The ginkgo tree has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for over 4,000 years. Various parts of the ginkgo tree were reportedly used in the treatment of respiratory ailments, to improve circulation, as a digestive aid, as a tonic for memory loss in the elderly and as a longevity elixir. Ginkgo biloba is sometimes called a "living fossil" because it is believed to be the world's oldest living species at around 200 million years old. Extracts of this powerful antioxidant herb can improve brain function by increasing cerebral blood flow and the supply of oxygen to the brain. It boosts the brain's energy metabolism of glucose and heightens electrical activity.
Phenylalanine is an essential amino acid, which means that the body cannot synthesize it on its own, and we must get it from foods and supplements. The primary dietary sources of phenylalanine come from high protein foods like meat, fish, eggs and dairy products. Phenylalanine synthesizes two important neurotransmitters (electro-chemical messengers that transmit signals between nerve cells in the brain): dopamine and norepinephrine, which contribute to mental alertness. It can easily pass the blood-brain barrier and be transformed into glutamic acid, which is vital for brain function. Phenylalanine helps to elevate mood, increase memory and learning, as well as to decrease pain.
Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the body, and comprises almost half of the free amino acids in blood and muscle. Glutamine can be produced in the body by the conversion of another amino acid, glutamic acid. The main function of glutamine is to serve as a precursor in the synthesis of other amino acids and glucose for energy. Cells of the immune system, the small intestine and the kidney are the major consumers of glutamine. Glutamine is a free amino acid and neurotransmitter that can easily pass the blood-brain barrier and be transformed into glutamic acid, which is vital for brain function. This brain fuel helps to improve mental activity.
Gotu kola is a vine-like plant native to India and Southeast Asia. In India and Indonesia, gotu kola has a long history of use to promote wound healing and treat skin diseases. It has been used as a part of Ayurvedic (Southern Asia) culture for thousands of years as a nerve tonic and to strengthen white and grey matter in the brain. In Europe, extracts of Gotu kola are used as drugs for the treatment of wound healing defects. Gotu kola increases energy levels, improves memory and circulation, while promoting restful sleep. Perhaps the best evidence is shown by its ability to improve symptoms of varicose veins, specifically overall discomfort, tiredness and swelling. Gotu kola may aid in fighting fatigue. It has also been shown to aid in cognitive health.
Korean ginseng (Panax ginseng) is a perennial herb that reaches heights of two or more feet, and is distinguished by its dark green leaves and red clusters of berries. Panax or true ginseng has been used medicinally for over 2,000 years. It can be found throughout the mountainous regions of China and Korea. It is used in Asia to provide extra energy and is considered to have healing properties, increase longevity and increase wisdom. Korean ginseng is an adaptogen, which has a homeostatic or balancing effect on the body. Adaptogens help the body deal with stressful conditions. It also helps to promote mental clarity, improve cognitive function and restore memory. Its active ingredients, ginsenosides, counteract stress, assist in prolonging mental tasks and improve intellectual performance.
Siberian ginseng was discovered in the former northern Soviet Union. It was found to enhance athletic performance and reduce stress. It has been shown to enhance mental acuity and physical endurance without the letdown that comes with caffeinated products. Siberian ginseng is an adaptogen, which has a homeostatic or balancing effect on the body. Adaptogens help the body deal with stressful conditions. It is thought to help support adrenal gland function when the body is challenged by stress. In addition to its effect on stress, Siberian ginseng increases energy, helps to balance the immune system and increases cognitive function. Siberian ginseng (eleutherococcus senticosus) is used to restore memory, concentration and cognitive abilities which may be impaired by improper blood supply to the brain. Its active ingredient, eleutherosides, helps the body handle stressful conditions. Siberian ginseng works extremely well with ginkgo biloba, and the combination has been shown to improve working and long-term memory.
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)
Coenzyme Q10 can be found in spinach, broccoli, nuts, meats and fish. In the body, it is found in the highest concentration in the cells of the heart, liver, kidney and pancreas. Coenzyme Q10 belongs to a family of substances called ubiquinones, and is a water-insoluble, wax-like substance, that is part of the respiratory chain. It is synthesized in the cells, and is involved in electron transport and energy production in mitochondria. In the cellular system, it functions to generate energy from oxygen, in the form of ATP, for bodily processes. CoQ10 also exhibits antioxidant activity, by neutralizing free radicals. Coenzyme Q10 is similar in function to vitamin E and serves as a critical element in the creation of cellular energy. The antioxidant activity in the mitochondria and cell membranes protects against peroxidation of lipid membranes. It stimulates immune function, possesses anti-aging characteristics and benefits the cardiovascular system. Recent studies have indicated that CoQ10 may help protect the brain by improving brain metabolism.
Around 90 percent of vitamin C in the typical diet comes from fresh fruits and vegetables. Some of the best sources are peppers, (sweet, green, red, hot red and green chili), citrus fruits and juices, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, collards, mustard greens, broccoli, spinach and strawberries. Vitamin C was first implicated in the disease scurvy, in which sailors with low vitamin C intake while at sea experienced the degeneration of such body tissues, resulting in inflamed and bleeding gums, petechiae, ecchymosis, follicular hyperkeratosis, coiled hairs, perifollicular hemorrhages, impaired wound healing, dry eyes and mouth (Sjögren's syndrome), arthralgia, joint effusions, muscle weakness, myalgia, fatigue, depression, frequent infections, anemia, anorexia, diarrhea, and pulmonary and kidney problems that led to coma and death. All systems of the body are affected by scurvy. Vitamin C is an antioxidant necessary for the growth and repair of tissue, adrenal gland function and gum health. It enhances immune function, protects against infection, heightens the absorption of iron and helps maintain cardiovascular health. It has been shown to operate as a signaling molecule to regulate the synaptic efficiency of neurotransmitters dopamine and glutamic acid.
Folic acid is mainly found in fruits and vegetables. Dark, leafy greens, oranges and orange juice, beans and peas, are the best sources, as well as Brewer's yeast, which offer additional B vitamins. Folic acid assists in the normal utilization of amino acids and proteins, as well as constructs the material for DNA and RNA synthesis. Folic acid is required for the production of energy, the creation of red blood cells and proper cell division and replication. A true "brain food," it is vital in pregnancy because it helps govern embryonic and fetal nerve cell development. It works well when combined with vitamin C and vitamin B12.
Vitamin B12 is naturally found in organ meats, liver, beef, pork, eggs, whole milk, cheese, whole wheat bread and fish. B12 can only be found in animal products, with small amounts derived from the fermented soy products miso and tempeh, and peanuts. It is a water-soluble vitamin and, when ingested, is stored in the liver and other tissues for later use. Vitamin B12 is necessary to prevent anemia and is helpful in cellular formation and longevity. It is associated with the production of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine that contributes to memory and learning. Vitamin B12 is responsible for maintaining optimum energy levels as it plays a vital role in the Krebs energy cycle. It is also a great anti-aging ingredient, and increases concentration.
Potassium can be found in fresh vegetables, fruits such as bananas, oranges, cantaloupe, avocado, raw spinach, raw spinach, cabbage and celery. Potassium is an essential macromineral that keeps fluid balance, among playing a wide variety of biochemical and physiological roles. Potassium is an important mineral for the health of the nervous system and proper heart rhythm. It works to maintain good circulatory health of the brain, and is a vital component of cellular chemical reactions, nutrient transfer and electrochemical impulses.
Lecithin is a lipid that every cell in the body needs. Cell membranes surrounding neurons are composed of lecithin. This nutrient guards against cardiovascular disease and helps improve brain function.