Are you interested in finding the best nootropics to try? Moms are starting to test the waters with them and it’s no secret that made-to-order vitamin subscriptions and adaptogenic herbs are having a moment right now. Photogenic supplements pepper your social feeds almost as often as cheesy engagement pictures (gag) and birth announcements (we’re not crying, you’re crying). From mushroom coffees that are brewed to ease anxiety to powders you can spoon into smoothies for a heightened libido, there’s a supplement to solve everything these days — even Mom Brain. (We’re #blessed that OTC nootropics are being sold on Amazon now.) Glycine Propionyl-L-Carnitine
Brain boosters, or nootropics, are “natural or synthetic chemicals that are meant to enhance brain performance,” according to expert Erica Armstrong, functional medicine MD, IFMCP, and founder of Root Functional Medicine. They aren’t necessary for cognitive function or focus by any means, but nootropics can be helpful for moms, specifically “young mothers with adrenal issues due to lack of consistent sleep, stress in the postpartum period, and [mothers] trying to manage too much on their plate,” Armstrong explains.
How do nootropics work?
Gail Clayton, DCN, CNS, MS, RPh tells Scary Mommy that one of the main reasons why anyone experiences a cognitive decline (aka brain fog) is “neuroinflammation,” or swollen nerve tissue. Ergo, the purpose of the nootropic is to lower said inflammation so your brain can function properly.
Nootropics work in different ways to ultimately achieve the same goal — to increase your mental clarity and focus, Armstrong explains. Some nootropics work to decrease levels of cortisol in the body, and some encourage cortisol production, Armstrong says. Others, Clayton adds, increase blood flow.
What are the different kinds of nootropics?
The most common nootropics are things like caffeine, ginger, mushrooms (rhodiola, reishi, etc.), Panax Ginseng, and L-theanine.
Another popular nootropic is creatine, an organic compound found in the cells of your muscles. The magic of creatine is that it recycles the energy that already exists in our body. So you’re not necessarily adding anything into your system, you’re using what’s already there.
Some nootropics can only be prescribed by a physician. These types of supplements are different than nootropics sold over the counter.
“[Examples of] over the counter stuff would be like some amino acids, theanine or nicotine, or caffeine — just the natural stuff,” Clayton tells Scary Mommy. “The prescription ones, they’re narcotics. Adderall is an amphetamine and methylphenidate, [which are] stimulants. Those can be quite addictive, and they can be quite dangerous. People can overdose on those.”
So do you need nootropics to think more clearly?
The short answer: No. Just like you don’t need to hop on a celery juice cleanse to detox your gut, your body doesn’t need nootropics in order to clear away the fog. Things like exercise, eating “brain foods” like fish and blueberries, and meditation, can also help you reduce stress, and live more mindfully. No medication necessary.
However, nootropics can help speed things along. Popping a nootropic pill, or adding nootropic powders to your morning smoothie can help you get back on track, organized, and feeling capable of tackling whatever’s on your plate. Even if that just means cooking dinner an extra night a week, folding the laundry, or not mixing up your kids’ schedules.