As any other organ, the brain is elaborated from substances present in the diet (sometimes exclusively, for vitamins, minerals, essential amino-acids and essential fatty acids, including omega- 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids). Most micronutrients (vitamins and trace-elements) have been directly evaluated in the setting of cerebral functioning.
For instance, to produce energy, the use of glucose by nervous tissue implies the presence of vitamin B1; this vitamin modulates cognitive performance, especially in the elderly.
Vitamin B9 preserves brain during its development and memory during ageing.
Vitamin B6 is likely to benefit in treating premenstrual depression.
Vitamins B6 and B12, among others, are directly involved in the synthesis of some neurotransmitters. Vitamin B12 delays the onset of signs of dementia (and blood abnormalities), provided it is administered in a precise clinical timing window, before the onset of the first symptoms. Supplementation with cobalamin improves cerebral and cognitive functions in the elderly; it frequently improves the functioning of factors related to the frontal lobe, as well as the language function of those with cognitive disorders. Adolescents who have a borderline level of vitamin B12 develop signs of cognitive changes.
In the brain, the nerve endings contain the highest concentrations of vitamin C in the human body (after the suprarenal glands). Vitamin D (or certain of its analogues) could be of interest in the prevention of various aspects of neurodegenerative or neuroimmune diseases.
Among the various vitamin E components (tocopherols and tocotrienols), only alpha-tocopherol is actively uptaken by the brain and is directly involved in nervous membranes protection.
Even vitamin K has been involved in nervous tissue biochemistry.
Iron is necessary to ensure oxygenation and to produce energy in the cerebral parenchyma (via cytochrome oxidase), and for the synthesis of neurotransmitters and myelin; iron deficiency is found in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Iron concentrations in the umbilical artery are critical during the development of the foetus, and in relation with the IQ in the child; infantile anaemia with its associated iron deficiency is linked to perturbation of the development of cognitive functions. Iron deficiency anaemia is common, particularly in women, and is associated, for instance, with apathy, depression and rapid fatigue when exercising.
Lithium importance, at least in psychiatry, is known for a long time. Magnesium plays important roles in all the major metabolisms: in oxidation-reduction and in ionic regulation, among others.
Zinc participates among others in the perception of taste.
An unbalanced copper metabolism homeostasis (due to dietary deficiency) could be linked to Alzheimer disease.
The iodine provided by the thyroid hormone ensures the energy metabolism of the cerebral cells; the dietary reduction of iodine during pregnancy induces severe cerebral dysfunction, actually leading to cretinism.
Among many mechanisms, manganese, copper, and zinc participate in enzymatic mechanisms that protect against free radicals, toxic derivatives of oxygen. More specifically, the full genetic potential of the child for physical growth ad mental development may be compromised due to deficiency (even subclinical) of micronutrients. Children and adolescents with poor nutritional status are exposed to alterations of mental and behavioural functions that can be corrected by dietary measures, but only to certain extend. Indeed, nutrient composition and meal pattern can exert either immediate or long-term effects, beneficial or adverse.
Brain diseases during aging can also be due to failure for protective mechanism, due to dietary deficiencies, for instance in anti-oxidants and nutrients (trace elements, vitamins, non essential micronutrients such as polyphenols) related with protection against free radicals.
Complex carbohydrates helps bring serenity to the brain while greens (chlorophyll rich such as kale) bring oxygen to brain cells.
Essential oils for boosting your mental capacity: rosemary, peppermint, basil
Herbs for the brain: gingko, licorice, oatstraw, schizandra berries, Brahmi, gotu kola, ashwaghandha, valerian or tagara, tulsi, vacha, barley grass, bee pollen, cacao, catuaba, chlorella, chia seeds, dulse, goji, guarana, ginger, hemp seeds, korean ginseng, kelp, linseed,coconut, latino spice tea, red maca, maca, menthyl crystals, pumpkin seeds, pine resin, reishi mushroom, rise and shine tea, siberian ginseng, St Johns wort, wheatgrass, wakame, sunflower seeds, spirulina, sesame seeds, eleuthero root, american skullcap, chamomile, irish moss, lemon balm, passionflower, wild oats, blue vervain, lavender, peppermint, cinnamon, cloves, garlic, turmeric, sage, mint, rosemary, rooibos tea, huperzine, lycopine, al[ha lipoic acid, bacopa or water hyssop, rhodiola rosea or golden root, L-Theanine, hibiscus, jatamamsi, shakha pushpi
Gotu Kola ( Centella asiatica ) is used in India as a cerebral tonic. Containing calcium, pangamic acid, phosphorus and the amino acid glutamine, gotu kola has been used to treat amnesia, dementia, fatigue and senility. It has a revitalizing effect on the brain cells and nerves.
Ginkgo ( Ginkgo biloba ) helps improve the brain’s ability to utilize oxygen and glucose by improving peripheral blood flow. Ginkgo improves nerve transmission, activates ATP (Adenosine triphosphate), an organic compound that aids metabolic reactions. Ginkgo is one of the most prescribed herbs in Europe and recommended in treating dementia, memory loss, senility and promoting recovery from stroke. It is an antioxidant and cerebral tonic.
Bacopa ( Bacopa monnieri ) is used in Ayurvedic medicine as a nourishing brain, nerve and kidney tonic. It enhances neurotransmitter function.
Rosemary ( Rosmarinus officinalis ) was used by ancient Greek scholars, who wore laurels of rosemary when taking examinations to improve memory. Rosemary stimulates the pineal gland and improves energy levels. Rosemary contains more than a dozen antioxidants. It is a nervine, rejuvenative, stimulant and tonic.
Licorice ( Glycyrrhiza glabra ) is sweet and energizing, and helps stabilize blood sugar levels. It has been used to treat debility, emotional instability, Parkinson’s Disease and stress. It is a tonic, nutritive and rejuvenative.
Oatstraw ( Avena sativa ) is a cerebral and nerve tonic, nutritive and rejuvenative.
Schizandra berries (Schisandra chinensis) are a cerebral tonic that improve the body’s ability to utilize oxygen. In China many people chew a few berries daily to improve concentration and coordination.
Siberian Ginseng ( Eleutherococcus senticosus ) nourishes the pituitary and adrenal glands. Studies done in Russia show it helps improve job accuracy.
Aromas for mental alertness include lemon, lemon grass, lime, peppermint and rosemary. They can be used in a diffuser which disperses aroma into the room, inhaled from a tissue or used in an inhaler. It is ideal to smell the aroma when studying and then again when taking a test or having to perform.
The following techniques can improve mental ability.
1. Travel new routes to inspire different thoughts.
2. Avoid being stuck in a rut. Visit new restaurants and experience the flavors of various cultures. Vary the places you vacation.
3. Socialize with intelligent people. Have in depth discussions.
4. Ask questions and get answers, even if you have to look them up yourself.
5. Sharpen your senses by noticing as many details as possible.
6. Absentmindedness means the mind was not present on the matters at hand. “Be Here Now,” truly is good advice.
7. “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.” Learn experientially when possible.
8. Good posture allows energy to better move through the nervous system.
9. Exercise increases the body’s intake of oxygen and speeds up nerve impulses between brain cells. Work up a sweat three times a week.
10. Read challenging things.
11. Use your nondominant hand for several minutes daily for simple tasks to stimulate different neural pathways.
12. Color therapists say yellow is cerebrally stimulating. Highlight important passages you read in yellow. Wear yellow. Use yellow decor in places where mental work is done.
13. Observe Nature.
14. Write down details – phone numbers, things to do and goals. Getting things out of your mind and onto paper helps free you for more creative endeavors. Keep an engagement calendar. Record flashes of brilliance and words of wisdom!
15. When taking classes, sit in different places to gain different perspectives.
16. When attending lectures, take notes on key words and phrases.
17. When wanting to remember something, repeat it aloud to yourself. Visualize it being imprinted upon your brain.
18. To remember names, associate the name with a picture. Visualize Bob turning into a bobcat. Right after being introduced to someone, use their name. “It’s nice to meet you, Denise.” If you don’t quite catch how to say their name, ask how to spell it.
19. When learning something important, with your mind’s eye, see yourself registering the information and filing it. Then practice retrieving it and refilling it.
20. Think positively. You’ll do better if you affirm “I can pass this exam” rather than “I’ll never make it.”
21. Do your best to avoid emotional stress.
22. Avoid damaging substances such as cigarettes, alcohol, pollutants and MSG. Some medications adversely affect the brain.
23. Studying before bed is said to be most effective.
24. Work in teams. Draw on the skills and ideas of your friends and co-workers. Brainstorming where you record wild thoughts and ideas often leads to fruitful concepts.
25. Break negative thoughts with diversion. Go for a walk. Call a friend. Go to a film.
26. Creative people usually retain a childlike quality. Play!
27. Visualization practices mental gymnastics. Einstein supposedly came upon the Theory of Relativity while visualizing flying along at the speed of light.
28. Play mentally challenging games like Chess or Scrabble.
29. Exercises to improve memory are called mnemonics where one makes up interesting information to help remember something. To remember the planets in their order of distance from the sun – M ary’s V iolet E yes M ake J ohn S tay U p N ights. P eriod!
30. Learn things of value for your entire life. Keep an open heart and mind. Be open to the possibilities.
Connie’s comments: When sleeping, make sure all electronic gadgets are not close to your body. Fresh air, nature sounds and napping during midday recharges the brain and be in sync with nature. Massage head regularly with your finger pads, in combing motion and other healing ways. Avoid hormone-filled foods in dairy, meat and milk and strive to find whole foods or start your own garden of veggies and fruits. When you find that your inner eyelid is pale, take liquid form of iron in the morning since it signals lack of minerals esp iron.
Chewing also exercises the brain so take time when eating and do a deep cleansing breath every 15 min. Remember that memory tangles are our brain nerves under stress. Get some sunshine, de-stress, and take quality calcium and magnesium supplements with Vit C and D and do take these nutrients in the afternoon till evening.
Beauty tips: 5min to remove 5Million dead cells with redefine macroexfoliator. 2 months to erase dark spots, more affordable with Reverse regimen at www.clubalthea.myrandf.com, without the many healing days needed from a chemical peel.
2 min to care for your face before a shower in the morning and same in the evening. A beautiful face is important, wear it well even when we age. Vit C, A, D and E are excellent nutrition for your skin.
Dear Friends and Viewers,
You are all invited this Friday, Dec 6, for birthday celebrations of all December celebrants you know and close to your heart.
Venue: Cherylburkedance.com in Mt View on Shoreline
Fee: 50% discount , only $7, mention Connie
Connie Dello Buono, now hiring part time retirement planners