3 Essential Supplements for a Healthy Brain
Given the nature of the neurostructural corrective care we provide, we’re very concerned with nervous system health beyond what we do in the walls of our office.
One area we pay special attention to is the role of nutrition and supplementation in optimizing nervous system function.
There are three supplements we’ve found, both by digging through research and working directly with patients, that are essential for a healthy brain.
If you’re actively involved in a health and wellness community, you’ve probably heard some mention made of the various health benefits of turmeric. It’s true that the research has shown that the substances in turmeric can help reduce inflammation, block the growth of certain kinds of tumors, protect against skin diseases, stomach ulcers, Alzheimer's disease, and even stabilize colorectal cancers unresponsive to other treatment methods.
The substance in turmeric responsible for its health benefits is called curcumin. Curcumin is a powerful antioxidant.
While it would be great to simply increase the amount of turmeric you consume in your diet and still get the benefits of curcumin, the reality is it’s difficult for curcumin to make it to the bloodstream. The curcumin supplements we recommend to our patients use curcumin complexed with phosphatidylcholine which results in absorption that is 29 times higher than traditional curcumin mixtures.
Omega-3 Fish Oil
If you’ve been an avid reader of our newsletter, you’ve heard me talk about the health benefits of Omega-3 fish oil before. The primary fats in fish oil that are important in regards to brain health are EPA and DHA.
DHA is incredibly important for the development of the nervous system in little ones. Around the age 5, children begin having a decreased need for DHA. Increasing the amount of EPA around this time can help with focus and academic performance.
EPA is important for adults, unfortunately, the availability of EPA in our diets has been significantly reduced for a number of reasons. One of the biggest issues is that the food that makes it to the dinner plate, especially fish, is much different than it was a hundred years ago.
Low levels of EPA are correlated with depression, dyslexia, joint and bone problems, neurodegenerative diseases and heart problems. EPA can help repair damaged nerves as well, which relates directly to the work we do.
If you begin taking a fish oil, I would encourage you not to buy whatever’s cheapest. Make sure the brand that you choose is molecularly distilled, which reduces the number of contaminants and contains a higher amount of EPA and DHA.
While you’ve probably heard of probiotics, you may not know what they are or why they can be so beneficial. There is constantly new research being put out on the gut-brain axis. The latest research is showing that the bacteria in the human gut can actually affect the other systems in the body. Researchers have been working with models of inflammation believed to be linked to depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder.
Bacteria have been shown to limit inflammatory cytokine production, limit malabsorption of carbohydrates, have an influence on neurotransmitter production, protect the intestinal barrier, limit gastric and intestinal pathogens and also have analgesic properties.
Like the other supplements, it’s always important to look for a brand that is reputable. Potency counts of 50 billion or higher are what you should aim for. It’s also good to look for a supplement that has high diversity or multiple strains of good bacteria.