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Power Up Your Brain with Nootropics By Erika Dworkin, Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition


acquire knowledge and understanding through your thoughts, experiences, and senses)? Some scientifically researched natural nootropics (translated, “mind-turners”), either individually or stacked in dietary supplement blends, can safely support and improve cognitive performance while protecting the brain from injury. True nootropics are minimally toxic and have few-to-no side effects. Some of these, generally categorized as vitamins, minerals, herbs, amino acids, essential fatty acids, antioxidants, or nutraceuticals, are discussed here.


H Lifestyle Factors That Undermine Cognitive Function


Before exploring nootropics, it is important to understand the life factors and lifestyle choices that can undermine cogni- tive function. As with all health issues, failing to address these other aspects of daily life before adding dietary supplements can be counterproductive. Some factors that can promote or even accelerate cognitive impairment include: chronic inflammation; excess, chronic stress; oxidative stress from free radicals, including those caused by environmental toxins (heavy metals, air pollution, organic chemical compounds like RoundUp®


); low physical and


brain activity; poor sleep (less than 6-9 hours/night); unhealthy diet (including excess sugar intake); smoking and illicit drug use; long term use of some prescription medications (sedatives, statins,


ave you been searching for natural ways to improve your memory, alertness, focus, learning speed and reten- tion, problem-solving skills, or cognition (your ability to


Nootropics Tune Up Your Mind…[They] are a different type of brain and cognition supplement. Their goal is to boost cognitive performance now...[They] are meant to improve and recall recent and old memories. Nootropic compounds boost cognitive efficiencies by helping brain cells operate at peak power. Scientists have identified nutrients shown in clinical (human) studies to improve cognitive function, processing speed, and memory.


~ Jason McNeil, scientifically reviewed by Dr. Gary Gonzalez, MD, on July 2020. https://www.lifeextension.com/maga- zine/2020/9/nutrients-to-change-up-brain-function


anxiolytics and antidepressants); depression; anxiety; obesity; diabetes; and cardiovascular disease (including high cholesterol, atherosclerosis, and hypertension).


The Science Behind the Supplements Below are just a few of the many nootropics that have been


shown in lab or human clinical studies to support brain function:


1. Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALC): Since this amino acid readily crosses the blood brain barrier and cell membranes, it sup- ports cognitive health by: (1) fueling mental energy through the transport of fatty acids into cell mitochondria, (2) provid- ing a necessary ingredient for the formation of acetylcholine (Ach), the chief neurotransmitter of the parasympathetic


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