Nootropics are the healthy focus boosters you need to ween yourself off caffeine

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Good news all - a recent study shows that moderate coffee drinking lessens your chances of long-term heart disease. Scientists at the European Society of Cardiology have finally proven that up to three cups of coffee each day can ward off strokes and heart attacks. It’s the latest bulletin in the eternal debate of ‘coffee is good for you, coffee is bad for you, coffee is good for you, hang on, no, wait….’ For a substance that Brits consume 95 million cups of - and Americans, 656 million cups - every single day*, we don’t seem to know too much about it.

What we do know is that coffee contains caffeine and caffeine is a very reliable stimulant.

Stimulants increase activity across the body’s functions, boosting energy levels, triggering the central nervous system and enhancing mental focus. In the immediate and short-term we receive a lovely dose of dopamine to the brain, helping us believe we can master the task at hand. But that high starts to wear off after an hour, concentration starts to wane, energy levels plummet and we experience ‘coffee crash’, often feeling more tired than we did the first time around. Time for another shot?

Chemical romance vs toxic love affair

So much is our love for coffee, it’s become a global culture with countries developing their own inherent styles: the Japanese are big on experimentation; Italians like it short, dark and standing up; the French do it out on the streets with a cigarette. But studies show caffeine is highly addictive and it only takes three days to get hooked. Most of us wouldn’t confess to be addicts but, come 8.10am on a Monday morning, we’re queuing up for a hit. Not down dingy alleys admittedly, but in industrially lit, musac-soundtracked coffee shops. What interests the scientific community, though, is exploring when caffeine goes from a harmless energy boost to a dangerous psychoactive drug. Medical experts calculate that 50 cups of coffee in one dose is enough to kill you.

Nootropics: the smartest of stimulants

Making waves in the supplement market but yet to go full-mainstream, nootropics are often coined as ‘smart drugs’ aka getting your high health-kick style. These are natural compounds that enhance mental clarity and performance steadily, without the peaks and crashes of caffeine. They work on feeding the brain vital nutrients to reach optimal health, rather than getting it hooked on a temporary buzz.

Citicoline: best in class

Big nootropic names right now are:

  • Amino acid creatine (not just for muscle mass, it can increase energy in brain cells too).
  • Adaptogenic herb Rhodiola rosea for improved mental resilience.
  • Leafy Ginkgo biloba to slow cognitive decline.

But arguably, the most notable of the nootropics is citicoline: a naturally occurring compound in the body, citicoline cultivates neural communication and promotes the production of phospholipids, which make up 30% of brain tissue.

It’s vital for cognitive function, so being able to supplement citicoline is a sizeable scientific breakthrough. Courtesy of a unique fermentation process for ultimate purity, LYMA have formulated Cognizin®; the patented, branded form of citicoline, into their whole system health supplement. Independently proven to increase the energy exchange and connection between neurons, a Harvard University study demonstrated Cognizin® to increase brain activity and attention span in those supplementing it after just six weeks.

Whereas coffee disrupts sleep, causes jitters, irritability and tension, medical studies of nootropics show them to improve focus, motivation, concentration and aid memory recall without any side-effects, or withdrawal symptoms. More good news: you don’t have to quit coffee either. While coffee can affect your nutrient absorption, avoiding it for an hour either side of taking your supplement means there’ll be no negative effects. However, when we’re operating from a higher level and firing on all cylinders naturally, we might just find we don’t crave the dark stuff half as much anyway.

Originally published Nov 5, 2021.
Written by Jessica Lacey.

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