Think­ing Points

These eight smart sup­ple­ments help im­prove cog­ni­tion and long-term brain health

Amazing Wellness - - CONTENTS - By Steven Stiefel

These eight smart sup­ple­ments help im­prove cog­ni­tion and long-term brain health.

Brain func­tion re­mains con­found­ingly com­pli­cated. We know quite a lot about how dif­fer­ent lobes of the brain func­tion, and we have a grasp on the im­por­tance of sev­eral brain chem­i­cals, in­clud­ing those that amp us (nor­ep­i­neph­rine and glu­ta­mate), those that calm us (sero­tonin), and those that stim­u­late plea­sure (dopamine). Hav­ing a proper bal­ance of these neu­ro­trans­mit­ters or brain chem­i­cals is cru­cial for healthy re­sponses in ev­ery­day life as well as for long-term health.

Sci­ence de­votes a vast amount of money and time ex­plor­ing how to com­bat late-life brain dis­eases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkin­son’s and ALS (Lou Gehrig’s dis­ease). Yet, even those much younger of­ten suf­fer from cog­ni­tive is­sues such as ADD, ADHD, OCD, and a host of oth­ers.

To­day’s re­search in­di­cates that many of these con­di­tions can be less­ened by pro­vid­ing nutri­ents that boost pro­duc­tion of the neu­ro­trans­mit­ters that sup­port the con­nec­tions be­tween neu­rons. One way to ap­proach this is to take sup­ple­ments that drive pro­duc­tion of brain chem­i­cals to sup­port bet­ter func­tion­ing of neu­rons and their com­pli­cated in­ter­ac­tions.

Here’s our list of brain­boost­ing sup­ple­ments to keep your brain synaps­ing on all cylin­ders.


This old­est-known tree species on the planet has been used in tra­di­tional Chi­nese medicine for cen­turies. The sup­ple­men­tal ver­sion re­lies on the fruits, seeds, and leaves from this tree. While the sci­ence is not con­clu­sive on whether ginkgo sup­ports mem­ory for those who suf­fer from Alzheimer’s and de­men­tia, it has been shown to al­le­vi­ate suf­fer­ing from anx­i­ety, de­pres­sion, and other men­tal-health con­di­tions. Re­search also de­mon- strates that ginkgo may help lessen the stick­i­ness of blood platelets, mak­ing it ben­e­fi­cial for health in gen­eral.


This brain chem­i­cal is of­ten pre­scribed as a sup­ple­ment for Alzheimer’s pa­tients to im­prove brain func­tion. It’s also ad­min­is­tered to those who suf­fer from ADHD and head trauma. Re­searchers be­lieve that citocoline in­creases phos­phatidyl­choline, an­other brain chem­i­cal that sup­ports blood cir­cu­la­tion to the brain.


You may know that you need to con­sume more omega-3s, which are plen­ti­ful in fatty fish, but oth­er­wise hard to come by in the Amer­i­can diet. What you may not know is that DHA is one omega-3 fatty acid that im­proves brain func­tion by boost­ing the growth of new brain cells. Re­search shows that this is par­tic­u­larly ben­e­fi­cial for those suf­fer­ing from dis­eases such as Alzheimer’s.


Huperzine is a nat­u­rally oc­cur­ring com­pound found in a group of plants na­tive to In­dia. Tra­di­tion­ally, huperzine was used to treat bruises and in­flam­ma­tion, im­prov­ing blood flow. To­day, it is be­lieved that huperzine en­hances fo­cus by im­prov­ing

func­tion of acetyl­choline, a brain chem­i­cal linked to im­proved con­cen­tra­tion.


Tryp­to­phan, an es­sen­tial amino acid, en­cour­ages greater pro­duc­tion of sero­tonin, the brain chem­i­cal that helps pro­mote bet­ter sleep and re­duces de­pres­sion. Tryp­to­phan is not abun­dant in foods, so it is good to get it in sup­ple­ments.


Used in In­dia for cen­turies to pro­mote sleep and sup­port health, Bacopa monnieri boosts thy­roid hor­mone lev­els as demon­strated by re­search. Other stud­ies sup­port its ben­e­fits in com­bat­ing the pro­gres­sion of Alzheimer’s. Re­searchers think that sup­ple­ment­ing Bacopa monnieri may boost cog­ni­tion.


Sup­ple­ment­ing cur­cumin from turmeric (an ex­tract from the ginger fam­ily) has been demon­strated to in­crease fo­cus and de­crease brain fog. The cur­cum­i­noids in turmeric com­bat ox­ida­tive stress caused by harm­ful free rad­i­cals that de­stroy the in­tegrity of cell walls in your body. Cur­cum­i­noids im­prove the ben­e­fits of DHA from sup­ple­ments and fatty fish and other foods, boost­ing neu­ral con­nec­tions and sup­port­ing brain func­tion.


This medic­i­nal mush­room is also known as “bearded tooth fun­gus,” which sounds like the worst dat­ing-pro­file name ever. More at­trac­tively, it’s ad­ver­tised as “hedge­hog mush­room.” This su­per­food ( Heri­cium eri­naceus) boosts fo­cus and mem­ory by in­creas­ing nerve-fac­tor growth hor­mone (NGH). This neu­ropep­tide sup­ports the func­tion of brain cells. Re­search shows that sup­ple­ment­ing with lion’s mane helps pre­serve vis­ual and short-term mem­ory, among many other ben­e­fits.

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