Ketones as nootropics might be something you haven’t heard before. As a refresher, cognitive enhancers (or nootropics or smart drugs) are extremely niche prescription or off-the-counter drugs or supplements that enhance cognition, e.g., memory, learning, alertness, etc. They are very well known in the competitive world of athletes, entrepreneurs, business people, and overwhelmed students.
On the other hand, not every cognitive enhancer needs to be exogenous (taken from outside the body in the form of a supplement like this one). Some can be synthesized endogenously (inside the body). Ketones might be one of those. Let’s find out.
Even if you are not into ketogenic dieting, there is a high chance you have come across the term ketone at least once this year. There is growing interest over ketones as nootropics, and it’s not showing any signs of slowing down. Let’s see if it is justified and how does it affect our brains in particular.
“Hard Times Create Strong Men. Strong Men Create Good Times. Good Times Create Weak Men. And, Weak Men Create Hard Times.”
―G. Michael Hopf
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.”
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.
Where the Magic Happens
“I don’t measure a man’s success by how high he climbs, but how high he bounces when he hits the bottom.”
―George S. Patton
They will travel through the blood and reach the liver and be further metabolized to three ketones: acetone, acetoacetate, and β-hydroxybutyrate . The latter two can enter neurons, where our mitochondrial power plants convert them into the ultimate energy currency, i.e., adenosine triphosphate (ATP).
Ketones-High-Octane Brain Fuel?
“We cannot solve problems with the kind of thinking we employed when we came up with them.”
Increased Cognition and Reduced Aging
A study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise where exogenous ketones (not synthesized in the body but taken in the form of a supplement) were used, revealed that cognitive performance in stressful situations was better than placebo after ketone ester ingestion . Both endogenous and exogenous ketones improve the brain function when compared to glucose, exogenous ketones are just more convenient to take and require much less willpower. Communication between brain regions is destabilized by glucose and stabilized by ketones as nootropics, irrespective of whether ketosis is achieved with a ketogenic diet or exogenous ketone ester. Brain network destabilization may reflect early signs associated with dementia. Dietary interventions resulting in ketone utilization increase available energy and thus may show potential in protecting the aging brain as described by research found in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America .
Increased Energy Efficiency and Reduced Cellular Damage
Overall, ketosis modifies neural networks in the brain towards increased functionality and resistance to stress, injury, and disease, as underlined in a review in Nature Reviews Neuroscience . So, ketogenic diets and exercise strengthen both the muscles and brain cells. Both caloric restriction and exercise result in stronger activations of neuronal networks in the brain, especially neurons in the temporal and frontal lobes, whereas these same neuronal circuits are relatively deactivated in individuals who are sedentary and overfed according to an article in Ageing Research Reviews . For instance, those regions of the brain are involved in motor function, problem-solving, spontaneity, memory, language, impulse control, emotion processing, as well as social and sexual behavior, to cite a few. It stands to reason that stronger, denser neuronal connections around those brain regions would also improve those areas of life.
How Can You Maximize Ketones as Nootropics?
“Learn as if you will live forever, live like you will die tomorrow.”
In the end, it seems like we don’t have to choose between the mind or body, we can improve them simultaneously or at least that’s what ketones say.
Consuming a universal cognitive-enhancing complex like Maximum Mind while being in a fasted state or consuming exogenous ketones as nootropics in the form of a supplement is extremely likely to yield even more profound cognitive benefits. Consult Maximum Mind standalone results here.
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