Taking care of your brain health encompasses many areas of self-care, such as fitness, self-development, mental health, following a healthy diet, managing stress, and socializing regularly. Just as athletes take supplements to improve their performance, some people take supplements in hopes of improving their memory, focus, alertness, concentration, and even mood. But how do you know which supplements work?
We’ve done the work for you. Here’s a GR8 list of supplements that can boost brain health and the science behind them.
1. Probiotics May Boost Mood and Cognition
We all know that probiotics can improve our gut health, but they may also affect the brain as well through the gut-brain connection. The gut has been called the second brain because it produces serotonin, dopamine, and gamma-aminobutyric acid, just like the brain does. These amino acids play a role in regulating mood. Some research has found that probiotics may help boost mood and cognitive function and lower stress and anxiety.
2. Take an Omega-3 Supplement
Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA), a form of omega-3 fatty acid found in fish and some types of algae, forms a large part of the gray matter of our brains. Recent research has revealed that a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids may help boost our mood and support a healthy emotional balance. Most of us are deficient in omega-3s.
The nerve cells in our brains contain a lot of cell membranes that need fatty acids to function at their best. When you give your brain the omega-3s it needs, it will repay you by operating at peak connectivity and processing performance.
3. A Handful of B Vitamins
Known for helping prevent hair loss B vitamins, specifically B6, B12, and Folic Acid (B9), can help boost brain power by protecting the brain against excess levels of homocysteine, a naturally occurring amino acid. Excess homocysteine is associated with a slew of diseases, including dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, research has shown that there is a direct link between B vitamins and cognitive function.
4. Vitamin D: The Sunshine Vitamin
According to recent studies, approximately 1 billion people are deficient in vitamin D. Research shows there is a link between low vitamin D and Alzheimer’s Disease. The role of vitamin D in brain health is not entirely understood, and further research is needed. If you are unable to spend about 10-15 minutes in direct sunlight every day between 10:00 a.m. and 3 p.m., you may not be getting enough vitamin D. Check with your doctor to see if you need to take a supplement.
5. Turmeric (Curcumin): The Gold Standard
The earthy spice that gives curry its golden color, turmeric, has numerous benefits for wellness, one of which is fighting off cognitive decline. A recent study determined that turmeric’s anti-inflammatory properties may protect the brain from neurodegeneration, and supplementation can help improve memory and attention in healthy adults.
Most of us get creatine through our diet, by eating meat, fish, and eggs. Vegetarians and vegans often take the supplement since they don’t eat meat or fish. And although vegetarians may eat eggs, they don’t eat enough of them to get the creatine they need. However, research shows that it can improve memory in vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores, making it a popular supplement.
A Note from GR8NESS
As with anything, but especially the brain, what works for one person may not work as well, or at all for someone else. But that doesn’t mean that none of them work. You may have to experiment to see what works best for you. And, before you start any new supplement, talk to your doctor.