Nootropics & Adaptogens
No doubt, you’ll have heard the terms Nootropics and Adaptogens before, over the last couple of years they’ve been a major talking point in the health and wellness space. In this blog we will be taking you through what nootropics and adaptogens are, what they do for your wellbeing, and how they differ from one another.
What is an Adaptogen?
Adaptogens are a class of substances that are thought to help the body adapt to the feeling and causes of stress. They work by modulating the body’s response to stress hormones, such as cortisol. This can help the body to reduce the negative effects of stress on not just the body but the mind too. As well as reducing the impacts of stress on the body, they serve to improve your mood, reduce the feeling of fatigue and enhance the quality of your sleep.
You might be wondering how adaptogens achieve this, and the answer is relatively simple. Adaptogens work by helping the body to counter the effects of stress hormones that are produced by the body in response to stress.
Types of Adaptogen
There are a vast number of adaptogens that exist, and each adaptogen has its own unique properties and benefits. Some of the most common adaptogens that you are likely to encounter while researching health supplements and wellness are:
GinsengGinseng is primarily known for its ability to improve cognitive function, reduce stress and enhance the performance of the body’s immune system. The ginsenosides within Ginseng are the adaptogenic property.
AshwagandhaA very popular adaptogen, due to the science which supports its ability to reduce stress, fatigue while enhancing muscle and mood, Ashwagandha contains a compound called withanolides which manages stress hormones.
RhodiolaSimilar to Ashwagandha, Rhodiola is a compound that is known for its ability to improve energy levels and helping to reduce the impacts of fatigue on the body. This is achieved through roseamarin and salidroside, which are both adaptogenic properties which seek to improve energy production in the body.
MacaA lesser used hormone in the health and wellness space is Maca. Maca is a root vegetable native to South America and known for its ability to reduce stress levels while simultaneously enhancing libido as well as general energy levels. Macadiols and macaenes are the adaptogenic properties found within maca.
Benefits of taking Adaptogens
With the stress and strain of modern day life, stress has become an unwelcome but regular companion, casting a fog over our well-being that, at times, may feel like an ever constant. Whether it is the constant demands of work, family or social obligations; life can be overwhelming at times, leaving us a little drained and exhausted.
The negative impact of stress on the body stretches beyond the physical; as although our bodies often struggle to physically cope with stress, the biggest impact is often felt on the mind, with our mental health suffering with more difficult symptoms to recognise and diagnose.
Fortunately, this is where nature is our friend. Nature has a wealth of a substance class called adaptogens. These substances have a remarkable ability to help our bodies adapt to stress by gently harmonising with the body’s natural stress responses to promote biological balance and resilience.
But the benefits of adaptogens go far beyond the reaches of managing stress. Here are some of the other benefits that adaptogens can bring:
Better SleepStress is the primary disrupter of sleep which when compounded over time can lead to significant fatigue and a daytime grogginess that many describe as a brain fog. Adaptogens help to promote restful sleep enabling you awaken feeling refreshed and energised, ready for the day ahead.
Mood BoostersStress can also take a great toll on our emotional well-being, leading to other issues such as depression, irritability and anxiety. By managing the production of stress hormones in the body, adaptogens can help to ease these mental health issues, and further boost your mood.
Can you drink Adaptogens?
The most common way to consume adaptogens is via fluids or blends. Tea and infused beverages have become popular through the ease of drinking and improvement to the natural taste of the adaptogen compounds; but in addition to drinking adaptogens as tea, you can also take them in powder form and add them to smoothies, yoghurts or milk.
There are a small number of Rejuvenated products that include adaptogens, such as Skin Perfecting Complex and Female Hormone Support which both include Ashwagandha. Our latest wellness product Cellular Calm Complex contains Ashwagandha and also Rhodiola.
If you are new to adaptogens, as with most things, it is best to start with a low dose and gradually increase it as is needed. You should also consult with your GP before taking adaptogens or if you experience any side effects shortly after starting to take adaptogens.
What is a Nootropic?
In the ever evolving world of science, new classes of substances are continually being researched and categorised as we seek the answers to physical and mental improvement. Nootropics are one such discovery. Discovered by Hungarian neuroscientist Dr Cerneliu Giurgea in 1972, these remarkable compounds are seen as the keys to enhanced cognitive function; opening the door to improved memory and expanded mental creativity.
As a broad term encompassing a variety of natural and synthetic substances, Nootropics are thought to favourably modify mental function in a number of ways:
Produce NeurotransmittersNootropics are believed to enhance the production of neurotransmitters, which are the chemicals that transmit signals between neurons in the brain. This is achieved by improving the uptake of neurotransmitter precursors such as choline and L-tyrosine, which are essential for the product of acetylcholine and dopamine respectively. This in turn increases the sensitivity of neurotransmitter receptors which promotes neuroplasticity, where the brain can form new connections to improve function.
Increase Blood FlowNootropics can improve the blood flow to the brain by dilating blood vessels in the brain through managing enzyme activity in the breakdown of cyclic adenosine monophosphate. This dilating enables more blood flow through the brain increasing its performance.
Types of Nootropics
Similar to adaptogen, there is no shortage of nootropics available to us. However, it should be noted that unlike adaptogens, where all of the compounds are organic, some nootropics are synthetic. Some of the most popular nootropics include:
Ginkgo BilobaA plant extract, Ginkgo Biloba, has been shown to improve cognitive function, memory and blood flow to the brain.
L-TheanineMost commonly found in green tea, L-Theanine is a plant extract that has been shown to improve cognitive function after extensive research.
CaffeineArguably one of the most common and widely researched nootropics in the world. Caffeine is a stimulant that is proven to boost energy levels and create an alertness in the body and mind.
PiracetamA synthetic nootropic that has been shown to improve memory and learning capabilities while simultaneously enhancing concentration over sustained periods.
Benefits of taking Nootropics
Nootropics, while more research is needed into the intricacies and depths of their benefits are believed to hold a host of advantages. The primary research into the effectiveness of nootropics has surrounded its application in the strengthening of cognitive function. But additional, and related benefits also include; improved memory, increased focus and concentration, improving learning capacity as well as boosted creativity and strengthened mood resilience.
All things that are quite key to combating stress and helping to preserve the wellness of the mind and its capabilities.
What’s the difference between Nootropics & Adaptogens?
Prior to reading this blog, you may have been of the opinion that Nootropics and Adaptogens were interchangeable terms for the same thing; and they do often get confused with one another as they share so many similarities, but they have distinct mechanical differences.
Before we jump into the differences between nootropics and adaptogens, it is important to understand the similarities first:
Both can enhance cognitive function and overall well-being
Both work to combat the impacts of stress through chemically moderating your bodies responses
Both can be taken in various forms, such as capsules, powders, teas or drinks
But there are also some fundamental differences between these two substance classes, but the primary difference is that nootropics target specific aspects of brain function such as neurotransmitters and blood flow, whereas Adaptogens moderate hormone production and the responses to stress hormone production; this mechanical difference has lead to them being categorised separately.
Whether you opt to improve your wellness through nootropic consumption, or through adaptogen consumption, or both; your health is your wealth in this world driven by mental consumption and physical pressures.
If you’d like to learn more about how stress could be ageing you then check out this blog where we share some top tips on how to stop stress from ageing you from the inside out.