Brain Series: Five Supplements for Brain Health

Posted on by Paula Gallagher

Diet, exercise, sleep and stress can all play roles in maintaining healthy brain function. Supplements can add an extra layer of support. Numerous studies have shown the benefit that certain nutritional supplements can have on brain health, in particular the five listed below. But, before taking any supplement, consult with you primary healthcare practitioner to ensure that there are no contraindications. Acetyl-l-carnitine: Forgot where you parked your car? Research shows that that the amino acid acetyl-L-carnitine (ALC) can boost brain power and improve memory. Its antioxidant properties repair damaged neurons, increasing your memory and capacity to learn. Neurons are nerve cells that transmit information. This amino acid also helps get fatty acids to the mitochondria (aka the "powerhouse" of your body) in your cells that turn fat into energy, thereby further enhancing alertness, focus and concentration. Turmeric: Curcumin, a compound in the spice turmeric, could help to improve the mood and memory of older adults. Studies have shown that curcumin is an antioxidant that can protect our cells against damage caused by free radicals. It also has strong anti-inflammatory properties. In this study, results revealed that the subjects who took curcumin twice daily demonstrated a 28% improvement in memory tests over the course of the study, while those who took the placebo showed no significant memory improvements. Subjects who received curcumin also experienced slight improvements in mood, unlike those who took the placebo. Fish Oil: Studies have shown that diets rich in fish oil contribute to significantly lower incidence of memory loss and even Alzheimer's disease. Grapeseed Extract: Animal studies show that grapeseed extract can provide antioxidant protection to brain structures, preventing deposits that can lead to Alzheimer's disease. Researchers have found that mice treated with grapeseed extract had significantly reduced Alzheimer's disease-type cognitive deterioration compared to the control mice. This is due to the prevention of a molecule called amyloid forming in the brain that has been shown to cause Alzheimer's disease-type cognitive impairment. Vitamin E: Studies suggest that vitamin E is associated with a reduced risk of cognitive impairment in older adults and in the prevention of Alzheimer's disease. Photo from here, with thanks.