Is Brain Nutrition Impacting Your Potential?

Do you have difficulty concentrating? Or remembering names or appointments? Is your mood often low? Memory problems are often thought of as part of the normal aging process. But if your brain often feels foggy and your mental energy not what it used to be, poor nutrition may be to blame.

Vitamins And Nutrients That Support Brain Health

Vitamins

The Vitamin B Complex has been shown to have a crucial role in energy production and brain metabolism. The Vitamin B complex consists of 8 vitamins: B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9 and B12. While all the B vitamins are important to brain function, the most important brain-boosting vitamins are:

  • → B1 (Thiamine), which plays a crucial role in how nerve cells communicate with one another;
  • → B3 (Niacin) to maintain healthy brain blood-flow, improving focus and concentration levels;
  • → B9 (Folic Acid), which has been found to have beneficial effects on focus, alertness and improved memory;
  • → B12 (Cobalamin), which is essential for the development and function of brain and nerve cells.

Deficiencies of the vitamins folate (B9), B12, and B6, are associated with neurological and psychological dysfunction. Many foods contain B vitamins, so if you're eating a varied, balanced diet that includes foods from all food groups, you’re most likely getting as many vitamins as you need. Deficiency is most common in people with bowel or stomach issues, or strict vegetarians. Many fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, breakfast cereals, and fortified grains and grain product foods are excellent sources of many of the B vitamins. Animal foods are the only natural source of vitamin B12, but many soy products and cereals are fortified with B12.

Antioxidants For Your Brain

As your brain ages, it is more difficult for important nerve cells to protect themselves against highly reactive, rogue compounds called free radicals. Your own body manufactures thousands of these unstable oxygen molecules every day, and you are exposed to them in the world around you through smoke, pollution, and ultraviolet radiation. Oxidative stress is the process of how free radicals damage cells which contributes to age-related degenerative diseases, including mental decline.

Fortunately, there is a natural defense system to protect against oxidative stress: antioxidants. There are two antioxidants that appear particularly promising when it comes to brain health: flavonoids and vitamin E. Studies suggest flavonoids are good for the aging brain, as well as many other health benefits, including reducing inflammation, heart disease risk, and eczema symptoms. Foods high in flavonoids include berries, dark leafy greens, other colorful produce (butternut squash, avocados, plums, and red grapes), and even coffee, dark chocolate and red wine.

Vitamin E is well known as a free-radical fighter that prevents cell damage. There is also some evidence to suggest that vitamin E can benefit the mind and memory in older people. Vitamin E is found in many foods such as nuts, seeds, dark-colored fruits (such as blueberries, avocados, and blackberries) and vegetables (such as spinach and bell peppers). Vitamin E deficiency is rare, although it may occur in people on low-fat diets. Consistently consuming more than the recommended daily dose is not advised, as it may increase the risk of prostate cancer and is especially risky for people with cardiovascular disease, particularly for those on blood thinners.

Amino Acids Building Your Brain

Amino acids are building blocks for the body’s chemical messengers, neurotransmitters, as well as nerve cells (neurons) and connective tissue. Most neurotransmitters are made from amino acids acquired by eating dietary protein.

Glutamine, the most abundant amino acid in the cerebrospinal fluid, has been shown to enhance mood and mental performance and is a building block for the neurotransmitters GABA and Glutamate which control many processes in the brain.

Tyrosine, another amino acid, converts into the alerting neurotransmitters like noradrenalin, and then into the hormone adrenalin. Increasing your intake of Tyrosine may heighten alertness and attention, increase your sense of wellbeing, and decrease the effects of stress.

Am I Getting Enough Of These Nutrients?

The first line of defense against potential deficiencies the resulting memory decline is by eating a varied diet that is rich in fruit and vegetables, lean proteins and healthy fats. However, many people have trouble following a healthy diet. If you have any of the following symptoms along with foggy brain and memory problems, you might have a nutrient deficiency:

→ Anxiety and depression;

→ Weak bones;

→ Brittle hair and nails, or hair loss;

→ Fatigue;

→ Hyperactivity or unfocused attention;

→ Frequent or reoccurring infections;

→ Skin issues such as acne, rashes or eczema;

→ Digestive issues;

→ Insomnia or Sleeplessness.

BALANCING NUTRITION WITH SUPPLEMENTS

Sometimes, it is not feasible to get all the nutrients that are necessary for optimal brain function in a typical Western diet. Or, you may be interested in a little extra boost to increase your productivity, be a little more relaxed in social situations, or just to boost your mood. Taking a high-quality supplement is another way to give your brain a boost, in addition to a healthy diet. The term nootropics refers to a wide range of artificial and natural compounds which are thought to enhance cognitive function. Nootropics have caught the public’s attention after the movie Limitless depicted a powerful fictional drug that drastically boosted the characters’ brain function. Nootropics in real life are much less powerful than what's depicted in the movie Limitless. They may give you an edge but they won't completely change your life. Supplements can be very useful for some individuals, however it is important to check with your doctor before you go over the recommended daily intake for some nutrients.

Are Brain Health Supplements Right For You?

Take this 2 minute quiz and find out now

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Do you ever lose focus at work?

Is your memory as sharp as it used to be?

Do you ever struggle to motivate yourself?

Do you run out of energy towards the end of your work day?

Are you struggling to reach your fitness and/or career goals?

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How Can I Decide What Is Right For Me?

First you should have in mind a target you want to improve, such as increased focus, elevated energy, heightened willpower, decreased procrastination and unleashing the power of your best mind. To achieve maximum benefits, it is important to only use supplements that contain ingredients with strong empirical research, and use the most potent, pure, bioavailable form of each ingredient. It should also be noted that some active ingredients do different things alone than they do together, or when combined. Therefore it is important to find a formula that deliberately takes advantage of synergistic benefits and ameliorate any cross-ingredient inhibitors will maximize the effects of your nootropic memory booster. While most nootropics are generally considered safe, as with all supplements, there can potentially be side effects, especially if you are taking any prescription medications or other supplements. Everyone must decide for themselves if the pros of supplementing outweigh the cons.

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