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Best Nootropics for Intermittent Fasting

December 15, 2020

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Intermittent Fasting (IF) is known to most as a trendy diet routine followed by a great many fitness enthusiasts to burn fat and build muscle with little effort. Apart from this, Intermittent Fasting is known to enhance cognition. Fasting has been practiced for centuries, and recent research has revealed many benefits of fasting in terms of energy metabolism, cellular protection, anti-aging, neuro-regeneration, etc. Therefore, it seems like a great time to be looking at the best nootropics for Intermittent Fasting.
 
Intermittent Fasting is now popular also among nootropic (also called cognitive enhancers or smart drugs) enthusiasts and biohackers, given the neuroprotective and clarifying mental benefits of fasting. The best nootropics for Intermittent Fasting are organic bacopa monnieri leaf extract, L-theanine, citicoline and L-tyrosine. Let’s find out why below. Also, they are all included in their purest and most bioavailable form in MAXIMUM MIND.
This guide discusses some of the best cognitive enhancers used to supplement and optimize your (intermittent) fasting efforts. To further optimize the cognitive benefits of Intermittent Fasting, natural nootropics can complement the fasting.
“Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresea, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.”
–H. Jackson Brown Jr.

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WHAT ARE NOOTROPICS?

“The only difference between the master and the novice is that the master has failed more times than the novice has tried.”
―Stephen McCranie

First things first, what are nootropics? Corneliu Giurgea, a Romanian neuroscientist, coined the term nootropic (pronounced new-tropic) in 1972. He believed that smart drugs should be invented and made widely available for the purpose of enhancing the general population’s brain health and increasing human intelligence.

According to Dr Giurgea’s findings, nootropics enhance cognition, memory, alertness, concentration, creativity, and attention. They became known as cognitive enhancers, substances that amplify the way the brain’s many cognitive functions operate and how we process information.

Simply put, cognitive enhancers (or nootropics or smart drugs) are prescription or off-the-counter drugs or supplements that enhance cognition. Some nootropics contribute to brain health while others can be quite dangerous.

Since Marco’s Grounds only works with safe and natural compounds in their purest forms, for most of our discussions we will restrain ourselves to natural nootropics that increase cognition safely.



How Does Intermittent Fasting Improve Cognition?

“In anything, there has to be that moment of fasting, really, in order to enjoy the feast.”
—Stephen Hough

Intermittent Fasting is not dieting. While dieting is mostly thought of as caloric restriction, Intermittent Fasting entails only timely restriction. It is merely a break taken now and then, and the best part is, it does not change your total calorie count, if you don’t want it to.
 

The brain and body are used to a rest and digest routine. Because we continuously consume food, even if it is a small quantity, we don’t give the body enough break time nowadays. This makes the body and brain sluggish, causing it to not function at full capacity (see Ketones as Nootropics for another angle in this discussion).

Intermittent Fasting is not a caloric restriction. The calories consumed each day do not change. However, the benefits of Intermittent Fasting are due to the increased timespan between meals. This allows the brain and body to use natural biological resources efficiently, in-between consumption to grow and repair—a process called autophagy [1, 2].
 
To succeed in Intermittent Fasting, scheduling between the following two states is essential:
1. Fed State: The body’s reaction to feeding includes a parasympathetic and metabolic response known as the rest and digest reaction. This leads to an increase in insulin activity and blood flow to the gut.
2. Fasted State: The body’s reaction to fasting is marked by the reversion of the parasympathetic feeding mode characterized by ketogenesis and clear cognition. Ketogenesis is the burning of fat for energy [3]. Lengthening the fasted state fortifies brain function, and the metabolic benefits may be neuroprotective or even neuroenhancing in the long term. These benefits can also be increased by supplementing with the best nootropics for Intermittent Fasting.
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Choosing an Intermittent Fasting Schedule

“A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.”
— George S. Patton

Daily Fasting

Popular Routines

Feeding period: 12 pm to 8 pm, fasting period – 8 pm to 12 pm

Feeding period: 2 pm to 10 pm, fasting period – 10 pm to 2 pm

Alternate Day Fasting

Alternate day fasting is more beneficial hypothetically. The fasting period is expanded from 16 hours to 24 hours. This means, one full day of fasting is followed by a full day of feeding double the calories you usually consume on one day.
 
Popular routine:Start fasting after dinner at 8 pm and continue until 8 pm the next day. This ensures at least one meal during each wake state.
 

Weekly (or Monthly) Fasting

Pick a single day of the week or the month and fast for 24 hours during that day, every month. Resume regular eating habits throughout the remaining days. Fasting days can be added to the schedule as desired.
 
Popular routine: Bodybuilders and athletes prefer this method as it allows near-daily caloric abundance and provides the benefits of Intermittent Fasting congested into a weekly 24-hour span.
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Foods and Beverages That Don’t Break a Fast

“Little minds are tamed and subdued by misfortune; but great minds rise above them.”
–Washington Irving

By definition, fasting means refraining from eating food. However, you may be able to consume some foods, supplements, and beverages while still preserving the benefits of fasting.

Below are some foods and beverages you can consume while fasting or practicing IF.

Water

Plain or carbonated water contains no calories and will keep you hydrated during a fast.

Coffee and Tea

These should be consumed without added sugar, milk, or cream.

Some people choose to consume the following foods or beverages while fasting. These foods will break a fast but not ketosis.

Diluted Apple Cider Vinegar

Some people find that drinking 1–2 teaspoons (5–10 ml) of apple cider vinegar mixed into water can help them stay hydrated and prevent cravings during a fast. It might break the fast but not ketosis.

Healthy Fats

Some people drink coffee containing MCT oil, ghee, coconut oil, or butter during their fast. Oil breaks a fast, but it won’t break ketosis.

Bone Broth

This rich source of nutrients can help replenish electrolytes lost during long periods of only drinking water.

Remember that foods and drinks containing any calories — like bone broth and the healthy fats listed above — will technically break your fast.

However, small amounts of these low-carb, high-fat, moderate-protein foods won’t throw your body out of ketosis.

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Supplements That Break a Fast

“No matter how hard you work for success, if your thought is saturated with the fear of failure, it will kill your efforts, neutralize your endeavors and make success impossible.”
Baudjuin

While becoming nutritionally deficient while fasting is improbable, it is possible depending on how restrictive your fast is and how long it lasts.

Certain individuals choose to supplement their diets while fasting in order to ensure adequate vitamin and mineral intake. Frequent fasting may result in nutrient deficiencies if your diet is already deficient in vitamins and minerals.

If you supplement while fasting, it’s critical to understand which supplements may cause your fast to break. This will assist you in determining whether or not to take them with a meal or during your fasting period.

Supplements that are more likely to break a fast

Multivitamins in the form of gummies frequently contain trace amounts of sugar, protein, and occasionally fat, which may interfere with your fast.

Amino acids with branched chains (BCAAs) appear to elicit an insulin response that is antagonistic toward autophagy.

Protein powder contains calories and stimulates the release of insulin, informing your body that you are not fasting.

Supplements containing specific ingredients. Supplements containing maltodextrin, pectin, cane sugar, or fruit juice concentrate contain sugar and calories and may cause your fast to be broken.

Supplements that are made for convenience. Instant supplements, gummies, sprays with oils, etc., will be more likely to break a fast. The further away they are from a capsule form, the more likely they are to break a fast.

Supplements that are less likely to break a fast

Multivitamins without added sugar or fillers should have few or no calories (generally in capsule form or tablet).

Oil extracted from fish or algae that contain few calories and no digestible carbohydrates when taken in recommended doses (the calories will still break a fast but it won’t take you out of ketosis).

Micronutrients on an individual basis. This includes potassium, vitamin D, and B vitamins (although fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K are most effectively absorbed when consumed with food).

Creatine has no calories and has no effect on insulin response. Creatine, along with many other supplements, is better absorbed with food (better yet with a supplement containing taurine, like MAXIMUM MIND)

Collagen in its purest form will do the same as oils: break the fast but not ketosis. This may impair autophagy slightly.

Probiotics and prebiotics are beneficial bacteria. These typically contain no calories or carbohydrates that are digestible.

MAXIMUM MIND doesn’t technically break a fast yet we suggest consuming it with food for better absorption.

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How Do Nootropics Help a Fasting Brain?

“Everyone has a plan ’till they get punched in the mouth.”
— Mike Tyson

During fasting, the brain increases Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) production, which improves brain function by up-regulating cellular communication, enhancing antioxidant capacity, and promoting neurogenesis in places such as the hippocampus [3, 4].
 
Intermittent Fasting enhances the brain at a biomechanical level. The best nootropics for Intermittent Fasting can complement and guide the effects of Intermittent Fasting by engaging in the same biochemical pathways to increase the effects. This includes;
  • Anti-oxidation: Antioxidants in nootropics reduce free radical damage in neurons to support brain health, function, and longevity.
  • Managing stress associated with Intermittent Fasting: The stress associated with Intermittent Fasting leads to increased stress hormones such as cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. Nootropic adaptogens are capable of limiting the adverse effects of these stress responses.
  • Energy production: Nootropics facilitate energy to strengthen cell membrane structures, neurotransmitter stability optimized for brain cell growth, and cellular communications.
The supplemented benefits of nootropics during Intermittent Fasting not only enhance brain performance and function but improves your motivation to continue Intermittent Fasting.
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MAXIMUM MIND for Intermittent Fasting

“The greatness of art is not to find what is common but what is unique.”
—Isaac Bashevis Singer

MAXIMUM MIND contains various natural compounds that help you reap the most benefits out of Intermittent Fasting. But mostly, four ingredients have special effects: L-tyrosine in its acetylated form, bacopa monnieri, citicoline, and L-theanine.

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N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine (NALT)

NALT is a precursor amino acid for many neurotransmitters, including epinephrine, norepinephrine, and dopamine.
 
These hormones are essential to maintain a proper mood, memory, and concentration. NALT, the precursor, is necessary to replenish these hormones as they burnout during stress [5, 6, 7].
Benefits of NALT during Intermittent Fasting: The stress caused by hunger may cause cognitive impairment as catecholamines and precursors of neurotransmitters to run out, mainly when they are not replenished due to fasting. NALT replenishes the needed precursors and limits cognitive impairment.
 
This makes L-tyrosine naturally one of the best nootropics for Intermittent Fasting.
 
Read more about N-acetyl-L-tyrosine on the Marco’s Grounds Deep Dive or find out more about the benefits of L-tyrosine here. 
 
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Organic Bacopa Monnieri Leaf Extract

Bacopa monnieri is an Indian adaptogen herb and is used for its anti-stress, anti-fatigue properties. It also modulates neurotransmitters and hormones [8, 9]. Bacopa naturally strengthens resistance to stress, fatigue, and free radicals and improves physical and mental performances.
 
Benefits of Bacopa in Intermittent Fasting: During the fasting state, bacopa is particularly beneficial for empty stomach training on athletes. Bacopa improves the fasting state mentality and cellular metabolic functions [10]. Brainpower is spiked up to six hours while managing insulin resistance.
 
Unfortunately, some people experience upset stomachs when taking bacopa on an empty stomach, yet bacopa is one of the best nootropics for Intermittent Fasting, for those people who don’t have sensitive stomachs.
 
Read more about bacopa monnieri on the Marco’s Grounds Deep Dive or find out more about the many benefits of bacopa.
 
 
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Citicoline

Citicoline provides choline and cytidine, which are the raw material for acetylcholine, phosphatidylcholine and uridine. These neurohormones optimize neural synapses and improve concentration, memory, focus and verbal understanding [11, 12, 13].
 
Benefits of Citicoline during Intermittent Fasting: Citicoline provides the energy needed for the brain to keep running and to form new neural connections [14].
 
For this simple reason alone, citicoline is one of the best nootropics for Intermittent Fasting as my guess is you might be practicing IF for the energy boost.
 
Read more about citicoline on the Marco’s Grounds Deep Dive of find out more about the benefits of citicoline here.
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L-Theanine

L-theanine is an amino acid derived from Camellia Sinensis. L-theanine is responsible for the wakeful relaxation effect of green tea by promoting alpha brain waves. Alpha brain waves, when induced, cause a mild, anxiolytic (stress relieving), free flow thinking effect [15].
 
Benefits of L-Theanine during Intermittent Fasting: Coffee (black, obviously) is allowed during the fasted state of intermittent fasting and L-theanine reduces the jittery side effects of caffeine and supplements brain function [16].
 
Naturally L-theanine is on of the best nootropics for Intermittent Fasting as it mitigates the negative effect of caffeine and coffee reduces hunger. Also L-theanine reduces the stress that can be linked with fasting.
 
Read more about L-theanine on the Marco’s Grounds Deep Dive.

Conclusion

“We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons.”
— Jim Rohn

Intermittent Fasting is a great way to enjoy many benefits like increased cognition, better health, enhanced clarity, and saving time by batching meals.

Intermittent Fasting has a significant positive effect on your cognitive function. However, it is not without its downsides. Cognitive enhancement supplements can avoid these adverse effects. The best nootropics for Intermittent Fasting can enhance the benefits of fasting while reducing the side effects of Intermittent Fasting.

Because it contains all the best nootropics for Intermittent Fasting in high-quality forms and many others, MAXIMUM MIND is highly recommended for Intermittent Fasting. MAXIMUM MIND helps enhance cognitive function by maintaining mental energy clarity and focus during the fasting period. All the best nootropics for Intermittent Fasting in MAXIMUM MIND may help you improve the benefits of intermittent fasting, replenishing the nutrients needed, and most importantly, motivating you to continue fasting to achieve your goals.

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MAXIMUM MIND

Clinically Studied

Pharmaceutical Grade Cognitive and Mind Enhancing Complex
Made in Switzerland

Literature

  1. Longo, V. D., & Mattson, M. P. (2014). Fasting: molecular mechanisms and clinical applications. Cell metabolism, 19(2), 181-192.
  2. Aly, S. M. (2014). Role of intermittent fasting on improving health and reducing diseases. International journal of health sciences, 8(3).
  3. Tinsley, G. M., & La Bounty, P. M. (2015). Effects of intermittent fasting on body composition and clinical health markers in humans. Nutrition reviews, 73(10), 661-674.
  4. Wegman, M. P., Guo, M. H., Bennion, D. M., Shankar, M. N., Chrzanowski, S. M., Goldberg, L. A., … & Anton, S. D. (2015). Practicality of intermittent fasting in humans and its effect on oxidative stress and genes related to aging and metabolism. Rejuvenation research, 18(2), 162-172.
  5. Banderet, L. E., & Lieberman, H. R. (1989). Treatment with tyrosine, a neurotransmitter precursor, reduces environmental stress in humans. Brain research bulletin, 22(4), 759-762.
  6. Ishikawa, M., Otaka, M., Huang, Y. H., Neumann, P. A., Winters, B. D., Grace, A. A., … & Dong, Y. (2013). Dopamine triggers heterosynaptic plasticity. Journal of Neuroscience, 33(16), 6759-6765.
  7. Thomas, J. R., Lockwood, P. A., Singh, A., & Deuster, P. A. (1999). Tyrosine improves working memory in a multitasking environment. Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior, 64(3), 495-500.
  8. Wiegant, F. A. C., Surinova, S., Ytsma, E., Langelaar-Makkinje, M., Wikman, G., & Post, J. A. (2009). Plant adaptogens increase lifespan and stress resistance in C. elegans. Biogerontology, 10(1), 27-42.
  9. Peth-Nui, T., Wattanathorn, J., Muchimapura, S., Tong-Un, T., Piyavhatkul, N., Rangseekajee, P., … & Vittaya-areekul, S. (2012). Effects of 12-week Bacopa monnieri consumption on attention, cognitive processing, working memory, and functions of both cholinergic and monoaminergic systems in healthy elderly volunteers. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2012.
  10. Pase, M. P., Kean, J., Sarris, J., Neale, C., Scholey, A. B., & Stough, C. (2012). The cognitive-enhancing effects of Bacopa monnieri: a systematic review of randomized, controlled human clinical trials. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 18(7), 647-652.
  11. Erin, M., Allison, L., Julia, H., Toshikazu, K., Masahiko, M., Koji, M., … & Deborah, Y. T. (2012). Improved attentional performance following citicoline administration in healthy adult women. Food and Nutrition Sciences, 2012.
  12. Alvarez, X. A., Laredo, M., Corzo, D., Fernandez-Novoa, L., Mouzo, R., Perea, J. E., … & Cacabelos, R. (1997). Citicoline improves memory performance in elderly subjects. Methods and findings in experimental and clinical pharmacology, 19(3), 201-210.
  13. Spiers, P. A., Myers, D., Hochanadel, G. S., Lieberman, H. R., & Wurtman, R. J. (1996). Citicoline improves verbal memory in aging. Archives of neurology, 53(5), 441-448.
  14. Silveri, M. M., Dikan, J., Ross, A. J., Jensen, J. E., Kamiya, T., Kawada, Y., … & Yurgelun‐Todd, D. A. (2008). Citicoline enhances frontal lobe bioenergetics as measured by phosphorus magnetic resonance spectroscopy. NMR in Biomedicine: An International Journal Devoted to the Development and Application of Magnetic Resonance In vivo, 21(10), 1066-1075.
  15. Nobre, A. C., Rao, A., & Owen, G. N. (2008). L-theanine, a natural constituent in tea, and its effect on mental state. Asia Pacific journal of clinical nutrition, 17.
  16. Haskell, C. F., Kennedy, D. O., Milne, A. L., Wesnes, K. A., & Scholey, A. B. (2008). The effects of L-theanine, caffeine and their combination on cognition and mood. Biological psychology, 77(2), 113-122.

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