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How to Maximize Cognitive Health by Natural Factors

How to Maximize Cognitive Health by Natural Factors

By Dr. Maxine Fidler, ND

Mitochondria, the cell’s powerhouses, are vital for healthy living. They can become less efficient over time, impacting both physical and mental energy and health. Even normal, everyday stress may challenge mitochondrial function.(1) Fortunately, there are things we can do to help compensate for the normal stress of daily living, keep our mitochondria functioning well, and maintain our cognitive health.

An active lifestyle can help support cognitive health. Physical and mental activity can help keep the brain sharp, so that it can adapt to changing circumstances.(2) Physical and mental exercise may also help protect neuroplasticity, which is how flexible our brain is for learning new things.(3) There are also dietary supplements that may help nourish our energy-producing mitochondria, contribute antioxidants, and support cognitive health.

Antioxidants are also vital for health maintenance. If you’ve made a fruit salad, you may know that using lemon juice keeps apples from turning brown. This works because lemon juice contains vitamin C, which is a source of antioxidants. Similarly, antioxidants are needed in the body to compensate for free radicals generated through normal body processes. As we get older, our body’s antioxidant systems become less efficient, allowing free radicals to build up. The good news is that we can increase our antioxidants through a healthy diet (fruits and veggies!) and with supplements, helping to support cognitive health.

L-carnitine

L-carnitine helps support mitochondria by giving them fatty acids so they can make energy in the form of ATP. (4) L-carnitine may help support both physical and mental energy. (5) L-carnitine can be taken alone or in combination with other mitochondrial or antioxidant support, such as found in Natural Factors regenerLife ™.

CoQ10

While our bodies make CoQ10, levels tend to decrease with age. Supplemental CoQ10 can help maintain healthy levels. (6) CoQ10 may help support mitochondrial health by giving mitochondria the building blocks to make ATP, the body’s energy source. CoQ10 may also support antioxidant processes to protect against oxidative stress. (7)

ElevATP™

ElevATP is a combination of ancient peat and apple (Malus domestica) extracts and may help increase both intracellular and intramuscular levels of ATP. (8, 9) This may help support healthy performance adaptation during resistance training, as well as maintain normal mitochondrial ATP (energy) production. Ancient peat and apple may also help contribute to antioxidant activity, thus supporting mitochondrial function. (10)

Glutathione

As the body’s primary antioxidant, glutathione plays an important role in healthy detoxification. Levels of glutathione may decrease with age and may be correlated with overall health status. (11, 12) As seen in research studies, supplemental glutathione may help support and increase body stores of glutathione and may also maintain healthy immune function. (13)

Superoxide dismutase (SOD)

Superoxide dismutase is another of the body’s antioxidants. Superoxide dismutase from plant extracts, such as melon, provides antioxidant support, helps reduce perceived physical and mental stress, reduces physical and mental fatigue, and helps support overall brain health. (14, 15)

Healthy action plan

  • Exercise regularly to keep the blood flowingPerform mental activity to keep the brain sharp
  • Eat a healthy diet with brightly coloured fruits and vegetables – lots of antioxidants
  • Take appropriate supplementation for mitochondrial and antioxidant support

Be sure to check with your health care practitioner if you have any pre-existing conditions, are pregnant or breastfeeding, or are taking other medicines, before starting any dietary supplements. 

1. Picard M, McEwen BS. Psychological stress and mitochondria: a conceptual framework. Psychosom Med. 2018; 80(2):126-40.

2. Kirk-Sanchez NJ, McGough EL. Physical exercise and cognitive performance in the elderly: current perspectives. Clin Interv Aging. 2014; 9:51-62.

3. Phillips C. Lifestyle modulators of neuroplasticity: how physical activity, mental engagement, and diet promote cognitive health during aging. Neural Plast. 2017; 2017:3589271.

4. Longo N, Frigeni M, Pasquali M. Carnitine transport and fatty acid oxidation. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2016; 1863(10):2422-35.

5. Malaguarnera M, Cammalleri L, Gargante MP, et al. L-carnitine treatment reduces severity of physical and mental fatigue and increases cognitive functions in centenarians: a randomized and controlled clinical trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007; 86(6):1738-44.

6. De Barcelos IP, Haas RH. CoQ10 and aging. Biology (Basel). 2019; 8(2):28.  

7. Garrido-Maraver J, Cordero MD, Oropesa-Avila M, et al. Clinical applications of coenzyme Q10. Front Biosci (Landmark Ed). 2014; 19:619-33.

8. Lee B-J, Tseng Y-F, Yen C-H, et al. Effects of coenzyme Q10 supplementation (300 mg/day) on antioxidation and anti-inflammation in coronary artery disease patients during statins therapy: a randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Nutr J. 2013; 12(1):142.

9. Reyes-Izquierdo T, Nemzer B, Argumedo R, et al. Effect of the dietary supplement ElevATP on blood ATP level: an acute pilot clinical study. J Aging Res Clin Pract. 2013; 2:178–84.

10. Reyes-Izquierdo T, Shu C, Argumedo R, et al. The effect of elevATP™ on whole blood ATP levels: a single dose, crossover clinical study. J Aging Res Clin Pract. 2014; 3:56–60.

11. Joy JM, Vogel RM, Moon JR, et al. Ancient peat and apple extracts supplementation may improve strength and power adaptations in resistance trained men. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2016; 16:224.

12. Julius M, Lang CA, Gleiberman L, et al. Glutathione and morbidity in a community-based sample of elderly. J Clin Epidemiol. 1994; 47(9):1021-6.

13. Pérez LM, Hooshmand B, Mangialasche F, et al. Glutathione serum levels and rate of multimorbidity development in older adults. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2020; 75(6):1089-94.

14. Sekhar RV, Patel SG, Guthikonda AP, et al. Deficient synthesis of glutathione underlies oxidative stress in aging and can be corrected by dietary cysteine and glycine supplementation. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011; 94(3):847-53.

15. Carillon J, Notin C, Schmitt K, et al. Dietary supplementation with a superoxide dismutase-melon concentrate reduces stress, physical and mental fatigue in healthy people: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Nutrients. 2014; 6(6):2348-59.

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