Christina Aguilera’s song, “Genie in a Bottle,” wasn’t written about brain supplements, but it poses the question: Can we fortify our brains by taking a pill?
Here’s a list of some of the most common supplements currently touted as helping to fortify or renew our aging brains—lofty goals at best. I’m not endorsing these, however, and hope you discuss any supplements you take with your health care provider. If your “regular” doctor isn’t fluent in supplements, a naturopathic doctor (N. D.) may be a better choice: Check out The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians. Always beware when combining supplements with prescription medications.
If you want to do your own search for literature about brain supplements, go where journalists go: www.PubMed.com.
Here’s an initial list, certainly not “complete”:
1. Acetyl-L-Carnitine: This amino acid plays a major role in heart and brain function and muscles. Research suggests it helps protect heavy drinkers’ brains.
2. Astaxanthin: It’s an antioxidant compound derived from marine algae. This carotenoid causes wild Pacific salmon to have their pink color.
3. Choline Inositol: It’s another brain nutrient that affects brain hormone levels and brain function.
4. Phosphatidylserine: Simple description: A natural nutrient found as part of the cell membrane of cells. More complex: This phospholipid helps brain cells metabolize glucose and release and bind with neurotransmitters.
5. Prevagen: The manufacturer says this supplement contains the ingredient apoaequorin, a unique protein originally obtained from a specific species of jellyfish called Aequorea victoria found in thePuget Sound. Apoaequorin is a calcium-binding protein that is a well-matched replacement for the same proteins that our brains need to balance calcium, but which diminish in the aging process. It’s pricey.
6. Turmeric: This seasoning belongs to the ginger family, is an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. You know it as the “yellow” in curry powder.
You can purchase supplements individually or buy “combo” products. The caveat to all of this is that either way you go, it can get expensive. I’ve found that combining my own separate products usually costs about the same as an “all-in-one” product. You?
(Photo courtesy: © Azimage | Dreamstime.com