For Karma Or Ca$h? We Looked At The Value Of Nootropic Supplements

In this regular Yoga Journal column, we take a close look at what’s trending in our community and what feels evidence-based, sustainable, and worth backing (for karma), and what feels like a stretch (for cash). In this installment, nootropics are put to the test. Here, one we loved, and one we have some serious questions about.

The work nootropic is derived from the Greek words noos, meaning mind, and tropos, meaning turned or changed, explains Julie Morris, chef and bestselling author of Smart Plants: Power Foods & Natural Nootropics for Optimized Thinking, Focus & Memory. “Nootropics are indeed mind-changing, cognition-enhancing substances that can improve the way you think, feel, and function,” she says, adding that she thinks of them as the superfoods of the cognition world. Natural nootropics—such as cacao, matcha, reishi mushrooms, goji berries, ashwagandha, and turmeric—not only maintain and protect neurological function, but research shows they can also improve your mental performance.

See also The Yoga Rx for Dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Memory Loss

For Karma

Alpha Brain By Onnit: The Good To Back Up The Bravado

A caffeine-free supplement claiming to boost focus and memory, Alpha Brain by Onnit is hailed by athletes and celebrities—and the research-backed ingredients perform. The blend includes Alpha-GPC, which converts to choline, beneficial for certain physical and mental tasks; club moss extract, which contains a learning aid; and an anionic phospholipid—all of which have shown promise in Alzheimer’s studies for improving cognitive function. But at two capsules per day, the 30- and 90-count bottles (for $35 and $80) go fast.

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