Research shows that taking multivitamins periodically can improve memory and overall brain function.
There are many foods, supplements, and drugs marketed as “brain stimulants.” They contain hundreds of individual nutrients – vitamins, minerals, herbs, amino acids and phytonutrients.
There are thousands of combinations of ingredients. Studies have shown that taking the right supplements can have a positive impact on brain health and function, although it is unlikely that one or another drug will magically reverse the effects of an unhealthy lifestyle.
In addition, choosing the right one is not an easy task. The choice of nutrients depends on the results you are looking for. Do you want to improve memory or increase concentration?
Is your biggest problem being lethargy or age-related mental decline? Are you suffering from stress, depression or anxiety?
Here is a list of brain stimulants that have been scientifically proven to be safe, effective and cover a wide range of needs.
1. DHA (docosahexaenoic acid)
This is omega-3, the most important of the fatty acids; is one of the main building blocks of the cerebral cortex – the part of the brain responsible for memory, speech, creativity, emotions and attention. It is the most important nutrient for optimal brain function.
The lack of DHA in the body is associated with depression, irritability, serious mental disorders, as well as a significant decrease in brain volume.
Memory loss, depression, mood swings, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and attention deficit disorder – in all these diagnoses, the condition of patients has been found to improve with the addition of this acid to the diet.
Older adults with high DHA intake are significantly less likely to develop dementia (senile dementia) and Alzheimer’s disease.
Scientists estimate that 70% of the world’s population is deficient in omega-3s, so almost everyone can benefit from supplementing with DHA.
Curcumin is the most powerful and active ingredient in the Indian spice called turmeric.
It is responsible for the golden color of turmeric and has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-cancer effects.
Curcumin protects our brain in a myriad of ways.
Its powerful antioxidant properties help reduce brain inflammation and break down plaque in the brain associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
Curcumin increases levels of dopamine and serotonin, the “chemical ingredients of happiness.”
In fact, curcumin is just as effective for depression as the popular antidepressant Prozac.
Curcumin has been found to help with memory loss and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Curcumin is currently being studied as a cure for Parkinson’s disease.
One of the disadvantages of curcumin is that it is very poorly absorbed – up to 85% of curcumin usually passes through the intestines unused!
However, the addition of piperine, a substance found in black pepper, increases the absorption of curcumin by 2000%.
3. Periwinkle small
Vinpocetine is a synthetic version of vincamine. In nature, this compound is found in periwinkle (small periwinkle).
In Europe and Japan, vinpocetine is only available by prescription, but in some countries the compound is present in many commonly available supplements.
Doctors in Europe believe it is more effective than ginkgo biloba, a drug that has a reputation as one of the best brain supplements.
Vinpocetine improves memory, reaction time, and general mental well-being. It quickly penetrates the brain, increases blood flow, reduces brain inflammation, protects against free radicals, and maintains a balance of neurotransmitters.
It protects the brain from degeneration, making it a potential treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.
It makes sense to choose vinpocetine if your main problem is memory loss or age-related mental decline.
Vasora is a traditional Ayurvedic herbal tonic that has been used for thousands of years to improve memory, learning and concentration.
Bacopa is an excellent adaptogen, a plant that reduces the negative effects of stress.
It works in part by balancing the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin, while lowering levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
It also has a calming effect and is used to treat anxiety, help manage stress, and improve sleep.
Bacopa is an excellent choice if you have problems with memory, learning and concentration caused by stress.
Chinese moss is a traditional Chinese herbal remedy used to improve memory, increase blood flow to the brain, and reduce inflammation.
Scientists have discovered the main active ingredient in Chinese moss, hyperzine A.
This alkaloid works by blocking the brain enzyme that breaks down the neurotransmitter acetylcholine.
Huperzine A is marketed as a dietary supplement primarily to improve memory, concentration, and learning ability in young and old.
It protects the brain from damage from free radicals and environmental toxins.
It works in the same way as the popular drug Aricept and is widely used to treat Alzheimer’s in China.
6. Ginkgo biloba
Ginkgo biloba medicines have stood the test of time, both in traditional Chinese medicine and in Europe.
Ginkgo increases blood flow to the brain, balances brain chemistry, and protects the brain from free radical damage.
Surprisingly, two large studies have concluded that ginkgo does not have any measurable benefits as a mental stimulant, does not improve memory or other brain function in healthy individuals. But that doesn’t make ginkgo useless. Ginkgo has been shown to be beneficial for treating stress, anxiety, and depression. It is a beneficial addition in the treatment of schizophrenia. Finally, for those living with a diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, ginkgo holds great promise for improving memory and quality of life.
Acetyl-L-carnitine (ALCAR) is an amino acid that acts as a powerful antioxidant that protects the brain from free radical damage.
This compound is beneficial in improving mental clarity, attention, mood, processing speed, and memory, and has strong anti-tumor effects on the aging brain.
ALCAR is a fast-acting antidepressant that usually provides some relief within a week.
It increases the insulin sensitivity of brain cells, helping them use blood glucose, the brain’s main fuel source.
This compound helps prevent brain damage from excessive alcohol consumption.
Phosphatidylserine (PS) is a phospholipid integral to every cell membrane in the body, but is found in particularly high concentrations in the brain.
FS acts as a “gatekeeper” of the brain. It regulates what nutrients enter the brain and what is excreted as waste.
This compound makes sense to take to improve memory, concentration and learning.
Large studies have shown that phosphatidylserine may be an effective treatment for Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
It normalizes the level of the stress hormone cortisol, reducing the impact of stressful situations.
Phosphatidylserine protects against low energy levels, may improve mood, and may also help with depression, especially in the elderly.
FS protects the brain from the symptoms of aging and is a favorite among students to improve memory in the run-up to an exam.
9. Alpha GPC
L-alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine, commonly referred to as alpha-GPC, is a synthetic version of choline.
Choline is the precursor of acetylcholine, this neurotransmitter is responsible for learning and memory.
Acetylcholine deficiency has been linked to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
Alpha GPC is marketed as a memory enhancer worldwide and as a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease in Europe.
Alpha GPC quickly and efficiently moves choline to the brain, where it is used to form healthy brain cell membranes, stimulate the growth of new brain cells, and increase levels of the neurotransmitters dopamine, serotonin, and gamma-aminobutyric acid, a brain chemical associated with relaxation.
Alpha GPC is a good choice for improving memory, thinking skills, stroke, dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Citicoline is a natural compound found in every cell in the human body. Citicoline increases blood flow to the brain, helps build healthy cell membranes, increases brain plasticity, and can greatly improve memory, concentration, and attention.
Doctors throughout Europe have been prescribing citicoline for many years for the treatment of serious neurological disorders such as age-related memory loss, stroke, traumatic brain injury, dementia, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
Citicoline reduces the harmful effects of free radicals that cause damage and inflammation, the two main causes of brain aging.
It is believed that the lack of vitamins is a factor of the past, but it is not. Up to 40% of Americans are deficient in vitamin B12, 90% in vitamin D, and 75% in the mineral magnesium. The lack of one or another trace element can have a profound effect on the brain. The Harvard School of Public Health advises all adults to take a multivitamin, just in case, to fill any possible nutritional gaps.