Brain Nutrients – Food for Thought

FoodForThoughtJacquie Eubanks RN BSN

While we primarily conceive of nutrition in terms of energy production and support for building and repair processes, throughout history, many cultures have traditionally used plant foods and spices as a means for prevention and protection against disease. In modern times, the ability of dietary factors to influence brain health are only now beginning to be recognized. Over the last decade, research has provided evidence that dietary components may influence mechanisms and molecular systems that maintain mental function, more specifically synaptic plasticity. Synapses or junctions, where virtually all important brain activity emerges, effectively control neuronal communication. Plasticity is the ability of the brain to adapt to new information; synaptic plasticity is the brain’s ability to strengthen or weaken the synaptic function as a result of learning. For example, repeating song lyrics strengthens the related connections in the brain that make it possible to easily recall the words.

A sharp mind and memory formation depend on the vitality of the brain’s network of interconnecting neurons. Research has established that synaptic activity, including synapse-specific modifications of synaptic strength, plays a vital role in learning and memory. The ability to learn and remember, as well as other mental and emotional processes, can be influenced by  factors such as stress, lack of stimulation or neurotoxins that may cause synapse dysfunction. A balanced diet, adequate amounts of physical activity, proper sleep, and healthy environmental interaction appear to have the potential to alter brain heath and mental function. Nutrients that influence cognition act on the necessary cellular processes for the maintenance of brain health. Encouraging results of clinical and preclinical studies raise the possibility that dietary interventions may be a viable strategy for enhancing cognitive abilities, protecting the brain from damage, promoting repair, and counteracting the effects of aging.

Adults of all ages looking to preserve brain heath and function throughout their lifespan, should consider following a healthy lifestyle to help protect and strengthen the synapses that keep minds active and alert. Lifestyle tips for healthy brain function include stress reduction and relaxation techniques, brain stimulation though demanding intellectual tasks, cardiovascular exercise to oxygenate the brain, adequate sleep, not smoking, taking alcohol in moderation and eating a nutritious diet that includes brain supportive nutrients. Per the National Institutes of Health (NIH), select nutrients have the capacity to affect neural pathways associated with synaptic plasticity that positively affects cognitive function. These dietary components have been identified as having effects on membrane fluidity, the regulation of neurotransmitter pathways, synaptic transmission and signal-transduction pathways.

DHA Omega-3 essential fatty acids, specifically DHA, are normal constituents of cell membranes and are essential for normal brain function. Dietary consumption of omega-3 fatty acids is one of the best-studied correlations between food and brain evolution. As the human body is not efficient at synthesizing DHA, we are largely dependent on dietary sources, such as oily fish, shellfish and algae. Dietary deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids has been associated with increased risk of mental health disorders, including dementia and depression. DHA may enhance cognitive abilities by facilitating synaptic plasticity, or through its positive effects on metabolism, glucose utilization, and mitochondrial function.

Turmeric/Curcumin – Studies suggest that curcumin has bioactive antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and neuro-protective effects. Population studies have shown that those who regularly consume curcuminoids as part of their traditional cuisine, such as in India and Asia, scored significantly better on cognitive function tests. Chronic low-grade inflammation plays a major role in many degenerative conditions. Curcumin’s strong anti-inflammatory properties may inhibit inflammation at the molecular level to help prevent or fight chronic inflammation. Curcumin may also boost levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which supports synaptic plasticity and cognitive function, as well as the survival of existing neurons and the differentiation of new neurons.

Flavonoids – Flavonoids, phytochemicals found in a variety of fruits and vegetables, have been identified as promising bioactive compounds capable of influencing certain aspects of brain function, including cerebrovascular blood flow, and synaptic plasticity and strengthening. Dietary flavonoids are believed to have the potential to protect against neurotoxin damage, suppress neuroinflammation, and promote memory, learning and cognitive function.

B vitamins – Per the NIH, B complex vitamins are absolutely essential for every aspect of brain function. These synergistic micronutrients work at a cellular level to support energy production, healthy mood and cognitive performance, as well as DNA/RNA synthesis and repair, and the synthesis of numerous neurochemicals and signaling molecules.

CoQ10/Ubiquinol – Found in virtually all cell membranes, CoQ10 (ubiquinone) is a powerful antioxidant and a vital participant in oxygen utilization and cellular energy production. By aiding energy production and protecting organ cells from oxidative stress and free radical damage, CoQ10 supports the overall health of all bodily cells, organs and tissues. Animal studies have shown that oral administration of CoQ10 can exert neuroprotective effects that may prove useful in the future treatment of neurodegenerative disease.

Professional Supplement Center carries these and other high quality supplements in support of brain and overall health:

ProDHA 1000 mg...ProDHA 1000 mg Strawberry by Nordic Naturals®: This high potency formula offers research- backed benefits for brain, eye, and nervous system health, as well as emotional wellbeing. Sourced from purified deep sea fish oil. Natural strawberry flavor. Naturally preserved with rosemary extract and d-alpha tocopherol. Gluten free, no artificial ingredients, Non-GMO verified.

Ubiquinol-QH 100 mgUbiquinol-QH 100 mg by Pure Encapsulations®: This product provides Kaneka QH™, a readily absorbable, active antioxidant form of CoQ10, in support of cellular energy production, cardiovascular health and free radical protection. Gluten free, hypoallergenic, Non-GMO formulation.

Curcumin 500 with...Curcumin 500 with Bioperine by Pure Encapsulations®: This product supplies 500 mg of turmeric standardized to contain 95% curcuminoids in support of a healthy inflammatory response, cellular health, and healthy liver, colon and musculoskeletal function. Bioperine® is added for enhanced bioavailability and absorption. Gluten free, hypoallergenic, Non-GMO vegan formulation.

FlavonALLFlavonAll by Douglas Laboratories®: This broad-spectrum flavonoid-based supplement delivers eight of the most concentrated and well-researched standardized plant extracts highly regarded for their beneficial antioxidant properties. Ingredients include Pycnogenol®, as well as grape seed, bilberry, and milk thistle extracts. Soy free, vegan formulation.

Active B-ComplexActive B-Complex by Integrative Therapeutics®: This product provides the full complement of bioavailable B vitamins in support of numerous biochemical processes and overall healthy function. Gluten, wheat, dairy, soy and artificial ingredient free, vegetarian formulation.

Brain foods: the effects of nutrients on brain function.
Boost your memory by eating right.
Nutrients for a Sharp Memory.
4 Types of Foods to Help Boost Your Memory.
Do Memory Problems Always Mean Alzheimer’s Disease?
The synaptic plasticity and memory hypothesis: encoding, storage and persistence.
10 Proven Health Benefits of Turmeric and Curcumin.
Flavonoids and brain health: multiple effects underpinned by common mechanisms.
Coenzyme Q10 administration increases brain mitochondrial concentrations and exerts neuroprotective effects.


NutriCology – Featured Brand

NutriCologySusan Brown Health and Wellness Editor

For over thirty-five years, NutriCology® has formulated scientifically-based, high quality, cutting edge, truly hypoallergenic dietary supplements in support of optimal health and quality of life. As a pioneer of low-allergen potential formulas, NutriCology® utilizes pure natural ingredients synthesized to retain the molecular benefits of the desired nutrients they contain, while leaving antigens and allergens behind. NutriCology® products are manufactured according to strict cGMP FDA quality control regulations. These standards include receiving, independent testing of raw materials, production controls, laboratory testing of finished products, truth in labeling, and shelf life expiration testing to ensure freshness. All products are assayed for identity, purity and potency.

NutriCology’s in-house research and development team continues to develop advanced technologies that maximize product delivery, absorbency, and effectiveness. Their hypoallergenic products are free of all common allergens, specifically wheat, corn, gluten, soy, yeast, dairy, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts and peanuts.

To see additional products from Nutricology®, please visit

Pycnogenol® 100Pycnogenol® 100 – Decades of research and published clinical studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of Pycnogenol®, a patented French maritime bark extract that contains a unique combination of bioflavonoids, phenolic acids, procyanidins, and other beneficial compounds.


Super B VitaminsSuper B Vitamins – This advanced and complete B-vitamin formula provides substantial amounts of all eleven B-vitamins, including extra pantothenic acid (B5) and the co-enzyme forms of B2 and B6 for enhanced bioavailability. Vegetarian capsules.


Complete DigestComplete Digest™ – This full spectrum vegan enzyme blend provides lactase, lipase, alpha-galactosidase, amylase and Glutalytic®, a peptidase blend, to assist the breakdown of gluten, gliadin, casein, whey, lactose, protein, fats, and carbohydrates.


ImmunoProImmunoPro® – This biologically active, non-denatured whey protein concentrate contains high levels of lactoferrin, immunoglobulins, active peptides, growth factors and glutathione precursors. ImmunoPro is derived from the milk of natural grass pasture-fed cows. Pastures are pesticide and chemical free and cows are not subjected to any chemicals, hormones, antibiotics, genetically modified organisms, or hyperimmunizations.

cGMPs – An Explanation

GoodManufacturingSusan Brown Health and Wellness Editor

Professional Supplement Center offers many high quality dietary supplement brands that manufacture their products in accordance with current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMPs). For our customers this means they can have confidence that these dietary supplements have been manufactured to ensure identity, purity, strength, and composition, as well as accurate label claims. Dietary supplement manufacturing guidelines are intended to ensure a quality finished product by establishing a comprehensive system of procedural controls. These formal procedures, established and enforced by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), not only assure the proper design, monitoring, and control of manufacturing facilities, but also provide for thorough documentation at each stage of the manufacturing process.

Authorized by the Dietary Supplements Health and Education Act (DSHEA), these uniform practices are the gold standard employed throughout every step in manufacturing, packaging, labeling and storing of dietary supplements. Supplement manufacturers who conform to FDA unified standards also establish strong quality management systems and operating procedures, obtain appropriate quality raw materials, detect and investigate product quality deviations, and maintain reliable testing laboratories. Dietary supplement marketing, manufacturing, labeling, and advertising are all covered by regulations enforced by FDA and the Federal Trade Commission.

Dietary supplements in the form of tablets, capsules, soft gels, gel caps, liquids or powders are regulated products simply defined by DSHEA as “a product taken orally that contains a dietary ingredient intended to supplement the daily diet.” As such, the FDA regulates the types of ingredients allowed in supplements. These ingredients include vitamins, minerals, herbs, botanicals, amino acids; and other substances such as enzymes, extracts, probiotics, or concentrates. FDA also has detailed requirements for the labeling of dietary supplements, including nutrition facts, allergen statement, identity verification, and net quantity validation, among others.

A dietary supplement manufacturer must ensure that the Supplement Facts label and ingredient list for each product is accurate, that the dietary ingredients are safe, and that the content matches the amount declared on the label up until the expiration date. As some bioactive ingredients in dietary supplements, such as vitamins, can naturally lose activity and or potency over time, dietary supplement manufacturers may increase the amount of the ingredient at the time of manufacturing to maintain compliance and high quality standards. Process controls for dietary supplement manufacture include establishing and meeting specifications to verify that the finished dietary supplement contains the correct ingredient, purity, strength, and composition intended in accordance with established specifications.

Established specifications assure that the characteristics or attributes desired in the final product will be consistently, uniformly, and reliably achieved. With effective process control, quality is built into the product throughout the entire production process, including testing to preclude the presence of any compounds that may otherwise adulterate the product. Manufacturing facilities are inspected by highly trained FDA staff to attain full compliance with cGMP regulations. To ensure quality products, many industry leaders have established their own supplementary manufacturing standards, exceeding those required by cGMPs. These can include licensing as a pharmaceutical manufacturing facility, additional testing of raw materials and finished products, establishing allergen-free facilities and obtaining additional certifications, such as Quality Assurance International Organic, Non-GMO Product Verified, and NSF Certified for Sport certifications.

The word “current” signifies continual improvement; it testifies that companies employ up-to-date technology and systems to provide flexibility toward innovation and modernization for higher quality. In addition, many quality suppliers who are leaders in nutritional research and product development work closely with healthcare professionals to provide effective nutritional solutions. They are dedicated to providing science-based supplements of superior quality and integrity with the highest degree of safety. Our top-of-the-line manufacturers are committed to supporting and improving health, and are recognized for their excellence in purity, consistency, legitimacy and quality in manufacturing.

Dietary Supplements Guidance Documents & Regulatory Information.
Facts About the Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMPs).
Current Good Manufacturing Practice in Manufacturing, Packaging, Labeling, or Holding Operations for Dietary Supplements.
Dietary Supplements GMP Registration.
FAQs About Dietary Supplements Regulations.
Dietary Supplement Labeling Guide: Chapter IV. Nutrition Labeling.