Promoting And Protecting Brain Health
Author: Gary Null
Source: Mind Power
The Supplement Plan
In addition to choosing fresh, organic foods and using brain-healthy ways to prepare them, it is possible to further boost the health of our brains by supplementing our daily menu of foods with vitamins, minerals, and other supplements that specifically target and enrich the function of the brain. In truth, it can be hard to get the optimal levels of the vitamins and minerals we need through diet alone.
Vinpocetine is an extract taken from the lesser periwinkle plant (vinca minor). It is available by prescription in Europe and is used for boosting stroke- and age-related decline in brain function. In the United States, it is available as an over-the-counter dietary supplement. Vinpocetine may provide protection against the types of cognitive decline associated with poor brain circulation, including memory loss and disorientation. It also enhances the brain’s use of oxygen by boosting levels of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), an important brain fuel. I recommend a dose of 10 mg twice daily with meals.
This nutrient, found in sardines, is a powerful brain stimulant that increases acetylcholine levels. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter associated with mood and energy levels.
Choline and lecithin can reduce arterial plaque and lower blood pressure. They also enhance acetylcholine production, which plays an important role in memory and learning. One type of choline, called glycerylphosphorylcholine (GPC), has been shown to improve the condition of subjects with adult-onset cognitive dysfunction, Alzheimer’s disease, and stroke-related mental impairment. The therapeutic effects of GPC were noted as superior to either choline or lecithin alone.
Bacopa monnieri is a potent antioxidant that has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries as a brain tonic to enhance memory, learning, development, and concentration.
Phosphatidylcholine is a phospholipid, a large molecule that covers the nerve cells that assist in transferring information between cells. A lack of phospholipids can result in abnormal brain activity and difficulties in the central nervous system.
PS helps the brain use fuel more efficiently. By boosting neuronal metabolism and stimulating production of acetylcholine, PS may be able to improve the condition of patients in cognitve decline. Studies have revealed that supplementing with phosphatidylserine slows down–and even reverses–declining memory and concentration, or age-related cognitive impairment in middle-aged and elderly subjects. An added benefit is its ability to reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Phosphatidylserine is a phospholipid that is found in all cells, but is most highly concentrated in the walls (membranes) of brain cells, making up about 70 percent of its nerve tissue mass. There it aids in the storage, release, and activity of many vital neurotransmitters and their receptors. Phosphatidylserine also aids in cell-to-cell communication. It also stimuates the release of dopamine (a mood regulator that also controls physical sensations and movement), increases the production of acetylcholine (necessary for learning and memory), enhances brain glucose metabolism (the fuel used for brain activity), reduces cortisol levels (a stress hormone), and boosts the activity of nerve growth factor (NGF), which oversees the health of cholinergic neurons.
As we grow older, aging slows the body’s manufacturing of Phosphatidylserine to levels that are detrimental to our functioning at our full mental capacity. This is where supplementation with Phosphatidylserine comes into play.
Does chronological age doom us to a sentence of gradual decline? Must we simply accept the inevitable weakening of our physical and mental powers? My answer: Absolutely not. It is never too early–or too late–to change your lifestyle and behaviors to successfully maintain vigorous mental and physical health as you grow older.