Fresh grapes

12 Nutrients for Improving Cognitive Health & 6 Things to Avoid

The brain is made of some of the most complex, nutritionally demanding, and long-living cells in the body, which like the rest of you, require the proper nutrients to thrive. And scientific studies have shown that our nutritional health plays a vital role in determining how well our brain functions as we age. 

Fortunately, aspects of cognitive health like memory, behavior, and concentration can all be improved with quality brain nutrition found in nootropic supplements.

To help you identify the nutrients that might support your needs, we’ve compiled a list of 12 essential nutrients for improving cognitive health. And, because we couldn’t help ourselves, 6 things to avoid.

What are nootropics?

Nootropics are a diverse group of supplements and compounds that work to improve your cognitive health.1

Nootropic supplements can be used in healthy individuals seeking to improve memory or enhance cognition in addition to helping individuals experiencing cognitive impairment. Many nootropics benefit the brain and your overall health, while others encourage a healthy balance of the nutrients required by the brain. 

How do nootropics help the brain?

Each nootropic works somewhat differently, and there is ongoing research on many of them. However, we do know that nootropics can help improve the brain’s supply of glucose and oxygen, improve blood flow to the brain, prevent damage to the nervous system, and more.

12 Nutrients for Improving Cognitive Health

Numerous brain health nutrients are available to improve your mental capacity or protect your memory and cognitive function as you age. But because they all work a little differently, it’s important to understand how targeted nutrients work. 

Here are 12 of my favorite nutrients for improving cognitive health.

1. Resveratrol

Resveratrol is a naturally occurring compound found primarily in red wine that has been shown to offer significant improvements in concentration, focus, and memory loss by controlling inflammation, boosting dopamine, and fighting brain cell aging.

2. CoQ10

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a natural antioxidant synthesized by every cell in our body to convert fats into usable energy. CoQ10 helps protect against cellular damage by raising energy levels, benefiting those suffering from age-related cognitive decline or neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s or Huntington's.   

3. Glycine

Glycine is a neurotransmitter and amino acid that, when supplemented, can help restore serotonin levels in the brain, thereby helping to improve sleep quality and reduce fatigue.

Glycine can also boost cognition, memory, and mood by helping to improve brain cell signaling, suggesting that it may assist with neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. 

4. NMN

Nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) is a precursor to nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+), a coenzyme responsible for numerous metabolic processes in the body. NMN helps enhance cognitive health by repairing blood vessels in the brain, increasing blood supply, and improving cerebral circulation. NMN’s ability to lower oxidative stress and increase blood flow can also help improve memory and physical coordination.

5. Melatonin

Melatonin may be one of the most common nootropics, regularly used to help promote quality sleep because of its ability to help regulate the hormones that control your circadian rhythm. Melatonin is also a powerful antioxidant that can help protect the brain from oxidative damage after a traumatic brain injury or stroke. 

Melatonin levels and Alzheimer’s disease are also closely linked, with research showing that as melatonin levels decline with age, the incidence of Alzheimer’s increases.

6. Magnesium

Magnesium is one of the most abundant minerals in your body and is critical for cognitive health. Not only is it necessary for turning your food into cellular energy, but magnesium is also essential for our ability to learn and form memories.

7. Lithium Orotate

Lithium orotate acts as a neurotransmitter in addition to helping increase the production of new brain cells. It’s been shown to improve mood, memory, and cognitive function while reducing anxiety, making this nutrient very popular for patients with depression or bipolar disorder.

8. DHA and EPA

DHA and EPA are both omega-3 fatty acids essential for brain structure development, function, and protection. DHA primarily supports the growth and functional development of the brain in infants; however, it is necessary for maintaining cognitive health in adults. EPA, on the other hand, supports the regulation of cellular inflammation.

9. Taurine

Taurine is one of the most abundant amino acids in the body and can help promote healthy cardiovascular function, mood, and longevity. Taurine helps activate GABA and glycine receptors in the brain, impacting memory and mood while also controlling genes to enhance longevity and inhibit degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.  

10. Bioidentical Hormones

Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy may also help slow the progressive decline of the brain with age and positively impact focus, memory, and mood.

11. Acetyl-L-Carnitine

Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALCAR) is an amino acid that improves blood flow, protects against toxins, and boosts physical and mental energy. ALCAR also acts as a neuroprotective helping to slow the progression of cognitive impairment.

12. Glutathione

Glutathione, commonly referred to as the “master” antioxidant, helps defend most cells from inflammation. As a nootropic, glutathione helps boost memory, improve thinking, and enhance energy levels. In addition, it helps prevent neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

6 Things to Avoid for Cognitive Health

Memory loss and decreased brain power do not have to be a given as we age!

We can help control our cognitive health and utilize many of the nootropics we previously reviewed. However, you can also help maintain your brain health by avoiding these six things:

Glyphosate. Glyphosate is a widely used herbicide associated with various mood disorders, cancer, and kidney damage and is believed to be a primary environmental factor associated with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Heavy metals. Heavy metals, such as mercury, lead, and aluminum, can build toxic levels in the body and brain, leading to symptoms such as fatigue, memory loss, muscle weakness, and much more. To prevent the accumulation of heavy metals in the body, avoid eating foods high in metals, including the larger fish (blufin tuna, American eel, shark, and swordfish), rice, non-organic vegetables. Unfiltered water can also contain heavy metals, including lead and arsenic, so have your water checked! 

MSG. MSG is a food additive found in many processed foods. Even though the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers MSG safe to consume, some studies have indicated that MSG may contribute to obesity, nervous system disorders, and metabolic conditions.

Fluoride. Hgh fluoride levels can cause neurotoxicity in adults and negatively impact cognitive development in children. 

Artificial sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners have been linked to cognitive and behavioral concerns causing symptoms such as seizures, migraines, anxiety, and depression.

Empower Your Brain Toward Optimal Function

Your brain’s health and ability to help you communicate, think, plan, and act are, in many ways, the epilogue of your organs’ functional interactions.

Bolstering and maintaining your brain’s health is interconnected with the health of your entire body. By digging deeper into your brain health, we can identify the foundational challenges leading to your suboptimal brain health and empower you to discover your optimal brain function.

Want a brain upgrade? Join the BrainReboot Program for a comprehensive assessment and brain revitalization journey.

Discover how revitalizing your brain can change everything.

Limited spots are available for our BrainReboot Program.

Sign up today for a Complimentary BrainReboot Strategy Session and discover how you can strategically empower your brain toward optimal function.

Resources

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Onions, garlic and herbs bio from the garden

Pickled Garlic

 

Pickled Garlic

Garlic is a massively potent antiviral and antibacterial. I use garlic daily in my cooking, because it is SOOO delicious and amazing for the body. Pickled garlic is extra potent as it is packed with probiotics but fun to eat on its own as it is milder than fresh, raw garlic.

  • pint jar
  • 40 raw garlic cloves (peeled, organic if possible)
  • 12 oz raw apple cider vinegar

Optional ingredients:

  • 1 tsp dill
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  1. Place garlic and optional ingredients into the pint jar.
  2. Add the apple cider vinegar until the cloves are covered. Leave ¼” of space at the top of the jar.
  3. Close the lid and leave the jar in a dark, room temperature location for two weeks.
  4. After two weeks, place in your refrigerator for two more weeks.
Side Dish
International