Can your brain really be hungry? Well not really but your brain does need certain nutrients to keep it functioning properly and to perform the many tasks that is required of it each day.
There is no doubt that the best way to retain brain function is by eating the nutrient rich foods that support our brain. Two of the best brain supporting nutrients are Phosphatidyl Serine and DHA. Although it is not considered a nutrient, there is something else found in many of the foods that we eat that is extremely necessary to support brain health as well, and that is probiotics. Probiotics occur naturally in fermented foods such as yogurt, tofu, sauerkraut, and several other fermented foods. Of these three brain enhancing elements, probiotics is no doubt the easiest to consume on a daily basis, and there are many people that do consume probiotic containing foods daily. However the other two, Phosphatidyl Serine and DHA, are found in foods that are not typically consumed by the average American on a daily basis. The best source for DHA is cold water fish, such as salmon, sardines, and tuna which I’m sure, just like myself, you eat occasionally. Unfortunately, The two best food sources for Phosphatidyl Serine are cow brain and chicken hearts. I don’t know about you, but I’m personally not a big connoisseur of cow brains and chicken hearts, and thankfully I don’t know anyone else that is either. So what do we do if we can get these vital brain supporting nutrients from foods that we eat? Since most people don’t eat enough of these foods, I believe the best source is through supplementation. All three of the aforementioned nutrients are available in a variety of different supplements, and I have been recommending all three of these supplements to my patients for years!
I believe that most everyone can benefit from the use of one, if not all three of these, especially if you are dealing with some type of neurological issue such as memory loss, ADD, or ADHD. All three of these supplements have been extensively studied proving the amazing brain supporting effects of these nutrients. One of the more recent studies with Phosphatidyl Serine found that it helps improve short term memory in ADD and ADHD patients. I also increased focus and concentration and decreased impulsivity. These discoveries are great news for parents of children that struggle in school due to ADD or ADHD. I first learned about Phosphatidyl Serine more than 15 years ago from a colleague who was giving it to his son, who was in college, to take before exams in order to enhance his recall of what he had studied.
There are also a multitude of studies on the brain supporting effects of DHA. As I mentioned, the best food source for DHA is cold water fish, but if that isn’t a staple of your diet then I would recommend you try my personal favorite brand of DHA, which is Nordic Naturals Pro DHA. I use and recommend this supplement for everyone! Many of the studies done with DHA demonstrate it’s ability to improve cognitive function in children and adults. Because DHA is so important in brain development in children it is being added to most all prenatal vitamin supplements and some baby formulas as well. I also recommend it to all of my patients that have been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD.
Of these three awesome brain enhancing products, I believe probiotics to be the most vital! Probiotics is a common term used for good bacteria or normal flora. These are bacteria that live within our bodies and are mostly found in our gut or throughout our whole intestinal system. There was a recent study done at UCLA that shows the direct connection between these normal flora in our gut and the cognitive function in our brain. Therefore I believe it is vitally important that we maintain a good healthy growth of good bacteria in our guts, especially if we want our brain to function as efficiently as it should. Most people are consuming things on a daily basis that they don’t realize are destroying the good bacteria in their gut, such as: Processed foods, anti-inflammatory medicines, and hormones and antibiotics, which are also pumped into a lot of the foods that we consume. Stress is a also a major destroyer of good bacteria in our guts. Considering all these things that can destroy our good bacteria, I believe it is vital that we actively work to replace what we are losing on a daily basis with probiotic supplements. The only exception would be if you are currently eating and drinking several servings of fermented probiotic rich foods every day. If your current diet doesn’t fit that description, then I would urge you to begin taking one of my two favorite probiotic supplements, Enterobiotics or Primal Defense. There are many probiotic supplements on the market today but few that are actually helpful and these are two of the best out there!
I watched my grandfather suffer for years from the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, and because of that I am very passionate about being proactive with my brain health. With the number of cases of Alzheimer’s and other neurological disorders such as ADD, ADHD, and autism on the rise, I think it is vital that we all become more proactive in brain health, nutrition, and support!
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