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Tag: Supplements

3 Supplements for Optimal Brain Health in 2024

It’s no secret that it is far easier to prevent debilitating neuro diseases than cure them once you have them. So is there anything we can be doing to give our brains the proper nutrients they need to function properly well into our old age? Thankfully, research says yes. In this article, we will discuss 3 foods and 4 supplements that do just this. 

According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, Parkinson’s disease is the fastest rising neurodegenerative disease in the world—currently affecting 1 million people in the US and 6 million people worldwide.  

But Alzheimer’s is also rising rapidly. Currently there are 44 million people in the world living with this particular diagnosed disease, but for a variety of reasons, only one in four people who have the disease will actually be diagnosed. 

So if you’re anything like me, taking supplements and eating delicious foods sounds like a far better alternative.

3 Supplements for Brain Health 

Turmeric

Turmeric is not just a golden-hued spice—it’s a huge ally for your brain. At the heart of its neurological benefits lies in its active compound, curcumin. This powerhouse component possesses anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties which safeguard the brain from the ravages of oxidative stress and chronic inflammation. 

Studies show that curcumin has the potential to cross the blood-brain barrier and directly affect brain cells. Once inside that barrier, curcumin has been observed to boost brain levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a growth hormone that promotes the survival and growth of neurons. 

This neurotrophic factor is crucial for cognitive functions such as learning and memory. Ccurcumin’s anti-inflammatory properties may contribute to the mitigation of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s, by inhibiting the formation of beta-amyloid plaques and reducing oxidative stress. 

NAD Vitality Boost

Unless replenished, NAD levels decline with age, and this reduction has been associated with a range of age-related neurological disorders. Research suggests that maintaining optimal NAD levels supports cognitive health by promoting efficient energy metabolism (yes, even for the brain!), cellular resilience, and DNA repair which protects neurons from damage and age-related decline. 

NAD is also a key player in the regulation of sirtuins,m a family of proteins linked to longevity and cellular health. Sirtuins have been implicated in processes that impact brain function ranging from synaptic plasticity to the formation of memories. As we in the scientific community continue to delve deeper into the intricacies of NAD biology, there is significant optimism about its potential to address current neurodegenerative diseases. 

EPA & DEA Fatty Acids

EPA and DHA, two omega-3 fatty acids found abundantly in fatty fish like salmon and mackerel, are also unsung heroes in brain health. These essential fatty acids are crucial components of cell membranes in the brain and play a pivotal role in its overall structure and function. 

EPA and DHA are associated with a vast range of cognitive benefits, ranging from improved memory and concentration to a reduced risk of age-related cognitive decline. They contribute to the fluidity of cell membranes, facilitate efficient communication between brain cells, support neurotransmitter function, and quell chronic inflammation in the brain (which is a contributor to cognitive disorders). 

Regular consumption of EPA and DHA has been linked to lower risks of neurodegenerative diseases, but the human body cannot produce these fatty acids on its own, which is why this is one of the top supplements we recommend for brain health. 

4 Foods for Brain Health 

Purple Japanese Sweet Potatoes

Popularized by the Netflix series, Living to 100, Japanese purple sweet potatoes, hailed for their vibrant hue and delightful flavor, offer more than just culinary pleasure – they also pack a punch when it comes to promoting brain health. 

These sweet potatoes boast a rich concentration of anthocyanins, powerful antioxidants responsible for their distinct purple color. These compounds exhibit neuroprotective properties, shielding the brain from oxidative stress and inflammation.

Studies suggest that the anthocyanins found in purple sweet potatoes may enhance cognitive function by improving blood flow to the brain and supporting the growth of nerve cells. Improved blood circulation ensures that the brain receives an adequate supply of oxygen and nutrients, essential for optimal cognitive performance. Additionally, the presence of anthocyanins may contribute to the prevention of age-related cognitive decline, offering a potential defense against neurodegenerative conditions.

Grass-Fed Butter 

The omega-3 fatty acids in grass-fed butter, particularly DHA and EPA, are renowned for their brain-boosting properties. DHA, in particular, is a major structural component of brain tissue and is crucial for the development and maintenance of cognitive function. The antioxidants also present in grass-fed butter, such as beta-carotene and vitamin E, play a role in protecting the brain from oxidative stress and inflammation— factors that are associated with age-related cognitive decline.

Grass-fed butter is also a rich source of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which are known for their quick conversion into ketones, a wonderful alternative energy source for the brain and a much healthier energy source than glucose. 

Grass-Fed Beef

Unlike its conventionally raised counterparts, grass-fed beef is notably high in essential nutrients that play a crucial role in supporting cognitive function.

One key factor is the omega-3 fatty acid content, particularly alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Grass-fed beef has higher levels of ALA compared to grain-fed counterparts. Omega-3 fatty acids are renowned for their neuroprotective properties, aiding in the formation and maintenance of cell membranes in the brain. 

Additionally, grass-fed beef is a rich source of various vitamins and minerals, including B-vitamins like B12 and folate. These vitamins are essential for nerve function and the synthesis of neurotransmitters, contributing to optimal cognitive performance. The presence of antioxidants such as vitamin E and beta-carotene also may help combat oxidative stress and inflammation, both of which are implicated in age-related cognitive decline.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Coconut Oil and Avocados

Extra virgin olive oil, a staple in the Mediterranean diet, is rich in monounsaturated fats and polyphenols, which both contribute to improved blood flow, reduced inflammation, and enhanced overall heart health, which, in turn, positively influences brain function. The presence of polyphenols in olive oil, coconut oil, and avocados protect against oxidative stress in the brain, potentially mitigating the risk of age-related cognitive decline.

Coconut oil, famed for its unique composition of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). MCTs can be quickly converted into ketones, as explained with the grass-fed butter. 

Avocados contribute to brain health through their abundant monounsaturated fats, which support healthy blood flow. They are also a great source of vitamin K, vitamin C, and folate, essential for cognitive function. 

If you are interested in learning more about supercharging and super-protecting your brain, I suggest the following books:

Dr. Goodwin is a prominent brain researcher and expert on aging from the UK who wrote SuperCharge Your Brain, which we highly recommend. Here’s his website: https://www.drjamesgoodwin.com/about

 One of the best books on mental health in decades, Dr. Palmer talks deeply about metabolic function in the brain is a key driver of mental health and why it’s so vital to keep optimal. Highly recommend as well.

In addition to adding the above foods and supplements, we highly recommend avoiding the following neurotoxic foods:

  • Conventionally fried foods
  • Alcohol
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Sugar 
  • THC (It does not help your neurons fire more effectively).

Don’t forget to check out our new Healthspan Insider, a weekly newsletter with cutting-edge healthspan information!

Citations:

Supplementation with NAD+ and Its Precursors to Prevent
Cognitive Decline across Disease Contexts
by Jared M. Campbell

Lastly, if you’re interested in going deeper on health-related content, here are a few of our recent posts that you may want to read:

  1. Why Optimized, Precision Medicine is the Future
  2. 9 Powerful Benefits of Optimizing Your NAD
  3. What Does Peak Performance Look Like? 
  4. Andrew Huberman is Wrong About NAD, NMN & Longevity

P.S. Want to boost your intracellular NAD levels? Try a 2 week trial of our Jinfiniti Vitality Boost (do 2 scoops per day), use the discount code welcome20 if you’re a new customer for 20% off your 1st order).