June is Brain and Injury Awareness month. In the past, we’ve shared about how mushrooms and better listening skills can support brain health. We want to continue sharing information that will help you care for your brain.
Not all supplements are created equal or are guaranteed to work, so it’s important to get nutrients in food as much as possible. For example, caffeine—which is readily available in coffee or dark chocolate—can be beneficial for brain health, so long as it’s in moderation and you aren’t using sugary energy drinks. Colourful fruits and vegetables, dark chocolate, and other plant-based foods are also the best source of antioxidants.
In this blog, we’ll discuss 5 supplements that support brain health so you can prevent illness and cognitive decline, increase your cognitive potential, and mentally perform at your best.
B vitamins help to boost the production of neurotransmitters—brain chemicals that deliver messages between the body and our brain. Studies have shown deficient levels of certain B vitamins can lead to impaired brain function and symptoms of brain fog: difficulty concentrating, memory problems, and more.
High levels of the amino acid homocysteine are thought to make the brain more vulnerable to beta-amyloid, a toxic substance and symptom of Alzheimer’s Disease. Our bodies can process homocysteine from meat sources. However, an abnormally high level of it—and low folic acid levels—could be associated with heart disease and a higher risk of dementia.
Taking B vitamin supplements to lower homocysteine levels may help you fight against Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases. Based on past studies, 800 mcg of B9 folate (folic acid), 20 mg of B6 and 500 mcg of B12 per day are ideal supplements for brain health, but be sure to consult with your health care provider.
The author of a 2016 review also suggested that people may benefit more from taking supplements that include the entire group of eight B vitamins vs. concentrating on one or two B vitamin supplements.
Bacopa is known for its potential to improve attention and focus. Its active compounds, bacosides, have been shown to have antioxidant effects in the brain and protect brain cells from chemicals involved in Alzheimer’s disease.
Studies have shown that 300 to 600 mg of Bacopa daily improved the speed of processing visual information, learning rate, and memory compared to a placebo group. It may even be able to treat ADHD symptoms.
Our Bacopa Brain was formulated with human optimization in mind to support brain health and improve memory.
Brain Evolve PM
With a brain injury, it’s important to act quickly, as symptoms may not appear until a time after the injury occurred. In one study on children and adolescents with a concussion, there is a significant burden of disease in the first 2 weeks after injury. Effects may include headaches, emotional symptoms in recovery, and cognitive symptoms. One study involving military service members with blast-related concussions found symptoms (headache, tinnitus, memory problems, concentration problems, difficulty deciding, irritability, dizziness, and sleep problems) were higher for 91 to 365 days after injury compared to the initial 1 to 90 days post-injury. Those with a brain injury require proper care to reduce the burden of symptoms and improve recovery.
HAVN Life’s new Brain Evolve PM product contains astaxanthin, curcumin-95 and glycine, which all have the potential to support the brain. It’s formulated especially for brain injury and helps to promote brain wellness by enhancing sleep, delivering high quality antioxidants and ingredients to remove inflammation in the brain and body.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Experts who treat Alzheimer’s Disease recommend omega-3 fatty acids, primarily docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosatetraenoic acid (EPA). Like B vitamins, omega-3s have been linked to lower levels of beta-amyloids. Taking concentrated omega-3 supplements may improve attention and memory.
Some research indicates that high doses of omega-3 fatty acids after a concussion or other traumatic brain injury may have protective effects from lasting damage.
Fish oil is the most popular source of them, but you can also find plant-based alternatives and increase your intake of omega-3 foods: algae, brussels sprouts, chia, fish, flax and hemp seeds, purslane, soybeans, spinach, and walnuts.
Although levels of DHA and EPA may be lower in people with neurodegenerative conditions, evidence suggests that DHA may better serve older adults without these conditions.
Although there hasn’t been much research on rhodiola and brain health, a recently published pilot study suggests it may boost mental speed and improve mental resources. In an animal study, it improved learning and memory function.
The herb is widely used to stimulate the nervous system, relieve anxiety and fatigue, prevent high altitude sickness, and enhance work performance.
We formulated Rhodiola Relief to support mental focus and stamina and bring relief from symptoms of stress, including mental fatigue.
Other supplements that could be beneficial for brain health include (acetyl) L-carnitine, CDP-choline, creatine, curcumin, ginseng, L-theanine, magnesium, phosphatidylserine, resveratrol, S-Adenosyl methionine, and vitamins C, D and E.
This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. HAVN Life advises readers to always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition prior to taking supplements.