I’ve been meaning to write a post regarding nootropics for some time. This was however prompted to be done sooner rather than later by the kind people at Brainzyme reaching out and sending me a couple of free samples.
In this post I will breakdown the key ingredients (as I see it) within Brainzyme and detail why they are useful in any nootropic stack on the market.
For those who are unaware, nootropics, also referred to as smart drugs or cognitive enhancers, are anything that enhances cognitive functioning. This can be quite a spectrum and does indeed include old faithful friends nicotine and caffeine!
Nootropics act to focus your mind and aid you accessing memory, maintaining concentration, being creative and honing focus. As most of the nootropics supplements that are sold combine a number of cognitive enhancing ingredients, they will often be referred to as nootropic ‘stacks’.
The magic ingredient in many a store bought nootropic is choline. This is what I looked out for and dualy noticed on the Brainzyme packet as soon as I opened it.
Choline is a miconutrient that’s important for liver function, normal brain development, nerve function, muscle movement, supporting energy levels and maintaining a healthy metabolism.
Choline is generally classed with the B vitamin complex and plays a part in several important processes within the body that are carried out hundreds of times, every single day. It is crucial to maintaining health at every age and is used to treat and prevent an amazing variety of physical diseases and disorders, including asthma, hepatitis, and even cancer.
Choline is present in the form of phosphatidycholine, a compound that makes up the structural component of fat, and thus can be found in different types of foods that naturally contain certain fats, such as eggs, beef and even cruciferous vegetables.
In addition to natural synthesis and dietary sources, choline is also available in supplement form. Choline supplements vary dramatically in strength and quality. The most common choline supplement, lecithin, is also the weakest form of choline and may not actually enhance cognitive abilities although does serve other health benefits to the body.
For nootropic users, choline is particularly important because of its ability to enhance memory, focus, and cognitive function, both alone and in combination with other supplements. It’s the precursor to acetylcholine, the neurotransmitter most strongly associated with memory, learning, and overall cognitive function, and is well known as a brain booster in its own right.
For nootropic purposes we want to ensure that our brain has the optimal amounts of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Choline from natural sources can help with this but an alternative option are acetylcholine precursors that are more efficient in raising acetylcholine neurotransmitter levels such as CDP choline, Alpha GPC, or centrophenoxine. All three are potent and reliable supplements that can raise your neurotransmitter levels with different strong points and different interactions with other nootropics.
The other ingredients within Brainzyme that peaked my interest was matcha green tea powder. One of the major health benefits of matcha tea is that it delivers a mega dose of antioxidants, helping to promote both energy and vitality.
Matcha is packed full of the antioxidant Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG). One of the first things to know about EGCG is that it interferes with oxidation, and therefore can help minimise oxidative damage in cells. Oxidative damage is known to be a contributing factor in a number of illnesses, notably cancer.
When considering the nootropic aspect of matcha however, it’s important to consider its ability to calm the mind, relax the body, enhance mood and aid in concentration. This probably comes down to the L-theanine levels it contains which boasts a number of health benefits including increasing your energy, promoting relaxation, improving your mood and helping you concentration.
Consumption of L-theanine increases levels of Ɣ-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) which acts as a calming neurotransmitter, reducing excitability throughout the nervous system and promoting relaxation in the body. L- theanine also works incredibly well alongside caffeine as it can serve to calm the giters whilst maintaining the focus.
The final ingredient of intrigue is guarana seed blend. As a dietary supplement, guarana is an effective stimulant. Its seeds contain about twice the concentration of caffeine found in coffee seeds (about 2–4.5% caffeine in guarana seeds compared to 1–2% for coffee seeds).
While the active ingredient in the guarana plant (guaranine) is chemically identical to caffeine, it has one huge difference. In its natural form, it is bound to the fiber of the guarana seeds. That means its stimulating component is released slowly, giving you up to five hours of refreshing vitality. However, it is important to note that concentrated guarana extract as used in most energy drinks has had most of the fiber removed and functions like purified caffeine.
In regards to the Brainzyme product, my final verdict was mixed. I was sent the Brainzyme Original as a tester. I was a little disappointed to note that the quantities of choline, matcha and guarana were all missed on the label. This is in contrast to Brainzyme’s two more expensive products, Brainzyme professional and Brainzyme elite. Both of these products also contained other ingredients that are also promising.
I did feel some stimulation when taking three capsules whilst fasted. The focus and creativity aspect that I’ve experienced from other products wasn’t quite there but I was definitely more switched on. This has also got to be taken in the context of the Brainzyme original being the cheapest product they deliver.
In conclusion Brainzyme original is not a bad option as an entry level nootropic. Although the choline bitartrate in Brainzyme will have a therapeutic impact on liver function for instance, it will not likely add to the nootropic qualities. This means the cognitive enhancing effects will likely be coming from the guaranine and matcha. Saying this there are also a number of other vitamins and minerals present which should act to provide energy and stimulation.
If you are looking for a nootropic stack to truly enhance full cognitive functioning such as creativity, focus, and memory, you’re probably best seeking a product that has CDP choline, Alpha GPC, or centrophenoxine. However Brainzyme elite and professional could also be worth a shot for their other ingredients that offer more bang for your buck.
I’d just lastly like to say a big thank you to folks at Brainzyme and wish them well, it’s great to see a UK based product pushing things forward in the biohacking world!