brain boosters that work

Protect yourself from mental decline with our lifestyle and supplement tips

Have you ever walked into a room looking for something but then forgot what you were looking for? How many times have you said, "Where are my keys?" Missed appointments, an inability to concentrate, and poor name retrieval are signs that your brain is not firing on all cylinders. As we age, enhancing memory and learning while preventing brain illnesses becomes a key concern. But is declining brain function an inevitable part of aging? According to the National Institute on Aging, severe declines in brain function are the result of disease — not aging.

Dementia is a loss of intellectual abilities severe enough to interfere with quality of life. Alcohol and drug abuse, nutritional deficiencies, environmental toxins, head injury, and brain illnesses are key contributors to dementia. More serious brain illnesses include stroke and Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases. "Regular physical exercise is probably the best means we have of preventing Alzheimer's disease today," says Ronald Petersen, MD, director of the Alzheimer's Research Center at the Mayo clinic in Rochester, Minn.

It's well-known that exercise enhances blood flow to the brain, but new research shows that it also produces important enzymes in the brain that prevent plaque buildup. Plaque is associated with poor brain function and brain illnesses. Exercise also produces more liny blood vessels that help transport the plaque out of the brain to the liver where it can be destroyed. Petersen also recommends other interventions, including intellectual activities, diet, and dietary supplements. Read on to learn more about supplement options.

Old Favorites
A long list of herbs and nutrients have been proven to enhance brain him (ion. Here are three favorites

Ginkgo biloda. This powerful antioxidant is the most well-researched brain-boosting herb available. In addition to reducing inflammation, it improves blood How to the brain, the dosage is at least 200 mg per day. One cautionary note: If you are taking an anticoagulant or antiplatelet drug such as warfarin (Coumadin), you should not take ginkgo unless recommended by your health care professional.
Phosphatidylserine: From lecithin, this nutrient has been shown to boos) brain function while protecting healthy brain cells. The dose is 300 mg per day.
Omega 3 fatty acids. Specifically DHA and EPA provide many benefits for the brain, including protection front the development of Alzheimer's. Several studies have shown that low fish intake (a key source of essential fatty acids) and low blood levels of DHA are associated with an nu teased risk of developing Alzheimer's. The recommended dosage range is between 250 and 500 mg of DHA and EPA daily.
Other substances that may help boost brainpower include huperzine A (an alkaloid from Chinese dub moss), rosemary, lemon balm, and vinpocetine (an extract of the periwinkle plant). Vitamins H (specifically folate, B6, and B12), C, and E will also help protect brain health. Studies have shown that alpha lipoic add can also protect brain cells. Its ability to cross the blood brain barrier makes it a significant antioxidant for brain health.

Top New Supplement Stars
One of the most fascinating new dietary supplement discoveries lot enhanced brain health involves jelly fish. Scientists have found that aequorin a protein in jellyfish, may help protect the brain. Last year, James R. Moyer Jr. PhD, and his colleagues from the University of WisconsinMilwaukee presented their findings involving aequorin at the Society for Neuroscience Mover and his team are trying to find out if aequorin can prevent brain cell death in neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and Lou Gehrig's diseases. "We are seeing robust neuroprotection with fewer dead cells when aequorin is applied to brain cells," says Moyer. The recommended dose is 10 mg of aequorin daily (Prevagen is an example of an aequorin supplement).

The amino at icid L-carnosine can also benefit tin- brain, in animal study featured ecently in the Journal of Clinical Hemorheology and Microcirculation found that L-carnosine protected brain cells from oxidative stress and improved red blood cell quality and circulation. Earlier this year, researchers from the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta found that combination of L-carnosine, vitamin D3, green tea, and blueberry extract protected brain cells following experimental stroke in mice. The daily dose of L-carnosine is 100 mg.

Curcumin, from the spice turmeric has also been shown to reduce plaque in the brain. A powerful antioxidant and anti- inflammatory, curcumin is being studied bv UCLA and the veterans Administration of Greater Los Angeles 10 see if it an help reduce plaque buildup in elderly patients aged 65 to 84. The minimum dose of curcumin is 600 mg a day.

Shopping for brain boosters
The following high-quality products feature certain nutrients discussed here and are widely available at health food stores.

Products as shown above:
Dr. Ohhira's Essential Living Oils capsules (vegan formula)
Terry Naturally Curamin softgels (with 4.000 mg curcumin)
Solaray Phosphatidylserine Plus capsules {with rosemary, gotu kola, ginkgo, DMAE, and other nutrients)
Natural Factors Ginkgo Biloba Phytosome capsules (60 mg)


By Karoiyn A. Gazella


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