Nootropics For Athletes: All You Need To Know

December 06, 2022 11 min read

Nootropics For Athletes: All You Need To Know

Nutrition plays an essential role in an athlete's life regardless of age or skill level. When an athlete advances to higher performance levels, what they consume becomes even more important. You can’t pour cheap gas into a sports car and expect its engine to perform to its maximum capability. It’s the same with your body.

You might have been born with plenty of natural talent, and you might have the time and motivation to train hard, however, filling yourself with high-quality fuel can give you an additional advantage. But how do you make sure you’re getting all the right nutrients in the right amount?

You can start by eating a balanced mix of fresh vegetables, fruits, carbs, and lean meats. To go even further, many athletes also add supplements to their diets that have been shown to improve many body functions. This is apparent by the fact that the global nootropics industry is expected to almost double from $3.95 billion in 2022 to $6.29 billion by the end of 2028. 

What Are Nootropics for Athletes?

The term “nootropics” is fairly wide-ranging. It is used to define a vast and growing category of substances shown to improve mental performance and physical performance.* The more we learn about cognitive function, the more we learn that in addition to common herbs (like ginseng) and pharmaceutical compounds (like amphetamine), there are several other natural and synthetic substances that can boost one’s memory, learning, motivation, and energy levels. When it comes to taking nootropics, athletic performance is just one aspect of life where you might see improvement.*

Nootropics for athletes might mean a combination of various supplements (like acetyl-l-carnitine), fungi (like lion’s mane mushrooms), herbs (bacopa monnieri), roots (maca), and more. If you are a bodybuilder or an athlete, you might be pleased to know there are a lot of nootropic compounds that can increase your energy levels besides caffeine.

Extensive research has been done to understand not only whether nootropics work for athletes, but also why they do. According to some of this research, nootropics work as a vasodilator against the small veins and arteries in the brain. When you start taking nootropic supplements, it increases blood circulation to your brain, bringing essential nutrients and energy. 

There are many ways that nootropics enhance your physical and cognitive performance.* These include increasing blood flow to the brain, changing brain waves, raising neurotransmitter levels, and supporting brain cell growth and communication.*

Due to the way they work, some nootropics for athletes provide almost immediately-noticeable results, like diminishing fatigue and improved stamina.* Other effects may take longer to make an evident impact, but they work slowly to enhance brain health.*

Most nootropics can be found in natural sources, but others are only available through man-made supplements. Some are synthesized in laboratories and some are created by extracting the chemicals from naturally-occurring sources such as plants, herbs, and vegetables.

Different Types of Nootropics for Athletes

There are two broad categories of nootropics: cholinergics and racetams. The most commonly recommended nootropics for athletes are cholinergics because racetams are synthetic, i.e., formulated in a lab. Cholinergics are compounds that have been proven to increase acetylcholine levels in the brain when consumed in the right proportion. Higher levels of acetylcholine can lead to improvement in muscle power, increased capacity to learn, and quicker reflexes.*

Cholinergics are further divided into two groups:

  • Compounds that produce choline, which is a precursor for acetylcholine; and
  • Compounds that actually act on the enzyme responsible for acetylcholine creation to increase its action.

Some of the potent cholinergic compounds for athletes include:

Alpha-GPC

Taking alpha-GPC (L-alpha-glyceryl phosphorylcholine) orally seems to have cognitive-enhancing properties.* It may even reduce the rate of cognitive decline in the elderly.* For athletes, alpha-GPC has proven to prevent choline levels from being exhausted due to strenuous exercise, leading to an increase in endurance and secretion of growth hormones.

Huperzine-A

This compound is extracted from herbs of the huperzine family. Huperzine-A stops the functioning of the enzyme that breaks down acetylcholine, resulting in increased levels of acetylcholine. As we know, more acetylcholine can mean better physical and cognitive performance.*

Bacopa Monnieri

Also known as water hyssop, bacopa monnieri is a herb mostly used in Ayurveda, an ancient Indian medical practice. Supplementing with bacopa has been known to improve cognition by reducing anxiety and improving one’s ability to create new memories. It has also been shown to improve exercise performance by relieving fatigue and increasing movement function.

Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is another popular herb that has been used in Ayurveda for thousands of years. It's considered effective in preventing anxiety and reducing both physical and mental stress, which can impact physical performance.* Ashwagandha can also increase male fertility and testosterone; since extra testosterone is associated with increased lean muscle mass and running endurance, Ashwagandha has the ability to take your athletic performance to the next level.*

Rhodiola Rosea

This herb comes from the Crassulaceae family and is used by many people to treat fatigue symptoms. It has shown great results in treating physical weakness and chronic fatigue syndrome when taken orally on a consistent basis. As an athlete, you can use it for maximal physical exercise output.* Even if you’re not an athlete, you can use Rhodiola to feel well-rested and more energetic.*

L-Theanine

L-theanine is an amino acid commonly found in certain mushrooms and tea leaves. Some of its benefits include supporting alertness and relaxation without causing any drowsiness.*

When combined with caffeine, L-theanine can help maintain focus for extended periods.* Exercise tests performed prior to using this nootropic and post-usage may reveal a significant improvement.*

L-Theanine

What Are the Benefits of Nootropics for Athletes?

Can nootropics really make you a better athlete? According to many athletes, the answer is a resounding yes.* Professional ice hockey defenseman and two-time Olympic gold medalist Duncan Keith freely admits using natural nootropics to keep him mentally focused and increase his ability to engage in the most physically demanding performances on the ice.

Many other athletes, both professional and casual, take cognitive enhancers to support their training. Pre-workout supplements before high-intensity workouts can help keep a body in peak shape.* 

Not all nootropics have the ability to improve your exercise training status or boost physical performance. With that said, the best of nootropics may work by heightening the following cognitive, physical, and mental benefits:

Sharper Focus and Concentration*

Have you ever felt so tired that you couldn’t focus on anything besides how exhausted you are feeling or how much you’d love to take a nap? You’re not alone, it happens to all of us. This lack of focus and depleted mental energy makes people more likely to give up rather than keep pushing harder, which leads to half-hearted physical or mental performance. 

Several nootropic substances (like bacopa monnieri) can strengthen both the duration and intensity of your concentration.* When you’re able to fully dedicate your mind to the task in front of you – be it playing baseball or completing a work project – you can expect to exceed everyone’s expectations.

This is obviously extremely beneficial if you play in high-octane team sports where multitasking is a huge factor. If you have to constantly process your role and upcoming moves regarding other players’ moves, you need to practice until those moves become ingrained into your performance.

Increasing your cognitive capacity for working memory (or task-related information processing) is one of the major benefits of taking nootropics like Alkalife® Brain Performance Plus™.*

Prevent Daytime Sleepiness and Increase Alertness*

No matter what kind of athlete you are, physical and mental fatigue is basically your enemy. When you’re feeling sleepy and drowsy, your performance is bound to suffer. If the fatigue is severe enough, it can even stop you from getting out of bed and hitting the gym. 

There are quite a few nootropics that are known to help fight sluggishness and brain fog, such as Rhodiola Rosea and acetyl-L-carnitine – both of which are key ingredients in the Alkalife® Brain Performance Plus™ formula.* It also contains caffeine which provides natural stimulation. 

Elevate Vibrancy and Vigor*

When we feel good, we tend to believe we can do anything, and achieve any goal. This is the magic of dopamine, the brain chemical responsible for creating that feeling of motivation and achievement. If you wake up in the morning feeling like your life is not as vibrant as it once was it could be because of a lack of dopamine in your brain.

There are certain nootropics that can improve brain energy and enhance dopamine biological pathways, thus helping you regain your youthful vigor.* L-theanine, for example, has been shown to boost alpha brainwaves and increase serotonin, dopamine, and GABA. 

Increase Strength and Stamina*

While almost every nootropic can enhance cognitive performance to some degree, some can directly improve your physical stamina, helping you push longer and harder.* These potent substances can raise your power output and stamina through multiple pathways, such as by reducing physical and mental fatigue or increasing the cellular energy of your body.*  

You need cellular energy to perform and maintain your athletic functions. Coffee and energy drinks may offer a quick fix, but they often compromise your long-term health and well-being; this is why the World Anti-Doping Agency has banned many stimulants.

Safe nootropics, on the other hand, improve stamina by naturally boosting the body and brain’s energy synthesis pathways.* Nootropics may safely – and legally – improve your endurance by increasing circulatory oxygen flow and cellular energy production.*

Increase Motivation and Mental Resolve*

Anything that is worth anything takes a lot of hard work and willpower to achieve. You already know it. Workouts that are easy don’t produce the same results as workouts that push you. Eating donuts and cheeseburgers is easy, but sticking to a clean diet to gain that enviable body is HARD.

Doing hard things requires motivation. When you’re motivated, you are simply more capable of taking risks and succeeding. We know poor motivation can be a result of any number of factors (like depression), but it could also occur due to a vitamin B12 deficiency.

Alkalife® Brain Performance Plus™ contains vitamins B6 and B12, plus other naturally-occurring compounds that may help with the neurochemical pathways to your motivation center, so you don’t drag your feet when it’s time to hit the gym. Our formula can improve your motivation by: 

  • Warding off fatigue and brain burnout.*
  • Increasing catecholamine activity – neurotransmitters (norepinephrine and dopamine) that play a critical role in sustaining motivation and brain health.*

Lower Stress Levels*

It’s not uncommon for athletes to experience physical and psychological stress as a result of their hardcore training. Two of the most common types of exercise-induced stress that negatively affect their health are:

Oxidative Stress: Occurs when there’s an imbalance between the body’s antioxidants and free radicals that attack cells; this is the type of stress that causes age-related deterioration.

Stress Hormone Cortisol: Elevated cortisol level invokes the “fight-or-flight” response. If your body is constantly in this mode, it can lead to severe health problems like heart disease, headache, fatigue, and anxiety.

Adaptogen herbs, such as lion’s mane mushroom, may help improve stress levels by regulating cortisol response and reducing the negative impact of oxidative stress.*

Can Nootropics for Athletes Help with Muscle Soreness?

There’s another aspect of nootropics that enthusiasts of strenuous physical exercise will be interested in learning.

If you work out, you have probably felt soreness in your muscles. The reason for this soreness depends on when you feel sore. If you wake up with pains and aches from the previous day’s workout, you may think it’s the lactate in your muscles – as many athletes do. The truth is, this pain has little to do with lactic acid or lactate buildup. It could actually be a result of:

  • Accumulated hydrogen ions
  • Microtears or micro-injuries in the muscle fiber (resulting from an intense workout)
  • Warmer temperatures in the muscles

This phenomenon was first identified in 1902 and is known as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). Ideally, microtears and other symptoms should heal within 1–3 days.

Where does lactic acid factor into the sore-muscle theory? Well, your body is creating lactate around the clock. Even when you are resting, there’s a small amount of lactate in your body. This amount goes way up when you do cardio or aerobic exercises. If the intensity of your workout is high (the higher the intensity, the worse the impact), the lactate level will rise rapidly until you feel forced to stop the workout due to sore, burning, and stiff muscles.

The increasing level of lactate (generally 15–20 millimoles per liter) needs to be oxidized and broken down. During this process, hydrogen ions are produced, making your blood more acidic.

Lactate is produced when glucose doesn’t burn completely, which happens when there’s too little oxygen available for energy production. After about 30 minutes of training, the blood moves the lactate from your muscles to your liver, where it is converted into glucose. Any soreness you feel after this short period is, thus, not related to lactate because there’s now much less of it in your body.

To avoid soreness, your muscles need more oxygen and less acid so the lactate can oxidize faster. Reducing acid in the body can be achieved by eating a less-acidic diet (i.e., fewer animal products and processed foods) and by taking alkalizing supplements such as Alkalife® Brain Performance Plus™.* 

Alkalizing supplements raise your body's pH level and neutralize the damaging acid in them. The alkalizing compounds in Alkalife® Brain Performance Plus™ have free electrons (thanks to the electrolysis process), which allows them to donate electrons to oxygen-containing free radicals. In this way, the compounds become powerful antioxidants that help foster a significant post-exercise decrease in the lactic acid buildup.*

SerinAid® and AlphaSize®: Nootropics that Make You Stronger and More Athletic*

Alkalife® Brain Performance Plus™ is made up of some of the best nootropics for athletes, two of which are SerinAid® and AlphaSize®.

SerinAid® or phosphatidylserine (PS) is a kind of phospholipid found in the body. It’s a fatty element that’s important for the formation of cell membranes in the brain. Studies suggest that PS levels decrease with age, so supplementing it can help preserve memory and overall brain function.* Researchers have also found it to be very effective in reducing symptoms of ADHD and improving concentration.*

If you have a problem maintaining focus on your training for extended periods, the 600 mg of highly absorbable SerinAid® in Alkalife® Brain Performance Plus™ can work well for you.*

AlphaSize® (alpha-glyceryl phosphoryl choline or alpha-GPC) is equally impressive. It works on the brain to improve learning, cognition, and memory so you can learn new moves faster.* Many athletes supplement with alpha-GPC to help with enhanced endurance and growth in hormone production.

Alpha-GPC is basically the building block of acetylcholine, which is present in the tissues of your muscles and brain. Acetylcholine is a major neurotransmitter that regulates your physiological response to exertion. From hand-eye coordination and balance to strength and force development, everything is linked to having healthy levels of alpha-GPC.*

The potent combination of these compounds, along with several other vitamins, minerals, herbal extracts, and adaptogens, makes Alkalife® Brain Performance Plus™ the ultimate cognitive and physical performance supplement.* If you’re looking to improve your focus, recall, learning, memory, immune system, and repetitive tasking in addition to your physical agility and power output, give Brain Performance Plus™ a try.*

SerinAid<sup>®</sup>

Take Your Athletic Performance to the Next Level with Alkalife® Brain Performance Plus™*

Knowing how the brain works, it’s clear that nootropics can help improve cognitive function on some level. Just looking at the science behind what the nootropics physically do (i.e., increasing the number of neurotransmitters in the brain). It is easy to see how they could enhance your competitive athletic performance and help with a significant post-recovery decrease in fatigue.* They essentially make your body and brain healthier, which creates a winning combination for athletes.*

The best part is, natural nootropics – like the ones present in Alkalife® Brain Performance Plus™ – are safe to use on a regular basis.* They can help your exercise performance with little to no side effects, which can’t be said for synthetic supplements or steroids.* All the compounds in Brain Performance Plus™ have been stacked together in order to work synergistically.

Whether you are training for a marathon or playing basketball with talented teammates, Alkalife® Brain Performance Plus™ helps magnify all of your primary cognitive functions and supports athletic performance.* Visit our online store and place your order today!


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