Nootropics for Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) may help to regulates neurons and neurotransmitter levels to promote memory, brainpower and overall brain health while counteracting cognitive decline.
Below, we'll explain exactly what NGF is and what it can do to enhance brainpower. Then, we'll discuss which natural nootropics might help increase NGF production to help counteract cognitive decline.
Understanding Nerve Growth Factor
Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) is a neurotrophic protein that is guided into production by the Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) gene. It is also considered a neuropeptide, or a molecule that resembles a protein and is used by neurons for communication.
How is Nerve Growth Factor Produced in the Brain?
First, NGF is guided into production by the Brain-Derived Nerve Factor (BDNF) gene mentioned above. The BDNF gene actually tells the brain how to produce NGF. Then, studies show the brain uses inhibitory GABAergic cells to produce it.
- GABAergic cells are neurons that produce GABA, an inhibitory neurotransmitter that obstructs excitatory neurotransmitters in the brain.
Once Nerve Growth Factor is created, it supports and maintains various different aspects of cognition.
How Does the Brain use Nerve Growth Factor?
For one, neurons in the brain use Nerve Growth Factor to communicate within short distances. Neurons also use NGF for maintenance, development and practical functioning in our central and peripheral nervous systems.<1>
- The central nervous system consists of neurons (or nerve cells) in the spinal cord and brain.
- The peripheral nervous system consists of the rest of the body's neurons.<2>
Essentially, the peripheral nervous system collects sensory messages (in the form of neurons) from the body. Then, it sends these neural messages to the central nervous system for interpretation by the brain.
NGF aids in this process.
One study proves that NGF specifically regulates "peptide neurotransmitter levels in mature sensory neurons."
- Peptide or polypeptide neurotransmitters are those that are comprised of 3-36 amino acids.
- Sensory neurons transport messages from sense organs (touch, smell, sound) to the central nervous system.
Another study shows that NGF helps with communication and preservation of "sympathetic, sensory and forebrain cholinergic neurons" in the central and peripheral nervous systems.
- Cholinergic neurons are neurons that send messages using the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in the central and peripheral nervous systems.
But Where is NGF Produced in the Brain?
NGF plays an important role in neuron regulation for optimal cognition throughout the brain. We know this because it is produced in various parts of the brain.
Specifically, it has been found in "the cerebral cortex, cerebellum, hippocampus, thalamus, striatum, basal forebrain and the brainstem."
These brain regions are linked to various cognitive processes from motivation and attention to memory and mood balance. We'll get into the details below.
NGF Regulates Cognitive Functions
By Deposition authors: Wiesmann, C., Ultsch, M.H., De Vos, A.M.; visualization author: User:Astrojan
Let's discuss the research.
Maintains Memory Retention
- NGF has shown to be present in the hippocampus, which is associated with memory. For example, one study shows that NGF is vital for plasticity and learning in the hippocampus.<4>
- Moreover, memory retention was worse after blocking NGF from being released in the brains of mice. This is more evidence that NGF is good for memory.
- Another study further confirms that NGF helps counteract memory issues, especially in aging men and women. As such, we can conclude that Nerve Growth Factor is a significant player in memory maintenance.
Helps with Regeneration After Stress
- One study shows that NGF may help rejuvenate tissues after they experience "acute or chronic stressful event s."Thus we can speculate that NGF generation during or after stressful situations may help with overall stress reduction.
Influences Attention, Motivation, Arousal and Consciousness
Nerve Growth Factor may also play a role in attention, motivation, arousal and consciousness. Here's how it works.
- The basal forebrain complex in the brain is made up of mainly cholinergic neurons.If you remember from earlier, NGF supports the survival and maintenance of mainly cholinergic neurons. Thus, it also supports structures made up of cholinergic neurons, like the basal forebrain complex.
- Since the basal forebrain plays a primary role in attention, memory, motivation, arousal and consciousness, NGF indirectly supports these cognitive processes.<1>
Mind Lab Pro® Nootropics for Nerve Growth Factor (NGF)
Certain Mind Lab Pro® nootropic ingredients may increase NGF to regulate cognition. While Lion's Mane Mushroom is the best for increasing NGF, other nootropics may enhance cognition via different neural processes.
Lion's Mane Mushroom
Lion's Mane Mushroom is a research-backed nootropic mushroom that has shown to activate the production of NGF in the brain.
Actually, Lion's Mane Mushroom may do its job better than NGF. Since NGF is a heavier compound, it can't cross the blood-brain barrier on its own.
However, the lighter ingredients in Lion's Mane Mushroom can. Thus, it may activate the production of NGF directly inside of the brain.
- Studies specifically show it helped with anxiety and depression in women going through menopause.<5>
- They also show it has helped with symptoms of dementia and improved cognitive functions in those with mild impairments.
- In addition, Lion's Mane Mushroom may increase NGF in the hippocampus of humans to influence learning and memory, similar to how it has shown to in mouse models.
- Yet another study confirms that cognitive decline improved in those who took Lion's Mane Mushroom for 16 weeks.
Overall, Lion's Mane Mushroom a promising natural nootropic for collective cognition, especially for age-related cognitive decline.
More on Mind Lab Pro® Lion’s Mane Mushroom
L-Theanine is an ingredient known for activating relaxed attention. It can be found in green tea and may support the production of NGF to improve cognition.
- For example, an animal study showed that L-Theanine increased Nerve Growth Factor in the hippocampus.
- Another study shows it initiated neurogenesis and improved recognition memory, similar to NGF.
However, further studies should be conducted to determine exactly what causes these effects and how relevant L-Theanine is for NGF production.
More on Mind Lab Pro® L-Theanine
Phosphatidylserine is another research-backed nootropic for memory and cell support. It's known to help with neuron maintenance and regeneration of declining neurons.
- PS may help activate Nerve Growth Factor for production, among other things, to reverse cognitive decline.
- One study shows PS helped improved memory in patients with dementia, possibly by altering NGF generation.
All in all, PS may be helpful for NGF generation, memory support and enhancement of other cognitive processes. However, links to NGF should be further studied.
More on Mind Lab Pro® Phosphatidylserine
Mind Lab Pro® nootropics for Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) help to nourish the brain for sharp cognition and long-range health.
- Mind Lab Pro®'s universal nootropic contains several NGF generating ingredients, which can be especially beneficial for those experiencing age-related cognitive decline.
All in all, Nerve Growth Factor plays a vital role in many aspects of brainpower and brain health. Mind Lab Pro® Nootropics for NGF therefore play a key role in advancing the formula's Universal Nootropic mission.
- Luigi Aloe. Nerve growth factor: from the early discoveries to the potential clinical use. J Transl Med. 2012; 10: 239.
- How does the nervous system work? Informed Health Online. 2016.
- D'Angelo L et al. Nerve growth factor in the adult brain of a teleostean model for aging research: Nothobranchius furzeri. Ann Anat. 2014 Jul;196(4):183-91.
- J.M. Conner et al. NGF is Essential for Hippocampal Plasticity and Learning. J Neurosci. 2009 Sep 2; 29(35): 10883–10889.
- Neurological Activity of Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus). Journal of Restorative Medicine. 2017 Dec; 9-26(8)