The 20 Best Brain Supplements To Elevate Your Brain Function
By Sara Novak
In life, it is not what happens to us, but rather, how our brain interprets it. When our brain is functioning optimally, we are focused, our memory is on point, and we are in a good mood. We can take on the challenges of the day without being phased.
But when we are not at our best, the opposite is true. We are foggy and cranky, with mere inconveniences throwing us completely out of sorts. Luckily, a number of supplements have been shown to up our brain game, but what really works? What is backed by research and what is not? Let’s take a closer look. (Also, keep in mind that you should talk to your doctor before combining supplements).
- Eating For Better Brain Function
- Exercise For Better Brain Function
- The 20 Best Supplements To Elevate Your Brain Function
Eating for better brain function
It is no surprise that how you eat has a lot to do with brain health. Vitamin E and vitamin B are both important for elevating brain function. Vitamin E is found in wheat germ, red bell peppers, avocados, and mangos. Vitamin B is found in whole grains, meat, eggs, and citrus fruits. Note - we don't recommend eating grains we are simply providing information as to where these nutrients are.
Exercise for better brain function
Research has also shown that exercise is important for better brain function. A study published in the journal Neural Plasticity found that “physical exercise was effective for increasing the production of neurotrophic factors, cell growth, and proliferation, as well as for improving brain functionality.” Another study published in the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience found that exercise improved memory in the elderly, especially those at risk for dementia.
Learn More: The Many Benefits Of Resistance Training
Other tips for improving brain function
Beyond diet and exercise, the following tips can help you keep brain function intact:
- Socializing. It is like a chef’s knife, you have to keep it sharp otherwise you are not as effective at it. Plus, it is also really helpful for brain function.
- Sleep. Research has shown that as few as four straight days of sleep loss seems to have a negative impact on memory retention.
- Train your brain. Memory games and word puzzles are really helpful for keeping your brain in fighting shape.
The 20 Best Brain Supplements To Elevate Your Brain Function
When you need to up your brain game, these supplements can help:
1. Vitamin D
By some estimates, over 1 billion people are deficient in vitamin D, a vitamin that is important for your overall cognitive flexibility. Vitamin D seems to reduce inflammation in the brain which, down the line, can be a cause of dementia. It also “buffers” the brain from an increase in calcium which can be a cause of depression. Research published in the journal Trends in Neurosciences found that “evidence suggests that vitamin D deficiency impacts synaptic plasticity through a plethora of avenues, including regulation of various neurotransmitters.” Another study published in the journal Neurology found that a vitamin D deficiency is linked to an increased risk of “all-cause dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.”
2. Vitamin B12
This impacts all of us, but it is particularly important if you are a vegan because B12 is usually an animal-sourced nutrient. It is found in high quality organ meats, beef, eggs, sardines, and nutritional yeast. You may also want to consider supplementing it. Research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that those on the low end of normal when it comes to B12 tended to have lower memory cognition.
Lycopene is an antioxidant that is found in fruits, including tomatoes, guava, grapefruit, watermelon, papayas, and persimmon. It has been shown in a number of studies to improve brain function. A review published in the Journal of Nutritional Science found that “among four studies evaluating relationships between lycopene and maintained cognition, three reported significant positive relationships.” Another study published in the journal Pharmacological Research found that phytochemicals like lycopene seemed to slow the development of plaque on the brain, which could contribute to dementia, and more specifically, Alzheimer’s disease.
Zinc is a micronutrient found all over the body that is important for so many of our everyday functions, but it is particularly consequential for the brain. It enhances memory and our ability to think. A study published in the journal Neuroscience Letters said that “zinc is an essential dietary micronutrient that is abundant in the brain with diverse roles in development, injury, and neurological diseases.”
5. Mucuna Pruriens
Mucuna Pruriens is well known for increasing dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps with brain function and mental health. It is associated with the “pleasure centers” of the brain. Mucuna pruriens is a tropical legume native to Africa. Research published in the journal AYU (An International Quarterly Journal of Research in Ayurveda) found that the extract reduced depression likely due to its impact on the “dopaminergic system.” Dopamine promotes increased well-being, focus, enjoyment, and interest in life. It is what makes us feel happy and content. With 20 percent L-DOPA (the immediate precursor of dopamine), DOPA Mucuna helps the body with what it needs to make this important neurotransmitter. Mucuna pruriens, which has been used in the traditional Ayurvedic system in India for thousands of years, is now available to you in this convenient third-party lab tested supplement. Need an extra boost? Try UMZU’S Mucuna Pruriens: Focus, Well-Being, & Brain Support.
Choline is an essential nutrient in the body that is important for any number of bodily functions, including cellular growth and metabolism. The body converts choline into neurotransmitters that are important for optimal brain function. Research published in the journal Advances in Neurobiology found that choline reduced the impact of neurodegenerative disorders in the brain and positively impacted mental health. Choline is an effective supplement shown to help increase performance by fueling the nervous system with more acetylcholine. Shown to help increase focus and allow for greater cognition, it rids the body of excess estrogen accumulated from our diet and lifestyle. Try UMZU’s CHOLINE, a clean source of this ever important nutrient. For adults only. Consult a physician if pregnant/nursing, taking medication, or if you have a medical condition. Keep out of reach of children.
Theacrine is a naturally produced chemical similar to caffeine. It has been shown in clinical studies to enhance the effects of caffeine, giving you a natural morning boost. Pair it with caffeine for a stimulating, enjoyable, and productive sensation so you can get more done. Research published in the journal Nutrients found that symptoms of depression, anxiety, and sleep issues decreased with the use of theacrine while cognitive function increased. It is found in UMZU’s MORNING MIRACLE along with l-theanine, which has also been shown to provide a clean rush of energy in the morning along with improved mental clarity, memory, and a mood boost. It is about getting up, feeling better all day long, and amping up your mental function.
Resveratrol is a plant compound famously found in wine and grapes; it acts like an antioxidant in the body. In humans, it has been shown to increase cerebral flow throughout the body and improve some performances on cognitive tests. Resveratrol has been shown to have protective properties on brain health. A study published in the journal Frontiers of Aging in Neuroscience found that “resveratrol is a multi target compound and may represent an effective therapeutic tool in aging-related neurodegenerative processes.” Other research published in the journal The FASEB found that one glass of red wine a day for women and two glasses per day for men seemed to have a neuro-protective impact on the brain with regards to dementia. Always choose organic wines when possible.
Caffeine is a natural stimulant found in most of your favorite morning beverages like coffee and tea, as well as other indulgences like chocolate. It is famous for its ability to boost brain power and increase your mental alertness. According to Harvard Health, coffee has been shown to increase blood flow to the brain in addition to increasing cognitive function. it is best to use caffeine prudently because if you drink too much, it has been shown to reduce your ability to focus. In fact, it has been proven problematic for those with ADHD. Also, make sure you choose organic coffee. If you suffer from an anxiety disorder, caffeine might not be the best choice for you, as it has been shown to cause jitters.
Phosphatidylserine is a fat compound that has been proven to protect the brain. A small study published in the journal European Neuropsychopharmacology found that “a body of evidence supports the functional significance of phosphatidylserine in the brain.” Other research published in Bull. Env. Pharmacol. Life Sci found that phosphatidylserine may have protective properties that reduce early dementia in the brain. Finally, research published in the journal Clinical Interventions in Aging found that it seems to improve memory in elderly patients over a 12-week period.
As mentioned above, l-theanine is known to provide a clean mental boost without the anxiety -induced crash. It improves mood and leaves you feeling balanced and even-keeled. A study published in the journal Nutrients found that l-theanine, a unique amino acid found in green tea, caused stress-related symptoms of depression, anxiety, and sleep problems to decrease, while cognitive function, including verbal fluency and executive function scores, improved after four weeks of administration. Research published in the Journal of Medicinal Food found that the green tea extract was beneficial to cognition in animal subjects.
12. Lions Mane Mushroom
It has a funny name and look but many health benefits. Known as hou tou gu or yamabushitake, these mushrooms really do resemble a busy lion’s mane. They hae been shown to protect the brain against dementia, reduce mild depression and anxiety, and even help the nervous system recover from injury. A study published in the journal Biomedical Research found that lion’s mane mushroom “prevented impairments of spatial short-term and visual recognition memory” caused by dementia and “may be useful in the prevention of cognitive dysfunction.” Another study published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences found that lion’s mane reduced instances of depression in mice.
Reishi has been shown to positively impact so many of the body’s systems from helping to manage stress, boosting mood, reducing insomnia to promoting an all around calm and focused presence that you can enjoy throughout the day. Although there is not very much research backing its claims yet, reishi mushrooms have long been known for their health promoting properties. This elixir is said to help you sleep through the night and wake up refreshed and alert the next day. Take it before bed mixed in water or hot milk. Not to worry, it does not taste like mushrooms. It is a great way to sleep deeper without waking up groggy and sluggish in the morning. Each little packet boasts a potent medicinal punch.
14. Eleuthero root
Again, this is pretty new and there is not a whole lot of research on it yet, but the results could be promising. Eleuthero root is known to produce mental endurance to last you through the day as well as stress relief and a metabolic boost. In traditional Chinese Medicine, eleuthero root is known to invigorate the body’s chi. Grown in the mountains of Korea, Japan, Russia, and throughout Asia, it is known for its adaptogenic compounds that keep the brain at its highest functioning throughout the day. If you are feeling foggy and you cannot seem to get things done, this is a great way to amp up your day and help you check more items off your To Do list. You can take it in a liquid form or in a tea or supplement form.
15. Methylene blue
Methylene blue is an antiseptic agent dye used in the body for certain medical tests and clearing bacteria from the urinary tract. Research has shown that it may also be potentially beneficial for brain health. A study published in the journal Brain Imaging Behavior found that “low-dose methylene blue “increased functional connectivity amongst regions associated with working memory, visual, and motor coordination” in the brain. Another study, published in Progress in Neurobiology found that low-dose methylene blue improves memory retention and prevents neurodegeneration.
Bacopa is a perennial herb native to Asia and Australia. Known by various names including water hyssop, thyme-leaved gratiola, and herb of grace, it is commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine. A study published in the journal Clinics found that bacopa extract improved learning and memory in animal models. Another study published in the journal Psychopharmacology Berlin found that it improved “higher order” cognition responsible for learning and memory in healthy adults.
Rhodiola is a flowering perennial grown in the Arctic regions of Europe. It has been known to reduce stress and symptoms of depression as well as improving brain function. A study published in the journal Phytomedicine found that rhodiola reduced stress induced exhaustion in a “statistically significant” manner. Another study published in the journal of Ethnopharmacology found that rhodiola shows “potent anti-depressant activity”.
Aniracetam is labeled as a prescription in Europe. It is a nootropic drug that is supposed to improve brain function. In the U.S. it is sold as a supplement. A study published in CNS Neuroscience and Therapeutics found that aniracetam is a promising treatment for those with dementia. Other studies on animal models have shown that it is not effective at increasing brain function, so the jury is still out on this one.
It turns out that nicotine may have a good side, according to Harvard Health. The “rogue” ingredient may have potential brain health properties. "Researchers are testing nicotine and related compounds as treatments for Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and other conditions.” While we hate the cigarette’s addictive qualities and what it does to our lungs, on its own, nicotine shows brain health promise.
20. Vitamin K
Vitamin K is found in prunes, figs, and avocados as well as organic eggs and meats. It has been shown to improve cognition. A review published in Frontiers of Neurobiology found “growing interest in the role of vitamin K in brain function, especially in cognition.” Additional research published in the Journal of the American Dietetics and Nutrition Association found that “recent research in both vitamin K and Alzheimer's disease suggest a need to consider vitamin K in future investigations on the role of diet in Alzheimer's disease.”
UMZU's Cortigon is an all natural stress fighting and brain enhancement supplement with the exact clinical dose of phosphatidylserine, and a powerful dose of B12 along with other herbs designed to fight stress and prmote brain function such as Ginkgo Biloba. Give it a try today risk free with our 60 day money back guarantee!