When your brain isn't functioning at its best, you can't be at your best. Brain fog can get in the way of your daily activities and stand in the way of your success. Fortunately, cognitive supplements may provide a solution for boosting brain performance. Read on to learn more about what cognitive health supplements are and how they may benefit you.
WHAT IS COGNITIVE PERFORMANCE?
Cognitive performance is the term that describes how well the brain works. Individuals with high cognitive performance have an easier time reasoning, remembering, solving problems, making decisions, learning new things, and paying attention. Stress, a poor diet, a lack of sleep, age, and medical issues can all interfere with cognitive performance, hampering mental abilities. Some signs that your cognitive performance may need improving include:
- Forgetting appointments and important dates like birthdays
- Needing reminded about conversations or events that recently took place
- Feeling high levels of stress when you need to make crucial decisions
- Getting lost easily
- Struggling to stay organized or on task
- Giving in to impulsive behaviors
WHAT ARE BRAIN PERFORMANCE SUPPLEMENTS?
Brain performance supplements are dietary supplements that contain ingredients believed to help support brain function. You may also see them referred to as cognitive enhancement supplements or brain health supplements. Individuals may choose to take supplements for brain fog or other symptoms of poor cognitive performance. Others take them to keep their brains functioning at their best and reduce the risk of experiencing symptoms in the future.
WHAT ARE THE BEST SUPPLEMENTS FOR COGNITIVE FUNCTION?
Research into the use of supplements for brain health is ongoing. More work is needed to confirm that any particular supplement is beneficial for everyone who takes one. However, the following supplements have shown promising results in various studies:
- Polyphenols, plant extracts found in grapes, berries, and other fruits and vegetables. Research shows that these substances are antioxidants, meaning they can fight free radicals that cause oxidative stress. For the brain, this may help reduce damage to cells that contribute to loss of cognitive function. Some studies have also found that antioxidants may lower the risk of Alzheimer's disease and dementia.
- Ashwagandha, an herb commonly used in Ayurvedic healing. Ashwagandha is believed to be an adaptogen, an herb that protects the body from the effects of stress. As a result, it may offer several benefits for the brain. Research shows that it may ease anxiety symptoms, improve mood, and support memory function.
- Caffeine, a naturally occurring chemical found in coffee, tea, and chocolate. In the body, caffeine energizes the central nervous system, boosting brain activity. This not only helps you feel more awake, but it may also reduce brain fog and support cognitive ability.
- Theobromine, a chemical extract from cocoa beans. Theobromine acts as an antioxidant, giving it the same benefits as a polyphenol. However, it may offer additional advantages as a brain health supplement. Research indicates that theobromine enhances circulation to the brain. Supplying the brain with more blood could help support cognitive function. The substance has also been shown to increase alertness without causing jitteriness.
- Vitamin B6 is one of the essential vitamins the human body requires to function correctly. Without vitamin B6, your brain cannot produce neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin. Research indicates that vitamin B6 deficiency can cause symptoms of poor cognitive function and that increasing one's intake through supplements may boost memory and improve mood.
As you can see, you have many options for brain supplements. Choosing combination brain health supplements that contain two or more of the ingredients listed above may help increase the effectiveness of supplementation without requiring you to juggle multiple bottles.
HOW DO I TAKE SUPPLEMENTS FOR COGNITIVE FUNCTION?
To take brain supplements safely, first talk to your doctor. They can help you decide if the ingredients in any particular supplement are safe for you to take. For best results, follow the directions for use featured on the supplement packaging unless a medical provider gives you other instructions. Make sure to take your supplement consistently. Forgetting or skipping doses will likely make any supplement less effective. Also, be patient. Results from supplements develop slowly, so it may take several weeks before you notice improvements.
HOW DO I IMPROVE COGNITIVE FUNCTION?
Your diet and lifestyle can help or hinder the actions of cognitive function supplements. To help enhance effectiveness:
- Cut down on your intake of added sugar and refined carbs
- Limit your intake of red meat, fried foods, and trans fatty acids like margarine
- Drink alcohol only in moderation
- Avoid fish that may contain high levels of mercury
- Get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night
- Increase your physical activity
- Stop smoking cigarettes
- Don't use marijuana
- Practice stress management techniques like meditation or deep breathing