As far as our general health and well-being is concerned, many people find themselves focussing solely on their physical health and fitness, and will therefore neglect the mental side of things. Our brains are arguably our most important major organ in our bodies, and yet despite this, we still tend to find ourselves making poor dietary and lifestyle choices that can have pretty severe consequences in regards to brain health and function. As we find ourselves growing older, as the hands of time begin to catch up with us, our brains begin to degenerate and deteriorate, becoming more and more unhealthy with each passing year. This is one of the main reasons why degenerative conditions such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, are far more common in elderly individuals than younger ones. Sadly, we can’t fight off the hands of time, but what we can do, is take a number of preventative measures that can help protect us against the signs and effects of aging as we grow older, thereby helping to keep our brains as fit and as healthy as we possibly can. One thing we can do to really help give our brains a much-needed health boost, is to consume the right foods and use the right supplements, many of which have been specifically designed with brain health and function in mind. Although there are hundreds, even thousands in fact, of supplements out there that are marketed as being “brain friendly” in reality, only a select few really have been proven to work effectively and so for that reason, here’s a more in-depth look at some of the top supplements for brain health.
DHA, also known as Docosahexaenoic acid, is an essential omega 3 fatty acid that is considered, to be one of the major building blocks of the human brain, making it absolutely essential for optimal brain health and function. Studies have found that individuals who are deficient in this fatty acid, are far more likely to experience degenerative conditions later on in life, and may experience psychiatric disorders in their younger years. Experts warn that 99% of the human population is, on average, deficient in omega 3 fatty acids, which is one of the main reasons why the number of people suffering from brain-related disorders, is currently considered to be at record highs. To help combat brain degeneration, and indeed to generally keep the brain and nervous system functioning optimally, experts recommend consuming a DHA-based supplement on a daily basis. The main reason why DHA supplements are thought to be so beneficial, is down to the fact that DHA is notoriously difficult to consume via dietary sources alone. Just to help show just how beneficial a DHA supplement can be, studies have revealed that elderly individuals, aged 65 or older, are 47% less likely to suffer from dementia, and 39% less likely to suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, if they were regularly consuming optimal amounts of DHA.
Vitamin D is another supplement that can provide a wide range of various health and fitness benefits, especially as far as the brain is concerned. Vitamin D can help to improve cognitive function, it can lift your mood, it can fight stress, anxiety, and depression, and it can even improve your short and long-term memory as well. Vitamin D also assists with the uptake of vital minerals such as calcium, which plays a key role in bone density and health. What’s even more concerning, is the fact that many adults are thought to be deficient in this vitamin, which many experts believe is one of the reasons why mental health disorders such as stress, anxiety, and depression, are currently on the rise. What you may find especially interesting regarding vitamin D however, is the fact that, for some bizarre reason it is called VITAMIN D, in reality, it is not a vitamin at all, but rather a hormone. Exposure to the sun can help the body to naturally produce more of this hormone, though not all of us live in sunny climes all year long, and besides which, too much sun can have health dangers of its own, which is why vitamin D supplementation is so highly recommended.
Sometimes in life, simplicity is the key, which is where good ole’ multi-vitamins come into the fold. Multi-vitamins are, not surprisingly, packed full of several different vitamins, as well as minerals and other healthy nutrients and compounds as well. Experts recommend a comprehensive multi-vitamin supplement rich in folic acid and vitamin C in order to benefit from optimal brain health and function. The main reason why folic acid and vitamin C are considered so important is the fact that folic acid deficiencies are more common in individuals suffering with degenerative conditions, whereas people with healthy brains, also happen to have increased levels of folic acid in their bodies, which is very unlikely to be a simple coincidence. Vitamin C works as a powerful antioxidant which in turn helps to transmit chemical messages through the brain. Optimal levels of vitamin C within the body can reduce your chances of contracting Alzheimer’s disease by as much as 20%. Combine all of this together with the other nutrients found in a multi-vitamin, and you have the recipe for all around health and wellness.
ALA, or Alpha Linoleic Acid, is an extremely powerful antioxidant that has the ability to provide the body with several health and wellness benefits, especially as far as the brain is concerned. You see, ALA just happens to be a rare nutrient that, when consumed, can naturally increase the amount of an antioxidant within the brain known as glutathione, which is found within our brain cells. Individuals with low levels of glutathione within their brain cells, are far more likely to suffer from degenerative brain disorders and diseases. Experts recommend around 50 – 200mg of ALA per day for optimal results, although, diabetics are advised to increase their consumption of this antioxidant, and should aim for between 200 – 600mg of ALA per day.