Bet if you are reading this article on your phone you’re probably doing so between TikToks. Or maybe you’re just hiding behind your laptop while your boss isn’t looking? Relax, I won't tell.
But did you know that the multi-tasking is one of the best ways to impair your short-term memory? In fact, research has shown that multitasking is also one of the fastest ways to make errors at work - and it gets worse. According to researchers, multitasking makes completing a task both harder and longer to complete which is the very opposite that multi-tasking promises.
So, where did we go wrong?
When did paying attention become a special ninja skill?
For the last several years we’ve been bombarded with computers and cellphones that promise greater work efficiency and ease of communication but the science is suggesting these things are having the exact opposite effect.
A study recently conducted by the University of London found that adult study participants who multitasked during cognitive exams experienced IQ score declines of 15 points on average. That means for some of us, multitasking could put our IQ in the range of a 6th grader!
So, I did something about it.
What are nootropics and why does that word have so many ‘o’s in it?
Nootropics are a relatively new term in medicine, which comes from the Greek word for ‘bending’ or ‘shaping’ the mind.
Nootropics are a class of functional compounds that claim to:
- Improve memory
- Increase mental alertness
- Promote concentration
- Boost energy levels
Unfortunately, nootropics can be a controversial topic but only because there is no distinction between the safe, natural nootropics like green tea and l-theanine versus the synthetic, chemical ones that come with little to no safety data.
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How do Nootropics work?
That’s a good question and honestly the science hasn’t completely elucidated the mechanism of action for nootropics, but what they do suspect is that nootropics assist in the brain’s ability to concentrate, and perhaps more importantly, to form new memories.
In research, this has been called ‘neuroplasticity’, which eludes to the idea that the brain and more particularly the neurons are capable of making more enhanced connections with other neurons, which in turn promote the process of higher-order thinking and the ability to create new memories. This is something that is desperately needed not only because we live in such a distracting world but also because neuroplasticity dwindles as we age.
My experience taking nootropics
I decided to start my nootropic journey with the grandfather of all nootropics - green tea. But I’m not talking about the stuff you get with your sushi. Extraction techniques have improved so much that compounds once unknown are now finding themselves in the spotlight- and NO, I’m not talking about caffeine, at least not directly.
Recently researchers identified a compound in green tea called theacrine, which is chemically similar to caffeine but acts on the body differently, with a gentler and more sustainable way. However, when combined with even small amounts of caffeine the two can become synergistic with effects greater than their sum.
Theacrine has been hidden in plain sight for decades because most researchers had assumed that green tea’s power came from caffeine. But when clinical trials isolated this mysterious compound they discovered something they couldn’t have predicted.
Theacrine has clinical support to indicate it may be a significant antioxidant that can repair damaged tissues, as well as:
- Reduce inflammation and preserve biological function.
- Capable of reducing fatigue without being a cardiovascular stimulant even over several hours.
- Improve cognitive performance and memory function.
- Improve mood and mental disposition.
- Assist immune function.
I decided to try theacrine after an exhausting work week that was ending with air travel across the country that promised to be even more exhausting.
To be fair, nootropics were my last hope for a rally. I was ready to call in sick on Wednesday, so theacrine not only needed to get me through airport security it had to get me to the hotel with a smile and a better attitude – and it did!
So, what happened?
Energy isn’t the right word to describe what I felt. It was more like vitality. More like vigor. It was still me but with a better attitude and with access to energy when I needed it which is different from caffeine. Caffeine gives you energy whether you need it or not which is why it can show up as nervousness or the ‘shakes’. I didn’t get that with theacrine!
That’s what makes nootropics different from your typical ‘caffeine’ drink. With Theacrine, I was present, I was focused, and I was productive. I know that to be true because when I took it again at work the next Monday I had the same focus, concentration and energy.
So bring it on TikTok; hit me with your best shot Facebook. I’m ready for the distraction.