Lutein and Zeaxanthin Boost Brain Power

When it comes to maintaining a well-balanced diet, we all like to eat foods that benefit us from head to toe. There are certain organs that we rely on to get by. Some of them are not that high up on the list, while some of them are extremely vital. Two organs that come under the latter category include your eyes and brain.

Let’s cut to the chase, shall we? Today, we are here to talk about zeaxanthin (Z) and lutein (L): two cartenoids that improve brain efficiency. They improve visual-spatial perception, processing, decision-making, and motor coordination… the complete brain package. So what role do they play in giving you these benefits?

Let’s find out:

Zeaxanthin and Lutein

Zeaxanthin is a cartenoid alcohol, which is synthesized in microorganisms and plants. It is what gives paprika its dark-red pigment, wolfberries, saffron, corn, as well as many other microbes and plants their characteristic colors. It is found in abundance in leafy greens and is quite beneficial for the eyes.

Lutein is also a naturally occurring cartenoid that is synthesized by plants. It is found in abundance in leafy greens like kale, spinach, and yellow carrots. This carotenoid is also beneficial for the eyes. It is absorbed in the retina from blood and prevents age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

There have been several studies conducted on how both these carotenoids improve eyesight. The question is — how are they related to cognitive function?

Effects of Zeaxanthin (Z) and Lutein (L) in Adults

According to a study published in the journal of Nutrients, high levels of zeaxanthin (Z) and lutein (L) can improve cognitive function. A placebo-controlled trial was designed to find out the effects of the cartenoids. 51 healthy adults were selected for the study and they were given Z and L supplements for a year. Their cognitive function and macular pigment optical density (MOPD) was measured every four months.

The results showed that the group that received the supplements had high levels of MOPD, which showed improvements in spatial memory, complex attention, and reasoning ability. It was concluded that L and Z supplements not only improve MOPD, but they also enhance the cognitive function.

Effects of Zeaxanthin (Z) and Lutein (L) in Older Adults

Another study published in the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society looked at the effects of L and Z on cognitive function in older adults. 40 adults from the ages 65 to 86 years old were selected and their brain activity was recorded through MRI scans. They were asked to complete a task such as recalling word pairings. The MRI scans revealed that adults who had high levels of L and Z did not require much brain activity to finish the task.

Go Green

Many people are a bit skeptical about supplements. If you want to take the natural root, the best way to include L and Z in your diet is to go green. Following are a few items you should include in your diet:

  • Eggs
  • Leafy Greens: Turnip, Swiss chard, collard greens, romaine lettuce, etc.
  • Carrots and tomatoes
  • Corn and celery
  • Beets
  • Oranges, grapefruit and melons

So there you have it… the macular and cognitive benefits of zeaxanthin (Z) and lutein (L). According to several studies, a lutein supplementation of 10 mg/day and zeaxanthin supplementation of 2 mg/day can improve neural efficiency in a couple of weeks. It’s time to change your diet and amp up the snacks and meals by incorporating healthy doses of L and Z in them.

Parkinson’s Disease shows promise with Nicotinamide Riboside

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a type of neurodegenerative disorder that affects an estimated 10 million around the world. According to Parkinson’s Foundation, as many as 1 million people will be living with PD in the United States alone by 2020. 

Doctors and scientists have been learning more about this condition for decades. Those affected by it have been advocating for it for years (actor Michael J. Fox, who was diagnosed at age 29, has been a prominent figure). Still to this day, many questions about PD exist. 

One area of research that is meriting closer attention? The possibility that a simple vitamin compound known as nicotinamide riboside could actually play a helpful role in the management of the disease.

Parkinson’s Disease 101

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disease that causes nerve cells in a part of the brain called the substantia nigra to weaken and die over time. The nerve cells which end up degenerating and dying produce a neurotransmitter called dopamine. Dopamine is a brain chemical messenger that contributes to a variety of functions in the body, including movement.

This loss of dopamine producing nerve cells ultimately explains the primary symptoms of PD—changes with movement. In the earliest stages of the disease, a person may begin to notice issues such as tremor, slower movement, and muscle or limb twitches. Symptoms worsen gradually over time, and eventually can cause a person to have extreme difficulty with basic functional tasks. They may become extremely rigid, have trouble writing or speaking, and experience marked difficulty with things like posture, balance, walking, and blinking. 

PD affects men at about 1.5 times as often as women, and while advancing age is a common risk factor, estimates indicate that around 4% of people living with PD were diagnosed before age 50. Other risk factors include genes and exposure to certain environmental toxins such as herbicides.

Currently, there isn’t a cure for PD, however symptoms can generally be well-managed through medications. These medications can be expensive, however, and may come with unpleasant side effects. 

In an effort to explore different options, some researchers are finding that a simple enzyme precursor may make a huge difference.

Promising News: How This Alternative Form of Vitamin B3 Can Help People with PD

A study was recently published in the June 2018 edition of the peer-reviewed journal Cell Reports. Researchers tested neural stem cell lines from people with PD with a substance called nicotinamide riboside, better known as niacin, an alternate form of Vitamin B3. The researchers also tested nicotinamide riboside in fruit flies who had the same genetic defect seen in people with PD.

Why test with this compound? As it turns out,once inside the body nictonamide riboside gives rise to an enzyme called nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+). NAD+ plays several roles in the body, including regulating the biological clock (circadian rhythm), converting food into energy, strengthening cellular defense systems, enhancing cellular metabolism, and repairing damaged mitochondria (which produce cellular energy) and DNA.

This last point is what interested the researchers most. After all, mitochondrial damage is known to occur in nerve cells damaged in the development and progression of PD. If, the researchers hypothesized, nicotinamide riboside could repair damaged mitochondria, could supplementing with this vitamin B compound help manage the underlying neurodegenerative disease?

Their findings were promising. Not only did nicotinaimide riboside boost NAD+ production and subsequent mitochondrial repair in diseased cells, but it actually prevented nerve cell loss in the PD flies and preserved mobility. 

The researchers also noted that nicotinaimide riboside is generally well-tolerated, and—because it increases NAD+ production—also offers other health benefits, including protection of cardiovascular health, vision, and diabetes.

Conclusion

The results of this study on nicotinamide riboside are promising for people living with Parkinson’s disease, as well as for people at risk for developing it. As an added benefit, supplementing with this anti-aging compound is relatively affordable, well tolerated, and safe. 

To learn more, speak with your doctor. 

Resources:

Nicotinamide riboside shows promise for treatment of Parkinson’s disease

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6182092/

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/parkinsons-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20376055

https://parkinson.org/Understanding-Parkinsons/Statistics

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/nicotinamide-riboside

Autism protection with Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Omega 3 fatty acids—found abundantly in foods such as flaxseed fatty fish as well as in supplement form—have long been heralded as an important part of a healthy diet. Research shows that adding more omega-3 fatty acid to your diet can help with everything from easing symptoms of depression to reducing the risk of heart disease, autoimmune diseases, and inflammation.

Pregnant women are explicitly advised to consume omega-3 fatty acid supplements (namely high quality fish oil) because of the supplement’s positive effect on fetal neural development.

Given this compound’s health-boosting benefits for both mind and body, many researchers have initiated studies with the goal of answering an important question:

Can omega-3 fatty acid help adults, teens, and children living with autism?

Understanding Autism

Autism constitutes a range of neurodevelopmental conditions which impact the way a person communicates, interacts with others, and perceives their environment. With diagnoses typically beginning in the toddler years, common symptoms include decreased eye contact, lack of “make believe” play, difficulty expressing needs and feelings, repetitive language or movement, and difficulty interacting with or showing interest in others.

In the United States alone, approximately 1% of the population is affected by autism or a similar condition on the spectrum, and around 1 in 59 children—and the prevalence is growing. Autism is the fastest growing neurodevelopmental condition—and growing with it are the individual, familial, social, and economic costs of helping people with this condition.

While doctors and researchers don’t yet know the exact cause of autism—which at its core is believed to be related to atypical brain structure and function—biological, genetic, and environmental risk factors have been identified.

Lastly, while autism has no cure, it can be managed through services such as pharmacology and therapy. Many health-conscious parents (and doctors) also choose to seek holistic ways to help their children manage their symptoms more appropriately.

One leading area of holistic interest? Nutrition—particularly the addition of omega-3 fatty acids.

What’s the Link? Potential Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids for People With Autism

Research has already shown that omega-3 fatty acids can help manage and improve symptoms of ADHD and mental health conditions such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Promisingly, systematic reviews of the literature (which include several small randomized controlled trials) have also revealed that omega-3 fatty acid supplementation may be able to manage symptoms of autism, as well.

For instance, small randomized controlled trials have found that giving omega-3 fatty acids to children with autism may improve social interaction, social responsiveness, mood stabilization, and functional communication.

A leading hypothesis for these potential beneficial effects? Omega-3 fatty acid’s powerful anti-inflammatory effects—also the driving factor behind the popular compound’s other noted health benefits.

By and large, the medical and scientific communities agree that more research needs to be done to further explain if and how omega-3 fatty acids help people with autism. But given how safe omega-3 fatty acid is and how many other known health benefits it can offer, the consensus is that supplementation can be an effective complement to behavioral therapy and other traditional care approaches.

Conclusion

Do you have a child living with autism spectrum disorder? Curious about omega-3 fatty acid supplementation and how it could help? Consult with your pediatrician for more information. You know your loved one best, and you may be surprised by the results.

Resources:
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/17-health-benefits-of-omega-3
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5108126/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2710498/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5751211/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28256376

What is Autism?

The Miracle Worker – CoQ10 (Coenzyme Q10) Might Have the Power to Treat Migraines

Have you heard about the CoQ10 supplement? It is being heard that the supplement is a miracle worker when it comes to treating migraine. Since the drug is fairly new, only a few studies have been conducted on it, which is why if you search for it online, you might not find the answers you are looking for. As it is with all new drugs, the CoQ10 was tested to find out if it helps with cancer, blood pressure, heart disease, Parkinson’s disease, and migraines. The US Department of Health and Human Services posted a conclusion of all the studies conducted, which reported that the enzyme showed promising results in the treatment of migraines.

What Is Coenzyme Q10 and How It Works

CoQ10 is a compound that generates energy for your cells. It is produced naturally, but it tends to decrease as a person ages. Luckily, you can get it through foods and supplements. The compounds works by transferring electrons to the electron transport chain that helps treat mitochondriopathy. CoQ10 is very well tolerated and even with a high dose, the side effects are quite uncommon, which include rashes, diarrhea, nausea, anorexia, and dyspepsia.

What Causes CoQ10 deficiency

  • Genetic defects in the utilization or synthesis of CoQ10
  • Nutritional deficiencies (vitamin B6 deficiency)
  • Mitochondrial diseases
  • Side effects caused by statin treatments
  • Oxidative stress caused by aging
  • Increase in demands by tissues due to health problems caused by diseases

CoQ10 and Migraines

When the body experiences abnormal mitochondrial function, it results in a decrease in antioxidant protection and increase in free radicals production. This, in turn, results in energy loss from the brain cells, which causes migraines. Since CoQ10 is chiefly found in the mitochondria, and it helps decrease inflammation that occurs during migraines.

Study #1

A study was published in the journal Neurology that looked at the effects of CoQ10 on migraines. 42 participants who experience migraines on a regular basis were asked to take 100 mg of CoQ10, three times a day for three month. They were also given placebos to check for headache days, attack-frequency, and days that cause nausea. The results showed that CoQ10 reduced attack-frequency by 47.6% whereas placebos reduced it by 14.4%. It was concluded that CoQ10 is well-tolerated and efficacious.

Study #2

A study was published in the journal Headache that looked at Coenzyme Q10 deficiency and its response in adolescent migraine. The idea of the study was to find out whether this enzyme prevents migraines or not. Patients in tertiary care who lacked CoQ10 enzymes were picked for the study. There were 1550 participants, who were given 3 mg/kg CoQ10 in the form of capsules. A few patients returned for a follow up in 97 days and reported that their headache frequency had decreased greatly from 19.2 +/- 10.0 to 12.5 +/- 10.8. It was concluded that while a more focused trial should be conducted for better results, CoQ10 does help reduce the severity of the headache, which can lead to its prevention.

The American Academy of Neurology is still trying to figure out how much more efficient Coenzyme Q10 can be in improving migraines. Even the American Headache Society has conducted its own studies and reached the same conclusion that CoQ10 holds much promise.

Protection against Alzheimer’s – How Benfotiamine May Prevent Cognitive Decline

According to the Alzheimer’s association, around 200,000 people under 65 suffer from early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Today, scientists are calling this disease “Type III Diabetes”. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia and research has revealed that it is closely related to elevated blood sugar.

To date, there is no cure or any form of drug therapy that can slow the course of this disease. However, in 2016, a study was published in the journal of Neuroscience Bulletin about a dietary supplement identified as Benfotiamine. The study revealed that this supplement can not only improve cognitive function in the Alzheimer’s patients, but also target the glucose metabolism in the brain and prevent any harm that may be caused. After that, a number of other studies were conducted to figure out how the brain is affected by blood sugar and what role it plays in Alzheimer’s.

What is Benfotiamine?

Benfotiamine is a thiamine (Vitamin B1) derivative. It is found in many food items such as nuts, seeds, legumes, wheat germ, cereal, pasta, rice, bread and flour. Since this dietary supplement is fat-soluble, it has higher bioavailability and is easily absorbed by your body, as compared to thiamine.

A Brain-Protecting Dietary Supplement

Thiamine has been known to work quite well in boosting healthy brain function. Lack of thiamine impacts many parts of the body, most importantly the brain. This leads to a number of events that impact the chemical reaction in the body causing inflammation, stress and dementia-producing disorders.

After much research, it was found out that when thiamine levels are low in the body, people are more at risk of age related diseases. The same studies revealed that when it comes to Benfotiamine, it also has a strong connection with the body’s ability to metabolize sugar. This lead to the discovery that elevated blood sugar can cause brain dysfunction when it increases in the blood.

This revealed that some of the signs of this neurodegenerative disorder can be reversed or slowed down.

Uses of Benfotiamine

Apart from Alzheimer’s, Benfotiamine also aids in treating various other problems:

  • Anxiety
  • Diabetes
  • Diabetic neuropathy
  • Back pain
  • Depression
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Thyroid disease
  • Neuropathy disease
  • Sciatica

How Benfotiamine Affects the Brain

  • When glucose level in the blood gets too high, the blood vessel’s endothelial lining gets damaged. This lining contributes to Alzheimer’s and cognitive decline
  • Through this connection, AGEs can be prevented from harming the brain and the blood vessels
  • Due to its properties, Benfotiamine is recommended more than thiamine to older people, in order to maintain brain health

According to a study published in the journal of Neuroscience Bulletin, the effects of Benfotiamine need to be explored further. This study, which was conducted on a smaller scale compared to others, was published in 2016. Only 4 participants with moderate Alzheimer’s disease were monitored for 18 months. They were asked to take 300 mg Benfotiamine daily. At the end of the study, the participants showed great signs of cognitive improvement. The change in the brain was found out through PET scans rather than doing intellectual tests.

The good news is that a high dose of Benfotiamine not only acts as shield against AGEs, it also allows you to maintain your blood sugar level. So, get yourself Benfotiamine dietary supplements and consume them twice a day, before or after you have had your meal.

Curcumin – The Memory Boosting and Mood Enhancing Compound That You Need to Know About

The color yellow has many meanings. It denotes positivity, energy, clarity, happiness and more. Did you know that even the color of food decides for us whether we will eat it or not? It’s these small things that change your life! Today, living a healthy lifestyle has become a norm. More and more people are gravitating towards diet food and supplements. From probiotics and Vitamin tablets to protein powders, the market is full of products that you can buy to fulfill your daily recommended intake of nutrients.

What people should be going for are natural supplements that hold the most power. Not to be confused with turmeric, curcumin is a compound that is derived from the rhizomes of turmeric plant. It belongs to the ginger family and is used in various things. It’s used in supplements, cosmetics and as an ingredient in cooking for food coloring and food flavoring.

There are various benefits of curcumin, which include:

  • It is a powerful anti-oxidant
  • Lowers the risk of heart disease
  • May treat and prevent Alzheimer’s diseases
  • Provides relief for arthritis patients
  • Helps treat depression
  • May fight age-related problems and more

The Connection Between Curcumin and Cognition

rsz_curcumin 3

In 2006, a study was conducted to find out if curcumin has any effect on cognitive function. A study published in the journal of Experimental Neurology explored the effects of curcumin on rats. It was revealed that when rats were given a diet with curcumin for 4 weeks, their brain function experienced a spike. The BDNF level (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor) was recorded at 140%. Since the study was done on rats, the results were considered inconclusive for human beings.

A research was published in The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry on March, 2018 related to curcumin. This was the first study conducted to find the effect of curcumin on human beings, which lasted for 18 months. Participants were given curcumin twice daily in their meals. To measure how their brain performed before and after the curcumin dose, FDDNP-PET scans were performed pre and post-treatment.

The results showed that cognitive and behavioral benefits are linked with a decrease in the tangle accumulation of brain and plaque. These areas, which are directly linked to regions that modulate memory and mood, saw a change when curcumin was ingested for a long time. It was further revealed that the boost in cognitive function may stem from the compound’s anti-inflammatory effects.

The Connection Between Curcumin and Mood

rsz_curcumin 2

Stress, depression and anxiety are three factors that are the biggest mood killers. You might find yourself getting irritated with every little thing and lash out unnecessarily. A better and safe alternative to benzodiazepines is curcumin supplements.

While scientists haven’t yet discovered how exactly curcumin works as a mood enhancer, they believe it has something to do with the compound’s anti-inflammatory properties. Obesity and mood disorders are closely related, which was also proved in a study published in the journal of Biological Psychiatry.

A study published in the Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine concluded that curcumin has anti-anxiety effects, which should be explored further. The study was done on obese patients, where they were given 1g of curcumin every day for 30 days. The results showed that curcumin reduced the BAI score by 3%.

The Bottom Line

These studies prove that curcumin has the potential to not just increase cognitive function but to also help Alzheimer’s patients live a longer and more meaningful life. Furthermore, it can help treat depression and anxiety in patients and might prove its benefits for normal human beings too. All these benefits are provided by curcumin’s potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Top Rated Professional Supplements (Part 1)

Sometimes, keeping up with a healthy diet is not enough. There comes a time when your body requires more nourishment, which can only be achieved through supplements. There are thousands of supplements available online but choosing the right one is crucial to your health.

In the past years, the required intake of vegetables and fruits recommended by professionals has changed. According to CDC, one in only ten adults meets the required federal vegetable or fruit recommendations. This makes supplements a natural and cost effective way to boost the immune system and keep yourself healthy.

To help you get the best out of your supplements, we have found the top rated professional supplements that will help you live longer and healthier:

XYMOGEN

Founded in 2003, XYMOGEN has been transforming the lives of people. The company uses exclusive professional formulas to distinguish its supplements from other supplement brands. Provided to healthcare professionals, XYMOGEN is mostly prescribed, as they are a new generation of supplements and care must be exercised when choosing one for any illness. One of the reasons XYMOGEN is highly praised in the healthcare industry is because it not just provides supplements for the body but for the brain too through its line of supplements created specifically for neurological disorders. Following are a few of the supplements that offer support for:

  • Detoxification
  • Cell-Life Regulation
  • Gastrointestinal
  • Immune System
  • Relaxation and Sleep
  • Bone
  • Health
  • Blood Sugar

MARCO PHARMA

MARCO PHARMA was established in 1983 by a German Naturopath, Dr. Marx. He conducted seminars and lectures to teach healthcare practitioners how to administer German therapies. By 1991, MARCO PHARMA was well known in the US and thus began distribution of its supplements internationally. The supplements provided by MARCO PHARMA are advised by trained professionals who are leading authorities in acupuncture, homeopathy, Electro-acupuncture, herbal medicine, natural modalities, clinical ecology and a few other naturopathic disciplines. The company has 4 lines of different supplements, which include:

  • Homeopathic and Herbal Remedies: Supplementing and healing
  • Pacific Island Herbals: Allows you to produce vegetation in nutrient-rich soil, which gives you potent medicinal benefits
  • Ionized Trace Minerals: Development and normal growth, repairs and heals wounds and regulates the body’s absorption mechanism
  • Additional Homeopathic and Herbal Remedies: Proteolytic enzymes and other products that support the body’s functionality

Metagenics

Established in 1983, Metagenics has a unique approach to healthcare supplements. They came up with the revolutionary idea that genes are not the only driving force behind our health. This led them to create nutritional supplements that increase people’s quality of life. The company uses pure ingredients, which are gluten-free, non-GMO and vegetarian products. The six areas/functions of the body that their supplements help improve are:

  • Immune health and function
  • Gastrointestinal health
  • Cardio metabolic health
  • Healthy blood glucose
  • Muscle, bone and joint health
  • Neurological

Along with health supplements, Metagenics also offers nutritional supplements, some of which are for:

  • Detox
  • Enzymes
  • Omega 3s
  • Probiotics
  • Ketogenic

Healthcare supplements provided by these companies are quite potent and therefore, are only offered to healthcare professionals. So, if you are playing to get on a healthy track to keep yourself fit, then visit the nearest healthcare professional and take advantage of these supplements.