I guess I have read *a lot* of studies over the last ten years and so am have constantly been attempting to find the right mix of supplements that will protect/repair my brain from neurodegeneration and also help on a daily basis to improve mood, brain fog, memory, energy level and ability to focus. This has included:
- General multivitamins/minerals
High-potency B complex
St. John's wort
Gingko biloba/Panax ginseng
Green tea extract
True (Ceylon) cinnamon
Longvida curcumin (CurcuBrain)
Mushroom extract complex
Lion's mane mushroom extract
ALA (alpha-lipoic acid)
Choline & inositol
Licorice root extract
Probiotics (currently taking PRO-15 by Hyperbiotics)
Though this is a long list, through the years I typically have always tried to limit my daily supplement stack to 4-5 of these at a time. My goals have been to find ways to improve my lipid profile and HDL levels, improve brain blood flow and vascular function, improve mitrochondrial function, improve glucose metabolism and control, increase BDNF and NGF levels, repair the blood-brain barrier, reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, improve AB and tau clearance, augment my gut microbiome with more beneficial bacteria species, and improve neurotransmitter levels/systems (particularly serotonin, dopamine and acetylcholine).
To be honest, I haven't noticed perceptible benefits from many of these (not in the way I have from a SSRI or ADD stimulant, for example), so naturally I'm always curious if what I'm taking is helping or hurting. I also often wonder if I'm fixing one pathway or upregulating some process with one supplement while simultaneously defeating that improvement with another supplement.
Diet has been a little tougher for me to crack. I'm definitely a meat and carbs kinda guy, and I think I die a little bit each time I read the "optimal" diet guidelines for E4's . I just have never really been into vegetables as much more than a side dish (optimally slathered in gravy or cheese) and honestly it pains me to think of a life without bread, pasta, cheese, steak and orange juice. I've always been able to eat what I wanted and not gain weight. Though after thirty I started to get a little pot belly like my dad--most likely a lot of visceral fat around my organs, i.e the "skinny-fat" person.
That being said, I've tried to focus on trying to make better choices every year with my diet. This has included more salads and green stuff (I do like broccoli and asparagus), trying to avoid fast food and processed food as much as possible, cutting out soda and soft drinks except as a rare treat, buying mostly whole grain products, eating 3-4 servings of fish every week (sushi, cooked or smoked salmon, and tuna), avoiding processed meats, limiting red meat to once or twice per week (typically lamb), eating lots of berries and enjoying carbs and starchy foods in moderation.
I've also tried some intermittant fasting (IF), which is sometimes by default since I don't always eat breakfast. I have found that I think much more clearly on an empty stomach (up to the point of famishment lol), whereas right after a meal my postprandial dip kicks my ADD into overdrive while I fight off fatigue and a complete loss of any motivation.
One thing I’ve almost eliminated has been alcohol. While I enjoy having a few beers socially every once in awhile, I would always feel cognitively impaired for the next day or two—particularly if I overimbibed. This tendency has gotten worse the older I’ve gotten and I so I was not surprised to learn of the connection of alcohol use as a risk factor for Alzheimer’s.
Exercise is also a bit of a challenge for me. I spend most of my week behind a desk and one of my hobbies is video games (multi-player online games with friends) where I can sit for another few hours several times a week. I attempt to make it to the gym twice a week and usually focus on weight-lifting vs. cardio both given my body build and the supposed benefits of resistance training on BDNF levels. I know I can do better here and more daily activity is a continuous goal for improvement.
Thanks again for reading. Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!