Memory and Brain Function
By Steven Horne, RH (AHG) & Kimberly Balas, ND
See also Alzheimer's Disease

Understanding the biochemical make-up of the mind is helpful in understanding how to nourish it properly. For starters, here are the five most important nutrients your brain needs to healthy.

l. Water
The brain is 70% water, so it is very sensitive to dehydration. So, if you want to think more clearly and protect your gray stuff, start by drinking more pure water.

2. Good fats
Fifty to sixty percent of the "dry" weight of the brain is fat, with 35% of that fat being omega-3 fatty acids. So, if you want to keep your brain healthy you need to be a "fathead" by eating the right kinds of fats. The most abundant omega-3 fatty acid in the brain is DHA.
DHA is essential for proper brain function and is found primarily in fish oil. Adding cold-water fish, such as halibut, mackerel, salmon, herring, anchovies, trout and tuna, to the diet is very beneficial for your brain. DHA is available as a single supplement and is found in Super Omega-3 EPA.
Vegetarians, in particular, are often very low in this fatty acid and should consider supplementation.

At the same time, avoid hydrogenated oils (shortening and margarine) and transfatty acids from processed and deep fried foods. These fats are not good for your brain.

3. Amino acids (protein)
Besides fat, the brain also needs amino acids from protein. Amino acids are necessary for the production of neurotransmitters. Meals containing adequate protein tend to increase levels of dopamine and norepinephrine (Which results in a more alert mind and a better mood). Protein foods are especially important at breakfast. Having protein for breakfast helps to increase mental alertness and stabilize blood sugar levels. A good supplement for neurotransmitter production is Super Algae. It contains significant amounts of amino acids and has been used to improve alertness, energy and pituitary function.

4. B-Vitamins
Foods in the B-vitamins are essential for lowering the risk of Alzheimer's and dementia, as well as cardiovascular disease. B-vitamins are involved in helping the formation of neurotransmitters such as dopamine, epinephrine, and serotonin. Recent studies have shown a
link between declining memory and Alzheimer's disease and inadequate levels of folic acid, vitamin B-12 and vitamin B-6. Nutri-Calm is a good choice for getting B-vitamins and Other nutrients to support healthy brain function.

5. Antioxidants
An increasing body of evidence implicates most problems associated with aging to inflammation and oxidative stress, including deteriorating mental conditions such as dementia, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease. The brain is particularly sensitive to damage from inflammation and free radicals, so another part of feeding your brain properly is to eat plenty of antioxidant-rich fresh fruits and vegetables, organically grown where possible.
Thai-Go is a convenient, easy and tasty way to get more antioxidants into the diet. Another way to combat inflammation and reduce free radical damage is to take Super Trio.
A third option for protecting the bram is Brain Protex. Brain Protex contains an extract of Chinese club moss which contains a substance called huperzine A. Huperzine A has been shown to help prevent and slow the progress of both Alzheimer's and dementia.

Blood Sugar and the Brain
Another important factor in brain health is balanced blood sugar. The brain consumes more blood sugar (glucose) than any other organ and takes this sugar up directly from the blood stream without the need for insulin.
The amount of sugar in your blood directly controls the amount of sugar reaching your brain. Too much sugar and the brain is over stimulated, which results in agitation, irritability and nervousness. Too little sugar in the blood (hypoglycemia) can cause mental confusion, irritability, shakiness and difficulty concentrating.

The pancreas regulates the blood sugar level to keep the brain stable. Blood sugar problems are linked to age-related cognitive decline, dementia and Alzheimer's disease. These blood sugar problems also increase inflammation, which can damage brain cells. So, although the brain needs sugar as an energy source, simple sugars actually contribute to "brain fog" and mental decline. Select complex carbohydrates, fruits, vegetables and whole grains, over products containing refined sugar, high fructose corn syrup, white flour and other processed grains.

Circulation and the Brain
Because the brain has such a high demand for oxygen and sugar, it requires a constant supply of oxygen-rich blood because blood flowing to the head must fight gravity, exercise is extremely important for maintaining good blood flow to the brain. This is why something as simple as taking a walk can help to clear your mind. Exercise regularly for a healthy brain and a keen mind.

If blood flow to the brain starts to become impaired due to arterial constriction or hardening the arteries, brain functi0n will suffer. Fortunately, there are herbs and supplements that can improve blood flow to the brain and enhance cognitive processes at the same time.
Ginkgo biloba keeps blood vessels and capillaries flexible, aiding circulation and increasing blood flow to the brain improving the neurons uptake of glucose and oxygen. It is also a powerful antioxidant that prevents cell damage and has been shown to increase neurotransmission by normalizing levels of acetylcholine and norepinephrine. Gotu kola revitalizes the nerves and brain cells, strengthens the adrenal glands and purifies the blood. It has been traditionally used as a memory-enhancing herb, but is also a powerful rejuvenating tonic.

Hardening of the arteries will impair blood flow to the brain and reduce cognitive function. People with reduced blood flow to the brain often get sleepy when they sit for long periods and have problems with being absent minded. Oral chelation with Mega-Chel is helpful in these cases.

Toxins and Brain Function
Toxins can seriously damage the brain, especially fat-soluble toxins (such as petrochemical solvents) and heavy metals like mercury, aluminum and lead. In addition, drugs and alcohol do serious damage the brain.

To keep your mind clear and active avoid as many chemicals as possible, don't use drugs and minimize the consumption of alcohol. Specifically, to avoid chemicals, don't use aluminum cookware, purify your drinking water, use non-toxic household cleaning products and personal care items
and read labels carefully.

Two great supplements that help to rid the body of unwanted chemicals are Heavy Metal Detox and Enviro-Detox. Be sure to drink plenty of water when doing any kind of detoxification program. It may also help to take a fiber supplement. Detoxification will reduce inflammation, improve sleep quality, enhance brain function and support general health.

Below is a list of suggested products. Those in bold are key products for the health issue explained on this page.
For details and ordering simply copy a product's name in the search box above or click on the bold name.

Therapies: Cleansing Programs, Heavy Metal Detoxification, Hydration, Low Glycemic Diet and Oral Chelation

Herbs: Blessed thistle, Ginkgo Biloba, Gotu Kola and Sage

Herbal Formulas: Ginkgo & Hawthorn, HSN-W, Nervous Fatigue Formula, Super Algae and Trigger Immune

Nutrients: DHA, MSM, Omega-3, Pregnenolone, Sunshine Heroes Omega 3 with DHA, Super GLA and Vitamin B-12

Nutritional Supplements: Nutri-Calm and Vitamin B-Complex

Nutraceuticals: Brain Protex, Focus Attention, Mind-Max, Heavy Metal Detox, Mega-Chel, Mind-Max, Super Antioxidant, Super ORAC, Thai-Go, Super Trio

Essential Oils: Peppermint and Rosemary