How To Improve Brain Function
It is a scientific fact that people over time will lose a certain amount of brain power for several reasons, which is why many individuals seek to improve brain function in order to help enhance memory and learning. Suggestions in the loss of brain function include the ageing issue, not providing the brain with enough stimulation, problematic brain diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s and a lack of dopamine.
What is dopamine?
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter, a chemical found in the brain and responsible for transmitting signals in between nerve cells within the brain.
Dopamine affects your emotions, movements and your sensations of pain and pleasure. Dopamine is released in the brain when you have just satisfied a craving whether for sugar, tobacco or alcohol. It gives you that feel good factor when it is released in normal amounts however activities which fuel a rapid release of dopamine are often dangerous and addictive.
As we age, our dopamine levels decline and when this happens, people no longer feel youthful; they may even suffer from clinical depression; may lose concentration and may feel a loss in their sense of well-being. With time they may even become frail. Parkinson’s is a disease in which there is a loss of dopamine and sufferers must replace this loss with drugs such as levodopa.
How dopamine affects brain power
Dopamine is the brain’s most important neurotransmitter and is used to control movement, memory and concentration. The major cause of dopamine depletion as we age is due to the fact that we produce more of an enzyme, called MAO-B, which destroys dopamine and levels of MAO-B enzyme increase dramatically by the time we approach our 60’s. This increase in dopamine destroying enzyme results in the destruction of brain cells and also an excess of this enzyme produces hydrogen peroxide in the brain. Hydrogen peroxide is a toxic molecule and one which destroys all soft tissues in the body. I remember my chemistry lesson where we placed a piece of liver in a test tube and added a few drops of hydrogen peroxide and within seconds the liver simply dissolved.
Scientists have discovered that MAO-B not only destroys healthy brain cells but it also replaces these with cells that produce even more MAO-B leading to the further destruction of brain cells and reduced dopamine levels. This causes us to gradually lose our cognitive function; inability to concentrate and even recall information which is so crucial for everyday activities.
Natural remedy to boost brain power
Life Extension’s Dopa-Mind is a supplement which contains a standardised extract of wild green oat. Wild green oats, also known as Avena Sativa, have traditionally been used to relieve the symptoms of anxiety, tension and hyperactivity. They have now also been found to inhibit the production of the enzyme MAO-B, which destroys brain cells as well as dopamine, so crucial for concentration. In human studies, this special extract of wild green oats significantly improved concentration and brain function. Brain mapping showed significant increase in brain theta waves responsible for focusing attention and signal detection. Signal detection is vital because we use this process to detect familiar faces, objects and skills which are often lost with diseases of the nervous system.
In another study involving elderly people, some with cognitive impairment and some without, the use of wild green oat extract showed a 65 percent improvement in the reduction of mental errors in all the groups involved. When the results for the group with mild cognitive impairment were analysed, this group actually showed a remarkable 74 percent improvement.
Yet another study indicated that wild green oat extract improves brain processing time and speed. When compared to subjects taking a placebo, those who took 800mg of wild green oat extract were 180 percent faster in their response and took less time to complete the tasks. Additionally, these subjects made fewer mistakes. This is exactly the strength found in Dopa-Mind™ with a dose of just one tablet a day.
So we now understand that dopamine does help improve brain function and is crucial for memory, brain power, brain processing speed, increased concentration levels, reducing mental errors and much more. But what else is dopamine beneficial for?
Other benefits of dopamine
Dopamine is an excitatory chemical within the brain. When you have balanced levels of dopamine, you have a heightened states of alertness and awareness. When you have a low state of dopamine often due to the ageing process, here is a short list of what can occur within the body:
- Loss of energy
- Low sex drive
- Difficulty in concentrating
- Feeling down
- Lack of motivation
- Mood swings and depression
- Inability to reach goals
These are just some of the examples of low dopamine levels.
Is fish oil good for the brain?
Fish oils are thought to improve brain function but how do they work? Fish oils contain EPA and DHA which are omega-3 essential fatty acids that play important roles in reducing inflammation, immune system and heart health. Cold water fish such as salmon, mackerel and herring have some of the highest and cleanest sources of these omega 3 fatty acids.
The essential fatty acid DHA has been the subject of numerous studies which all point to its benefits for brain health. A component of the central nervous system's membranes, DHA ensures healthy nerve cell to nerve cell communication within the brain and therefore helps to improve brain function including learning and memory. Because levels of DHA decrease as you age, our diets in general do not provide sufficient amounts of this important fatty acid and therefore it might be prudent to take a quality DHA supplement such as Bare Biology's Mindful Omega-3 Fish Oil capsules which provide 560mg of DHA per capsule which is considered an adequate level.
As we go through an increasingly complex, technologically driven age, many of us may require to improve brain function through the use of brain boosters, mood stabilisers and memory enhancing pills. We may need help to deal with age related mental decline, improve brain performance and therefore add to our quality of life. Dopa-Mind™ certainly has the potential to improve brain function especially when combined with a quality DHA supplement such as Mindful Omega-3 Fish Oil capsules.