Methylcobalamin is formulated from a specific form of vitamin B12 (cobalamin) called methylcobalamin. The other forms of vitamin B12 are: cyanocobalamin, hydroxocobalamin and adenosylcobalamin. Methylcobalamin is a highly active form of the vitamin, hence its inclusion in the composition of this new product. Supplementation is particularly useful since vitamin B12 plays a number of roles within the body and is essential for good health. As humans cannot synthesise this B complex vitamin, it must be ingested daily in order to meet the body’s requirements.
What are the benefits of Vitamin B12?
Vitamin B12 is involved in the synthesis, absorption and metabolism of numerous molecules, giving it a key role in the body. For example, it supports cell growth and renewal by participating in protein, DNA and RNA synthesis. As well as helping to maintain healthy skin, this function is essential for a number of vital organs such as the brain. Vitamin B12 is also required for normal nervous system function as it is involved in synthesising neurotransmitters as well as maintaining the myelin sheath – the structure that surrounds and protects nerve fibres. It also plays a part in lipid metabolism and red blood cell formation.
In order to offer a high quality vitamin B12 supplement, this product has been formulated using methylcobalamin. Its recognised activity in the body means it is highly effective at combatting deficiency. Scientific studies have also identified it as having significant potential for improving alertness and cerebral protection. Providing the benefits of this active form of cobalamin, this supplement contains an optimal 1mg of vitamin B12 per tablet, with a suggested dose of 1 tablet a day, although this can be adjusted in line with your needs and the advice of your therapist. You may also be interested in other vitamin supplements such as Triple C, our complete vitamin C formulation, and Daily 6®, our latest-generation multivitamin supplement.
What do the studies say about Methycobalamin?
Apart from its use in preventing a lack of vitamin B12, methylcobalamin has also been studied for its potential to improve alertness and cerebral protection. Research has focused in particular on the pharmaceutical benefits of methylcobalamin for preventing neurological problems. Ultimately, the aim of such research is to find effective treatments for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Initial results suggest that methylcobalamin may act in the brain by:
- protecting it from the toxic effects of glutamate, nitric oxide and low oxygen and blood sugar levels;
- promoting nerve regeneration which could help slow down the progress of neurodegenerative diseases;
- relieving symptoms of facial paralysis;
- boosting the activity of natural killer cells and T lymphocytes.
When should I take Methycobalamin?
Although vitamin B12 can be obtained from the diet, deficiency is not uncommon, particularly among older individuals. Supplementation with methylcobalamin is indicated in such cases. This active molecule is also recommended for vegetarians and vegans, because foods that contain it are often animal-source, such as offal and seafood. Dietary supplements may therefore be necessary for those following a vegetarian or vegan diet.
Given the crucial roles vitamin B12 plays in the body, it’s essential to ensure an adequate intake of this vitamin, particularly as a shortfall may result in insufficient production of haemoglobin which is vital for transporting oxygen to red blood cells. If this is not addressed, it can lead to anaemia which is characterised by abnormally low levels of haemoglobin. In vitamin B12 deficiency anaemia, red blood cells are usually bigger than healthy ones. Generally known as macrocytes, these larger red blood cells do not permit adequate oxygen transport, resulting in poor oxygenation of the body. This manifests in various symptoms such as pale skin, a rapid heart rate, severe fatigue, breathing difficulties and headaches. Vitamin B12 supplementation may thus be necessary to prevent deficiency or combat the symptoms of anaemia.
Smart Pills is a supplement designed to optimise brain function and promote mental efficiency. It is formulated from six different ingredients, including two renowned natural nootropics, Bacopa monnieri and Ginkgo biloba, vitamin B12 - now scientifically-recognised as playing a key role in the nervous system, caffeine, taurine and theanine.
The combined scope of their effects enhances well-being and cognitive performance: memory, cerebral microcirculation, mental effort … They work symbiotically to provide the extra boost we need to be more focused and productive.
Who is Smart Pills aimed at?
Smart Pills is for anyone looking to:
- maximise their motivation;
- respond to cognitive challenges;
- improve their mood;
- regain greater work efficiency;
- achieve ‘flow’, the mental high characterised by deep concentration and total immersion in an activity;
- become more effective;
- view tasks to be accomplished in a clear-headed way (mental clarity).
When is a good time to take Smart Pills?
- when revising for an exam and during the exam itself;
- when your workload is particularly heavy;
- on occasions that demand intense mental effort;
- before a stressful event such as an oral presentation, competition, job interview, etc.
- when you’re finding it hard to find motivation;
- when you’re mentally fatigued;
- when you want to break bad habits of procrastination and inattentiveness;
- when you need to take an important decision.
More generally, Smart Pills can be taken when you need a little boost or an extra level of concentration. You can take one capsule in the morning or before periods of prolonged work and concentration.
There’s also nothing to prevent you from taking it every day for extended periods.
What’s in Smart Pills?
Smart Pills contains five main ingredients, all chosen for their scientifically-documented effects and absence of toxicity. As always, SuperSmart has taken the utmost care to use only the highest quality raw materials for each of these ingredients.
Extract of bacopa monnieri standardised to 50% bacosides
The benefits of Bacopa monnieri are well-established in terms of improving the cognitive system and memory (1-6), as well as visual perception, attention and language (verbal understanding and vocabulary) and reducing impulsivity (7-8), improving concentration and reasoning (9), as well as alertness and speed of information-processing (10), associative memory (11), retention of new information (12) and even reducing the tendency to make mistakes (13-14).
Its principal chemical components are triterpene saponins (bacoside A1, bacoside 13, bacopasaponins, jujubogenin), cucurbitacins, monnierasides, flavonoids (luteolin and quercetin), alkaloids and coumarins.
Effects have been reported in both adults and children, healthy or otherwise (15), as a result of its different mechanisms:
1) Improvement by bacosides of transmission of nerve impulses. These compounds repair damage to neurons by inducing kinase activity and neuron synthesis, and by restoring synaptic activity (16). They exert antioxidant effects at several levels in all areas of the brain, particularly in astrocytes and fibroblasts where they protect against damage to DNA (17).
2) Involvement in the GABAergic system (18).
3) Effect on glutamatergic transmission (19) (lowering glutamate levels).
While the dose of a typical standardised extract usually contains 20% bacosides A, in Smart Pills it is standardised to 50% of these active compounds. The Smart Pills dose (300mg to be spread across the day) is the same as that used in clinical studies (20).
L-theanine extracted from green tea
This is an amino acid found in green tea and certain types of mushroom. A number of preliminary studies have suggested it has a relaxing effect on the nervous system (21-22).
It may explain why drinking green tea every day helps to maintain mental alertness and improve cognitive performance (23) and memory. In research conducted in 2014, improved connections between neurons (called synapses) were observed in green tea consumers compared with controls (24). It also appears to stimulate blood flow in the brain (25).
This is one of the most abundant free amino acids in the body: it is present in almost all tissues, particularly excitable tissues such as the muscles, retina and nervous system.
The body is able to synthesise taurine itself in the liver and brain, but additional intake from the diet is necessary to prevent deficiency (26). Requirements for taurine are estimated to range from 40mg to 400mg a day depending on various parameters.
Taurine has excellent bioavailability when ingested: it rapidly enters the bloodstream, crossing the blood-brain barrier with the aid of specific carriers to reach the brain parenchyma where it joins endogenously-produced taurine.
It is concentrated in synapses in certain areas of the cerebral cortex where it acts as an inhibitory transmitter, preventing over-stimulation caused by high levels of amino acids (27). It also plays a role in long-term potentiation (LTP) – the significant and sustainable increase in synaptic efficacy – via induction of a cascade of molecular events.
Vitamin B12 (methylcobalamine)
Methylcobalamine participates in neurotransmitter synthesis and helps maintain the myelin sheath in order to preserve the efficacy of nerve fibres.
Recent studies have shown its benefits in increasing alertness and preventing various neurological problems. It is widely recognised for optimising nervous system function and helping to reduce nervous fatigue.
As the body is unable to produce methylcobalamine, it has to be obtained from the diet. However, since it is available in very few foods and high oxidative stress levels increase the body’s requirements for vitamin B12, nutritional supplementation is an increasingly popular option.
Present in tea and coffee, caffeine is an alkaloid from the methylxanthine family. It is rapidly metabolised by the body and deployed in all tissues including in the brain.
Peak blood concentration is reached within 60 minutes of ingestion and it takes at least three hours for the body to eliminate one half of a dose.
Evidence from dozens of studies, along with individual everyday use, proves beyond doubt that caffeine stimulates the central nervous system, attention, creativity, and mental activity, and helps counter drowsiness. However, it also influences thought development (cognition) by reducing reaction time (31), improving the execution of simple tasks, facilitating learning tasks (32) and improving the ability to retain information useful for accomplishing future tasks (33).
Extract of Ginkgo biloba
For close to 2800 years, we’ve known about the medicinal properties of Ginkgo biloba, an ancient tree that has existed for some 300 million years. It is the leaves which are most highly-prized because of their rich content in terpenes, particularly ginkgolides and bilobalides, as well in various polyphenol and flavonol compounds.
Extracts of Ginkgo biloba influence neuronal metabolism by improving the capture of glucose and oxygen. This is due to the action of bilobalides on the mitochondria, the small organelles involved in the conversion and use of energy. This same compound also prevents lipid peroxidation in the brain with the help of ginkgolides, by increasing the activity of glutathione transferase, an endogenous antioxidant. This effect is enhanced by flavonoids which protect brain cells from free radicals (34).
Can I take two capsules a day?
Smart Pills is formulated to cover a whole ‘work’ day (8 hours). It’s therefore possible to take one capsule in the morning and one in the evening if required.
Can I take other supplements alongside Smart Pills?
Smart Pills is not designed to meet our requirements for vitamins and micronutrients. It is therefore perfectly possible to take other supplements at the same time such as multivitamins and omega-3 fatty acids.
In India, Bacopa monnieri is often combined with Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) to improve memory and learning.
Smart Pills can also be taken alongside our supplements Taurine 1000mg, Methylcobalamine 1mg or Ginkgo biloba 60mg.
What other measures can be taken alongside supplementing with Smart Pills?
There are at least four additional factors that will help give your brain an extra boost:
Good quality sleep. Several studies have demonstrated the importance of sleep for memorising new information. Indeed, it’s during the hours of sleep that memory is consolidated. A poor night’s sleep before an important event may thus impair memory as well as alertness and concentration (35).
A vitamin B-rich diet. The B group vitamins, particularly B1, B6, B9 and B12, play a key role in cognitive processes.
Good hydration. Failure to stay well-hydrated (by drinking at least 2 litres of water a day) can impair concentration and alertness.
Regular breaks. Several studies suggest that taking regular breaks boosts efficiency and productivity at work, provided you don’t allow yourself to become distracted or try to multi-task.
Are there any risks or long-term side-effects associated with taking Smart Pills?
Smart Pills has absolutely nothing in common with the potentially dangerous nootropics sometimes used by students, like amphetamines and racetams. It contains natural extracts that have been used for centuries without showing any toxicity, as well as caffeine and taurine (the regular use of which is recognised as safe by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). It is thus completely safe at recommended doses.
This product should not be used as a substitute for a varied, balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle. It’s important to follow the guidelines on how to take it and the recommended dose, and to use it by the ‘best before’ date. It is not recommended for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, or for children under 15. Keep out of children’s reach. Store in a cool, dry place.