Top Supplements to Support Cognitive Health

Searching for some supplements to boost your overall cognitive wellness? Look no further! In this blog, we take a look at not just supplements that can benefit your brain, but reasons cognitive function can possibly decline, and ways to easily combat those pesky “brain drainers.”

Keep reading to learn more!

What is “healthy” cognitive function anyway?

The brain is one big muscle. It’s always working, and it’s responsible for a whole lot of internal and external bodily functions we usually don’t think twice about. 

So, what’s the technical definition of cognitive function then?

Cognitive function: 

“(adj.) a broad term that refers to mental processes involved in the acquisition of knowledge, manipulation of information, and reasoning. Cognitive functions include the domains of perception, memory, learning, attention, decision making, and language abilities.” (11)

Research shows that these are some of the signs of healthy cognitive function (10):

  • The ability to clearly think and learn
  • The ability to remember information
  • Effective communication skills
  • Being able to control movements, including balance
  • Being able to interpret and respond to emotions 
  • Having normal tactile function
  • Having a positive outlook
  • Being able to handle stress and setbacks
  • Having a sense of purpose and a sense of meaning in life
    • What are some “brain drainers?”

      The biggest “brain drainer” out there today for adults is, you guessed it, stress. Stress can directly affect hormones, the immune system, our digestive systems, and especially our mental health (7). 

      Here are just a few other contributors to brain “draining” (8): 

    • Dehydration: Did you know that about 75% of the brain is made up of water? That means dehydration, even in small amounts, can inhibit healthy cognitive functions (9).
    • Poor Diet: A diet that lacks essential nutrients, fiber, probiotics, and antioxidants can potentially inhibit your brain function (9).
    • Lack of Sleep: We all need it, a lot of us desperately crave it, and our brains love it. Go ahead. Give it a rest, already!
    • Too Little Exercise: Keep reading to learn why exercise can help your brain out. 
    • What are some “brain gainers?” 

      Your brain is a gateway to feeling good. That’s a given. Want to know something that might be surprising? Setting your day up for a brain “win” and maintaining the health of your noggin can actually be pretty simple. Here are just a few tips: 

      Gardening, Dancing, Walking — Go outside! Dance in the sunshine. Do a quick, little cha-cha-cha on the front porch to your favorite song (something that really gets those feet moving, something you can’t help but dance to - we all have that one song). Work on your garden, or start planting some of your favorite flowers. Take the pup for a long walk. According to recent research, people who did even just a moderate level of exercise per week had healthy brain function the equivalence of brains 4 years younger (3). 

      It has also been discovered by experts that exercise can boost executive brain function. This involves reasoning, problem-solving, and planning (4). So, go! Get out there! Your brain will thank you. 

      Mind Games — No, we don’t mean ‘mind games’ in the negative context. We’re not referring to your ex (good riddance). We mean puzzles, people! We’re talking good old sudoku or that crossword puzzle in the Sunday newspaper. According to a 2017 online study, researchers determined that by regularly figuring out word puzzles, older adults were able to keep their brains functioning at levels up to 10 years younger than their actual age (5). 
      Make Time for the Things You Love — When you schedule time for hobbies you enjoy or for experiencing new things, the National Cancer Institute suggests that this practice can actually help you manage your stress levels and help you enjoy life more (6). Find something you love doing, and then go make the time to do it. Notice a pattern forming here? Maybe revolving around “getting out there?” You can do it! 
      Mindfulness — A 2017 study showed that just two minutes of doing yoga can help with low self-esteem and with overall energy levels (2). Even listening to calming music can contribute to daily mindfulness - in a 2013 study of 60 women it was revealed that the women who listened to relaxing music recovered from stress faster than those who didn’t listen to any music, but still tried to relax (2). 

        When you have a moment to relax and focus, maybe even just a minute or two, try this simple meditation practice — focus on your breathing, inhale slowly, exhale slowly, and count your breaths. Remember you’re present, in this moment, right now. Keep your eyes closed. You can also try repeating a mantra to yourself, a personal prayer, listening to your favorite chill playlist, or even just try to keep your thoughts at bay. Head empty, heart full — that’s the name of the game.

        Tidy Up — Okay, we know cleaning isn’t really all that glamorous. But, did you know that living a clutter-free lifestyle might have long-term mental benefits? Remember Marie Kondo on Netflix’s “Tidying Up” asking all of us, “Does this item spark joy?” This question might just be the key to dwindling down the stress hanging heavy on your shoulders. Check your room - does it need tidying? Does your closet have a bunch of old clothes you never wear anymore? Do you have knickknacks scattered around your home that you’ve collected from birthdays past? Decluttering can help to bring clarity and even appreciation for the little things (1). 

          Ellen Delap, certified professional organizer and president of the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals, says that “[people can] begin to feel a greater sense of control and well-being by lowering their stress levels [via decluttering]. After all, there’s nothing more stressful than searching for your keys as you’re trying to get out of the house on time (1).”

          Supplements to help boost “brain gaining”

          Speaking of mindfulness, you’re looking for supplements that can help support your overall cognitive health, right? Good thinking — supplementation is a great and convenient way to support your overall wellness, including your brain. And, you’re in luck! Below is a list of some mindfully sourced and carefully crafted supplements that can help with some much-needed brain “gaining”: 

        • Wholesome Organics Turmeric Curcumin — Turmeric Curcumin can help alleviate symptoms of sore joints and support healthy brain function (12). Plus, this blend is made with BioPerine Black Pepper Extract, which can increase the efficiency of absorption of vitamins and minerals by 2000% (13, 14). The Wholesome Organics 1300mg formula is made with high-potency 95% Standardized Curcuminoids. 
        • Wholesome Organics Probiotic — Yes, it’s true. Probiotics can help your brain! There is a really important gut-brain connection, in which the intestines and brain are connected both chemically and physically. This means a healthy gut microbiome can directly affect healthy cognitive functions (15). For maximum efficacy, our Wholesome Organics formula is made with 51 billion CFUs, 11 probiotic strains, and a potent delayed-release formulation. 
        • Wholesome Organics Multivitamin — B vitamins can play a vital role in overall brain health, according to science (16). Our Wholesome Organics daily vitamin contains B vitamins that may help neutralize free radicals, which can contribute to heart disease and inflammation, all while promoting healthy cognitive function (16, 17). 
        • Wholesome Organics Ashwagandha Complex — According to research, Ashwagandha has the potential to reduce stress and anxiety, and improve brain functions like memory (18, 19, 20). Our Wholesome Organics formula is made with KSM-66® with 5% Withanolides, black pepper for enhanced absorption, and absolutely no fillers, binders, or preservatives.
        •  

          Resources:

          1. Cassata, C. (2019, January 30). Tidying up like Marie Kondo is good for you. Healthline. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health-news/why-tidying-up-like-marie-kondo.

          2. Holland, K. (2018, September 19). Mental health basics: Types of mental illness, diagnosis, treatment. Healthline. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health#exercises

          3. Pratt, E. (2020, March 5). Older adults can reduce brain shrinkage by gardening, dancing, walking. Healthline. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health-news/walking-gardening-swimming.

          4. Person. (2019, January 30). To improve cognitive function try aerobics. Healthline. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health-news/want-to-be-a-better-problem-solver-try-doing-aerobics

          5. University of Exeter. Featured news - Daily crosswords linked to sharper brain in later life - University of Exeter. (2017, July 17). Retrieved from http://www.exeter.ac.uk/news/featurednews/title_595009_en.html

          6. Fletcher, J. (2021, March 12). Cll and stress: How to manage. Healthline. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/cll/cll-and-stress#tips-to-manage-stress

          7. Casarella, J. (2020, October 23). How stress affects your health. WebMD. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/stress-anxiety-depression.

          8. Kim, M., & Park, J.-M. (2017, November 15). Factors affecting cognitive function according to gender in community-dwelling elderly individuals. Epidemiology and health. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5790979/#:~:text=Factors.

          9. Wells, D. (2017, July 6). 21 fun facts about the brain. Healthline. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/fun-facts-about-the-brain.  

          10. CDC. (n.d.). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Healthy Aging. CDC. Retrieved May 6, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/aging/pdf/perceptions_of_cog_hlth_factsheet.pdf

          11. Kiely, K.  M. (1970, January 1). Cognitive function. SpringerLink. Retrieved from https://link.springer.com/referenceworkentry/10.1007/978-94-007-0753-5_426

          12. Gunnars, K. (2021, May 7). 10 proven health benefits of turmeric and curcumin. Healthline. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/top-10-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-turmeric

          13. Fernández-Lázaro, D., Mielgo-Ayuso, J., Córdova Martínez, A., & Seco-Calvo, J. (2020, June 24). Iron and physical activity: Bioavailability enhancers, properties of Black Pepper (bioperine®) and potential applications. Nutrients. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7353321/

          14. Link, R. (2021, September 1). 5 emerging benefits of bioperine and Piperine supplements. Healthline. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/bioperine-and-piperine-supplement-benefits

          15. Robertson, R. (2020, March 2). How probiotics can be good for your brain. Healthline. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/probiotics-and-brain-health#the-gutbrain-connection

          16. Kennedy, D. O. (2016, January 27). B vitamins and the brain: Mechanisms, dose and efficacy--a review. Nutrients. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4772032/

          17. Calvaresi, E., & Bryan, J. (2001, November 1). B vitamins, cognition, and aging: A Review. OUP Academic. Retrieved from https://academic.oup.com/psychsocgerontology/article/56/6/P327/610645?login=true

          18. Ng, Q. X., Loke, W., Foo, N. X., Tan, W. J., Chan, H. W., Lim, D. Y., & Yeo, W. S. (2020, March). A systematic review of the clinical use of Withania Somnifera (ashwagandha) to ameliorate cognitive dysfunction. Phytotherapy research : PTR. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31742775/

          19. Lopresti, A. L., Smith, S. J., Malvi, H., & Kodgule, R. (2019, September). An investigation into the stress-relieving and pharmacological actions of an ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) extract: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Medicine. Retrieved May 6, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6750292/.

          20. Salve, J., Pate, S., Debnath, K., & Langade, D. (2019, December 25). Adaptogenic and anxiolytic effects of ashwagandha root extract in healthy adults: A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical study. Cureus. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6979308/.

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