Be Smarter, Think Faster and Protect Your Brain with 12 Smart Nutrients!

As we get older, many of us quietly accept as fact that we’re going to slow down mentally.

We accept that it’s going to be harder to remember the name of a good friend when we’re sitting right next to him. Or your card playing isn’t as sharp as it was just a couple of years ago.

We accept it because it seems like there’s not much we can do about it.

But that’s simply not true.

You’ll learn today how you can slow, stop, and reverse the mental deterioration other people take as inevitable. It does not involve taking dangerous drugs, or committing yourself to long hours of mental calisthenics.

All it involves is adopting a few easy-to-implement strategies that will make you smarter and more mentally acute right now. What does this mean in your life?

It means you’ll be able to remember things more quickly and more completely. You’ll be able to solve problems—from word searches to the Saturday New York Times crossword to truly important problems in your work and daily life.

It means the creative spirit you thought was dead will flourish and blossom.

Enhanced mental abilities means you’ll enjoy success in all parts of your life: business, family, and social.

Enhanced brainpower … a rich, fulfilling life for as long as you live

If you’re skeptical that you can stay mentally sharp, creative, and productive as you get older, I want to remind you about some famous people who have proven otherwise.

American folk artist Grandma Moses didn’t start painting until she was in her 70s … and she kept producing museum quality work until her death at the age of 101.

Two-time Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling published his last book How to Live Longer and Feel Better (about nutritional supplements and health) in 1985 at the age of 84. He continued publishing research articles until his death at age 91.

We all remember performer and raconteur George Burns who resurrected his career when he was 79. He starred in his last movie Radioland at the age of 98!

Less well known—but incredibly productive through his entire life—prize-winning chemist Joel Hildebrand was a University Professor at the University of California at Berkeley. Dr. Hildebrand skied until his 90th birthday, when his family insisted he finally retire the skis. He continued supervising graduate students and publishing scientific papers until his death at age 102.

And I’m sure you’ve known elders who exemplify the same invincible spirit.

Your choice of life-style profoundly influences the outcome of aging

Researchers have learned that the most important factors in maintaining mental sharpness throughout your entire life are the life choices you make … particularly as you get older.

For instance, I know you’ve read about studies showing people who do crossword puzzles or engage in other brain stimulating activities stay mentally sharp longer than those who don’t.

But there’s another important factor in maintaining mental sharpness … one that goes back thousands of years. Let me explain.

Two cultures with long, established histories of longevity and life-long mental acuity are China and India. This longevity exists even though both cultures have histories of wars, population-ravaging diseases, institutionalized brutality, and poverty.

The common factor in both cultures for longevity and life-long mental acuity is their ancient practices of medicine involving herbs and other natural substances.

After years of research, we have identified the 12 most effective supplements for bolstering your mental abilities … 12 components that work together to reverse age-related mental deterioration and make you smarter!

Brain-boosting synergy

Okay, you have every right to ask, “Why 12 supplements? Why so many?”

We didn’t arbitrarily pick 12 supplements to talk about to you today. The reason there are 12 is that they work together in a special way that increases their power. This means that each one brings its own special mode of action to mental deterioration, but in working together, their power adds up beyond what each brings into the battle separately.

This is called synergy—a term coined by Buckminster Fuller. The effect of all of them together is greater than any of them have on their own.

Your brain is a complex organ that is just beginning to be understood. And the synergy these 12 smart nutrients demonstrate is complex as well. I’ll show you in more detail how this works later on once you see how each of these supplements individually boosts your brainpower. To understand how these individual supplements work, our first stop is …

A very quick tour of how you think

Your brain contains approximately 100-billion nerve cells, called neurons. Neurons are responsible for gathering and transmitting nerve impulses through specialized electrical/chemical activity.

The key to brain activity is getting brain impulses sent from one neuron to another. If you look at Figure 1, you’ll see that neurons don’t join together directly. There are small gaps between neurons called synapses.

Brain activity starts as an electrical impulse traveling down a neuron. When the impulse gets to the end of the neuron, it stimulates one of several different chemicals called neurotransmitters.

These chemicals cross the synapse and are picked up by little receivers on the other neuron called dendrites. The dendrites then start the nerve impulse down the second neuron … and so on. The more dendrites present, the better nerve impulses are transmitted.

Of course, it’s much more complex than this, but this is the general picture of how you’re able to think. The important lesson for us is this: The better this system operates, the smarter you are.

Our 12 smart nutrients work three ways. First, some of them improve the overall functioning of this complex process. Second, some prevent naturally occurring damage from free radical oxidation and cellular-level inflammation. And finally, some repair damage that has already occurred along this complicated pathway.

A quick word about two of life’s most dangerous adversaries

You’ve likely heard a lot about free radicals and the damage they cause. A free radical is an atom or molecule that’s missing an electron. Because of this, it’s unstable and spends its short life looking for another molecule where it can steal an electron.

This process is called oxidation. The important point is that free radicals rip electrons from crucial cellular and subcellular structures in your body leading to many diseases and problems including mental deterioration, cancer, some forms of heart disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Oxidation causes degradation of all types of brain tissue, causing an associated decrease in neuronal function, loss of memory, and general mental deterioration.

However, you cannot stop free radicals from attacking your body. Nor do you want to. In addition to coming from environmental sources like pollution, they are also natural by-products of metabolism … and, in fact, perform critical functions in nerve transmission!

But unlike pharmaceuticals that take a sledgehammer approach to health problems, natural antioxidants in smart nutrients work by balancing this precarious but necessary interplay between crucial and damaging free radical activity.

The second life-threatening antagonist is inflammation. For many years natural health advocates have proposed that internal inflammation was responsible for many diseases and health-threatening conditions. And they were scoffed at for their efforts.

But recent research has proven them correct. Inflammation is a root cause of many health problems including heart disease, cancers, Alzheimer’s, and general mental deterioration.

To make matters worse, free radical oxidation produces inflammation. And inflammation causes the formation of free radicals. It’s tempting to call this a vicious cycle, when in fact, it’s a vicious spiral that takes you down with it.

That’s where smart nutrients come in. They break that spiral, repair damage, and harness your body’s natural healing processes to improve your overall health while they boost your brainpower.

How smart nutrients boost your brainpower

Everything I’m going to tell you about these 12 smart nutrients is based on solid, scientific research. I’m going to describe them in alphabetical order because I don’t want to give the impression that any one of them is better or more important than any other. That simply is not the case.

It is this particular combination of all 12 smart nutrients—all of them together—that makes them such a potent brain booster.

“It is this particular combination of all 12 smart nutrients  —all of them together—that makes them such a potent brain booster.”

Smart Nutrient #1: Ashwagandha – 3,000 years of brain boosting power

Botanical name: Withania somnifera

Common names: Indian Ginseng, Winter Cherry, Withania

Ashwagandha has been used in traditional Ayurvedic (Indian) medicine for over 3,000 years. It comes from a woody shrub and is used as a tonic to rejuvenate the body and counter the ravages of aging. It boasts a 3,000-year history of effectiveness and safety.

Recent research confirms the effectiveness of ashwagandha in improving brain function, increasing learning ability, and prolonging memory retention. It also has a positive effect on reducing the impact of Alzheimer’s disease and senile dementia.

“Ashwagandha’s ability to scavenge free radicals from brain tissue                                                 makes it a valuable component in your smart nutrient arsenal. ”

Brain-related clinical and research findings

Ashwagandha is a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants scavenge free radicals, providing a protective and restorative effect on all tissues including the brain.

Research in India demonstrated that ashwagandha increases antioxidant activity in the brain, protecting neuronal tissue from free radical damage.1 Ashwagandha’s ability to scavenge free radicals from brain tissue makes it a valuable component in your smart nutrient arsenal to bolster brainpower. And as a welcome side effect, it helps protect you from free radical induced dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Regenerating damaged neurons naturally

While ashwagandha’s free radical scavenging properties have long been thought to be the mechanism behind its memory enhancing properties, recent research has dramatically expanded its powerful properties. Not only has ashwagandha been shown to protect brain cells from the damaging effects of beta-amyloid, but it also can actually regenerate neural networks already damaged or destroyed by beta-amyloid. This amazing property is now the subject of intensive scientific investigation, since a true “cure” for Alzheimer’s disease will require not only stopping the progressive deterioration of the disease, but also reversing the damage that has already occurred.

Stress, anxiety, depression, and free radical damage

Stress, anxiety, and depression are key factors in impaired brain function because they increase your body’s production of free radicals.2 Ashwagandha counters the brain diminishing effects of stress two ways. First, as a powerful antioxidant, it helps remove free radicals from brain tissue.

Second, ashwagandha has been proven in research studies to be as effective as commonly prescribed drugs in reducing anxiety and depression. But it does not have any of the side effects associated with these prescription drugs.3 When you reduce stress and anxiety, you reduce the production of free radicals, and you improve brain function.

Other physiological effects

Ashwagandha has been used in Ayurvedic medicine to boost physical performance and stimulate sexual capacity. As an anti-inflammatory, it has been reported to be very useful in treating rheumatoid arthritis.

In addition, in laboratory tests and clinical trials, ashwagandha was shown to inhibit the growth of tumors or put them into regression.4

Side effects and toxicity

Ashwagandha is well tolerated with no side effects when taken in normal clinical amounts.5

Smart Nutrient #2: Bacopa – Improving nerve impulse transmission

Botanical name: Bacopa monniera

Common names: Herpestis monniera, water hyssop, Brahmi

Bacopa monniera is a small, creeping herb with numerous branches, small oblong leaves, and light purple flowers. It has also been used in Ayurvedic medicine for many centuries as a brain tonic to enhance memory development, learning, and concentration.6

Brain-related clinical and research findings

Australian researchers conducted a double blind, placebo-controlled trial reported in the journal Pharmacology in 2001. They found significant improvement in verbal learning, memory consolidation, and speed of early information processing in subjects after just 12 weeks of treatment with bacopa compared to the placebo group. These effects were not observed at the beginning of the trial or after the first five weeks.

These delayed results can be attributed either to bacopa’s antioxidant properties or to its effect on the neurotransmitter system.7 Bacopa has this remarkable effect on the brain thanks to many active components. Two of the most important types are triterpenoid saponins and bacosides.7

The active compounds enhance nerve impulse transmission and aid in repair of damaged neurons. They accomplish this by enhancing enzymes called kinases that are responsible for rebuilding ATP (the cell’s powerhouse molecule). Kinases also stimulate neuronal synthesis, restoring lost synaptic activity.

These multiple effects ultimately lead to improved nerve impulse transmission,8 leading to faster learning and better memory retention.

Like ashwagandha, bacopa also acts as an antioxidant. But in bacopa’s case, it does this by protecting and assisting the enzymes involved in scavenging reactive oxygen compounds in the brain.9 In addition, test tube studies have shown bacopa exerts a protective effect against DNA damage.10

Stress, anxiety, and depression

Bacopa is used in Ayurvedic medicine as an anti-anxiety remedy … traditional use that’s well supported by both animal and clinical research. Researchers using a rat model of clinical anxiety demonstrated bacopa’s considerable anti-anxiety activity that was comparable to lorazepam, a common anti-anxiety prescription drug. However, bacopa did not cause forgetfulness like lorazepam but instead had a memory-enhancing effect.  11

This is fine for rats, but what about humans? In a one-month trial, 35 patients diagnosed with anxiety were given bacopa extract. The subjects showed a significant decrease in anxiety symptoms, level of anxiety, level of disability, and mental fatigue. They also showed an increase in immediate memory span.12

Other physiological effects

Animal and test tube studies have shown bacopa relieves bronchitis and asthma, eases gastrointestinal problems, and stimulates thyroid activity. In vitro research (“test tube” studies) demonstrated that bacopa fractions kill sarcoma-180 (cancer) cells.13

Side effects and toxicity

Therapeutic doses of bacopa are not associated with any known side effects.14

Smart Nutrient #3: Centella
Improving neurotransmitter function

Botanical name: Centella asiatica
Common names: pennywort, gotu kola

Centella is another nutrient that’s been used in India and China for thousands of years for a wide range of effects. Undoubtedly, you have heard of Centella asiatica by its more common name, gotu kola.

Despite the similarity in names, gotu kola is not related to the caffeine containing kola nut. Centella asiatica is, in fact, a mild sedative.

Brain-related clinical and research findings

Centella strengthens brain function differently than the two previous smart nutrients. Animal experiments have shown that it improves nerve transmission (and brainpower) by increasing the complexity of dendrites. Structural reorganization of dendrites is the key feature in learning and memory. 15

Such changes in neuron structure result in more rapid and effective conduction of nerve impulses. This is one of the reasons for the enhanced learning and memory demonstrated in experiments with Centella.16

In addition to its positive impact on learning, active components of Centella demonstrate a strong inhibition of nerve cell death caused by free radicals and beta-amyloid (a key cause of Alzheimer’s disease).17

 “Active components of Centella demonstrate a strong inhibition of  nerve cell death caused by free radicals and beta-amyloid. ”

Other physiological effects

Centella has been used in Ayurvedic medicine to combat stress, anxiety, and depression; energize flagging mental powers; fight sterility; improve reflexes; rebuild energy reserves; and relieve high blood pressure. It has also been used to treat rheumatism, blood diseases, congestive heart failure, urinary tract infections, and hepatitis.

Side effects and toxicity

Centella asiatica is non-toxic and seldom causes any side effects other than an occasional allergic skin rash if taken in extremely large amounts.18

Smart Nutrient #4: Ferulic Acid
Powerful anti-inflammatory nutrient

Derived from: brown rice, whole wheat and oats, as well as seeds of plants such as coffee, apple, artichoke, peanut, orange, pineapple, and other fruits and vegetables.

Ferulic acid is not a traditional Ayurvedic or Chinese remedy as such. It’s a natural extract of many plants, seeds, fruits, and vegetables. But it’s been isolated from a number of medications used in these ancient healing traditions. So these traditional medicines are undoubtedly deriving some of their effectiveness from ferulic acid.

Brain-related clinical and research findings

Animal studies have proven that ferulic acid is an effective antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. This action accounts in part for its brain boosting and protective power.19

Researchers at Hallym University (South Korea) gave ferulic acid to mice for four weeks. After four weeks, they injected beta-amyloid—a peptide that causes oxidation and inflammation—directly into the mice’s brains.

The control mice—the ones who had not received ferulic acid—showed between 19% and 35% decrease in their ability to perform certain tests. The mice given ferulic acid not only showed no decrease in performance, they showed improvement!

While the exact mechanism of this action isn’t known yet, the researchers concluded that: “These results demonstrate that long-term administration of ferulic acid induces resistance to toxicity in the brain and suggest that ferulic acid may be a useful chemo-preventive agent against Alzheimer’s disease.”

“The mice given ferulic acid not only showed no decrease in                                                  performance, they showed improvement! ”


Other physiological effects

Anecdotal evidence indicates that ferulic acid protects against cancer, bone degeneration, and menopausal symptoms like hot flashes. Like many other antioxidants, ferulic acid reduces levels of cholesterol and triglyceride, thereby reducing the risk of heart disease.20

Side effects and toxicity

Safety studies show that ferulic acid is non-toxic. Side effects have not been reported in animal studies using doses of up to 1,500 mg per day, which is about 7.5 times the amount normally taken by humans.21

Smart Nutrient #5: Ginger
Uncommon brainpower from a common spice

Botanical name: Zingiber officinale

Used for thousands of years to add zest and excitement to food, ginger is also one of the oldest natural remedies around. Ginger’s anti-inflammatory properties have been used effectively for thousands of years.

Brain-related clinical and research findings

Ginger reduces inflammation by inhibiting prostaglandin and leukotriene synthesis. (Prostaglandins and leukotrienes occur naturally in your brain and other tissues. They are major causes of inflammation.)22

Reducing inflammation in brain tissues improves brain function by protecting against damage to neuronal structures. Ginger has been proven to be as effective as NSAIDs in reducing brain inflammation but without their side effects and toxicity that include liver problems, stomach problems, and other debilitating side effects.

“Ginger has been proven to be as effective as NSAIDs in reducing                                                 brain inflammation but without their side effects and toxicity. ”


Other physiological effects

In addition to reducing inflammation in brain tissues, ginger also reduces it system-wide. This includes reducing inflammation in cases of both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.

A 1992 Danish study found that patients with rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, or musculoskeletal pain who took powdered ginger reported varying degrees of pain relief and no side effects, even among those who took the ginger for more than two years.23

Ginger is also recommended in Ayurvedic medicine for atherosclerosis, bronchitis, diarrhea, hypercholesterolemia, motion sickness, and ulcerative colitis.24

Side effects and toxicity

There are no serious side effects attributed to taking ginger. A few individuals may experience heartburn, usually from taking too much.25

Smart Nutrient #6: Ginkgo
A complex brain-boosting armory

Botanical name: Ginkgo biloba
Common names: fossil tree, maidenhair tree, Japanese silver apricot, kew tree

Ginkgo is the most widely used nutritional supplement in the world. The reason for its popularity is its 5,000-year history of safe and effective use.

According to records dating back to 2800 B.C., Chinese medical practitioners used ginkgo to treat symptoms of aging including memory loss, poor circulation, and general mental deterioration. The Chinese have also used it to bolster memory and improve overall intelligence.

This long history is convincing proof in itself that anyone wanting to boost their cognitive skills and protect themselves against age-related mental deterioration should be using ginkgo as part of their daily supplementation plan.

“ Ginkgo extract is a very complex substance and counteracts                                                         aging along many varied biochemical pathways. ”


Brain-related clinical and research findings

Ginkgo extract is a very complex substance and counteracts aging along many varied biochemical pathways. Cooperative research was performed by Scripps Research Institute, University of Southern California, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and three other research institutions. Researchers discovered with an amazing picture of how ginkgo works right at the DNA/RNA level by changing the way genes are programmed to cause aging.26

Ginkgo upregulates (increases) the expression of genes for the synthesis of transthyretin—a natural chemical that protects neurons by keeping oxidizing beta-amyloid away from them.

They also found that gingko’s upregulation of genes had significant positive impact in the cortex of the brain. The cortex controls speech, memory, logical and emotional response, consciousness, interpretation of sensation, and voluntary movement. It also had a similar genetic upregulating effect in the hippocampus where learning is centered.

But ginkgo’s protective action is not only due to genetic regulation. It’s also a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory … both of which are major factors in mental (and physical) deterioration as we age.

Ginkgo has also been shown to preserve mitochondria structure and function in aging animals. (Mitochondria are subcellular organelles that are the cells’ powerhouses.) And it also significantly extends mitochondrial life span! One of the hottest areas in medical research today explores the relationship between these subcellular powerhouses and human longevity.

Research conducted at Harvard Medical School published in 2005 27 found that human mitochondria have evolved over time to allow us humans to lead longer, healthier lives without the scourge of neurodegenerative diseases.

There is far too much research on ginkgo to describe it all here. But if you want some fascinating (and exciting) reading about how ginkgo counteracts the effects of aging, go to the Smart Publications website and read “Is Ginkgo the Smart Nutrient It Claims to Be?”

Other physiological effects

Ginkgo’s positive contributions to your health are so numerous, that we’ll just list them for you here. Gingko extract (containing active fractions called bilobalides and ginkgolides) are able to improve your life because they …

  • Slow down the aging process
  • Protect against Alzheimer’s—neurodegenerative disorders
  • Protect against cataracts and macular degeneration, and retard their progression
  • Sharpen your mental performance
  • Increase your concentration and short term memory
  • Boost your energy levels and protect against stroke
  • Protect mitochondria, the tiny “spark of life” energy factories inside cells
  • Improve circulation to your feet, legs, and hands
  • Reduce blood pressure increases due to stress and exercise
  • Enhance your sex life as a result of increased blood circulation
  • Increase blood circulation throughout your entire body
  • Build capillary strength and reduce blood loss from capillary vessels
  • Decrease the clumping of blood in the circulatory system
  • Increase cellular glucose uptake to energize cells
  • Exert an anti-inflammatory effect

Side effects and toxicity

According to the Mayo Clinic listing, pharmaceutical grade ginkgo extract is safe and well tolerated with the following warning.28

WARNING: Ginkgo leaves contain a neurotoxic compound called ginkgolic acid. Pharmaceutical-grade ginkgo extract must contain less than 5 parts per million of ginkgolic acid. In the United States, many nutritional supplement companies do not sell pharmaceutical grade supplements. They do not tell you if their ginkgo contains the acceptable limit of toxic ginkgolic acid, so you have no way of knowing.

Smart Nutrient #7: Huperzine-A

Protecting memory by protecting nerve impulses
Botanical nameHuperzia serrata
Common names: Chinese moss

Chinese moss has a long history of use in Chinese Traditional Medicine for treatment of dementia and age-related mental deterioration. The active factor is the alkaloid huperzine-A, which has been approved in China to treat Alzheimer’s disease and memory impairments.

Brain-related clinical and research findings

Chinese researchers showed that huperzine-A improves memory and learning. They tested huperzine-A on middle school students whose only complaints were poor memory and difficulty in learning.

At the end of the study, the huperzine-A group scored significantly higher than the control group on standardmemory tests. They also did dramatically better in their Chinese and English lessons. No side effects of any kind were noted.

Huperzine-A’s exact mode of action is not yet completely understood. But researchers suggest it works by regulating a complex chemical system that controls nerve impulse transmissions. This system involves the neurotransmitter acetylcholine (ACh) and the enzyme acetylcholinesterase (AChE) that breaks down ACh.

A shortage of ACh is considered the most common cause of memory loss, decreased learning ability, and diminished intelligence. Huperzine-A slows the breakdown of ACh by AChE, making ACh more available. As a result, the strength and duration of nerve impulses are improved. Consequently, both learning and memory are improved.29

In addition to regulating ACh-AChE, huperzine-A also dramatically decreases free radical activity.30

Huperzine-A has also been shown to help improve cognitive function in Alzheimer’s patients. In a double blind, placebo controlled study reported in 2002, huperzine-A was tested on 202 mild to moderate Alzheimer’s patients at the Peking Medical College Hospital in Beijing.

The group treated with huperzine-A showed remarkable improvement in cognition, behavior, and mood, in comparison to the placebo group.31

                                           “The strength and duration of nerve impulses are improved.                                               Consequently, both learning and memory are improved. ”


Side effects and toxicity

Huperzine-A is safe to take with no side effects in low dosages. With increasing dosages, temporary side effects may include mild nausea, dizziness, and headache.

Smart Nutrient #8: Magnolia
1,000 times vitamin E’s antioxidant power

Botanical name: Magnolia officinalis
Common names: Magnolia, tulip tree

Magnolia has been used for over 2,000 years in Traditional Chinese Medicine and for at least 500 years in Japanese medicine to aid relaxation, increase energy levels, relieve anxiety, and counteract the effects of stress.

Brain-related clinical and research findings

Magnolia has been proven in clinical trials to be as effective as Valium® in relieving stress without making you sleepy and without any of the severe side effects commonly associated with the drug.32

Magnolia’s active components (magnolol, honokiol, and syringin) help regulate levels of cortisol—a major cause of stress-related problems in your body when it remains at consistently high levels.33

Magnolia extract’s powerful anti-stress and anti-anxiety powers make it a powerful ally in fighting stressed-induced mental deterioration.

Both honokiol and magnolol help relax you by adjusting the activity of neurotransmitters and enzymes in your brain. Your brain functions more efficiently and communication improves throughout your entire nervous system.34

The syringin component of magnolia extract is a powerful anti-inflammatory and pain-relief component. Recent research shows that syringin works synergistically with magnolol35 and honokiol36 to minimize the damage done by inflammation in brain tissue (as well as throughout your entire body).

Magnolia extract is also a potent antioxidant—1,000 times more powerful than vitamin E.37Consequently, magnolia fights mental deterioration at the subcellular level by protecting your cell membrane and your mitochondria from oxidation.38

Side effects and toxicity

No significant toxicity or adverse effects have been reported to date when magnolia extract is taken as directed. You only need extremely small amounts of the extract to see its stress-reducing and calming effects.39

Smart Nutrient #9: Panax Ginseng
Broad protection for many areas of your health

Botanical name: Panax ginseng
Common names: Asian ginseng, Chinese ginseng, Korean ginseng

At the outset, it’s important to distinguish between true ginseng—Panax ginseng—and Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus) or American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius).

Siberian and American ginseng are not true ginsengs. And while they have positive physiological effects, they do not have the same mode of action as Panax ginseng, which is true ginseng. Panax ginseng has higher levels of important brain-protective components called ginsenosides than either American or Siberian ginsengs.

Brain-related clinical and research findings

A number of clinical studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of Panax ginseng in improving different aspects of mental functioning. In one study, 112 healthy volunteers older than 40 years were given 400 mg per day of Panax ginseng for eight weeks. They showed better and faster reactions to psychometric tests and improved abstract thinking.40

Two other studies—each involving healthy volunteers who received 200 mg daily of Panax ginseng for eight weeks—demonstrated improvement in attention, processing, and auditory reaction time, social functioning, and mental health.41

In another study, 20 healthy young volunteers received a single 400 mg dose of ginseng. They showed improvement in cognitive performance, memory performance, speed of memory tasks, and accuracy of attention-related tasks.42

“The importance of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds in preventing mental deterioration and improving overall mental acuity cannot be emphasized enough in this discussion. ”


The ginsenosides in Panax ginseng have a variety of beneficial actions, including anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anticancer effects.43 The importance of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds in preventing mental deterioration and improving overall mental acuity cannot be emphasized enough in this discussion.

Other physiological effects

In traditional medicinal uses, ginseng is used to enhance physical, sexual, and mental performance and to increase energy and resistance to the harmful effects of stress and aging. Ginseng appears to reduce blood sugar levels and increase levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol—the “good” cholesterol.

Side effects and toxicity

Merck Manuals Online Medical Library states that ginseng has a good safety record. Because Panax ginseng is a stimulant, the most common side effects are nervousness and excitability, which usually decrease after the first few days.

Smart Nutrient #10: Peony
Proven learning enhancer

Botanical names: Peonia suffruticosa, P. lactiflora,
P. veitchii, and P. obovata

Common names: moutan (mu dan), red peony(chi shao), white peony (bai shao)

The roots of peony plants have been used in traditional medicines in China and Japan for a wide range of physical problems.

Brain-related clinical and research findings

Paeoniflorin is one of the major constituents of peony root. Paeoniflorin has various biological actions including improving of memory44 and antioxidant activity.45 The importance of antioxidants in protecting against mental deterioration has already been discussed.

The exact action of peony in improving memory has yet to be determined. But research reported within the last two years has determined that peony protects neurons from damage. This improves learning and memory and reduces the opportunity for mental deterioration to take hold.46

“ Research reported in the last two years
has determined peony protects neurons from damage. ”


Other physiological effects

Peony is traditionally used in Asia to treat muscle cramps, cardiovascular disorders, chronic viral hepatitis, and menstruation difficulties.

Side effects and toxicity

Peony has no appreciable toxicity or side effects when taken at dosages below 4 grams per day.47

Smart Nutrient #11: Schisandra Berry

Protecting memory by protecting
nerve impulses

Botanical name: Schisandra chinensis
Common names: Wu wei zi, schizandra, five flavor berry, magnolia vine

Schisandra is a climbing vine grown not only for its ornamental and medicinal properties but also for consumption. Fruits, leaves, and bark contain the active components (called schisandrins).

Schisandra has traditionally been used to treat viral and chemical hepatitis, but recent animal experiments and human studies have shown that it improves mental clarity, concentration, and coordination. 48

Brain-related clinical and research findings

In one set of experiments, mice were given the chemical scopolamine, which induces amnesia. One group was then given an herbal treatment containing schisandra. The researchers stated that the treatment “significantly reduced scopolamine-induced memory deficits.”49

Schisandra’s exact mode of action is not well understood at this time. However, in vitro (test tube) experiments found that schisandra limits neurotoxicity induced by amyloid-beta peptide (which causes oxidation) in cultured cortical rat neurons. These results suggest that schisandra has “protective characteristics against neuronal cell death and cognitive impairments often observed in Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, ischemic injury, and other neurodegenerative diseases.”

“Schisandra has protective characteristics against neuronal cell death                                                                                       and cognitive impairments often observed in Alzheimer’s disease, stroke,                                                    ischemic injury, and other neurodegenerative diseases. ”


Other physiological effects

Schisandra is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to treat poor circulation and heart function, diarrhea and dysentery, fatigue, liver disease, mental and emotional illness, respiratory disease, sexual function, skin rash, and sleep disorders.

Side effects and toxicity

Schisandra is a natural food substance and is safe for long term use. It is uncommon for schisandra to cause side effects. However, it may cause upset stomach, heartburn, decreased appetite, and skin rash if taken in very large quantities.

Smart Nutrient #12: Vinpocetine
A powerful memory enhancer

Botanical name: Vinca minor
Other common names: vinca, periwinkle

Vinpocetine is made from vincamine, an alkaloid extracted from the periwinkle plant. Research has shown that vinpocetine is superior to vincamine because it has a greater range of clinical and metabolic benefits than vincamine without vincamine’s minor side effects.

Brain-related clinical and research findings

Vinpocetine is a powerful memory enhancer. It does this by improving blood flow in your brain (cerebral microcirculation), stepping up brain cell ATP production (ATP is the cellular energy molecule), and increasing your brain’s use of glucose and oxygen.50

One double-blind study of healthy volunteers without any signs of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease showed incredible short-term memory improvement only one hour after taking 40 mg of vinpocetine.
Volunteers took a computer-administered short-term memory test before and after being given vinpocetine. When given vinpocetine, they showed
better than 35% improvement over their scores before taking vinpocetine.51

The reason for this huge improvement in such a short amount of time relates to the way vinpocetine works in the brain. Vinpocetine improves circulation in your brain, feeding all the cells including neurons. It ensures brain cells get the right amount of food in the form of glucose and enough oxygen to metabolize it properly. And finally, it assures that ATP (the molecule that converts glucose into energy) is functioning at peak performance.

When your brain’s energy mechanism is functioning at peak performance levels, so will your brain … and so will you. Peak brain performance translates into improved memory and improved overall cognitive functioning. This is how vinpocetine makes you smarter!

Other physiological effects

Vinpocetine is used to treat acute or chronic eye diseases of various origins and sensori-neural hearing impairment.

Side effects and toxicity

The Gedeon Richter company has funded more than 100 hundred studies on vinpocetine. The incidence of side effects in humans using vinpocetine orally is less than 1% of a study’s participants, with the unwanted effects usually disappearing with continued use.

Lots of information, but what does it all mean?
Improved brain function and brainpower!

This is a lot to absorb, I know. So I’ve summarized it all below. Pay particular attention to the different modes of action these smart nutrients display.

Smart Nutrient      Mode of Action

Ashwagandha      Antioxidant; anti-stress

Bacopa                   Enhances neurotransmission; stablizes ACh-AChE activity; antioxidant; rebuilds ATP

Centella asiatica   Increases density of dendrites; anti-stress

Ferulic acid            Disrupts amyloid plaque formation; anti-inflammatory in brain tissue; antioxidant

Ginger                    General anti-inflammatory by interrupting prostaglandin / lukotriene synthesis

Ginkgo biloba       Changes genetic programming for aging; protects mitochondria; antioxidant; anti-inflammatory

Huperzine-A          Stabilizes ACh-AChE activity; antioxidant

Magnolia                Major stress reliver; very powerful antioxidant

Panax ginseng      Antioxidant; anti-stress

Peony                    Protects neurons; improves memory through unknown pathways; antioxidant

Schisandra           Protects against neuron cell death

Vinpocetine          Improves cerebral circulation; improving brain cell ATP use; improves O2 / glucose use in brain


The power of synergism to keep your brain strong and healthy

This table shows the amazing variety of activity these smart nutrients possess. This is the basis of these 12 smart nutrients’ powerful synergy.

Recall that synergy means that when added together, two or more components have a greater impact than each would have had if taken separately. The familiar way of looking at it is “the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.”

For example, when you look at the table, you see that ferulic acid and ginger both have anti-inflammatory properties. But each one does it through different complex interactions.

Ferulic acid works in brain tissue to protect it against inflammation directly. Ginger, on the other hand, combats against inflammation by interrupting prostaglandin/leukotriene synthesis—a systemic cause of inflammation throughout your entire body. This type of multiple action is how synergy works on a cellular, subcellular, and chemical level.

Synergistic effects occur among many of these smart nutrients. Often their seemingly similar modes of action are similar only in the broadest sense. The smart nutrients are working differently and synergistically on the cellular and subcellular levels.

“Smart nutrients are working differently and synergistically on the                                          cellular and subcellular levels. ”


Armed with knowledge about smart nutrients … what do you do now?

The smart nutrients I’ve told you about today are a positive, safe, and very effective way to increase your brainpower while protecting yourself from age-related mental deterioration. They should form a central part of your strategies for staying mentally young for the rest of your life. But here are five other positive steps you should be taking at the same time.

1. Reduce Stress

Stress and anxiety are key factors in free radical formation. Free radicals lead to inflammation and oxidation of brain tissues that lead to mental deterioration. Start your brain-boosting program by reducing stress in your life. I know this isn’t easy. But it is possible.

2. Exercise Your Brain

Your brain isn’t a muscle, but it does benefit from being exercised. I know you’ve heard that people who engage in brain stimulating activities stay mentally sharp much longer than people who don’t. (Plus, there’s lots of evidence that mentally active people reduce their odds of getting Alzheimer’s disease.)

Take a look at the sidebar for enjoyable activities that help you “pump up” your brain.

3. Stay Armed with the Most Current, Trustworthy Information

Researchers are discovering more about age-related mental deterioration and how to prevent and counteract it all the time. By keeping informed, you stay armed against this dreadful scourge to a long, productive,
and fulfilling life. Your best resource for this type of information is the Smart Publications Health & Wellness Update newsletter.

4. Stay Physically Active

Physical activity reduces stress and produces endorphins that help combat many causes of age-related mental deterioration. But you don’t have to sweat and pant to be physically active.

5. Start on a Smart Nutrient Supplementation Program

Okay, I’m repeating myself here, I know. But starting on a supplementation program containing the smart nutrients you’ve learned about today should be your first step in getting back and keeping your mental youthfulness … just like George Burns, Joel Hildebrand, Grandma Moses, and other 80, 90, and 100 year olds did.

And … as an added bonus … many of these same smart nutrients have been shown to be powerful weapons in the fight against Alzheimer’s.

A brief warning about safety again

I stand by what I just said. These smart nutrients can vastly improve your brainpower while protecting against mental deterioration, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease … quickly, effectively, and safely.

The problem is not whether these actual smart nutrients are safe. They are. But if you remember back to the discussion of ginkgo, I mentioned ginkgolic acid, which is toxic. If you’re taking ginkgo, for instance, be sure you’re getting the active ginkgolides and bilobalides … and not ginkgolic acid!

So, be careful. These smart nutrients are perfectly safe if you get them from a reliable source that commits itself to providing compounds in bioactive forms, in the proper amounts, and without toxic components.

One last thought about the smarter life ahead of you

If you adopt these strategies—including using smart nutrients—you’ll live life with more enthusiasm and gusto. You’ll stop struggling to find the right word that’s on the tip of your tongue. You’ll feel … and be … more creative. You’ll have more fun in all that you do. You will enjoy life far more.

And you will enjoy the admiration of those around you for your improved outlook and youthful attitudes … and for being the person they turn to for the right answer.


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