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A Review of Nootropics Use in Sports

nootropics athletics

Nootropics can help your athletic performance.

Most individuals take nootropic supplements to boost cognition, to improve their focus, to help them study for a test, and so on.  However, many athletes may be surprised to find that nootropics can help them to perform better physically.

It would make logical sense that a supplement that can improve focus and clarity would have a positive effect on the body’s response to physical activity. The better you can focus on the task at hand, the better you will perform. Certain nootropics even directly improve muscle contraction and growth.

Some nootropics like phenylpiracetam are so effective at improving athletic performance that they are banned from competitive sports; others are equally as effective and entirely fine to use for any sport. So how do nootropics work with your body to improve your athleticism?

How Nootropics Help Athletic Performance

nootropics soccer

Nootropics can help boost cognition, which can help you think on your feet.

Taking nootropics affects the brain’s levels of neurotransmitters, which helps the brain to connect with muscle tissue and send out signals.  Raising neurotransmitter levels can help the brain to communicate more efficiently with the rest of the body, and can improve reaction times by promoting a higher level of cognition.

Specifically, most nootropics increase acetylcholine, the neurotransmitter commonly known to improve memory and learning. However, acetylcholine also improves muscle control as well as balance. Mental and physical fitness are linked, and so a quicker and healthier brain produces faster reflexes and greater endurance.  The effects of individual nootropics on physical activity vary, however, so you will need to choose wisely.

Benefits of Different Nootropics in Sports

 

nootropics hockey

Nootropics can also help build muscle (so that you win a fight or two in hockey).

Alpha GPC has been linked to increased levels of growth hormone as well as quicker fat oxidation, meaning that it promotes muscle gains and helps to burn fat leading to improved physical performance and body composition [1].  Aniracetam, in addition to being more potent than other racetam supplements like piracetam, can help to reduce anxiety as well as increase focus [2]. 

Oxiracetam increases spatial learning, which helps your brain to improve physical coordination. Huperzine A prevents the breakdown of acetylcholine to improve memory and muscle control; it also increase alertness.

All of these nootropics will improve neuronal communication between the brain and body, but also have specialized individual effects.  With all of these options to choose from, it is a simple matter of picking a nootropic and seeing which is best for your sports performance.

Which Nootropics Are Right For You?

You may be curious about trying nootropics to improve physical performance, and there are many excellent choices out there.  Be careful of taking supplements that may be banned from a particular sport, but otherwise experiment and find what works best for you.

Weightlifters find Alpha GPC and Huperzine A 1% helpful in doses of 300mg and 10mg respectively, usually stacked together.  Other athletes may find aniracetam and oxiracetam useful in doses around 750mg two times per day.  Find the stack or single supplement that works best for you, and enjoy greater athletic success!

Sources

  1. http://www.nutritionjrnl.com/article/S0899-9007(12)00089-5/
  2. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0014299901010056

Soybean-Derived vs. Bovine-Derived Phosphatidylserine

Phosphatidylserine is another supplement that has received a lot of attention in the past few years. There are a number of helpful benefits associated with it including an improved memory, mood, and a number of other cognitive functions. However, there seems to be a debate right now over which type of source makes for the best supplement. The two choices are soybean or bovine (cow) derived Phosphatidylserine. In order to make an informed decision, it is helpful to first know the benefits of this supplement.

What Is Phosphatidylserine?

This supplement is actually a natural ingredient or component of the membranes of living cells. This substance is found in the cell membrane of neurons (brain cells). Phosphatidylserine comprises as much as 10 percent of the lipid content of these cells. While it is possible to obtain this ingredient from food, we do not actually get very much this way. Average daily consumption is around 100 to 150 mg.

Phosphatidylserine Benefits:

This supplement is thought to regulate how brain cells work and process information. This is done by these membranes actually controlling which nutrients are used by the brain and which are passed out as waste products.

Another excellent benefit of this supplement is that it helps to improve communication between the various brain cells and hemispheres. This communication is thought to occur by increasing the number of receptors and increasing the production of Acetylcholine, a powerful neurotransmitter that plays a key role in memory formation, learning, and other cognitive functions.

While taking this supplement, memory is enhanced and so is the general speed of recall. Many users also report having much improved clarity and speed of thought. Attention span is increased and so are the abilities to concentrate and focus.

Phosphatidylserine Supplements: Bovine Or Soybean Derived?

In the past, most Phosphatidylserine was produced from bovine or cow sources. The raw ingredients were actually extracted from the brains of cows. Currently, most of the product on the market is soybean derived due to the FDA concerns about things like mad cow disease and other health issues. Almost all of the studies indicate the excellent benefits of this supplement were performed a few years ago using bovine derived sources.

There are some differences between the two sources. Bovine derived is usually attached to long chained polyunsaturated fatty acids (DHA or AA). The soybean derived variety is usually attached to saturated or monounsaturated fatty acids. While it does follow that many of the benefits should be similar, new studies need to be performed.