When we think about diet we often focus on our body and its efficiency. We think about musculature, weight gain and loss, heart and bone health. We rarely stop to think that the brain must also be fed in the right way. When our diet is not enough, here are the best supplements to enhance brain health and concentration.
Why and when you need brain supplements
During particularly hard periods, our whole body recalls its energies to cope with stress. When we do writing, research and study our brain is subjected to considerable effort. The same effort is also required in jobs where you have to speak to the public, sing, act, teach. In all these cases our mind is engaged in storing information, processing it, organizing it and using it efficiently at the right time.
When the brain is under stress we begin to forget the information, we have difficulty concentrating on a topic, we make mistakes and we experience difficulties that are easily transferred from work to private and social life. In addition, fatigue and disorientation make our days even harder.
At this point, in order to find a easy solution, we begin to take the wrong foods. Many people tend to drink too much coffee in the hope of eliminating the numbness and finding the right energy. On the contrary, nervine substances, if taken in large quantities, also cause nervousness and irritability which in the long run do not help at all to regain concentration.
Some tend to eat more sweet and sugary foods such as chocolate to regain the right mood and energy. Also in this case, an excess of sugar is not good either to the brain or to the body that weighs down and uses energy for digestion.
How to solve the problem? Let’s see what are the best supplements for brain health.
The benefits of Omega-3 are many and are found in the cardiovascular system and in the nervous system. In particular, the intake of omega 3 has been associated with the reduction of symptoms of some neurological and psychiatric diseases.
Omega 3 are fatty acids that are distinguished in EPA and DHA. In particular DHA contributes to the normal development of the brain and to its proper functioning, so much that it is a fundamental component of the brain and corresponds to around 50% of the weight of the membranes of neurons.
From the nutritional point of view, the best strategy for taking these fatty acids is to consume foods that contain animal-based Omega-3. The fish, in particular have the highest percentage of Omega 3, and above all fish rich in fat such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring, sardines, swordfish.
The recommended daily dose is around 900-1000 mg.
Coenzyme Q10 is an essential component for our cells. Its quantity tends to decrease with aging and low levels are also recorded in the presence of particular chronic diseases.
An integration of Coenzyme Q10 is important in the prevention of heart disease, hypertension, cellular aging and neurovegetative diseases. Also the brain has great benefits from coenzyme Q10 with a marked improvement in concentration and reflexes.
The main dietary sources of coenzyme Q10 are fatty fish (salmon, tuna), liver, whole grains, soy and dried fruit. The daily dose should not exceed 200 mg.
Phosphatidylserine it is much more abundant in the brain than in any other part of the body, especially in the cellular membranes of neurons.
It allows a more effective communication between neurons facilitating the conduction of nerve impulses. This means a more effective neuro-muscular system.
There are several studies that confirm the virtue of phosphatidylserine on the restoration of mnemonic abilities due to aging, but it is also capable of increasing mental abilities even in normal subjects.
Other studies have shown that it induces a state of relaxation and manages to relieve the symptoms of depression.
It also reduces fatigue and reduces cortisol in the blood by 20%, giving great physical energy.
The recommended daily dose to keep the brain healthy is between 100 mg and 300 mg. You can find Phosphatidylserine in bovin brains, organ meats, white Beans and soybeans.
Compared to the other supplements we have named, this may be familiar to you. In fact you can find Ginko Biloba in many energy drinks and types of coffee. It is a plant of Asian origin known for millennia for its properties.
Ginko Biloba reduces the effects of physical and mental stress and increases endurance. It also performs an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action and is useful for fighting free radicals, delaying aging and preventing cellular damage.
Among its positive qualities it improves blood micro-circulation, including that of brain tissues. This is why Ginko Biloba is perfect for improving memory, promoting cognitive functions, preventing mental deterioration due to aging and repairing brain damage. Its effectiveness is such noticeable that it is also used in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disorders.
The recommended daily dose is 120-240 mg per day.
Acetyl-L-Carnitine is a supplement known for its anti-oxidant properties that protect cells from free radical damage. Its effects are also positive on other substances that determine the proper functioning of the nervous system, memory and concentration. In particular, an integration of carnitine is suitable during periods in which the brain is subjected to a greater effort than usual.
How does carnitine work? We know that neurons are not able to reproduce as other cells in the body do. Once damaged their regeneration is more difficult and carnitine is a great help in this process.
Another characteristic of carnitine is to intervene in the processes of disposal of peptides produced by the brain as a waste substance.
Finally, Acetyl-L-Carnitine keeps the levels of myo-inositol in balance, a nutrient that is used to transmit nerve information. Myo-inositol is used for example to treat neurological and psychiatric diseases.
In practice, carnitine is essential for our brain to function. Where can we find it? It is normally produced by our body, but in times of high stress it may be insufficient. It is possible to obtain it through the food, in fact it is found above all in beef. In less quantity it is also found in milk and chicken. The recommended daily dose is 60-180 mg.
Panax Ginseng is a stimulant substance of natural origin. Ginseng has been known for thousands of years in Chinese medicine, which has long been used in the Western countries thanks to its tonic action, especially during periods of energy loss.
Its action is evident in the brain, improving concentration. In addition, ginseng improves the reactivity of the nervous stimulus directed to the muscles and stimulates the functionality of the immune system.
The use of Ginseng leads to an improvement in arithmetic calculation capacity, logical deduction, attention, reaction time and feeling of well-being, alleviating the feeling of tiredness. It is particularly useful to take Ginseng for a month in autumn, to strengthen the body before winter.
There are no recommended doses of ginseng, but being a stimulant substance is better not abuse it especially in conjunction with the use of caffeine.
Modern research has shown the efficacy of turmeric, in the field of degenerative brain diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, and even in the presence of brain damage due to stroke and ischemia. Another active ingredient of the plant, arturmerone, is able to accelerate the proliferation of brain stem cells. In fact, turmeric acts in the cleaning of nerve tissues and helps eliminate waste substances.
According to studies dedicated to turmeric, curcumin and other compounds present in this spice would be able to prevent injury and other damage to the cerebral arteries, restore energy production by cells, maintain correct levels of protective antioxidant enzymes of the brain and protect ourselves from brain damage caused by free radicals and inflammation.
When you cannot take brain supplements through the diet
As we have seen, all the substances illustrated can be integrated into diet to strengthen our brain and memory. Unfortunately it is not easy to change our eating habits. There are foods that we really don’t like to eat and that we can’t eat every day anyway.
For example, if you don’t like fish or eat it only once a week you can get very little Omega 3. If you don’t eat meat or you don’t like beef, it will be difficult to get the right dose of Acetyl-L-Carnitine every day.
We must also consider the time factor. W can commit ourselves to vary the diet in order to take on all the essential nutrients. This change takes a few weeks to allow our body and our brain to recover energy. So if we decide to eat more fish it will certainly be useful for our health but the change will not happen overnight.
We have to consider that in a demanding period, varying the diet with foods that we know little or are not used to can be another source of stress that adds to the work to be done.
For this reason, in periods of high stress it can be useful to rely on synthetic brain supplements that can immediately provide us with the energy needed. In anticipation of an examination and a particularly important work commitment, we will have the right energy levels for our brains available from the first day of use.
Depending on our habits we can choose to combine more substances between supplements and natural. For example, if we do not eat meat, we can take Acetyl-L-Carnitine through supplements, and at the same time consume turmeric or natural ginseng in the form of herbal tea. In this way we ensure the quantities necessary for the optimal functioning of our brain without upsetting our lives.