Basic Thoughts on Brain Health
Mitochondria are structures within our cells that could be referred to as the "power plants," since the mitochondria are largely responsible for production of ATP -- the key energy molecule of the body. It has been fairly well established in the scientific community that damage that occurs as we age will cause problems with mitochondrial function ultimately leading to various diseases.
Perhaps the best studied disease regarding mitochondrial dysfunction would be that of Parkinson's disease. Parkinson's disease is the second most common brain degenerative disorder in the United States affecting more than one million people in this country. Neurologists see such patients every work day.
It is well proven that once we reach midlife, brain cells start dying.
By the time we are in our 70's - 80's we have lost a great amount of brain cells that control movement, memory, cognitive function, etc. Dr. Flint Beal from Columbia/Cornell University in New York is probably the world's expert in use of various nutritional agents for neurodegenerative disorders. A few months ago, in the Annals of Neurology Dr. Beal wrote, "Bioenergetic Approaches for Neuroprotection in Parkinson's Disease..."
Dr. Beal indicates that there is substantial evidence that mitochondria are a major source of free radical production within the cell and that there are several agents available that can actually improve and modulate cellular energy metabolism by their antioxidant effects -- nutrients can reduce brain injury at this tiny level. Dr. Beal lists several nutrients that have been found in either animal or human studies to be effective in mitochondrial disorders. Among the group included are coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), ginkgo biloba, nicotinamide, riboflavin, acetyl-L-carnitine and alpha lipoic acid.
Basic Brain Nutrients -- Key Examples
Ubiquinone, otherwise known as CoQ10, has probably been the best studied nutrient for not only neurodegenerative disorders, but also cardiovascular conditions like heart problems and strokes. For example, in a study out of India published a few months ago, approximately 140 patients who had suffered a heart attack received either 120 mg a day of CoQ10 or merely B vitamins. After one year of therapy, there was a statistically significant decrease in both non-fatal heart attacks and cardiac deaths in the group treated with co-enzyme Q10. CoQ10 is an important co-factor in the electron transport chain found within the mitochondria which is involved in the production of ATP.
Supplementation with CoQ10 appears to reduce generation of free radicals which damage cells. CoQ10 also improves ATP production. In fact, Co-Q10 was shown in a small clinical trial to slow down the progression of Parkinson's disease in a study published late last year. The higher the dose is of the CoQ10 (400 to 1200 mg daily), the better the results. If you are suffering with anxiety you might want to have this treated before going too high on CoQ10.
Ginkgo biloba is a plant extract that appears to exert its neuroprotective effect by preserving mitochondrial function through its antioxidant effect. It grabs flying free radicals such as those coming out of the mitochondria.
Acetyl-L carnitine is a powerful nutrient that helps to facilitate the entry and exit of essential fatty acids from the mitochondria. These fatty acids are necessary for proper cell metabolism. Acetyl-L carnitine appears to have excellent absorption within the brain.
Alpha lipoic acid has both water and fat soluble properties and is considered to be the "universal antioxidant." Alpha lipoic acid is involved in the Kreb cycle, again essential for production of ATP. Supplementation with alpha lipoic acid in old rats improved ambulatory activity, lowered oxidative damage, thereby improving mitochondrial function. In one study when both acetyl-L-carnitine and alpha lipoic acid were fed to aged rats, they showed significant improvement in cognitive tasks and actually had regeneration of brain cells. There are no FDA approved drugs or surgeries that can accomplish this. In fact, medical school has historically taught doctors this is impossible. We now know differently.
Off my Website you might want to glance at a discounted product called MitoChpower. Compare the price of the ingredients and the quality with anything in the USA. And it is not rotting on a shelf somewhere. I can get wholesale from over 200 places and yet get my personal material from them. Each capsule contains 200 mg of natural trans form CoQ10 (pharmaceutical grade) from Japan, along with 100 mg of alpha lipoic acid, 130 mg of acetyl-L-carnitine along with selenium, vitamin E and B vitamins. These nutrients have been shown to improve cell energy production potentially protecting both the heart and the brain. Just two capsules per day provide you with effective levels. You may take up to six capsules per day for maximum benefits.
Or you can buy off my website at published wholesale price, or what your local store pays, such things as acetyl-L-carnitine, CoQ10 and alpha lipoic acid as single agents.
Look at most multivitamins. They are missing these sample critical nutrients or have pitifully low levels of these most valuable nutrients. Why? They are up to 1,800 times more expensive when compared to other nutrients. Ask yourself, what is your brain (memory, movement and cognitive abilities) and cardiovascular health worth?
My thanks to Neurologist and Internist Alan Josephs, MD for the core research mentioned above. I appreciate his hard work in writing on brain repair and health.
Please discuss any nutrient with your doctor, but bring them research so they know what you are talking about. If you are on blood thinners, be aware that Ginkgo biloba can further thin the blood.
My Best Wishes For Your Health!