Did you know that more than five million Americans currently suffer from Alzheimer’s? And that’s just from one of the most popular neurological conditions. Hundreds of millions more must deal with everything from stroke-related damage to severe headaches. As the number of brain problems continues to grow it’s never been more important to take preventative measures.
While it’s no miracle cure, the right supplements can greatly improve your overall brain health. But which ones should you choose? In this article we’ll be giving you a crash course on the brain supplements you should consider taking. Let’s get started!
Six Supplements to Improve Brain Health
The right supplements for you depend on what you want to get out of them. For example, some brain health supplements can help delay the onset of neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s. Others can help promote clear thinking, memory, and alertness. To help you decide, we’ve listed six of the popular types of brain health supplements.
1) Fish Oil
Fish oil has long been linked to brain health. This is thanks to the high amount of Omega-3 fatty acids found in the supplement. These acids have an anti-inflammatory effect that can protect the brain from the damage that comes with aging. One recent study found that regularly taking fish oil can delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
This is thanks to two substances found in it: docosahexaenoic acid and eicosatetraenoic acid. In addition to brain health, fish oil can also help lower high levels of cholesterol.
If you don’t want to take the supplements, then you can also get your recommended amount of Omega-3 fatty acids by consuming at least two portions of fish per week — for example, herring, anchovies, sardines, and mackerels.
The fat compound known as phosphatidylserine is already found naturally in our brain. As such, it’s believed that taking it in supplement form can help our brains metabolize it more readily.
Researchers have found that taking the supplement can improve memory. It was particularly effective in elderly individuals. As such, it’s a good option if you notice your age beginning to interfere with your brain health.
3) Vitamin D Supplements
The most readily available source of vitamin D is the sunlight. Our body’s cells can produce it easily as long as they come into contact with it. Unfortunately, many people don’t come into contact with the sun as much as they need to. Or, they may be obese, which causes Vitamin D to get trapped in fat tissue.
What’s worse, as we get older our body’s ability to absorb Vitamin D decreases significantly. This has some major consequences for our brain health. One health journal reported that low Vitamin D levels are linked to higher risks of dementia. As such, we highly recommend taking a supplement to offset these risks — especially if you’re older or obese.
You can find the antioxidant known as resveratrol naturally in foods like blueberries, grapes, and raspberries. Experts believe that resveratrol can improve memory and help regulate our moods. This is because of the effect it has on the hippocampus. The hippocampus is responsible for both short term and long term memory.
As such, when it begins deteriorating older individuals notice their memories beginning to go. Luckily, it’s believed that resveratrol slows down this deterioration.
As you probably know, caffeine is a stimulant that can improve alertness and make you less sleepy. In addition to working as an energizer, caffeine has also been linked to memory improvement.
Most people get their daily amount of caffeine from natural sources like coffee and tea. However, if you don’t like any of these drinks, or want to cut back on sugar, then a supplement is a good option. Just make sure you don’t take too much caffeine. This can cause health problems like insomnia, anxiety, and nausea.
6) Ginkgo Biloba
This herbal supplement comes from the Ginkgo biloba tree. The brain health benefits of the supplement come from the fact that it increases blood flow to your brain. This can help you stay more focused while improving your memory. We recommend Ginkgo biloba if you’re a middle-aged individual that wants to protect your brain from mental decline.
What Should You Do If You Already Have a Neurological Condition?
Supplements are best used as a preventative measure against neurological conditions. We wouldn’t recommend them as a substitute for actual medication. As such, if you’ve been diagnosed with a neurological condition, then you should visit your doctor to get a prescription for a drug that treats your specific condition.
There are plenty of RX drugs out there to treat brain conditions. For example, the Donepezil found in Aricept can help promote clear thinking in Alzheimer’s patients.
Similarly, Ceenu can disrupt cancer growth that causes brain tumors. If you suffer from severe migraines, then Imitrex can potentially relieve some of the pain. Keep in mind that you may need to try a variety of medications to find one that works for you. Discuss your options with your doctor so you can get started getting treated.
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We hope this article helped teach you some of the different supplements that can improve your brain health. Unfortunately, even the most diligent supplement takers are still prone to neurological conditions. At the end of the day, old age will eventually force a decline in your brain health.
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Alzheimer’s Facts and Figures Report | Alzheimer’s Association
Memory Improvement With Docosahexaenoic Acid Study (MIDAS) – Full Text View – ClinicalTrials.gov
Phosphatidylserine in the brain: metabolism and function – PubMed (nih.gov)
Study: Link Between Vitamin D and Dementia Risk Confirmed (aan.com)
Resveratrol prevents age-related memory and mood dysfunction with increased hippocampal neurogenesis and microvasculature, and reduced glial activation – PubMed (nih.gov)
Effects of caffeine on mood and performance: a study of realistic consumption – PubMed (nih.gov)
Effects of Ginkgo biloba on cerebral blood flow assessed by quantitative MR perfusion imaging: a pilot study – PubMed (nih.gov)
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