Brain health is important to everything we do, from remembering memory in students writing exams to mental balance for employees facing stress and cognitive health for older people facing the challenges associated with aging. The fact is that during all stages of our lives, brain health plays a crucial role. It is common sense: we must not only nourish and exercise our bodies, but also extend the same level of care to our brain.
So what can we do to keep our brain healthy? Try to stimulate your brain regularly (socialize, read and learn all the help), train often, follow a healthy diet and get enough sleep. Some supplements, under your doctor’s supervision, may also help.
Food supplements for cognitive performance
A February 2020 review, published in the Nutrients journal, sought to determine whether certain dietary supplements could improve cognition in healthy young adults. Some of the supplements examined included Ginkgo biloba, ginseng, flavonoids, omega-3, prebiotics and tyrosine.
The results were mixed and the researchers asked for further research in their conclusions, as many of the studies examined were small and inconsistent. However, some supplements have shown promising results, such as tyrosine, an amino acid. According to the researchers, “tyrosine could be used to mitigate the impact of physiological stress (particularly sleep deprivation) on psychomotor and memory performance.”
Nutrients for the elderly
In a recent randomized, semi-blind, placebo-controlled study, older women participated in a program that included exercise and a multinutrient supplement. The supplement was rich in healthy omega-3 fat DHA and also included EPA, Ginkgo biloba, phosphatidylserine, vitamin E, folic acid and B12.
Interestingly, the study results suggest that the supplement may produce similar improvements in cognitive function to aerobic exercise. The idea that supplementation can help mitigate the effects of lack of exercise is a very useful prospect for the elderly, who can be functionally limited by exercise.
A second recent study also looked at nutrients for cognition in the elderly. Study participants included 2,332 adults aged 60 and over. They have been tested for their dietary and / or supplementary intake of zinc, iron, copper and selenium. The researchers found a connection between low levels of these nutrients and low cognitive performance. While more research is needed to determine if these supplements can therefore improve cognitive performance, it is important to test the levels and work to reverse potential deficiencies.
L-theanine for stress and anxiety
L-theanine is an amino acid derived from green tea and is often used for stress, anxiety and sleep. In a 2019 study, the researchers again asked for further studies, but they also highlighted the strong potential of L-theanine supplements to reduce stress and anxiety in those exposed to stressful conditions.
A combination supplement for memory
A double-blind, placebo-controlled 2019 study published in Nutritional Neuroscience evaluated a supplement containing Bacopa monniera, Panax quinquefolius ginseng and whole coffee fruit extract on working memory and attention. Compared to placebo, those who took the supplement experienced improved working memory activity performance.