Treating and Preventing Mental Decline
Nutritional therapy for brain wellness offers multiple levels of treating and preventing mental decline. Many of you will want to take advantage of the information in your DNA to more precisely address any risks you may have for neuro-degenerative conditions. Some nutrients focus on free radical quenching and immune system support. Many stimulate improved cerebral circulation, while others preserve cell membrane integrity or promote neurotransmitter synthesis and release. Certain supplements work to restore balance to the biochemical environment of the brain. Some are essential for cellular energy production.
Here is a brief list of some important smart nutrients. Keep in mind that you always want an excellent basic multiple vitamin/mineral/anti-oxidant formula- and by “excellent” we mean one that promotes optimal levels of absorbable nutrients and not just the Recommended Daily Allowances (RDA’s). The RDA’s levels are set for standards well below what someone striving for vibrant brain and body longevity would need and shortchange you in the areas of brain and immune function support.
Acetyl L Carnitine– this amino acid that is able to cross the blood/brain barrier has been shown to increase the levels of the neurotransmitter acetlycholine; functions as an anti-oxidant in the mitochondria; reverses the decreases in cellular energy seen in Alzheimer’s patients; increases levels of Nerve Growth Factor, an important brain-healing compound; has been shown in numerous research studies to promote significant increases in cognitive functioning, memory performance and constructional thinking. It is unique in its ability to improve communication between the hemispheres of the brain.
Phosphotidyl Serine (PS)– a phospholipid found in every cell but most abundant in the cell membranes of neurons; it is important for keeping the membrane fluid and permeable. This allows for the free flow of nutrients and neurotransmitters. PS also activates glucose metabolism for the brain, reduces harmful cortisol levels, promotes calming alpha brain wave frequencies, regulates cell growth and renewal, increases the number of neurotransmitter sites giving the brain more circuits with which to communicate.
Vinpocetine– an extract of the periwinkle, it facilitates cerebral metabolism by improving circulation, enhancing oxygen and glucose utilization, and stepping up brain ATP (energy) production. It is often used for treatment of conditions caused by poor blood circulation, particularly eyesight and hearing, and has shown promise in the treatment and prevention of stroke and disturbances caused by hypoxia.
Ginkgo biloba– alleviates disturbances of the central nervous system and conditions of vascular origin by improving the cerebral circulation and protecting neural tissue via free radical scavenging and inhibition of neurotransmitter degrading enzymes. It has been shown to be beneficial in treating short-term memory and attention loss, tinnitis (ringing in the ears), and vertigo.
DMAE(Dimethylaminoethanol)– readily crosses the blood/brain barrier and enhances the production of acetylcholine. It increases memory; elevates mood, clarity and concentration; repairs damaged brain cell membranes, and reverses the formation of lipofuscin-age spot pigments which tent to clog brain and nerve cells as we age. It has been used as an alternative to Ritalin in the treatment of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) in both adults and children.
Bacopa monniera– an Ayurvedic herb extract that contains memory-enhancing chemicals called bacosides. According to research, the bacosides help repair damaged neurons by assisting the protein kinase involved in the synthesis of new neurons.
Huperzine A– a traditional Chinese herbal extracted from the club moss Huperzia serrata. It has been used in China for several years as a prescription drug for treating dementia. In Alzheimer’s patients, it works to improve memory and muscle control by inhibiting acetylcholinesterase, the enzyme that deactivates acetylcholine.
7 –keto DHEA– a relatively newcomer in anti-aging nutrition. 7 Keto DHEA offers many of the benefits of DHEA without the conversion into testosterone or estrogen. By the age of thirty our DHEA levels start to decline. In brain function, DHEA is essential to have adequate quantities to balance the effects of rising cortisol levels. Besides its importance in the brain where it is five to six times more concentrated than in other tissue, DHEA has benefits for the immune system, may stimulate human growth hormone production, improves blood sugar regulation, and facilitates weight loss and the conversion of fat to lean muscle.
Coenzyme Q-10 – also known as ubiquinone, it is synthesized from the amino acids tyrosine and phenylalanine. It increases the energy-generating potential in each cell’s mitochondria. It is also a powerful anti-oxidant in the brain. Symptoms of deficit include fatigue, mental lethargy and depression. People taking lipid lowering prescription medications are at risk for deficiency. Besides supplying energy, CoQ-10 has been used as an adjunctive nutritional therapy for cardiac conditions and hypertension, and it may stimulate the immune system.We prefer the ubiquinol form of Co Q 10.
DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) Neuromins – is an omega-3 fatty acid that is the building block of brain tissue. It is the primary structural fatty acid in the gray matter of the brain and in the retina of the eye. Being a vegetable sourced DHA, it is an excellent choice for those cannot supplement with a fish oil EPA/DHA product.