Nutrition and the Brain

It is advisable to consult your doctor or healthcare professional when implementing nutritional changes.

 

Acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter, is critical for memory. (Carper, Jean. Your Miracle Brain. p 8-11. NY:HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 2000.)

Choline (egg yolk, fish, cereal, peas, and beans) may increase production of acetylcholine. (Brynie, Faith Hickman. 101 Questions Your Brain Has Asked About Itself But Couldn’t Answer, Until Now. p 38-39. CT:Millbrook Press, 1998.)

Advanced glycation end products (free radicals) are aberrant cross-linked proteins that accelerate aging. Risk of creating destructive AGEs rises with a diet high in simple sugars (e.g., excessive fructose may be even worse than eating sucrose or glucose). (Carper, Jean. Your Miracle Brain. p 135-136. NY: HarperCollins Publishers, 2000.)

Avoid foods that spike blood sugar. As blood sugar levels rise, increases in insulin and inflammation produce glycation (sugar molecules bind to proteins), which create free radicals known as AGEs (e.g., can cause degeneration of nerves and brain). (Perricone, Nicholas, MD. The Perricone Promise. p 138-148. NY: Warner Books, 2004.)

An improper diet has been clearly linked with both premature aging and disease. (Chopra, Deepak, MD. Ageless Body, Timeless Mind. p 206-210. NY: Harmony Books, 1993.)

A low-calorie diet it is good for increasing brain awareness. Animal studies showed that alertness and concentration improved when calories were restricted below so-called “normal” levels. (Guiffre, Kenneth, MD. The Care and Feeding of Your Brain. p 39. NJ:Career Press, 1999.)

You can lower / delay your chances of developing Alzheimer's by: eating the right foods, having a large social network, doing the right exercise, and controlling your blood sugar, depression, and stress. Eating a high-saturated fat, high-sugar diet boosts brain levels of beta-amyloid (a toxic protein blamed for spreading the devastation of Alzheimer's. (Carper, Jean. 100 Simple Things You Can Do To Prevent Alzheimer's and Age-Related Memory Loss. p 10-12. NY:Little, Brown, and Company, 2010)

Top antioxidant fruits and vegetables include: prunes (the highest at 5,770), raisins, blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, strawberries; to spinach, broccoli, beets; down to onion, corn, and eggplant (the lowest at 390). (Small, Gary, MD. The Memory Bible. p 141-142. NY:Hyperion, 2002.)

Major antioxidants in the brain include: Vitamin E – inhibits lipid oxidation in cell membranes by donating electrons (D-a-tocopherol, natural Vitamin E, is the most effective form); Vitamin C – helps to recycle Vitamin E in addition to donating electrons to free radicals. Other important antioxidants include: Coenzyme Q10, Lipoic Acid, SOD enzyme, Zinc, Selenium, Flavonoids, and carotenoids. (Arendash, Gary W., PhD. Research Professor, Florida Alzheimer’s Research Center and University of South Florida. Nutrition and the Aging Brain. Seminar sponsored by Institute for Brain Potential, Haddonfield, NJ, May 2010.)

Symptoms related to use of NutraSweet (e.g., impaired learning, headaches, seizures) may show up only after prolonged use of the sweetener. (Healy, Jane M., PhD. Endangered Minds. p 166-168. NY:Simon & Schuster, 1990.)

Refer to Substances and the Brain for additional information.

Dr. Yoshihide Hagiwara, world-renowned scientist and recipient of Japan’s prestigious Science and Technology Award, believes that green barley grass is one of the most nutritionally balanced foods in nature. (Hagiwara, Yoshide, Dr. Barley Green Supply.)

Each food has its own distinctive abilities to raise blood sugar. Scientist can accurately predict the sugar-raising properties of a food only by testing it (e.g., dates cause blood sugar to spike rapidly, dried apricots do not). (Carper, Jean. Your Miracle Brain. p 124-125. NY:HarperCollins Publishers, 2000.)

The hormone insulin is responsible for getting glucose into the cells, which impacts your energy. If insulin resistant, the blood sugar does not enter the cells. High levels of glucose and insulin circulate in the blood, generating free radicals that promote inflammation and aging. (Perricone, Nicholas, MD. The Perricone Promise. p 130-132. NY:Warner Books, 2004.)

Lists ten ways to keep blood sugar steady. This can be helpful for the brain as well as for diseases processes such as Diabetes. (Carper, Jean. Your Miracle Brain. p 132-134. NY: HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 2000.)

Studies: exercise is a good blood-sugar stabilizer. It can bring high blood sugar levels down, and low levels up. Regular exercise helps your body handle glucose more efficiently. (Padus, Emrika, et al. The Complete Guide to Your Emotions & Your Health. p 286-287. PA:Rodale Press, 1992.)

Studies: blueberries are brain food. They can reverse deterioration of motor function associated with aging, speed up communications between neurons, prevent loss of nerve growth factors, and positive impact dopamine release. (Perricone, Nicholas, MD. The Perricone Promise. p 50-70. NY:Warner Books, 2004.)

A healthy brain diet consists of at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day. (Small, Gary, MD. The Memory Bible. p 143. HY:Hyperion, 2002.)

Fat in fish (or flaxseed oil) can help to protect arteries from clogging and the brain from depression. This may help explain why depression often precedes and predicts heart disease. Hippocrates said it first: food that is good for the heart is likely to be good for the brain. (Carper, Jean. Your Miracle Brain. p 79. NY:HarperCollins Publishers, 2000.)

Nutritional requirements of the developing brain are complex and only the basics are understood. (Mattson, Mark p., PhD. Diet-Brain Connections: Impact on Memory, Mood, Aging and Disease. NY:Springer, 2002.)

The closer you get to the original food source, the closer you are to the optimum brain-boosting diet. Lists ten specific strategies that comprise an optimum diet for brain function. (Carper, Jean. Your Miracle Brain. p 42-47. NY:HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 2000.)

The chemistry of children’s brains may be affected by what they eat or drink (e.g., malnutrition has negative effects on the brain and learning abilities). Biochemical insults to the brain appear to be cumulative. (Healy, Jane M., PhD. Endangered Minds. p 164-166. NY:Simon & Schuster, 1990.)

Nutrients (e.g., glucose, fat, vitamins) can have an almost immediate impact on brain cells and brain functioning, producing rapid changes in mood and monumental changes in long-term behavior. (Carper, Jean. Your Miracle Brain. p 7. NY: HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 2000.)

All calories are not created equal. Counting calories doesn’t work. Burning more calories each day than you consume may have been the diet advice from the past, but that has since been debunked. So you no longer have to work out until you’ve “burned off” that apple cider doughnut you had with lunch. You just have to make sure you’re eating whole foods and avoiding processed carbohydrates. (Harvard University, HealthBeat, www.health.harvard.edu)

Carbohydrate addicts may gravitate toward different foods at any given stage in the addictive process, Level 1, Level 2, or Level 3. By changing number of times per day carbohydrates are ingested, the individual can reduce cravings and increase the body’s tendency to lose weight. (Keller, Rachael F., PhD, and Richard F. Heller. The Carbohydrate Addict’s Diet. p 40-47, 66-70. NY:A Signet Book, 1991.)

Carbohydrate (glucose source) is the only source of fuel that the brain can use (it cannot burn fat). Glucose levels decline more during a period of intense cognitive processing. Studies in all types of people have shown improved mental ability following a carbohydrate meal (See also Glycemic Index). (Brand-Miller, Jennie, PhD, Thomas M. S. Wolever, MD, PhD, et al. The New Glucose Revolution. p 15-18. NY:Marlowe & Company, 2003.)

Studies: the brain uses glucose, a simple carbohydrate, almost exclusively as its source of energy. Although other parts of the body can use fat, protein, or carbohydrate for energy, the brain functioned best with carbohydrate fuel. Due to its rapid metabolism, the brain requires minute-to-minute glucose. (Nedley, Neil, M.D. Proof Positive. p 273-275. OK:Nedley, 1998, 1999.)

Studies: eating carbohydrates can result in the production of serotonin, which can be calming to the brain and may even may on sleepy. (Bricklin, Mark, et al. Positive Living and Health. p 88-90. PA:Rodale Press, 1990.)

Urges have a chemical base. Carbohydrate urge is turned on by norephinephrine, neuropeptide Y, and cortisol. Turned off by serotonin. (Howard, Pierce, J., PhD. The Owner’s Manual for the Brain. p 87. NY:Bard Press, 2000.)

Meat, beans, or nuts may increase production of serotonin. Choline (egg yolk, fish, cereal, peas, and beans) may increase production of acetylcholine. Hot chili peppers may trigger release of endorphins. Dieting starves the brain of serotonin. Without enough serotonin to signal satisfaction, dieters tend to overeat. (Brynie, Faith Hickman. 101 Questions Your Brain Has Asked About Itself But Couldn’t Answer, Until Now. p 38-39. CT:Millbrook Press, 1998.)

Refer to Care of the Brain for additional information.

The average adult has around 30 trillion cells in his or her body, and every day thousands of new cells are replicated from old ones. New cells are made to replace the old cells that become worn-out or damaged. Providing the raw materials for the creation of these new cells from nutrients in your food is one way that nutrition plays an important role in sustaining cellular, and therefore overall health. For example, Inositol ( found in whole grains) is a component of membrane phospholipids that are involved in various functions including cellular signaling. Increases in dietary inositol and choline have been found to significantly influence the concentration of membrane phospholipids and support healthy cell membranes. In addition, specific nutrients also protect your cells from damage and support the body's energy production machinery. (Source)

HLDs (good cholesterol) were high in study subjects when they ate a low glycemic index diet. (Carper, Jean. Your Miracle Brain. p 131-132. NY:HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 2000.)

Lecithin is a perfect source of the B vitamin choline. Choline is a resource used by your body to make acetylcholine, the primary neurotransmitter. (Concoby, Robert, and David Nicol. Discovered: Nature’s Secret Fountains of Youth. p B-1. US: Hanford Press, 1993.)

Choline, found in egg yoke (and lecithin) is required for the brain to create acetylcholine, ciritical for memory functions. It helps to break down homocysteine.(Carper,, Jean. Your Miracle Brain. p 9, 286-288. NY:HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 2000.)

Choline, the precursor to acetylecholine, has been associated with weak to moderate memory enhancement. It is found in soybeans, brown rice, eggs, etc. (Bricklin, Mark, et al. Positive Living and Health.p 102. PA:Rodale Press, 1990.)

Studies: Classroom performance improved in children who ate breakfast or had nourishing snacks during school breaks. (Healy, Jane M., PhD. Endangered Minds. p 164-166. NY:Simon & Schuster, 1990.)

A brain with a shortage of CQ10 is unable to function at top form and may even degenerate faster over the years. Along with Vitamin E, CQ10 works in the mitochondria (structures in the cell that generate energy) where potential for free radical damage is high. Mitochondria of neurons need extra antioxidant protection because brain cells burn so much energy and are full of fat that must be detoxified. (Carper, Jean. Your Miracle Brain. p 261-264. NY: HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 2000.)

200,000 babies born in USA each year with deficits; 30-35% inherit a gene or chromosome anomalies (e.g., Down’s). Of the other 65-70%, contributory factors include: avoidable exposures to alcohol, tobacco smoke, medicinal/recreational drugs, toxic agents); dietary deficiencies (e.g., folacin); unnecessary stress. (Diamond, Marian, PhD, and Janet Hopson. Magic Trees of the Mind. p 66-69. NY:A Dutton Book 1998.)

Docosahexaenoic acid is an omega-3 fatty acid. It is the most abundant omega-3 fatty acid in the brain and retina and is believed vital for normal brain development of the fetus and infant as well as for the maintenance of normal brain function throughout life. Fish oils are rich in DHA. DHA is also commercially manufactured from microalgae (for vegans and vegetarians). (Source)

The human body requires the physiologically essential nutrients DHA and EPA at differing levels and for different reasons at different life stages (e.g., pregnancy, infancy, childhood, adulthood, and aging). DHA-EPA omega-3 Institute. Source for Objective Science-based DHA/EPA Omega-3 Information.)

Dieting starves the brain of serotonin. This can trigger a cycle of dieting and bingeing as there isn’t enough serotonin to signal satisfaction. Without enough serotonin to signal satisfaction, dieters tend to overeat. (Brynie, Faith Hickman. 101 Questions Your Brain Has Asked About Itself But Couldn’t Answer, Until Now. p 38-43. CT:Millbrook Press, 1998.)

Weight-loss diets can impact the brain negatively (e.g., disrupt synthesis of neurotransmitters, alter brain chemistry, decrease intelligence, trigger mental processing problems). Avoid all crash diets (e.g., caloric intake <1000 calories per day) or rapid weight-loss diets. (Greenwood-Robinson, Maggie, PhD. 20/20 Thinking. p 185-194. NY:Avery, Putnam Special Markets, 2003.)

Dieting sends a signal to your brain/body that food is scarce and you are starving. This reprograms brain/body to be more efficient at holding onto the calories you ingest and stingier at expending them for exercise. When you stop dieting and increase your calorie intake to your previous level, you tend to gain weight back faster and eventually go up to a higher weight than before. (Bost, Brent W., MD, FACOG. Hurried Woman Syndrome. p 84. NY:Vantage Press, 2001.)

Fad diets don’t work—period, for three reasons: are usually unbalanced and often turn on survival genes (that makes the diet lose its effectiveness over time); don’t allow for flexibility in food selection or match way you normally eat; requires a change to another diet method for long-term weight control. (Bost, Brent W., MD, FACOG. Hurried Woman Syndrome. p 58-59. NY:Vantage Press, 2001.)

Some habits may be dangerous to the brain at any age although children under age 3 may be the most susceptible: diets high in refined sugar, no breakfast or high-carbohydrate breakfasts, fast-type snack foods, soft drinks, and foods containing aspartame. (Healy, Jane M., PhD. Endangered Minds. p 164-166. NY:Simon & Schuster, 1990.)

Learning, exerting your brain intellectually stimulates brain cells to grow dendrites and create new synapses. Consistent mental stimulation actually builds more brain tissue, and develops a surplus of brain cells to call on should your brain be injured. (Carper, Jean. Your Miracle Brain. p 32-34. NY:HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 2000.)

Some foods (e.g., sugary sweets) trigger release of endorphins. However, a huge release of endorphins all at once can actually suppress immune system function (e.g., natural killer cells). (Hafen, Brent Q., et al. Mind/Body Health. p 29-31. MA: Allyn & Bacon, 1996.)

Hot chili peppers may trigger release of endorphins. (Brynie, Faith Hickman. 101 Questions Your Brain Has Asked About Itself But Couldn’t Answer, Until Now. p 38-39. CT: Millbrook Press, 1998.)

Refer to Energy and the Brain for additional information.

Lemon Juice Survey: People who are said to be extraverted are typically confident and outgoing. Scientists predicted and found that they produced less saliva after lemon juice was placed on their tongues. People who are said to be introverted are generally shy and quiet. Scientists predicted and found that they produced a lot of saliva after placing lemon juice on their tongues. This has been said to support Eysenck’s belief that introverts are characterized by higher levels of internal cortical activity (arousal) than extraverts. (Source)

Refer to Extraversion-Ambiversion-Introversion for additional information.

The type of fat you eat can change the shape and function of brain cells. Saturated fats may stunt the growth of brain cells and reduce the number and length of dendrites. Provides a list of undesirable versus better fats. (Carper, Jean. Your Miracle Brain. p 48-50. NY: HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 2000.)

Urges have a chemical base. Fat urges are turned on by galanin, opiates, and aldosterone; turned off by dopamine. (Howard, Pierce, J., PhD. The Owner’s Manual for the Brain. p 87. NY: Bard Press, 2000.)

Fat tissue is 97% water. That’s where the weight of fat comes from, its water content. (Bost, Brent W., MD, FACOG. Hurried Woman Syndrome. p 56-57. NY:Vantage Press, 2001.)

Preliminary studies: social violence, suicide, and aggressive behavior may be associated with an imbalance in the intake of essential fatty acids. (Gurian, Michael, PhD, and Patricia Henley, with Terry Trueman. Boys and Girls Learn Differently! p 88-89.CA:Jossey-Bass, 2001.)

Four-year study of 8,000 people aged 65 and over in France reported three dietary staples of seniors who avoid dementia:

  • Eating fish at least once a week (Omega-3 fatty acids)
  • Eating fruits and vegetables (raw or cooked) daily
  • Using fats such as walnut oil, soy oil, or colza oil (related to canola oil)

(Barberger-Gateau. p. Neurology. Nov. 13, 2007, Vol 69. News release, American Academy of Neurology.)

Studies 1989: A deficiency of folic acid could lead defects in the brain and spinal cord, especially during first two weeks after conception (e.g., spina bifida). (Diamond, Marian, PhD, and Janet Hopson. Magic Trees of the Mind. p 66-69. A Dutton Book 1998.)

Study by Jim Stevenson, a professor of psychology at England's University of Southampton, results released 9-13-07 in The Lancet: a variety of common food dyes and the preservative sodium benzoate (e.g., an ingredient in many soft drinks, fruit juices, salad dressings) can cause some children to become more hyperactive and distractible than usual. Some kids can become more hyperactive within one hour of consuming food additives. (Wallis, Claudia. Article from Time Magazine reprinted in Dr. Amen’s News Letter, 9-15-07.)

Food allergies (e.g., additives, dyes, sugar, chocolate) can make the child listless, hyper or less mentally alert, inattentive, grouchy, and may slow down transfer of information across the corpus callosum. (Healy, Jane M., PhD. Your Child’s Growing Mind. p 84, 140. NY:Doubleday, 1987, 1989.)

There is an obesity epidemic in the United States. Sugar, alcohol, tobacco, chocolate and cheese impact human physiology, making people crave more of them. As a result, people get fat, alcoholic, diabetic-and worse. The biggest increases over the last century have been in the amount of meat, cheese, oil, and frozen desserts being consumed. (Bernard, Neal D., MD. Breaking the Food Seduction. NY:St. Martin’s Griffin, 2004).

A meal’s composition can affect the production of brain chemicals, which distinguishes the brain from all other organs. It is uniquely responsive to food chemicals. The type of neurotransmitters your neurons make and release, and their ultimate destiny in the brain, depend greatly on what you eat. (Carper, Jean. Your Miracle Brain. p 7-9. NY: HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 2000.)

Your choice of food and beverages impact the way you feel. Make the best choices you can for your body. “If it grows, eat it. If it doesn’t grow, don’t eat it.” (Hay, Louise L. You Can Heal Your Life. p 50, 88. CA: Hay House, Inc., 1984.)

Antioxidant defenses decline significantly after age 28, increasing vulnerability to age-related damage (e.g., free radicals). Many mental problems stem from too many free radicals and an insufficient level of antioxidants. (Carper, Jean. Your Miracle Brain. p 20-24, 141. NY: HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 2000.)

A new UCLA rat study, reported in the Journal of Physiology, may be the first to show how a diet steadily high in fructose slows the brain and hampers memory and learning. Two groups of rats were first taught to run a maze that had many holes but only one exit. Both groups were then fed a typical rat diet with the addition of fructose solution as drinking water. The second group was also given omega-3 fatty acids in the form of flaxseed oil and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which is essential for synaptic function. Six weeks later cells in the brains of rats who had not received omega-3 fatty acids brain cells had trouble signaling each other, disrupting the rats' ability to think clearly and recall the route they'd learned six weeks earlier. The rats had difficulty negotiating the maze and showed signs of insulin resistance. Typical Western diets include significant amounts of cane sugar and high-fructose corn syrup, an inexpensive liquid sweetener. (Fructose in fruits appears to be less impactful because fruits also contain important antioxidants). You may want to reduce your fructose intake and be sure to include omega-3s in your diet when you do want a high-fructose item. (Source)

High fructose corn syrup contains about 5% more fructose (than sugar). HFCS does not stimulate insulin production and has potential negative effects to the brain. HFCS goes directly to the liver, which releases enzymes that trigger fat storage. HFCS may promote overeating, elevate triglyceride levels, slow fat burning, and cause weight gain. (Cohen, Mark Francis. What’s Worse Than Sugar? p 18-19. AARP Bulletin, April 2004.)

While earlier research has revealed how fructose harms the body through its role in diabetes, obesity and fatty liver, this study is the first to uncover how the sweetener influences the brain. A new study showed that a high-fructose diet harms the brain as well as the body. Eating a high-fructose diet over the long term alters your brain's ability to learn and remember information. (http://newsroom.ucla.edu/portal/ucla/this-is-your-brain-on-sugar-ucla-233992.aspx)

When humans ingest genetically modified foods, the artificially created genes transfer into and alter the character of the beneficial bacteria in the intestine. The genetically modified organisms can spread among, and alter, other organisms in the environment. (Lipton, Bruce, PhD. The Biology of Belief. p 45. CA: Mountain of Love/Elite Books, 2005.)

Ginkgo has been found to have strong antioxidant activity, against two of the most virulent free radicals that readily savage brain cells: superoxide and the hydroxyl radical. Ginkgo increases circulation of the blood and oxygen to the capillaries of the brain, probably by reducing blood viscosity. (Carper, Jean. Your Miracle Brain. p 262-276. NY:HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 2000.)

Sugar/glucose is metabolized in the digestive track and processed in cells. It stimulates the production of insulin, a step required for the conversion of sugar into energy. (See Fructose for additional information.) (Cohen, Mark Francis. What’s Worse Than Sugar? p 18-19. AARP Bulletin, April 2004.)

The brain does not have much room to store nutrients, space is extremely limited by the skull. Only a 2-minute supply of glucose is available to the brain cells (and this is in the form of glycogen) the storage form of sugar. Thus, for peak performance, the frontal lobes require blood with a steady and adequate glucose level. (Nedley, Neil, M.D. Proof Positive. p 273-275. OK:Nedley, 1998, 1999.)

If your brain is short on fuel it can’t function as efficiently (e.g., trying to learn something on an empty stomach makes you more vulnerable to failure). When neural activity is stimulated your brain gobbles up glucose from your blood. Eating breakfast is an excellent way to jump-start your brain (especially for schoolchildren and adolescents). (Carper, Jean. Your Miracle Brain. p 113. NY:HarperCollins Publishers, 2000.)

Refer to Sugar and the Brain for additional information.

Avoid high-glycemic foods that spike blood sugar. As blood sugar levels rise, increases in insulin and inflammation produce glycation, a process that creates free radicals known as AGEs. (Perricone, Nicholas, MD. The Perricone Promise. p 138-148. NY:Warner Books, 2004.)

The Glycemic index is a list of common foods and a capsule look at common foods with high and low glycemic index values, excerpted from the authoritative book on the subject by Brand-Miller. For example: peanuts = low GI, pretzels = high; sweet potato = low, red skin potato = high. (Brand-Miller, Jennie, et al. The Glucose Revolution. NY:Marlowe & Company, 1999. Carper, Jean. Your Miracle Brain. p 127-134. NY:HarperCollins Publishers, 2000.)

Refer to Care of the Brain for additional information.

Refer to Sugar and the Brain for additional information.

Buckwheat is not a true grain but is low in the glycemic index and, therefore, is better than rice, wheat, or corn. Buckwheat is higher protein, low fat, high in essential amino acids lysine and arginine, and contains no gluten. (Perricone, Nicholas, MD. The Perricone Promise. p 69-70. NY:Warner Books, 2004.)

Grape seed oil is processed from the seeds of grapes, which are formed as a by-product of wine making. Oils from seeds are usually extracted in factories using an industrial process that involves high heat and various chemicals, including the toxic solvent hexane. Although it has a high smoke point, it is filled with double-bond fatty acid molecules that tend to react with oxygen when heated, forming harmful compounds and free radicals. By comparison, coconut oil doesn’t have double bonds and is therefore less likely to react with oxygen when heated. (Gunnars, Kirs, Bsc. https://authoritynutrition.com/grape-seed-oil/)

Green superfoods may be the closest thing to a perfect food this planet offers. Superoxide Dismutase, or SOD for short, is a powerful antioxidant enzyme found in green superfoods (e.g., wheat grass, barley grass, spirulina). It helps support brain function and the immune system. Studies have shown that one’s life span is proportional to the amount of SOD in one’s heart, brain, and liver. (Concoby, Roberts, and David Nicol. Discovered: Nature’s Secret Fountains of Youth. p B-2, C-1. US: Hanford Press, 1993.)

What you eat affects how you think. Studies at UCLA, reported in the Journal of Physiology, reported that a steady diet of high-fructose corn syrup disrupted the ability of lab rats to think clearly and to recall how to run a learned maze route. Some of the rats also developed signs of insulin resistance; insulin is a hormone that controls blood sugar and regulates brain function. (According to the US Department of Agriculture, the average American consumes more than 40 pounds of high-fructose corn syrup per year, it being found commonly in soda, applesauce, baby food, condiments, and other processed snacks.) Researchers reported that the study “shows that a high-fructose diet harms the brain as well as the body. This is something new." (Source)

High fructose corn syrup contains about 5% more fructose (than sugar). HFCS does not stimulate insulin production but goes directly to the liver, which releases enzymes that trigger fat storage. HFCS may promote overeating, elevate triglyceride levels, slow fat burning, and weight gain. (Cohen, Mark Francis. What’s Worse Than Sugar? AARP Bulletin, April 2004, pp 18-19)

New research from Princeton has shown that rats fed high fructose corn syrup had dramatic weight gains (as opposed to those ingesting water-sugar mixtures). There was a concentration of this weight gain in the abdomen along with a rise in triglyceride levels. In humans, these same characteristics are known to increase one's risk factors for high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, cancer and diabetes. This advocates for "reading labels." Common foods that contain high fructose corn syrup include breads, mayonnaise, ketchup, fruit juice, soda, cereal, yogurt, and other “packaged” or “convenience” foods. (Anderson, Sylvia, Insider Health Editor. New Study: High Fructose Corn Syrup Prompts Considerably More Weight Gain. 2010.)

High levels of the amino acid, homocysteine, may be related to failing intellectual abilities including memory, concentration, thinking abilities, and low moods. As much as 40% of cerebrovascular diseases appears tied to high homocysteine levels. Folic Acid and B12 help to reduce levels. (Carper, Jean. Your Miracle Brain. p 307-310. NY: HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 2000.)

Low Glycemic Index foods are among the most filling and delay hunger pains for longer. They remain in the small intestine longer, triggering receptors that tell the brain there’s food still in the gut to be digested... they are less energy dense than high Glycemic Index foods. (see Glycemic Index). (Brand-Miller, Jennie, PhD, Thomas M. S. Wolever, MD, PhD, et al. The New Glucose Revolution. p 182-184. NY:Marlowe & Company, 2003.)

See Glycemic Index (above).

Fruits and vegetables and foods high in polyphenolic compounds such as berries and perhaps walnuts (e.g., approximately one ounce per day for humans), may have a plethora of positive effects on brain function. They may help cognitive, motor, and neuronal functions and positively enhance signaling and neurogenesis. There may also be benefits to the aging brain, helping it to decrease vulnerability to oxidative and inflammatory insults related to aging. (Packer, Lester, et al. Micronutrients and Brain Health. Oxidative Stress and Disease. p 182-184. NY: CRC Press, Taylor and Francis Group, 2009.)

Foods that quickly convert to sugar in the bloodstream provoke an inflammatory response (e.g., potatoes, breads, rice cakes, pastries, juice, chips). Avoid them. (Perricone, Nicholas, MD. The Perricone Promise. p 12-13. NY: Warner Books, 2004.)

Lemon Juice Survey: People who are said to be Extraverted are typically confident and outgoing. Scientists predicted and found that Extraverts produced less saliva after lemon juice was placed on their tongues. People who are said to be Introverted are generally shy and quiet. Scientists predicted and found that Introverts produced a lot of saliva after placing lemon juice on their tongues. This has been said to support Eysenck’s belief that Introverts are characterized by higher levels of internal cortical activity (arousal) than xtraverts. (Source)

Refer to Extraversion-Ambiversion-Introversion for additional information.

Studies on human volunteers: L-theanine creates a sense of alert relaxation about 30-40 minutes after ingestion via at least two different mechanisms: directly stimulates the production of alpha brain waves, creating a state of deep relaxation and mental alertness similar to what is achieved through meditation; is involved in the formation of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA, which influences the levels of dopamine and serotonin. (Perrini, Carolyn, CLS, CNC. L-Theanine: How a Unique Anxiety Reducer and Mood Enhancer Increases Alpha Waves and Alertness.)

L-theanine is the most predominant free amino acid found in green tea. Reported benefits include:

  • capable of blocking cell death from an excess of glutamate
  • can stimulate the release of nerve growth factor (NGF)
  • can calm both PMS and menopausal symptoms
  • can increase focused attention and improve learning
  • helps to relieve nicotine addiction
  • reduces stress and anxiety
  • triggers release of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin promotes sleep

(Sharpe, Ed. L-Theanine. The Delano Report.)

L-theanine, a nonessential amino acid, has been found to reduces stress and anxiety without the tranquilizing effects found in many other calming supplements. The brain absorbs it within 30 minutes of ingesting and its effects can last for hours. (Thankachen, Jasmin. Destress with L-Theanine. Natural Health, Oct-Nov, 2002)

L-theanine, a non-protein amino acid mainly found naturally in tea leaves, is involved in the formation of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA (gamma amino butyric acid). GABA influences the levels of two other neurotransmitters, dopamine and serotonin. In addition it stimulates the production of alpha brain waves that can help to control anxiety, increase mental focus, improve concentration, improve memory and learning ability, and promote creativity. It exerts protective effects on the brain by antagonizing glutamate toxicity. (L-Theanine. Vitamins and Health Supplements Guide.)

L-theanine, an amino acid found in the leaves of green tea, it has been reported to benefit both the brain and the immune system. It can cross the blood-brain barrier. Benefits include: promotes alpha wave production, and increases the levels of dopamine, serotonin, and GABA in the brain. (Multiple studies cited and references listed:

Perhaps one of the most extensively researched and documented nutritional ingredients, L-theanine has demonstrated safety and efficacy in many applications. For example: promoting relaxation with drowsiness; improving learning and concentration; heightening mental acuity; supporting the immune system; lowering cholesterol; and reducing stress and anxiety. (L-Theanine. NutriScience Innovations, LLC.)

MSG does enhance flavors by plugging into taste receptors on the tongue but it is potentially neurotoxic. L-Theanine functions in the same way but has none of the reported side effects of MSG. (Sharpe, Ed. L-Theanine. The Delano Report.)

Some researchers believe that some learning disabilities (e.g., ADD, ADHD, dyslexia) can be relieved by getting the right type of healthy fats into the brain: notably omega 3 fatty acids. (Carper, Jean. Your Miracle Brain. p 95-97. NY: HarperCollins Publishers, 2000.)

Lipoic or alpha-lipoic acid is a superantioxidant. Both fat and water soluable it can work in both the watery and fatty portions of the cell. It can regenerate itself as well as four other antioxidants (vitamins E and D, glutathione, coenzyme Q10) and neutralize nitrogen radicals, the type most apt to injure brain cells. (Carper, Jean. Your Miracle Brain. p 231-234. NY: HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 2000.)

The length of life is directly proportional to the enzyme potential in the body…By eating foods with the enzymes intact, the abnormal and pathological aging processes can often be stopped. (Concoby, Robert, and David Nicol. Discovered: Nature’s Secret Fountains of Youth. B-1. US: Hanford Press, 1993.)

A shortage of certain nutrients in the mother’s diet (e.g., iron, vitamin B12, folic acid, essential fatty acids) can retard the brain’s development. Malnutrition in young children slows the brain’s development impairing cognition. (Ratey, John J., MD. A User’s Guide to the Brain. p 29. NY:Vintage Books, 2002.)

Malnutrition can adversely impact the fetal brain and place it at higher risk for learning problems later in life. (Healy, Jane M., PhD. Endangered Minds. p 62. NY:Simon & Schuster, 1990.)

When to eat is as important as what you eat. The largest food intake should be midday, which allows the food to be sent to bodymind sites to reinforce conscious, vigorous, waking activity (rather than being deposited as fat) and to be completely digested before bedtime. (Pert, Candace, PhD. Molecules of Emotion. p 322. NY:Scribner, 1997.)

Acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter, is critical for memory. (Carper, Jean. Your Miracle Brain. p 8-11. NY:HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 2000.)

Phosphatidylserine (PS) is believed to help rebuild brain function, put mental decline in reverse, support brain health, and assist in restoring memory. Use products made from soy and not from bovine brains. For memory loss, the author recommends 300 milligrams of PS daily; 100 milligrams of PS daily for maintenance of brain health. (Greenwood-Robinson, Maggie, PhD. 20/20 Thinking. p 230-233. NY:Avery, Putnam Special Markets, 2003.)

Refer to Memory and the Brain for additional information.

Sugary starchy foods and drink may be of some help to the body during the stress of menstrual flow. There is no positive use for these foods early in a girl’s life, however. (Gurian, Michael, PhD, and Patricia Henley, with Terry Trueman. Boys and Girls Learn Differently! p 86-88. CA:Jossey-Bass, 2001.)

Each body has its own genetically programmed set-point for body fat. Avoid the two things that can raise your set point: inadequate exercise and excessive fat consumption. Your set point can be adjusted over a substantial length of time: sustained high-fat diets can raise it and sustained exercise programs can lower it. (Howard, Pierce, J., PhD. The Owner’s Manual for the Brain. p 90-91. NY: Bard Press, 2000.)

A consortium of researchers organized by the National Institutes of Health has mapped the normal microbial make-up of healthy humans. They now calculate that there are more than 10,000 different microbial species and estimate between 81 and 99 percent of all microorganisms have been identified in generally healthy adults. They found that the human body contains trillions of microorganisms that outnumber human cells by 10 to 1. Because of their small size, these microorganisms make up only about 1 to 3 percent of the body's mass (e.g., if you weigh 100 pounds you have 1-3 pounds of microorganisms; if you weigh 200 pounds than 2-6 pounds of microorganisms, and so on). NHGRI's HMP program manager. "Microbes in the gut break down many of the proteins, fats, and carbohydrates into nutrients that you can then absorb; and produce beneficial compounds such as vitamins and anti-inflammatories. It appears that the distribution of microbial metabolic activities matters more than the species of microbes providing them (e.g., microbes can pinch hit for each other). The microbe composition changes when you get sick or take antibiotics. (Source)

Modern lifestyles have increased the external threats to our health (e.g., carcinogens from pollution, bacteria and viruses, and growing use of immuno-suppressant medication). At the same time, levels of micronutrients in the diet, vital for immune function, have become reduced. (Clayton, Paul, PhD. Health Defense. Research Director of Medical Nutrition Matters, a post-graduate course in Oxford.)

Many problems can result from drinking the milk of other animals, including cows. Few adults can properly metabolize the protein in cow’s milk, which can result in a variety of problems. (Robbins, Anthony. Unlimited Power. p 184-190. NY:Fireside, 1986.)

Food constituents can mimic drugs in regulating neurotransmitters and causing changes in brain activity and behavior. (Carper, Jean. Your Miracle Brain. NY: HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 2000.)

The only safe fat is monounsaturated (e.g., as in olive oil, canola oil, avocados, and nuts) which is not easily oxidized. Eating fat that is rapidly oxidized (e.g., corn oil, regular safflower/sunflower seed oils) infuse your blood with free radical peroxides (that can impact the brain). If you don’t have enough antioxidants to mop them up, the radicals shut down an enzyme that metabolizes sugar. Thus glucose blood levels rise, and the body pours out more insulin in attempts to handle the sugar. (Carper, Jean. Stop Aging Now! p 284-285. NY: HarperCollins, 1996.)

Monosodium glutamate, a Japanese taste-enhancer, has been added to American foods since the late 1940's and its use has doubled every decade since. (It was voluntarily removed from baby food in America in 1969 due to concerns about negative impact to developing brains.) It is often added to foods in disguised form (e.g., hydrolyzed vegetable protein, natural flavorings, spices, vegetable protein) that may contain from 12%-40% MSG. These substances contains three powerful brain-cell toxins (glutamate, aspartate, and cysteic acid) as well as several known carcinogens. Glutamate and aspartate are neurotransmitters that are needed for effective brain function but when they get out of balance brain cells can die. (Blaylock, Russell L., MD. Excitotoxins, the Taste that Kills. p 31-40. NM:Health Press, 1997)

Food influences your mood. Sutdies have shown that depression is more common among people who eat mostly processed food. This is due to the fact that processing often removeds magnesium from food and magnesium deficiencyh in tghe brain lowers levels of serotonin. Once study found that three specific fast foods (hemburgers, sausages, and Pizza) worsen risk of depression. (La Puma, John, MD. Author of ChefMD's Big ook of Culinarfy Medicine. The Mind Health Report, Special Report, 1011-REV1111)

Eating breakfast and avoiding junk food is important in order to avoid problems during puberty, including moodiness. (Gurian, Micahel. From Boys to Men. p 11-14. NY:Price Stern Sloan, Inc, 1999.)

Medicinal mushrooms (maitake, shiitake, reishi, cordyceps) contain polysaccharides that have been found able to turn on immune system cells (e.g., macrophages). (Perricone, Nicholas, MD. The Perricone Promise. p 132-134. NY:Warner Books, 2004.)

The growth of myelin may be stunted if there is in inadequate intake of protein and/or in impoverished environments. (Healy, Jane M., PhD. Endangered Minds. p 66-70. NY:Simon & Schuster, 1990.)

Brain cells require specific nutrients to make various neurotransmitters. The availability of a specific nutrient can dictate the levels and potency of a particular neurotransmitter (e.g., choline, dopamine, serotonin, acetylcholine). (Carper, Jean. Your Miracle Brain. p 8-11. NY: HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 2000.)

Fruits and vegetables are considered to be neutral foods in that they don’t increase alertness or calm one down. (Bricklin, Mark, et al. Positive Living and Health. p 88-90. PA: Rodale Press, 1990.)

However good your weekly food menu, it is impossible to obtain the full range of nutrients that you need from food alone. Recommendation: A baseline of vitamins and minerals at effective levels, carotenoids (lycopene), soy isoflavones (genistein), omega 3 fish oil, flavonoids, CoQ10, etc. (Clayton, Paul, PhD. An Ideal Supplement.)

Some factors can have a direct physical effect on sperm and egg even before a child is conceived. These include: poverty, poor nutrition, smoking, drinking, drugs, alcohol, and violence. (Diamond, Marian, PhD, and Janet Hopson. Magic Trees of the Mind. p 66-69. NY: A Dutton Book 1998.)

A new medical specialty (with a scientific journal of the same name) is discovering how to keep the brain functioning at peak power for an entire lifetime, finding ways to alter brain chemistry with supplements, nutrition, and other lifestyle changes. (Carper, Jean. Your Miracle Brain. p xvii-xix. NY: HarperCollins Publishers, 2000.)

Eating nuts five or more times a week reduces your risk of heart attack by 60%.The 1990's Adventist Health Study of a large population of California Seventh Day Adventists found that in addition to reducing the risk of heart attack by up to 60%, eating nuts was one of the four top factors for extending longevity. The beneficial effects were found for men, women, vegetarians, meat-eaters, fatter people, thinner people, the old, the young, those who exercise and those who don't. (Minton, Barbara L. Eating Nuts Greatly Reduces Your Risk of Heart Attack and Cancer. May, 2008.)

Nuts may increase production of serotonin. (Brynie, Faith Hickman. 101 Questions Your Brain Has Asked About Itself But Couldn’t Answer, Until Now. p 38-39. CT: Millbrook Press, 1998.)

The “healthier” types of seed and vegetable oils are “cold pressed” or “expeller pressed,” a much more natural way to extract oil from the seeds. If an oil does not explicitly state how it is processed, then you should assume that it was extracted using chemicals like hexane. (Gunnars, Kirs, Bsc. https://authoritynutrition.com/grape-seed-oil/)

Olive oil and other monounsaturated fats promote higher good-type (HDL) cholesterol. Provides a list of oils with percentages of Omega-6S (e.g., safflower, sunflower) and Omega-3 (e.g., olive and canola). (Carper, Jean. Your Miracle Brain. p 66, 131-132. NY: HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 2000.)

There are two main kinds of polyunsaturated fats: Omega-3s and Omega-6s. Most people are eating too few Omega-3s and way too many Omega-6s. Grapeseed oil contains mostly Omega-6 fatty acids, and too many Omega 6s can increase inflammation and contribute to poor health and disease. (Gunnars, Kirs, Bsc. https://authoritynutrition.com/grape-seed-oil/)

Studies: aging humans who consumed more omega-3 fatty acids had increased gray matter brain volume. Most new tissue development was observed in the portion of the brain associated with happiness. (Sarah M. Conklin, PhD. High -6 and Low -3 Fatty Acids are Associated With Depressive Symptoms and Neuroticism. 2007.)

Docosahexaenoic acid is an omega-3 fatty acid. It is the most abundant omega-3 fatty acid in the brain and retina and is believed vital for normal brain development of the fetus and infant as well as for the maintenance of normal brain function throughout life. Fish oils are rich in DHA. DHA is also commercially manufactured from microalgae (for vegans and vegetarians). (Source)

The human body requires the physiologically essential nutrients DHA (omega-3 fatty acid) and EPA at differing levels and for different reasons at different life stages (e.g., pregnancy, infancy, childhood, adulthood, and aging). DHA-EPA omega-3 Institute. Source for Objective Science-based DHA/EPA Omega-3 Information.)

Units of Oxygen Radical Absorbency Capacity identify how well a specific food (per 100 grams) is endowed with overall powers to neutralize cell-damaging free radicals. Highest are fruits and vegetables. Lists ORAC units for 53 fruits and vegetables according to tests at Tufts University. (Carper, Jean. Your Miracle Brain. p 151-154. NY: HarperCollins Publishers, 2000.)

Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity is a scale that lists a variety of foods and their antioxidant capacity (e.g., ½ cup blueberries contains 2,400 units). Eat fruits and vegetables that add up to at least 5000 ORAC units per day. Provides charts. (Perricone, Nicholas, MD. The Perricone Promise. p 40-50. NY: Warner Books, 2004.)

Phosphatidylserine (PS) is believed to help rebuild brain function, put mental decline in reverse, support brain health, and assist in restoring memory. Use products made from soy and not from bovine brains. For memory loss, the author recommends 300 milligrams of PS daily; 100 milligrams of PS daily for maintenance of brain health. (Greenwood-Robinson, Maggie, PhD. 20/20 Thinking. p 230-233. NY:Avery, Putnam Special Markets, 2003.)

PS is a fatty nutrient present in all cell membranes but most concentrated in brain cells. Thought to increase brain energy by enhancing message transmission in nerve cells and reducing memory decline, it is derived from soybeans. (Carper, Jean. Your Miracle Brain. p 277-279. NY:HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 2000.)

Shortage of food during pregnancy and nursing can trigger brain damage (e.g., 1st trimester may have neural tube malformations such as spina bifida; 2nd trimester may have too few neurons; 3rd trimester may have incomplete myelination and brain growth). (Diamond, Marian, PhD, and Janet Hopson. Magic Trees of the Mind. p 82-83. NY: Dutton, 1998.)

High protein low fat foods can increase alertness (e.g., beans, lentils, tofu). Protein mixed with carbohydrates acts like protein alone. (Bricklin, Mark, et al. Positive Living and Health. p 88-90. PA: Rodale Press, 1990.)

Urges have a chemical base. Protein urge turned on by serotonin and opiates; turned off by neuropeptide Y, norephinephrine, galanin, and dopamine. (Howard, Pierce, J., PhD. The Owner’s Manual for the Brain. p 87. NY: Bard Press, 2000.)

Nerve cells must have selenium to produce glutathione, one of the brain’s most important antioxidants. Too little selenium is also associated with disturbances in the activity of other neurotransmitters (e.g., serotonin, dopamine, adrenaline), lowered mood, and raised anxiety. (Carper, Jean. Your Miracle Brain. p 250-252. NY: HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 2000.)

Sourdough bread has a very low glycemic index compared to other breads (yeast culture starter induces fermentation, releasing lactic acid). (Carper, Jean. Your Miracle Brain. p 131. NY: HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 2000.)

This herb, hypericum, has been shown to be helpful for some people for: mild depression, seasonal affective disorder or SAD, and mild depression in the elderly. There can be some side effects including exposure to sunlight. (Carper, Jean. Your Miracle Brain. p 295-298. NY: HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 2000.)

Stress increases nutritional demands (e.g., more Vit A, Vit C, thiamine, riboflavin, and protein). (Hafen, Brent Q., et al. Mind/Body Health. p 70-72. MA:Simon & Schuster, 1996.)

Refer to Stress and the Brain for additional information.

The four temperaments (Choleric, Phlegmatic, Melancholy, Sanguine) are often each associated with food preferences and metabolism differences. (Rolfe, Randy, JD, MA. The Four Temperaments. p 127-150. NY: Marlowe & Company, 2002.)

Refer to L-Theanine (above) for additional information.

A thiamin deficiency can hamper the brain’s ability to use glucose, decreases energy available for mental activities. It also overexcites neurons so that they fire endlessly and eventually die. A thiamin-deficient diet can lead to inability to concentrate, confusion of thought, uncertainty of memory, anorexia, irritability, and depression. (Carper, Jean. Your Miracle Brain. p 223-227. NY: HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 2000.)

When you eat can be as important as what you eat. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper. Peak digestion of a meal is about 7 hours after dessert. (Bricklin, Mark, et al. Positive Living and Health. p 352-353. PA:Rodale Press, 1990.)

Tofu, or bean curd, is a wonderful source of complete protein: while low in sodium and low in fat, it is quite a good source of complex carbohydrates and magnesium. (Weiner, Michael A., PhD. Maximum Immunity. p 263. MA: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1986.)

Tryptophan, readily available in foods, is needed by the brain to create serotonin, a mood regulator. (Carper, Jean. Your Miracle Brain. p 9. NY: HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 2000.)

Tryptophan, another mind-altering amino acid, is converted to serotonin. This neurotransmitter is involved in the regulation o f sleep, appetite, aggression, and pain sensitivity. (Padus, Emrika, et al. The Complete Guide to Your Emotions & Your Health: New Dimensions. p 23. PA: Rodale Press, 1986.)

Tyrosine, available in high protein-containing foods, is required by the brain to create dopamine, a brain chemical that is essential for proper motor coordination among other things. (Carper, Jean. Your Miracle Brain. p 9. NY: HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 2000.)

An amino acid, tyrosine, converts in the brain to three neurotransmitters: dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine (sometimes called adrenaline). These brain sparks are referred to collectively as the catecholamines, and each is associated with wakefulness. (Padus, Emrika, et al. The Complete Guide to Your Emotions & Your Health: New Dimensions. p 23-27. PA: Rodale Press, 1986.)

There are many internet resources related to vegetarianism. The Culinary Resources for Vegetarianism is one. It includes some history as well as other information you might find helpful. (Source)

Acidic foods (e.g., lemon juice, vinegar) can help to save your brain from spikes in blood sugar. The acid slows the digestive process or “gastric emptying rate,” curtailing rapid rises in blood sugar. Italian study: adding only 4 teaspoons of vinegar to an average meal depressed blood sugar by as much as 30%. (Carper, Jean. Your Miracle Brain. p 130-134. NY: HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 2000.)

Nutrients such as folic acid and fish oil can help determine the amount, character, and functioning of brain-altering neurotransmitters. If brain cells don’t get enough of the right nutrients, neutotranmitter systems can go awry with disastrous consequences. Your brain cannot function at peak form if you are low in the B vitamin folic acid. (Carper, Jean. Your Miracle Brain. pp 9-11, 206-207, 208, 221. NY: HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 2000.)

The signs of a vitamin B12 deficiency are often described as “pseudo-senility” because they so closely mimic those of age-related intellectual decline. A deficiency develops very slowly over many years and may affect the brain and nervous system entirely and nothing else. (Carper, Jean. Your Miracle Brain. p 215. NY: HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 2000.)

Oxford University has published results of studies related to Vitamin B-12 (sometimes referred to as the Brain Vitamin) in the journal Neurology. Researchers tested 107 apparently healthy volunteers over a five-year period. Study conclusions have implications for memory and perhaps other types of age-related brain functions and include:

  • Rate of brain shrinkage may relate partly to what a person eats.
  • Perhaps two out of five people are deficient in Vitamin B-12.
  • Older individuals with lower than average vitamin B12 levels were six times more likely to experience brain shrinkage.
  • Brain shrinkage has been strongly linked with a higher risk of developing dementia at a later stage

(Source)

Vitamin B6 is important for good mental functioning at all ages, but can be especially helpful to keep memory intact during the aging process. Among other things it helps to lower homocysteine levels. (Carper, Jean. Your Miracle Brain. p 215. NY:HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 2000.)

Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) has been associated with reducing symptoms of carpel tunnel syndrome. (Source)

Vitamin C seems to deter mental decline by combating strokes. Low vitamin C can be as big a risk factor for stroke as high diastolic blood pressure. It is more than an antioxidant. It can directly influence electrical impulses, the synthesis of dopamine and adrenaline, and the release of neurotransmitters and their journey through cell synapses. (Carper, Jean. Your Miracle Brain. p 244-249. NY: HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 2000.)

Vitamin C is approximately 100 times more concentrated in the brain as elsewhere in your body. Special tiny vitamin C pumps along the spinal chord and in your head made this possible. This antioxidant helps protect these especially vulnerable and important cells from the metabolic toxins of body energy production as well as pollutant chemicals from the outside as found in food, air, and beverages. (Concoby, Robert, and David Nicol. Discovered: Nature’s Secret Fountains of Youth. p B-1. US: Hanford Press, 1993.)

The brain is mostly fat, making it extremely susceptible to fat-spoiling free radicals. Vitamin E is found exclusively in the fatty part of cell membrane. It can reduce cell-damaging inflammation of free radicals, and clogging of blood vessels. Vitamin E deficiencies can cause axons to degenerate and cerebellum to shrink. (Carper, Jean. Your Miracle Brain. p 231-234. NY: HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 2000.)

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