Per the National Institutes of Health (NIH), diet, exercise, sleep and our daily environmental interactions have the potential to alter brain health and mental function. Certain nutrients can influence cognition by acting on molecular systems or cellular processes that are vital for the maintenance of cognitive function, including regulation of neurotransmitter pathways, membrane fluidity and synaptic transmissions. Dietary influences may be a viable strategy to enhance cognitive abilities, protect the brain from damage, promote repair and offset the effects of aging. In addition, recent studies have shown a cooperative action of diet and exercise at the molecular level, which could influence cognitive abilities. Numerous studies have found that exercise counteracts mental decline associated with aging and facilitates functional recovery after brain injury or disease.
Several dietary components have been found to have positive and beneficial effects on cognitive and neuronal health:
Omega-3 Fatty Acids:
Essential for normal brain function, omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids are normal constituents of cell membranes. DHA, a prominent component of neuronal membranes, affects brain plasticity and cognition. DHA might enhance cognitive abilities by facilitating synaptic plasticity and/or enhancing synaptic membrane fluidity; it might also act through its effects on metabolism, as DHA stimulates glucose utilization and mitochondrial function, thereby reducing oxidative stress. Dietary deficiency of omega-3’s has been associated with increased risk of dementia, depression and attention deficient disorder.
Found largely in red meat, this amino acid derivative is readily absorbed throughout the body including the brain. Little evidence exists that ALC can provide a significant benefit to those already diagnosed with dementia. However, observational, clinical and randomized controlled studies suggest that ALC may benefit brain health by helping to improve memory and mitochondrial function in individuals with mild cognitive impairment. Evidence suggests that ALC may raise the levels of nerve growth factor and increase the activity of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter critical to healthy brain function, levels of which are found to be substantially low in Alzheimer’s disease.
This proprietary form of magnesium may be best for improving brain function. In animal studies, magnesium l-threonate was found to effectively cross the blood brain barrier and increase brain levels of magnesium. Magnesium is critical to the activation of nerve channels involved in synaptic plasticity and is thought to enhance the connections or synapses between brain neurons in the hippocampus, the area of the brain that processes memories. Profound loss of synapses is a major hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease and memory impairment. In large observational studies, high intakes of dietary magnesium have been shown to support healthy brain function. Studies also show that those with Alzheimer’s have significantly lower blood levels of this highly important mineral. Ongoing studies are examining the effects of magnesium l-threonate on enhanced learning and memory in people with dementia. Although more research is needed, increasing brain levels of magnesium may boost memory, and may help prevent or slow cognitive decline. Failure to obtain adequate magnesium can result in memory issues, anxiety and depression.
Used traditionally over thousands of years for both prevention and disease therapy, modern studies have revealed that in addition to its antioxidant effects, turmeric has anti-inflammatory, antimutagenic, antimicrobial, anti-tumor and antiviral effects, as well as cardioprotective, hepatoprotective, and nephroprotective properties. Medicines derived from plants have played a pivotal role in the healthcare of many ancient and modern cultures. Modern medicine, which is in its infancy as compared to centuries-old traditional medicines, does not hold the medicinal use of natural products in high esteem. However, plant-based drugs are more suitable in biological terms for human use. Turmeric’s powerful antioxidant properties appear to protect brain cell membranes from free radical damage. India produces most of the world’s turmeric and consumes 80 percent of it as well. Given the high consumption of curcumin in India, it’s possible that curcumin may contribute to the country’s low prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease. The pharmacological properties of turmeric are due to its large number of compounds including curcumin, volatile oil and curcuminoids.
Professional Supplement Center offers these and other high quality supplements in support of overall wellness:
NeuroMag™ by Designs for Health®: NeuroMag™ is formulated with Magtein™, a unique, patented chelated mineral form of magnesium found to cross the blood brain barrier and transport magnesium ions across the lipid membranes of brain cells. NeuroMag™ may enhance cognitive abilities, as well as support age-related memory functions. Gluten free, Non-GMO formulation.
Acetyl L-Carnitine 500 mg by Douglas Laboratories®: This product provides 500 mg of acetyl l-carnitine per serving in support of proper brain and nerve function maintenance during the normal aging process. Free of gluten, wheat, yeast, soy, dairy, corn, sodium, sugar, starch and artificial coloring and preservatives. Non-GMO formulation.
ProDHA Memory by Nordic Naturals: This potent, high quality formula provides a synergistic blend of DHA and other key nutrients in support of neural communication and overall brain health, as well as the structure and function of brain cells. Free of gluten, dairy, heavy metals and artificial colors and flavors. Non-GMO formulation.
Curcumin Pro-95 by Professional Supplement Center®: ON SALE Curcumin Pro-95 features BCM-95® curcumin complex, which provides curcuminoids, curcumin and volatile oils. This product exerts cell protective antioxidant activity, uplifts mood, and supports brain, neuronal, joint and organ health. Free of wheat, gluten, corn, yeast, soy, dairy, fish, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, eggs and artificial colors, sweeteners and preservatives. Non-GMO vegetarian formulation.
Brain foods: the effects of nutrients on brain function. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2805706/
Turmeric, the Golden Spice. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92752/