Mindfulness

5 Science-Backed Nootropics for Mindfulness

Based on placebo-controlled studies, here are 5 supplements for mindfulness.

Posted Jul 17, 2020

Photo copyrights owned by Nootralize
Source: Photo copyrights owned by Nootralize

A nootropic is a substance that, if used properly, safely enhances the cognitive functions of the user.

As public interest in cognitive enhancers escalates, the demand for high-quality evidence on the safety and efficacy of nootropics seems to outgrow the supply of that information. Although new placebo-controlled studies are published frequently, they can be hard to read and misrepresentative of the entire body of knowledge the scientific community has provided on the effects of nootropics.

These are some of the reasons why we systematically went through 527 placebo-controlled studies [1] on the effects of 127 nootropics and put together a list with the 5 most science-backed ones for improving mindfulness. If a nootropic was not included in this list, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s ineffective for increasing mindfulness. It likely means there is less research on the effects of that compound in healthy humans than there’s for each nootropic that made it on to the list.

Out of the 527 studies, 29 included measures of mindfulness. A total of 1693 participants had their mindfulness tested, and 11 nootropics were assessed for safety and efficacy for improving levels of mindfulness. Based on this body of evidence, these are the 5 most science-backed nootropics for increasing mindfulness in healthy humans.

Panax Ginseng

In the 2 studies we reviewed which examined the effects of Panax Ginseng on measures of mindfulness, 70 participants were included. [6][7]

Overall, these studies found a small positive effect on mindfulness from use of Panax Ginseng.

The evidence we reviewed also suggests that Panax Ginseng may improve:

  • Mood (small effect)
  • Nervousness (small effect)
  • Focus (minute effect)
  • Energy (minute effect)
  • Sociality (small effect)
  • Stress (small effect)
  • Intelligence (minute effect)

Risks

Side effects

No negative side effects were seen in any of the studies we reviewed.

Legality

Panax Ginseng is legal to buy, possess, and use in the United States and Canada. [8-16]

Conclusion

Preliminary evidence suggests Panax Ginseng has a small positive impact on mindfulness. Moreover, Panax Ginseng is generally safe and legal.

How to Use

It is probably safer and more effective to use nootropics as they have been used in studies on humans. In the studies we’ve reviewed, Panax Ginseng was used in the following ways:

  • 4500 mg non-extract powder dosages daily for 2 weeks [2]
  • 200 mg extract doses for acute effects [3]
  • 200 mg extract doses for acute effects [4]
  • 200 mg extract doses for acute effects [5]
  • 400 mg extract doses for acute effects [5]
  • 200 mg extract dosages daily for 1 week [6]
  • 400 mg extract dosages daily for 1 week [6]
  • 400 mg extract doses for acute effects [7]

Sage

In the 2 studies we reviewed which examined the effects of Sage on measures of mindfulness, 66 participants were included. [17][19]

Overall, these studies found a minute positive effect on mindfulness from the use of Sage.

The evidence we reviewed also suggests that Sage may improve:

  • Mood (minute effect)
  • Nervousness (small effect)
  • Memory (minute effect)
  • Focus (minute effect)
  • Energy (minute effect)
  • Sociality (small effect)
  • Stress (minute effect)
  • Intelligence (minute effect)
  • Learning (small effect)

Risks

Side effects

No negative side effects were seen in any of the studies we reviewed.

Legality

Sage is legal to buy, possess, and use in the United States and Canada. [9-16][21][22]

Conclusion

Preliminary evidence suggests Sage has a minute positive impact on mindfulness. Moreover, Sage is generally safe and legal.

How to Use

It is probably safer and more effective to use nootropics as they have been used in studies on humans. In the studies we’ve reviewed, Sage was used in the following ways:

  • 300 mg extract doses for acute effects [17]
  • 600 mg extract doses for acute effects [17]
  • 50 µl essential oil doses for acute effects [18]
  • 100 µl essential oil doses for acute effects [18]
  • 150 µl essential oil doses for acute effects [18]
  • 25 µl essential oil doses for acute effects [18]
  • 50 µl essential oil doses for acute effects [18]
  • 50 mg extract doses for acute effects [19]
  • 167 mg extract doses for acute effects [20]
  • 333 mg extract doses for acute effects [20]
  • 666 mg extract doses for acute effects [20]
  • 1332 mg extract doses for acute effects [20]

Lemon Balm

In the 2 studies we reviewed which examined the effects of Lemon Balm on measures of mindfulness, 38 participants were included. [23][24]

Overall, these studies found a minute positive effect on mindfulness from use of Lemon Balm.

The evidence we reviewed also suggests that Lemon Balm may improve:

  • Mood (minute effect)
  • Nervousness (small effect)
  • Sociality (small effect)
  • Stress (minute effect)
  • Intelligence (minute effect)

Risks

Side effects

No negative side effects were seen in any of the studies we reviewed.

Legality

Lemon Balm is legal to buy, possess, and use in the United States, United Kingdom, Sweden, Canada, and Australia. [9-11][13–16][26-38]

Conclusion

Preliminary evidence suggests Lemon Balm has a minute positive impact on mindfulness. Moreover, Lemon Balm is generally safe and legal.

How to Use

It is probably safer and more effective to use nootropics as they have been used in studies on humans. In the studies we’ve reviewed, Lemon Balm was used in the following ways:

  • 600 mg doses for acute effects [23]
  • 1000 mg doses for acute effects [23]
  • 1600 mg doses for acute effects [23]
  • 600 mg doses for acute effects [24]
  • 600 mg doses for acute effects [24]
  • 900 mg doses for acute effects [25]
  • 600 mg doses for acute effects [25]
  • 300 mg doses for acute effects [25]

Cocoa

In the 2 studies we reviewed which examined the effects of Cocoa on measures of mindfulness, 169 participants were included. [39][41]

Overall, these studies found a minute positive effect on mindfulness from the use of Cocoa.

The evidence we reviewed also suggests that Cocoa may improve:

  • Mood (minute effect)
  • Physical performance (minute effect)
  • Stress (minute effect)
  • Learning (minute effect)

Risks

Side effects

No negative side effects were seen in any of the studies we reviewed.

Legality

Cocoa is legal to buy, possess, and use in the United States, United Kingdom, Sweden, Canada, and Australia. [9-11][13][16][28][29][31][36][42–48]

Conclusion

Preliminary evidence suggests Cocoa has a minute positive impact on mindfulness. Moreover, Cocoa is generally safe and legal.

How to Use

It is probably safer and more effective to use nootropics as they have been used in studies on humans. In the studies we’ve reviewed, Cocoa was used in the following ways:

  • 25 g in-chocolate doses for acute effects [39]
  • 3 g seed extract dosages daily for 4 weeks [40]
  • 500 mg extracted polyphenol doses for acute effects [41]
  • 250 mg extracted polyphenol doses for acute effects [41]

Turmeric

In the 3 studies we reviewed which examined the effects of Turmeric on measures of mindfulness, 215 participants were included. [49][51][52]

Overall, these studies found a small positive effect on mindfulness from the use of Turmeric.

The evidence we reviewed also suggests that Turmeric may improve:

  • Mood (minute effect)
  • Nervousness (small effect)
  • Memory (small effect)
  • Physical performance (small effect)
  • Focus (minute effect)
  • Energy (small effect)
  • Sociality (small effect)
  • Learning (moderate effect)
  • Sleep (minute effect)

Risks

Side effects

Less than 60% experience:

  • Gastrointestinal complaints

Less than 10% experience:

  • Common cold symptoms
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Stomach discomfort
  • Gastrointestinal muscle cramp
  • Conjunctivitis (pink eyes due to inflammation)

Legality

Turmeric is legal to buy, possess, and use in the United States, United Kingdom, Sweden, Canada and Australia. [9-11][13–16][28][29][31][35][36][38][44][53–58]

Conclusion

Preliminary evidence suggests Turmeric has a small positive impact on mindfulness. Moreover, Turmeric is generally safe and legal.

How to Use

It is probably safer and more effective to use nootropics as they have been used in studies on humans. In the studies we’ve reviewed, Turmeric was used in the following ways:

  • 2000 mg dosages daily for 12 weeks [49]
  • 150 mg doses for acute effects [50]
  • 900 mg doses for acute effects [50]
  • 400 mg dosages daily for 8 weeks [51]
  • 1500 mg dosages daily for 1 year, 1 day and 6 hours [52]

If you have the right mindset to nootropic use (awareness of risks and how to avoid them), you’re in a great position to benefit from cognitive enhancers.

There’s a need for more research on each of the nootropics in this list. Specifically, there’s a great degree of individual variance in how people respond to nootropics. This means that if you use a nootropic that there was a small effect from in a study with dozens of participants, you may get no effect or a large effect. Currently, while we wait for science to elucidate who is likely to respond to which nootropics, patient self-experimentation is the best method for nootropic use success.

To understand the effects a nootropic has on you, it is important to continuously test your cognitive performance both subjectively and objectively. To do this efficiently, the Nootralize web app can be of help.

This blog post was originally published at blog.nootralize.com, it is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

References

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