1. Take phosphatidyl serine
This natural supplement has been shown to improve memory and concentration in several clinical studies. Researchers believe one way it works is by increasing levels of the naturally occurring neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is involved in many cognitive processes but is essential for memory, learning and concentration. The initial starting dose should be 100 to 300 mg. daily. If no improvements are seen in 2-4 weeks, dosage can be increased up to a maximum of 600 mg. per day.
2. Take omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids, particularly EPA and DHA, have been shown to have a number of positive effects on the brain, including improving mood, memory and focus. Although omega-3 fatty acids are derived primarily from fish, a number of other natural sources, including echium seed oil and flax seed oil are available. For best results, find a supplement that delivers at least 1,000 mg of EPA and 100 to 350 mg. of DHA per day.
Meditation is an ancient practice that has a number of benefits, including boosting brain function. In fact, a 2001 study showed that new meditators had an increase in creativity, fluid intelligence and practical intelligence as a result of the meditation. While most meditation styles are beneficial, a style known as Transcendental Meditation, or TM, seems to be the most effective and the most well-studied. There are many instructional cds, videos and classes available on TM for those who want to try it for a brain boost.
4. Listen to Mozart
Turns out listening to classical music is not only enjoyable and relaxing, it can also improve brain function. One study on college students found that those who listened to Mozart scored higher on an I.Q. test than those who listened to rock or pop music, or those who listened to nothing at all. Several other similar studies have confirmed these results, some showing I.Q. increases of 8 to 9 points. Researchers aren’t sure exactly why this happens, but theorize that classical music like Mozart activates certain parts of the brain that make it easier to concentrate, learn and remember. Try listening to the classics of classical like Beethoven, Bach and, of course, Mozart.
5. Take Huperzine-A
This naturally occurring plant compound is currently sold as an over the counter supplement to boost memory, but is being investigated by medical researchers as a possible treatment for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Its memory-boosting, cognitive-enhancing effects are largely due to its ability to inhibit the breakdown of acetylcholine, the neurotransmitter vital for so many different brain and nervous system functions. Even users without Alzheimer’s have reported improvements in memory and focus. The usual dose for brain-boosting purposes is 50 mcg. (micrograms) per day. As huperzine-A builds up in the body, it is recommended that after taking this supplement for 1week, a 2 week break be taken, before starting again. Without cycling the dosage this way, there is potential for dangerous, toxic side-effects due to too much acetylcholine circulating in the body.
Exercise has so many proven health benefits, if it wasn’t so common and natural its benefits would be considered truly miraculous. When it comes to improving brain function, there is little else that compares to exercise. Many studies have shown that just 30 minutes of moderate exercise (like quick walking) 3 or more times per week can have dramatic effects on overall brain function, improving concentration, memory and learning. Try 20-30 minutes of brisk aerobic exercise 3-7 times per week.
7. Take Lithium orotate
The synthetic form of lithium, lithium carbonate, has been prescribed for years as a treatment for bipolar disorder, resistant depression and other mood disorders. The natural, elemental form of lithium has recently become a popular nutritional supplement, in the form of lithium orotate. Proponents of this supplement claim that it can not only boost and stabilize mood but can also actually increase and renew brain cells. Research in this area seems to support this idea; according to a report in the medical journal Lancet, a Wayne State University study found that participants who took lithium for 4 weeks showed an average 3 percent increase in brain grey matter. Suggested dose varies according to source; some suggest that only 10 to 30 mg. per day is necessary, while others recommend 120 to 240 mg. per day. To be safe, start with a low dose and gradually work your way up as necessary.