If you sometimes have trouble focusing, you’re not alone; to date, 25% of adults over 50 are taking supplements to improve mental focus and concentration. These are over-the-counter supplements, not medications requiring a doctor’s prescription.
[This article, “Focus: The Best Supplement Ingredients To Upgrade Your Productivity And Performance” was originally published in News7Health]
Many factors can interfere with our ability to focus – they can be external or internal and are usually a bit of both. Here are a few examples:
- Distraction – cell phones, social media, T.V. news
- Insufficient sleep – leaves you less alert, slower thought process, reduced concentration
- Lifestyle – lack of physical activity, poor diet, stressful living conditions
- Psychological issues: depression, anxiety, emotional upheaval (divorce, death, moving)
- Medical Conditions: diabetes, hormonal imbalances, cognitive disorders
- Medications: some leave you feeling drowsy or anxious and nervous
Keeping in mind that studies are ongoing as to the effectiveness of brain supplements, let’s look at several vital ingredients that research shows have positive outcomes in improving some areas of brain function. These ingredients are used in quality natural supplements explicitly designed to enhance your focus and concentration.
Green Tea Leaf Caffeine (Camellia Sinensis)
Coffee and tea drinkers are familiar with the mental boost provided by caffeine, a natural stimulant found in over 50 plants. Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system and helps strengthen short-term energy and improves mood and cognitive function. Green tea leaf caffeine is a favorite among naturopaths because it contains polyphenols that may help prevent cardiovascular diseases and lower the risk of some cancers.
Whole Seed Guarana (Paullina Cupana)
Guarana is a climbing, fruit-bearing plant also known as Paullinia Cupana, considered a superfood and native to the Amazon rainforest. Guarana seeds are processed into powder for use in health supplements and are particularly sought for their support to both short and long-term brain function.
The stimulants in guarana are caffeine, theophylline, and theobromine, all of which reduce fatigue and improve focus. These stimulants can help you concentrate and stay focused while studying, working at your job, or performing whatever task is at hand with more energy. Guarana also contains the antioxidants tannins, saponins, and catechins. PUBMED behavioral effects of guarana in humans
Lion’s Mane (Hericium Erinaceus, whole)
Hericium Erinaceus, also known as lion’s mane mushroom, earned its name because its shaggy white appearance resembles a lion’s mane as it grows. They are native to China and Japan and have been used for thousands of years in traditional Chinese medicine. In fact, it was once believed to cure everything from cancer to impotence!
Today, scientists are discovering more about the brain benefits of this unusual-looking fungus. Lion’s mane’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties can help improve memory, mood, and focus. How? Because it reduces inflammation and enhances blood flow and oxygen to the brain resulting in better brain performance. The antioxidants in lion’s mane appear to strengthen brain cells and stimulate neuron growth.
Additional brain support from Lion’s Mane can include:
- Protection against Dementia
- Improved cognitive function
- Relieve mild symptoms of Depression and Anxiety
- Faster recovery from nervous system injuries
Medicine Man Plant Co. manufactures a brain supplement that goes by the straightforward name The Brain Pill, and Lion’s Mane is the first ingredient listed on the label, followed by Ginkgo and Sage. Their products are 3rd party tested and created with a combination of ethnobotany and chemistry.
Ginkgo Biloba, also known as maidenhair, has been used as an herbal remedy for over 2,000 years. A native of China, it’s one of the oldest living tree species on Earth and is sometimes called a “living fossil.”
Today, ginkgo is used by some health practitioners to treat dementia and other cognitive disorders. Research on ginkgo extract, which is made from the leaves and used in health supplements, has shown promising results when given to healthy individuals in the areas of brain function and blood circulation, which assists in the brain’s ability to focus.
“A handful of small studies support the notion that supplementing with ginkgo may increase mental performance and perceived well-being (14Trusted Source, 15Trusted Source).
Results from studies like these have given rise to claims linking ginkgo to improved memory, focus, and attention span.”12 Benefits of Ginkgo Biloba (Plus Side Effects & Dosage)
Chefs around the world have sage in their pantries. Fresh leaves or dried and ground into a powder, this aromatic herb has been used for cooking and healing for centuries. Sage comes in many varieties; common sage (garden sage) goes by the botanical name of Salvia officinalis and belongs to the mint family.
Sage is loaded with antioxidants that protect and support your brain by counteracting destructive free radicals that cause oxidation damage at the cellular level. Sage can enhance your ability to focus, increase memory capacity and improve concentration – it also raises your alertness.
“Several types of research conclude that people taking sage regularly have improved memory, reasoning, problem-solving, and other cognitive abilities.” Oct 9, 2020, Sage: 5 Stunning Health Benefits Of The Memory Boosting Herb.
Acerola cherry, also called the “West Indies Cherry,” is a shrub-like plant native to the tropical regions of the Western Hemisphere. Although called “cherries,” the Acerola actually produces cherry-like berries – not true cherries. These berries contain high amounts of anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are plant pigments (colors) and belong to a class of compounds called “flavonoids” that are antioxidants – free radical fighters.
Additionally, acerola berries have 30 times more vitamin C than oranges! Vitamin C is another powerful antioxidant. This winning combination of vitamin C and anthocyanins gives Acerola its superpower to boost brain function and improve your ability to focus.
The final focus supplement ingredient we’ll cover is red beetroot.
Its nitrate content makes red beetroot a significant player in brain supplements. Nitrates widen blood vessels increasing blood flow to our brains which may improve brain function, including our ability to focus for long periods of time. Some studies show that red beetroot particularly increases blood flow to the brain’s frontal lobe, which is the area of higher thinking, such as decision-making and short-term memory. 9 Impressive Health Benefits of Beets
VOKE ENERGY SUPERFOOD has created a sugar-free, low-calorie superfood chew designed to clear brain fog and increase focus. Acerola cherry and red beetroot are included among the brain-boosting superfood ingredients in their chews. They clearly state on their website that over 25 independent research studies back these superfoods.
Finding Your Focus
Focusing is challenging in a world full of demands and distractions. Even the most self-disciplined person might find their attention span shrinking. Simply sitting down to read a book becomes difficult. The pleasure of playing a game of chess or golf becomes elusive when you can’t focus on the game, and being unable to focus at work creates stress. The good news is that supplements containing specific ingredients are available to help enhance focus. Combining supplementation with some lifestyle changes can help improve productivity and performance, enabling you to refocus your attention and successfully complete your mental marathon.
For Further Reading
Important Note: The information contained in this article is for general informational purposes only, and should not be construed as health or medical advice, nor is it intended to diagnose, prevent, treat, or cure any disease or health condition. Before embarking on any diet, fitness regimen, or program of nutritional supplementation, it is advisable to consult your healthcare professional in order to determine its safety and probable efficacy in terms of your individual state of health.