Plant Based Nootropics & Plant Hormetic Compounds which are also called phytonutrients and Nutraceuticals.
Compelling evidence from epidemiological studies suggest beneficial roles of dietary phytochemicals in protecting against chronic disorders such as cancer, and inflammatory and cardiovascular diseases. Emerging findings suggest that several dietary phytochemicals also benefit the nervous system and, when consumed regularly, may reduce the risk of disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. The evidence supporting health benefits of vegetables and fruits provide a rationale for identification of the specific phytochemicals responsible, and for investigation of their molecular and cellular mechanisms of action. One general mechanism of action of phytochemicals that is emerging from recent studies is that they activate adaptive cellular stress response pathways. From an evolutionary perspective, the noxious properties of such phytochemicals play an important role in dissuading insects and other pests from eating the plants. However at the relatively small doses ingested by humans that consume the plants, the phytochemicals are not toxic and instead induce mild cellular stress responses. This phenomenon has been widely observed in biology and medicine, and has been described as ‘preconditioning’ or ‘hormesis’. Hormetic pathways activated by phytochemicals may involve kinases and transcription factors that induce the expression of genes that encode antioxidant enzymes, protein chaperones, phase-2 enzymes, neurotrophic factors and other cytoprotective proteins. Specific examples of such pathways include the sirtuin – FOXO pathway, the NF-κB pathway and the Nrf-2 –ARE pathway. In this article we describe the hormesis hypothesis of phytochemical actions with a focus on the Nrf2/ARE signaling pathway as a prototypical example of a neuroprotective mechanism of action of specific dietary phytochemicals.
Phytochemicals serve numerous functions in plants and contribute to their color, flavor, smell and texture. Increasing data suggest associations between the type of food people eat, their health and their life expectancy; the consumption of vegetables and fruits may protect against cancers, cardiovascular disease and neurodegenerative disorders (Heber, 2004). Phytochemicals include compounds with various biological properties (i.e. antioxidant, antiproliferative, DNA repair) which have presumably evolved, in part, to allow plants to cope with environmental challenges including exposure to radiation and toxins, and defense against pests and infectious agents (Tuteja et al., 2001; Huffman, 2003). Chemicals that are concentrated in the skin of fruits and the growing buds of vegetables include those that function as natural pesticides and, indeed, identification and large-scale production of such “biopesticides” has received much attention from both basic science and commercialization perspectives (Isman, 2006). These chemicals may be produced by the plants themselves or by endophytes (symbiotic bacteria or fungi) that live in the plants (Sudakin, 2003).
Everything is a poison, nothing is a poison. It is the dose that makes the poison” ― Paracelsus
Diets rich in vegetables, herbs, plants and fruits are associated with reduced risk of several major diseases, including neurodegenerative disorders. Although some beneficial phytochemicals might function solely as antioxidants, it is becoming clear that many of the beneficial chemicals in vegetables, herbs, plants and fruits evolved as toxins (to dissuade insects and other predators) that, at subtoxic doses, activate adaptive cellular stress-response pathways in a variety of cells including neurons. Examples of such 'preconditioning' or 'neurohormesis' pathways include those involving cell-survival signaling kinases, the transcription factors NRF2 and CREB, and histone deacetylases of the sirtuin family. In these ways, neurohormetic phytochemicals such as resveratrol, sulforaphanes and curcumin might protect neurons against injury and disease by stimulating the production of antioxidant enzymes, neurotrophic factors, protein chaperones and other proteins that help cells to withstand stress. Thus, as we discuss in this review, highly conserved longevity and survival pathways in neurons are the targets of many phytochemicals.
The term hormesis has long been used to describe the phenomenon where a specific chemical is able to induce biologically opposite effects at different doses; most commonly there is a stimulatory or beneficial effect at low doses and an inhibitory or toxic effect at high doses (Calabrese et al., 2007). In the case of natural compounds an example of hormesis is vitamin A which in relatively low amounts is essential for normal development and eye function, but in high amounts can cause anorexia, headaches, drowsiness, altered mental states and other symptoms (Penniston and Tanumihardjo, 2006). In the present article, we describe evidence supporting a major role for hormesis as a mechanism of action of phytochemicals on cells and organisms, with a focus on the health-promoting and neuroprotective actions of phytochemicals. The term hormesis is commonly used by toxicologists to describe biphasic dose response curve such that a chemical has a stimulatory effect at low doses, but is toxic at high doses. Recently the concept of hormesis has been adopted in the fields of biology and medicine to portray the adaptive response of cells and organisms to moderate stress (Mattson, 2008). In other words, a mild stress induces the activation of signaling pathways, leading to intrinsic changes conferring resistance to a more severe stress. Typically, the stress-inducing agent elicits molecular responses that not only protect the cell against higher doses of the same agent, but also against other agents or even less specific stressors including oxidative, metabolic and thermal stress. Major components of the hormetic response include various stress resistance proteins such as heat-shock proteins, antioxidants, and growth factors (Mattson and Cheng, 2006; Mattson 2008). Classical examples of hormetic stress are exercise and calorie restriction (CR). Epidemiological studies have consistently demonstrated that moderate levels exercise and CR promote good health, whereas excessive levels are harmful (Fontana and Klein, 2007; Radak et al., 2008). As mentioned above, the need to protect themselves against bacteria, fungi, viruses, and hazardous environmental changes, has lead plants to concentrate defensive chemicals in their most vulnerable parts (i.e. leaves, flowers and roots). Like moderate exercise or CR, many of these ‘poisons’ also exhibit hormetic properties, being harmful at high doses yet beneficial at relevantly low doses.
The Following are great examples of Hormetic Compounds: Neurohormetic phytochemicals: low-dose toxins that induce adaptive neuronal stress responses.
- EGCG is Green Tea & Matcha
- Sulforaphane converted from glucaraphoran in Brocoli sprouts
- Curcumin in Turmeric
- Resveratrol in red grapes
- Anthocyanins in Blue Berries
- Phenethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC) in cruciferous vegetables
- Quercetin in Red Onions
- Chalcone, an α, β-unsaturated aromatic ketone is present in Angelica
- Ferulic acid (FA) is a phytochemical commonly found in tomatoes
- Piceatannol isolated from the seeds of Euphorbia lagascae
- Garlic is rich in allicin, allium and other organosulfur compounds
- St John’s wort contains the phenanthroperylene quinone hypericin & hyperforin which is antibiotic, antiviral and non-specific kinase inhibitor.
- Phenolic diterpenes and the triterpene acids, specifically carnosic acid, carnosol, micromeric acid, betulinic acid, and ursolic acid in Rosemary
- Licorice root extract contains glycoside glycyrrhizinic acid and numerous flavonoids. Glycyrrhizinic acid in licorice root extract is hydrolyzed to glycyrrhetic acid (GA); GA inhibits 11 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase, resulting in inhibition of the conversion of cortisol to the inactive steroid cortisone and elevated cortisol levels.
- Nettle has agglutinin, acetophenone, alkaloids, acetylcholine, chlorogenic acid, butyric acid, chlorophylll, caffeic acid, carbonic acid, choline, histamine, coumaric acid, formic acid, pantothenic acid, kaempferol, coproporphyrin, lectin, lecithin, lignan, linoleic and linolenic acids, palmitic acid, xanthophyll, quercetin, quinic acid, serotonin, stigmasterol, terpenes, violaxanthin, and succinic acid in its chemical content.
- Kavalactones are a class of lactone compounds found in the kava shrub. Kavalactones are under research for potential to have various psychotropic effects, including anxiolytic and sedative/hypnotic activities.
- Fo-ti Root benefits are due to its supply of antioxidants and beneficial compounds, including anthraquinones, emodin and chrysophanic acids.
- Saffron stigmas con- tain numerous volatile compounds and ingredients including crocin, picrocrocin and safranal which are antioxidant, anti- inflammatory, hepato-protective, cardiprotective, anti-diabetic and anti-tumour.
Although some phytochemicals possess direct free radical-scavenging properties at high concentrations, in lower amounts typical of those obtained in the diet, phytochemicals may activate one or more adaptive cellular stress responses pathways. Activation of such hormetic pathways in neurons results in the production of several types of cytoprotective proteins including neurotrophic factors, protein chaperones, antioxidant and phase II enzymes and anti-apoptotic proteins. One specific pathway that is receiving considerable attention in regards to hormesis in the nervous system involves the transcription factor Nrf2 which binds the ARE, thereby inducing the expression of genes encoding phase II detoxifying enzymes. Preclinical and clinical studies of the therapeutic potential of phytochemicals that activate the Nrf2/ARE pathway (curcumin, for example) in several different neurodegenerative disorders are in progress. Other hormetic pathways involved in neuronal stress resistance and plasticity include those that activate FOXO and NF-κB transcription factors. Using neurohormetic phytochemicals as base compounds for medicinal chemistry (Ohori et al., 2006; Milne et al., 2007) will likely result in the development of a range of plant based nootropics that enhance neuroplasticity and protect against synaptic dysfunction and neurodegeneration. Try our range of nootropics at Plant Based Academy made using some of the powerful ingredients listed below.
In summary All these compounds do at least two things:
- Inhibit Phase 1 biotransformation Enzymes
- Activate Phase 2 detoxification Enzymes
Phase 1 biotransformation enzymes convert pro carcinogens into their active carcinogenic state.
Nootropics are a class of drugs, supplements, and other substances that may improve cognitive function, particularly executive functions, memory, creativity, or motivation, in healthy individuals. At Plant Based Academy our unique nootropics are 100 % organic whole food plant based compounds consciously prepared, extracted and synergised in order to stack efficacy for immune support and cognitive enhancement. From scientific and medical research, nutraceuticals have been found to work by affecting your brain waves, hormones, cellular energy, cerebral blood flow, neuroplasticity, and neurotransmitters.
Scientific research shows that there are about 86 billion neurons, with each of them connecting to 40,000 synapses. Neurotransmitters convey chemical messages between neurons via a complex chain reaction that sends chemical messengers across a synapse. The messenger binds to receptors at the receiving end of neuron’s dendrites and starts processing all over again. It is hard to comprehend the complexity of the brain irrespective of the number of nootropics you take.
Active signaling between neurons ensures a highly optimized brain. When the signaling mechanism is not working as it should, your health is likely to have a hitch too.
Nootropics can help improve the functioning of these neurotransmitters:
Dopamine controls movement and aids in the flow of information to the front part of the brain. It is also associated with emotions and thoughts.
Insufficient dopamine levels are associated with ADHD, schizophrenia and Parkison’s disease.
Serotonin affects functions such as sleep, mood, and appetite. Lower than the optimal serotonin levels leads to bad mood and depression.
Glutamate is the most common neurotransmitter. When released, glutamate increases energy flow in the brain cells and boost learning. Inadequate production of glutamate is associated with autism, depression, and OCD.
Your body produces this neurotransmitter from choline that you receive from supplements and foods. It plays a crucial role in memory and learning. It also creates healthy synapses that maintain brain plasticity.
This is a stress hormone in the brain that enhances attention. It is responsible for the fight or flight response.
Your brain is always under maintenance and repair mode. Blood flowing into the mind brings oxygen and nutrients that help fuel its activities.
Blood that flows out carried waste materials and carbon dioxide for disposal. Brain damage may be repaired using nootropics depending on the type, severity, and length of damage.
Brain aging results from the formation of free radicals in the brain, which damage brain cells. Nootropics that boost choline production can help prevent this damage.
Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) is one of the proteins that enhance the growth of new neurons and prevents brain cell death. Low levels of the factor are associated with several diseases such as schizophrenia, obesity, Alzheimer's, depression, obesity, and accelerated aging.
Brain Cell Longevity
There is this pretty old myth that suggested that brain cells die off as we age. The misconception was debunked in 1998 when scientists in the Department of Clinical Neuroscience at the University Hospital in Sweden proved that human adult brains could generate new neurons throughout life.
The new neurons produced boost memory capacity and reduced overlap between various memories. When the mind goes into maintenance mode, neurogenesis starts and ensures that neurons multiply.
Citicoline [stabilized CDP Choline (cytidine 5'diphosphocholine)] is a naturally occurring intermediate involved in the synthesis of phosphatidylcholine, a major constituent of the grey matter of brain tissue (30%). Citicoline consumption promotes brain metabolism by enhancing the synthesis of acetylcholine and restoring phospholipid content in the brain, both of which positively affect memory and other brain activity.
When you are feeling burnt out after a long work or study session, your brain may feel like it is in a 'foggy mode' and you aren't thinking as clearly as you should. This is known as mental fatigue, and it can occur in many ways.
Brain fatigue shows up as depression, lack of concentration, poor focus, and depression. The causes of brain fatigue are countless, but common reasons include lack of oxygen in the brain, stress, and reduced blood glucose control. If you are always in a fight-or-flight stressed state, or you do not get sufficient rest, you are liable to experience a mental breakdown. Note that your brain is not an isolated organ because it interfaces with your gut and endocrine system. Over the past five years or so, experts have been emphasizing on the need to eat a nutrient dense diet that includes organic vegetables and healthy fats. They suggest that such foods will ‘heal your gut and your brain.’
Brain Blood Supply
Cerebral blood flow is more like your brain’s plumbing system. It utilizes 15 percent of the blood that flows from your heart. Blood flowing into your mind brings in oxygen, glucose and other nutrients that are required for the proper functioning of the brain’s activities. The outflow of the blood removes lactic acid, carbon dioxide and other waste materials from the mind. Any discrepancies in this system might result in vascular dementia.
Bacopa Monnieri is the key ingredient in OmniMind®; a nootropic herb that improves processing speed, memory retention and enhances learning ability. Bacopa Monnieri has been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine and has been shown to stimulate the protein synthesis in the hippocampus; the part of the brain which has an important role in long-term memory retention. The active compound in Bacopa Monnieri, bacosides, is evaluated for its effect on brain health. Research has shown the positive influence on brain cells and regeneration of brain tissue.
(1) Efficacy of Standardized Extract of Bacopa Monnieri on Cognitive Functions of Medical Students: A Six-Week, Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial. [PMID: 27803728]
(2) Elucidation of Molecular Mechanism(s) of Cognition Enhancing Activity of Bacomind: A Standardized Extract of Bacopa Monnieri. [PMID: 27761079]
(3) Meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials on cognitive effects of Bacopa Monnieri extract. [PMID: 24252493]
Rhodiola Rosea Extract
Rhodiola is widely used for increasing stamina and mental capacity. As an adaptogen Rhodiola Rosea extract helps the body to adapt and resist both physical and environmental stress. Native to the Arctic regions of Europe, Asia, and Alaska, it has a history of use as a medicinal plant. Other common effects experienced by the intake of Rhodiola are an improved mood, motivation and overall sense of well-being.
(1) Double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomised study of single dose effects of ADAPT-232 (Rhodiola Extract) on cognitive functions. [PMID: 20374974]
(2) The Effects of Rhodiola rosea L. Extract on Anxiety, Stress, Cognition and Other Mood Symptoms. [PMID: 26502953]
(3) Central additive effect of Ginkgo biloba and Rhodiola rosea on psychomotor vigilance task and short-term working memory accuracy. [PMID: 27069717]
Tyrosine is one of the twenty natural alpha amino acids who contribute to the protein synthesis. Next to the natural presence, Tyrosine is used to reduces stress levels and optimize our cognitive functioning. In 1989, Banderet performed a research study which showed that soldiers who took the supplementation of Tyrosine experienced less stress, less tiredness and better mental capabilities.
(1) Treatment with tyrosine, a neurotransmitter precursor, reduces environmental stress in humans. [PMID 2736402]
This amino-acid is primarily extracted from green tea leaves such as matcha or the edible mushroom, bay bolete, commonly found in North America and Europe during the autumn season. L-Theanine is known to reach the brain following oral ingestion and is proven to reduce stress, improve attention. Matcha Also offers high doses of another compound called EGCG which is a class of polyphenol called catechins and induces neurogenic effects on the brain.
(1) Effect of Green Tea Phytochemicals on Mood and Cognition. [PMID: 28056735]
Caffeine occurs naturally in the leaves, fruits or seeds from more than 60 plant species. For example, in yerba mate leaves, guarana seeds, and cacao beans. Caffeine belongs to the group of ingredients that stimulates the central nervous system. Research has shown that low to moderate caffeine doses improve alertness, vigilance, reaction time and attention. Caffeine is represented in combination with theanine. Studies have shown the combination of both as long lasting and more effective and with less of a jittery felling or dip when the caffeine is no longer present in the body. Research from Haskell confirms: faster simple reaction time, faster numeric working memory reaction time and improved sentence verification accuracy.
(1) A review of caffeine’s effects on cognitive, physical and occupational performance. [PMID: 27612937]
(2) The effects of L-theanine, caffeine and their combination on cognition and mood. [PMID: 18006208]
Niacin or Vitamin B3 is a vitamin that can be generated in the body through the amino acid tryptophane. EFSA, the European Food Safety Authority has confirmed several health benefits for the dietary intake of vitamin B3. The most common health benefits of Vitamin B3 are contributing to normal energy-yielding metabolism, the normal function of the nervous system, normal psychological functions and the reduction of tiredness and fatigue. Niacin plays a key role in your well-being because your body converts it to nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, or NAD, a chemical essential for energy production
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) is one of 8 B-vitamins. B12 is water-soluble and found in every single cell in your body. Vitamin B12 is essential for the synthesis of DNA, RNA and neurotransmitters, the maintenance of myelin sheaths protecting neurons, and red blood cell formation. Vitamin B12 is known to enhance alertness, cognition, energy, vision, elevate mood, lower anxiety and pain, and relieve insomnia. Vitamin B12 is a cofactor in the synthesis of neurotransmitters dopamine, GABA, norepinephrine, and serotonin. Affecting alertness, cognition, memory and mood. Vitamin B12 helps increase brain serotonin and dopamine levels. Decreasing anxiety, depression, fatigue and pain. Vitamin B12 is needed to regulate homocysteine. High homocysteine levels are linked to inflammation that can lead to blood vessel damage. And possible plaque buildupleading to heart attack or stroke.
NADH occurs naturally in the body and is used for improving mental clarity, alertness, concentration and memory. NADH stands for nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) + hydrogen (H) and is a derivative of Vitamin B3. Because of its role in energy production, NADH is also used for improving endurance and fighting fatigue. As a potent antioxidant, Co Enzyme NADH protects the body from free radicals and supports cellular health.
Black Pepper - Piper Nigrum
The extract piperine, derived from the fruit of the black pepper plant, has numerous documented reports on bio-enhancing features.
Vitamin B5 or Pantothenic Acid is the amide between pantoic acid and β-alanine. Studies have proven the relation between Vitamin B5 and the contribution to our mental performance.
*The above B-vitamins are also referred to as the neuro-vitamins. Besides different plant sources, avocado’s are one of the more potent Vitamin B sources.*
Ginkgo biloba extract has been therapeutically used for several decades to increase peripheral and cerebral blood flow as well as for the treatment of dementia. The extract contains multiple compounds such as flavonoids and terpenoids that are thought to contribute to its neuroprotective and vasotropic effects.
Sulforaphane (SFN for short) is a potent cancer-fighting and antibacterial compound found in cruciferous vegetables and sprouts. The long-ish answer: Sulforaphane is created when the enzyme myrosinase transforms the glucosinolate glucoraphanin into sulforaphane. Several epidemiological studies have shown that consumption of large quantities of vegetables especially cruciferous vegetables (Broccoli and Brussels sprouts) can protect against chronic diseases. Sulforaphane, an isothiocynate found in cruciferous vegetables has been demonstrated to have neuroprotective effects in several experimental paradigms. Sulforaphane is the most powerful compound found to turn on the NRF2 detoxification pathway. This is the master detoxification pathway in the Body.
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is one of the two most important nutrients for adequate cognitive function. DHA has an anti-inflammatory effect by acting as a precursor for NPD1. This anti-inflammatory has strong neuroprotective effects over time. Although both DHA and EPA are useful for aspects of cognition, DHA specifically can do a world of good. Ironically, even though many people claim superiority of fish oil products, the fish only have DHA because they consume the algae as a raw material. Beyond neuroprotection, DHA can increase cerebral oxygenation and blood flow, which can both influence cognitive performance and memory.
Glutathione (y-L-Glutamyl-L-cysteinyglycine) is a free radical scavenging antioxidant that is an endogenous in the body . It is primarily synthesized in the liver and consists of the amino acids glycine, glutamic acid, and cysteine. Glutathione can be either reduced (GSH) or oxidized (GSSG). The synthesis of glutathione requires two enzymes: one to bind L-cysteine and glutamic acid together and one to add the glycine molecule to the compound to complete the glutathione molecule. It is synthesized within the cell and can be hydrolyzed into the constituent amino acids where it can be resynthesized into glutathione. Together, the enzymes needed for glutathione synthesis and the enzymes which use glutathione are the “glutathione system”. Glutathione is an integral part of DNA synthesis and repair, amino acid transport, protein and prostaglandin synthesis, immune system function, prevention of oxidative cell damage, metabolism of toxins and carcinogens, and enzyme activation. Glutathione protects cells against harmful oxidants such as ROS (reactive oxygen species) and can increase the excretion of toxins from cells.
Choline is an essential nutrient that is necessary both for your brain and for the health of your liver. This nutrient is needed to synthesize the neurotransmitter Acetylcholine, which is used in brain functions related to memory, consciousness, reasoning, and creativity. Choline can be found in small amounts in a few different plant food sources. Tofu, soy milk, quinoa, and broccoli are particularly high in this nutrient.
Quercetin is as a neuroprotective agent and anti-inflammatory support. One study showed that quercetin could protect neurons from oxidative stress . Another showed anti-inflammatory benefits that could help protect against Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Another great benefit of quercetin is as a stress-reducing agent after heavy exercise. Anyone who competes in physical sports or simply engages in intense activity knows that difficult workouts can be taxing on the body. Studies show a notable decline in stress after these types of workouts. Quercetin has high concentrations is many fruits such as apples and also red onions. It also is enhanced and enhances the effects of ingredients such as resveratrol, Yerba mate and matcha.
Mucuna Pruriens Extract
The seeds of Mucuna Pruriens are particularly rich in L-DOPA, your body's precursor to the neurotransmitter Dopamine. Dopamine is the reward neurotransmitter. Put simply, it regulates your motivation and incentive to perform a task.
Enhances absorption of Mucuna Pruriens Extract. Vitamin C helps with the synthesis of dopamine and helps to protect the brain from oxidative stress. As an antioxidant, vitamin C helps flush the brain of toxins that can cause long-term disorders marked by memory problems and nerve damage. As a cognitive enhancer, it can improve: mood.
Gynostemma pentaphyllum (Southern Ginseng) is an herb attributed with having ginseng status. Until fairly recently Gynostemma pentaphyllum was used primarily in mountainous regions of southern China and northern Vietnam. It’s been described as the "immortality herb,” because people within Guizhou Province, where herbal teas made from the plant are consumed regularly, are said to have a history of unusual longevity. Gynostemma is well known for its reputation for activating AMPK, a molecule that acts as a “metabolic master switch” of cellular energy (i.e., ATP). AMPK was important to us because it senses and responds to low ATP levels. When AMPK is activated, it turns up processes in cells and mitochondria that enhance conversion of food into ATP. This helps restore ATP levels. Restoring ATP is important. Being able to make more if it’s needed in the future might be even more important. The science of complex adaptive systems informs us that living systems are experts at learning and adapting: they anticipate and prepare for the future. AMPK is part of the adaptive response to circumstances that deplete ATP, like intense exercise. In addition to restoring ATP, AMPK adjusts gene expression in ways that result in increased capacity to make more cellular energy in the future. It’s this adaptive response that is why it’s so important for supporting healthy aging and cellular (and mitochondrial) function. This herb is also known for promoting antioxidant defenses, upregulating the sirtuin cell adaptational response, stimulating mitochondrial energy production (Krebs cycle, OXPHOS), enhancing insulin signaling, and acting as neuroprotective support.
With roots in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), Medicinal mushrooms are powerful anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and immunostimulant. Your brain naturally slows down over time. The symptoms you associate with aging — like memory loss and lack of focus — are caused by factors like shrinking neurons and damaged brain cells. Studies show that lion’s mane mushroom can actually support your brain health by stimulating the creation of two important compounds: nerve growth factor (NGF) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). NGF and BDNF are proteins that stimulate the production of new cells and strengthen existing ones. NGF also plays an important role in forming myelin, the sheath around nerve cells that helps brain cells do their job. BDNF increases brain plasticity, which helps your brain cells stay resilient in the face of stress or aging.
Lycium barbarum polysaccharides (called LBPs), the active phytochemical in goji berries that’s believed to produce their unique benefits. Polysaccharides are molecular compounds consisting of carbohydrates bonded with glucose. Among the berries’ many qualities, a study published in the December 2014 issue of the journal Drug Design, Development and Therapy singled out the ability of LBPs to protect neurons from damage caused by beta-amyloid plaques and glutamate excitotoxicity. Researchers conducted animal studies that found LBPs can reduce the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and regenerate neurons in the hippocampus, thereby improving learning and memory. What works for mice doesn’t always work for humans, but this finding looks very promising. Another study, this one published in the journal Brain Research, found that pretreating neurons with an alkaline extract of LBPs significantly reduced neuron death caused by beta-amyloid plaques. The antioxidant properties of LBPs can also help prevent damage and cell death caused by inflammation.
Goji berries are also a rich source of:
- Vitamins A, C, B2
- 18 amino acids (11 of these are essential amino acids, meaning the body cannot make them on its own)
- alpha-linolenic acid, linoleic acid
All these vitamins and minerals are important to overall brain health. They reduce inflammation and destroy free radicals, to name just two major benefits.
Blueberry is one of the top 3 nootropics due to it having demonstrated cognitive enhancing abilities. These are due to the pigments in these berries known as anthocyanins and, while studies are done on blueberries, the following likely applies to all dark blue/black berries. Blueberries seem to work, at least in a general sense, similar to bacopa monnieri. By including them in the diet they are able to produce and release a brain growth factor known as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDFN), which causes neurons to grow. This has been measured directly in the hippocampus of rats, the hippocampus being one of the major brain organs involved in memory formation, and has even been noted in otherwise healthy young rats. Both of the above studies noted improvements in memory and those improvements correlated directly with BDNF levels and activity. Now, extending that to human studies, we find that juices that have a decent anthocyanin content (500 mg or more) improve spatial recall and verbal memory in the elderly compared to juices without anthocyanins. Furthermore, benefits with anthocyanin-rich juice have been seen in non-elderly adults as well suggesting an inherent effect rather than a specific age-related one. Ultimately, anthocyanins from dark berries have cognitive protecting properties; increasing memory and cognitive function in what appears to be all ages without any known side effects.
The neuroprotective effects of berry fruits on neurodegenerative diseases are related to phytochemicals such as anthocyanin, caffeic acid, catechin, quercetin, kaempferol and tannin. Many epidemiological studies have shown that regular flavonoid rich fruit intake is associated with delayed Parkinson's disease (PD), Alzheimer's disease (AD), ischemic diseases and aging effects (Ono et al., 2003; Savaskan et al., 2003; Marambaud et al., 2005; Alzheimer's Association, 2008; Pandey and Rizvi, 2009). Since oxidative stress and inflammation appear to be involved in brain aging and in neurodegenerative diseases (Casadesus et al., 2002), it is theorized that increased consumption of antioxidants may be effective in preventing or ameliorating these changes. The neuroprotective effects of strawberry, bilberry, black currant, blackberry, blueberry and mulberry, were demonstrated by many scholars (Basu et al., 2010; Rendeiro et al., 2012). Neuroinflammatory processes in the brain are believed to play a crucial role in the development of neurodegenerative diseases, especially due to increased production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) (Zheng et al., 2003; Shaffer et al., 2006). Because of low activity of antioxidant defense systems, the brain is susceptible to oxidative stress more than other organs (Rahman, 2007; Uttara et al., 2009). Moreover, many neurotransmitters are autoxidized to generate ROS (Lau et al., 2003). In agreement with these observations, there is evidence that increased oxidative stress plays an important role in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases such as AD, PD, ischemic diseases and aging (Esposito et al., 2012). The neuroprotective effects of many polyphenols rely on their ability to cross the blood-brain barrier and directly scavenge pathological concentrations of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species and chelate transition metal ions (Aquilano et al., 2008). The most abundant neuroprotective antioxidants in strawberries are caffeic acid, ellagic acid, and certain flavonoids including anthocyanins, tannins, catechin, quercetin, kaempferol, gallic acid derivatives, vitamins C, E and carotenoids.
Phosphatidylserine (PS )
Phosphatidylserine (PS ) is an aminophospholipid and amino acid derivative which is produced naturally within the body. In fact, it’s a phospholipid which makes up a sizable portion of the human brain. It should be noted, however, that while the body can produce PS on its own, most of it comes from our food. PS also acts as a signaling agent for apoptosis, which is a standard process of cell death that is necessary for an organism to grow and develop. PS has been found to provide some excellent benefits for your brain, such as improving memory, helping with stress, and enhancing one’s learning ability. Sunflower lecithin is loaded with phospholipids. Namely, phosphatidylethanolamine and phosphatidylinositol, and phosphatidylcholine. Each are major ingredients the body uses to create, repair, and strengthen brain and nerve cells. People who suffer from degenerative brain disorders like Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s have shown significant improvements to their conditions when a daily dose of 35mg or more of sunflower lecithin is administered.
Other Incredible Nootropics are :
- Ashwagandha is extremely powerful adaptogenic for the body
- Garlic which removes mercery
- Lions Mane increase BDNF
- Kelp Also Removes Mercery
- Selenium ( Brazil nuts) Converts T4 to T3 so extremely Important
- Atragalus Boosts Immune System
- Saw Palmetto for sexual & male hormone health
The Brain’s Own Anti- Depressants
Noradrenaline (Adrenalines cousin)
• Acts on nerve that help to control heart rate and blood pressure
• It is a factor in how quickly glucose is converted to energy
• It is also a factor in how the body responds to stress and anxiety
• The body responds to a physical threat or a sense of danger with a surge of noradrenaline and adrenaline. This boosts the heart rate, increases breathing and sends extra blood to the major muscles. Whether you decide to take flight or stand and fight, your body is prepared for action.
Production of Noradrenaline
• Phenylalanine supplement
• Intense pleasure experience
Neurons synthesize noradrenaline in the body from the amino acid phenylalanine, with the following intermediate steps:
Phenylalanine – Tyrosine – Dopa – Dopamine – Noradrenaline
Too much noradrendine activity in the brain causes symptoms like that of excess dopamine such as Nervousness, Restlessness, Sex/Sugar addictions, weight loss, difficulty falling asleep, gambling. Whilst Deficiency in noradrenaline or inactivity results in Depression.
Glutamine (Brain fluid)
• Optimal brain function
• It is a stimulation or “excitatory” neurotransmitter
• Effects mood and energy levels
• Helps to control brain levels of ammonia
• Plays an almost unique role as brain fuel
• Boosts mood and increases alertness
Cabbage juice is a high source of glutamine
Deficiency (Too little glutamine activity in the brain)
Cravings for sweets – Alcoholism - low sex drive
Dopamine (mood and addiction) (Curiosity/exploration)
• Transmits pleasure signals
• Master molecule of addiction
• Elevate mood
• Helps generate feelings of pleasure and euphoria
• Boosts libido
• Encourage assertiveness
• Short term memory, concentration and learning
Deficiency of Dopamine in certain parts of the brain can cause problems with Co-ordination - Stiff muscles
Too much Dopamine in the brain may bring on Hallucination, Addictive relationships, extreme behaviour of schizophrenia, impulsive, irrational, overly aggressive behaviour, sex/sugar addictions, gambling, difficulty sleeping
Sources and production of Dopamine
Dopamine is derived from the amino acid phenylalanine in the following manner Phenylalanine – Tyrosine – Dopa – Dopamine
Dopamine levels are also elevated by pleasurable experience
• An achievement
• A hug
• Phenylalanine supplement
Gaba (a brake in the brain)
• Gaba is a non- essential amino acid
• It is like glutamine in that it acts as a neurotransmitter
• Gaba’s effects are opposite to those of glutamine
• Prevents nerve cells from firing too quickly
• Gaba acts like a brake to slow things down.
Gaba activity causes Feelings of calmness, reduce anxiety, relaxes muscles, promotes sleep, relieves nervous tension
Production of Gaba
Gaba is formed in the body from the amino acid glutamate with the help of co-factors such as pyridoxine and vitamin C (B6)
Too much Gaba activity
Sluggish thinking, Memory problems, poor physical co-ordination, extreme sleeplessness
Anxiety and Depression
• Difficulty feeling pleasure
• Inability to give or receive love
• Tendency toward alcoholism or other forms of addictive behaviour
Step one – Amino Acids
Step two - Nutrients
B-complex vitamins, especially niacin and pyridoxine
Step Three – Diet
Foods relatively low in tryptophan content
Step Four – Essential fatty acids
Flaxseeds Barage oil DHA (Omega 3)
Step Five – Lifestyle
Foods and Supplements
Avoid or limit high tryptophan content foods such as
Bananas, Lentils, Sunflower seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, Peanuts
Get plenty of:
Flaxseeds Brewer’s Yeast (NADH) Broccoli
Borage oil Whole grains Siberian ginseng
Citrus Fruits Dark green leafy veg Spinach
Camu Camu Sesame seeds Walnuts
Brown Rice Almonds SAM Supplement
D-Phenylalanine Supplement NADH Supplement
Mood Boosting Amino Acid Supplements
Tryptophan for Serotonin Stimulation: Helps with Calming Depression, anxiety, insomnia, ocd, Suicidal feelings
5- HTP for Serotonin Stimulation: Helps with Calming Depression, anxiety, insomnia
Phenylalanine for Dopamine Stimulation: Helps with Depression, Fatigue, lack of pleasure
Tyrosine for Dopamine Stimulation: Helps with Depression, Fatigue, Lack of pleasure
Glutamine for Glutamine Stimulation: Helps with Depression, Fatigue
Gaba for Gaba Stimulation: Helps with Calming Depression, anxiety
SAM for Serotonin Stimulation: Helps with Depression
The Five Step Plan:
• Take mood boosting amino acids
• Optimize your supplements
• Make the fatty acids essential
• Diet for mental health
• Eight lifestyle changes you can make to help beat depression
Mood Boosting Amino Acids:
Tryptophan: Bananas, peanuts, lentils, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds
5 – HTP: Supplement
Phenylalanine: Supplement or nuts, seeds, soybeans
Glutamine: Supplement or cabbage juice
Gaba: Supplement or increase Vitamin B3, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C
The brains own anti-depressants (relieve pain and alter mood)
Gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA)
Serotonin (5 -HT)
• A primary activator of pleasure centre in the brain
• Plays a role in mood and emotion
• Extra serotonin in the brain may elevate pain
• Promotes sleep and improve mood
The right levels at the right time of the day leads to feelings of
• Emotional stability
• Personal security
Low levels of serotonin in the brain have been linked to
• Cravings for sweets/carbs
• O C D (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)
Sources and production of Serotonin
Serotonin can be found in various plants and foods such as bananas and pineapple. Serotonin is produced in the body as a bi-product of tryptophan, 5-HTP and folic acid
Sunflower Seeds, 5-HTP Supplement, Lentils, Peanuts, Spinach, Kale, Walnuts, Brewer’s yeast, Asparagus, pumpkin seeds.
Endorphins (natural opiates) (love chemical)
Endorphins are opiate like chemicals which are produced in the body, along with enkephalins, these are both particles (amino acid compounds).
Endorphins functions are to:
Relieve pain and connect mother/father and child
Affect mood and the body’s response to stress
Endorphins also play a role in
Timing of appetite
Cravings due to stress or starvation
Reproductive hormone cycles
Pregnancy and labour
Circulation of blood
Production of Endorphins
Sex (during orgasm)
Overall well being
Strenuous muscular activity
5- HTP Supplement
Stress and alcohol can diminish the body’s endorphin levels which can lead to Endorphin imbalance, Addictive behaviour Difficulty feeling pleasure and Inability to give or receive love.
• Frequently nervous and anxious
• Panic attacks
• Exhaustion from stress
• Excessive stress reactions from normal stress situations
Step one – Amino Acids
Step Two – Nutrients
B- Complex vitamins especially niacin, B5 (Pantothenic acid), pyridoxine
Vitamin C – low glycaemic index fruits
Step Three – Diet
Low glycaemic index foods
Primarily vegetarian foods
Step Four – Essential fatty acids
Flaxseeds Borage oil DHA (omega 3)
Step Five – Lifestyle
Epsome salt & essential oil baths
Foods and supplements
Avoid moderate to high glycemic index foods such as: White Rice, processed foods, raisins, dried fruit, cooked carrots, sweet potatoes, Honey, Oranges, grapes, rice cakes, brown rice, white bread.
Get plenty of the following: Grapefruit, apples, ginkgo, barrage oil, red/green peppers, flaxseeds, cabbage juice, whole grains camu-camu, dark leafy veg, sunflower seeds, cauliflower, brewer’s yeast, avocados, mushrooms, broccoli, spinach, wheatgerm, walnuts, microalgae DHA supplement, NADH supplement, Glutamine supplement.
Craving for sweets
A tendency toward alcoholism
Low sex drive
Step one – Amino Acids
Step two – Nutrients
B-Complex vitamins especially niacin, B5 (Pantothenic acid), pyridoxine
Vitamin C- Low glycaemic index fruits
Step three – Diet
Low Glycaemic index foods
Primarily vegetarian diet
Step Four – essential fatty acids
Step Five – Lifestyle
Foods and supplements
Avoid moderate to high glycemic index foods such as: White rice, white bread, raisins/dried fruit, cooked carrots, sweet potato, processed foods rice cakes, grapes, honey, oranges, blueberries, brown rice.
Get plenty of the following: Citrus fruits – low fi, camu -camu, wheat germ. Flaxseeds, borage oil, cabbage juice, ginkgo, wholegrains, spinach, broccoli, brewer’s yeast, avocado’s, walnuts, dark leafy veg, mushrooms, walnuts, microalgae DHA supplement, glutamine supplement.
Lack of energy, lack of enthusiasm, reduced libido, sluggish thinking
Step one – Amino Acids
Phenylalanine or tyrosine
Step two – Nutrients
B-Complex vitamins, especially niacin and pyridoxine
Siberian ginseng and liquorice root
Step Three – Diet
Foods relatively low in tryptophan content primarily vegetarian diet
Step four – Natural fatty acids
Evening primrose oil or borage oil
Step Five – Lifestyle
Foods and supplements
Avoid or limit intake of – bananas, lentils, peanuts, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds.
Get plenty of the following: Flaxseeds, evening primrose oil or borage oil, wholegrains, wheat germ, dark green leafy veg, Siberian ginseng, liquorice root, citrus fruits, camu-camu, spinach, sesame seeds, almonds, brown rice, SAM Supplement, NADH Supplement, Tyrosine Supplement or phenylalanine supplement.
Regular use of alcohol or other recreational drugs to get high
Sleeping more than normal
Step one – Amino acids
Phenylalanine or tyrosine
Step Two - Nutrients
B-complex vitamins, especially niacin, pyridoxine and folic acid
Step Three – Diet
Foods relatively low in tryptophan content predominantly vegetarian diet
Step Four – Natural Fatty acids
Evening primrose oil or borage oil
Step five – lifestyle
Foods and supplements
Avoid or limit intake of – bananas, lentils, peanuts, sunflower, seeds, pumpkin seed.
Get plenty of the following: Brown rice, almonds, whole grains, spinach. Kale, asparagus, brewer’s yeast, citrus fruits, camu-camu, broccoli, walnuts, wheatgrass, kelp, legumes, flaxseeds, evening primrose oil, green leafy veg, phenylalanine supplement, tyrosine supplement, SAM supplement, NADH Supplement.
Anxiety, fatigue, craving carbs and sweets, low self -esteem, eating disorders, lack of libido, impatience/impulsiveness
Step one – Amino Acids
Tryptophan (for insomnia/depression) or 5- HTP (for depression/anxiety)
Step two – Nutrients
B- Complex vitamins especially niacin, pyridoxine and folic acid
Step Three – Diet
Foods relatively high in tryptophan content (while avoiding other sources of protein as the amino acids will compete and mostly defeat tryptophan for uptake by the brain).
Top Twenty Depression Relieving Nutrients
Vitamin D – Deficiency can cause depression, loss of appetite and interest in sex. Take Sunflower seeds, medicinal mushrooms, sprouts, unwashed carrots and Supplement D3.
Vitamin E- Powerful antioxidant, boost immunity, enhance athletic performance, reduce heart disease. Take Sunflower oil, Dark leafy veg, nuts, wheat germ, whole grains, seeds, corn, wheat germ, legumes.
Co-enzyme Q 10 (ubiquinone) Metabolism, heart health, immune function, boost energy, strengthen muscles, improve physical performance and endurance and weight loss. Take Whole grains, wild peanuts & Spinach. **Take optimal levels of B-Complex and vitamin C to help body produce CoQ10**
Calcium for building bones, nervous system, prevention of irritability. Take Kale, Collard greens, sesame seeds and Kelp.
Magnesium for Blood Sugar Balance, production of DHA. Take Dark leafy veg, seeds, spirulina, dates, oatmeal, black eye peas, whole grains, lentils, avocado’s, legumes, figs, grapefruit, nuts, kelp, sea veg, almonds, apples, chlorella.
Iron Supply’s cells with oxygen, produces energy **Dairy produce inhibits iron absorption; vitamin C enhances it ****Deficiency can impair learning ability, attention span, mental development**
Take Kelp, dark green leafy veg, brewer’s yeast, almonds, wheat bran, legumes, raisins, cashews, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, wheatgrass, wholegrains.
Selenium is an antioxidant, protection against heart disease and cancer. Take sunflower seeds, Brazil nuts & shiitake mushrooms.**Selenium content in plants depend on the soil plants are grown in.
Thiamine (B1) Mental Function: Vegetables, nuts, whole grains, seeds, legumes.
Riboflavin (B2) Energy production, neutralize free radicals: Green leafy veg, beans, whole grains, legumes, soybeans
Niacin (B3) Regulate blood sugar levels, energy production: Peanuts, sunflower seeds, almonds, whole grains, sesame seeds, brown rice, barley
Pantothenic Acid (B5) Metabolise carbs, production of adrenaline hormones: Avocado’s, bananas, lentils, mushrooms, collard greens, broccoli, soy beans, sunflower seeds, brown rice.
Pyridoxine (B6) is for Emotional boost, mood elevation.Take Spinach and walnuts
Cobalamin or Cyanocobalamin (B12) treats fatigue and depression. Take Tempeh, mushrooms, brewer’s yeast, chlorella, spirulina.
Folic acid or folate (B9) is for mood elevation, alleviate psychiatric conditions. Take brewer’s yeast, wheat bran, bananas, spirulina, chlorella.
Inositol promotes sleep, treats OCD, ADD, Panic Disorder and mood disorder. Take Orange, cantaloupe, nuts, beans, whole grains, brewer’s yeast
Choline control moods swings, prevents memory loss, mental energy. Take green leafy veg, lecithin, wheat germ, wild peanuts
NADH (co-enzyme 1) is for memory boost, mood elevate, anti-aging *NADH is a co-enzyme form of niacin, it is synthesized in the human body and plays an important role in brain chemistry** Take Brewer’s yeast as a Supplement.
Vitamin A, healthy vision, immune function, wound healing, bodily functions *Beta -carotene and other carotenoids can be converted to vitamin A by the body* *Vitamin A and carotenoids can help with conditions from Aids to alcoholism to premenstrual syndrome**Take Dark green leafy veg, orange-yellow fruits and veg, blue-green algae, carrots, squash, wheatgrass, sweet potatoes, spirulina, barley grass.
Vitamin C Strengthens adrenals and endocrine glands. Take Citrus Fruits, Green/red peppers, sprouts, camu-camu, broccoli, papaya, cauliflower, kiwi, strawberries, mustard greens.
** A vital nutrient for anyone subject to extreme stress**
Relieve Depression with Nutrient Optimal Intake
Thiamine 25-50 mg
Pantothenic acid 25-50mg
Vitamin B12 50-100mg
Folic Acid 400-800mg
Vitamin A 2’500-5000mg
Vitamin A activity 5’000-10’000mg
(from Beta-carotene/mixes carotenoids)
Vitamin C 1’000-2000mg
Vitamin D 400-1’000mg
Vitamin E 400-800mg
Coenzyme G10 30-75mg