Don't have the attention span to read this article? Take one of these supplements, then try again.
Joy Ronson 1 / 4
The inability to think straight isn’t just a next-day aftereffect of a wild night out on the town. Poor memory, short attention span, and general mental lethargy are par for the course when you’re under-rested and over-worked. But there’s help available. Here, a few supplements that can help you feel sharp and clearheaded.
This herb, whose antioxidant properties have long been linked to improved learning skills, comes from the marshlands of India, where for thousands of years it was the go-to brain-sharpening supp of the rajas, or local rulers, of India.
Science seems to back up Bacopa’s use. The journal Phytotherapy Research reported that subjects who took Bacopa for 90 days saw a boost in cognition—specifically, improvement in their spatial memory, which is related to the ability to navigate a familiar place.
As an added benefit, Bacopa may also relieve depression caused by chronic stress, according to a 2014 study published in Psychiatry Investigation—and we all know what stress can do to the ability to think straight.
Bacopa is a prime ingredient in Onnit’s Alpha Brain, available at onnit.com.
A well-researched herb already in wide use, ginkgo is believed to enhance blood flow to the brain, making it popular as a treatment for a wide variety of problems, ranging from headaches to anxiety to vertigo.
But ginkgo may also boost brain power. A study in Human Psychopharmacology found that subjects taking a ginkgo extract were better able to recall faces than those taking a placebo.
Gingko is available in Now’s True Focus (nowfoods.com), which also contains L-tyrosine, an amino acid popular in energy drinks because it’s not linked to causing jitters, as caffeine is.
CDP-choline has also shown promising results for its attention-enhancing properties.
A precursor to the nutrient choline (which itself is a precursor to acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that helps brain and muscle functions), CDP-choline improved the “attentional performance” (focus! we said attentional performance!) of research subjects tested after taking the supp for 28 days, a 2012 study showed.
You can get CDP-choline in Blackstone Labs’ The Razor’s Edge (blackstonelabs.com), which promises to get you “in the zone” not more than an hour after you take it.