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Supplements That Support Neuron Brain Cells

By Jill Dombrauckas, Ph.D.

Some species such as cockroaches can live for up to nine days without their heads. Humans, however, cannot sustain any form of life without their heads. In fact, people seek to preserve mental capacity and foster cognitive function and performance to the best of their ability. Supplements such as ginseng and ginkgo biloba are commonly used to enhance brain function, but there are numerous other natural supplements that have roles in neuronal support.

Bacopa

Bacopa monniera is a family of plants also known as water hyssop that naturally occurs in India. In an article published in Neuropsychopharmacology in 2002, psychologist Dr. Steven Roodenrys from the University of Wollongong in Australia demonstrated the effects of the bacopa to improve human memory. His results conclude that this herb was not able improve learning but rather prevent forgetting of new information. Consequently, bacopa has become a popular memory-boosting supplement.

Uridine

Uridine is one of the essential building blocks of RNA. Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology have vastly studied its role in repairing neurons. As with any part of the body, a repair process is in place to restore and maintain function. MIT researchers emphasize the critical role that uridine plays in recovering from brain cell damage. Add uridine to your diet to ensure your brain cells are able to maintain its natural repair system.

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Resveratrol

Red wine has received praise in the media for its health benefits when consumed in moderation. Resveratrol is the antioxidant compound extracted from the skin of red grapes that is responsible for many of these advantageous effects. At the American Aging Association meeting in June 2010, researchers led by Hasan Mohajeri of DSM Nutritional Products, presented evidence that resveratrol may enhance memory. In addition, they described their incorporation of this active compound into chocolate bars. You can obtain the amount of resveratrol in 50 glasses of red wine in a single bar of chocolate.

Nicotine

Nicotine is advantageous for neuronal development and function. Nicotine binds to the nicotinic receptors in brain cells and has been shown to reduce jerky movements, known as dyskinesias, in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. The Michael J. Fox Foundation reports that scientists have been studying the beneficial effects of nicotine on Parkinson's disease for decades. In 2007, the Parkinson's Institute in Sunnyvale, California, released its study on monkeys that proves nicotine aids in controlling Parkinson's symptoms such as dyskinesia.

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