Best supplements: The best supplements for boosting the brain’s function and staying alert!
10 August 2019
We’ve all experienced it. Those little moments where our memory doesn’t seem as sharp as usual. But don’t be alarmed, these forgetful moments happen to everyone. 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.
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.
But 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 of 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. Extensive research has shown that oxidation of DNA, proteins and lipids by free radicals are responsible for functional decline in your brain.
It’s estimated that 10,000 oxidative interactions between DNA and free radicals in each of your brain cells occur every day. And as you get older, at least 1 of every 3 proteins per cell is dysfunctional because of oxidative damage. Free radical and oxidative damage to the brain is by no means the only cause of cognition problems. But the role of free radicals in cognitive dysfunction is a major issue, one that can be effectively controlled with daily use of nootropic supplements.
1. Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) – This naturally-occurring, sulfur-containing fatty acid is unique among other antioxidants. Because it is both water- and fat-soluble.
Alpha Lipoic Acid has the unique ability to neutralize free radicals in all cell environments. This potent antioxidant can even reduce brain damage after a stroke. Alpha Lipoic Acid boosts the synthesis of acetylcholine and increases glucose uptake in brain cells.
ALA regenerates other depleted antioxidants (Vitamins C & E, glutathione), and recycles CoQ10. Reducing inflammation, and getting rid of heavy metals. Boosting cellular energy and memory.
Alpha Lipoic Acid should be part of every nootropic stack.
Recommended dosage is 50 – 600 mg per day depending on your neurohacking goals.
Coenzyme Q10 – CoQ10 is a natural antioxidant synthesized in every single cell in your body and brain. CoQ10 helps produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Your brain cell mitochondria’s source of energy. It takes fat and other substances and converts them into usable energy. Studies show that supplementing with CoQ10 protects against brain cell damage by raising energy levels. It preserves brain function, and helps fight mental illness and migraines.
You have two CoQ10 options for your nootropic stack – ubiquinone and ubiquinol. If you’re under 25 and in good health you can likely get the benefit of CoQ10 with the less expensive ubiquinone. Over 25 and you’re better off with Ubiquinol. Recommended Coenzyme Q10 dosage for nootropic use is 200 – 400 mg per day.
3. Creatine – This non-essential amino acid is synthesized in your liver. And used in your brain to re-charge the Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) that fuels the mitochondria in brain cells.
ATP is directly involved in producing, packaging and secreting neurotransmitters. Helping boost intelligence, improve memory, facilitate faster thinking and improve mood.
Creatine fuels ATP which boosts cellular metabolism. Helping protect neurons from damage caused by toxins. Keeping cellular energy levels up also helps protect mitochondria against the assault of free radicals. Recommended dosage for Creatine is 5 grams per day.
4. Gingko biloba – Ginkgo biloba is one of the oldest species of trees on earth. And has been used in Chinese medicine for millennia. Gingko helps reduce oxidative stress by eliminating free radicals. Gingko also increases nitric oxide levels which dilate blood vessels. Increasing cerebral circulation improves oxygen and glucose availability to neurons which improves memory, recall, cognition and learning.
A study with 31 stroke patients looked at the effects of supplementing with Ginkgo in stroke recovery. The patients were given 1,500 mg of Gingko per day. Researchers found the stroke patients using Gingko had lower oxidative stress, inflammation and better antioxidant levels. Along with a greater decrease in C-reactive protein and an increase in circulating antioxidants.
Recommended nootropic dosage of Gingko biloba extract is 120 – 240 mg per day.
5. N-Acetyl L-Cysteine (NAC) – NAC is a derivative of the naturally occurring amino acid L-cysteine. And works by primarily helping restore your body’s natural antioxidant glutathione.
Glutathione is a potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and free radical scavenger. Supplementing with NAC modulates glutamate levels and dopamine release in your brain. And it helps restore dopamine receptors. Adding NAC to your nootropic stack helps reduce irritability, anxiety and depression.
It protects your brain from excess glutamate and oxidative stress. Recommended dosage of N-Acetyl L-Cysteine is 600 mg, 3-times per day.
6. Pine Bark Extract (Pycnogenol®) – This extract of maritime pine bark offers several nootropic benefits to the aging brain. Pycnogenol prevents accumulation of oxidatively damaged proteins. And may reduce the risk of diseases like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and Huntington’s. Pycnogenol helps increase cerebral blood flow by increasing nitric oxidewhich dilates blood vessels. It prevents decreases in dopamine and norepinephrine. And the glutathione (GSH) and GSH-disulphide reductase (GSSG-R) ratio. Neurotransmitter problems which contribute to hyperactivity in ADHD.
Studies show that Pycnogenol helps reduce DNA damage caused by oxidation and it inhibits proinflammatory gene expression and glycation.
Recommended dosage of Pine Bark Extract (Pycnogenol) is up to 300 mg per day.