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can you enhance cognitive performance in athletes?

many sports have evolved around cognitive functioning including working memory, decision making, and attention. Some athletes have begun to add nootropics to their regime so here are four, evidence-based nutraceuticals that may give you that extra edge!

1. theanine - relaxed but alert mental state

theanine is an isolated nutrient and amino acid found in green tea, which has been widely associated to promote relaxation without sedation. Clinical evidence has shown that theanine can amplify alpha brain waves, which are indicative of a state of relaxation and alertness, often referred to as "wakeful relaxation". A study published by Nutrition Reviews found that 200mg of theanine increased alpha brain waves after 30 minutes and peaked at 5 hours [2]. Alpha brain wave activity has also been associated with increased creativity, concentration and increased performance in duress [1].  Taking theanine alone has been reported to enhance cognitive performance  [3], and its synergistic effect with caffeine has also been well documented.

2. caffeine + theanine improves reaction time

according to Nutritional Neuroscience caffeine and theanine can improve the speed and accuracy in attention switching tasks [4], which athletes may find useful when doing sports that involve multitasking. In 2008, a study found that combining 250mg of theanine with 150mg of caffeine had increased improvement in reaction time, the accuracy of information processing, and working memory compared to those that consumed caffeine alone [5]. If you're considering having this combination, it may be useful to keep in mind that the effect of caffeine reaches peak levels within 30 to 60 minutes [6].

3. tyrosine - decision making under duress

tyrosine is a building block of dopamine, your reward and pleasure chemical messenger. Dopamine is released when you derive pleasure from great food, sex, or a sense of accomplishment. According to the Natural Medicines database, dopamine is responsible for modulating emotional states, sex drive (libido) and body movements [14], and the capacity to handle your everyday stress [15].

tyrosine has been shown to improve memory and cognitive performance in military personnel that underwent high-intensity training [7]. Since evidence on tyrosine in athletes is currently limited, Alpha GPC may be a preferred alternative [8].

4. Alpha GPC - acetylcholine precursor

Alpha GPC is an isolated nutrient and building block to the chemical messenger acetylcholine [8]. Acetylcholine is released when conducting cognitive tasks such as memory retention or learning [9]. It has been shown to increase relative spikes of acetylcholine 1-3 hours post-ingestion [10]. Alpha GPC can be considered to be a natural nootropic as increased concentration of acetylcholine had been shown to improve attention during sustained attention performance tasks in animal studies[11].

according to Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior administration of Alpha GPC for 20 days had improved learning and memory capacity amongst rats with deficits in learning and memory capacity[12]. Whilst in athletes, research published in the Journal of International Society of Sports Nutrition found that Alpha GPC prevented exercise-induced reductions of choline [13].

brain feed Alpha GPC

brain feed offers the world's first 99% 500 mg Alpha GPC capsule, served in a single capsule [13].  You simply take one capsule per day, ideally in the morning, at lunch, or just before your start work. It is safe and regulated by the Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

Click here to learn more about brain feed's high-quality Alpha-GPC today!

[1]Bryan (2008) Psychological effects of dietary components of tea: caffeine and L-theanine: Nutrition Reviews. [2]Lu et al. (2004) The acute effects of L-theanine in comparison with alprazolam on anticipatory anxiety in humans. Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental. [3]Baker et al. (2014) Acute effects of dietary constituents on motor skill and cognitive performance in athletes. [4]Owen et al. (2013) The combined effects of L-theanine and caffeine on cognitive performance and mood. Nutritional Neuroscience. [5]Haskell et al. (2008) The effects of l-theanine, caffeine and their combination on cognition and mood. Biological Psychology. [6]Cappelletti et al. (2015) Caffeine: Cognitive and physical performance enhancer or psychoactive. Current Neuropharmacology. [7]Deijen et al (1999) Tyrosine improves cognitive performance and reduces blood pressure in cadets after one week of a combat training course. Brain Research Bulletin. [8]Coull et al. (2015) Effect of tyrosine ingestion on cognitive function and load carriage performance in the heat. Extreme Physiology and Medicine. [9]Zeisel et al. (1991) Choline, an essential nutrient for humans. [10]Bekdash (2019) Neuroprotective Effects of Choline and Other Methyl Donors. Nutrients. [11]Examine (2018) Alpha GPC. [12]Himmelheber et al. (2000) Increase in cortical acetylcholine release during sustained attention performance in rats. Cognitive Brain Research. [13]Parker et al. (2015) The effects of alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine, caffeine or placebo on markers of mood, cognitive function, power, speed, and agility. Journal of the International Society of Sport Nutrition. [14]Nootriment (2018) Is tyrosine the best dopamine-boosting supplement to take? [15]Grevet et al (2002) Behavioural effects of acute phenylalanine and tyrosine depletion in healthy male volunteers. Journal of Psychopharmacology. 

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