Students have always had the hard task of memorizing and using analytic abilities to excel in class. They are required to have a sharp memory and the skill to be critical. If they fall short of this then they are regarded as incapable and many-a-time have to face criticism for not being good enough to compete with the smarty-pants of the class! Research has shown that using the right vitamins and supplements can get your brain in top form now and help ward off mental decline in the future. It’s true! Nutrition plays a significant and crucial role over the long run and the short run in brain health. We can maintain a healthy and active mind well into our 80s and 90s by eating properly. Why tax your brain doing all the research for what it needs to thrive? I did it for you by putting together a list of top brain-friendly nutrients you need to stay smart, starting with:
Eating More E
For a long time, people believed that a common component of vitamin E called alpha tocopherol was most important, but another form called gamma tocopherol is definitely a protective antioxidant in brain disorders. When you consume food rich in vitamin E, including almonds, green leafy vegetables, corn oil, sunflower oil, hazelnuts, and whole-grain flour, you get both alpha tocopherols and gamma tocopherols. If you are choosing supplements, look for vitamin E with “mixed tocopherols” and take 400 IU a day. Vitamin functions as an antioxidant and the brain is particularly susceptible to free radicals (damaging, unstable molecules). Some research indicates that vitamin E can delay progression of Alzheimer’s disease and/or prevent it from occurring in the first place by reducing the free radicals damage!
B Good to Yourself
B vitamins are involved in helping the formation of brain chemicals such as dopamine, epinephrine, and serotonin. In fact, each B vitamin plays its own role in preserving brain function and mental acuity. Starting from folic acid (a B complex), which helps in the early brain development, these vitamins help in many aspects of metabolism. A few recent studies have shown a link between declines in memory and Alzheimer’s disease in the elderly and inadequate levels of folic acid, vitamin B12, and vitamin B6. Reduced levels of folate are associated with high levels of homocysteine – a marker of heart disease and stroke.
This is the most common vitamin deficiency in the US, particularly amongst seniors who often have poor absorption. People who eat little or no meat are particularly at risk, since animal foods are the only dependable sources of B12. Vitamin B12 has a number of roles including helping in the formation of myelin. Myelin forms layers or a sheath around the nerve fibers and acts as insulation. B12 is mainly found in meat (beef, pork, lamb, veal, fish, and poultry) and as a result, vegetarians may be deficient. This deficiency could lead to nerve damage, memory loss, low moods, and mental slowness. It is thus best for you to shoot for between 3 and 100 micrograms a day. In fact, B12 deficiency can present as similar to Alzheimer’s disease. My grandmother couldn’t make sense until her doctor supplemented her B12.
Filling Up on Folate
Folic acid or folate is another important B vitamin for the brain. Getting adequate folate can make one a little more alert, and improve memory and focus. It helps lower blood levels of the amino acid homocysteine that is known to damage brain cells, he explains. It’s found in abundant supply in many foods including beans, fruits, green leafy vegetables, lentils, and whole-wheat cereals. Shoot for 400 micrograms a day.
Stirring Up Serotonin With B6
Vitamin B6 helps convert 5-hydroxy-tryptophan in into the mood chemical serotonin and it also helps in making dopamine. These are big mood and alertness chemicals. Aim for roughly 2 to 10 milligrams a day if you supplement. B6-rich foods include bell peppers, cranberries, turnip greens, cauliflower, garlic, tuna, mustard greens, and kale.
Magnesium is an important brain nutrient because it protects the brain from neurotoxins. Some enlightened surgeons give extra magnesium to their patients before and during surgery, especially brain surgery, for this reason. The dosage for protecting the brain in general is 300 milligrams one to three times a day. Nuts, seeds, dark leafy greens, and whole grains have magnesium, but most other foods have little amounts of it. Cooked and processed foods also lose a lot of magnesium making it a very deficient mineral.
Vinpocetine is derived from the periwinkle plant and works by increasing blood flow to the brain, enhancing the brain’s use of oxygen, and protecting the brain from free radical damage. It is these qualities that make Vinpocetine promising as a treatment for Alzheimer’s. Vinpocetine has only recently become available in the United States. It is very popular in Europe and Japan where it is considered so effective; it is available only by prescription. Doctors in Europe believe it is far more effective than ginkgo biloba, which is widely used as a brain and memory supplement.
Another good product in the brain supplement category, Alpha Brain, provides a solid combination of nootropic ingredients to help boost focus and memory.
BodyQuick has been around for a long time and is more fitting of its company name: BrainQuicken. This product works as a neural accelerator to increase the speed of neural processes in the brain. This is just fancy lingo for common effects from all brain supplements. This product packs a lot of strange and varied ingredients, but also includes the essentials. BodyQuick tries to bridge the gap between fitness and cerebral supplements, but don’t let that fool you. It’s a brain supplement of great quality.
Ginkgo is one of the most widely used herbals remedies in the world. It is used for a variety of brain-related problems, poor concentration, forgetfulness, headaches, fatigue, mental confusion, depression and anxiety. It’s believed it works by increasing blood flow to the brain. Many formulated brain enhancement products contain ginkgo biloba. The reason I saved this supplement for last is because there is some controversy about its effectiveness. This popular supplement was proven to not help with Alzheimer’s in a large, six-year study. So while you can use it for run-of-the mill brain enhancement, don’t count on ginkgo for preventing or aiding this condition. Your brain probably the most sensitive part of your body and since your entire body and all organs are interconnected and all connections eventually lead to the brain itself, it is very important for you to take extremely good care of it.