Think Big, Start Small with Brain Micronutrients

As above, so below—and vice versa.

Translated to the language of nutrition, this old philosophical principle means that a healthy body & brain begins with healthy micronutrients.

Think of it this way...

  • Amino acids build protein builds muscle fibers build muscles build a body builds a community builds a town, and so on.
  • The same applies to all essential vitamins and minerals involved in the various bodily functions we take for granted.

In this sense, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that a healthier world begins with a healthier you.

And, yet, as any student can attest, the life of a student—especially for college students—isn’t exactly conducive to healthy living.

The life of a student is replete with late nights, early mornings, and lots of pizza.

Generally speaking.

And so, in this article, we cover the: 

  1. student health advantages of replenishing one’s micronutrient (vitamin and mineral) levels
  2. the cognitive benefits of taking a multivitamin
  3. and our full analyses of the Best Brain Vitamins for Studying.

Read and be sure to take notes, because the world needs you to stay healthy!

The Student’s Guide to Multivitamins

Amid all the difficulties of student living, one of the easiest adjustments you can make to improve your life is: taking a multivitamin.

It’s simple as that...

...open your mouth and *pop!* down they go.

Key Point:

Taken daily and consistently, an effective multivitamin supplement can significantly improve virtually all aspects of brain and bodily health.

Thereby directly and indirectly improving various aspects of academic performance.

But not all multivitamin supplements are the same.

In fact, some are really bad, cheaply manufactured, and all-around ineffective.

And so, with that in mind, let’s cover the basics of vitamins and minerals to better understand how to identify a good multivitamin stack.

The Basics of Vitamins and Minerals

Believe it or not, eating food is not primarily intended as a pleasurable experience.

The primary intent of eating food is to replenish your nutrient levels - i.e., all the vitamins and minerals your body needs to perform life-essential physiological functions.

Our culture’s relationship to food is one that’s heavily motivated by feeling good. 

As a result, much of our meals emphasize nutritionally deficient foods that are high in feel-good fats, sugars, and salts...

But not in the essential vitamins and minerals our body needs.

Nutrient Density & Empty Calories Explained

This concept is measured by a term called “Nutrient Density.”

Nutrient-dense foods are high in beneficial nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, complex carbs, lean protein, and healthy fats, in proportion to food weight or calorie count.

The term “empty calories,” on that note, refers to foods that have a low concentration of beneficial nutrients per calorie.

Typically, dietary guidelines encourage foods high in protein, fiber, and a wide range of vitamins and minerals, yet are low in saturated fats, total or added sugars, and sodium.[1]

Examples of Nutrient-Dense Foods

You can only eat so much food in the day (unfortunately), and so it’s best to choose foods that are high in nutrient density. Think of it as having a “calorie budget” that you have to spend on either high-nutrient or low-nutrient dense foods.

A few examples of nutrient-dense foods include:

  • Egg Yolk – high in choline, protein, healthy fats;
  • Kale – high in vitamins C, A, K1, B6, and minerals;
  • Spinach – high in vitamin A, folate, and minerals;
  • Salmon – high in omega-3s, protein, and minerals;
  • Blueberries – high in neuroprotective antioxidants;
  • Potatoes – high in vitamins C, B, minerals, and starch;
  • Quinoa – high in complex carbs, proteins, minerals;
  • Garlic – high in vitamins C, B1, B6, and minerals;
  • Nuts – high in healthy fats, vitamins, minerals;
  • Dark Chocolate – high in fiber, antioxidants, minerals.

The Nutritional Costs of Campus Living

For college students in particular there’s simply not enough time to attend class, study, exercise, and socialize while also preparing, cooking, and eating complete, whole-food meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. On a busy campus, convenience is a higher priority than nutrition to the always-on-to-go student.

Ever heard the term “Freshman Fifteen”? While the claim that college students gain 15 pounds during their freshman year is likely hyperbolic and overstated, some research has observed significant weight gain among college students.

One study in particular concluded that “Freshman weight gain was 5.5 times greater than that experienced by the general population.”[2]

And, yet, what’s typically ironic of demographics that demonstrate an increased risk of weight gain is a concomitant increased risk in malnutrition, or nutrient deficiencies. This is likely because the convenient, on-the-go foods that appeal to on-the-go college students aren’t only conducive to unhealthy weight gain but are also low in nutrient density.

The Most Common Nutrient Deficiencies Among College Students

Especially among urban adolescents, the rates of malnutrition are high, with some research observing that roughly half of urban, school-aged adolescents have malnutrition.[3] In the case of this research, mean intake of calorie, protein, fat, iron, and vitamins A and C were lower than the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs).

While rates of nutrient deficiencies may vary from person to person, a few of the most common nutrient deficiencies among college students include:

Vitamin B12

Lack of vitamin B12 is common both among students and non-students. As a water-soluble vitamin, the body doesn’t store B12 the way it would with, say, fat-soluble vitamin A, which is why we require daily intake of vitamin B12.

Typically found in animal byproducts, B12-deficiency is a particular risk among students who are vegans or vegetarians,[4] who may significantly benefit by adding a B12-carrying multivitamin to their daily supplement stack.

Iron

The most common mineral deficiency in the world, iron deficiency is particularly common among girls due to monthly loss of iron-heavy blood.[5] Symptoms of iron deficiency are many, including feelings of tiredness, restless leg syndrome, and brittle nails. Cognitive performance significantly declines under conditions of iron deficiency.

While red meats are particularly high in iron, green leafy vegetables and other plant sources are also dense in iron. Not to mention that many foods come iron-fortified to help protect against this common nutrient deficiency.

Calcium

Again, highly concentrated in red meats, namely beef, calcium is a nutrient that’s easy to miss if you’re living a meat-free lifestyle. Calcium deficiency is observed at a higher rate among women and comes with symptoms similar to iron deficiency: feelings of tiredness, restless leg syndrome, brittle nails, etc.

Given that calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body with 99% found in your teeth and bones, playing a significant role in bone development and maintenance,[6] this is a nutrient you do not want to be deficient in.

Zinc

Found in meat products, lentils, and leafy greens, zinc is an incredibly important nutrient, especially for men given zinc’s co-factor role in testosterone synthesis.

Zinc deficiency, like the deficiencies listed above, is fairly common among vegans and vegetarians, which is another reason why multivitamin supplements are often recommended to facilitate the healthy lifestyle brought by the vegan diet. However, even non-vegans (men, specifically), may improve their mind-body health and vitality by taking zinc to ensure optimal testosterone activity.

The Relationship Between Micronutrients and Brainpower

Although macronutrients (carbs, protein, fats) help fuel cognitive performance on the macro level, micronutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, choline, etc., help co-regulate hundreds of metabolic pathways underlying brainpower.

When our micronutrient levels drop, so does our brainpower.

With that in mind, a few of the cognitive benefits of supplementing multivitamins include improving:

  • Free Recall Memory – the ability to memorize and later recite a list of items in any order (hence “free” recall);
  • Verbal Memory – antioxidant nutrient status in particular seems to have significant impact on the preservation of verbal memory;
  • Energy Metabolism – various vitamins and minerals serve key roles in the natural production and efficiency of mitochondrial ATP energy synthesis;
  • Cerebral Circulation – by protecting blood vessel health and promoting cleaner blood flow, many micronutrients help enhance cerebral circulation to optimize delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the brain.

And many more brain benefits. To learn more about the cognitive advantages of multivitamins, read our Best Multivitamins of 2020 list here.

What to Look for in a Multivitamin Supplement

While there are advantages to taking a well-made “hybrid” multivitamin, or a multivitamin with specialized purpose (e.g., prenatal vitamins), for general improvements on health, a multivitamin that focuses solely on essential vitamins and minerals is best.

This means avoiding multivitamin supplements that dilute their potency and/or dosages by overstuffing their formulas with unnecessary stimulants, such as caffeine, or flashy exotics, such as weak herbal powders.

Aside from choice of ingredients, the criteria of a good multivitamin supplement include:

  • Quality – do the ingredients come in easy-to-absorb forms?
  • Quantity – are the ingredients all clinically dosed?
  • Transparency – does the label transparently show the dosages?
  • Safety – is the formula all-natural and free from artificial additives?
  • Affordable – does the price match the value?

Whole-Food vs. Synthetic Multivitamins

On the notes of quality and safety, in particular, one of the most important criteria of a good multivitamin supplement involves whether or not the formula uses all-natural, food-identical micronutrients or synthetic “imitation” nutrients?

For all types of supplements, when given the choice between natural vs. synthetic ingredients, always go natural to better avoid negative ingredient interactions and safety concerns.

For multivitamins in particular, one of the easiest ways to identify a natural vs. synthetic multivitamin is to look at the ingredient forms of the following vitamins:

  • Vitamin B6: pyridoxal-5-phosphate (P-5-P), not pyridoxine HCl;
  • Vitamin B9: folate, not folic acid;
  • Vitamin B12: methylcobalamin, not cyanocobalamin;
  • Vitamin C: ascorbate, not ascorbic acid;
  • Vitamin K: phylloquinone, not K3 or menadione or phytonadione.

Of course, there are exceptions to this rule, as is the case with Performance Lab® Whole-Food Multi, which uses uniquely processed and potent NutriGenesis® micronutrients.

Even compared to other natural multivitamin stacks, this probiotic-cultured stack of micronutrients offers by far the best brain vitamins for studying.

Best Brain Vitamins for Studying

Performance Lab®-patented, bioavailability-enhanced NutriGenesis® micronutrients are by far the best brain vitamins and minerals for academic performance.

When it comes to long-term academic performance, to stay well-nourished and healthy, bolstered by a vitamin-enhanced immunity, is a big deal. By supplying all (and only) essential vitamins and minerals, Performance Lab® Whole-Food Multi allows itself the space to deliver the most important micronutrients your body needs at their highest bioavailabilities.

Let’s check it out:

Performance Lab® Whole-Food Multi

2 bottles of Performance Lab Whole-Food Multi

Performance Lab® Whole-Food Multi is an all-natural, vegan-friendly, eco-friendly, non-GMO, gluten-free, soy-free, nutrient-dense multivitamin pack for all dietary lifestyles.

Relatively new to the Performance Lab® line of products, Performance Lab® Whole-Food Multi is a great supplement for students of all types—whether we’re talking library-dwelling engineers or highly active student-athletes.

With two formulas customized to meet the specific needs of men’s and women’s health, Whole-Food Multi works as a one-size-fits-all multivitamin stack for all-around optimized whole-body performance.

Even for those with sensitive stomachs may enjoy Whole-Food Multi, thanks to this formula’s use of probiotic-cultured NutriGenesis® micronutrients delivered in prebiotic-infused NutriCaps® capsules.

To Buy, Visit: 
www.performancelab.com 

To better understand the full scale of this formula’s brain-body benefits, let’s take a look at Whole-Food Multi’s ingredients:

Performance Lab® Whole-Food Multi Formula Analysis

The Supplement Facts for Performance Lab® Whole-Food Multi include:

  • Vitamin A, 1000 IU
  • Vitamin C, 60 mg
  • Vitamin D3, 1000 IU
  • Vitamin E, 30 IU
  • Vitamin K1 + K2, 100 mcg
  • Vitamin B1, 4 mg (For Women), 8 mg (For Men)
  • Vitamin B2, 4 mg
  • Vitamin B3, 20 mg
  • Vitamin B5, 20 mg
  • Vitamin B6, 4 mg
  • Vitamin B7, 300 mcg
  • Vitamin B9, 800 mcg (For Women), 400 mcg (For Men)
  • Vitamin B12, 50 mcg
  • Calcium, 21 mg (For Women), 18 mg (For Men)
  • Iron, 8 mg (For Women Only)
  • Iodine, 150 mcg
  • Magnesium, 21 mg (For Women), 17 mg (For Men)
  • Zinc, 10 mg (For Women), 22.5 mg (For Men)
  • Selenium, 125 mcg
  • Copper, 5 mg
  • Manganese, 2 mg
  • Chromium, 120 mcg
  • Molybdenum, 75 mcg
  • Strontium, 150 mcg
  • Inositol, 25 mg
  • Vanadium, 10 mcg
  • Boron, 1 mg (For Women), 4 mg (For Men)

As a starting point for overall nutritional health and replenishment, these vitamins and minerals altogether support cardio health, metabolic performance, immune function, bones and joints, brain and nervous system, muscle growth and function, hormone health, skin, hair, and nail health.

Many multivitamin supplements supply these same ingredients. However, what specifically sets Performance Lab® Whole-Food Multi apart from these other multivitamins is formula’s uniquely superior, culture-grown NutriGenesis® nutrients.

NutriGenesis® involves a matrix of natural cofactors including probiotics, fibers, enzymes, and antioxidants that not only enhance the bioavailability of these vitamins and minerals but provide their own health-supportive bio-activities as well.

The Differences Between “For Men” vs. “For Women” Formulas

In terms of formula quality, ingredient potency, and serving size, both Performance Lab® Whole-Food Multi “For Men” and “For Women” formulations are identical. However, a few ingredient dosages differ between the formulas, including Vitamin B1, Vitamin B9, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Zinc, and Boron.

The exact dosage differences have been indicated in the Supplement Facts info above.

How to Take Performance Lab® Whole-Food Multi

The directions for Performance Lab® Whole-Food Multi suggest that you:

Take 4-6 Performance Lab® Whole-Food Multi capsules daily. For best results take 2-3 capsules in the morning and 2-3 capsules in the evening, with or without food. For those seeking additional nutritional reinforcement, up to six Performance Lab® Whole-Food Multi capsules daily may be taken.

Who Takes Performance Lab® Whole-Food Multi?

Virtually everyone can benefit by adding Performance Lab® Whole-Food Multi to their daily routine, especially given how common micronutrient deficiencies are in the modern diet. Restoring a healthy nutrient status, Whole-Food Multi optimizes whole-body health and immunity, assisting both students and non-students alike with their busy lifestyles.

Where to Buy Performance Lab® Mind?

To buy Performance Lab® Whole-Food Multi, visit here.

Mind Lab Pro® Nootropics for Studying

With an effective multivitamin supplement, you may not only improve your general health and wellbeing but also the efficacy of other performance-enhancing supplements, thanks to the foundational nutrient base provided by multivitamins.

To take your studying results even further, you can safely stack these Mind Lab Pro® nootropics with Performance Lab® Whole-Food Multi on a daily basis:

Bacopa Monnieri Extract

An Ayurvedic herbal adaptogen viewed by many as the ultimate “student” nootropic for its well-documented boosts on memory and learning.

Time-tested as a legendary herb within the Ayurvedic health system, Bacopa monnieri is also a nootropic staple of modern bio-hacking, thanks to this botanical’s well-researched effects on long-term cognitive performance.

Taken daily and consistently, Bacopa appears to have an accumulating effect on brain health and performance, potentially improving cognition by promoting acetylcholine activity and reducing amyloid plaque build-up in the brain, which is a strong correlate with age-related cognitive decline.

  • To evaluate the effect of Bacopa monnieri on the memory performance of medical students, one clinical study administered Bacopa for a six-week trial while conducting biochemical and memory tests. Based on the results, the researchers determined that a “statistically significant improvement was seen in the tests related to the cognitive functions with use of Bacopa monnieri.[7]

More on Mind Lab Pro® Bacopa Monnieri here.

Citicoline (Cognizin®)

One of the best natural nootropics with a multitude of studying benefits, including enhanced mental vitality, focus, attention, and memory recall.

Easily the best cholinergic nootropic, Citicoline is an impressive brain booster that promotes all-around cognitive performance via multiple brain pathways. Citicoline works as a two-for-one nootropic by combining:

  • Choline – the precursor to neurotransmitter acetylcholine, the brain chemical associated with memory, learning, and high-order cognitive processes;
  • Cytidine – the precursor to uridine, a nucleoside associated with cognitive development, synaptic plasticity, and brain energy synthesis.

The combined promotion of acetylcholine and uridine makes citicoline not only one of the best natural cholinergic cognitive enhancers but perhaps the best natural cognitive enhancer in general, especially for busy, brain-drained students.

  • In a study on the effects of citicoline on attention, psychomotor function, and impulsivity, supplementation of citicoline demonstrated significant improvements on various cognitive measures among healthy adolescent males. Based on the data, the researchers confidently stated that “Cognizin® citicoline showed improved attention and psychomotor speed and reduced impulsivity to adolescent males who received placebo.”[8]

More on Mind Lab Pro® Citicoline here.

L-Theanine (Suntheanine®)

Anxiolytic amino acid demonstrated to simultaneously relax cognition while promoting mental alertness and attention.

Sourced from Camellia sinensis (green tea) leaves, L-theanine is an amino acid that seems to uniquely relax the mind without also inducing drowsiness or any other sedative-like side effects.

How does L-theanine relax the mind without also sedating it? The current explanation for L-theanine’s bio-mechanism proposes that this amino works by modulating alpha brainwave activity, a brain frequency state associated with calm, meditative “free-flow” cognition—sort of like being “in the zone.”

For students, the acute relaxing benefits of L-theanine on cognition may significantly help redirect the mind away from the millions of worries involved with being a student and instead allow the mind to focus on the tasks on hand.

  • One clinical study on the effects of L-theanine on the cognition of young, healthy participants observed the expected increase in alpha brainwave activity, as well as further data indicating that “L-theanine, at realistic dietary levels, has a significant effect on the general state of mental alertness or arousal.”[9]

Stack L-Theanine with Caffeine

The super popular caffeine + L-theanine combo is super popular for a reason: it works super well. Combining caffeine’s familiar brain energy jolt with L-theanine’s mental soothing effects, this nootropic duo simultaneously awakens and calms the mind for clean, composed thinking. With particular appeal to students, one clinical study observed that “97 mg of L-theanine in combination with 40 mg of caffeine helps to focus attention during a demanding cognitive task.”[10]

More on Mind Lab Pro® L-Theanine here.

Conclusion

Mind Lab Pro® + Performance Lab® stack the most powerful Universal Nootropic™ formula with the best brain vitamins for studying.

With this generation’s best minds burning themselves out on stimulants and other prescription cognitive enhancers to stay afloat in today’s highly competitive academic institutions, the long-term benefits of academia are being compromised by the short-term gains of “smart pill” stimulation.

  • This is why many forward-thinking students and health enthusiasts are tossing the stimulants for natural nootropics, like Mind Lab Pro®, that promote both short- and long-term brainpower.

Paired with Performance Lab® Whole-Food Multi, the best multivitamin for academic performance, Mind Lab Pro® may help you not only find success within your academic career but also bolster your brain health and function for post-grad success as well.

To get the best deal on Mind Lab Pro®, click here.

To get the best deal on Performance Lab® Whole-Food Multi, click here.

 BONUS – Ultimate Supplement Stack for Studying

Vitamins, minerals, and nootropics are key to enhancing academic-related cognitive performance without the usual side effects associated with, say, stimulants. However, these aren’t the only types of performance-enhancing supplements that may benefit academic performance.

To create the Ultimate Supplement Stack for Studying, consider stacking Mind Lab Pro® and Performance Lab® Whole-Food Multi with the following supplement stacks:

Performance Lab® Stim

Performance Lab Stim bottle

Call it the Caffeine 2.0 Pill: this stim stack combines caffeine with nootropic aminos and vitamins for a crash-free, caffeinated boost on acute cognitive performance.

Ingredients: NutriGenesis® Caffeine Balance B-Complex (Riboflavin+ [Vitamin B2], Vitamin B6+, Folate+ [Vitamin B9], Vitamin B12+), Natural Caffeine (from Coffea robusta seeds), Suntheanine® L-Theanine, Ajipure® L-Tyrosine

  • The problem with many caffeinated supplements is that they supply too much caffeine—so much that shortly after the initial rush you’re left feeling totally brain-drained. Performance Lab® Stim, on the other hand, supplies a modest “scalable” amount of caffeine (50 mg) in addition to L-theanine, L-tyrosine, and B-vitamins, a nootropic stack that counterbalances caffeine’s negative effects, to hit a more sustainable, crash-free experience. Taken as needed, Stim is a great add-on to your daily nootropic stack.

To get the best deal on Performance Lab® Stim, click here.

Performance Lab® Sleep

A bottle of Performance Lab Sleep

The ultimate natural sleep aid supplement powered by cherry-extracted melatonin, plant-based L-tryptophan, and NutriGenesis® magnesium.

Ingredients: Magnesium+ (as Magnesium Bisglycinate, Magnesium Taurate, NutriGenesis® Magnesium), CherryPURE® (Whole Montmorency Tart Cherry) (Prunus cerasus) (fruit) (50:1 concentrated ratio), TryptoPure® L-Tryptophan

  • One of the most important factors of academic success is sleep. And, yet, many students fail to get enough sleep. With Performance Lab® Sleep, this becomes less of an issue, as this natural sleep aid supplement not only grants students greater control over their sleep schedule but promotes deeper sleep for better overnight rest and recovery. Try Sleep and you’ll wake up after 7 hours of sleep feeling like you slept for 9 hours. That’s the power of natural CherryPURE® melatonin.

To get the best deal on Performance Lab® Sleep, click here.

Performance Lab® Vision

A bottle of Performance Lab Vision

A rich mix of antioxidant herbal extracts and pigments for competitive eyesight enhancement and macular health support.

Ingredients: European Freeze-Dried Blackcurrant (Ribes nigrum) (fruit), European Blackcurrant Extract (fruit) (25% anthocyanins and typically providing 2.2% C3G), European Bilberry Extract (Vaccinium myrtillus) (fruit) (25% anthocyanosides), FloraGLO® Lutein (marigold flower extract), FloraGLO® Zeaxanthin (marigold flower extract), Astaxanthin (as Haematococcus pluvialis algal extract), Saffron (Crocus sativus) (stigma) (0.3% safranal)

  • At the end of a long day (or night) of studying, the mind isn’t the only part of your body that feels totally drained. All that reading and staring closely at screens also does a number on your eyes, which is why an eye health supplement such as Performance Lab® Vision can be such a critical game-changer when it comes to academic performance. Just because the mind is willing to study for another hour or two doesn’t mean your drained eyes can keep up. With Vision, your eyes stay well-nourished and protected against the damages of our increasingly screen-lit academic environments.

To get the best deal on Performance Lab® Vision, click here.

References

  1. Drewnowski A et al. A proposed nutrient density score that includes food groups and nutrients to better align with dietary guidance. Nutr Rev. 2019 Jun; 77(6): 404-416.
  2. Mihalopoulos NL et al. The Freshman 15: Is it Real? J Am Coll Health. 2008; 56(5): 531-533.
  3. Deka MK et al. Dietary pattern and nutritional deficiencies among urban adolescents. J Family Med Prim Care. 2015 Jul-Sep; 4(3): 364-368.
  4. Rizzo G et al. Vitamin B12 among Vegetarians: Status, Assessment and Supplementation. Nutrients. 2016 Dec; 8(12): 767.
  5. Miller JL. Iron Deficiency Anemia: A Common and Curable Disease. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med. 2013 Jul; 3(7): a011866.
  6. Beto JA. The Role of Calcium in Human Aging. Clin Nutr Res. 2015 Jan; 4(1): 1-8.
  7. Kumar Navneet et al. Efficacy of Standardized Extract of Bacopa monnieri (Bacognize®) on Cognitive Functions of Medical Students: A Six-Week, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2016; 2016: 4103423.
  8. McGlade E et al. The Effect of Citicoline Supplementation on Motor Speed and Attention in Adolescent Males. J Atten Disord. 2019 Jan; 23(2): 121-134.
  9. Nobre AC et al. L-theanine, a natural constituent in tea, and its effect on mental state. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2008; 17 Suppl 1: 167-8.
  10. Giesbrecht T et al. The combination of L-theanine and caffeine improves cognitive performance and increases subjective alertness. Nutr Neurosci. 2010 Dec; 13(6): 283-90.