When we make the commitment to lose weight, the most successful way to succeed is simply to eat less calories than you burn during any given day.
There are subtleties to a calorie controlled diet, however, especially if you are an active person who exercises a lot.
The nutritional requirements and macro balances can be different to someone who is merely trying to drop a few pounds through calorie count alone.
Furthermore, general health is of paramount importance because a person can lose weight but still eat garbage; calorie counting is just math to some people, after all.
So really, losing fat is quite simple, yet not without its complexity at the same time.
One thing remains a constant, however: your mindset. If it buckles, then so will your dreams of that ideal physique.
In fact, whether you are trying to build muscle, burn fat, or just stick to something that requires a level of effort greater than your usual rhythm, your will to succeed is critical.
Motivation, will power, focus, drive…call it whatever you want, but it’s the ticket to a win. Being stress-free – happy even – will help. Oh, and then there’s feeling full of beans at work and in your spare time, even though you are monitoring calories and working out regularly.
For these reasons, nootropic ingredients are finding themselves in many supplements, be they fat burners, appetite suppressants, pre-workouts or muscle builders.
What Is A Nootropic Ingredient?
Ask the person who originally coined the term ‘nootropic’ and he – Corneliu Giurgea – would outline very specific parameters by which a substance could be defined as such. They would look something like the following:
- it should enhance learning and memory
- it should help protect the brain’s memories and learned behaviour from disruptive conditions (e.g. low oxygen levels, shock)
- it should protect the brain from physical and chemical damage (e.g. drugs that negatively impact the CNS)
- it should have low side effect profile and low toxicity
- it should enhance the restorative and behavioural control mechanisms
Since Giurgea synthesized Piracetam in the mid 1960s, there has been a large increase in the different types of nootropic ingredient available, with respect to the mechanism of action on the body and how exactly it is beneficial to the user.
And while the original definition remains for what is a ‘true’ nootropic, the word has evolved to become an umbrella term for many forms of compound – whether synthesized or naturally sourced – which invariably improve cognitive function in some way.
Dedicated nootropic products will usually contain some variation of a blend of ‘true’ nootropic ingredients alongside others; perhaps short-term psychostimulants, like basic caffeine anhydrous.
How Can Nootropic Ingredients Help Someone Lose Weight/Fat?
The answer is as easy as it is complex. It all depends on how deep you want to go.
The short of it is, anything you do is controlled by your brain. The healthier your brain, the better it will be at doing its part.
On a subconscious level, your brain commands your various organs and limbs to keep you alive and keep you moving. At a higher level, your mood and motivation, desires and insecurities come into play.
This is where your state of mind can really count. Do you have the will power to ignore those cravings for that piece of cake? Do you have the motivation to get up early and go to the gym? Are you feeling in a good enough mood to not find comfort in a cheeseburger and fries?
It sounds a bit fluffy around the edges, but it actually does come down to these decisions, and the forks in the road that you are presented with ultimately determine your success or failure in any specific emotion-driven task.
Nootropic compounds, in different ways, can enhance key functions – and even the physical structure – of your brain, to upgrade your ability to choose the path you originally set out to take. The little decisions add up.
How Do They Work In The Body?
As mentioned, there are several mechanisms that nootropic ingredients utilize to provide their benefits:
Cerebral Vasodilation: this is the widening of the blood vessels in the brain to accommodate more blood, thus increasing the supply of oxygen carrying red blood cells. The same action allows the other ingredients in a blend to reach their target quicker.
Neutransmitter Boosters: these ingredients increase levels of important neuro-transmitters, such as acetylcholine, in the brain. Others augment the balance of dopamine, adrenaline, noradrenaline and serotonin to the user’s advantage.
Cholinergics – which increase acetylcholine – are usually the base of a good nootropic supplement.
Example: Alpha GPC, CDP Choline
Stress Reducers/Mood Boosters: there’s a few ways to reduce stress levels: increase Alpha Waves, alter the levels of CNS (central nervous system) hormones, sweep up excess cortisol, increase blood flow etc.
It’s a vague area because the pathways that affect mood are high in number. Nearly everything that improves cognitive function also improves mood and reduces stress levels to some degree. There are however some specific agents that appear to have more of an effect that others.
Example: L-Theanine, Rhodiola Rosea, HTP (hydroxytryptophan)
Working Memory Enhancers: again, generally improving brain function will in turn boost working memory and productivity. As with stress reducers there are some that stand out.
Example: Bacopa Monnieri
Nerve Growth Stimulators: it hasn’t been long since it was discovered that adult neurogenesis was even possible. The ‘birth of neurons’ – a neuron being a cell which transmits information via synapses by electrical and chemical signalling – increases the size of our neural networks and therefore the capacity of our motor, sense and other functions.
Some ingredients appear to stimulate neurogenesis.
Example: Lion’s Mane mushroom
Stimulants: it’s a hazy grey area but some stimulants, coupled with other ingredients which bring the best out of them (e.g. L-Theanine’s augmenting effect on caffeine), can be a great addition to a nootropic product. They are almost mandatory in fat-burning/pre-workout lore, but they are not technically nootropic.
Due to the fact that they are synergistic with so many other ingredients, and appear to have a few benefits to the user, they are considered an asset here. You just shouldn’t overdo them, but that’s true for everything, ever!
Example: Caffeine anhydrous, coleus forskohlii
Of course, the functional boundaries of these ingredients blur into one another, and in some cases, completely overlap. There are even cases where the best fat burners / muscle building ingredients, have a nootropic effect when it reaches the brain.
Coleus forskohlii is a good way to illustrate this. In the body it elevates cyclic adenosine monophosphate to burn more fat. This same process in the brain improves its output. In the testicles of men (sorry we went there so suddenly), the same process increases testosterone production!!
Your mind plays the pivotal role in any task you partake in, but it is even more critical when mental toughness, motivation, focus and mood are the traits that will bring the results.
Mind over matter…it’s all in your head…positive mental attitude…you’ve heard it all before. Cliché or not, they have a basis of truth.