Our brains are, without question, one of our most vital and important organs in our entire bodies, yet sadly, some of us don’t realise the damage that certain foods, drinks, and lifestyle choices can do to them. If you drink alcohol regularly and excessively for example, alcohol has been proven to destroy brain cells. Smoking can also destroy brain cells, and can also inhibit oxygen transportation so less oxygen can travel to the brain via the blood. This can then put us at a greater risk of suffering from a stroke. Even unhealthy junk foods and drinks contain artificial chemicals and ingredients that damage the brain, as well as other major organs as well for that matter. Then of course, there is old father time himself. As we grow older, our brains, like the rest of our bodies, begin to deteriorate and don’t quite function as well as they should. Some people’s brains deteriorate worse than others, which is why dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are most common in elderly people. In order to look after our brains, and indeed, the rest of our bodies too for that matter, experts recommend drinking plenty of fresh water, exercising regularly, and eating fresh and healthy food. Vegetables and oily fish are two great examples of food sources that provide countless benefits for the brain. As well as healthy dietary and lifestyle choices however, you can also consider utilizing supplements to really give your brain that extra boost. Here we’ll be taking a look at some of the top supplements for concentration and mental focus.
Curcumin is actually a very powerful and all natural active ingredient found within turmeric. Turmeric is an Indian spice that not only tastes great, but also provides benefits for our health and well-being as well, due largely to its natural curcumin content. Curcumin is actually the reason why turmeric gets its vibrant yellow colour as well. In terms of health benefits however, experts have found that curcumin is packed full of anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and antioxidant properties that provide countless benefits for the human body, especially the brain. To begin with, as it provides ant-inflammatory properties, and antioxidant properties, brain inflammation is greatly reduced. This can even help to break up plaques which have been associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Not only that, but it also increases circulation, which means that blood flow to the brain increases, which means that more oxygen is able to travel to the brain. As if that wasn’t all, curcumin also stimulates the production of serotonin and dopamine, which are brain chemicals responsible for feelings of happiness and relaxation. Because of this, conditions such as depression, stress, and anxiety, can all be controlled and reduced via curcumin extract, making it a much, much safer alternative to Prozac. The downside to curcumin however, is the fact that alone, it is difficult to be absorbed, with around 85% going to waste. The good news however, is that when combined with another natural ingredient, curcumin absorption can be increased incredibly dramatically, which brings us to our next supplement…
Piperine is actually a naturally occurring substance that is found within black pepper. It is a potent compound that has been used for ayurvedic purposes for many centuries now. Piperine is actually able to greatly increase the bioavailability of numerous substances, including curcumin. It is able to do this as it can inhibit enzymes and enhance and stimulate amino acid transporters found within the intestinal lining. Put simply, piperine allows the body to absorb larger doses of natural ingredients. When combined with piperine for example, curcumin absorption can increase by as much as 2000%.
DHA, or Docosahexaenoic Acid, is considered one of the most vital supplements in the entire world, in terms of brain health and function. DHA is actually an omega 3 fatty acid that is a major building block for a part of the brain which is responsible for attention, emotion, memory, language, and creativity. This part of the brain is known as the cerebral cortex. On top of that, DHA has also been found to play a vital role in the communication of brain cells. It’s no coincidence that individuals with low DHA levels are more susceptible to conditions such as ADHD or depression, as numerous studies have linked low DHA levels to the aforementioned conditions, as well as various other conditions which affect the brain and mental health. On average, around 70% of the population is thought to be deficient in DHA, so a DHA supplement comes extremely highly recommended indeed.
Omega 3 fatty acids
Up next we’ll look at omega 3 fatty acid supplements individually. Omega 3s are so, so important for countless reasons, and in truth, listing them all would take hours. Omega 3s boost immunity, they improve eyesight, they improve joint health and flexibility, they help fight and prevent cancer, they boost the metabolism, they aide in digestion, they improve organ health and function, and of course, they greatly improve brain health and function in the process. Oily fish such as salmon and mackerel, are often referred to as being ‘brain foods’ which is largely down to the fact that they are packed full of omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3 fatty acids help enhance mental focus, they improve short and long-term memory, they improve brain cell communication, they help promote healthy brain cells, and they can help prevent degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s or dementia. An omega 3 supplement per day for those reasons, comes very highly recommended indeed.
Citicoline is actually found naturally inside of us all. The reason for this is that it is a naturally occurring and highly potent compound which is located within each and every cell of the human body. Citicoline is considered so beneficial for the brain, due to the fact that it naturally increases circulation, and can therefore boost blood flow to the brain. This means that more oxygen and nutrients can be transported to the brain. On top of that, it assists with the creation of healthy brain cell membranes, it enhances mitochondria function, thereby increasing brain energy, and it can even boost brain plasticity. The benefits don’t stop there however, as Citocoline also possesses anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, that can protect the brain from free radicals and from the damage caused by inflammation. In terms of general mood and focus, it has been proven to enhance the number of neurotransmitters, and the amount of dopamine produced by the brain, so you can focus and concentrate better at various tasks at hand.
Caffeine is a natural stimulant that is derived from tea and coffee plants in the wild. To human beings, it functions as a stimulant, but in the wild, it is actually a pesticide, employed by the plants as a self defence mechanism to protect them from being eaten by bugs and insects. When we consume it however, caffeine provides very potent stimulating effects. The caffeine provides temporary, but extremely impressive, boosts in our energy levels and mental focus levels. This allows us to concentrate and focus better, it improves our reaction times, it allows us to think clearer, and it makes us more alert and more susceptible to what is going on around us. Many Nootropic drugs and medications which have been designed to improve brain health and function, also contain caffeine as one of their primary ingredients. Caffeine is thought to be able to provide a level of protection against Alzheimer’s and dementia, and thus far, studies and research all look very positive indeed.
Vinpocetine is a pretty new brain health supplement that is already generating a great deal of positive feedback and praise from experts and users alike. It is actually a synthetic version of a compound found within periwinkle and it has been found to increase a person’s mood, their memory, their reaction times, their concentration levels, and their mental clarity and focus. Once consumed, it quickly makes its way into the brain, where it then reduces inflammation, it enhances blood flow and oxygen transportation, it balances and regulates neurotransmitter levels, and it provides protection against free radicals and toxins which may be present. As it helps to protect the brain against degeneration, it is a very beneficial supplement used for age-related cognitive decline, memory loss, and for degenerative diseases including dementia and Alzheimer’s. It is worth noting however, that due to the fact that vinpocetine is such a new supplement, in Japan, as well as Europe, this supplement can only be obtained via a prescription from a doctor. In the US however, it can be purchased over the counter, and experts expect that to be the case in other parts of the world, once more research has been carried out.