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Tips for Improving Memory, Concentration, and Creativity Part 5

Tips for Improving Memory, Concentration, and Creativity Part 5

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The following tips and products are highly recommended for students, athletes and people with jobs that require a high level of mental activity. All of these tips have a solid scientific basis.

You can read about the first four tips (CILTEP, B Vitamins, Choline and PQQ) in the article Tips to Improve Concentration, Memory, and Creativity: Part 1. Tips 5 to 8 (Theanine, Magnesium, Iodine, Phenibut) are reviewed in the article Tips to Improve Concentration, Memory, and Creativity: Part 2. Tips 6 to 12 (Binaural beats, Meditation, Zinc, Phosphatidylserine) are covered in the article Tips to Improve Concentration, Memory, and Creativity: Part 3. You can read about tips 13 to 16 (Glutathione, Activated Charcoal, Spirulina and ALCAR) in the article Tips to Improve Concentration, Memory, and Creativity: Part 4.

Tip 17: Caffeine

Caffeine is probably the most famous supplement to enhance mental performance. Nearly everyone in the Netherlands has, at one time or other, drunk coffee, tea, or an energy drink. All these beverages contain caffeine. Caffeine does not only enhance mental performance but also has a long-term anti-aging effect on the brains. People who regularly consume caffeine have a decreased chance of developing Alzheimer's disease [i]. The benefits of caffeine are most clearly noticeable when you are feeling tired because caffeine can temporarily eliminate the effects of exhaustion.

Caffeine has an impressive range of advantages in the area of mental performance. The benefits have been set out in a systematic review, in which many scientific articles are consolidated into a single overarching article [ii]. These are the benefits:

Firstly, caffeine offers great advantages in the area of focus. After consuming caffeine, response times decrease and attention time increases. Caffeine also helps you to sustain a task longer. This is especially helpful during a long day at work or a lengthy exam. Moreover, caffeine can ensure that you sustain your mental performance longer and at a high level. Finally, caffeine can help you be less easily distracted by your surroundings.

Secondly, caffeine has a positive impact on memory. People who have just consumed a medium or a large amount of caffeine can recall information that they have remembered more often than those who have consumed a small amount or no caffeine. So caffeine does not only help you to sustain your mental performance, but it also improves the quality of your performance by ameliorating your memory.

Thirdly, caffeine boosts your mood. This is likely because caffeine affects certain neurotransmitters, such as dopamine, which we have mentioned before. A better mood increases your motivation to work or learn new things.

Helfi sells Natural Stacks Smart Caffeine to counter the negative effects of caffeine. This is because caffeine can cause anxiety and overstimulation. Natural Stacks Smart Caffeine contains theanine, which decreases the effect of anxiety and overstimulation. For more information about theanine, read tip 5 from our series.

Recommended dosage: maximum 15mg Natural Stacks Smart Caffeine per kilogram of body weight per day. Ingest preferably in the morning and early afternoon, to prevent the caffeine from adversely affecting sleep. Caffeine is not recommended during pregnancy.

Main reason for supplementation: focus, memory, anti-aging.
 

Tip 18: DHA

Like some of the other aforementioned products, DHA is a comprehensive product that offers many advantages in several areas, including focus, memory and creativity. DHA is extracted from oily fish, shellfish and algae. It is primarily found in seafood, and less so in other foods. Algae are the only vegan product to contain DHA.

Already during pregnancy DHA is an unmissable product for optimum development of the foetus [iii]. After pregnancy DHA is important for the mental and educational development of the child. DHA increases learning ability, cognitive development, memory and the speed with which children can execute mental tasks.

If we look at scientific research of adults, we get similar results [iv]. In one study on DHA supplementation in young adults, DHA was found to improve memory and lower response times. That same study also investigated whether the subjects were getting enough DHA in their diet. The results showed they did not. What makes DHA special is that it improves the working memory. The working memory in the brain is like the working memory of a computer. A larger working memory means a larger amount of information can be stored in the memory at any given time.

DHA is also beneficial for older people. DHA lowers cognitive deterioration that occurs in aging [v]. DHA also reduces the impact of stress. Stress is an important factor that affects the aging process. Moreover, DHA ensures optimum memory at a later age, so that the brain cells in areas used for memory are kept healthy. This is why DHA has an anti-aging effect.

Helfi sells DHA in various forms. Firstly, there is Mega EPA-DHA by Life Extension. Mega EPA-DHA is a premium fish oil product. That is because DHA is the main component of fish oil. Secondly, we sell Natural Stacks Krill Oil. Krill contains the fats from fish oil, as well as extra phospholipids that increase the absorption of DHA. Both the krill oil and the Mega EPA-DHA are of extremely high quality, and as much as possible free of toxins.

Recommended dosage: one standard dose of Mega EPA-DHA or Natural Stacks Krill Oil per day. The benefits of DHA supplementation are the greatest when it is sustained on the long term.

Fish consumption is always a better option than taking DHA supplements. Fish contains all sorts of possible cofactors that improve absorption. Fish is also very fresh. The problem with many cheaper fish oils is that the fish oil will have oxidized and could be spoiled by the time it is sold. Oxidation takes place when the fish oil has had a chemical reaction with oxygen. So when you choose to supplement your diet with fish oil, it is better to opt for a premium quality product instead of a cheap supermarket alternative that will not work.

Main reason for supplementation: focus, memory, anti-aging, conditionally essential nutrient for the brain.

Tip 19: Taurine

Taurine is an amino acid, a building block of protein. We introduced caffeine in tip 17, and mentioned that it can be combined with theanine to reduce the anxiety-inducing effects and overstimulation that caffeine can cause to a minimum. The same applies to taurine. Taurine has a relaxing effect and contributes to the general well-being [vi].

We have seen supplements that enhance mental performance that have an anxiety-inhibiting effect, like phenibut from tip number eight. In a way, taurine works similarly to phenibut, because it also affects the GABA receptors in the brains. But in contrast to phenibut, taurine has no potentially addictive effect. That is because it is an amino acid, which is present in nearly all food sources.

You might ask yourself why I keep coming back to the anxiety-inhibiting effects of certain substances. Mental performance is not solely determined by the extent to which a person can perform well at the office, isolated from the outside world. Many people will need to give presentations once in a while, or attend important meetings in which they need to introduce their vision. Supplements like taurine, theanine and phenibut can be extremely helpful in these situations. You will be able to speak much more fluently and eloquently when anxiety is reduced to a minimum.

Apart from being useful in presentations and important meetings, taurine can also help with combatting stress and staying calm under pressure. So, it is useful in all office situations to keep your head cool during busy times.

Recommended dosage: combine 2-5 grams of taurine with your daily caffeine consumption. Taurine is especially recommended in intense situations.

Main reason for supplementation: prevents anxiety, promotes well-being.

Tip 20: XCT oil and Brain Octane Oil

MCT fatty acids play an important role in enhancing mental performance. MCT oil can increase mental performance in older people, and can partially counter the deterioration that is caused by ageing [vii]. Moreover, the ketones that are made from MCT oil have a protective effect on brain cells [viii]. For younger adults too, the ketones from MCT oil have an anti-aging effect [ix].

Helfi sells two types of MCT oil, namely XCT oil and Brain Octane oil. Unlike much cheaper MCT oils, these two contain the specific MCT fatty acids C8 and C10 that enhance mental performance the most.

XCT oil and Brain Octane Oil are isolated MCT fatty acids. There are many MCT fats that do not directly enhance mental performance. These can be found in coconut oil. Since it is a revolutionary concept to use very specific MCT fats for mental performance, no scientific research has been conducted on the exact effects yet. Especially Brain Octane, which has only been on the market for two years, has not (yet) have any scientific underpinnings. Nevertheless, it is a spectacular product. I have tried Brain Octane and I have noticed a significant improvement in my mental performance. This feeling has been echoed by hundreds of other Bulletproof customers.

To me, and to many others, Brain Octane really improves the quality and clarity of thoughts. It feels like you are in a kind of "flow", in which mental achievements are attained effortlessly. The advantage of Brain Octane is that it achieves an incredible mental clarity without the stimulating effect caffeine has. So you can take Brain Octane in the evening, because it actually improves the quality of sleep. It also provides a great amount of energy. This goes for both XCT oil and Brain Octane oil. Both are ideal products for those who need to perform long-lasting high-level mental tasks.

Recommended dosage: 1 teaspoon to 2 tablespoons per day. You can also choose to mix the oil with your Bulletproof Coffee. I would advise you to build up both products slowly, because if you increase consumption too quickly, it could result in diarrhoea.

Main reason for supplementation: anti-aging, focus, memory.

Sources

[i] Porciúncula LO, Sallaberry C, Mioranzza S, Botton PH, Rosemberg DB. Neurochem Int. The Janus face of caffeine. 2013 Nov;63(6):594-609. doi: 10.1016/j.neuint.2013.09.009. Epub 2013 Sep 19.

[ii] Nehlig A. Is caffeine a cognitive enhancer? J Alzheimers Dis. 2010;20 Suppl 1:S85-94. doi: 10.3233/JAD-2010-091315.

[iii] Stonehouse, W. Does Consumption of LC Omega-3 PUFA Enhance Cognitive Performance in Healthy School-Aged Children and throughout Adulthood? Evidence from Clinical Trials.

[iv] Stonehouse W, Conlon CA, Podd J, Hill SR, Minihane AM, Haskell C, Kennedy D.

DHA supplementation improved both memory and reaction time in healthy young adults: a randomized controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2013 May;97(5):1134-43. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.112.053371. Epub 2013 Mar 20.

[v] Denis I, Potier B, Vancassel S, Heberden C, Lavialle M. Omega-3 fatty acids and brain resistance to ageing and stress: body of evidence and possible mechanisms. Ageing Res Rev. 2013 Mar;12(2):579-94. doi: 10.1016/j.arr.2013.01.007. Epub 2013 Feb 6.

[vi] Seidl R, Peyrl A, Nicham R, Hauser E.A taurine and caffeine-containing drink stimulates cognitive performance and well-being. Amino Acids. 2000;19(3-4):635-42.

[vii] Henderson ST, Vogel JL, Barr LJ, Garvin F, Jones JJ, Costantini LC. Study of the ketogenic agent AC-1202 in mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter trial. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2009 Aug 10;6:31. doi: 10.1186/1743-7075-6-31.

[viii] Maalouf M, Rho JM, Mattson MP. The neuroprotective properties of calorie restriction, the ketogenic diet, and ketone bodies. Brain Res Rev. 2009 Mar;59(2):293-315. doi: 10.1016/j.brainresrev.2008.09.002. Epub 2008 Sep 25.

[ix] Maalouf M, Sullivan PG, Davis L, Kim DY, Rho JM. Ketones inhibit mitochondrial production of reactive oxygen species production following glutamate excitotoxicity by increasing NADH oxidation. Neuroscience. 2007 Mar 2;145(1):256-64. Epub 2007 Jan 18.

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