1 . C I T I CO L I N E
Although citicoline isn't very well known, supplementing with it can significantly improve memory and concentration. A naturally occurring compound found in every cell of the body, citicoline improves blood flow to the brain and increases its energy and plasticity. It raises the levels of the important neurotransmitters acetylcholine (the primary brain chemical involved in memory and learning) and dopamine (linked to motivation, productivity and the pleasure/reward system), and reduces the effects of the free radical damage and inflammation that can lead to brain ageing.
2 . T RYPTOPHAN
This essential amino acid is the building block of serotonin, the neurotransmitter that regulates mood and plays a big role in sleep and appetite control. Supplementing with tryptophan can increase serotonin levels in the brain, naturally lifting the mood and addressing the effects of a wide range of mental health issues, including anxiety, panic attacks, OCD, ADHD and more.
3 . L-THEANINE
Affectionately dubbed 'meditation in a cup', l-theanine is an amino acid found in black and green tea that alters brainwave patterns to bring about a state of relaxed alertness. It raises levels of the key neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine and GABA, not only promoting calm but also improving learning, motivation and overall wellbeing. While it doesn't make you drowsy, it can improve quality of sleep. In the long run, supplementing with l-theanine is a great way of warding off stroke, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.
4 . DHA
This omega-3 essential fatty acid is a critical brain cell building block. Omega-3 fats are well known for their wide range of health benefits, and DHA is the most important omega-3 for the brain. It's a major building block of the cerebral cortex, the part of the brain where higher level functioning takes place. It's also important for brain cell communication. Supplementing with DHA can help improve memory, mood and concentration, as well as decrease the chance of Alzheimer's and dementia in old age.
5 . G I N G KO B I L O BA
One of the most widely used natural remedies in the world, gingko biloba helps increase circulation to the brain, balance brain chemistry and protect the brain from free radical damage. It has a long history of use in traditional Chinese medicine, and is so effective that it's sometimes prescribed as a medication in the West. Although two recent studies have concluded that it does not improve memory in healthy adults, it's been proven beneficial for treating stress and anxiety by lowering the levels of the stress hormone cortisol.