Foods that Improve Memory and Brain Function
For general information only, please consult a healthcare practitioner for any health problems.
Interesting Facts about the Brain:
- The weight of the average brain is about 3 pounds.
- A brain is made up of about 75 percent water and consists of about 100 billion neurons. There are anywhere from 1,000 to 10,000 synapses for each neuron.
- The brain doesn't have any no pain receptors - so your brain can feel no pain
- There are 100,000 miles of blood vessels in the brain.
- The brain is the fattest organ in your body and may consists of at least 60 percent fat.
- When we learn something new, our brains undergo physical changes
- Brain Atrophy: As we age, our brains tend to shrivel - this can be counteracted with supportive nutrition (below refer to below - under "Brain Function Support".
Brain Function Support::
Vitamin B12: As we age, brain atrophy occurs (without nutritional support). Research supports that food items rich in vitamin B12 (i.e., eggs and tuna fish) may prevent brain shrinkage. Furthermore, B12 is critical in the production of red blood cells and maintaining nerve cell's myelin sheaths. (Recommended dosages are usually between 10 mcg to 500 mcg per day - discuss with your doctor).
Acetyl-L-carnitine (ALC) helps deliver long-chain fatty acids into the nerve cells' mitochondria for ATP production and acts as a potent antioxidant. Recent research suggests that levels of ALC decrease with age, which may lead to decreased ATP production and free-radical stress in neurons, potential factors in the loss of mental acuity and age-related dementias. Several studies have indicated that ALC supplements delayed the progression of Alzheimer's disease and improved energy creation in the brain. (500 mg to 2 grams daily may be recommended by health practitioners).
N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC) is the precursor of glutathione, a significant antioxidant and a key detoxifying agent in the liver. Research suggests that NAC levels may drop with age, which could lead to oxidative stress within brain cells, a conspicuous suspect in neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. (250 mg to 750 mg daily may be recommended by health practitioners).
Phoshatidylserine is a key structural component of cell membranes and particularly concentrated in the brain. It assists the flow of electrical signals within neurons and maintains cell-membrane fluidity, which is important for receiving and releasing neurotransmitters and for bringing nutrients into the cell and moving waste out. Studies led by the late William Crook, MD, acclaimed author of The Yeast Connection book (featured to the right), showed that supplemental Phosphatidylserine helped improve memory in elderly subjects with impaired memory. (200 mg to 500 mg daily may be recommended by health practitioners).
Vinpocetine is derived from common periwinkle leaves and used as a stroke treatment in Eastern Europe and Japan. It improves the flexibility of red blood cells, which allows them to flow more freely through the brain's smaller vessels, providing damaged neurons with the benefits of enhanced circulation. Vinpocetine is not recommended for dementia not caused b vascular issues. (5 mg to 10 mg daily may be recommended by health practitioners - always verify with your physician).
Omega-3 Fatty Acids may augment brain function by fortifying the myelin sheath - a fatty membrane that covers and insulates each nerve cell. This might also help the blood deliver nutrients directly into neurons.
- Cod Liver Oil ... Fish Oils (Alzheimer's) ... Also refer to this website for information what fish are good for you, and which ones are poor choices)
Coenzme Q10 (Co-Q10): Activates specific enzymes in the cells, the mitochondria, to produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the cell's primary energy source. Its antioxidant properties help neutralize the free radicals that get created during ATP production. Scientists from the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine, demonstrated that Parkinson's patients had lower levels of Co-Q10 than healthy controls, possibly indicating diminished ATP production in the patients' brains. The research also showed that Co-Q10 supplements actually slowed the functional decline of early-stage Parkinson's. (Recommended dosages are usually between 30 mg to 200 mg per day - discuss with your doctor).
Vitamin Supplementation or Consumption of Food Items High In These Nutrients:
- Vitamin D: This antioxidant (the "Sunshine" vitamin) may mitigate free radicals in red blood cells, possibly maximizing their nutrient-carrying capacity.
- Vitamin E: This well-known antioxidant significantly slows the progression of Alzheimer's and stroke-related dementia. However, research shows that overdoing it with too much vitamin E does more harm than good. (Recommended dosages are usually between 30 mg to 400 mg per day - discuss with your doctor). (Vitamin E also has application in Cancer Treatments) - Note: New research shows that eating foods rich in Vitamin E (such as nuts, seeds and vegetable oils) is far safer than taking supplements.
Supportive Nutrition: Walnuts ... Bananas ... Beans ... Blueberries have an oxygen radical absorption capacity value of 2,400 per 100 grams of antioxidant power and they are rich in anthocyanins, ellagic acid and phenolic acids. They help fight bacteria that can cause urinary tract infections, and blueberry extract may combat pain. Fresh and frozen (without added sugar) are comparable from a nutritional standpoint, but dried blueberries contain lower amounts of antioxidant anthocyanins ... Corn ... Eggplant ... Grapes ... Green Beens ... Potatoes ... Spinach ... Strawberries (organic only)
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