Preserving and Enhancing Mental Function with Nutritional Supplements: Avoiding Senior Moments

“Oh my, sometimes I can’t even remember what I haven’t forgotten.”

“Senior moment” has become a humorous phrase to refer to these times when we just can’t retrieve ideas from our memory that we know are there! Here are a few suggestions to help you eat healthy and boost your brain power.

Nerve cells communicate with each other through chemicals called neurotransmitters. The one we are most interested in is acetylcholine (a-see-tal-ko-leen). Of the nutrients listed below, most have the benefit of increasing this chemical in the brain, and thus increasing cognitive functioning.The other major function is reducing free radicals via antioxidants, e.g. fish oil.

Research has found that the following nutrients can boost cognitive function, especially when coupled with healthy eating and exercise. The list of supplements below can help you compare your vitamins and supplements to those determined by research as being helpful in cognitive functioning. (I have included the chemical names for any of you biochemistry folks.)

  • UMP (uridine-5′ monophophate)—This substance is a building block of RNA and DNA, the molecules responsible for making all of the proteins in the human body. Without them, life would not exist. Large concentrations of UMP are present in the milk of nursing mothers. UMP is essential for brain development in infants and for brain function in adults.
  • Blueberry Extracts (anthocyanins)—These are very potent antioxidants, and help maintain glucose levels in individuals with normal glucose functioning.
  • PS (phosphatidylserine)—The brain is blessed with a large amount of PS, but as with many brain related substances, it declines with age. PS helps to stimulate the production of that essential neurotransmitter, acetylcholine. Low PS in the brain is correlated with decreases in associative memory impairment and cognitive decline.
  • Rosemary extract (carnosic acid)—this simply reduces free radicals, which are the enemies of our neurons, and are eradicated by those antioxidants we hear so much about.
  • Grape seed extract (polyphenols)—By trapping dangerous free radicals, grape seed extracts decrease age-related cognitive impairment, and have also been shown to improve blood circulation. Neurons get their energy from substances in the blood, so this function is vital.

Here a list that will help you eat healthy foods conducive to production of acetylcholine:

  • Egg yolk
  • Beef liver
  • Chicken liver
  • Whole Egg
  • Turkey liver
  • Wheat germ
  • Pork
  • Lean ground beef
  • Cod, salmon, or tilapia
  • Shrimp
  • Soy protein
  • Peanut butter
  • Oat bran
  • Pine nuts
  • Almonds
  • Hazelnuts
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cucumber, zucchini, lettuce
  • Skim milk
  • Trimmed ham
  • Low-fat cheese
  • Low-fat yogurt

There is a supplement on the market that is called Cognitex, which contains all of these ingredients in varying amounts. Cognitex also contains a NeuroProtein Complex which consists of extracts of hops, ginger, and rosemary, which help decrease inflammation of the capillaries that supply oxygen to the neurons.

Cognitex is somewhat expensive. I have found the cheapest prices at It comes with or without a neuroprotein complex and/or pregnenolone. Be sure to read the precautions if you decide to try it. People with certain conditions should only use the basic supplement without the other additions.

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  • Great article. Thanks.
    I take a multivitamin every day. The US RDA's were established to prevent disease, not promote optimum health, and with the typical American diet most of us could benefit from “filling in the gaps” as Dr Weil puts it.

  • Enjoyed you article.
    Had a lot of good information. I agree with CPenney we all could probably benefit from filling in the gaps.
    Keep up the good articles

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