|Ginkgo — leaf
|Promotes circulation. Supports concentration, alertness and healthy memory function. Lengthens attention span. Antioxidant activity protects against oxidative damage.|
|Gotu Kola — leaf
|Supports the functioning of the circulatory system, promoting alertness, attention span, memory and concentration. Mild anti-stress properties are thought to be especially helpful to promote nervous system functions and lessen the effects of fatigue.|
|Red Sage — leaf
|Strong antioxidant properties also support the circulatory system. Supports positive mood and mental clarity. Helps promote alertness, memory function and the ability to concentrate.|
|Rosemary — leaf
|Supports adequate blood circulation and provides antioxidant activity. Historically used to assist memory function.|
|Sweet Basil — leaf
|Complements the effectiveness of rosemary and gotu kola, in support of nervous system functioning, especially in response to exhaustion or other stress, promoting mental calmness, clarity and steady mood.|
|Thyme — leaf
|Strong antioxidant properties that support the proper function of the circulatory system. Promotes vitality, helping to offset exhaustion.|
|Skullcap — flower
|Restorative for the nervous system; helps to allay anxiety and stress.|
We absolutely require certain fats for health - lipids, sterols and essential fatty acids. Some types of “good” fat make up the bulk of the membranes surrounding every cell in your body. Other types are critical components of the fatty tissues of the brain, eyes and nerves and play important roles in bodily defence.
Omega-3 fatty acids are harder to come by: Fatty fish - especially salmon, herring, mackerel and sardines - are the only viable dietary sources.
If you aren’t eating two to three servings of fatty fish each week, you may not be getting enough EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). These long-chain omega-3 fatty acids are required for normal growth and development and optimal function of the heart, blood and blood vessels, brain, nerves, eyes, joints, skin and sex organs. Omega-3 fatty acids have been the subject of more than 2 000 scientific studies.
For instance, a great deal is known about their favourable effects on cardiovascular health, as they “thin” blood and decrease the risk of blood clots and heart arrhythmias. In addition, omega-3 fatty acids may play a role in inhibiting inflammation and cancer.
Fish has been called “brain food” for generations. The reason may be that fish’s omega-3 fatty acids support the structure and function of the brain, nerves, and eyes. The cells of the nervous system have particularly “fluid” membranes, and omega-3 fatty acids contribute to this fluidity.
Throughout the body, cells prefer omega-3 fatty acids. When omega-3 fatty acids are available from the diet, they partially replace the omega-6 fatty acids in practically all cells, especially blood and brain cells. In most tissues and organs, if omega-3 fatty acids are in short supply, however, cells can use omega-6 fatty acids instead. This is not the case in the nervous system, where omega-3 fatty acids are absolutely required for normal function of rhodopsin, a protein in the retina that is necessary for sharp vision.
In research published in the October 1, 2005 edition of the Journal of Clinical Investigation (JCI)scientists investigating the relationship between omega-3 fatty acids and brain structure discovered that omega-3’s in general and DHA in particular are critical as building blocks of not just cells, but biochemical made only in the brain. “DHA is an essential building block for the structure of brain cells” stated Dr. Nicholas Bazan, Director of the Neuroscience Center of Excellence at Louisiana State University (LSU). Their findings show for the first time the direct involvement of DHA in the preservation of brain neurons and thus long-term cognitive function.
OMEGA-3 AND BRAIN FUNCTION
In a December 2004 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition researcher investigating the long term effect of omega-3 consumption reported finding a direct benefit. In an observational study following a group of 64 year old patients they determined that, when tested and compared to similar tests they had taken in 1947, those with the highest omega-3 intake had the highest IQ and greatest cognitive retention.
An “Evidence Report” published by the US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) in 2005 found that fish, total omega-3 fatty acid consumption and specifically DHA were associated with a reduction in risk of both Alzheimer’s and non-Alzheimer’s dementia.
Another study has shown that omega-3 fatty acids may benefit by slowing the ageing of the brain. Older adults who supplement their diets with EPA and DHA have demonstrated greater cognitive function when compared to those who don’t. A recent study in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition the researchers reported that study participants who eat oily fish or take fish oil supplements score 13 per cent higher in IQ tests and are less likely to show early signs of Alzheimer’s disease when compared to those that didn’t.
Results of yet another trial published in the December 2005 issue of the Archives of Neurology showed that those who ate omega-3 rich fish at least once a week had what amounted to a 10% slower rate of brain ageing.
OMEGA-3 AND BEHAVIOUR
As goes the brain, so goes the person.The brain houses many areas and activities that affect everything about us -from alertness and mental clarity to sleep, memory, physical dexterity and even mood. Because both the structure and function of the brain are so directly related to dietary omega-3 status, researchers began looking for a relationship to behaviour.
Researchers in Australia conducted a study on 145 children with ADHD and found that taking fish oil supplements can improve attention span and calm children with ADHD. Lead researcher, Natalie Sinn, from the University of Adelaide stated “There is a growing body of research to suggest that some children with developmental problems, including ADHD and dyslexia, can benefit from omega-3 supplements.”
In a double-blind study conducted by the Veteran’s Administration and published in the December 2005 issue of Neuropsychopharmacology 16 researchers showed that patients being supplemented with 3 grams of omega-3 rich fish oil per day showed a “clinically significant and progressive decrease in their anger scores.”