Sharpen Up Your Mind: Supplements For The Brain

Author: ANCP   Date Posted:19 April 2016 

Many of us feel that we're not as mentally sharp and focused as we'd like to be. We may have trouble with concentration and 'foggy' thinking or we may worry too much and over-react to situations,  it's not 'all in your mind'. You know that your nutritional status can affect the way your body functions but you may not realise that it also affects how your mind works.

What you eat is what you think! Like any organ, your brain needs plenty of fluids and nutrients to perform at it's best. It also needs some 'down time' for recuperation after periods of mental pressure, so adequate sleep every night and time for rest, relaxation and recovery is vital. 

Clear your mind and sharpen up your cognitive process with dietary supplements for the brain.

Brain Boosting Foods & Supplements - Nutrition For Your Brain.

Drink more water:

About two-thirds of your body is water and nearly three-quarters of your brain. Hot weather, exercise, caffeine-containing drinks, diuretic drugs, air-conditioning and heating can easily dry you out. Dehydration is subtle and thirst is not always a good guide. Signs that dehydration may be affecting your brain include headaches, fatigue and 'foggy' thinking.

Drinking the recommended 6-8 glasses of water daily helps to keep your energy levels and thought processes at their best.

Eat enough protein:

Messages between the nerves in your brain are sent in the form of chemical neurotransmitters and these are made from amino acids derived from protein foods. You need to have a healthy protein intake to provide essential amino acids that your body can't make. Good sources are animal foods, soy products, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds.

Stabilise your blood sugar:

Sugar and high-carbohydrate foods can cause your blood sugar to rise sharply and then drop too low an hour or two afterwards. When your blood sugar drops, your brain and nerves malfunction, causing sudden energy slumps, sleepiness, faintness, headaches, irritability, emotional outbursts and loss of concentration. Eating high-sugar foods provides only short-term relief and can actually worsen symptoms by causing a rebound dive in blood sugar.

Keep you blood sugar stable by eating regular meals, cutting down on quick-release carbohydrates and eating more high-fibre and protein foods. B Vitamins, Chromium and Magnesium helps carbohydrate metabolism and stabilise your blood sugar levels.

Build a better brain:

The essential omega 3 & 6 fats are vital for nervous tissue structure and must be a part of your diet. Omega 6 fats are in nuts, seeds, margarine and most vegetable oils, but omega 3 fats are also found in small quantities in a limited number of foods, mainly oils from fish, flaxseed, canola and soy.

The omega 3 fats, EPA and DHA, found in fish oil but not other oils, are highly concentrated in the brain. DHA is the main structural fatty acid in the brain and helps make neurotransmitters that regulate mood and memory. 


Brain tonics… Natural Approaches to Clearing a Foggy Brain

Brahmi – think better:

A herbal brain tonic traditionally used in Ayurvedic (Indian) medicine, brahmi has a restorative effect on thinking ability and memory. It appears to increase protective brain antioxidants, improve nerve transmission and lift moods and help the body adapt to stress.

A study of people taking brahmi found that it reduced anxiety and improved their ability to learn and remember.

Ginkgo – get more blood to your brain:

Poor blood flow, more common in older people, impairs brain function and can cause memory, learning and concentration problems. The leaf of the ginkgo biloba tree, one of the most ancient trees in existence, is traditionally used as a herb for improving circulation to the limbs and head and boosting brain function.

It has been found to interact with neurotransmitters and help protect nerve cells from damage. In a study of middle-aged people, ginkgo was found to significantly improve memory.

B vitamins – boost your brain power:

B vitamins boost energy production in brain cells and support your brain's neurotransmitter system. Vitamin B1 helps nerve transmission and gets rid of lactic acid that irritates nerves. Vitamin B3 helps produce serotonin and histamine, important brain chemicals that regulate memory, learning and moods. Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12 and Folic Acid are needed for making neurotransmitters and the insulating sheath that surrounds nerve fibres.

Low B vitamin levels have been linked to apathy, irritability, anxiety, mood and personality changes, poor memory and mental confusion.

Glutamine – energise your brain cells:

Your brain and nerves need a steady supply of glucose to function normally, but when blood sugar drops, the amino acid glutamine can step in and convert to glucose to keep your brain functioning normally. It also converts to glutamic acid, important for learning and memory and for making GABA, a calming and muscle-relaxing neurotransmitter.