Supplements for Meditation Level 1 – Getting started
Studies carried out over the years have proved beyond doubt that meditation positively changes the brain and provides both short and long-term benefits to cognitive function. This article looks at how supplements for meditation aids the cognitive improvements meditation can provide.
Research has only strengthened the widely held belief that meditation can boost intelligence quotient, increase gray matter, helps working memory, and helps develop ironclad focus (1) (2) (3) (4) (5).
But, let me first be honest – I can’t do ‘traditional’ meditation. By traditional I mean this:
For one, I neither have the hair (!), nor do I like the cold!
But all jokes aside – I simply can’t just sit still for 20 minutes and ‘think of nothing’.
I do meditate in other ways however and the first time I inadvertently meditated might sound familiar… Especially to the gents.
I was out fishing with my Dad many years ago now. We sat by a lake, a little distance apart (as we were always competitive on fishing days and would only speak to taunt the other when we’d caught a fish).
Anyway, I remember sitting in my foldable chair at that beautiful lake, the sun shining, and a beer (or two) on the go.
I sat for at least a couple of hours without a single bite… Just watching my line and cork float sitting on the top of the water gently bobbing up and down on the surface.
For 2 hours my eyes never left the float and my mind finally shut down to anything except the hypnotic movement of that float.
I’d even forgotten about trying to catch a fish should one bite, and going home the victor with more catches than the old man.
…”Shall we move over to the other side of the lake? I caught 5 over there last time” Dad said.
Hearing his voice was like when someone starts talking to you when you are asleep, and slowly you can hear their voice creeping into your dream, before you snap out of it and come to.
I ‘regained consciousness’, gave a big yawn, said ‘can do’ and then went to get out of my chair to pack up my rods and gear.
But my body felt like lead.
It was at that moment I realized how relaxed I was. In a relaxed state like none other I had experienced.
For 2 hours I sat dead still and all my mind focused on was nothing but that bobbing cork float and for days after, I felt rejuvenated, and found focusing (for the first time ever) an easier task.
If any of you ever wondered what your partner gets from fishing, it’s likely a whole lot more than the love of pulling slimy smelly fish out of a weed filled pond!
It’s me time, it’s silence, it’s entering a meditative state (whether aware or not), switching off from the norms of life and recharging not just the body, but more importantly the mind.
The point here is if you’ve tried to sit still with legs crossed and palms facing up, only to think 45 seconds in “I’m bored”, “my back hurts”, or “who originally put the alphabet in alphabetical order?”, then there is other means to reach a meditative state.
My insanely crazy monkey mind finally shuts up and I can enter into a deep state of concentration when I play my guitars, play video games ( yes I do – too much!), when painting or mowing the lawn (I paint the lawn often!).
Even cooking can sometimes have my mind shutting out all thoughts of work, bills, politics, and so on. As can an intense exercise session.
If you read my blog post – Productivity Tips: 37 Point Desktop Makeover – then you’ll know I keep a guitar next to my desk always.
If I’m feeling unproductive or creatively uninspired as my mind keeps wandering, I’ll spend 5 minutes on a ‘guitar break’ to mix things up a little and remind my brain how to focus on a single thing for a time.
Supplements for Meditation Level 2 – Add Nootropic Supplements for Better Results
If there is however one thing that has really helped improve the results and achieve a clear meditative state, it is my most trusted friends – Nootropic supplements.
>By results I mean the ability to stay in an Alpha or Theta brain state longer (perfect conditions for meditation where the body and mind naturally relax and unwind).
I mean to invest 20 minutes or so in sharpening one’s focus, rather than to waste 20 minutes sat uncomfortably feeling more agitated and distracted than when you started.
I also mean by results to come out of meditation feeling refreshed, sharper, rejuvenated, relaxed yet confident, and with the sort of clarity that allows you to finally jump headfirst into a task or chore you’ve been putting off or dreaded tackling for days/weeks/months.
Certain Nootropics act as catalysts to help you reach a meditative state sooner, remain focused longer, and get the most out of the practice.
I’ve listed here the supplements for meditation that can shift your brain waves to a state more conducive to meditation.
These Nootropics deliver much of the same results as meditation (shifting from Beta to Alpha to Theta states), and when paired with meditation can radically improve your results.
Here I’ll touch on a few Nootropics that helped tame my mind – most of which are found in Nitrovit.
I’ve also listed a couple however that are not in Nitrovit, but should still be on your wish list if daily meditation, breathing, or Yoga/Tai Chi is something you find benefits you and your life.
The Nootropic ingredients in my NITROvit supplement that can help achieve meditative states.
The phospholipid Phosphatidylserine (PS) is involved in many cognitive functions. It induces the release of Nerve Growth Factor (NGF), stimulates the production of dopamine and acetylcholine, promotes neurogenesis – the regrowth of new brain cells.
PS helps reach the meditative state by reducing the beta wave(6). These brain waves are associated with arousal and alertness.
The beta brain waves are not to be treated as villains; they have a crucial role in the brain.
They boost alertness, improve concentration, and are needed for maintaining optimal cognitive function.
The trouble starts when the brain generates beta waves in excess, leading to restlessness, anxiety, etc. High levels of beta waves make it impossible to relax, focus, and concentrate – the three absolute essentials of meditation.
Studies show that PS has the ability to reduce beta brain waves(6) so, with the ‘euphoria creating’ waves under control, you’ll be in a much better mental state to meditate.
CDP-Choline – a nootropic supplement that single-handedly influences many of the vital brain functions – especially those relating to learning and concentration.
The choline component in citicoline supports the release of acetylcholine, serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. These brain chemicals are associated with memory, focus, concentration, and mood.
The Nootropic also supplies Uridine, which is a phospholipid needed for the repair of neurons, development of synapses and neuronal process, and to optimize neuronal signaling.
Citicoline is also known to power brain cells by promoting ATP energy. Both choline and uridine help the production of dopamine, which ensures the meditator is in a better mood to focus and concentrate.
N Acetyl L-Tyrosine (NALT)
We can’t just wish away stress; sometimes the best thing to do is to learn to overcome the emotional and physical tension of daily life. N Acetyl L-Tyrosine (NALT) is the right candidate for the job.
This highly bioavailable tyrosine precursor is associated with the catecholamines neurotransmitters that are responsible for sleep, mood, and cognition.
The Nootropic reaches the CNS and through multiple chemical reactions increases the production of dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine(7).
Adding NALT to your meditation stack can help you sink into deep peace escaping the clutches of intense stress and pressure.
Taking N Acetyl L-Tyrosine gives a considerable boost to mental processing and its ability to activate brain chemicals helps with concentration and cognition.
L-Theanine (found in Nitroamp)
For those who are new to meditation; the first objective is the increase of alpha brain waves.
The production of alpha waves is at its highest when we’re fully focused and relaxed.
Alpha waves are slowest during the short interval between the state of sleep and wakefulness.
The Nootropic L-Theanine tunes our brain cells to maximize the generation of the alpha waves.
This action of the nutrient relaxes the mind, reduces stress, supports learning, and takes us to the flow state.
The nootropic is also known to improve sleep quality, yet it doesn’t make you sleepy.
The phrase ‘relaxation without sedation’ is commonly used to describe the effects of L-Theanine.
L-Theanine’s role in reducing stress in humans and animals has been well documented.
In one study, rats were made to undergo stress inducing training after being fed with the Nootropic. The results showed the level of corticosterone was comparatively lower in the L-Theanine group(10).
(Nootropics not found in Nitrovit)
Lion’s Mane Mushroom
It’s much easier for someone with ‘normal and regular’ brain function to meditate, than tit is for those who are stressed and plagued by anxiety, depression, and small distractions.
Lion’s Mane Mushroom crosses the blood-brain barrier, reaches the central nervous system and induces the release of the Nerve Growth Factor (NGF).
In one study, the administration of the mushroom nootropic for a week increased NGF in the hippocampus region in test subjects(11).
The liberal release of NGF is known to offer many health benefits to the users.
Supplementation can enhance cognition, alleviate depression, and reduce the risks of age related (and cell degeneration based) cognitive decline.
Lion’s Mane Mushroom comes with the recommendation of Buddhist monks who have been using this natural Nootropic for thousands of years to promote focus, reduce anxiety, and create an intense state of calm known as the Zen mind.
Pine Bark Extract
Extracted from French maritime pine bark, Pycnogenol or Pine Bark Extract is taken to promote cerebral blood flow.
This Nootropic delivers the desired benefits by supplying nitric oxide (NO), which dilates the blood vessels to allow the free flow of blood with oxygen, nutrients, etc., while also promoting cerebral circulation by repairing the lining of blood vessels.
The supply of oxygen and nutrient rich blood provides mental energy and alertness perfect if ‘meditating on the go’ as I do with video games, guitar and so on.
In addition, the improved supply triggers the synthesis of neurotransmitters that are associated with focus, attention, and concentration – all vital for a meditator.
If your mind is preoccupied with work and household troubles then the chance of reaching an Alpha or Theta meditative state is slim to none without either Nootropics – or perhaps a lottery win.
Your brain must have the ability to keep the various stressors out and stay calm, relaxed and focused.
One of the primary functions of Rhodiola Rosea is to reduce stress by influencing the production of serotonin and beta-endorphins – natural relaxants and anxiolytics.
It’s awfully important to understand, the Nootropic Rhodiola Rosea makes you relax but not dull, and promotes calmness but not lethargy.
Rhodiola Rosea aids the synthesis of ATP, energy (used by the brain/body to power itself) and in doing so, it supplies the body with a steady dose of energy, along with supporting neurogenesis and the repair of damaged brain cells.
Supplements for Meditation – Final Thoughts
The benefits of meditating – no matter how you do it – are clear. But getting to a comfortable relaxed state isn’t always easy.
Try taking either Nitrovit, or some of the other nootropics I’ve mentioned, before meditating and see how you find it. Try to assess:
- Comfort levels during meditation
- Ease of which to continue the meditation
- Length of meditation
- Relaxation and clarity after the fact
- Improvements to mental clarity and focus after meditation
I think you’ll be surprised at the difference Nootropics can make.
As always, let me know how you get on in the comments below, or let me know the supplements you use to meditate or calm your mind.
All the best,