Brain Health (General)

See also;

Mental Enhancement

Acetyl L-Carnitine Arginate (ALCA)

ALCA is a patented type of carnitine, which appears to offer advantages over traditional acetyl 1-carnitine (ALC) . In one study acetyl-1-carnitine arginate demonstrated potential support for maintaining healthy central nervous system function by promoting healthy neurite function. Neurites are the hair-like projections of neurons, or nervous system cells, responsible for proper signal transmission. The acetyl group from acetyl-1-carnitine (ALC) is also responsible for production of acetylcholine, an important neurotransmitter for optimal mental functioning. The efficacy of long-term acetyl-1-carnitine supplementation was investigated in a doubleblind,

placebo-controlled, randomized trial, in which acetyl-1-carnitine demonstrated the ability to slow negative cognitive changes and supported memory and attention. A randomised double-blind study and a multi-centre trial suggested that acetyl-1-carnitine supplementation provided statistically significant support for mental function, including memory and attention, and behavioural and emotional support. Researchers have theorised that ALC can mimic acetyl-choline in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.

In fact studies suggest that ALC may also act as an antioxidant in the brain, stabilise cell membranes, aid the removal of cellular waste, improve energy production in brain cells, as well as mimicking acetyl-choline. Studies report that early-onset Alzheimer’s disease may respond most effectively to ALC.

Phosphafidylserine

This important phospholipid has been shown to improve memory and mental acuity in both young and older adults. The effects are due to multiple functions including enhancing cell membrane fluidity, increasing the number of acetylcholine receptors, keeping fatty substances in the brain in a soluble state and helping to ‘untangle1 nerve pathways in the brain.

Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA)

DHA, or docosahexaenoic acid, is one of the critical nutrients required by the brain and the eyes during the crucial early stages of development. An ongoing adequate supply of DHA is also necessary to properly care for the brain throughout life. This omega-3 fatty acid is the primary building block of the brain. The brain is 60% fat, and DHA is the most abundant fatty acid in the brain. It increases cellular communication and the action of neurotransmitters. Studies suggest inadequate DHA in the brain may be a factor in the development of depression, Alzheimers,

Parkinsonism and Attention Deficit Disorder(ADD).

Ginkgo biloba

This herb has been shown to increase cerebral blood flow, and therefore oxygen and glucose utilisation in the brain. As well as improving vascular function in the brain, studies have shown that Ginkgo biloba extract increases the rate at which information is transmitted at the nerve cell level, an ability that is thought to be primarily due to a positive influence on neurotransmitter function. Ginkgo has been shown to stimulate choline uptake by the brain, inhibit age-related reduction of choline receptors and provide antioxidant protection that prevents lipid peroxidation in the brain.

Clinical trials suggest that ginkgo extract improves short term memory, mental alertness and overall cognitive performance.

Vitamin B12 & Folic Acid

These B vitamins are both methyl donors that play an important role in the manufacture of neurotransmitters (e.g. serotonin and dopamine}. Studies show that deficiencies in these vitamins are associated with a decline in cognitive functioning, particularly in the elderly.

Brain Health Summary

Nutrient/Herb Typical intake range

Acer/I L-Carnitine Arginate (ALCA)1

Phosphatidylserine2

DMA

Ginkgo biloba extract (24/6 ginkgoflavoglycosides,

6% terpene lactones)3

Vitamin Bl 2/Folic acid4

250 – 1 OOOmg (away from

1 00 -300mg elemental PS

food

per day

100-300mgperday

60 – 1 80mg per day

400ug each per day

Reduce/avoid Increase

Alcohol

Trans/hydrogenated fats

Refined and processed foods

Sugar

Environmental toxins

Inorganic food

Oily fish

Nuts and seeds

Vegetables

Fruit

Whole foods

Water

Lifestyle Factors

Take regular gentle exercise

Reduce impact of stress – support adrenal function if necessary

Footnotes

1. Do not use during pregnancy or lactation unless under medical supervision.

2. Do not use if taking prescribed anti-coagulant drugs such as warfarin without the consent of a qualified medical health practitioner.

3. Do not use during pregnancy or lactation. May decrease the action of Warfarin. Concurrent use with insulin and oral hypoglycacmic medication under medical supervision only. Do not use with MAOI anti-depressants.

4. Concurrent use with phcnytoin and methotrexate, and in schizophrenia, and epileptics under medical supervision only.