Best supplements: The best supplements for boosting the brain’s function and staying alert!
10 August 2019
Many of us know people who’ve lived past 90. And enjoyed a well-functioning brain until the very end. So we know it’s possible to maintain a fully optimized brain throughout life.
Most of us also know someone who’s quality of life has declined with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s or dementia. Neurodegenerative disease affects not just one person. Close family and friends are impacted as well.
But memory loss is NOT a normal part of aging.
Recent research in aging and brain function have found that as we get older individual brain molecules, cells, cerebral circulation, and even the physical shape of your brain are affected in some way.
Some of these changes begin right around your 21st birthday. So if you’re a ‘young’ neurohacker, this post is for you as much as it is for the aging Baby Boomer or senior citizen.
We also know that your brain responds to the same types of insults we throw at it as the rest of your body. Attacks by stress, nutritional deficiencies, poor diet, toxins, not enough exercise or sleep all affect cognition.
But the human brain has an amazing ability to repair and maintain itself even into old age. All we have to do is give it what it needs to survive and thrive. And worries about dementia or memory loss go away.
In this post we’ll take a look at what can go wrong as your brain ages. And we’ll identify the nootropic supplements that can correct those problems. Before they cause any lasting damage. Our goal is to maintain full, or even optimized cognitive function until the very end.
Much of the problem with the rise in dementia and many other neurodegenerative diseases comes from the way age-related cognitive decline is dealt with by modern medicine. If you’re dealing with memory loss or other cognitive issues, simply putting a label on it is not helpful. Naming the problem does nothing to help you identify and treat the underlying causes of the disease.
We do know that environmental toxins, exercise, deficiencies in hormones, inflammation, lack of vitamins and omega-3 fats, and stress all affect brain function. So the best place to start dealing with a problem like cognitive decline is to get to the bottom of what’s causing it.
Simple genetic testing can tell you if you carry a gene that puts you at a higher risk for developing Alzheimer’s. You can also find out if your brain and body have a harder time detoxing from heavy metals or a gene variant is making it difficult for you to lower your cholesterol.
If you have low thyroid function or sex hormones, heavy metal toxicity, inflammation or deficiencies in certain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants or fatty acids – you will experience a decline in cognitive function, and if left unchecked could develop into dementia, Alzheimer’s or some other neurodegenerative disease.
For most people, changes in your diet and the right nootropic supplement stack can make a profound difference in cognition and memory. Stacking the odds in your favor so you can avoid cognitive dysfunction altogether.
Mental decline occurs over time, sometimes quickly, and sometimes over many years, but it never gets better. Unless you do something about it. So if you’re dealing with memory loss, it’s up to you to do whatever you need to and determine what imbalances are present in your brain and body and then use the list of nootropics below to figure out how to fix them.
No single treatment or nootropic stack works for everyone. Because everyone is different. So each issue investigated here offers several different options for you to try. Choose one or two from each category and see how they work for you. A little trial and error on your part could mean a sound mind and great memory well into old age.
Muira puama (Ptychopetalum olacoides) is one of my favorite herbs for Alzheimer’s disease. It has incredibly powerful effects on cognitive and sexual function, especially in males. Its main action against Alzheimer’s is through Anti-acetylcholinesterase activity, which again means it stops the enzyme that breaks down the important neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Doing this helps prevent the amyloid plaques associated with this process. These amyloid plaques build up and eventually may cause Alzheimer’s. It’s best to take Muira puama daily for the best results.
Periwinkle contains vincamine, which is often found in its synthetic form vinpocetine. It’s an alkaloid that can easily pass the blood-brain barrier and has been found to increase brain metabolism and blood flow. This chemical is often extracted into a concentrated powder to be used as a stand-alone nootropic or more commonly in nootropic formulas. Vinpocetine is a relatively well-known molecule, and its mechanism of action has been reported to be through several pathways:
-Inhibiting the phosphodiesterase-1 enzyme
-Inhibiting voltage-dependent sodium ion channels (protecting neurons from damage)
-Interacting with glutamate receptors and preventing glutamate damage
-Protecting against hypoxia
-Increasing cerebral blood flow
-Stimulating glucose metabolism and increasing serotonin levels
-Due to these effects, and vinpocetine’s safety, it has become a very popular addition to many nootropic supplements.
Catuaba (Trichilia catigua) provides some of its action through the dopaminergic system of the brain. This neurotransmitter has been thought to play a role in the development of dementia and Alzheimer’s for some time, and only recently have researchers began to understand its role in this disease. In recent studies, dopaminergic compounds in Catuaba have been found to improve some of the behavioral side effects in dementia and Alzheimer’s patients. Traditionally in the Amazon, both Catuaba and Muira puama were combined and used to treat most “age-related disorders” including memory and cognitive decline. These two herbs together are better for this as they appear to have strong synergy and compliment each other well for this use.
(Curcuma longa). Curcuminoids have been suggested to delay Alzheimer’s and dementia progression, through a variety of actions. It has been reported to be protective against oxidative stress, and correction of beta-amyloid plaque formation.
Sage (Salvia officinalis) has been used for centuries to improve and cleanse the mind. Recent studies back this up, upon the discovery that sage provides anti-acetylcholinesterase activity in much the same way as Muira puama.
Researchers from the Medical University of Gdańsk found that the oxindole alkaloid mitraphylline extracted from cat’s claw binds with the amyloid beta 1-40 protein. This is the plaque that forms in the brain that results in Alzheimer’s disease. By binding to these compounds, it makes it easier for the body to eliminate before it becomes a problem. You can find cat’s claw on Amazon here.
Ginkgo biloba is the oldest tree species on earth, likely extending relatively unchanged as far back as 200 million years. It comes to no surprise then that this ancient tree is useful in fighting many age-related conditions.
In traditional Chinese medicine, its use for age-related memory loss has been documented as far back as 5000 years. Its actions are also through anti-acetylcholinesterase activity (see the pattern yet), as well as through antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory activity. It’s clear that Ginkgo biloba has protective, and preventative effects on Alzheimer’s especially — but also with other forms of dementia if used long-term as a preventative agent.