopa monnieri inhibits inflammatory pathways in the brain. J Ethnopharmacol. 2017;197:92-100. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2016.07.073
[2] Peth-Nui T, Wattanathorn J, Muchimapura S, Tong-Un T, Piyavhatkul N, Rangseekajee P, Ingkaninan K, Vittaya-Areekul S. Effects of 12-Week Bacopa monnieri Consumption on Attention, Cognitive Processing, Working Memory, and Functions of Both Cholinergic and Monoaminergic Systems in Healthy Elderly Volunteers. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012;2012:606424. doi: 10.1155/2012/606424. Epub 2012 Dec 18. PMID: 23320031; PMCID: PMC3537209.
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[3] Stough C, Lloyd J, Clarke J, Downey LA, Hutchison CW, Rodgers T, Nathan PJ. The chronic effects of an extract of Bacopa monniera (Brahmi) on cognitive function in healthy human subjects. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2001 Aug;156(4):481-4. doi: 10.1007/s002130100815. Erratum in: Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2015 Jul;232(13):2427. Dosage error in article text. PMID: 11498727
[4] Dave UP, Dingankar SR, Saxena VS, Joseph JA, Bethapudi B, Agarwal A, Kudiganti V. An open-label study to elucidate the effects of standardized Bacopa monnieri extract in the management of symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder in children. Adv Mind Body Med. 2014 Spring;28(2):10-5. PMID: 24682000.
[5] Stough C, Downey LA, Lloyd J, Silber B, Redman S, Hutchison C, Wesnes K, Nathan PJ. Examining the nootropic effects of a special extract of Bacopa monniera on human cognitive functioning: 90 day double-blind placebo-controlled randomized trial. Phytother Res. 2008 Dec;22(12):1629-34. doi: 10.1002/ptr.2537. PMID: 18683852.
[6] Tan H, Wasiak J, Rosenfeld JV, O’Donohoe TJ, Gruen RL. Citicoline (CDP-choline) for traumatic brain injury. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2014, Issue 8. Art. No.: CD011217. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD011217 [7] Poly C, Massaro JM, Seshadri S, Wolf PA, Cho E, Krall E, Jacques PF, Au R. The relation of dietary choline to cognitive performance and white-matter hyperintensity in the Framingham Offspring Cohort. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011 Dec;94(6):1584-91. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.110.008938. Epub 2011 Nov 9. PMID: 22071706; PMCID: PMC3252552. [8] Spiers PA, Myers D, Hochanadel GS, Lieberman HR, Wurtman RJ. Citicoline improves verbal memory in aging. Arch Neurol. 1996 May;53(5):441-8. doi: 10.1001/archneur.1996.00550050071026. Erratum in: Arch Neurol 1996 Oct;53(10):964. PMID: 8624220. [9] Petkov VD, Stancheva SL, Tocuschieva L, Petkov VV. Changes in brain biogenic monoamines induced by the nootropic drugs adafenoxate and meclofenoxate and by citicholine (experiments on rats). Gen Pharmacol. 1990;21(1):71-5. doi: 10.1016/0306-3623(90)90598-g. PMID: 2105261. [10] Agut J, Coviella IL, Wurtman RJ. Cytidine(5′)diphosphocholine enhances the ability of haloperidol to increase dopamine metabolites in the striatum of the rat and to diminish stereotyped behavior induced by apomorphine. Neuropharmacology. 1984 Dec;23(12A):1403-6. doi: 10.1016/0028-3908(84)90080-7. PMID: 6543245. [11] Blusztajn JK, Liscovitch M, Mauron C, Richardson UI, Wurtman RJ. Phosphatidylcholine as a precursor of choline for acetylcholine synthesis. J Neural Transm Suppl. 1987;24:247-59. PMID: 3316498. [12] Crean RD, Crane NA, Mason BJ. An evidence based review of acute and long-term effects of cannabis use on executive cognitive functions. J Addict Med. 2011;5(1):1-8. doi:10.1097/ADM.0b013e31820c23fa [13] Savchenko AIu, Zakharova NS, Stepanov IN. [The phenotropil treatment of the consequences of brain organic lesions]. Zh Nevrol Psikhiatr Im S S Korsakova. 2005;105(12):22-6. Russian. PMID: 16447562. [14]  Medvedev VE, Frolova VI, Epifanov AV. [New possibilities of pharmacotherapy in cardiovascular patients with mental disorders]. Zh Nevrol Psikhiatr Im S S Korsakova. 2014;114(9):30-7. Russian. PMID: 25403298. [15] Vasil’eva EV, Salimov RM, Kovalev GI. [Effects of nootropic drugs on behavior of BALB/c and C57BL/6 mice in the exploratory cross-maze test]. Eksperimental’naia i Klinicheskaia Farmakologiia. 2012 ;75(7):3-7. [16] Kalinskiĭ PP, Nazarov VV. [Use of phenotropil in the treatment of asthenic syndrome and autonomic disturbances in the acute period of mild cranial brain trauma]. Zh Nevrol Psikhiatr Im S S Korsakova. 2007;107(2):61-3. Russian. PMID: 18689001. [17] Zvejniece L, Svalbe B, Veinberg G, Grinberga S, Vorona M, Kalvinsh I, Dambrova M. Investigation into stereoselective pharmacological activity of phenotropil. Basic Clin Pharmacol Toxicol. 2011 Nov;109(5):407-12. doi: 10.1111/j.1742-7843.2011.00742.x. Epub 2011 Jul 20. PMID: 21689376. [18] Zvejniece L, Svalbe B, Veinberg G, Grinberga S, Vorona M, Kalvinsh I, Dambrova M. Investigation into stereoselective pharmacological activity of phenotropil. Basic Clin Pharmacol Toxicol. 2011 Nov;109(5):407-12. doi: 10.1111/j.1742-7843.2011.00742.x. Epub 2011 Jul 20. PMID: 21689376. [19]  Firstova, Y.Y., Abaimov, D.A., Kapitsa, I.G. et al. The effects of scopolamine and the nootropic drug phenotropil on rat brain neurotransmitter receptors during testing of the conditioned passive avoidance task. Neurochem. J. 5, 115–125 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1134/S1819712411020048

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