Psychology Today describes attention as “a spotlight that focuses an individual's awareness on a particular facet of their environment, or on the thoughts in their head." And they point out that "the ability to pay attention to important things — and to ignore the rest — likely helped early humans survive and evolve.”
Although humans today are rarely in the position of having to focus to survive a life-or-death situation, attention is still beneficial to our work and our relationships. And, in turn, our work and relationships help to stabilize society. When I can’t focus my attention, it hurts my productivity. It strains my relationships with friends and family members. And it inhibits meaningful interactions with people I come into contact with in the community.
The first study below addresses attention specifically, and the other two address related topics of memory and overall cognitive function.
Caffeine and L Theanine may enhance attention and attention-switching ability. Effects of a Multi-Ingredient Energy Supplement on Cognitive Performance and Cerebral-Cortical Activation. Researchers recruited 24 adults, aged 18-35, to wear a scalp EEG apparatus and complete a computer-guided test that measured attention-switching ability. The computer test was taken on three different days, 30 minutes after consuming a placebo, a single serving of a mixed ingredient supplement, or two servings of a mixed ingredient supplement. This supplement included folate, niacin, caffeine (150 mg), and L-theanine (50 mg) along with other components. Researchers found that the supplement increased cerebral-cortical activation, which suggests the supplement helped to focus attention during the attention-demanding task. This finding was supported by the improved performance on the computer test after supplementation. The effects were greater with the larger dose of the supplement. The authors attributed much of the success of the supplement to synergies between caffeine and L-theanine.
Blueberry may enhance memory. The effect of blueberry interventions on cognitive performance and mood: A systematic review of randomized controlled trials. The researchers compared the data from 12 studies on blueberry products to make more general conclusions about the benefit of blueberry supplements. The data varied in length from 6 weeks to 6 months and in anthocyanin content from 1.55 mg/d to 387 mg/d. The effect on mood was only addressed in 4 studies and the mood effects were inconclusive overall. The effect of blueberry products on cognition, specifically short- and long-term memory and spatial memory, showed improvement in the longer-term studies over 3 months.
Omega 3 and Zinc may enhance cognitive function. Unsaturated Fatty Acid Intakes During Midlife Are Positively Associated with Later Cognitive Function in Older Adults with Modulating Effects of Antioxidant Supplementation. This study looked back at previously collected data and analyzed it with new eyes. They took data from the SU.VI.MAX (Supplementation with Antioxidant Vitamins and Minerals) study, that was conducted during 1994-2002 with a follow-up in 2007-2009, and included 6,850 French participants aged 35-60. Research participants were randomly assigned to take an antioxidant supplement [ascorbic acid (120 mg), vitamin E (30 mg, 45 IU), β-carotene (6 mg), selenium (100 µg), and zinc (20 mg)] or placebo during the study period. The original study found better cognitive outcomes after 8 years of the antioxidant supplement. The new study used the supplementation status, cognitive test results, and the dietary information collected. Researchers found that those who consumed more monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats (including omega-3) had better cognitive function at the follow-up. It appears that omega-3 may have enabled further cognitive enhancement from the antioxidant vitamins and minerals, including zinc.
Editor Note: Thrivous Surge Acute Nootropic provides a combination of 100 mg Caffeine and 200 mg L Theanine per serving. Vitality Geroprotector is an excellent source of Blueberry extract, standardized at 25% Anthocyanin and dosed at 1400 mg per serving. Omega Cardioprotector provides 500 mg Omega 3 per serving. And each serving of Clarity Daily Nootropic provides 11 mg Zinc Picolinate, which is a particularly bioavailable form of zinc.