Recently more and more people are suffering from memory loss. To the largest extent, the overuse of technology leads to digital dementia that refers to the memory loss caused by increasing application of digital devices such as smartphones. Do you usually forget a person’s name but feel the name is just around your teeth? If you do, it’s right time to boost your brain health.
An increasing number of people tend to supplements in order to improve their brain heath, enhance their memory and get them sharper attention and focus. However, when confronted with so many types of supplements with the promise to boost memory, how should we determine which type of supplements are best fit for us? Here’s a guide.
The Leading Two Types of Supplements: Natural Supplements and Pill Supplements
In terms of supplements to improve mental alertness and protect your memory, two supplements are available on the market: natural supplements and pill supplements.
Natural supplements refer to the foods that boost brain.
Pill supplements refer to the over-the-counter pills or products that promise to combine nutrients and proteins.
Recent years have witnessed growing popularity on both types of supplements and we should know which supplements best fit us. Before analyzing which type of supplements really enhance our brain health, we should clarify which nutrients or proteins boost mental health.
What Nutrients and Proteins a Brain Needs Most
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids cover three types:
- eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
- docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
- alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)
ALA can be converted into EPA or DHA inside body but in low content so humans need to take in as much as EPA and DHA from supplements to boost brain health.
Omega-3 helps creating cell membrane in brain and protects brain cells. Moreover, it has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effects.
Vitamin E is a type of anti-oxidant, beneficial to improve people’s cognitive function by reducing oxidative stress. Based on a research about the functions of Vitamin E to Alzheimer and aging, an appropriate intake of Vitamin E helps mild to moderate Alzheimer patients to implement daily activities in a short time. However, Vitamin E fails to help preventing diseases or alleviating other syndromes while high-dose amount will probably increase the risk of intracranial hemorrhage.
Three types of B vitamins are beneficial to brain health: B6, B9 and B12. They can help break down homocysteine, which is associated with a higher risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. B vitamins are also beneficial to provide energy that is needed for new brain cells to be developed.
Top Popular Natural Supplements to Boost Brain Power
Foods Containing High Omega-3
Now that omega-3 has been proved to be beneficial to brain health, the foods containing high omega-3 will naturally have positive effect towards mental alertness, sharp attention and focus.
Top 10 foods containing omega-3 include:
- Cod liver oil
- Flax Seeds
- Chia Seeds
Based on the list above, it’s easy to see half of the foods containing high omega-3 are fish so a high intake of fish is helpful for you to boost brain power.
Dark chocolate contains coco that has flavonoid that is a type of antioxidant. Antioxidants are so important for mental health because brain tends to be affected by oxidative stress that leads to cognitive function reduction and brain diseases. However, coco flavonoid is beneficial to brain and helps partial neurons and blood vessels grow that take part in memory and learning. Based on the research in 2018, it can be concluded that intake of dark chocolate can improve brain’s plasticity, which is of top importance to learning.
Similar with dark chocolate, many berries also carry flavonoid antioxidants, which helps berries to be contained on brain-boosting foods list. Oxidants are beneficial to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress. The oxidants contained in berries include: anthocyanin, caffeic acid, catechinic acid and quercetin. They boost people’s learning ability and memory, slow or stop cognitive capability and neurodegenerative disease correlated with aging.
The berries containing oxidants include:
Whole grains are a good source of Vitamin E and whole grain foods include:
- Brown rice
- Whole-grain bread
- Whole-grain pasta
Nuts and Seeds
A high intake of nuts and seeds are beneficial to brain health because they contain omega-3 fatty acid and antioxidants. Moreover, nuts and seeds are also good sources of antioxidants and Vitamin E both of which have been proved to be beneficial to brain and memory, protecting cells from oxidative stress. Aging tends to lead brain to be exposed to oxidative stress so Vitamin E is beneficial to brains of the old.
The nuts and seeds containing high content of Vitamin E include:
- Sunflower seeds
L-theanine is a type of natural amino acid that has potential to improve mental status. In addition, tea also contains caffein that is beneficial to boost brain health and is also a type of oxidant. By the way, tea also helps with weight loss.
Other Natural Supplements to Boost Brain Health
Other natural supplements to boost brain health include caffein, ginkgo biloba, ginseng and curcumin all of which are quite popular on the list of brain-boosting foods. However, up to now, not enough researches have been used to totally explain the extent for their functions on brain, memory, attention and focus.
Top Popular Pill Supplements to Boost Brain Power
CDP-choline isn’t sold as a dietary supplement in Europe while it’s defined as a prescription drug. Research proves that it can boost memory in elderly people (14 cases) with memory issues. But it still needs more case support.
As a type of fat compound, phospholipid can be found in human brain. Studies have concluded that 100mg of phosphatidylserine three times a day may help reduce age-related decreasing in brain function.
Similar to CDP-choline, however, more cases are needed to support the essential conclusion.
MUST-READ Notes before Taking Pill Supplements
Many memory supplements aren’t sold as single ingredients. Though some ingredients might work well together, combined supplements are harder to study and could be risky. Supplements may cause side effects, and the risk rises with the number you take. Mixing them with prescription drugs can be risky, too. Review all the drugs and supplements you’re taking (or considering) with your doctor or pharmacist, so they can tell you what’s safe.
Supplement pills may be beneficial to boost brain power but they’re risky to your health. There are so many uncertainties about their side effects and they only work on certain group of people and it’s hard to determine whether you’re in that group.
Supplement-Free Tips to Boost Brain Power
Fresh-food and drink nutrients are much stronger than those isolated in pills and powders. It’s also less expensive — and often tastier.
Regular exercise gets blood pumping so that you’ll be active and energetic. In addition, exercise leads to neurons creation, which is helpful to boost brain functions and memory.
Get Enough Sleep
Studies suggest that sleep helps flush out potential toxins that build up in your central nervous system throughout the day. That’s why you feel restored after a peaceful night’s rest.
Protect Your Heart Health
Good heart health is linked to better brain health. Keeping health issues such as high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol under control will help protect your brain function over time as well.
Never Cut Your Social Connections
Interacting with people is key to gaining new perspectives and experiences. It gives you a chance to teach others, too, which stretches your brain’s ability to organize ideas and relay them succinctly.
Challenge Your Brain
Try challenging yourself with memory exercises and puzzle games. Or pick up a new hobby to flex your mental muscles every day.
No Drinking and Smoking
Anyone who has had a few drinks, or been around someone who’s been drinking, can attest to alcohol’s effects on the brain. In the short term, drinkers may have trouble walking, have slowed reaction times and memory lapses. While these effects may wear off, heavy alcohol consumption is also linked to short- and long-term cognitive impairment and an increased risk for dementia. While the effects of moderate drinking are less clear, if you don’t drink, it’s best not to start. And if you do decide to imbibe, limit your intake to reduce your risk for a slew of health issues. For women, that means no more than one drink per day. Men should have no more than two daily drinks.
It’s important to avoid all forms of tobacco, including e-cigarettes. Smoking can speed up cognitive problems and even contribute to brain aging.
- It’s necessary to boost brain health, which is especially important today because of the wide applications of digital devices.
- The leading nutrients and proteins beneficial to brain health mainly include omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin E, and B Vitamins.
- Supplements to boost brain health cover natural supplements and pill supplements.
- Compared with pill supplements that are risky and have so many uncertainties to the body, natural supplements are more recommended.
- Apart from supplements, there are still other simple tips that should be kept in mind to improve your brain health.