Which types of diet and supplements are best for brain health? Here are some simple steps you can adopt in your lifestyle to help support your brain’s optimal function.

The first thing is to start eating a Mediterranean-style diet filled with whole, organic foods such as omega-3 fish, whole grains, range-fed poultry, fruits, vegetables, seeds, and nuts.  Drink a lot of water and stay away from dairy, red meat, sugar, fried, and processed foods. In addition to this, you also need to supplement your diet with certain nutrients to address the levels of biochemicals in which your body may be deficient.

Below are six key nutrients to help get rid of brain fog and regain a healthy brain and life, along with links to some of the pharmaceutical-grade supplement brands which Dr. Banik trusts and recommends.

1. Omega-3

Most people do not consume enough fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Below are some benefits of consuming 1000-1200 mg of EPA/DHA omega supplements. 

  • Fish oil aids in reducing the shrinking of the brain
  • Helps improve memory
  • Cell membranes are preserved, which helps with the communication between brain cells
  • Improves mental challenges such as anxiety, depression, and ADD/ADHD
  • Reduces the risk of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s later in life
  • Increases the ability to learn and grasp new information
2.  Vitamin D3

Approximately 90% of adults in North America may be Vitamin D3 deficient. Vitamin D3 is essential for healthy brains and bone development, as well as protecting us from cancer.  Although exposure to the sun can help make some Vitamin D3, it is most likely not enough.  Below are some benefits of taking Vitamin D3.

 

  • Vitamin D3 deficiency is associated with Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s
  • Low levels of Vitamin D3 is linked to an increase in free radical damage
    Increases glutathione levels, which aids in reducing the level of free radical damage.
  • Those with lower levels of Vitamin D3 have a higher chance of experiencing cognitive impairment
  • Can activate 1000+ genes that shield us from various chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease
  • Improves memory and brain function
  • Healthy Vitamin D3 levels are considered to be in the 50-90 ng/mL range. If they fall below that, it is crucial to take 2000-5000 IU until those levels are restored.
3.  Curcumin

Used for thousands of years in Chinese and Indian medicine, curcumin came from the spice turmeric. It is known for its anti-inflammatory properties as well as its ability to treat cancer, diabetes, and improve liver health. Below are some benefits of supplementing with curcumin.

  • In one study, participants saw improvements in mood and cognitive performance testing
  • In the same study, improvements in memory and attention span were also seen
  • Improves concentration, memory, and cognitive function
  • Reduces inflammation and oxidative stress, while increasing antioxidants
  • Reduces neurodegeneration attributed to toxins such as fluoride
  • Reduces plaque levels in the brain, which is attributed to the development of Alzheimer’s and dementia, by up to 50%
  • Increases brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which is essential for the growth and maturation of nerve cells
  • Curcumin is not easily absorbed by the body. PC-95, which is a more bioavailable form, has more curcuminoids or has galactomannan, a type of fiber that shields curcuminoids from intestinal changes
4.  Magnesium L-Threonate (MgT)

This special form of magnesium is more efficient in breaking the blood-brain barrier to get access to the cells of your brain. The brain uses 20% of glucose to produce energy for brain cells, wherein magnesium is the transporter that takes glucose into the cell. Without magnesium, energy cannot be produced. Here are some brain benefits of taking magnesium. 

  • Effective nutrient for treating ADD and ADHD
  • Reduces amyloid plaque by 35%
  • Effective treatment for anxiety and depression
  • Essential for the production of energy needed to produce the brain’s neurotransmitters such as GABA, serotonin, dopamine, acetylcholine, and melatonin
  • The oral form is effective in preventing neuropathic pain induced by chemotherapy

Dark green vegetables are the best source of magnesium in food, but supplementing with MgT along with a vitamin B complex in the evening is much better. A sufficient amount of magnesium must be available to make the energy for the production of neurotransmitters. Vitamin B6, B12, and folate are all essential for the production of neurotransmitters.

5.  Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide (NAD)

This is a coenzyme essential for various biochemical functions. NAD enables energy transfer from the foods we consume to produce new replacement cells in the body. As we get older, the genetic codes linked to our aging process is responsible for slowing down this replacement process. NAD levels decrease as we get older, making our cells more prone to faster cellular aging.

Supplementing with NAD, can turn off, or at least slow down this aging process. NAD helps keep our stem cells at a higher level, which is essential for making new cells to replace damaged ones. Supplementing with NAD also helps with repairing damaged DNA due to toxins, boosting our immune system, and lengthening the telomeres in our chromosomes. One of the signs of cellular aging is shorter telomeres. Here are some benefits of NAD for the brain.

  • Aids in repairing damaged brain tissues
  • Brain related illnesses are due to damaged brain tissues
  • Helps control and treat brain fog, cognitive impairment, and toxin overload
  • In its oral form, it is not easily absorbable. It is best taken by adding ingredients such as Cat’s claw, CoQ10, Bacopa moniarri, and other amino acids
  • For optimum absorption, NAD should be administered intravenously. Higher levels of NAD improve memory, focus, sleep, cognitive function, and reduce stress
6.  Lithium

Used for many years to treat schizophrenia, lithium in lower doses has been recently found to treat declining memory. Here are a few reasons why lithium is able to do this.

  • Helps protect nerve cells from damage
  • Essential in brain cell recovery and regeneration
  • The brain consists of gray and white matter. Lithium aids in increasing both gray and white matter, which leads to improved memory and focus, less shrinking, and sharpness
  • Increases gray matter by stimulating the brain to produce new cells, when become neurons
  • Myelin is made mostly from lipid (fat) and protein and provides a protective layer around each nerve cell. Supplementing with lithium adds more myelin around each nerve cell increasing protection, which is a process called remyelination.
  • Life Extension has created a good formulation called Memory Protect, where patients have seen improved memory in days.
Summary

Although there are many nutrients that are helpful in improving brain health, these six nutrients are backed by scientific evidence as being the best for immediate and long-term improvement of brain health for most people. It is important to consult with a qualified functional medicine practitioner before mankind any changes in diet, medications, and nutritional supplements, as each person is unique in their biochemistry, lifestyle, and behavior.

*Adapted from TotalHealthMagazine.com

Whether the practice of Rudrani Banik, MD is the first ophthalmology office you are visiting for eye treatment, or simply the last one, Dr. Banik will make sure she does everything in her power to find an effective treatment to help you see better.
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