Soul is dark with stormy riot,
Directly traceable to diet."
thought depends upon a well nourished brain. The brain is
the master controller of the body as well as the mind. It
is estimated that there are over 100 billion neurons available
to facilitate thought.
the brain requires 20% of our oxygen and 50% of available glucose
to do its job. If this supply of energy and oxygen is interrupted
for 15 seconds unconsciousness occurs, if stopped for approximately
five minutes, brain death occurs.
makes common sense that a balanced nutritional diet is crucial for
the brain to process thought. Our focus here is on those particular
nutrients that can specifically enhance neuron firing and cross
linking in the brain. There are certain substances that clinical
research has found to minimize brain damage, repair damage already
done, and alleviate the natural deterioration process or to enhance
normal functioning to superior levels. First I'll give a little
background on the nutrients in a good diet that aid this process,
and then we'll discuss the substances that have been found to aid
maintain optimum health we need a balanced supply of the four essential
elements, hydrogen, oxygen, carbon and nitrogen. These are the stuff
of organic life. Fats consist of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. Water
combines hydrogen and oxygen. Proteins consist of nitrogen. Sugars
utilize carbon and hydrogen.
All food and nutrition is utilized by the body to produce one essential
element, ATP (Adenosine Tri Phosphate). This one substance releases
stored energy to generate neurotransmitters, transport proteins to
cells, and aid in conducting electrical impulses. Brain neurons are
the one cell that does not reproduce, therefore, it is critical that
they receive enough of the essential ATP molecules to maintain longevity
and remain viable.
acids are the basic chemical building blocks of life, required to
build all the vital proteins, hormones and enzymes. Neurotransmitters
are made up of amino acids, except for acetylcholine. Acetylcholine
is made from pantothenic acid, choline and ATP. Sixty neurotransmitters
have been discovered, 10 of which are considered major conductors.
Seven of the most common are:
is essential for movement and memory.
is produced by the pineal gland and is responsible for the waking/sleeping
cycle as well as a counterbalance for adrenaline and noradrenaline.
is helpful in alleviating chronic anxiety as an inhibitory neurotransmitter.
It also aids in concentration.
and noradrenaline promote alertness, activity and mood elevation.
is an inhibitory transmitter, which with GABA can help to prevent
the seizures of epilepsy.
is essential for initiating and coordinating the libido responses.
aids the thalamus in sensory integration.
are made of amino acids, and are critical to proper brain functioning.
Proteins contain nitrogen, which other foods lack. Twenty-two different
amino acids are known. All but nine of these acids, however, can
be made by the cells from fat or sugar combined with the nitrogen
freed from the breakdown of used proteins. The nine which the body
cannot make are called essential amino acids. This means it is essential
that they be present in the diet if health is to be maintained.
These nine are tryptophane, lysine, methionine, phenylanlanine,
threonine, valine, leucine and isoleucine. Children also have difficulty
making enough arginine, and histidine.
acids are present in greatest abundance in egg yolk, fresh milk,
liver, kidneys and cheese. Also, brewers' yeast, some nuts, soybeans,
cottonseed and the germ of cereals contain complete proteins.
from the Greek word meaning "acting on the brain", are
a category of synthetic and natural supplements known to enhance
brain function. They have also been called smart drugs. Many were
originally discovered as a treatment for dementia, or amnesia. It
is now known that anyone can benefit from the effects of these substances
if taken in proper dosages. Reported effects include, short and
long term memory capacity, enhanced concentration, increased alertness,
energy and work performance.
important way some nootropics can enhance cognition is by cleansing
the brain of lipofuscin--a fatty material that interferes with the
brain's synapses. Lipofuscin prevents synapses from releasing neurotransmitters
that enable the communication of information among nerve cells.
Lipofuscin is a product of the buildup of free radicals.
are many substances on the market that promise to enhance brain
functioning. Many of these can be addictive or have toxic side effects.
Of those I've studied there are four substances I feel to be of
benefit. These four substances are known to alleviate the symptoms
associated with various forms of dyslexia, amnesia, attention deficit
disorder and certain emotional disorders. Though the FDA has not
approved all of them for use in the U.S., they are approved in other
countries. If you want to obtain any of these four substances do
a keyword search on the Internet, and there are various mail order
companies marketing them. I found one product particularly intriguing
and you can visit their website for more information.
(DMAE) is known to increase learning, memory and intelligence. It
also has the effect of increased alertness without the restless effects
that caffeine produces. DMAE is naturally present in small amounts
in the brain. DMAE affects the brain's levels of acetylcholine. It
is thought that low doses of DMAE should be used at first, with a
gradual build up to 500 mg. per day. If taken in doses higher than
the body needs, DMAE can cause insomnia, headaches and muscle tension.
Adverse side-effects are rare in proper dosages, but it has been noted
that those who suffer from bipolar disorders or chronic depression
should avoid this substance. DMAE can be found in fish, hence the
reason fish has is referred to as "brain food."
has been used for over fifteen years as an aid in the treatment
of alcoholism, dementia and stroke. Developed by UCB laboratories
in Belgium, it has been found to increase the flow of information
across the corpus callosum, the set of fibers that connects the
right and left hemispheres. It has been shown in clinical studies
to improve the integration of information processing, attention
span and concentration. Piracetam has also been used to treat conditions
of hypoxia, or too little oxygen. It has been particularly effective
in the treatment of dyslexia, stroke, senile dementia, and in rehabilitating
a brain that has been damaged chemically. It acts to step up the
production of ATP and improved cerebral microcirculation (blood
flow). It also appears to enhance protein synthesis. The fact that
is has been shown to increase the flow of information between hemispheres
is particularly important, as this alone will improve cognition,
memory and all learning skills.
has been shown to have no known side effects or toxicity of it's
own but should not be used with amphetamines or other psychotropic
as it will increase their effects.
(ergoloid mesylates) is made from an organic source, the ergot fungus
of rye plants. It was discovered by Dr. Albert Hoffman at Sandoz
laboratories. As with the other nootropics, it appears to increase
mental cognition, prevent damage to brain cells, improve protein
synthesis, reduce accumulation of lipofuscin, increase oxygenation
and increase the production of neurotransmitters. It has also been
found to be a powerful antioxidant. One of it's most powerful abilities
is to prevent damage to the brain from hypoxia, or too little oxygen.
Therefore it has been very useful for stroke victims.
presumed effect of Hydergine is that it appears to mimic a substance
known as nerve growth factor (NGF). Thus it enhances the growth
and branching of dendrites. This can be critical for creative thinking
is available by doctor's prescription, though it can also be obtained
through mail order. Known side effects with improper dosage are
nausea, dizziness and headaches, but it is otherwise considered
is considered to be the oldest tree on earth. The leaf extract from
this tree has been used for centuries to increase blood circulation
to the tiny blood vessels of the brain. This results in improved
memory, cognition and alertness. It is widely prescribed by doctors
in Europe and Asia. Additionally it is a known antioxidant and helps
the brain to create ATP.
are usually noticeable after two or three weeks of continue use.
There are no reported side-effects in the medical literature but
some have experience stomach troubles in high doses. You can obtain
this from most health food suppliers.
is just a small sketch of what it available for proper brain nutrition
and improved creative thought. Hopefully, it will lead you to do
your own research into what is available for enhanced brain functioning.
Doing a keyword search on any of the amino acids or the four substances
I've named, will bring you a wealth of detailed information and
avenues to obtain these substances. I would strongly urge anyone
so inclined to educate themselves thoroughly before taking anything
you are unfamiliar with.
well nourished brain is vital to creative thought. The body can
produce most of what you need with a good balanced diet. Sufficient
water, of course, is essential to the electrical firing of the brain
and can not be overstated. Use your own intuition to know what to
add to your regular diet as a supplement. Dosage is critical and
would be different for each individual. More is not always better.
Have respect for your brain and it will serve you well as the architect
of your creative experiences.
J.L. Read, 1997. All Rights Reserved.
to Science page