When Bradley Cooper’s character took a pill and achieved superhuman analytical abilities in the 2011 movie Limitless, we were mesmerized, and the concept of nootropics piqued our collective consciousness unlike it ever had before. Understandably, the subject has garnered even more attention in the decade since, with interest at an all-time high as we try to process the seemingly endless streams of information available to us and meet the ever-increasing mental and emotional challenges that arise in our daily lives.
In other words, if you’re reading this article because you need additional cognitive support now, you’re certainly not alone. But what exactly defines nootropics, and what can you realistically expect from them? Moreover, with plenty of options on shelves, how can you be sure you’re choosing efficacious products you can trust?
What Are Nootropics?
Nootropics (pronounced nō-ə-ˈtrō-piks or noo-traah-puhks) are generally defined as substances that help promote cognition, memory, and learning—that benefit the brain. They can be natural or synthetic and used to create supplements designed to target specific concerns, though all with the broad goal of supporting overall mental function.1 For example, they can be formulated to directly help maintain focus and mental alertness or even to sustain a calm mood.
That said, Limitless-like mental acuity isn’t the benchmark for nootropic supplements, though many companies rely on exaggerated performance claims to sell their products. However, these substances can provide powerful support. In fact, some are clinically backed, with study results that uphold their ability to promote concentration, clear thinking, a positive outlook, and more. When seeking nootropic supplements, it’s important to look for those containing these reputable, proven ingredients. More in a minute.
Nootropics and the Vagus Nerve
Of course, the brain isn’t just some isolated organ disconnected from everything else. It’s the epicenter of the intricate nervous system, which reaches down from the spinal cord via nerves that extend out to all parts of the body.2
The vagus nerve, which is also called the moderator of the gut-brain axis, provides nervous system connections to all organs below the neck. Through this nerve, the brain helps regulate mood and energy levels as well as the body’s reaction to occasional stress and the ability to concentrate.3 You can feel this inextricable link between mind and body when, for example, you’re tired and not sleeping well and then feel like you just can’t focus or perhaps cope with trying times in a healthy way.
Ideally, this complex system would always be functioning optimally. But sometimes, the body needs a little extra support so we can stay feeling and functioning at our best.
Introducing Solaray SharpMind Nootropics
This is why we’ve created our new line of SharpMind nootropic supplements that stand apart from the others available. Our innovative products are backed by science and rooted in nature, derived from only the highest-quality ingredients and made with efficacious, clinically backed nutrients, nourishing adaptogens, and fermented organic, US-grown mushrooms. They provide nutritive support for the nervous system and gut-brain axis—for the mind-body connection.*
These five powerful, fast-acting nootropic formulas—Energy, Focus, Stress, Mood, and Sleep—are designed to help promote mental and emotional well-being.* They offer the chance to customize your cognitive health and can be taken and combined as needed for a daily routine that fits your individual goals. Each formula’s serving size is just one convenient capsule, and all products are lab-verified, gluten-free, and vegan. Our mushrooms are grown on oats, which are high in beneficial beta glucans and fermented for optimal nutrient absorption.
SharpMind Energy: This caffeine-free formula helps sustain mental energy without the jitters or crash.* We use clinically backed enXtra® Alpinia Galangal, which has been observed to sharpen alertness and focus for up to 5 hours.*†
SharpMind Focus: Focus is expertly crafted to support mental performance and cognitive function.* It features clinically backed and award-winning Cognizin® Citicoline—NutraIngredient’s 2022 Ingredient of the Year for Cognitive Function—demonstrated to support clear thinking for peak focus.*†
SharpMind Stress: Formulated to help promote a sense of serenity and calm, this formula includes clinically backed Shoden® Ashwagandha, which has been studied to support a healthy response to occasional stress and quality of life, along with L-theanine to support relaxation.*† Shoden® Ashwagandha extract is sustainably harvested, uses all of the herb’s parts for no waste (its root, stems, and leaves), and is standardized to 35% beneficial Withanolides.
SharpMind Mood: Turn to this award-winning formula when you need help finding relaxation and positivity.* It includes clinically backed Zembrin® from South Africa—observed to deliver an alert serenity to support mood, focus, and an overall sense of emotional well-being.*† The Zembrin® production process has been recognized for sustainability and social responsibility via its indigenous benefit-sharing agreement.
SharpMind Sleep: For a good night’s rest, this formula contains extended-release Melatonin and the same clinically backed Shoden® Ashwagandha used in our Stress formula, which has also been researched to support a healthy sleep cycle.*†
Curious what a routine with all five formulas might look like? Take Energy at 6 am to start better, Stress at 10 am to prepare better, Focus at 2 pm to perform better, Mood at 6 pm to unwind better, and Sleep at 10 pm to rest better. But again, which SharpMind products you take and when is up to you.
Be Sharper. Live Brighter.
Nootropics aren’t just the stuff of fiction on the big screen. They’re real and powerful substances that can support your overall mental health and emotional wellness.* While that doesn’t necessarily mean they can help you become a financial wizard a la Bradley Cooper’s character or finally solve that impossible physics equation that has been plaguing you since junior year, you just might discover you’re able to sustain your focus and mental alertness, find relaxation, or get the healthy sleep you need.*
Our new SharpMind nootropics line includes five targeted formulas—Energy, Focus, Stress, Mood, and Sleep—made with only the highest-quality ingredients you can trust. Each features a powerful dose of a clinically backed nutrient, so you can rest assured you’re taking an efficacious product. Like all Solaray supplements, they’re lab-tested and assured for purity, potency, and identity.
- Joshi, Pranav C. Unique Journal of Engineering and Advanced Sciences. 2013;1(01):8-18.
- NIH, NICHD. https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/neuro/conditioninfo/parts.
- Breit, Sigrid et al. Frontiers in Psychiatry. (2018): 44.
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
† Shoden is a registered trademark of Arjuna Natural Pvt. Ltd.; enXtra is a U.S. trademark of Enovate Biolife Pvt Ltd.; Cognizin is a registered trademark of Kyowa Hakka Bio Co., Ltd. and won NutraIngredient’s 2022 Ingredient of the Year for Cognitive Function; Zembrin is a registered trademark of HG&H Pharmaceuticals (Pty) Limited. U.S. Patents #6,288,104, #8,552,051 and #8,980,339 B2