It is known that diseases of mental health are related to free radical damage (oxidation) of fatty acids in the brain. For example in Alzheimer’s amyloid plaques in the brain are known to be a result of oxidative damage. A recent randomized double blind placebo controlled study was just released demonstrating that antioxidants can help improve memory scores and in some cases verbal scores.
The French study involved over 4,400 people aged 45-60 years with the active group receiving vitamin C (120 mg), β-carotene (6 mg), vitamin E (30 mg), selenium (100 μg), and zinc (20 mg) each day. What is most incredible is that they actually showed improvement with these supplements as they are generally considered inferior for brain health. There are many better and more effective alternatives which I will outline below. However this well designed study should raise supplement benefit awareness and counter skeptics that supplements do no good. (The epidemiological studies that look at all mortality for people that take a multi vitamin/mineral vs. people that do not are most peculiar. The study demonstrates no significant difference in age of death so it is then concluded by the media that a multi has not benefit. Those headline conclusions bear little truth.)
So what is good for improving anti-oxidant status to the brain and overall brain health? Well of course food! Fruits and vegetables are shown to boost brain function and mental status. But most importantly ORGANIC fruits and vegetables have superior antioxidant status. In addition conventional produce because of all the nitrates used creates a toxic compound known as nitrosamines that can lead to many diseases of inflammation.
I have been eating organic foods almost exclusively for over 20 years in addition to using a properly formulated ‘greens’ product for about 10 years. (We carry a few ‘greens’ products at discount in our office, by my favorite is PaleoGreens by Designs For Health.) Also do not forget spices – cloves, thyme, rosemary are all powerhouses in antioxidant status. There are also specialty nutraceuticals that have isolated compounds from herbs that have been shown to have high antioxidant status and/or antiinflammatory – these are flavanoids like Resveratrol, Apigenin , and Luteolin.
Remember the commercial from the 80’s with the cracked egg and it said ‘this is your brain on drugs’? Well we can probably substitute “McDonalds”, “Conventional produce” or “Processed Foods”. Eating all of them over and over will damage the glial brain cells and cause oxidation of the lipid structures of our brain. Eat wisely to keep your brain in top shape. (If you are interested in any of the supplements we have to boost brain health please contact the office).
Yours In Health,
George Mandler LDN LicAc