Supplements help to take care of your body. But what about supplements that help to support a healthy mind? In fact, certain stressors can age your body and the same can be said for your mind.
When you are stressed, your brain also feel that stress. You may also find that your mood and mental outlook lowers, your sense of anxiety may heighten, your sleep may suffer, and your memory is certainly impacted. While these symptoms appear in the short term, there is evidence that long-term stress can actually rewire your brain and change the way that you process and deal with information. This can also set the stage for cognitive impairments down the road.
This is where adaptogens come in. This class of herbs support the stress response, including the mind. Adaptogens are plants that help your body to cope with stress by balancing your nervous system.
The term “adaptogen” was coined in 1954 by Russian botanist and pharmacologist Nicolai Lazarev, who defined them as “a non-toxic herb that increases resistance to a variety of physical, chemical, and biologic stresses.”
Many people use adaptogenic herbs as an alternative to pharmaceuticals in order to reduce their reliance on prescription medications.
Adaptogen supplements can be used to help manage anxiety and depression, promote mental clarity, and improve sleep quality.
You may be interested to know that certain adaptogens can also be considered a “nootropic.” In 1972, Dr. Corneliu Giurgea coined this term after he developed a memory-boosting compound. Giurgea believed that such compounds would help to increase personal progress. The word “nootropic” comes from the Greek noos, which means mind and tropic, which means to turn.
Here are some top adaptogens that have nootropic properties to support brain health:
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is an adaptogen that has been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine. It’s considered one of the most important herbs in traditional Indian medicine and it’s also used in Chinese medicine.
The root contains the active ingredients Withanolide A and Withaferin A, which promote the health of your thyroid and adrenal glands. Ashwagandha can also help increase GABA activity (GABA is a neurotransmitter that helps to relax you). Ashwagandha can help to counteract fatigue during times of stress and can also help reduce burnout. It may also help to reduce anxiety. Ashwagandha helps to balance mood by increasing serotonin levels in your brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter involved in food regulation and happiness.
When shopping for ashwagandha, customers have rated Gandha 600 by AOR 5 stars. AOR is a highly trusted natural supplement brand that formulates bioavailable natural health products. This premium ashwagandha supplement is standardized to ensure 600mg in every capsule. This supplement is vegan, non-GMO and gluten-free.
Known as one of the most effective nootropics for boosting mental energy, rhodiola can feel its effects almost immediately. It can help improve motivation, increase focus and be in the “flow.” Because it is an adaptogen, rhodiola can help to lift you up if you are feeling depressed, conversely, rhodiola can help to calm you if you are feeling anxious. Rhodiola also optimizes mood related transmitters serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. This allows for a more balanced mood and positive outlook on life.
Because of its ability to decrease cortisol levels (the stress hormone), rhodiola is great for those who are stressed out or feeling overwhelmed by their daily workload. It has also been shown to mildly energize the mind and body without being a stimulant like caffeine or nicotine. In a double blind cross-over study (a study where both groups of participants receive rhodiola and the placebo at different times, but neither the researchers nor participants know which group they’re in). Rhodiola was shown to increase test scores in doctors after working an overnight shift. Researchers concluded that rhodiola could reduce general fatigue under stressful situations.
A potent, well-known rhodiola supplement is Rhodiola 150mg by Natural Factors. Formulated with 150mg of rhodiola and 3% salidrosides per capsule this supplement offers an optimal, highly absorbable dose. Lastly, these easy to swallow caps are standardized to 3.5% rosavin so you know you’re getting a quality supplement.
Schisandra is one of the most popular adaptogens, due to its wide range of health benefits. It can be used to treat insomnia by helping to reduce anxiety and support deep, slow-wave sleep. It also boosts your performance during the day by increasing muscle strength and endurance. Schisandra can improve memory and concentration by increasing blood flow to the brain. This herb can also help protect the brain from oxidative stress caused by free radicals or toxins like alcohol or heavy metals.
When shopping for a schisandra supplement, look for one that’s organic, uses high-quality ingredients and is bioavailable. St. Francis Herb Farm’s Schisandra is in a tincture format which enhances bioavailability. It’s a highly concentrated extract that is certified organic and formulated in a grain alcohol and distilled water mixture. This gluten-free formula offers superior quality and is trusted by many.
Supplementing with Adaptogens
Most adaptogens are now sold in powder or capsule form. It is always a good idea to speak with a health practitioner to determine the right adaptogen and dosage for you.
Disclaimer: The information in this article is intended for educational and informational purposes only and should not be considered as a substitute for medical advice. Please consult your practitioner prior to taking herbs or nutritional supplements.