We've been working with the folk from London Nootropics for a while now, we love their mission to make Nootropics accessible to all in a really simple format, coffee! But what is the inside track on using Nootropics from a Functional Medicine perspective and why might you want to consider how to integrate them into your daily routine...over to Ineke! 

Nootropics, also known as brain supplements, are products designed to boost your mental performance, including focus, attention, and productivity. Unlike many stimulants, illegal drugs, and mood-altering prescriptions, nootropics are usually non-toxic and non-addictive. They can come from natural sources like plants and amino acids found in protein-rich foods or be synthetically made. The synthetic ones tend to have stronger effects and higher risks. 

How Nootropics Can Help You 

From a functional medicine point of view, using high-quality, clean nootropics can support your health in several ways: 

  • Learning: Making it easier to pick up new information. 
  • Brain Communication: Helping the left and right sides of your brain work better together. 
  • Executive Functioning: Improving skills like planning, organizing, focusing, remembering, and spatial awareness. 
  • Mood and Energy: Boosting your mood, mental clarity, motivation, creativity, and energy levels. 
  • ADHD: Potentially serving as a natural way to manage ADHD. 
  • Stress Resistance: Building your resilience against stress and environmental toxins. 
  • Brain Protection: Protecting your brain from damage and degeneration. 
  • Willpower: Increasing your self-control and determination. 
  • Memory: Enhancing both long-term and short-term memory. 
  • Brain Flexibility: Helping your brain adapt based on experiences. 
  • Cell Membranes: Improving the fluidity of your cell membranes. 
  • Blood Flow: Enhancing blood flow to your brain. 
  • Energy Support: Helping your cells produce ATP, the main energy currency of the body. 

Adaptogens are considered some of the best nootropics because adding these herbs to your routine can make you more resilient to the damaging effects of chronic stress. Adaptogenic herbs that can help boost resilience and mental performance include Panax ginseng, holy basil, ashwagandha, astragalus root, liquorice root, rhodiola rosea and cordyceps 

Nootropics that have been studied most extensively and shown to offer real mental health benefits include: 

Medicinal Mushrooms: 
  • Examples: Reishi, cordyceps, lion’s mane, turkey tail, chaga. 
  • Benefits: Combat cognitive impairment, protect the brain with antioxidants, act as adaptogens, regulate cortisol levels, fight fatigue, boost immunity, and have anti-tumor properties. 
Adaptogen Herbs: 
  • Examples: Ginseng, holy basil, ashwagandha, astragalus root, liquorice root, rhodiola rosea, cordyceps. 
  • Benefits: Improve stress response, lower stress hormone levels, enhance brain neurotransmitter systems, boost mental performance, reduce cortisol response, increase energy and endurance, support the immune system, and improve cognitive function. 
Bacopa Monnieri: 
  • Benefits: Regulates dopamine and serotonin production, reduces anxiety and depression, supports focus, learning, and memory, with few side effects. 
Fish Oil and Omega-3s: 
  • Sources: Salmon, sardines, walnuts, chia seeds, flaxseeds, fish oil capsules. 
  • Benefits: Essential for brain health, protect brain cells, support memory and focus, and reduce inflammation. 
Ginseng (Panax ginseng): 
  • Benefits: Improves calmness and memory, possesses anti-stress properties, offers neuroprotection, enhances mood and mental performance, and improves blood sugar levels. 
Ginkgo Biloba: 
  • Benefits: Anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, boosts circulation, improves cognitive function, mood, energy, memory, and reduces symptoms of chronic diseases like ADHD and dementia. 

Other Nootropics worth noting. 

  • Forskolin: Supports learning and memory. 
  • L-theanine: Improves alertness and arousal. 
  • Artichoke Extract: Boosts motivation and learning capability. 
  • Cat’s Claw: Fights fatigue, has anti-inflammatory, antimutagenic, and antioxidant properties protecting the brain. 


While many nootropics are safe and beneficial, some adaptogens and other substances can interact with prescription medications. It's always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplements. 



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adaptogens, Health-and-Wellbeing, functional medical pratitioner, functional medicine, mushrooms, nootropics


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