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Brain Boosters: 5 Supplements For Maximum Mental Acuity

We all need an extra boost of mental power now and then. For firefighters and police officers who work long, difficult hours, the right supplements can make a big difference.

It's easy to lose focus when you're on a long shift. After hours of patrol, you might feel ready for a nap rather than ready for action. Civil servants work hard for long hours and are expected to perform well in high-stress environments.

To combat sleep and stress, these neighborhood heroes could benefit from some mental-acuity boosters. These five supplements not only increase brain power, but many of them fight the negative effects of stress and anxiety for good measure.

1/
Caffeine

Caffeine will almost instantly increase your alertness level and can help boost your focus and concentration. That mid-morning cup of coffee might be totally necessary if you're feeling drowsy.

The drawback to caffeine though is that once the effects wear off, you might feel more drowsy and unfocused than you did before you had any. Which means it's not surrogate for sleep over the long haul. Caffeine can also become addictive in large doses, so be careful if your 3 cups of coffee turns into 13.

2/
GABA

Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid acts as a neurotransmitter. It has slight stimulatory effects on the brain, and in some people may help induce a state of calm. If your constant crime-fighting is stressing you out, try some GABA.

3/
Acetyl L-Carnitine

This amino acid is very involved with the body's regulation of cellular energy production. It can also increase the usage of carbohydrates.

Acetyl L-Carnitine assists in maintaining higher energy levels, can help support a healthy heart and may promote overall brain function. A win-win-win for firefighters!

A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Of the United States Of America noted that when subjects supplemented with acetyl L-Carnitine, they had improved rates of performance on memory related tasks due to the brain's improved mitochondrial function.

Bonus! Dudes looking to boost their natural testosterone production may find some added support from Acetyl L-Carnitine.

5 Brain Pills

4/
L-Tyrosine

L-Tyrosine may help with mood enhancement and support mental focus. It's also great for promoting thyroid and pituitary health.

Note: If you are already on thyroid medication you should always consult your doctor before using this supplement, because negative interaction effects may occur.

5/
Ginkgo Biloba

This supplement can assist with memory enhancement. In addition, Ginkgo Biloba offers antioxidant properties which can help battle unhealthy free radicals. It's also been used to help improve circulation to the lower body.

The most commonly reported benefits include the increased support to help learn new skills and to better remember old ones.

Reference:

  1. Ames, B.N. et al. (2002). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Of the United States Of America. Vol. 99. No. 4 2356-2361.


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About The Author

I’ve been working in the field of exercise science for the last 8 years. I’ve written a number of online and print articles.

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BOOGADA

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BOOGADA

The only thing I dislike about these articles is the word "may." It "will" reduce my wallet and "may" help out.

Sep 13, 2012 3:57pm | report
 
johnson1987

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johnson1987

Very well said.

Sep 13, 2012 8:31pm | report
Achezallover

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Achezallover

And it's always great to check good ol' wiki and read: "Tyrosine does not seem to have any significant effect on mood, cognitive or physical performance in normal circumstances."

Sep 21, 2012 3:41pm | report
AmbitiouzCutz

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AmbitiouzCutz

@BOOGADA........ Have you or anyone found a great BOOSTER for workouts? I have just been doing COFFEE and TEA with Honey !

Nov 13, 2012 7:23pm | report
sexdoll

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sexdoll

i aggree

Nov 24, 2012 12:29am | report
mswhittinghill

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kelseykumquat

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kelseykumquat

I know you guys have used the picture of the girl in the header a few times before. This may sound like it's coming off as a complaint, but it isn't. I actually want to request you use her at least once in every future article. Can this be done? Please !?

Sep 14, 2012 8:10am | report
 
Rodzor

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Rodzor

Couldn't you tell us what the best foods to eat would be for mental acuity, containing these ingredients? I'd rather eat something than buy and pop supplements.

Sep 14, 2012 2:34pm | report
 
Achezallover

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Achezallover

My opinion is that anything in food is rarely in the concentration range you need to achieve a specific goal, in reasonable time. For instance, you're not gonna go crazy on red meat just to get enough Acetyl L-Carnitine to achieve the purpose the supplement aims at. Supplements are meant to effect specific results in short time.

Sep 21, 2012 3:30pm | report
jjosephs

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jjosephs

What about fish oils? I've heard they are good for brain function?

Sep 23, 2012 1:05pm | report
 
Wantaripbod

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Wantaripbod

The only reason I clicked on this was to see more pics of the girl

Nov 25, 2012 8:49pm | report
 
ironmanbrah93

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ironmanbrah93

At the end of the day, most of these supplements are just that, supplements. Many are shown after testing to have little to moderate effect when taken properly. Many people expect to take these supplements as a cure-all for what they assist in. Do your research and don't be so quick to waste your money on products that may be useless for some.

Nov 30, 2012 9:41pm | report
 
Julieann4456

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Julieann4456

All supplements which are regulated by the FDA are not legally able to state it "CAN" cure or guarantees to help with functions and diseases in the body. The studies behind supplements are really the only form of proof these vitamins work. Any labeling on supplement containers use terms like supports and may because of this. Don't let it stop you from trying it though. Vita
mins are natural and safe alternatives to drugs.

Dec 6, 2012 7:45am | report
 
whitneysherlock

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whitneysherlock

mental boosts are hard to find naturally-the only one out of this list i would agree with is caffiene but thats an energy thing, prescription meds are the only way I've experienced any heightened mental acuity (recently consulted a doctor about adult adhd) - although i'm also a huge skeptic among medical "conditions" I did my research on my prescription options and was very skeptical about anything that would permantely change my natural balance in certain brain chemicals but so far i prefer my results now compared to the constant stimulant option which always had a negative side-obviously would prefer natural but sometimes you trust medicine

Dec 18, 2012 1:35pm | report
 
chrisld

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chrisld

I never tested GABA, but I saw in my biology class that it also reduce the neuronal process. I don't recommend it to you if you want to study or workout.

Dec 25, 2012 6:20pm | report
 
benjianderson32

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benjianderson32

i think this is a great article. the only thing i would add would be

#6 adequate sleep

i don't know what it is lately but every so often i wake up refreshed wanting to read and ambitious, but this used to be like every day. maybe age who knows

Dec 26, 2012 8:56pm | report
 
silva916

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silva916

I have been using a brain suplement execucore that contains the majority of these ingredients within it. if you do take any of these supplements and want to really feel the effects, make sure you dose effectively.

Nov 21, 2013 6:37pm | report
 
Showing 1 - 17 of 17 Comments

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