In recent years, consumer demand has exploded for products that will protect and increase healthy brain function and enhance mental acuity. Global industry surveys show that sales of key ingredients such as omega-3 oils, phospholipids, CoQ10 and ginkgo biloba have risen rapidly. Hundreds of new combination ingredient formulae are flooding the marketplace and many novel ingredients have been introduced. Clearly, consumers are concerned about their mental health and are looking to nutrition and supplementation for protection.
Well established ingredients such as ginkgo biloba and DHA-rich omega-3 fish oils are increasingly widely used. Sales of CoQ10 which protects against dementia nearly doubled between 2002 and 2007. However, there are many other safe and effective nutrients now available that will help you sharpen your brain power.
Huperzine-A (Huperzia serrata) is derived from a Lycopodium club moss. It has the rare ability to restrain the over-active expression of the enzyme acetylcholinesterase which degrades the all-important neurotransmitter acetylcholine whose brain levels influence memory. As we age the levels of acetylcholine decline and the activity of acetylcholinesterase increases. Even very small amounts of huperzine (100 mcg/day) can redress this safely. Trials of huperzine have been or are underway for its use in Alzheimers disease. Huperzine is available as a stand alone ingredient in NeuPerzine by Biotics Research or as an ingredient in Bell Super IQ Brain Function and Nu-Lifes Focus Formula.
A Canadian company, Ovos Natural Health an AOR brand has developed a new brain supplement homotaurine marketed as Vivimind. A naturally-occuring amino Acid found in certain seaweeds, it is claimed that homotaurine protects the brains hippocampus region from a loss of volume (brain shrinkage) due to accumulation of toxic debris. By this means Vivimind is thought to protect memory function and cognitive function.
The membranes of our brain cells are rich in phospholipids. This class of substances maintains the integrity and function of each cell and their interrelations. As we age one particular phospholipid phosphatidylserine, known as PS declines sharply leaving our brain function at risk. Supplying PS in the diet ( 300 mg./day) can restore its presence to normal levels with significant positive effects for memory and cognitive function. PS has been well studied and there are many authorities in the field that are enthusiastic about it. Natural Factors and AOR make good quality PS products.
Vinpocetine is a substance derived from the periwinkle plant (Vinca minor). It has been used and marketed as a prescription drug or dietary supplement in many countries for over 30 years. It is popularly considered as a true nootropic or Smart Drug. Its mode of action is thought to be through increasing vasodilation in the brain thereby increasing blood flow. As a drug, vinpocetine is given following a stroke to protect the brain from loss of oxygen. This is a result of the ability of vinpocetine to enhance the capacity of red blood cells to deliver oxygen to neurons. Vinpocetine also has pronounced antioxidant properties in the brain. As little as 10 mg/day is sufficient for most people. Sisu and AOR both make vinpocetine products.
What you feed your brain affects its function. If you want to feel happy, be smart and keep your memory then pay attention and get informed. Exercise caution but keep your mind open and be curious!