Better Nutrition November 2019

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/// BY VERA TWEED

3 SUPPLEMENTS

FOR BRAIN

HEALTH

Supplements from

plants can support

brain health through a

variety of mechanisms.

Each of these works

in a different way.

Bacopa

In traditional Ayurvedic medicine,

Bacopa monnieri is also called “brahmi,”

which means “brain tonic.” The active

ingredients are bacosides, and they work

synergistically with a mix of other plant

components to support memory and

learning capacity. A research review

that detailed a dozen human trials with

participant ages ranging from children to

seniors concluded that bacopa protects

neurological function and enhances

mental performance. Studies included

more than 300 people, most of whom

were healthy. In addition, small studies

of children or adults with some cognitive

impairment found that bacopa was also

effective in these groups. Dosages varied

from 150–320 mg daily.

Resveratrol

The key therapeutic ingredient in red

wine, resveratrol is also found in the

Japanese knotweed plant, the source

of many resveratrol supplements. A

review of research found that resveratrol

enhances the ability of the brain to

produce energy by protecting mitochondria,

the energy-generating components

of cells, and supporting synthesis of

new mitochondria. Human trials have

found that 500 mg of resveratrol daily

improved blood flow to the brain and

boosted memory and mental function in

postmenopausal women. In Alzheimer’s

patients, the supplement reduced brain

markers of the disease.

Montmorency Tart

Cherry Juice

Known for helping to relieve arthritis,

improving exercise recovery, and supporting

sleep, tart cherry juice has also

been shown to improve memory in older

adults. At the University of Delaware in

Newark, a study of 34 people between

the ages of 65 and 73 found that 8

ounces of Montmorency Tart Cherry

Juice taken in the morning and again in

the evening enhanced memory by 23

percent and improved overall mental

function as compared to a placebo.

6 • NOVEMBER 2019

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