Welcome to week 3 🙂 . At this stage I hope you are noticing some nice changes within your brain and body. Once you have control over your brain, instead of vice versa, its hard to go back to the way things used to be. And I hope you never do. Instead, I hope you enjoy having this knowledge and the power it gives you over your life and success. And I really hope you decide to do GREAT things with it xo
After all these years as a health professional (13 to be exact), I was surprised to realize, contrary to what the health and food industry would have us believe, that it all comes down to the brain. Now it makes so much sense — its our brain calling the shots. Telling us what to eat, how to move, when its bedtime etc. Basically determining who we are.
So this week we will wrap things up with supplements,most of which I use daily, and how to continue caring for and elevating your brain through neurogenesis, right up until the day you die (with hopefully all your memories in tact).
We can grow new brain cells, through ‘neurogenesis’ right up until the day we die! – Sandrine Thuret
Upgrade your brain with supplements –
While we can use food to nurture and protect our bodies and our brains, supplements play an important role in preventing inflammation and helping us prevent degradation and poor brain health. In addition to laying out the lifestyle plan you should follow to avoid brain diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. You don’t have to take supplements but there are some supplements that can dramatically help move the needle more than is otherwise possible and others that can overcome specific obstacles that may be preventing your brain from reaching maximum potential.
Personally I take dozens of supplements a day to maximize my energy and health, so many that even I think its ridiculous. But I don’t expect you to take as many as me, so below I have put together a list of the best supplements, when to take them and their recommended dosages. I do recommend you take these supplements indefinitely but be sure to cycle them – this means, every few weeks you will take 7-10 days off from taking them to help prevent too much desensitization.
Note: You can order most of these supplements online or pick up at a local health food store.
Slow improvement supplements;
With these supplements you won’t feel a noticeable difference in the first day but they have long term benefits that are worth their weight in gold.
- Caffeine – Caffeine itself is an energy booster and cognitive enhancer. Studies show it may help prevent Alzheimer’s by blocking inflammation in the brain, according to research done at the University of Illinois. Caffeine also increase insulin sensitivity which we know is important in preventing Diabetes, a precursor to Alzheimer’s. If you are very sensitive to caffeine, you might want to avoid it completely or try caffeine completely. Take 1 to 3 cups of coffee daily before 2pm.
- Branched chain amino acids (BCAAS) – Certain amino acids (isoleucine, leucine, valine) help control inflammation and play a key role in promoting cell growth and preventing cell death. BCAAs also boost energy production and suppress cortisol (your stress hormone) which helps prevent inflammation even more. Stay away from products that contain aspartame, artificial sweeteners, sucralose and acesulfame potassium (ace-k). Take 5g a day before, during or after exercise.
- Vitamin D3 – This vitamin has SO many positive effects on the body and brain. To me it is a non negotiable supplement. It effects over 1,000 genes – it can raise testosterone, help produce human growth hormone, prevent depression, strengthen bones, and helps moderate immune function and inflammation. Along with getting direct sunlight – make sure you take Vitamin D3. It works better if you pair it with vitamin K2 and/or vitamin A. Take 2000 to 5000 IU a day with your first meal.
- Coenzyme Q10 (COQ10) – This antioxidant is made withing your mitochondria. Its use to help create energy and protect against oxidative stress. Take 30-100mg daily with your first meal.
- Magnesium – This mineral is involved in over 320 functions in the body, from energy production to bowel movements. Magnesium helps reverse the effects of stress on your brain and can therefore increase your memory and cognitive performance. Magnesium deficiency is also associated with diabetes, anxiety, PMS and cardiovascular disease. Take 600 – 800mg a day in either forms of citrate, orotate, malate or glycinate, in the morning or before bed if needed to aid with sleep or bowel movements.
- Vitamin B12 – So many people are deficient in B12 which can protect against dementia, increase immune function, maintain nerve health and regenerate cells. Take 5mg B12 (methylcobalamin or hydroxycobalamin) daily at anytime.
- Folinic acid – Folate has alos been associated with mental issues. A deficiency in B12 usually results in a folate deficiency. You need to supplement with both folate and B12 together because supplementing one without the other can result in brain damage. Make sure it is ‘folinic’ acid too as this is a metabolically active form of folic acid that does not require enzymatic conversion. Also the generically sold folic acid works great for about 2/3 of the population but for the remainder builds up toxic levels. Take 500mcg 5-MTHFR (5-methyltetrahydrofolate) or folinic acid daily at anytime.
Faster improvement supplements;
With these supplements you can notice a difference faster, in usually 2-3 weeks (this is individual dependent – some people may take a bit longer).
- Creatine – This is one of my favorite supplements for improving brain power. It works by increasing ATP production in the mitochondria. Studies have also shown creatine to cause a significant increase in working memory and intelligence. I like to add 5g of creatine to my tea and or coffee as it dissolves better in warm beverages. Take 20g of Creatine Monohydrate daily for a week (this is a loading phase to help you feel the effects of creatine faster) and then take 5g daily to maintain the effects thereafter at anytime.
- Krill oil – This is another of my favorite supplements, I will take this daily and even super dose if I know I have something big to work on in the day ahead. Krill oil is packed with DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), these are essential fatty acids for the brain. It also contains Astaxanthin which is one of the most powerful antioxidants for the human body. These all help fight oxidation, reduce inflammation, maintain your brains structure and keep the neurons in your brain communicating freely. Krill oil is amazing because it can be absorbed directly by your brain without the additional processing that fish oil requires. Plus Krill oil is generally Mercury free, which we want. Take 1000 – 2000mg daily with a fatty meal for maximum absorption.
- Activated charcoal – This is a form of carbon that has a massive surface with a strong negative charge (if your remember from week 2, we want a negative charge). Charcoal binds to chemicals and most toxins – its a chelator, so it helps remove toxins. Charcoal can also bind to good stuff so I don’t recommend taking it within an hour of other supplements or medications. Take 2 capsules daily just before bed to bind to toxins that might impact your mitochondria. PS if you plan to drink alcohol or eat sushi, it is wise to take 2 capsules of activated charcoal beforehand.
- Glutathione – This is your master antioxidant in the liver, but it also has an impact on every cell in your body. It protects against heavy metal, oxidative stress and supports the liver in breaking down mold and toxins. In the mitochondria, Glutathione can help prevent cell damage and death. Because your digestive system can destroy normal Glutathione, you want to take NAC (N-acetylcysteine) along side Vitamin C – this gives your body the ingredients to build Glutathione on its own. Take 500mg every other day alongside 1000mg Vitamin C on an empty stomach in the morning or night.
- Resveratrol- If you like that red wine is permissible in the Grain Brain lifestyle, then you can thank this natural compound which slows down the aging process, boosts blood flow to the brain, and promotes heart health. In addition to the role it plays in stimulating brain function, resveratrol is also a key ally of our body’s immune system. Take 100mg twice daily with food.
- Gingko Biloba – Another supplements I take daily, has been shown to improve blood flow to and in around the brain. It also may improve memory function and brain processing speed. More recent studies indicate that it may protect nerve cells from damage in Alzheimer’s. Take 60mg twice a day with or without food.
- Siberian Ginseng – This herb has been shown to improve mental and physical performance after periods of mental or physical exertion or stress. Take 700mg twice a day or when needed with or without food.
- Turmeric: If you follow me on social media, then you’ve heard me talk about turmeric before. Turmeric is well known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. We can thank turmeric for protecting our mitochondria (thanks to its role in stimulating antioxidant properties), and it also improves glucose metabolism — both of which are essential for reducing one’s risk for brain disease. Take when ever you can, the easiest way is through drinking Turmeric tea before bed in the evening and adding Turmeric to your cooking.
- Probiotics: Research conducted in just the last few years has started to conclude that eating food rich in probiotics can influence brain behavior, and may modulate the effects of stress, anxiety, and depression. Add probiotics into your diet in the form of foods like Kombucha, Sauerkraut, Yogurt, Pickles and Kimchi. To my clients I usually recommend they consume 100mls of Kombucha with their lunch.
- Raw honey – Believe it or not raw honey can aid in good sleep quality, and we spoke about how important sleep is in week 2. Having 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of raw honey before bed on an empty stomach can help keep your liver glycogen levels up and prevent blood sugar drops while you sleep, which can cause interruptions in your sleep. This should not happen if you follow a good diet but if you struggle with blood sugar issues you can – Take 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of raw honey as is or mixed in caffeine free tea before bed.
Remember, these supplements are optional, pick the ones you feel will suit your needs and lifestyle best. You will see a huge improvement buy just using the tools in the other sections but adding in some supplements will no doubt optimize your results even more.
Upgrade your brain long term –
By now you have or are actively upgrading your brain and you want to continue to do so for the rest of your life. This means you will retain all your wonderful memories, remember the names of your family and friends and be able to take care of yourself for as long as possible. I don’t know about you but I want to remember this wonderful life I am living and not end my days in darkness. So to do that, this new brain optimizing lifestyle must be just that – A LIFESTYLE.
Conquer your brain and slow down the aging process to help prevent Alzheimer’s, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. And you’ll look and feel younger than your peers too.
Knowing how to care for your brain and the brains in your family or organization is the first and most important step to success. And given the brain’s central role in success, here are 10 steps to optimize it for a better life in all you do.
- Love your brain – Loving your brain is the first step toward creating a brain healthy life.
- Increase the brains reserve – Brain reserve is the cushion of healthy brain tissue we have, to deal with the unexpected stresses that come our way. The more reserve we have, the more resilient we are in times of trouble. The less reserve, the more vulnerable we are. Use all the sections in this guide to increase your brains reserve.
- Protect your brain – You brain is soft and your skull is hard. Brain injuries can ruin your life, so wear your seat belt, drive in safe vehicles, protect your head in sports or steer clear of contact sports.
- Sleep well – Unfortunately, 60 million Americans have trouble sleeping, which affects your mood, memory and ability to concentrate. Make sleep a priority.
- Protect your memories – One of the MOST important things you can do to keep your memory strong is exercise. Cognitive abilities are best in people who are physically active.
- Stop poisoning your brain – Do not put toxic substances in your body. If you poison your brain, you poison your mind. Avoid alcohol, illegal drugs (including marijuana), smoking, limit your caffeine intake, and stop using cleaning products without proper ventilation.
- Have a brain healthy diet – As discussed in week 1 but also, since the brain is 85% water, anything that dehydrates you is bad for the brain, such as alcohol, caffeine, excess salt or not drinking enough fluids. Drink plenty of water to keep yourself well hydrated.
- Learn brain health ways to deal with pain – Pain affects everything in a negative way, such as sleep, mood, memory and concentration. Brain scans have taught us that the use of chronic pain medications, such as Vicodin or Oxycontin, may be harmful to brain function. Long term use of these medications makes the brain toxic and damaged. So looking for natural ways to address pain will play in your favor.
- Prioritize exercise and movement – It is literally the fountain of youth because it boosts blood flow to the brain, plus it increases chemicals that are important for learning and memory and stimulating the growth of new brain cells.
- Remember your mental exercise – Once you exercise and boost blood flow to your brain, you then need mental exercise. In one study, exercise was shown to improve memory function and maintain brain health as we age. Stimulate the new brain cells by using them, by learning something new, they connect to other cells and become part of the fabric of your brain.
When we look at maintaining and caring for our brain health as we age, as much as we are practicing what we have learned so far, we also need some awareness of ‘Neurogenesis’ or new cell growth. By having an understanding of what happens in our brain, we can look at what we are doing in our day to day life and make better decisions.
Neurogenesis is the ability to create new nerve cells or is the growth (genesis) of brand new brain cells (neurons). Many of the habits in this guide trigger neurogenesis, literally building new brain cells and forming new pathways in your brain. Studies show that we create 700 new neurons per day in the Hippocampus, this means by the time we turn 50 we will have swapped out all the neuros we were born with, with new adult neurons. Creating new neurons is essential for memory capacity and quality.
Until the 1990s scientists believed that neurogenesis ended in our late teens or early twenties. But we know know the our brain can produce new cells throughout our entire lifetime — but this is a choice if you want to improve memory formation and prevent cognitive decline or brain illness. So how can we grown new brain cells? Here’s how —>
- Good sex
- Quality sleep
- Daily exercise
- Good nutrition
- Calorie restriction
- Intermittent fasting
- Chewing or eating crunchy food (strange but true) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4466515/
So using the relatively simple techniques in this guide, you can start calling the shots. You can decide how you want to feel, what you will eat, how much energy you will have and how you will live the life you have been given. Since learning how to optimize my brain and my health, I have become more successful in all of my ventures, my relationships have become better, I have become physically and mentally stronger, I laugh more and generally feel happier every day. I am enthused to live my best life and be more present with the people I love. And I wish for you to feel all of this too! xo
Now every time you take a bite of food or move, you will actively be deciding how to treat your brain. Cherish this knowledge and don’t let it go to waste because I believe you deserve the best life ever 🙂 .
PS: If you wanted to dive deeper into optimizing your brain health you might look towards – hot and cold therapy, ozone therapy, oxygenation, training your eyes and ears, stem cells and even smart drugs. Maybe those will come in a second Brain Guide. But for now the contents in this guide are more than enough for you to thrive from.
Love and regards,
Your Model Health coach,