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The Best Brain Supplements for Students

Young female student studying from a book and using laptop

Today's students need to perform under a lot of pressure. They need to be attentive during classroom instruction, concentrate on coursework during their personal study sessions, and then retain the information they learn, while simultaneously dealing with stress from work, family, fellow students, or any number of other triggers. This is where brain supplements for students can help. 

With such a loaded schedule, it's no wonder that many students can barely find the time to eat, let alone eat healthily! Moreover, a lack of exercise makes many students feel sluggish, like they're in a perpetual state of slow motion. What's the end result? A loss of memory, focus, and cognition, leading to diminished grades and even more stress.

If you are a student or are a parent or friend of a student, then you may wonder if there is a viable solution to such health issues. Actually, there is! Brain supplements for students can significantly increase their ability to process, retain, and concentrate on important information. Students can take these supplements separately, or take products that are specifically designed to combine the positive effects of multiple supplements into one item.

The following information will discuss some of the best brain supplements for students on the market today, and how they relate to 4 important aspects of a student's life:

  • Mood
  • Memory
  • Focus
  • Cognition

Mood

Some of the best brain supplements for students deal with mood. A level mood is important for anyone to perform at their best, and especially so for students under pressure. There could be several reasons why a person's mood would become unstable or change for the worse; but one of the main causes of mood and depressive disorders is an imbalance in the transmission and uptake of 3 vital neurotransmitters: serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine.

Many students have found that the following supplements act as excellent mood stabilizers: 

St. John's Wort

St. John's wort is a plant with yellow, star-shaped flowers that are native to Europe, Northern Africa, and western Asia. For centuries St. John's wort has been prescribed for its medicinal properties; however, only recently has research identified this ingredient's effectiveness in treating certain mood disorders, such as mild to moderate depression.

Studies indicate that chemicals in St. John's wort (such as hypericin and hyperforin) act as inhibiting agents upon serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. This is accomplished without causing a significant change in other important neurotransmitters. Thus, St. John's wort forms a vital base from which to build any mood-stabilizing formula that specifically targets neurotransmitter function.

Glutamine

Glutamine, also known as L-glutamine, is a naturally occurring amino acid that the body produces. It is also found in many foods. It is a substrate for the neurotransmitter GABA, which aids in fighting anxiety and stress.

Research indicates that glutamine may increase dopamine levels within the brain while suppressing serotonin levels. In this way, glutamine allows for an enhanced sensibility towards positive emotions and helps to improve a person's mood.

Memory

The ability to retain and recall information is one of the most critical aspects of collegiate life. A decline in short-term memory often has a correlation with a decline in acetylcholine, an important neurotransmitter. Thus, many memory-promoting supplements contain active ingredients that both increase the production of acetylcholine and also limit the enzyme that breaks this neurotransmitter down.

Two brain supplements that are especially helpful for enhanced memory are:

Dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE)

DMAE is a naturally occurring chemical produced by the brain and is also found in fatty fish foods, such as sardines and anchovies. DMAE is a type of choline molecule; however, since DMAE is missing one methyl group from the nitrogen it contains, it can more easily cross the blood-brain barrier than other choline-based elements.

Scientists believe that DMAE works by increasing the production of acetylcholine, which is a crucial neurotransmitter for assisting nerve cells to send signals. At the same time, DMAE prevents the buildup of beta-amyloid (a substance linked to memory loss) within the brain. 

Huperzine

Huperzine (or huperzine A) is a derivative of the Chinese club moss plant. In recent years, this supplement has been extensively researched for its potential in treating Alzheimer's disease. Like DMAE, huperzine works to increase acetylcholine (Ach) levels within the brain.

Our body produces an enzyme called acetylcholinesterase, which breaks down Ach. Huperzine temporarily reduces the activity of acetylcholinesterase, which means that an increased volume of Ach can stay within the bloodstream and operate in the brain. This boost in Ach can help prevent memory loss; in some cases, it may even assist in restoring memory.

A study of older children and teenagers found that huperzine A, when consistently taken for approximately 1 month, noticeably enhanced retention and general mental functioning.

Focus

When studying a complex subject, or prepping for an important exam, a student's ability to concentrate at a high level is a crucial factor in his or her success. Research indicates that a lack of mental focus is often attributed to low levels of norepinephrine, as well as poor blood circulation within the brain.

One supplement that promotes the production of norepinephrine, and thus helps to improve concentration levels, are: 

Ginkgo Biloba

Also known as "maidenhair," Ginkgo Biloba is a tree native to China. Ginkgo extract is one of the most popular supplements in the world today.

Research indicates that Ginkgo Biloba improves blood flow to the brain, and can help reduce the rate of decline in patients that have Alzheimer's disease. Some studies suggest that this supplement can also enhance concentration and attention span. This could be due to ginkgo Biloba's inhibitory effect on norepinephrine reuptake; in other words, it blocks norepinephrine's reabsorption into the brain's cells, keeping the chemical active for longer.

Cognition

Students often have to process a large volume of information in a short span of time. The brain's processing speed, as well as its overall performance, is related to a number of key factors, such as nerve transmission, dopamine levels, and even total brain mass.

The following supplements are especially beneficial for improving cognitive function in the brain:

Bacopa

Bacopa is also known as Brahmi and has been used in traditional Indian medicine (Ayurveda) for hundreds of years. Many believe that bacopa is an excellent supplement to increase blood flow to the brain. It appears that bacopa's effectiveness as cognition-enhancer hinges upon the interplay of its chemicals with the brain and one another, especially bacosides A and B. These bacosides may even repair damaged neurons and restore a measure of synaptic activity that had previously been lost.

One study found that bacopa "may improve higher-order cognitive processes that are critically dependent on the input of information from our environment," like learning and memory.

Phosphatidylserine (PS)

Phosphatidylserine (PS, for short) is a type of fatty substance called a phospholipid. It plays a key role in keeping a person's memory sharp, and in optimal cognition.

PS promotes the metabolism of glucose, as well as its release and attachment to neurotransmitters. This process is key to higher cognitive functions. In addition, PS facilitates communication between brain cells by increasing the number of membrane receptor sites. PS also acts to regulate the fluidity of cell membranes, which are essential components in the process of chemical communication between brain cells.

Moreover, PS promotes the production of dopamine. Dopamine deficiency may be a contributing factor to ADD and ADHD; therefore, PS is often used as a therapeutic agent to treat these disorders.

Acetyl-L-carnitine (ALCAR)

Like glutamine, ALCAR is a naturally occurring amino acid and antioxidant that is produced within the body as a derivative of L-carnitine. In fact, the body can both convert ALCAR into L-carnitine and extract it from L-carnitine. ALCAR assists in energy production, and also plays a part in the production of Ach. In addition, ALCAR supports healthy blood flow to the brain.

Research has indicated that one dose of ALCAR taken intravenously produces significant short-term improvements in blood flow to the brain within patients with poor cerebral blood circulation. It can also help treat thinking problems related to poor liver function and other issues. As a supplement, ALCAR can promote key cognitive functions like retention, computation, analysis, perception, and similar abilities.

consciousness and brain power or brain supplements concept

Using Supplements to Boost Your Brainpower

All of these brain supplements for students can work wonders. It is true that not all people will respond to nutrients in the same way; however, some companies address this issue by layering a number of different nutrients on top of one another for maximum effect.

For example, Nootropynt uses a multi-layered formulation strategy that provides a primary nutrient, and then secondary support in order to achieve the first nutrient's primary objective. Thus, the combination of ingredients serves as a catch-all "net" that provides brain-boosting benefits, no matter the individual. This formula has a proven track record of delivering positive results.

In conclusion, it's no secret that students need to feel their best and think their best in order to be their best. Taking these mentioned brain supplements for students can help them to improve their mood, memory, concentration, and cognitive processing, all of which will help them to successfully navigate the challenges of higher learning.