Audiences that watched the 2011 film Limitless saw a character taking a nootropic drug. The idea of these drugs is to increase cognitive functioning- they make the user a lot more intelligent. Of course, no known drug can have the effects seen in these types of film, but there are many supplements that have a subtle yet worthwhile effect. Really, these supplements don’t so much increase our mental abilities as return them to the place they should already be. Just as good diet and exercise can often restore our body’s health, so good supplement, mental exercise and avoidance of pollutants can being out brain functioning to optimal.
Caffeine – This is something of a drug, but a mild one. Used sparingly, a little caffeine in the morning does have a positive effect. It can make some people jittery or anxious, and some find it addictive; they find they cannot get by without it. Still, it can combine well with other substances like Theanine.
Theanine – Initially noticed in green tea, this substance combines well with caffeine (also found in green tea). Theanine give us calm concentration. With caffeine is gives better memory, alertness, concentration without anxiety or blood pressure problems. Green tea has reasonable level of these two substances, and works reasonably well. Ideally there should be at least two parts theanine for 1 part caffeine.
Fresh Vegetable juice – By fresh, we mean make you own! Use a blender, and get all the fibre, vitamins and minerals in the solid food.
Cocoa/Dark Chocolate – Great for anti-oxidants. It seems to improve cognitive function, especially when taken long term. Possibly the best tasting thing on the list.
Omega 3 fish Oil – This has become famous over the last generation. Many people with mild metal problems were able to give up medication when they took Omega 3 oil. Again, it’s not a miracle; our bodies need this oil and we don’t do well without it. This just seems to restore the proper brain functioning, or at least part of it.
Creatine – Mostly used by bodybuilders, this increases mental speed, improving memory and intelligence. A small daily quantity of powder makes a noticeable difference.
Turmeric – The yellow powder so common in Indian cuisine. This greatly reduces the decay of mental functioning. A small but steady amount of turmeric in the diet greatly reduces problems with age related memory problems.
Ginseng – Korean Red Ginseng seems to be the best form of this. This may be the ultimate adaptogen – it seems to benefit us no matter what the issue is. An improved immune system seems reason enough to take ginseng, but it makes a noticeable difference with mental clarity.
A pleasant side effect of taking the right supplements, of improving our mental functioning, is that we often feel much better. When full alert and performing well we tend to get more done, appreciate the results, and feel notable happier in the process. In contrast to the 2014 film Lucy, we don’t lose emotions as we become more intelligent.