A herb popularly used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine, Bacopa Monnieri has been used for years in helping memory recall and processing (1). Recent studies have suggested that Bacopa has a wider variety of cognitive effects such as memory acquisition, retention, and stress reduction (2-4). Multiple randomized control trials have concluded that compared to a placebo-control group, the Bacopa Monnieri treatment group showed increases in motor learning, spatial working memory accuracy and visual information processing. Researchers believe that the active component responsible for these effects are saponins that work with the cholinergic system in order to release acetylcholine, an important neurotransmitter that controls many parts of the nervous system (1-5).
Vitamin B6 is an vitamin essential for brain function, with reduced levels causing neural inflammation and oxidative stress (6). Current research has shown that increasing Vitamin B6 consumption can promote cellular metabolism and myelination, which is essential for optimal brain signaling (6, 7). Some studies have suggested that Vitamin B6 can have positive effects on mood such as lowered anxiety and stress levels (6, 7).
Similarly to Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12 is essential for normal physiological function, especially because it isn’t synthesized within the body. Because of this, humans are required to consume Vitamin B12 in order to maintain sufficient levels to support neurological function and avoid deficiency symptoms such as cognitive impairment, dementia, and behavior changes (6). Vitamin B12 and B6 in combination have been shown in an overwhelming amount of studies to support healthy brain development by reducing homocysteine levels and inflammation while promoting neural metabolic processes (6, 7).
Phosphatidylserine is one of the most important phospholipids that makes up human cell membranes. In the normal aging process, our cell membranes begin to diminish which allows them to be compromised, resulting in a multitude of problems with the main one being cognitive decline (8). Phosphatidylserine is known to be one of the most important brain nutrients due to its role in supporting neurotransmitter systems such as the acetylcholine, serotonin, and dopamine pathways (8, 9). Previous studies have suggested that supplementation of phosphatidylserine at 100 mg per day can increase memory in elderly patients as well as nondemented individuals, as well as have positive effects as a neuroprotectant (8). One randomized control trial also found that in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder who supplemented with phosphatidylserine showed an improvement in working memory as well as auditory memory compared to a placebo control group (9).
Tyrosine is an amino acid that plays a role in the release of two important neurotransmitters: norepinephrine and dopamine. Both of these neurotransmitters regulate many cognitive functions, with an important function being cognitive flexibility, or the ability to quickly adapt and update mental processes (10). Randomized control trials have demonstrated that supplementation with Tyrosine promotes cognitive adaptation and working memory updating through the increased release of norepinephrine and dopamine (10).
Beet Root is filled with inorganic nitrates which when ingested through supplementation or in the diet, gets reduced to nitric oxide. Nitric Oxide has a vasodilating effect resulting in increased blood flow throughout the entire body (11-13). Human exercise studies have shown that increased nitric oxide availability has a variety of performance benefits, specifically in low oxygen conditions such as high intensity training (11, 12). These studies have suggested that the increased blood flow associated with beet root supplementation can improve function in fast twitch muscle fibers as well as improve heart rate during anaerobic exercise (12). Other studies have shown that a single dose of beet root can increase cerebral blood flow within 24 hours of ingestion (11).
Theanine is an important amino acid that is commonly found in green tea. Researchers have proposed that theanine acts on the central nervous system resulting in improved cognitive performance as well as also working as a neuroprotective agent for the brain (14, 15). Theanine is suggested to have a multitude of benefits within the body such as a stress reducer, increased hippocampal activity, and increased alpha wave activity(14-17).
Extracted from Huperzia Serrata, Huperzine A is a common compound used to treat Alzheimer’s disease patients suffering from extensive memory loss and overall cognitive decline (18). Clinical trials have shown that supplementation with Huperzine A can improve cognitive performance in a variety of different patients with mental deficits (18). Although the mechanism behind its benefits are not greatly known, it is thought that Huperzine A works to suppress inflammatory factors within the brain that result in the death of brain cells (18).
Green Tea is a staple ingredient in a variety of different Eastern medicines, and has been used to primarily in recent years as an immunity agent as well as a substitute for coffee. The natural caffeine that green tea contains has been shown in clinical trials to reduce cognitive impairments as well as increase working memory abilities (19). These benefits have also shown to be enhanced in combination with L-Theanine, resulting in reduced levels of stress while increasing attentiveness (16, 17).
Citicoline is a brain chemical that is occurs naturally in the body as an intermediate between phosphatidycholine and choline (20, 21). These brain nutrients are essential for regulating cell membrane integrity and cell membrane repair in the brain. When taken as an oral supplement, citicoline has an extremely high absorption rate that allows almost all of it to be metabolized and used within the body, primarily in the brain (20, 21). Multiple clinical trials have concluded that supplementation with citicoline in healthy adults can increase focus and attention (20, 21). These results have been shown to effect a wide variety of groups ranging in age, gender, and initial cognitive performance (20, 21).
- N K, LG A, V T, KJ G, MU N, G VR. Efficacy of Standardized Extract of Bacopa monnieri (Bacognize®) on Cognitive Functions of Medical Students: A Six-Week, Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM. 2016;2016.
- S B, LA D, C S, M W, A Z, A S. An acute, double-blind, placebo-controlled cross-over study of 320 mg and 640 mg doses of Bacopa monnieri (CDRI 08) on multitasking stress reactivity and mood. Phytotherapy research : PTR. 2014;28(4).0
- T P-N, J W, S M, T T-U, N P, P R, et al. Effects of 12-Week Bacopa monnieri Consumption on Attention, Cognitive Processing, Working Memory, and Functions of Both Cholinergic and Monoaminergic Systems in Healthy Elderly Volunteers. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM. 2012;2012.
- C S, J L, J C, LA D, CW H, T R, et al. The chronic effects of an extract of Bacopa monniera (Brahmi) on cognitive function in healthy human subjects. Psychopharmacology. 2001;156(4).
- C S, LA D, J L, B S, S R, C H, et al. Examining the nootropic effects of a special extract of Bacopa monniera on human cognitive functioning: 90 day double-blind placebo-controlled randomized trial. Phytotherapy research : PTR. 2008;22(12).
- TC F, LA D, T S, G M, C O, C S. The Effect of a High-Dose Vitamin B Multivitamin Supplement on the Relationship between Brain Metabolism and Blood Biomarkers of Oxidative Stress: A Randomized Control Trial. Nutrients. 2018;10(12).
- AL T, E P, D M, C Y, A S. Vitamins and Minerals for Energy, Fatigue and Cognition: A Narrative Review of the Biochemical and Clinical Evidence. Nutrients. 2020;12(1).
- V V, T C, Y R, Y H, Y K, AD K. Phosphatidylserine containing omega-3 Fatty acids may improve memory abilities in nondemented elderly individuals with memory complaints: results from an open-label extension study. Dementia and geriatric cognitive disorders. 2014;38(1-2).
- S H, K T, R R, T H, T I, Y T, et al. The effect of phosphatidylserine administration on memory and symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Journal of human nutrition and dietetics : the official journal of the British Dietetic Association. 2014;27 Suppl 2.
- Colzato L. Working memory reloaded: tyrosine repletes updating in the N-back task. In: Jongkees B, editor. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience2013.
- M P, WJ R, S B, PJ L, AP M, JL N, et al. Beet Root Juice: An Ergogenic Aid for Exercise and the Aging Brain. The journals of gerontology Series A, Biological sciences and medical sciences. 2017;72(9).
- J N, KL J, J T, PJ P, JM S, LJ vL, et al. Beetroot Juice Supplementation Improves High-Intensity Intermittent Type Exercise Performance in Trained Soccer Players. Nutrients. 2017;9(3).
- Woessner M. Beet the Best? Dietary Inorganic Nitrate to Augment Exercise Training in Lower Extremity Peripheral Artery Disease With Intermittent Claudication. 2018.
- S H, S O, M O, I I, Z Y, M O, et al. Effects of L-Theanine Administration on Stress-Related Symptoms and Cognitive Functions in Healthy Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Nutrients. 2019;11(10).
- AC N, A R, GN O. L-theanine, a natural constituent in tea, and its effect on mental state. Asia Pacific journal of clinical nutrition. 2008;17 Suppl 1.
- SK P, IC J, WK L, YS L, HK P, HJ G, et al. A combination of green tea extract and l-theanine improves memory and attention in subjects with mild cognitive impairment: a double-blind placebo-controlled study. Journal of medicinal food. 2011;14(4).
- JL W, JM E, NM DC, D S, EN G, RJ K, et al. The Effects of Green Tea Amino Acid L-Theanine Consumption on the Ability to Manage Stress and Anxiety Levels: a Systematic Review. Plant foods for human nutrition (Dordrecht, Netherlands). 2020;75(1).
- U D, R G, JT J, S S, A R. Huperzine A: A promising anticonvulsant, disease modifying, and memory enhancing treatment option in Alzheimer's disease. Medical hypotheses. 2017;99.
- A S, F H, B W, AC M-G, J D, C B, et al. Green tea extract enhances parieto-frontal connectivity during working memory processing. Psychopharmacology. 2014;231(19).
- E M, AM A, J D, M K, E N, T K, et al. The Effect of Citicoline Supplementation on Motor Speed and Attention in Adolescent Males. Journal of attention disorders. 2019;23(2).
- McGlade E. (PDF) Improved Attentional Performance Following Citicoline Administration in Healthy Adult Women. Food and Nutrition Sciences. 2012.