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Tips for concentration, memory, creativity part 2

Tips for concentration, memory, creativity part 2

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You can read the first four tips (CILTEP, B Vitamins, Choline, and PQQ) in the article Tips for improved concentration, memory and creativity part 1.

Tip 5 Theanine

For a lot of people, tea has very different effects when compared to coffee. The reason for this difference is an ingredient called theanine. While coffee might be too stimulating for many people, theanine in tea causes a relaxed feeling to emerge [1].

30 Minutes after taking a theanine supplement, theanine causes a more relaxed brain wave pattern within the brain. These relaxed brain waves called, “Alpha” brain waves, help to improve focus and concentration.

Another advantage of theanine is that it lowers feelings of anxiety [2]. Anxiety and overexcitement can disrupt your memory and focus. Stress is one of the ways in which this anxiety is expressed, which can also be measured by the immune system. Reducing overexcitement and anxiety, and, therefore, stress can contribute to improving mental performance and a less-overexcited and healthier immune system.

The last benefit of theanine is that it improves your well-being and mood [3]. For all these reasons, theanine is a great holistic product that can reduce stress and improve well-being.

An important study compared the effect of theanine supplementation, caffeine supplementation of the combination of theanine and caffeine and a placebo. The combination of theanine and caffeine improved mental performance to the greatest extent and caused the lowest amount of mistakes to occur at a mental test. In other words, the combination of theanine and caffeine has benefits above merely supplementing with caffeine or theanine alone. We sell a theanine and caffeine combination product at Helfi. This product is called Smart Caffeine and is produced by Natural Stacks. For more information about Smart Caffeine we recommend to read our previously written article called “The Advantages of Natural Stacks Smart Caffeine.”

Most important reasons for supplementation: Concentration, general well-being, stress reduction

Recommended dosage: Take 200mg of theanine together with a caffeinated drink. As an alternative, one might take one capsule of Smart Caffeine that contains 100mg of caffeine and 200mg of theanine. Therefore, Smart Caffeine already has the right balance.

Tip 6 Magnesium

I’ve often written about magnesium during my time with Helfi. There is a reason for that! Magnesium is an essential nutrient for the human body and regulates hundreds of processes within that body. Magnesium greatly influences many diseases like heart disease and diabetes, but also has relaxed the body, lowers stress, is an essential anti-aging “ingredient”, but also has great influences on glucose metabolism and insulin within the body. Sadly enough, a large proportion of Western society has too low an intake of magnesium. This is even more disturbing because magnesium is very cheap to supplement. The great magnesium deficit that most people suffer is cheap and easy to solve.

For improving mental performance, magnesium threonate would be the best form of magnesium. Magnesium threonate has the benefit of achieving very high absorption levels within the brain. More magnesium in the brain improves not only memory but also the learning ability in general [5]. Furthermore, magnesium threonate also improves communication between brain cells. The reason for this improved communication is that magnesium causes the synapses that connect brain cells, to increase their mutual communication [6]. For those reasons, memory is improved and learning ability increases, which in turn increases the preconditions to increase mental performance in the long term. This means that the best effects of magnesium threonate supplementation will show up in the long term.

Besides improving memory, magnesium also causes the body to become more relaxed and less prone to be in a state of anxiety. Therefore, magnesium and theanine are great recommendations for people that are overstimulated or have anxiety, for whatever underlying reason. Magnesium won’t cure a pathology like PTSS, but can decrease the symptoms and make the pathology more livable. The same is true for stress, as magnesium can help you to keep your head cool.

Helfi sells Natural Stacks MagTech. MagTech contains the premium form of magnesium called Magnesium threonate, Other forms of magnesium won’t have the same effects on mental performance and memory as magnesium threonate.

When you have a limited budget, we would recommend using a cheaper variety of magnesium like magnesium oil. I use the magnesium oil myself because I’m a student with a limited budget. In the future, when my budget will allow more expensive purchases, I will surely begin to use the threonate form of magnesium. Magnesium oil increases mental performance and memory to a lesser degree than magnesium threonate (MagTech). However, Magnesium oil costs about 30 dollars a year to use, while still having massive benefits.

Most important reason for supplementation: Memory, general well-being, stress reduction, reduction in the feeling of anxiety, a nutrient that is a precondition for a well-functioning brain.

Recommended dosage: Use 200mg magnesium each day, preferably before going to sleep because magnesium also improves sleep quality. When you are exercising intensely, you can increase the dosage to 400mg per day, to improve recovery and mental performance. One dosage of MagTech contains 200mg of magnesium.

Tip 7 Iodine

Iodine greatly influences the health of our brains, and therefore greatly influences our thoughts. Even before birth, iodine is an essential and influential nutrient for the development of the brain.

Iodine is in eggs, seafood, sea vegetables, iodized salt, yogurt, and milk. Iodized salt is the main source of iodine for most people in Western society. Regrettably, iodized salt doesn’t always supply us with the right amounts of iodine.

Even in the Western world, a lot of people obtain too little iodine within their diets. Worldwide, between 1,5 and 2 billion people are deficient in iodine, according to the WHO [7]. Other health experts, like David Brownstein, argue that even in the United States around 90 % of people are deficient in iodine [8]. It is probable that the same is true for other Western countries. The Japanese might plausibly be the only society that consumes enough iodine, as they eat a lot of sea vegetables and seafood!

What are the effects of iodine on mental performance? A heavy iodine deficiency during pregnancy can cause the IQ of children to be 12,45 points lower after birth. This lower IQ can be improved (or restored) with 8,7 points if babies and children get enough iodine after birth [9]. Why is this important? 10 IQ points make the difference between a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree. What is more, iodine is very cheap to supplement. Hence, iodine can add cheap IQ points to your mental performance. For adults, iodine supplementation might increase your IQ by a few points, but the effect will not be as large as supplementation during the younger years or pregnancy.

Helfi sells Life Extension’s Sea Iodine that is a very high dosage and high-quality iodine supplement.

I don’t have to supplement my iodine, because of the large amounts of seafood in my diet. A high intake of iodine is not dangerous, though, as the Japanese obtain 12 milligrams of iodine in their diet every day, which would equal 12 capsules of the already high-dosed sea iodine.

I’m not the only person that is a big fan of iodine. Iodine is in Dave Asprey’s top 10 supplements. Every person that doesn’t consume large amounts of seafood or sea vegetables would be recommended to use an iodine supplement to maximize mental performance.

Most important reason for supplementation: Focus, nutrient that is a precondition for a well-functioning brain, improvement of general health.

Recommended dosage: One Sea Iodine capsule together with a meal that contains fish, eggs, meat or nuts. These foods contain selenium. Selenium improves iodine absorption.

Tip 8 Phenibut

Not only is phenibut very famous, but it also has a very notorious reputation. Phenibut is not only used to improve concentration, memory and creativity but is also used a popular (legal) party drug. Why would I talk about drug use, in an article about improving focus, memory and creativity?

You could mainly see the reference to drug use as a warning sign. Phenibut can have very addictive properties when used on a daily basis, and it even builds a tolerance very quickly. For those reasons, I would recommend using Phenibut two days per week at the very maximum. Therefore, this declaimer is important to have the right use of this supplement.

Phenibut creates feelings of euphoria and simultaneously halts (almost) all feelings of anxiety and stress within the human body. As an added benefit, creativity is stimulated to a very large degree. The mechanism for the increased creativity might be that stress is dissolved. Stress usually inhibits creative thinking. Phenibut also stimulates the GABA receptors in the brain. Alcohol does the same but stimulates different kinds of GABA receptors. The feelings when you are on phenibut, are in some sense like the feelings of being on alcohol, but unlike alcohol, phenibut will not decrease your coordination or motoric capacities.

Because phenibut quells all stress within the body, phenibut is a highly recommended supplement for stressful situations. Examples of stressful situations would be ones that do not often occur, like job interviews, exams, speeches, deadlines, and other situations where you would be in the spotlights, like television interviews. Therefore, phenibut is a great tool to use at certain peak moments, but should never be used indefinitely. When you experience permanent stress, it would be recommended to treat the cause, instead of treating the symptoms with phenibut.

Most important reason for supplementing with phenibut: Creativity, stress reduction (temporarily but simultaneously an almost complete stress elimination). Should be used as a tool for peak moments.

Recommended dosage: 800mg – 1200mg phenibut, in the morning on an empty stomach. Never use phenibut more than twice a week. The best advice would be to use it at most once a week, to once every two weeks. 

Sources

[1] Lu K, Gray MA, Oliver C, Liley DT, Harrison BJ, Bartholomeusz CF, Phan KL, Nathan PJ. The acute effects of L-theanine in comparison with alprazolam on anticipatory anxiety in humans. Hum Psychopharmacol. 2004 Oct;19(7):457-65.

[2] Kimura K1, Ozeki M, Juneja LR, Ohira H. L-Theanine reduces psychological and physiological stress responses. Biol Psychol. 2007 Jan;74(1):39-45. Epub 2006 Aug 22.

[3] Ritsner MS1, Miodownik C, Ratner Y, Shleifer T, Mar M, Pintov L, Lerner V. L-theanine relieves positive, activation, and anxiety symptoms in patients with schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder: an 8-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, 2-center study. J Clin Psychiatry. 2011 Jan;72(1):34-42. doi: 10.4088/JCP.09m05324gre. Epub 2010 Nov 30.

[4] Foxe JJ, Morie KP, Laud PJ, Rowson MJ, de Bruin EA, Kelly SP. Assessing the effects of caffeine and theanine on the maintenance of vigilance during a sustained attention task. Neuropharmacology. 2012 Jun;62(7):2320-7. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2012.01.020. Epub 2012 Feb 2.

[5] Slutsky I, Abumaria N, Wu LJ, Huang C, Zhang L, Li B, Zhao X, Govindarajan A, Zhao MG, Zhuo M, Tonegawa S, Liu G. Enhancement of learning and memory by elevating brain magnesium. Neuron. 2010 Jan 28;65(2):165-77. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2009.12.026.

[6] Abumaria N1, Yin B, Zhang L, Li XY, Chen T, Descalzi G, Zhao L, Ahn M, Luo L, Ran C, Zhuo M, Liu G. Effects of elevation of brain magnesium on fear conditioning, fear extinction, and synaptic plasticity in the infralimbic prefrontal cortex and lateral amygdala. J Neurosci. 2011 Oct 19;31(42):14871-81. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3782-11.2011.

[7] World Health Organization, Micronutrient deficiencies: Iodine. http://www.who.int/nutrition/topics/idd/en/

[8] David Brownstein. Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can't Live Without It.

[9] Qian M, Wang D, Watkins WE, Gebski V, Yan YQ, Li M, Chen ZP. The effects of iodine on intelligence in children: a meta-analysis of studies conducted in China. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2005;14(1):32-42.

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