Why would you consider these nutrients?
Optimising Brain Function is a great idea for anyone, not just those that might suffer with lack of motivation, depression or anxiety. The below list is in order of priority from Top-Down, of where I would start if you don’t have a practitioner to help guide you based on an individualised process. My recommendation is to add in only 1 option per week to see which one, or combination is giving you the best results.
Inositol (1-10g with PM Meal)
- Found in large concentrations within the brain and is a cofactor for all of the major neurotransmitters. Without inositol, the neurotransmitters wouldn’t be able to do much as it directly influences the brain cell signalling process. It is also involved in protecting your blood brain barrier from allowing toxins to enter.
- Inositol also has a positive effect on insulin sensitivity which again aids brain health as sugar supresses BDNF. Insulin resistance often means dopamine resistance whilst also activating your glial cells causing a negative cascade
- It is very bang for your buck and very cost effective.
DHA (2-5 capsules, 2-3 x a day with meals)
- An omega 3 that constitutes the majority of the brain’s weight, that is crucial for brain and vision development. Good DHA levels correlate with learning and memory and also mood and behaviour. DHA is important for building cell membranes and synapses, but also regulates inflammation whilst improving BDNF.
- Healthy fats like DHA build glial cells, increase myelination & improve neuronal communication. This means new brain cells and pathways & protection for existing ones
Phosphatidylserine (400-800mg with PM meal or post workout, no more than 2,400mg/week)
- Supports learning, memory, mood and coping with stress. A universal building block for cell membranes whilst also supporting the electrical currents in the nerve cells. It will help build mitochondria which make ATP/energy, and renew nerve circuits by promoting nerve growth factor (NGF). It builds new brain cells & supports neurotransmitters and works synergistically with DHA.
- As a bonus it is also a fantastic cortisol support agent. Lowering excess cortisol is crucial for brain health especially regarding learning & memory. Your hippocampus is responsible for learning & memory and it is rich with cortisol receptor sites. When over loaded it struggles and this affects cognition. Cortisol and BDNF aren’t friends and your brain shrinks when under stress. Nothing is worse for the brain than a plasticity for stress
Melatonin (1 x Spray Right before Bed)
- It is a potent anti-oxidant that also protects your mitochondria. It has the ability to reduce inflammation inside the brain, activate BDNF whilst also strengthening the brain blood barrier to minimise toxicity.
- I’ve seen it drastically improve sleep and therefore a whole host of other benefits occur besides brain health. Sleep is free and improving it should be top of anyone’s list!
- I prefer Liposomal Melatonin due to increased efficiency
Magnesium Threonate (Magtein) (2-5 capsules with PM Meal)
- When you sleep your body activates a detoxification process within the brain called the glymphatic system. Cerebro-spinal fluid (CSF) is sent north where it makes the brain ‘float’. It is during this that waste products are removed from the brain. Threonate is, or should be if your levels are high enough, present in the CSF for when this happens.
- Threonate has the ability to boost mitochondria membrane potential and increase synapse density. Increase brain Magnesium Threonate levels support restful sleep and also balanced mood.
Fruits & Greens Drink (1-2 scoops, 1-3 x a day)
- Your Brain has a high metabolic rate and requires 30% of your glucose to function, which means an increased demand for anti-oxidants. Antioxidants can also help deal with neuro-inflammation by suppressing your brain’s immune response from essentially attacking itself.
- Some with the best research for brain health include: Alpha Lipoic Acid, Resveratrol, Curcumin, Blueberries, N-Acetyl Cysteine & more.
- Consider the gut your 2nd Your levels of healthy gut flora directly influences brain behaviour, stress, anxiety and depression. Their role is also heavily involved in producing, absorbing and transporting neurotransmitters that influence nerve and brain function.
As you can see, many bases have been covered regarding general Brain Health. To individualise further I would delve into your neurotransmitter deficiencies and adjust accordingly. Without the basics though, neurotransmitter support can fall flat on its face…