You’re healthy, you stay fit and active, but the demands of daily life can still leave you feeling fuzzy and frazzled. Too many demands, too many meetings, too much screen time — they can all take the edge off of your smoothly operating brain.
While there is no one miracle pill to boost your concentration and focus, there is a range of natural ingredients and focus supplements that can play a positive role for your brain; keeping you sharp and focused in the short term and promoting long-term brain health as well.
The Natural Way
Drugs like amphetamines can provide performance boosts, but there are serious side effects and issues with addiction that must be treated very seriously. And in the case of these substances, we are able to isolate the active ingredient responsible rather simply.
Natural ingredients are less clear cut. They often contain numerous ingredients or substances, so it can be hard to isolate the active ingredients and determine with precision exactly why its effects are occurring. Research is underway on many natural ingredients that are often used as focus supplements to better understand how they work.
Try These Natural Ingredients to Boost Your Mental Focus
So, what are some of the go-to natural ingredients you should check out when you’re trying to improve your mental focus? Start with these popular focus-boosting supplements and ingredients!
Omega-3 Fish Oil
Fatty acids. These don’t sound like something that should be good for you, but fatty acids actually play an important role in our brain health. In particular, the omega-3 fatty acids DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) are crucial ingredients in your brain cells. Additionally, these fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties, which potentially may play a role in protecting your brain as it ages. Both are abundant ingredients in omega-3 fish oil supplements.
If you’re looking to get a boost in your brain function, including better focus and improved mental clarity, consider these supplements--they have been linked to improved thinking skills and a better mood.
If your diet is rich in oily fish, like salmon, mackerel, oysters, and anchovies, you may be getting all the omega-3 fatty acids you need. If not, consider modifying your diet or adding a supplement!
The Indian traditional medicine practice of Ayurveda relies on the adaptogenic herb ashwagandha for many therapeutic uses, among them improved memory and cognition.
One of the benefits of ashwagandha is to help with the effects of stress on the body and help alleviate stress as well. This may help to allow users to concentrate more easily when they’re in a stressful situation. A study published in the Natural Medicine Journal highlighted some promising results when testing the effects of ashwagandha on a mental focus with a group of healthy participants.
When you’re shopping for ashwagandha or any supplement, look for products of the highest quality and potency. One excellent source for ashwagandha is KSM66® Ashwagandha, one of the highest concentrations of root-only ashwagandha extracts available--this is one of the primary ingredients included in the Superhuman Supplement System made by ASYSTEM, and now you know why!
It’s hard to concentrate when you’re tired. The effects of fatigue are a major impediment to being able to focus on a task. If you’ve ever pulled an all-nighter to finish a paper in school or that big assignment at work you know what I mean. There may be help with rhodiola rosea, a staple of traditional medicine in northern Europe and Russia.
Rhodiola rosea is prized for its abilities to help increase feelings of energy, and there’s some evidence to back up the anecdotal accounts. A study of 100 subjects who took 400 mg of rhodiola rosea daily demonstrated improvements in mood, concentration, and levels of stress. The effects were observed after only a week of taking rhodiola rosea, and improved throughout the study.
What do blueberries, red wine, chocolate, and peanuts have in common? Besides being tasty treats, they all contain the natural antioxidant resveratrol. It’s been suggested that this natural ingredient serves a valuable service as a focus supplement by helping with age-related declines in brain function.
The research on resveratrol is preliminary, and mainly restricted to animal studies, but a small study on a group of healthy older adults did show improved memory function after taking resveratrol daily as a supplement.
By all means, enjoy your wine and chocolate. But if you’re looking for a boost from resveratrol it’s best to take it as a supplement. The study cited above used a dosage of 200 mg per day.
This herb is one of many focus supplements with a history of long use in traditional medicine practices, and it has a pretty solid track record in improving memory and thinking skills in both healthy young people and older adults.
Bacopa monnieri isn’t a quick pick-me-up, though. Experience has shown that the best results come from a long-term approach; taking 300 mg over the course of at least 4-6 weeks.
Speaking of quick pick-me-ups, how about our old reliable friend, caffeine? Don’t dismiss the power of caffeine to help you focus. This all-natural ingredient is found in coffee and tea, plus dark chocolate. And while too much caffeine can leave you jittery and get your heart racing, there’s nothing wrong with an occasional cup of coffee or hot tea to get you in the groove when there’s a task to be done.
Be careful you don’t become a regular coffee hound, though. The positive effects of caffeine can dull with repeated use, and overuse can lead to trouble sleeping, anxiety, and other health issues.
This supplement derived from the ginkgo biloba tree is a very popular supplement for boosting brain power. By improving blood flow to the brain, it’s believed that brain functions like memory and focus are enhanced.
While popular, the clinical evidence of the efficacy of ginkgo biloba isn’t consistent. However, a study of middle-aged people did show improvements in thinking and memory skills. Additionally, some works have indicated that this supplement may aid in supporting brain health and function even with age.
Creatine is usually associated with bodybuilders and strength athletes. This naturally produced substance helps to metabolize energy and can be an important aid in building muscles and strength. You’ll find creatine naturally in foods like fish, meat, and eggs, and it’s also widely available as a supplement.
Creatine’s role as a focus supplement isn’t indicated for everyone. People who already eat a diet with lots of meat and other sources of protein don’t typically show any change in memory or concentration abilities when taking creatine since they already have plenty to go around
But, for those who don’t eat meat, creatine has been shown to improve memory and thinking skills. Worth noting if you follow a vegan or vegetarian diet!
When deciding to begin taking focus supplements, it’s important to consult with a health care professional. While there are few side effects for any of the natural ingredients we’ve discussed, interactions with other drugs are always possible. Also, be sure to read and follow the dosing instructions on the packaging of any supplements you choose to use.
Whether you need a boost to your productivity in the short term, or you’re looking to keep your brain sharp for the long haul, focus supplements offer a lot of promise. Natural ingredients have a long history of promoting brain health, so don’t be afraid to explore your options and give them a try!