Brain-enhancing nootropic supplements are becoming an integral part of sports nutrition, emphasizing the theory that the mind and body are one.
“Every change in the physiological state is accompanied by an appropriate change in the mental or emotional state, conscious or unconscious, and, conversely, every change in the mental or emotional state, conscious or unconscious, is accompanied by an appropriate change in the physiological state,” Lindsay Thornton, U.S. Olympic Committee sport psychologist, told Nutritional Outlook.
In the world of sports nutrition and supplements, more companies are including nootropic ingredients in their formulas. These brain-enhancing ingredients are designed to boost cognitive function in a way that also improves physical performance.
No hard data is available on how many products now contain nootropic ingredients, but experts agree that the number of cognitive-supporting fitness supplements is growing.
Experts believe there are three main reasons for the increased prevalence of nootropic ingredients in these supplements. One reason is that there is more research backing the correlation between brain health and athletic performance. There’s also a higher demand for products containing brain health aspects, and manufacturers are using these ingredients to stand out in the crowd.
Sports nutrition is evolving to cater to consumers outside of the competition circuit. While there is still a great focus on muscle mass, many newcomers are entering the market, including outdoor enthusiasts and business professionals. Many are looking for benefits that go beyond improved muscle gain, such as enhanced mental performance.
Brain-enhancing ingredients have long been a part of sports supplements, but the emergence of nootropics as its own category has created a new demand for brain-stimulating, performance-enhancing supplements.
The nootropics market is also changing. Initially, the market was focused on aging baby boomers in an attempt to slow cognitive decline. Now, the focus is shifting to younger consumers looking to gain more productivity at work or school.
eSports participants are also fueling the demand for nootropics in sports nutrition, with many players looking to optimize brain flow during competition. In the gaming world, mental acuity can mean the difference between winning and losing.
All sports require intense focus and concentration, from team to solo sports. Nootropics are a natural step for athletes looking to improve their overall performance.
Many nootropics focus on antioxidant action as well as enhanced blood flow to the brain.
Several nootropic ingredients are being put to the test by researchers to gauge their effectiveness. Arginine is one such ingredient. A study from 2016 showed that a 1,500-mg dose greatly improved participants’ performance on cognitive tests. It is believed that the ingredient works by increasing nitric oxide levels, which improves blood flow to the body and brain.
Theacrine is another ingredient being researched. Found naturally in tea and coffee, theacrine has a similar chemical structure to caffeine, but its physiological effects are very different.
Theacrine inhibits adenosine activity, which prevents the perception of fatigue and enhances alertness, attention and focus.
Nootropic ingredients will continue to make their way into sports nutrition supplements. Athletes require both a physical and a mental edge, which is what nootropic ingredients provide.
Author: Jacob Maslow