Not all nootropics are pharmaceuticals. In fact, the most popular and common nootropic of all is something that many American enjoy every morning: coffee. Coffee has some benefits all its own, but much of its nootropic impact is found in the drink’s high caffeine content. Caffeine has long been identified as a stimulant to the central nervous system. Legend has is that an Ethiopian farmer observed the burst in energy his goats received from eating coffee plants, and began to cultivate the plant for himself. The rest, as they say, is history.
Despite the prevalence of coffee and its general acceptance worldwide, we are still learning about the substance. Researchers recently discovered, for example, that the combined impact of caffeine and glucose does more for your brain than either accomplishes alone. The study used functional magnetic resonance imaging to identify brain activity and analyze increased efficiency in cognitive functioning.
The lead author, Josep M. Serra Grabulosa, reports: “Our main finding is that the combination of the two substances improves cognitive performance in terms of sustained attention and working memory by increasing the efficiency of the areas of the brain responsible for these two functions.” The two substances taken together, it turns out, are more valuable than the sum of their parts.
Interestingly, what researchers actually observed was a decrease in brain activity in those regions of the brain associated with attention and memory without the subject experiencing any drop in focus and ability. Thus, when a person has higher levels of caffeine and glucose in their system, they can focus and remember just as effectively while utilizing fewer resources. Suddenly, my years-long love affair with Caramel Mochas makes complete sense.
So, if you find that coffee just isn’t doing it for you anymore, consider adding a sweet to your morning routine. Your brain will enjoy it, and so will your palette.