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Natural Mind and Memory Boosters

B Vitamins
How they work: Turn glucose into energy in neurons; cofactors for making neurotransmitters; help transport oxygen; protect the brain from toxins and oxidants; vital for enzymes that control the chemistry of connection; act as methyl group donors and acceptors.

Positive effects: Raise IQ; improve energy, memory, mood, and concentration; help to prevent the unpleasant hallucinations experienced in some types of schizophrenia.

Cautions: None when taken in sensible doses. Excess B3 and B6 (above 1,000 mg a day) can have adverse effects. B3 as niacin acts as a vasodilator, improving circulation and causing flushing at doses above 50 mg.

Dosage: 20-100 mg daily of each of the following: B1, B2, B3, and B6; 50-500 mg of B5; 10-1,000 mcg of B12; 400-800 mcg of folic acid.

Synergy: Together We're Terrific
Each of these proven mind boosters is remarkable in its own right, but together they can really rev up your brainpower. Supplementing smart nutrients, such as phosphatidyl choline, pantothenic acid, DMAE, and pyroglutamate, in combination boosts mind and memory far more than when taken individually. Consider the following study: A team of researchers led by Raymond Bartus gave choline and piracetam, a derivative of pyroglutamate, either separately or in combination to aged lab rats noted for their age-related memory decline. The team reported that the "rats given the piracetam/choline combination exhibited memory retention scores several times better than those with piracetam alone." A study on humans was then carried out by Dr. S. Ferris and associates at New York University School of Medicine. These researchers, too, found dramatic clinical improvements in subjects, way beyond those given either choline or piracetam separately.

While both choline and piracetam improved memory, the results showed that half the dose was needed with a choline/piracetam combo. This illustrates the power of combining just two smart nutrients. We recommend combining all the smart nutrients discussed for the most effective natural mind and memory boost.

Some smart nutrient supplements contain combinations of all these acetylcholine-friendly nutrients – choline, DMAE, pantothenic acid, and pyroglutamate. The ideal doses are less when combined than when a substance is taken alone. If you want to shine mentally and fit names to faces with ease, take the smart nutrients listed in the following section, in the doses indicated.

Action Plan To Boost Mind And Memory
To hone your cognitive abilities and memory, you may need to make some changes in your diet supplementation. Here's a summary of our recommendations:

  • Eat fish three times a week, with preference for mackerel, herring, sardines, tuna, or salmon. Vegetarians need to have a tablespoon of ground flaxseeds a day, or a tablespoon of flaxseed oil. Or take a EPA/DHA rich fish oil supplement.
  • Supplement a good all-round multivitamin supplying optimal amounts of B vitamins.
  • Supplement a "smart nutrient" formula providing the nutrients and amounts shown below.
  • Take a tablespoon of lecithin or a heaping teaspoon of hi-PC lecithin a day. (Smart nutrient formulas rarely contain enough phosphatidylcholine because it's bulky.)
  • If you are over age fifty or if you are suffering from age-related memory decline, consider adding one or more of the following daily, in divided doses with food: 100-300 mg of phosphatidylserine; 500-1,000 mg of EPA/DHA; 500-5,000 mg (a heaping teaspoon) of glutamine; 1,000 mg of acetyl-L-carnitine; and 500-1,500 mg of alpha-GPC.
Smart Nutrients Daily Dose
Phosphatidylcholine 200-2,000 mg
DMAE 200-400 mg
Pyroglutamate 300-1,000 mg
Phophatidylserine (PS) 50-200 mg
EPA and DHA combination 1,000 mg
Ginko Biloba 120-240 mg
Vinpocetine 10-40 mg
Vitamin B3 (niacin) 40-200 mg
Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) 200-500 mg
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) 20-100 mg
Vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin) 10-1,000 mcg
Folic acid 400-800 mcg


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From NATURAL HIGHS: Supplements, Nutrition, and Mind/Body Techniques to Help You Feel Good by Hyla Cass and Patrick Holford. Copyright © Hyla Cass, M.D., and Patrick Holford. Used by arrangement with Avery, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit www.penguin.com. Get a 15% discount with the coupon code FENPARENT.


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