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Docosahexaenoic acid, also known as DHA, is an omega-3 fatty acid that is a major building block within the brain. This nutrient is essential to brain function and the nervous system, and a deficiency of it has been linked to a number of memory problems and psychiatric disorders.
Many doctors and neurologists agree that taking an essential fatty acid supplement is one of the best things you can do for your brain. It has been shown that omega-3 supplementation can improve memory loss, depression, mood swings, dementia, Alzheimer's disease and attention deficit disorder. It is impossible to get DHA in your diet alone (it is found mostly in wild salmon and seed oils), so you should consider getting this nutrient in a supplement. Indeed, one study showed that elderly people with higher levels of DHA are half as likely to develop dementia and 40 percent less likely to develop Alzheimer's disease.
Vitamin D, or the 'sun vitamin', is noted for its ability to lift moods, banish depression, improve memory and increase problem solving abilities. Also, adequate levels of vitamin D have been shown to be protective against certain kinds of cancers, diabetes, heart disease and osteoporosis.
You should consider taking vitamin D in a supplement because it is estimated that between 40 and 90 percent of adults are vitamin D deficient. So even if you spend a lot of time in the sun, you should think about taking a vitamin D supplement to improve your mental function.
If you feel that your memory isn't functioning like it used to or your mind is foggy, you may have a vitamin B12 deficiency. This happens to be the most common vitamin deficiency in the United States, especially among senior populations who have poor absorption. Also, vegetarians and individuals who eat little to no meat are at risk for deficiency because animal products are the only natural sources of B12.
A new study by Oxford University found that a combination of three B vitamins, folic acid, B6 and B12, could prevent mental decline, dementia and even be an effective treatment for Alzheimer's disease when taken together. If you feel that you may have a deficiency, or have been told so by your doctor, you should consider taking a vitamin B12 liquid supplement tablet every day.
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Antioxidants are critically important to your brain's function. The protect brain cells from free radical damage and prevent premature brain cell aging. They are most commonly found in plants and berries from tropical regions. This is because the plants must have a high level of antioxidants to fight off the free radicals of UV radiation from the sun.
However, most of us do not consume blueberries, cranberries or raw cocoa beans every day and for that reason it is important to take an antioxidant supplement. The supplements are also more highly concentrated so that you get much more antioxidant power than you would in your regular diet.
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This nutrient is derived from the periwinkle plant and increases blood flow to the brain, which in turn enhances the brain's use of oxygen and protects the brain from free radical damage. Vinpocetine has recently been considered a promising natural treatment for Alzheimer's and it has been shown to reduce post-stroke dementia.
Vinpocetine has only recently become available in the United States, but in Europe and Japan it has long been considered an effective treatment for a number of brain and memory disorders, available by prescription only.
L-alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine, or alpha GPC is a nutrient vital to brain development and healthy brain membranes. This nutrient also shows promise as a possible treatment for Alzheimer's and to enhance memory and cognition. It also helps form acetylcholine, a primary neurotransmitter involved in memory and learning processes. It is difficult to get your hands on yet, but it is good to know that it exists.
Bacope monnieri is a Ayurvedic herb that has been used in India for centuries to enhance memory, learning and concentration. It also has been noted for its calming effects and has been used to treat anxiety, deal with stress and promote better sleep. There have not been a lot of studies on this herb, so many of the benefits are what are known from tradition, and not science.
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This one has been proven by science. A compound present in Chinese club moss has been noted to help with dementia, depression, memory loss and anxiety. This alkaloid works by blocking a brain enzyme that breaks down acetylcholine, the neurotransmitter responsible for memory and learning abilities. This natural supplement contains an active ingredient similar to the popular Alzheimer's drug Aricept.
Acetyl-I-Carnitine, or ALC, is an amino acid that also acts as a powerful antioxidant. Research has found that it can improve mental clarity, focus, mood and memory. It has been shown to boost the brain's processing speed, help prevent Alzheimer's disease and protect brain cells from toxins and oxygen deprivation.
Ginkgo is one of the most widely used herbal remedies in the world. It has been used for a number of brain-related problems, such as poor concentration, forgetfulness, headaches, fatigue, mental confusion, depression and anxiety. It works by increasing blood flow to the brain and many brain enhancement products use it as a component.
However, there is some recent controversy regarding ginkgo's effectiveness. It has tended not to help Alzheimer's patients when tested in a six-year study. Therefore, Ginkgo can be used as a method of mental enhancement, but it will not prevent or aid more serious mental conditions.
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Pick up one of these supplements and let your brain get to work!