Cognitive impairment, including memory loss and confusion, affects one in nine Americans aged 45 and older, and mood disorders impact more than 20% of the population. In fact, a recent study estimates that Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias will double by 2060. The good news: you can protect against cognitive decline, enhance focus and improve mood with these 5 powerful supplements.
Want to boost brain power? Try nootropics, a class of supplements linked with memory, focus and alertness. Bacopa monnieri, a traditional Ayurvedic herb, has been shown to enhance memory, increase recall and improve cognitive function, as well as reduce depression and improve mood. Other studies suggest that bacopa may also protect against age-related neurodegeneration and cognitive decline. Ginkgo biloba, an herb used in Chinese medicine, enhances blood flow to the brain and may improve focus, thinking skills and some aspects of memory, while protecting against age-related cognitive decline and memory loss.
Fish oil contains two types of omega-3 fats: EPA and DHA. Of these, DHA may be especially important in protecting the brain from cognitive decline. Low levels of DHA have been linked with a reduction in brain size, one sign of brain aging, and some studies suggest DHA supplementation in people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) can significantly improve cognitive function and slow the progression of brain atrophy. In one study of people with age-related cognitive decline, those who took DHA showed improved learning and memory function. In another study, people with the highest DHA levels had a 47% lower risk of all types of dementia.
Related: Dr. Ron’s Ultra-Pure Krill Oil is rich in the omega-3s EPA and DHA, and is sourced from the pristine waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Did you know that it can help with the symptoms of PMS and menopause? Learn more—The Many Benefits of Krill Oil.
Supplementing with probiotics may improve mood and enhance brain health. The gut is involved in the production of neurotransmitters, and microbiota appear to communicate with the brain, influencing anxiety, mood and cognition. Gut bacteria also protect against inflammation, linked with depression, anxiety and other mood disorders. And a meta-analysis found probiotics were associated with a significant reduction in depression, in both healthy people and those with major depressive disorder.
Related: Doc’s Friendly Flora, by Dr. Ron's Ultra-Pure, will have a profound effect on your body’s ecology. A synergistic pair of beneficial microbial families—Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium—combine to help colonize your system.
B vitamins, especially vitamin B6, vitamin B12 and folate, are key in brain health and can protect against Alzheimer’s disease and age-related cognitive decline. Inadequate B-vitamin status can lead to elevated levels of homocysteine, a recognized risk factor for cognitive impairment, Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Research shows vitamin B supplements slow the rate of brain atrophy in specific regions linked with Alzheimer’s and cognitive decline and can improve memory and cognitive performance in older adults with elevated homocysteine levels. Low levels of B12 have also been linked with poor memory, impaired cognition as well as higher levels of neuroinflammatory compounds that are thought to play a role in Alzheimer’s disease.
Related: Maximize absorption of your supplements by making sure they don’t contain coatings or flow agents like magnesium stearate. Dr. Ron’s Ultra-Pure B-Optimal Complex is 100% additive-free and uses the most bioavailable forms of B vitamins. It’s ideal for those individuals with the MTHFR gene mutation as the folate and B-12 are in the methylated form—all ready for use by your body.
As you age, neurons are lost and the brain’s ability to grow and form new connections declines, impacting cognition and mental function. Lion’s mane, a medicinal mushroom used in cooking and in traditional Chinese medicine, may protect against this loss. Studies suggest lion’s mane may increase nerve growth factor (NGF), a protein that’s critical for neuron growth, maintenance and survival. It also contains hericenones and erinacines, compounds that have been shown to stimulate the growth of brain cells and have neuroprotective and cognitive- enhancing effects.
Related: The right nutrients help maintain strong mental function and brain health as we age. Dr. Ron’s Deep Thought is a special, proprietary blend of six ingredients which studies have shown to be important in brain function, mental clarity and short term memory.
Written by Lisa Turner for Clean Eating Magazine and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.