Hello dear friends and Happy New Year. After 3 weeks from my last article (14th), we are together again to get the most valuable information that you can get about bodybuilding. I hope you had a great time with your family and friends, and now after your holidays, you are ready for a very productive and succesful year.
Today I will talk about the best supplements that can affect the most powerful weapon that God has given to you. The brain! Also, I will start this week to write the references that I have gotten in order to write my articles. I am sure that some of you will find them very informative.
So let's get to business again, and start analyzing the best!
Ginkgo Biloba is the world's longest living species of tree! Individual trees live as long as 1,000 years! It has been used by the Chinese for 5,000 years, and many studies stand behind its use.
The medical benefits of Ginkgo biloba extract (GBE) rely primarily on two groups of active components: the ginkgo flavone glycosides and the terpene lactones. Many people without memory difficulties have reported clearer thinking when taking Ginkgo. Some evidence indicates that Ginkgo can offset damage caused by "age-related" disease.
For example, it can protect nerve cells from stroke-related injuries. And is very important to report that Gingo Biloba has antioxidant actions in the brain, retina of the eye, and the cardiovascular system.(1) Also, one double blind study in Germany found that elderly, depressed people with mild dementia (who were not responding to antidepressant medications) responded well to Gingo Biloba supplementation.
Side Effects: Are very rare. However, if you're on blood thinners like Coumadin or aspirin, stay away from this herb.
Recommended Dosage: It is important to find a form of Ginko Biloba which is standardized for 24% glycosides and 6% terpenes. (This is commonly reffered to as a 24/6 form of Gingo Biloba). I would suggest using 100mg per day, but anyone experiencing memory difficulties should take 120-240 mg per day.(2) Finally, Ginkgo Biloba may need to be taken for 6-to-8 weeks before desired actions are noticed.
Gotu Kola is a plant that grows in a widespread distribution in tropical areas such as India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Madagascar and South Africa. Gotu Kola has been important in the medicinal systems of central Asia for centuries. It was reported in Sri Lanka to prolong life, as the leaves are commonly eaten by elephants.
Gotu Kola also has a historical reputation for boosting mental activity. Gotu Kola is also used in Ayurvedic medicine as a cure for agitation, memory loss, anxiety, and insomnia, among other health problems.
An Indian study published in the Journal of Indian Medicine looked at the effects of Gotu Kola on the general mental ability of mentally retarded children. The findings showed that the youngsters taking 500 mg of Gotu Kola a day increased their powers of concentration and attention, while those given a placebo showed no such improvement.
Side Effects: no significant adverse effects are experienced with internal or topical use of this herb.(3) I don't think you should worry since it's a safe herb.
Recommended Dosage: Between 800-1600mg per day.
Acetyl-L-Carnitine, (ALC) is a form of the amino acid Carnitine. The body naturally produces this amino acid, which is also found in small amounts in certain foods. ALC has long been recognized for its ability to increase cellular energy production, including in the brain, which uses 20% of the body's energy.
In clinical trials, ALC has improved memory and cognition in persons with age-related cognitive decline (ARCD),(4) and has even helped people with Alzheimer's delay progress of the disease and improve in some cognitive functions.(5)
It has also been useful in alleviating depression and in improving the functioning of Parkinsonâ€™s patients. Also one more very good thing about ALC is that is safe, even in dosages of 2000mg per day.
Recommended Dosage: Take 500mg three times per day. (In a total of 1500mg per day).
Phosphatidyl Serine (PS)
Phosphatidyl serine (PS) is a phospholipid that occurs in trace amounts in Lecithin, occurs in all cell membranes, but is most highly concentrated in those of the brain. Up until recently, the PS used was derived from cow brains, but the development of a soy-derived product has allowed for its greater availability and safety.
PS is believed to be especially important in supporting, at the cell membrane level, and the functions of various proteins that help control brain cell function. In one trial, PS was given to a group of subjects 300 mg per day for 12 weeks, it was found to benefit all subjects.(6)
Also in one more double blind study, the improvement on standardized tests of mental functioning averaged approximately 15%.(7) Continued improvement has been reported up to three months beyond the end of the supplementation period.
Side Effects: No significant side effects associated with PS have been consistently reported.
Recommended Dosage: Clinical doses have ranged from 200-to-800 mg per day, but 400 mg per day, (taken in 2 divided doses of 200mg each), with meals is better.
I know that maybe some of you are wondering why I wrote all of them together and not seperately, but I will explain right away. When medical researchers use the term "Lecithin," they are referring to a purified substance called "Phosphatidyl Choline" (PC).
And Choline is essential to manufacture Acetylcholine and the cell membranes. (Sorry if I confused you now a little bit, but I could not explain it better.) Human studies suggest that Lecithin can benefit memory. In one study, a group of 61 healthy adults were given 2 Tablespoons of Lecithin for five weeks.
Memory tests given at the close of the study indicated that the lecithin group had significant memory improvement, with almost 50 percent fewer memory lapses, in comparison to the control group.(8) A new form of choline that is not yet readily available, called CDP-choline (cytidine 5-diphosphocholine), has been used successfully to treat learning and memory impairment.(9)
Side Effects: At several grams per day, some people will experience abdominal discomfort, diarrhea, or nausea, and in large amounts (over 1,000 mg per day) can lead to a fishy odor.
Recommended Dosage(s): I would suggest to take 500mg of Choline, (taken along with Lecithin) per day.
DMAE like choline, may increase levels of the brain neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Some studies suggested that alertness and cognition was improved at doses of 400 mg per day. This substance enhances your brain's ability to store and retrieve information.
Side Effects: Clinical studies of DMAE have used up to 1,600 mg per day with no reports of side effects, and for this reason DMAE is believed to be relatively nontoxic.(10)
Recommended Dosage: By taking supplemental doses of DMAE (up to 100 mg per day), acetylcholine levels, which drop with age, can be supported.
Last but not least: Huperzine A is a substance first found in a Chinese medicinal herb. Huperzine A has been reported to prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine, an important substance needed by the nervous system to transmit information from cell to cell.(11)
In a study published in 1999, Chinese researchers tested the efficacy of Huperzine-A on memory and learning in teenagers. 34 pairs of middleschool students complaining of memory inadequacy were split into two groups with comparable academic, psychological and memory scores.
The students were given two capsules per day, containing either Huperzine-A (50 micrograms) or a placebo. After four weeks, the Huperzine group's scores on memory/comprehension tests were significantly superior to those of the placebo group. The researchers concluded that the Huperzine-A group showed enhanced memory and learning.
The results of this preliminary clinical trial suggest that Huperzine-A's mental performance benefits may extend beyond Alzheimer's patients to healthy adults.(12)
Side Effects: Huperzine-A has been shown to be non-toxic, even in amounts 50 to 100 times the clinical dose! The only problem with this substance is that it is difficult to find it.
Recommended Dosage: Human research on Huperzine A has used 200 mcg taken twice per day. It is absorbed rapidly from the human digestive tract.(13)
Tyrosine, through its effect on neurotransmitters, may affect several health conditions, including Parkinsonâ€™s disease, and other mood disorders. Studies have suggested that tyrosine may help people with depression.(14)
Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system, triggering the release of adrenaline into your bloodstream and raising blood sugar levels. That makes you more alert and focused and reduces fatigue in the short term.
Don't forget that Ephedrine also, (along with its synthetic counterparts), stimulates the central nervous system. (CNS).
OK, this was my 15th article, and the first for the year 2001, but before I close this article, remember always that you should consult with your physician before you take any one of the herbs or compounds I have suggested.
In my next week's article, I will deal with one very hot topic that I think you will find informative. "Drugs versus Natural." What are the pros and cons if you choose either the first or the second, and what should you do? Well the answer will be right here next week. Stay tuned! Click on the blue links above for more information.
1. Ferrandini C, Droy-Lefaix MT, Christen Y, eds. Ginkgo biloba Extract (EGb 761) as a Free Radical Scavenger. Paris: Elsevier, 1993.
2. Blumenthal M, Busse WR, Goldberg A, et al, eds. The Complete Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Boston, MA: Integrative Medicine Communications, 1998, 136-38.
3. Murray MT. The Healing Power of Herbs. Rocklin, CA: Prima Publishing, 1995, 171-83.
4. Cucinotta D, et al. Multicenter clinical placebo-controlled study with acetyl-L-carnitine in the treatment of mildly demented elderly patients. Drug Develop Res 1988;14:213-16.
5. Pettigrew JW, Klunk WE, et al. Clinical and neurochemical effects of acetyl-L-carnitine in Alzheimer's disease. Neurobiol of Aging 1995;16:1-4.
6. Crook TH, Tinklenberg J, et al. Effects of phosphatidylserine in age-associated memory impairment. Neurology 1991;41 (5):644-9.
7. Amaducci L. Phosphatidylserine in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease: results of a multicenter study. Psychopharmacol Bull 1988;24:130-34
8. Safford F, Baumel B. Testing the effects of dietary lecithin on memory in the elderly: an example of social work/medical research collaboration. Resrch on Soc Wk Pract 1994;4:349-58.
9. Spiers PA, Meyers D, et al. Citicoline [CDP-choline] improves verbal memory in aging. Arch Neurol 1996;53:441-8.
10. Fisman M, Mersky H, Helmes E. Double-blind trial of 2-dimethylaminoethanol in Alzheimer's disease. Am J Psych 1981;138:970-72.
11. Ashani Y, Peggins JO 3d, Doctor BP. Mechanism of inhibition of cholinesterases by huperzine A. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 1992;184:719-26.
12. Sun QQ, et al. Huperzine-A capsules enhance memory and learning performance in 34 pairs of matched adolescent students. Chung Kuo Yao Li Hsueh Pao 1999 Jul;20(7):601-3.
13. Qian BC, Wang M, Zhou ZF, et al. Pharmacokinetics of tablet huperzine A in six volunteers. Chung Kuo Yao Li Hsueh Pao 1995;16:396-98.
14. Gelenberg AJ, Gibson CJ, Wojcik JD. Neurotransmitter precursors for the treatment of depression. Psychopharmacol Bull 1982;18:7-18.