During everyday routines, work assignments, and problem-solving, your primary instrument remains unchanged. It's your brain that allows you to be so productive, flourishing, and energized through the days. Scientists claim that your brain conveys more than 100,000 chemical reactions each second to help you breathe, walk, and finish all your work tasks timely.
It works extremely hard and, in turn, requires more resources for its function. University of Rochester study revealed that your brain consumes 20% of your total body's oxygen intake, making up only 2% of total body weight. Still, we barely pay attention to our brains.
Most people prefer to fuel their muscles or keep their guts healthy but forget that the brain is a full-body command center. And aside from energy and oxygen, it also requires micronutrients to stay agile and healthy. Dive in to discover what your brain might miss and how to fuel it with the proper nutrients without changing your diet!
How may micronutrient deficiency alter your brain performance?
You should have heard health advice that you need more calcium to have strong bones or eat more carrots for a clear vision. Okay, but was there any advice for your brain health? Probably not, since most people are unaware of the nutrients beneficial for it. Still, this crucial part of your body requires various micronutrients to promote healthy hormonal balance, neurons communication, tissues recovery, and other vital processes.
What's more, micronutrient deficiency can have a destructive impact on your brain health. Research has shown that low levels of particular nutrients in your blood can lead to depression, adverse mood states, irritability, dementia, and emotional instability. They are the worst partners for a productive workflow, right? WHO claims that getting fewer micronutrients than necessary leads to reduced work productivity and poor cognitive performance.
With the help of supplements, we can stay productive and improve our memory. Moreover, by wisely picking supplements, we can also keep our brain power on point. However, not all supplements are created equal. Here is how they may affect your brain:
Antioxidants. These nutrients support your brain health, helping you fight oxidative damage and free radicals that may destroy your brain cells. Antioxidants are often used to combat any effects of aging. While in your brain, the free radicals can cause damage to neural cells and DNA, which can impair your memory, cognition, and other important brain functions. So taking antioxidant-rich supplements is a way to keep your brain agile.
Nootropics. Nootropics can be a great way to stay productive at work, whether you are a student or a professional worker. With these smart supplements, you can improve productivity and recall information easier. They also improve moods, reduce anxiety, and boost brain power.
Stimulants. Many people these days are looking for ways to improve their memory, brain power, and focus. This is where the use of stimulants may come in handy. Stimulants are substances that act on the central nervous system to increase alertness and reduce sleepiness. Besides, they may help you stay attentive and productive. Yet, overdosing on supplements may make you too vigorous and dizzy, so watch your dosage.
Around 30% of people worldwide lack essential micronutrients. Are you sure you don't belong to them? Constant mental fatigue and unreasonable mood swings, or hardly memorizing the information you have just learned may be signs of a deficiency. In that case, you may take a course of supplements, but how to decide which of them will help your brain? That's where our top brain-boosting supplements list gets in the game to be your guide on the way towards a more productive and healthy cognition.
The key here is to look for scientifically-backed ingredients that have been shown to improve cognitive function. If you’re looking for supplements that will make you more productive at work, increase your memory capacity or help you find focus in times when you’re feeling scatterbrained, these supplements will get the job done.
Top-5 supplements to boost your brain performance and level up productivity
Although supplements can never completely replace meals, they actually are pretty effective for helping you get the most out of your body's capabilities. Do you want to improve your creativity to stand out among colleagues? Or memorize more than average adults? Maybe, your work requires an utterly clear mind? Supplements can help you achieve these goals! So let's look at the champions among them:
Among all supplements, Omega-3 is probably the most efficient for maintaining your brain health. Bournemouth University research has shown that Omega-3 fatty acids, DPA and EPA, have potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. This fact proves that they're able to contribute to your brain cells protection, fighting free radicals that damage neurons. Taking Omega-3 supplements may increase the speed of the brain's self-repair processes, possibly allowing you to avoid depression and severe inflammation.
Omega-3 is also helpful if you want to strengthen and maintain memory health. Research shows that high DHA levels in your blood may reduce the risks of age-related dementia by a tremendous 47%. Still, even if you're just in your thirties, you may face memory issues like forgetfulness, so taking Omega-3 supplements will be helpful to you (and your career!). What's more, the University of California survey has found that low levels of DHA in the blood may negatively affect your visual memory, abstract thinking, and executive function.
Hold on, because Omega-3 isn't just about brain health! Scientists claim it can actually make you smarter! University of Pittsburgh study discovered that raising Omega-3 amount in the blood may increase your gray matter volume in those brain areas responsible for behavior and mood. Researchers have found that subjects with higher Omega-3 intake are more agreeable and less likely to develop severe depression. So taking Omega-3 supplements may boost your social skills and help you overcome mental stress at work, contributing to your career growth.
Recommended Omega-3 dosage for adults: 1000 mg daily.
When it comes to choosing vitamin supplements, you may see that most of them have particular benefits to your brain health, mostly minor ones. Still, that doesn't refer to vitamin D - an ultimate brain supporter and booster! You may not notice this sunshine vitamin effects on your brain until you become deficient in it.
University of Texas scientists have found that low levels of vitamin D link to cognitive impairment, mental disorders, and dementia. Due to its antioxidant properties, vitamin D may protect your brain cells from oxidative damage and destruction. So when you lack vitamin D, your risks of developing dementia later increase. And here's the kicker: more than 1 billion people globally have this vitamin deficiency. So taking vitamin D supplements may help you prevent negative cognitive consequences later and ensure your healthy brain aging.
What's also great about Vitamin D is that it can boost your particular cognitive skills. The Practical Neurology Journal study uncovered that additional vitamin D intake could improve your mental shifting and processing speed. These skills, in turn, are essential for judgment, reasoning, and decision making. Who knows, maybe taking vitamin D supplements may help you make a life-changing career move!
Are you struggling with poor motivation and frequent depression symptoms? The reason for those mental issues could be a lack of vitamin D in your blood. Research has found that lack of this micronutrient may decrease serotonin hormone production, which promotes happiness. In addition, taking vitamin D as a supplement may reduce calcium levels in your brain, which contributes to depression development.
Recommended vitamin D dosage for adults: from 15 to 20 mcg daily.
Magnesium is from that kind of macrominerals involved in every little process of your body. Still, its brain-related beneficial properties often remain underrated. Scientists claim that magnesium is vital for your brain health and cognitive function because it maintains signals transmissions between neurons. Moreover, this mineral can reduce oxidative stress in your brain cells, which may lead to chronic pain, anxiety, depression, and Alzheimer's.
If frequent migraines stand on your way to a productive workflow, then consider adding magnesium to your supplementation. Research shows that magnesium can block specific brain receptors, which contribute to pain transmission and depression. Sao Paulo University study has found that taking magnesium supplements helped subjects reduce pain by 37%.
This mineral supplement can be an effective treatment for depression and anxiety. By blocking stress-inducing receptors, magnesium helps prevent depression symptoms and significantly reduce stress. In turn, when you lack magnesium, your chances of getting depression are much higher, so make sure you get enough with the diet or supplements!
Recommended magnesium dosage for adults: 310 mg for women and 400 mg for men daily.
Just like other amino acids, citrulline is a well-known nutrient among athletes. But aside from boosting your energy and muscles endurance, this amino acid may help you get the most of your brain performance and health! Sookmyung University research discovered that citrulline could prevent brain cells death and improve blood circulation in the brain.
What's also essential, citrulline helps to deliver oxygen throughout your body, also affecting the brain. And with more oxygen, your brain performance will rise — you'll be able to think clearly, quickly make decisions, and won't be stuck with complicated tasks. Queen Margaret University research claims that citrulline may affect your brain function and mood by promoting nitric oxide production. This essential molecule improves circulation and vasodilates blood vessels, contributing to their relaxation.
Is your ultimate goal in taking supplements is to strengthen your memory? Citrulline can help you with that purpose too! By increasing nitric oxide production, this amino acid enables you to create long-term memories and assist in memory acquisition. When it comes to overcoming stress, citrulline may reduce depression symptoms that disrupt your productivity. Survey has found that 4-week citrulline supplementation helped significantly reduce anxiety and depression moods. So this amino acid works from three different directions, energizing your brain, protecting its cells, and reducing stress.
Recommended citrulline dosage for adults: 3-6 grams daily.
Do daily stresses and constant strain make you worry about your mental health? Last but not least, BCAA supplements can also be a powerful support to your hard-working brain. These brain-chained amino acids in your blood may help you treat or lower your risks of getting numerous mental disorders like motor disfunction or mania.
Aside from protecting your brain, BCAA supplements can help it perform better at cognitive tasks. Sacred Heart University research has shown that taking BCAA may help you block tryptophan. This amino acid works as a cofactor for serotonin, the hormone that makes you sleepy and tired. Do you often feel depressed or anxious for no exact reason? Study claims that low BCAA levels in your blood can lead to depression and anxiety. So it's better to ensure you have enough of it to avoid a gloomy mood.
Recommended BCAA dosage for adults: 91 mg per pound (200 mg per kg).
Indeed, fueling your brain with vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients is no less essential than supplying your muscles with energy. Since deficiencies can have a destructive impact on your brain health, you may regularly take brain-boosting supplements to make the most of your cognitive performance. Your promotion or a pay rise could be just a few steps away - and with supplements, you may finally manage to get it!
- 70 Brain Facts That Will Blow Your Mind! (2019)
- Study Reveals Brain’s Finely Tuned System Of Energy Supply (2016)
- Brain Foods: The Effects Of Nutrients On Brain Function (2010)
- Neurological Disorders Associated With Malnutrition (2016)
- Micronutrients (2018)
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- Red Blood Cell Ω-3 Fatty Acid Levels And Markers Of Accelerated Brain Aging (2012)
- Omega-3 Boosts Grey Matter, May Explain Improved Moods (2007)
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- The Role Of Vitamin D In Brain Health: A Mini Literature Review (2018)
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- Vitamin D Overview (2021)
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- Magnesium Fact Sheet For Health Professionals (2021)
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- Citrulline And Its Effects On Mood And Cognitive Function (2016)
- L-Citrulline Supplementation Improves O2 Uptake Kinetics And High-Intensity Exercise Performance In Humans (2015)
- Branched-Chain Amino Acids (2011)
- The Effect Of Bcaa Supplementation On Mental Performance Following Exercise (2017)
- When Should You Take BCAAs? (2021)