“Brain Candy”: A New Approach to Performance Enhancement
Go-go-go. Flash, high-speed, high-res, high-def…non-stop, go-til you drop…that’s life in the big city these days! Especially in a world where we’ve got telecommunications that enable us to keep contact with each other literally instantaneously, life can feel almost too fast at times. Who can keep up?
Now more than ever, we live in a super high-speed society where 25 hours a day still isn’t enough. We work more, drive more, think more, sleep and rest less. In our high-speed lifestyle where peak performance is critical, there are several key nutrients provided by nature that can keep us at our best – high-tuned, well-rested, focused and clear.
Now we’re not talking about over-stimulated, over-caffeinated, over-adrenalized jitter products…these have become passé and are less than health supporting anyway. No, the new breed of power-antioxidants, neurotransmitter support “neuroceuticals” and adaptogens help feed and nourish the brain, support neuro-chemistry and nerve health, and may prevent age-related decline in mental function.
Life – it’s all in the “Grey”
The 3lbs or so of grey matter contained within the cranium is an infinitely complex network of billions of nerve cells called neurons. Nerve impulses are transmitted electrically between neurons and from neurons to other body cells through the release of chemical “neurotransmitters”. Neurotransmitters are the “chemical communicators” of the nervous system. These chemicals relay messages back and forth within the brain, and between the brain and the rest of the body. By supporting optimal levels of these various chemical messengers, we can maintain and maximize healthy brain function. Several natural substances have been shown to contribute to healthy brain function by supporting the production and longevity of the various neurotransmitters.
Use it or lose it! Pump your Brain, too!
Preserving the functionality of the brain is dependant on keeping our grey matter healthy, fed and oxygenated, and also nourishing the formation of our neurotransmitters. Just like our skeletal muscles, a healthy brain is best maintained through exercise and good nutrition. Use it or lose it!
Brain exercise can include activities as simple as regular reading, memory challenging games, word searches or crossword puzzles. Just like physical exercise, challenging the brain regularly will help keep it fit and sharp.
Good nutrition for brain health follows the same rules that keep our physical bodies fit and trim. Lean sources of protein contribute the amino acids needed in the formation of many neurotransmitters. “Healthy” fats, from fish and nuts, provide essential fatty acids that are vital to the formation of brain cells. Maintaining a stable blood sugar level by avoiding sweets and choosing complex carbohydrates and fibers will not only help control your waistline, it will optimize brain function by helping to maintain cellular energy.
A New Breed of Performance Enhancement:
Modern science and the practice of herbal medicine share with us many substances of natural chemistry shown to maximize brain potential. Substances such as anti-oxidants have a protective effect on the brain and brain health, which help to scavenge damaging free radicals. Other substances also help increase circulation and oxygenation to the brain, feeding and preserving the integrity of the living brain tissue. Still others support neurotransmitter formation and sensitivity, to keep the signals flowing clearly. And several natural compounds have been shown to support relaxation, or improve sleep.
There are many products on the market today that include combinations of many of the following high-performance. Most are formulated to provide sharp, mental focus and increased energy. Many of these “smart supplements” are ingredients included in several fat loss/thermogenic products, for the energy they provide or in some cases as an adjunct to fat mobilization or metabolism. These ingredients are often also found in many of today’s popular energy drinks.
Brain-boosting supplements and herbs that have been shown to support and protect our grey matter include:
Acetyl L-Carnitine (ALCAR): A more absorbability version of L-carnitine, ALCAR is a potent antioxidant and also provides neurotransmitter support. Combined with ALA, studies show that ALCAR may have anti-aging and cognitive protecting properties.
Coenzyme Q10: supports cellular energy and scavenges free radicals in the brain. A powerful antioxidant, CoQ10 is commonly used to promote cellular health.
Essential Fatty Acids: contribute to the formation of neurotransmitters. EFAs are integral to cellular health of the brain. Essential Fatty Acids are components of the brain cell membrane, and help form the fatty sheath that surrounds and protects neurons.
Ginkgo Biloba: increases blood flow to the brain, providing increased nutrient delivery; supports neurotransmitter production. Ginkgo is used in the treatment of many cognitive disorders associated with aging. Check out Max Nutraceuticals Brain Power Ginkgo.
Phosphatidylserine: a plant-derived nutrient that has been shown to improve memory and cognitive function. Phosphatidylserine improves the communication between neurons for more efficient brain function.
Resveratrol: a powerful anti-oxidant found in the skin of red grapes, and in red wine. When taken in high concentration, resveratrol has neuro-protective, anti-oxidant properties.
Vinpocetine: improves blood flow to the brain and supports cellular energy. Increases oxygen and nutrient delivery to the brain.
Several products are available to help with sleep promotion and recovery. Sufficient rest is crucial to brain health. Sleep helps rejuvenate brain cells and recharge an overtaxed brain.
5-HTP: supports the formation of serotonin, the neurotransmitter that promotes relaxation.
Feverfew: Used in the treatment of migraines, feverfew relaxes the blood vessels in the brain.
GABA: an amino acid that acts as a neurotransmitter in the body, GABA is used to improve restfulness and deep sleep. GABA may also increase mental and physical relaxation. Supports dopamine production.
L-Theanine: promotes relaxed state, reduces stress.
Melatonin: a natural hormone produced by the body, supplemental melatonin is also available. Melatonin, used as a sleep enhancement product, has also recently been shown to have powerful anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
Passion Flower: passion flower extract, or purple passion flower, as it is also known, is an herbal remedy that is used in the treatment of insomnia, anxiety or nervousness, and for its relaxation properties.
Phenibut: a natural derivative of GABA, phenibut is a nootropic that is used to help with anxiety, nervousness or insomnia.
Picamilon: a Russian nutraceutical that enhances blood flow to the brain, helps with relaxation anxiety and stress. Picamilon is a combination of GABA and niacin, and has also been known to have a beneficial effect on blood pressure.
Valerian: a root used to help treat stress, anxiety and nervousness, Valerian Root has been used for years, and is a very common calming agent that is used on its own or in combination with other herbal agents to help promote relaxation and sleep.
High-Performance Head Trip:
High-performance is more than pumping your skeletal muscles and getting your “swoll” on. Preserving neurologic health and even improving your cognitive function is more and more becoming focal point of our modern culture.
Two of the coolest products in the ALR Industries arsenal include the new Comatose, as well as Lean Dreams. Both work in different ways, but both were designed to help users “recharge” from all the go-go-go of today’s world.