People always want to know - what's the one vitamin I should take for this, or what's the one vitamin that's good for that? And the truth is that there's a variety of supplements that are good for different things, and that the best results often come from stacks of different supplements combined together. Fish oil, for example, is a good supplement to take if you've got a bad heart, but adding CoQ10 to the fish oil makes it even better. This same principal is true for many different ailments or situations, and now - as colleges and schools begin their mid-term tests - is a great time to talk about the best supplements for studying and memory.
With unlimited access to the 30,000+ supplements available on eVitamins, here is the official study stack:
1. Barlean’s Ultra DHA Softgels
Barlean’s Ultra DHA Softgels crams an impressive amount of DHA into one softgel, allowing for a powerful combination of clearer thinking processes and greater concentration. The DHA, EPA and other omega 3 fatty acids contained in the recommended dosage all work to increase circulation and improve brain function. These essential oils are usually found in cold-water fish and in nuts, and these are foods that many people don't eat every day. DHA is also very prevalent in infant formulas and baby foods since it has been proven to help develop mental and emotional health and improve cognitive capabilities for people of all ages, from the womb to old age.
Barlean's Ultra DHA is the foundation to the study stack and is always the first to go down the pike. It's lemon flavored so there is no fishy aftertaste and it blends nicely with the other supplements in the stack. Two softgels is the recommended dosage.
2. Olympian Labs Ginkgo Biloba 120 mg
With so many ginkgo biloba supplements on the market, Olympian Labs made the cut because of its adherence to the strictest standards of processing. Ginkgo biloba is a sturdy tree that grows in China and its antioxidant properties lie in its leaves. Its main action is to increase oxygen supply to the brain, promoting cerebral acuity and eliminating physical fatigue and mental deficiencies brought about by organic or psychological causes. This means that it works best in situations where marathon study sessions are to be expected. In short, the more mentally exhausted you are when you take it, the more pronounced the effect will be. It improves blood circulation and has a stimulant effect, thereby reducing lethargy and symptoms of depression.
Most gingko supplements come in 60 mg sizes but Olympian Labs makes this 120 mg version, which is nice because it means having to swallow only one pill as opposed to two. Taking more than 120 mg in one sitting isn't recommended. The ginkgo brings a little bit of a kicker to the over stack.
Unlike the ginkgo or the DHA, the Phosphatidylserine DMAE complex, isn't the sort of supplement that you can "feel" take effect. It actually works better after repeated usage and some have reported that it usually takes three to five days to start setting in. After this initial warm-up phase, the Phosphatidlyserine DMAE complex will start having a noticable effect on the memory and recollection. This is because DMAE is a cut above choline in producing faster and better brain functions. Its unique molecular build allows it to penetrate the blood-brain barrier faster and more efficiently and the lecithin and phosphatidylserine further enhance memory and cognitive speed. Memory and response time to stimulus, by the way, are two ways to measure intelligence.
One cap twice a day provides for a sustained effect but two at once allows for a more intense release and brain awakening. Depending on your own situation, either method of dosing may benefit you more than the other. The important thing to remember about the Phosphatidylserine DMAE complex is that it is an everyday supplement. Even if your plan for the day doesn't include hitting the stacks, it's wise to still take this supplement.
4. VPX Redline
Redline is a fast-acting high-energy drink that delivers results in as little as ten minutes after intake. It's nice because it helps keep the mind awake, active and alert. Afterall, what good is studying if you can't keep your head in the game?
Just for clarity purposes, Redline is a stimulant that's usually used before workout sessions. It's known as being fast, powerful and having two servings in every bottle. Clinical trials have shown, however, that test subjects who took it before working out reported an increase in energy and focus and had a higher level of alertness, and this all lends nicely to studying. Made from a great combination of physical and mental stimulating ingredients (including ample caffeine), Redline is the bookworm's buddy.
As noted above, each bottle of Redline actually contains two servings. Never try to slam the whole bottle in one sitting and never drink more than one bottle in a day. One dose, which is only four ounces, can be taken in one shot or it can be sipped periodically for a more sustained release. As a liquid, Redline will peak and dissipate faster than any other supplement in the study stack and its effect will be more pronounced. It's also a good idea to take the Redline 20 to 30 minutes after the rest of the supplements in the study stack because the stimulants in Redline may affect the absorption of the others.
These four supplements are some of the best brain boosters available, they're all natural and they produce results. There are alternative supplements that can be substituted and swapped out of your own study stack - ginseng for gingko, for instance - but remember to always read the label of any supplements in your own stack. Vitamin overdose - especially in fat soluable vitamins - can and does occur. All of the supplements above have been crossed referenced for their contents and even when combined do not violate RDA levels for toxicity.
An active brain is a healthy brain, and you should treat your brain like you would your bicepts. Exercise it, nourish it, rest it and repeat the whole thing as frequently as possible.