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Can Supplements Help Your Long Term Brain Function?

By Natalie Wilson

July 2019 - There are so many supplements on the market that claim to work magic on the brain, however, there are very few that can actually make a difference. Living a healthy lifestyle and eating properly is great, and filling in the gaps with the effective supplements below is even better. There is a lot of controversy surrounding the effectiveness of supplements on long term function, and although research is mixed, the popular belief is that many of these supplements can help to boost memory, creativity, motivation and general brain functioning. Below we have a list of a few of the supplements that you should either try or avoid!

Try - Fish Oils

The Omega-3 Fatty Acids found in fish oils are believed to play a vital role in maintaining the function and structure of the brain, and it is found within brain cells. It also has anti-inflammatory effects that can protect against damage and ageing. It isn't necessarily associated with improved brain function, yet, for people with mental health issues such as depression, it is known to improve mood. Find your Omega-3 in fish and other seafood, particularly cold-water fatty fish such as tuna, salmon and mackerel. Taking EPA fish oil is especially important if you don't eat much fish, or none at all. Regardless of your diet, taking fish oils can be very useful.

Avoid - Prevagen

Supplements on the market can often make rather vague claims about the effects they can have which can really mislead consumers. Also, often, there isnít any proof of the positive effects that the products claim to have. Prevagen is a supplement that is said to contain an ingredient that is derived from jellyfish and is said to support cognitive function. However, there is no proof of there being any well-designed studies to test the effectiveness of the supplement. This is an example of the money-fuelled side of pharmaceuticals, so perhaps give this one a miss.

Try - Ginkgo Biloba

Researchers believe that ginkgo can improve cognitive function as it encourages a good circulation of blood in the brain, and protects it from damage. It has been suggested that it can reduce symptoms of psychiatric disorders, anxiety and depression, as well as dementia and healthy brain function in general. It is also thought to contain powerful antioxidants. However, it is thought that the benefits of ginkgo may only really apply to older people, so consider this before purchasing.

Avoid - Choline

Choline is an essential nutrient found in meat, eggs and dairy, yet when consumed in excess, it can raise levels of bacteria which can increase the likelihood of platelets joining together to create clots. This can be really dangerous, as it prevents blood flow and can lead to fatal health issues such as strokes or heart attacks. Although consuming choline in your normal diet is healthy, it doesnít seem to be advisable to take any in the form of supplements.

Try - Caffeine

Coffee is extremely popular across the globe, mainly as a morning wake-me-up. But is it good for your brain? It has been heavily criticised in the past, but it actually can be very healthy and beneficial when consumed in moderation. Caffeine found in coffee stimulates the central nervous system, as it prevents adenosine from slowing you down and makes you feel alert. In terms of actual brain function, it has been suggested that caffeine can improve mood, general mental function, vigilance and also memory. Researchers are still debating the effects of caffeine on long term-memory, yet it has found that caffeine may enhance short-term memory. Other studies, however, have shown no effects on memory at all. Aside from the perceived benefits on memory, the other benefits it can have for the brain make it certainly worth trying.

Fundamentals of Psychology

Fundamentals of Psychology

by Michael Eysenck
  Aimed at those new to the subject, Fundamentals of Psychology is a clear and reader-friendly textbook that will help students explore and understand the essentials of psychology.
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Psychology

Psychology

by Richard Gross
  All the major domains of Psychology are covered in detail across 50 manageable chapters that will help you get to grips with anything from the nervous system to memory, from attachment to personality, and everything in-between.
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Penguin Dictionary of Psychology

Penguin Dictionary of Psychology

by Arthur S. Reber, Rhianon Allen, Emily Reber
  Indispensable guide to all areas of psychology and psychiatry.
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