Even the finest margins can have a massive impact on peak performance and general levels of well-being and success. Whether it's pushing yourself physically or mentally, there are a number of tangible supplements you can take that have an immediate effect on the human body.
For the past six months, I've been experimenting with a host of supplements and nootropics that are purported to increase cognitive performance. At first I was skeptical. Can taking a supplement really help me focus longer and work harder? It seemed too good to be true.
That's why I decided to dive in headfirst and try some myself. After months of personal use, along with a robust amount of research and comparative review, I've put together a list of supplements you absolutely must consider to push your performance to the next level.
An important disclaimer: I haven't been compensated to promote any of these products. Always consult a physician before making any dietary changes, and please do your own research before taking any nootropics. They're relatively unregulated, and this article is purely documenting my personal experiences. Caffeine is often an ingredient in these supplements, so keep an eye on your coffee intake.
1 & 2. Bulletproofcoffee and Brain Octaine Oil
Chances are you've heard of Dave Asprey's 'Bulletproofcoffee.' Believe the hype--this one's been a staple of my diet for a while now.
These two supplements go hand in hand. First, pick up some 'Brain Octaine Oil'--an essential fatty acid blend. Mix one tablespoon with 8-12 ounces of freshly brewed coffee and add one tablespoon of grass-fed, unsalted butter or ghee.
I've found it suppresses my appetite, provides steady, lasting energy, and improves my mental clarity throughout the day. It keeps me in a great rhythm without any jitteriness.
3. Lion's Mane Mushroom Extract
Mushrooms have long been used for their medicinal properties. The wonderfully-named Lion's Mane mushrooms are roughly 20 percent protein and look like cheerleaders' pom-poms.
In extract form, they boost memory and cognitive functions, as well as boosting mood and reducing stress. I saw a definite lift in mood and focus from this compound, and seemed better at retaining fine details.
The long-term benefits are said to help short-term memories transition into long-term memories, so Lion's Mane is being looked at as a potential aid for staving off dementia and Alzheimer's Disease. An interesting supplement, for sure.
4. VSL3 Probiotic
Not all the supplements I've been trying are about improving cognitive performance. It's often said that a healthy gut is key to a healthy body, so I was keen to try VSL3.
The masses of live bacteria in this probiotic supplement repair the damage that painkillers and antibiotics can do to the balance needed in our intestines for healthy bodies. This supplement has helped me restore that balance and maintain a healthy gut, and I'm making better use of the nutrients in the food I eat.
I feel lighter on my feet, and not at all sluggish. Taking care of my gut seems beneficial to my overall wellbeing.
It might not blow you away, but Omega-3 is essential to Western diets that lack a source of healthy fat. We need essential fatty acids in our diet, rather than the saturated fats that raise cholesterol (even though they often come in tasty packages).
The University of Maryland Medical Center has shown that Omega-3 fatty acids are highly concentrated in the brain and appear to be important for cognitive and behavioral function. My levels of alertness and my attention span seemed to get a boost from a regular intake.
6. D-Aspartic Acid
An amino acid supplement that boosts my energy levels and my testosterone? What's not to like?
I'm no body-builder, but D-Aspartic acid gives my energy levels a helping hand while I'm exercising. It produces growth hormone, which is why body-builders like it. For me, it helps me recover more quickly from exercise, and the testosterone keeps my mood positive and keeps me alert.
If you drink black or green tea, then you're already consuming L-theanine. It's a big component of those tea leaves and is also available as a capsule.
Earlier, I mentioned to not overdo caffeine intake with some of these supplements. This one works in partnership with caffeine, and it gave me the recognized benefit of saying focused for longer. It seemed to help my memory and kept me feeling sharp without feeling edgy.
We're all different--what appears to have worked for me may not work for you. I've enjoyed taking a lot of these supplements. Just remember to not overdo things and seek advice before changing your diet.