We all want a more powerful brain, right? But is it possible to use supplements to boost cognition? There are a variety of opinions on the subject and about a billion products which promise big results. So what to believe? What’s the deal with brain supplements?
The Deal With Brain Supplements
There are three schools of thought when it comes to brain supplementation: the natural wing, the drug wing, and the alternative brain supplements wing. We’ll talk about the pros and cons of each so that you can make an informed decision.
- The Natural Wing: There are many studies out there that establish natural activities like sleep are about as good for brain health as anything. People in this camp often seek not so much to boost brain function, but to maximize the potential that’s already there. If this strategy works for you, you might abstain from drugs and alcohol, try to get good sleep, exercise, and eat a balanced whole foods diet. It’s thought that this is the best possible foundation for brain health and function, but is it possible to improve on this with the aid of brain supplements?
- The Pharmaceutical Wing: You may know that certain stimulant drugs are prescribed to millions, most of the time to boost cognitive function. However, many people worry that these drugs are over-prescribed. What is a user of supplements to make of this? Studies suggest that there is a potential benefit for young patients who have cognitive development issues, compared to young patients who do not receive this therapy. For these kids, the therapy has a big potential benefit, but among other populations may have negative side effects. Research seems to suggest that these methods have their place, but that for many, other methods may be more appropriate.
- The Alternative Brain Supplements Wing: There are a bunch of brain stimulants that get grouped under the name “nootropics” (from the Greek for “mind turning”). Many of these brain supplements come from natural sources. While many more supplements of this variety get added to the modern folk medicine pharmacopeia, a smaller (though not insignificant) body has been evaluated by science. Because the potential for unknown side effects and for supplements that just don’t work, it’s best to consult nutritionists or a primary care physician on the subject, especially if you are taking multiple supplements, as is so common in practice. On the other hand, this wing can also include natural vitamins and minerals, which can be added to the diet without issue.
It’s important for the individual to be aware of which of these three schools of thought prior to seeking a supplement. All three may have their place in the life of an individual. However, brain supplements should never be added because you want to try something for the sake of trying it.
In general, it’s best to start from the “Natural Wing” – practicing healthy living methods that treat the brain as a part of the body, something that should be cared for, and the mind as the product of the (hopefully healthy) brain and nervous system.
If these standards are lived out, then the individual can start to think about brain supplements which can be added to these healthy living practices. The pharmaceutical option has been proven to have potential benefits for some, though not for all. The “Alternative Brain Supplement” wing also has great promise, and certain mainstays have been positively evaluated by science. In this last case, it’s always good to be skeptical of any new and untested brain supplement, as it might have unwanted effects or do nothing at all.
As time goes on and the human brain/nervous system is better understood, there’s no doubt that brain supplements can be optimized for an individual specific needs. Until then, those who wish should go with what works, and consult with a professional with any questions.
Supplements For The Mind
CuraMed Brain by Terry Naturally supports your short and long term memory, focus, and provides antioxidant support that may be essential during normal aging. This formula contains 500% of your daily recommended vitamin D3, plus a proprietary brain complex with curcumin enhanced with turmeric essential oils, sage, and other herbs that support the brain.
Neuro-Mag Magnesium L-Threonate from Life Extension targets the brain for added support during normal aging, may support a healthy sleep cycle, bones, mobility, and overall hydration. Magnesium is an essential mineral that may not be present in many foods you enjoy during the day. In fact, it is one of the minerals most deficient in people. Experience it and see if it makes a difference in your mind.
Attentive Child Chewable by Source Naturals is a good source of DMAE, a substance naturally found in the brain that is associated with vigilance and alertness; and magnesium, grape seed extract, amino acids, and a lot more for support of healthy brain metabolism, memory, and concentration. Make this once-daily wafer a part of your child’s daily routine!