As the title suggests, the best way to improve brain function is to improve the amount of energy your brain has available. To do this you have to: Support your Mitochondria, and Reduce Inflammation.
However, the best ways to accomplish this may surprise you.
For those who want my most immediate suggestions to boost energy production in the brain they would be:
1. Acetyl-L-Carnitine - 1000 -2000mg per day, i.e. 2 capsules once to twice per day on an empty stomach. Morning and afternoon are the best.
2. Micro-PQQ - 20mg once per day upon arising
Alpha Lipoic Acid, would be a close runner up, as would Coenzyme Q10 and adaptogens like Rhodiola and Ginseng. In fact, one of the quickest ways I have found to escape the "afternoon nods" is to take 200mg of Alpha Lipoic Acid. (Note: 4 of the above ingredients are available in our Cell Fuel formula.)
Yet, what happens if you are deficient in critical B-Vitamins, essential for neurological function, or deficient in essential fatty acids, which are structurally important and highly anti-inflammatory? If these are in short supply, the above supplements may still help, but your brain will be far from its optimum functioning state.
Also, you likely know about our microbiome, i.e. the sum total of the bacteria that live in, and on our bodies, that profoundly affect our health. You may say, "Oh ya, I already know how important probiotics are." But do you realize that the bugs in your gut can dramatically impact your brain function? Further, the wrong gut bacteria can actually cause neurological diseases like Autism, ADHD, Parkinson's, MS, and Alzheimer's? [See source below]
"How?", you ask. You guessed it... inflammation! Think... the gut and brain are on fire, and the two are directly linked. (We're talking "hardwired"!!!) A fire in one can easily spread to the other. And how does inflammation affect our cells? They don't do their job! Whether it's the gut's job of digesting food and blocking allergens, or your brain remembering things, or shutting you down at night for a restful sleep, and waking you up for the day. When a tissue is inflamed its cells simply don't work properly.
So for all the hundreds of you that I have heard say, "Do you have anything for memory...or insomnia, or brain fog?", would it surprise you that one of the answers is a good source of probiotics? Why? Because they exert major anti-inflammatory effects in the gut, which then signals the brain that "All is Well...no need for alarm or defense."
Chalk up another one for a natural approach to health!
"But hold on" you say. "How can inflammation cause Alzheimer's, or Parkinson's, or autism?"
The answer is by shutting down energy production! Inflammation brings with it a wave of oxidation (think of a hot, dry wind). This creates an imbalance. Too much oxidation, (and not enough reduction) stops your cellular furnaces called mitochondria from using oxygen normally and causes deficiencies in energy or ATP production. And how well do your cells function without energy? They don't! Especially your brain cells!
Brain cells are highly dependent on oxygen to produce energy.
To prove this to yourself imagine the following... You tie a tourniquet around your arm below the shoulder. In 2 minutes your fingers start to tingle. In 10 minutes your arm is dark purple, mostly numb, but still quite painful. After releasing the tourniquet, normal feeling and function gradually return, though your arm remains partially numb for quite a while.
Now try that around your neck! Actually don't...because when the brain is deprived of oxygen for three or more minutes it usually results in brain damage.
So what is the difference between oxygen being absent, or not being able to use oxygen because your brain is inflamed?
Little to none, except degree.
The net effect is the same. You don't produce energy properly, you move into lactic-acid producing metabolism, and depending on how bad the inflammation is it can shut down your neurons and put your brain into "La La Land"!
Though some tissues like your muscles are adapted to producing energy without oxygen for longer periods of time, in general it doesn't matter which tissue is involved: if it’s inflamed, dysfunction will ensue along with excess acidity.
So what do you do to prevent and/or reverse it? Among other things...
- You reduce inflammation, either directly with anti-inflammatory botanicals and diet, or indirectly with things like probiotics. (Identifying foods you have an immune response to is particularly important.)
- Support the mitochondria to balance-out the effects of excess oxidation. Things like Coenzyme Q10, Acetyl-L-Carnitine, Alpha-Lipoic Acid, NAC, and PQQ
- Alkalinize to reduce the excess metabolic acidity that is ultimately caused by excess inflammation with things like citrate mineral salts, and fresh vegetables and fruits
- Support your liver detoxification...again with NAC, alpha lipoic acid, milk thistle and botanicals like schizandra.
- You balance out your immune function especially by optimizing your vitamin D status.
- Balance your blood sugar and insulin levels by minimizing your starch and sugar intake, eating adequate protein and fat, (especially omega3), addressing minerals like magnesium, chromium, or using botanicals like beberine, cinnamon, bitter melon, green tea, etc
- Reduce stress with active relaxation techniques like meditation and Yoga, or botanicals like Kava
- Exercise at minimum every second day
This is part of the Mitochondrial Maintenance protocol that we have used at Optimum Health since 2005.
Interestingly similar approaches are now being studied and used to produce reversals in Alzheimer's and dementia.
Source: BRAIN MAKER, David Perlmutter, MD, First Edition: copyright 2015; Little, Brown and Company, Hachette Book Group: 1290 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10104