Brain Power Supplements
Our work at the Brain Bio Centre is based on the principle that there is no major distinction between mind and body. Each of our mental states – including thinking, feeling and exerting mental energy – relies on an optimal supply of nutrients to a complex network of 100 billion interconnecting brain cells called ‘neurons’.
“if you feel your memory could be improved, you’re not alone...”
As we get older and the number of neurons we have decreases, our memory tends to become blunted. In mild cases, memory loss is often associated with stress and low moods. In extreme cases, the personal safety and independence of the sufferer can be put in jeopardy.
In a survey carried out by the Institute for Optimum Nutrition, one third of participants claimed they suffered from poor memory or difficulty learning new things. So, if you feel your memory could be improved, you’re not alone! However, declining memory and brain function doesn’t have to be an inevitable part of life. You can make significant improvements to your mental powers and emotional state simply by including more of the right ‘brain’ nutrients and avoiding the foods which can deplete mental energy.
Balance Your Blood Sugar
The first step towards improved ‘brain power’ is to control your blood sugar. You can do this by avoiding refined, processed and high ‘GL’ (glycaemic load) foods, cutting out sugar in all its forms and slowing down the release of the sugar in the carbohydrate foods you eat by combining them with protein. Choose wholefoods (lentils, beans) and wholegrains (such as brown pasta or rice) and eat them with fish or tofu.
A-Z of Intelligent Nutrients
Ensure your body is supplied with plenty of the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that ‘fine-tune’ your mind by getting a good intake of fresh vegetables, especially dark green, leafy vegetables such as watercress, sprouts and spinach. Including a variety of different coloured fruits and vegetables (reds, greens, yellows etc), will also ensure that you have a broad range of nutrients. The importance of B vitamins should also not be underestimated – especially for the role they play in optimising brain function. You can get these from wholegrains, nuts and seeds but it is worth supplementing with a good Vitamin B complex.
Omega 3, found in coldwater (oily) fish, flax, hemp and pumpkin seeds or their coldpressed oils, and Omega 6, keep your brain ‘well oiled’. Omega 3 from seed sources are converted into the body into EPA and DHA. Oily fish is especially high in direct sources of EPA and DHA which are the ultimate brain boosters. For general supplementing we recommend at least 100mg of GLA (Omega 6) per day along with at least 400mg of combined EPA and DHA. To treat temporary mood and memory problems you can increase those levels until your symptoms subside. For more serious cases you would be advised to consult a nutritional therapist at the Brain Bio Centre.
Phospholipids – good sources of which include eggs and Lecithin – help to restructure the brain for improved mental performance and support the insulation around nerves. Unfortunately, since “egg phobia” set in, amid the unfounded fears that eating eggs raises your cholesterol levels, our intake of phospholipids have gone down dramatically.
Both eggs and Lecithin are also a major source of choline, which is converted in the body to acetylcholine, the memory neurotransmitter. You can either add lecithin granules to your cereal every day or take it in capsule form. A precursor of choline is DMAE which is particularly rich in sardines.
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein in the body. They are also the brain’s messengers and improve communication in the brain.
Good non-animal protein sources include beans, lentils, quinoa and tofu. While eating protein is the best way to get a range of amino acids into your diet, supplementing individual amino acids is the best way to correct neurotransmitter imbalances. In particular, glutamine has been shown to enhance mood and mental performance.
Gingko Biloba can boost circulation throughout the whole body, including the brain. Research has shown that Gingko Biloba can improve short-term and age-related memory loss, slow thinking and depression. However you need to take it for at least three months before you start to see results.
Stress has an enormous impact on our memories and brain health. Exercise is not only a great stress reliever but also helps to promote circulation and oxygen to the brain. And exercise isn’t just for the body it’s for the brain too. You can actually keep your memory in shape by using it – so aim to learn something new every day or treat yourself to crosswords, su-doku and other brain-flexing quizzes.
As we are all built very differently and food sources are often not as reliable as we would like, dietary supplements are very important – especially at times of stress. An optimal combination of memory boosting supplements should include:
A good multivitamin
A good Vitamin B complex supplement
About the Brain Bio Centre...
The Brain Bio Centre is a London-based treatment centre which uses the optimum nutrition approach for those with mental health problems, including depression, learning difficulties, dyslexia, ADHD, autism, schizophrenia, dementia and Alzheimer’s.