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The 7 Best Brain Boosting Supplements

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Getting older may be inevitable, but memory loss and Alzheimer’s are not. That’s the conclusion of the Alzheimer’s Prevention and Research Foundation in Tucson, Arizona. More and more research is pointing to ways your lifestyle can prevent Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. By exercising and following a healthy diet — one low in saturated and trans-fats, refined sugars and white flour products, and rich in , fresh fruits and vegetables — you can reduce the inflammation and plaque build-up that can contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s.

These same lifestyle changes also protect you from heart disease and diabetes—two 21st century killers that can wreak havoc your brain. However, it seems that even if your brain has been inundated with the plaque that signals Alzheimer’s, you may function just fine if you remain heart healthy and free of diabetes, because your brain is able to create supplementary circulation to replace what is lost! In some cases, loss of circulation from mini strokes may be what sets dementia in motion — not the plaques themselves.

In the 10-year Nun Study, conducted by David Snowden, MD, 678 nuns donated their brains to science when they died. Researches who examined the brains found that some that were loaded with plaque belonged to women who showed no evidence of dementia, while some with lesser amounts of plaque showed a crippling level of cognitive impairment. Because such complete records had been kept on these women, researchers were able to attribute some of the differences to exercise, eating habits, education and continued learning.

While TV commercials and Big Pharma may have you believing that prescription drugs like Aricept are the only ways one can combat Alzheimer’s, that has more to do with the money drug companies have to throw around than the research available on or nutritional treatments. In addition to healthy lifestyle practices, much research has indicated that certain supplements can help sustain and promote excellent brain function as we age.

The supplements recommended by the Alzheimer’s Prevention and Research Foundation, founded by Dharma Singh Khalsa, MD, author of Brain Longevity, are the same as many of the supplements covered extensively in Jean Carper’s book, Your Miracle Brain. If you’re concerned about brain function as you age, (and who isn’t?) talk to a knowledgeable doctor or nutrition-oriented health practitioner who can help you make decisions about what to take.

Here’s a list of the major helpful supplements and some of the reasons they’re helpful.

1. A Comprehensive Multivitamin

(Make sure it contains at least 400 mcg of and 500 mg of vitamin C.)

Generally speaking, multivitamins have demonstrated an incredible ability to protect the brain and improve memory. In one recent study, researchers found that supplementing with a daily multivitamin resulted in improved measurements of electrical activity in the brain while performing a memory test.

Reason: Folic acid reduces homocysteine, a known risk factor for heart disease and strokes. Dr. Snowdon discovered that the greatest brain damage was associated with the lowest blood levels of folic acid and the least brain damage with the highest levels. 400 – 1,000 mcg is the suggested dosage. Folic acid should be taken with vitamin B12.

Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant and promotes the transmission of messages through the brain. While under estimated in the arena, adequate vitamin C is associated with a 20% reduction in risk of Alzheimer’s. 500 – 1,000 mg is suggested.

2. CoEnzyme Q10 (CoQ10)

Aging is accompanied by a reduced production of CoQ10, and without it, your brain can’t work at full power.

Reason: CoQ10 is an extremely powerful antioxidant and energy booster within all cells, and it’s particularly concentrated in the heart and brain. If you’re over 35, we recommend 200 – 400 milligrams. CoQ10 supplementation is extremely well researched and has been proven to both effective and safe.

3.

Alpha lipoic acid is a potent antioxidant with many positive effects, including preventing stroke damage and protecting the nerve cells of diabetics—but its protective properties are especially active in the brain.

Reason: Alpha lipoic acid is also one of the few nutrients you can take orally that raises levels of the antioxidant glutathione in brain cells. Low levels of glutathione predict chronic diseases, including degenerative brain disorders and early death. We recommend 50-200 mg of alpha lipoic acid a day. Diabetics may need 200 – 600 mg.

4. Gingko Biloba

biloba has long been associated with stabilization or improvement in memory and reasoning even with Alzheimer’s patients.

Reason: Scientists think it’s because it may have a blood thinning effect. A recent study showed that ginkgo biloba has a protective effect during a stroke, preventing or diminishing stroke related brain damage. 120 mg a day is the recommended dosage. In general, it seems to help about one out of two people. If you haven’t seen an improvement after using ginkgo for 4 – 6 weeks, you could try a double dosage. If that doesn’t help, you may not be a responder to ginkgo.

5.

Phosphatidyl Serine is thought to increase communication between brain cells and restore a primary neurotransmitter that is important to memory and cognitive function.

Reason: Besides keeping cells intact, this membrane performs vital functions such as moving nutrients into cells and pumping waste products out of them. Investigators in one study determined that phosphatidyl serine shaved 12 years off the normal expected decline in specific aspects of memory performance. Shown in studies to boost cognitive function by increasing communication between brain cells, those who took 100 mg of phosphatidyl serine three times a day, with meals for 12 weeks scored 30% higher on memory and learning tests. Many other studies have corroborated these types of findings. In another study it worked just as well for people with mild to severe cognitive impairment. With advanced Alzheimer’s patients, it has not proven very effective. It works best when taken at the first signs of the disease. We recommend 100 mg of phosphatidyl serine twice a day.

6. DHA (an omega-3 fatty acid)

It’s no secret these days that omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil are critical to brain health. One of the main constituents of fish oil, DHA, has been identified as the component in fish oil that protects brains from dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Reason: More than 50 percent of your brain is comprised of DHA! Among a big group of elderly Americans, those with the highest blood levels of DHA were about half as apt to develop dementia and 39% as apt to develop Alzheimer’s as those with lower blood levels of DHA over a nine-year period. The top 25% of those with the highest blood DHA got about 180 mg DHA a day, or three servings of fish a week, researchers said. In this study, the other major fatty acid in fish oil, EPA, had no effect.

7.

Acetyl-L-Carnitine appears to be effective in mild cognitive impairment, which may be an early signal of Alzheimer’s, as well as early stages of Alzheimer’s.

Reason: Acetyl-L-carnitine can protect the brain from neurotoxicity and oxygen deprivation, preserve cells energy-producing mitochondria and rejuvenate mental and physical function. Dosages for studies have been in the 1,500 – 4,000 mg range, divided into two or three doses. However, we recommend no more than 1,000 mg of acetyl-L-carnitine a day without medical supervision.

In recent years, researchers have also discovered that curcumin, an extract of turmeric, may also have significant implications in Alzheimer’s prevention. It is thought that curcumin may block the formation of beta-amyloid plaques in the brain, reduce inflammation and provide further antioxidant protection to brain cells. To learn more about this breakthrough research, check out our archive on curcumin and brain health.

It is estimated that 1 in 8 Americans over the age of 65 suffer from Alzheimer’s, but this devastating disease is not a normal part of aging and can be prevented! Act now to protect your brain with exercise, a healthy diet and brain boosting supplements!


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Article updated on: September 15th, 2014

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47 Responses to “ The 7 Best Brain Boosting Supplements ”

  1. [...] The verdict is out on brain health and aging. Scientists now know that memory loss and cognitive decline are not an inevitable part of growing older. In fact, the research proves quite the contrary. You can keep your mind sharp well into old age with a strategy that combines a healthy, active lifestyle with a brain-protecting diet and brain-boosting supplements. [...]

  2. Drewbaylor32 on October 25, 2010 at 6:29 AM

    We need to make adjustments on the food we eat so that we could live a safe longer life.

  3. [...] one that helps prevent brain damage after a stroke. What they’re not telling people is that natural neuroprotectants already [...]

  4. Mj on June 8, 2011 at 1:26 AM

    Your article was both informative and enjoyable. Indeed the right type of brain food can help our brains overcome any potential damaging brain diseases. In this day and age when there are chemicals in many things we eat, it is nice to know that we can alter potential conditions with the right  brain vitamin. Thank you so much for your generosity and kindness in allowing commenters to link with you too. You articles are quality. Thanks

  5. Rubie Hagemann on September 25, 2011 at 7:43 PM

    Fascinating about the nuns donating their brains to research! I have read that Ginkgo actually has been shown not to help with brain function. Perhaps, like this post states, that some people don’t respond to gingko.

  6. Rob on October 11, 2011 at 1:36 PM

    Truly an awesome write up. thanks! 

    Interesting however, that there’s no mention of the power of cocoa (chocolate extract) or green tea. I’ve reviewed dozens of studies from Harvard Science as well as internation publications that discuss cocoa in particular. We already know the value of antioxidants in green tea but chocolate seems to be up and coming. I’ve been taking a product called vavalert that combines cocoa and green tea and it’s been working like a miracle.

    Also, can you offer your own independent review on chocolate. I think many will find it beneficial!

    Thanks again!

  7. Elza Hitchens on October 14, 2011 at 4:03 PM

    I recently read in Scientific American that a huge study has proven that Ginkgo doesn’t work to improve brain function. Anyone considering this supplement should investigate this – it would be a shame to waste your money if this really doesn’t work!

    • Bugsbunny on January 26, 2012 at 8:28 AM

      Study probably flawed.  Examine it closely.

  8. Tod on November 13, 2011 at 1:13 PM

    Good information on this subject-What do you think about supplement combo products like focus factor, Procera, Thought Process, etc? I think it would be great to see a breakdown of the effectiveness of these products.

    • Gordon on March 7, 2012 at 12:38 PM

      Hi Tod

      Great point you make about available supplement combos.  There are several on the market but it’s important to choose one that is both safe and has been scientifically formulated by professionals (otherwise it will have no real effect).

  9. chris on June 24, 2012 at 3:29 AM

    i chose to Omega 3 (GNLD) for my brain cells and coffee and tomato sauce as my antioxidants since they are cheap out here. organic fruits and veges are also cheap out here to fruits for 3$ can take me 7days! Its a matter of choice where you live but do exercise too! i have a selction of gym staff; dumb bells, a bench, skip rope for convenience within my room, work out 45min three times a week. I have developed great memory and processing speed and find the medicine/surgery course real fun

  10. IreneP on September 2, 2012 at 3:17 PM

    I tried for some time with excellent effects NZT.1 from Paneuromix, I reallz had memory improvement and I managed to get all my exams. With great results, too.

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  15. Jimmie Dickerson on November 10, 2012 at 12:00 PM

    Would someone combine all 7 of these elements into 1 tablet and put them on the market please

    • Trevor on November 13, 2012 at 5:53 PM

      Check out Cerebral Success… thats exactly what they have done

      • marco on January 13, 2013 at 3:30 PM

        is huperzine still legal in the USA ? Its not allowed to be sold in Europe ,contra indications are that it is unstable with St Johns Wort or L-Theanine .Can you guys confirm?

    • Marvin on January 12, 2014 at 8:22 PM

      I always romecmend I always romecmend doing the best you can. Even acid rain or toxins in the air float onto the food I grow in my garden. I like to look at things as good, better, best. Its best to grow seaweed in a controlled enviorment (farming) and eat it. Of course for most people, in my opinion its far better to eat some seaweed to get some trace minerals than not. Im not saying eat them in MASS quantity but some here and there. Its best to grow your own food in TRACE MINERALS to get them. Was this answer helpful?

  16. Trevor on November 13, 2012 at 5:55 PM

    Good post but you should definitely include huperzine-a for memory!

    • Casie Terry on November 20, 2012 at 5:43 PM

      Thanks for sharing! Perhaps we’ll research an article about that soon.

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  23. [...] your body needs fuel, so does your brain.  There are some of the best brain supplements such as omega 3s that boost your brain health. Fish is a rich source of omega 3s. A few other [...]

  24. [...] of blood flow and improves memory and concentration. It is considered as one of the oldest supplement for brain.Gingko Bilobaact as a blood thinner and helps to move nutrients and oxygen throughout the brain and [...]

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  34. Memory Tips on January 25, 2014 at 4:57 PM

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  35. David L Smith on February 3, 2014 at 9:34 PM

    If you are looking for a way to maximize brain power I have come across a great product named Brain Abundance. Here are a list of the ingridients, folic acid, grape seed extract, L-Glutamine, phenylalanine, sensoril, rhodiola, vitamin b-12, astaxanthin, niacinamide, zinc picolinate, resveratrol, vitamin b-6, ginseng. I have personally taken this product and have had great results with the following: cognitive function, healthy memory, stress and anxiety, positive mood and mind, better sleep, focus and mental clarity, and much more. Feel free to find out more information at:
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  36. […] Also read – The 7 Best Brain Boosting Supplements […]

  37. Elina on May 20, 2014 at 6:10 AM

    Great list of supplements.

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  39. Betty B. St. Arnault on August 28, 2014 at 5:18 PM

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  40. […] The 7 Best Brain Boosting Supplements | Live in the Now … – Indeed the right type of brain food can help our brains overcome any potential damaging … Know about the Foods and Supplements for Good Brain Health | Health Way … [...] medicines, dietary supplements and organic food products. Justin has also been writing on best brain supplements for … […]