Posts tagged: supplements

Top 10 Supplements To Improve Your Brain

Top 10 Supplements To Improve Your Brain
Top 10 Supplements To Improve Your Brain. Graphic © herbshealthhappiness.com. Image © shutterstock.com (under license)

How do you like the idea of “improving your memory, your mindset, your mood, so you can be happier, so you can think sharper, have better cognitive function, be able to adapt and react quicker and more effectively… overall, feeling great and living your life at your highest level!” Here are 10 top supplements that have been positively associated with brain health.

1. Vitamin D3

Vitamin D helps stimulate the production of hormones and plays a role in over 1000 genes in our body! Vitamin D receptors are also found in abundance in the hippocampus -the region of the brain where we store both short term and long term memory. Vitamin D also stimulates the production of neurotransmitters, stimulates nerve growth and improves synaptic density. Individuals with vitamin D deficiency were found by scientific study to have a 42% higher risk of developing cognitive impairment!

To get your vitamin D, get a few minutes of sun per day, and consider supplementing 1000-3000iu – especially in winter. Opinions as to the optimal dose of vitamin D do vary considerably. RDA is often listed as 1000iu but many people are taking higher amounts. Dr. David Jockers recommends 1000iu per 25lbs of body weight! Vitamin D should be taken with food, ideally early in the day.

It’s possible to get your vitamin D levels tested and if you are experiencing any kind of ‘brain fog’ or cognitive difficulties, this may be a test that is very valuable! One more tip, Vitamin D works together with Vitamin K2 and it is also advised to take these 2 together.

2. Fish Oil (Long Chain Omega 3s – EPA and DHA)

Extremely powerful for neurological function, mood, memory. It’s advisable to eat wild caught salmon or a high quality omega 3 fish oil supplement thatis rich in EPA and DHA. Flax oil provides short chain Omega 3’s, which are not converted to high chain length Omega 3’s in great quantity by the body. 1-2 grams per day advised to begin with, with food (because it is fat soluble), gradually building up to 3-5g per day. This is considered by Dr. Jockers to be especially valuable for individuals with ADHD, depression, dementia, Alzheimer’s and in severe cases he is even building them up to 7 to 10g per day!

3. Probiotics

The “Gut-Brain Axis” is now established as critical to neurological function. 90-95% of our neurotransmitters are produced in the gut! So it is vital to have a good “microbiome” – bacterial ecosystem in the gut – and various mental symptoms have been associated with having a bad balance of bacteria in the gut. Good bacteria in the belly will boost B vitamins, which are vital for healthy brain function – and will overwhelm ‘bad bacteria’. Bad bacteria and parasites are known to release toxins that can damage the brain.

4. Magnesium

Magnesium is one of the most critical elements for health. Many people are magnesium deficient and this can cause insomnia, ADHD, anxiety. Magnesium is essential to vital functions, helps protect the blood-brain barrier and keep it more resistant to toxins. See this report from Herbs-Info.com on The Best And Worst Forms Of Magnesium To Take As Supplements

5. Vitamin B12

B12 helps with the production of myelin, which is the critical sheath that protects the nerves.
B12 deficiency can cause neuropathy (numbness and tingling in the hands), fatigue and many other symptoms.

6. CoQ10

CoQ10 is an antioxidant and helps form energy within the mitochondria, the ‘powerhouse’ of the cell. Our levels get depleted as we age. CoQ10 is also regarded as very valuable for heart health.

7. N-Acetyl-Cysteine

This is precursor for Glutathione, known as the “master antioxidant”. NAC has been shown to help accelerate the removal of heavy metals from the body. It may help with immune function, psychiatric disorders and much more. We have a full free tutorial with tons more info on NAC here: Health Benefits Of N-Acetyl-Cysteine.

8. Zinc

Key for reducing inflammation in the body, and is also key for producing the neurotransmitters dopamine (motivating) and serotonin (sense of well being, calming). Research also shows that it improves depression, ADHD and may improve sexual function, especially in males.

9. Alpha Lipoic Acid

Alpha Lipoic Acid is a well known supplement with numerous health benefits, including for brain chemistry. This molecule is both fat and water soluble, which means it can migrate in and out of various organs and act as a ‘transport molecule’. It scavenges free radicals, reduces oxidative stress, and also has a chelating effect on mercury. If being considered as a mercury protocol it is recommended to check out the Cutler protocol, which advises breaking the daily dose into 4 ‘quarter doses’ and taking them strictly six hours apart, even to the point of waking up with an alarm clock to take the 4th dose at the correct time. This is because the half-life of ALA is short in the body and once the level goes down, mercury would be ‘dropped’ instead of taken all the way through to elimination. There is more to the Cutler protocol including “pulsing” and so further research is advised if ALA is being considered for mercury detox.

10. Phosphidatylserine

Phosphidatylserine is a powerful nutrient with brain health effects noted by numerous scientific studies. 200mg a day for 2 months given to children gave significant improvements in academic performance, ADHD symptoms, mood and behavior in a 2014 study.

Thanks to Dr. David Jockers for the video, which these study notes were based on!

Liposomal Delivery Makes Supplements More Bioavailable

Liposomal Delivery Makes Supplements More Bioavailable
Graphic © herbshealthhappiness.com

Having a well-balanced diet is one of the key points in staying healthy. Coupled with regular exercise and good lifestyle choices, you can improve your quality of life and even extend it. However, there are nutrients that we still need to take supplements for, depending on the demands of our daily activities. If you work nights or have to deal with a compromised immune system, you may need to take additional Vitamin C supplements. However, studies have shown that Vitamin C is not highly bioavailable, meaning that it isn’t easily absorbed by the body. This is where liposomal technology steps in.

The Bioavailability Of Nutrients

In order to understand the concept of bioavailability, let’s take a look at Vitamin C. According to the Office of Dietary Supplements under the National Institutes of Health, Vitamin C or L-ascorbic acid (a water-soluble vitamin) plays an important role in boosting the body’s immunity and aiding in protein metabolism. However, they report that taking more Vitamin C actually hinders the body’s ability to absorb it. Roughly 70 to 90 percent of this vitamin is absorbed when taken at amounts of 30 to 180 mg per day (that’s low, compared to the typical stock dose of vitamin C in the drugstores, which is 500 mg). At amounts of more than 1 gram per day, absorption falls to less than 50 percent. [1]

That means that the bioavailability of Vitamin C is quite low. Bioavailability is therefore how much of a substance the body can absorb and process effectively. And Vitamin C is not alone; there are plenty of other nutrients that have low bioavailability, like iron which is only 14 to 18 percent bioavailable (even lower if you are on a vegetarian diet, where bioavailability of iron is 5 to 12%). [2]

The Answer: Liposomal Supplementation

The reason why many nutrients have low bioavailability is because of their inability to pass through the body’s multi-layered cell membranes. Liposomes, on the other hand are spherical vessels made of phospholipids, a component of the cell membrane, that make it easier for them to travel in an out of the cell. Using this principle, placing much-needed nutrients like vitamin C and iron in liposomes can greatly improve their bioavailability leading to better absorption by the body. [3]

Akbarzadeh, et. al. in 2013 published a study on liposomal delivery of pharmaceutical agents, concluding that liposomes provided excellent drug delivery to specific locations in the body. This led to better-targeted drug therapy and a significant reduction in drug toxicities and side effects. [3]

Again, this principle is used in several recent publications that focus on nutrient supplementation. According to Xu, et. al. in 2014, liposomal delivery of iron was better than regular oral supplementation of iron. The study used a rat model of exercise and found that the experimental group that was treated with liposomal iron had better red blood cell, serum iron, and liver iron levels. The researchers concluded that iron liposomes effectively managed iron deficiency in the test subjects with very minimal side effects. [4]

An older study in 2010 had very interesting results regarding liposomal supplementation. Most of the studies that focus on liposomes are limited to oral intake but Lee and Tsai focused on a different route. They found that coenzyme Q10, an antioxidant, was better absorbed topically when in a liposomal formulation. Coenzyme Q10 is also popularly used in cosmetics to help with skin health but bioavailability through topical applicant has always been low. The study reports that liposomal coenzyme Q10 is very promising in improving the absorption of this substance through the skin. [5]

Also in 2010, Mach, et. al. published a study in an anti-cancer journal that showed how liposomal formulations of curcumin, a spice that has significant anti-tumor and anti-inflammatory properties, were better absorbed by the body and had very low potential for drug interaction with chemotherapeutic medication. This suggests that liposomal formulations can also improve the bioavailability of natural extracts. [6]

If you are asking how much do liposomes improve bioavailability, the answer is it varies. Different studies have different results; different nutrients have different results. A study on capsaicin extract found that liposomal formulation improved bioavailability three-fold while a two-fold increase in bioavailability was seen in a study on ferric citrate. [7][8]

With numerous studies being done on the liposomal preparation of supplements, it cannot be denied how it is able to improve the bioavailability of numerous substances. From pharmaceutical products to natural supplements, liposomes are able to help the body absorb them better. The next time you want to include supplements in your diet, maybe take a look at liposomal formulations and see if they work for you.

References:

[1] Office of Dietary Supplements. Vitamin C. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-HealthProfessional/

[2] Office of Dietary Supplements. Iron. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iron-HealthProfessional/

[3] Akbarzadeh, A., et. al. (2013). Liposome: classification, preparation, and applications. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3599573/

[4] Xu, Z., et. al. (2014). Encapsulation of iron in liposomes significantly improved the efficiency of iron supplementation in strenuously exercised rats. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25296704

[5] Lee, W. & Tsai, T. (2010). Preparation and characterization of liposomal coenzyme Q10 for in vivo topical application. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20635514

[6] Mach, C., et. al. (2010). Evaluation of liposomal curcumin cytochrome p450 metabolism. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20393001

[7] Zhu, Y., et. al. (2015). Improved oral bioavailability of capsaicin via liposomal nanoformulation: preparation, in vitro drug release and pharmacokinetics in rats. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25231341

[8] Yuan, L., et. al. (2016). Enhanced oral bioavailability and tissue distribution of ferric citrate through liposomal encapsulation. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/19476337.2016.1221858