Brain supplements, or (if you are one of the cool kids) Nootropics, are a sexy topic right now.
With all the micro-dosing of LSD and Psilocybin currently going on in Silicon Valley (that is really a thing), most people are looking to gain whatever cognitive advantages today that they can.
But before you go grasping for the latest "Limitless" pill that the next company is rushing to offer you, it may serve your brain, pocket books, and especially your liver, to make sure you have covered a few bases prior to jumping aboard the "cocaine brain train".
1. Make sure you steady your blood sugar.
Most people will feel as though they have some level of brain fog after a higher carb meal.
Of course, this depends on the timing of the carbs and how sensitive you are to your own insulin of course.
It makes a big difference if you just finished a hard workout and you consume some carbs as opposed to just eating them because it is "breakfast."
If your insulin shoots up and then crashes back down, that hypoglycemia episode that ensues will fog even the sharpest of minds.
This is why Bulletproof coffee resonates so well with so many people.
It isn't the actual butter or fat in the coffee (although the higher amount of C8 MCT you add, you could get some brain boosting capability), but it is usually due to the fact that fat leaves you full and doesn't affect blood sugar.
That leaves most people thinking much more clearly after the coffee as opposed to the whole grain toast or Cheerios.
2. How much alcohol did you drink the night before?
Most people love to insist how healthy their wine or vodka is at night based on the whole "wine is better than an hour on the treadmill" non-sense.
We Americans will share anything on Facebook if it lines up with our existing habits, won't we?
But what I often see is that even a bit of red wine can cause a hefty amount of brain fog the next morning.
You can usually notice this from a sinus perspective and waking up a bit more nasally than usual after indulging in a glass or two.
The liver also has to clear out the alcohol before you are going to start racking up hours of Deep Sleep as well.
So if you track your sleep and notice you don't get enough REM or Deep Sleep, but you are holding on tight to the health benefits of your wine...
Here's your sign to perhaps try something a bit different. (How to Drink and Thrive)
3. Do you currently get enough DHA in your diet?
Now, while this one isn't as stimulating as caffeine, it still makes a big difference in one's cognitive health and performance.
Most people eat ample butter and coconut oil but seem to forget the significance of cold water fish or supplementing with a high quality fish oil.
The source and quality of the fat matter.
Just because it isn't a carb or a grain doesn't mean you can just bathe in the stuff and call it a day.
4. Speaking of sleep... How much are you getting?
This is an easy one, but most hard charging Type A's forget to track this.
If you don't currently track your sleep, then take the next seven days and track how many hours you are getting per night. If you do currently track your sleep, add up your hours of REM and Deep Sleep for the next 7 days and see how your sleep is effective by what you eat and drink the day before.
If you want to take your tracking to the next level, start tracking HRV while you sleep and really see how you are recovering from all the daily stressors that show up uninvited throughout the day.
(If you need a bouncer to show those stressors to the nearest exit, I know a guy... Just sayin...)
5. How much caffeine are you taking throughout the day?
Now, this one is very individualistic.
Some of our members and clients can get away with much more caffeine than others, but if you are constantly trying to pump more caffeine into your veins to keep a mental edge, it will catch up to you sooner or later.
Sometimes it will remain in your system longer than anticipated and start screwing up your deep sleep, just like the alcohol.
(Double whammy for all my Red Bull/ Vodka drinkers out there... Holla!)
But seriously, taking a break from caffeine every 4 to 5 weeks for a few days could be well worth the return on investment.
Going with Decaf for a few days could be enough to get back that caffeine jolt that you have been missing for the past 5-10 years.
Now that we have that out of the way, let's dive into a few more natural supplements that can give your brain a bit more boost than your morning Starbuck's latte.
1. A Decent Multi-Vitamin
This doesn't mean Centrum Silver or Men's One a Day.
Those are garbage and my male readers get to pretend they house their own innate light sabers each time they go to the urinal after taking them.
That florescent rainbow that you are peeing 2 hours after taking your current multi is essentially more of your pocket book going down the drain.
Invest in a decent multi if you feel as though you need to be taking one.
2. Vitamin D
This is a no brainer.
One of the first things to start to suffer from lack of Vitamin D is your cognitive capacity.
Most of the time, the measly 250 iu found in your multivitamin will not cut it.
That is why most Americans are deficient.
Have your levels checked at least twice per year.
If you can't do that, I would recommend taking at least 1,000 to 2,000 iu, especially in the winter months.
3. Vitamin B-12 Lozenge
Why a lozenge? Well it isn't always necessary, but with most people who actually have a deficiency, I have noticed that their shoddy digestive capabilities usually ends up being the culprit. So by taking the lozenge, they ensure adequate absorption.
Also, make sure you are taking "METHYL" cobalamin and not Cyanocobalamin. The methylated one is of much higher quality.
4. Curcumin Phytosome
First of all, taking a curcumin phytosome is way more efficacious than trying to acquire enough curcumin from eating Turmeric. You would have to eat like 2 lbs of turmeric to even absorb the same amount of curcumin as you do with one serving of the phytosome.
(Note if you want to completely rebel and eat a couple pounds of Turmeric anyway, please video yourself and send to the rest of us)
Second, curcumin brings with it some pretty interesting brain enhancing capability, especially in regards to decreasing brain and neuronal inflammation.
Lastly, anything that decreases neuronal inflammation is going to free up a lot more brain power. This includes high quality fish oil (with adequate EPA and DHA.)
5. Start your day with some heavy deep breathing, a bit of fasting, and a cold soak or shower.
Before you leave the page and eye-roll yourself back to your mindless Facebook scrolling, do yourself a favor and look at the amount of data on "Wim Hof Breathing".
Complete some of those exercises in the morning and let me know if you don't feel like running through your glass shower door after finishing them.
If you don't feel great after the breathing or cold shower/soak, email us below so I can take a look and see what else is going on from a stress perspective with you currently.
That is a good sign that something is off.
There you have it.
Trial a few of these, particularly the whole "blood sugar" suggestion and see if you don't start feeling more alert.
Keeping insulin in check with fasting and not adding loads of syrup to your coffee in the morning should get you 80% of what you are looking for.
If not, I have a few other supplements and tricks up my sleeve, but our current members wouldn't be happy if I give all the secrets away that they are paying for... true story; I have been warned.