The human brain is one of the most complex organs on earth. It involves highly complex chemical interactions between neurotransmitters, electrical impulses, and hormones. All of these elements work together to produce thought, emotion, and regulates nearly every process in the body.
Most of the nootropics on the market are aimed at improving neurotransmitter function, and boosting the nerve cells ability to transmit electrical signals. These work very well, but often neglect the influence of hormones on the brain and cognitive performance.
Here are 3 nootropics that can be used to aid hormonal imbalance.
The Relationship Between Hormones & Cognitive Function
Deep within our brains is a gland known as the pituitary gland. This gland is responsible for controlling the majority of hormone function in the body. It sends out hormones that can make us feel tired (melatonin) or communicates with other parts of the body to stimulate estrogen or testosterone production (GnRH). It also affects other hormones like insulin and cortisol that are important for regulating energy levels both inside and outside the brain.
Here are a few examples of how hormones affect cognitive function:
- Low testosterone in both men and women have been correlated with poor spatial memory (remembering geographical locations and directions) 
- Age-related cognitive decline is thought to be the result of testosterone deficiency .
- Estrogen improves cholinergic function and therefore learning and memory 
- Insulin imbalances have been correlated with poor cognitive function over time 
Best Nootropics Used To Aid Hormone Levels
1. Diindolylmethane (DIM)
DIM is the metabolic byproduct of a compound known as indole-3-carbinol. Plants in the broccoli family (Brassicaceae) have high concentrations of indole-3 carbinol. These plants have been found to have potent hormone-modulating benefits. These effects are thought to be the result of the DIM production formed after eating vegetables like broccoli, kale, and cauliflower.
Supplemental DIM is useful for regulating estrogen levels in the body. It does this by modulating the production of estrogen from presurcers like estradiol, estrone, and even testosterone. This can work both ways depending on the current levels of estrogen in the blood. This allows both men and women to properly maintain estrogen levels.
In men, DIM also helps to maintain testosterone levels by modulating the enzyme (known as aromatase) that converts testosterone to estradiol.
Berberine is an alkaloid found in a variety of plants, namely Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) and Oregon grape (Berberis vulgaris). Its benefits are different than traditional nootropics because it works by balancing blood glucose levels.
Berberines ability to regulate blood glucose levels depends on its interaction with insulin, a special hormone that lets glucose into the cells for energy production. When insulin levels become imbalanced, blood sugar levels begin to rise and can eventually lead to diabetes. If this persists long term, it will eventually lead to a gradual reduction in cognitive function, weight gain, and cardiovascular disease.
This simple supplement can go a long way towards maintaining optimal blood glucose levels. Over time this can prevent insulin imbalances, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and premature cognitive decline.
3. Long Jack
Long Jack, otherwise known as Tongkat Ali, is a tropical shrub found in various parts of Southeast Asia. It’s used by indigenous cultures in the area to promote vitality, boost energy levels, and as an aphrodisiac.
In recent years it’s seen a surge in interest in the Western world as an ingredient in energy drinks, and athletic supplements.
LongJack’s energizing and aphrodisiac qualities rely on its ability to normalise deficient hormone levels. It does this for both male and female hormones, but has been shown to have a much higher affinity for the male hormones (androgens) .
Thanks to Long Jack’s ability to boost low testosterone, this supplement is especially useful for older males suffering age-related cognitive decline, as well as for younger males who may be suffering from lower testosterone. It’s also useful for boosting strength performance, and spatial memory in men and women alike.
Using Hormone Balancing Nootropics
Using these nootropics you can help support the bodies natural hormone regulation. This can have significant benefits towards cognitive function, especially long term.
It’s important to remember that hormone balance doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a long time for hormones to fall out of balance, and a long time to bring them back into balance. This is because we’re trying to change our bodies natural rhythm. This can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 6 months depending on the person.
The key to making this improvement is to be persistent and patient.
- Matsumoto, A. M. (2002). Andropause: clinical implications of the decline in serum testosterone levels with aging in men. The Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, 57(2), M76-M99.
- Gibbs, R. B., Wu, D., Hersh, L. B., & Pfaff, D. W. (1994). Effects of estrogen replacement on the relative levels of choline acetyltransferase, trkA, and nerve growth factor messenger RNAs in the basal forebrain and hippocampal formation of adult rats. Experimental neurology, 129(1), 70-80.
- Chen, C. K., Mohamad, W. M. Z. W., Ooi, F. K., Ismail, S. B., Abdullah, M. R., & George, A. (2014). Supplementation of Eurycoma Longifolia Jack extract for 6 Weeks does not affect urinary testosterone: epitestosterone ratio, liver and renal functions in male recreational athletes. International journal of preventive medicine, 5(6), 728.
- Kimura, D. (1996). Sex, sexual orientation and sex hormones influence human cognitive function. Current opinion in neurobiology, 6(2), 259-263.
- Elias, P. K., Elias, M. F., D’agostino, R. B., Cupples, L. A., Wilson, P. W., Silbershatz, H., & Wolf, P. A. (1997). NIDDM and blood pressure as risk factors for poor cognitive performance: the Framingham Study. Diabetes care, 20(9), 1388-1395.