Can Supplementation Reduce Your Brain Age?
Growing older is a part of life, one we all must face. How we handle that process can be scientifically measured by the number of “life crisis” we undergo. Those who have quarter-life crises are off to a particularly bad start. If turning 25 throws you for a loop, 50 should be a real hoot. In actuality, our cliche tantrums over aging are usually related to lack of fulfillment or frustrations with life not being what we dreamed of while we were young and full of endless optimism.
The difference between a brain bursting with youthful exuberance and one bordering senility is only 100 milliseconds. Processing speed relates to our memory, cognitive thought, focus, problem-solving and just about every other action within our brains. It is the number of synapses, the connections within the brain that drive its functions.Yet, aging naturally robs us of our capabilities derived from youth: athleticism, or what semblance of it we had, vigor, energy, libido, perhaps hair. In return, age supposedly gifts us wisdom, experience, patience, and perspective. All of this is up for debate except for one scientific truth: age does eventually slow our brain’s processing speeds.
Eventually, these connections slow and memories no longer can be recalled at the speed of our youth. Even more troubling, new memories slowly stop imprinting as deeply, causing forgetfulness or complete amnesia. These defects can slowly decline into more serious brain conditions such as dementia or even Alzheimer's disease. Not everyone has to face these disconcerting issues as all our brains, and bodies for that matter, work differently. Some lucky few remain as sharp as a tack until the day they die. Others struggle with cognitive brain functions for years. A number of different health factors play into such decline such as nutrition, stress, lack of exercise, injuries, as well as hereditary factors.
They say with every decade after the age of 20 we lose seven to ten milliseconds of processing speed. However, thanks to modern science, while all must grow older, that doesn’t necessarily mean our brains must gradually lose their potency any longer. Nootropics are an exciting and relatively new branch of drugs and exercises that aim to improve cognitive function, processing speeds, memory, even motivation in healthy young individuals. Nevertheless, some research has shown that nootropics are especially effective in the elderly and those who are slowly losing their cognitive functions.
Imagine if you could remember and think as clearly as you did 20 or 30 years ago? Noticing your own brain speed is a lot like perceiving the inch or two we gain as we sleep; the difference is a minute, almost imperceptible. Despite that, many in their later years describe their thoughts as in a “brain fog.” Maybe you don’t remember names like you used to, or struggle to find your keys, things you never did when you were younger. Perhaps you become more impulsive or show poor judgment, feel overwhelmed by decisions or lose train of thought or focus on tasks you used to enjoy. These could be examples of mild cognitive impairment (MCI), which the number one cause of is aging.
The goal of Nootropics is to improve the number of synapses within your brain and, therefore, could reverse the development of cognitive impairment. Returning your brain closer to its former self. It may sound like a panacea, but the evidence of its efficacy is grounded in science. Researchers studied the effects of Piracetam on patients struggling with memory and cognitive functions. They found “compelling evidence for the global efficacy of piracetam in a diverse group of older subjects with cognitive impairment.” Noopept, in clinical trials, has been found to help with effects of Alzheimer's.
Similar to how doctors tell you to take fish oil or unpronounceable supplements such as Glyceryl Phosphoryl Choline, nootropics serve as brain drugs to improve neuroplasticity. Dr. Michael Merzenich, professor emeritus at University of California, defined neuroplasticity as, “The brain’s ability to change its anatomical, neurochemical, and functional performance status across the lifespan.” Previously it was thought that new neurons couldn’t be formed later in life. That may be where the idiom, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” came from. Slowly accepted research by Michael Kaplan proved that isn’t the case. That with supplementation, nootropics, and exercise we may spur on new neuritic growth.
Another benefit of nootropics is the minimization of free radicals; you may have heard of them. Free radicals are essentially unbounded groups of atoms or electrons that form from interactions with oxygen. Once paired with the oxygen they can become highly reactive, potentially causing chain reactions that can damage important cellular components such as cell membranes or DNA. Our bodies form antioxidants to fight such free radicals. Stacking or combining nootropics can introduce more antioxidants, providing more firepower to protect vital brain parts.
Whether it is improving the number of brain synapses, helping brain plasticity or protecting against free radicals, proper stacking of nootropics can drastically improve brain function, memory, focus, even motivation. Everyone can stand to improve with this exciting new branch of medicine, but especially those getting up in years whose brain will naturally begin to slow down.
Some nootropics are meant for intermittent use. Others like Focus Alert Relaxed and Smartea Pants are designed for daily use. That is because some nootropics work slowly over time, while others build a cumulative effect. By using small amounts daily, the effects compound to improve the benefits exponentially. Give these two a try and see if they provide the brain boost you are looking for.