The brain is this magnificent organ that works as part of the nervous system. It delivers instructions to all other organs, receives feedback from the body and processes input from the external environment. All this allows us to create memories and remember important moments- it is the seat of creativity and enables us to learn and retain information. It creates circuits that tell us what’s safe and gives us the capacity to form relationships with others. When our brain is working optimally, we think clearly, can problem solve effectively and we are rational.
The brain is made up of trillions of brain cells (neurons). These neurons talk to each other, form relationships with one another and they essentially have their own “social circles”. The capacity of neurons to communicate is the foundation of brain health. Neurons interact with each other through two structures- dendrites and axons. Dendrites receive information and axons give information (1). The number of neurons, dendrite length and diameter of the axon determine the quality of correspondence within the brain (1).
Starting in the early 20’s the number of brain cells and the integrity of the neurons begins to decline- the dendrites shorten and the axons diameter decreases (2). This process, due to environmental toxins, various lifestyle factors and the standard American diet has rapidly accelerated beyond normal aging. When the brain becomes compromised, communication between neurons is fragmented and brain pathologies such as Alzheimer’s, dementia and cognitive decline start to arise. A steady increase in brain disease is seen world-wide and it’s estimated that there are 10 million new dementia cases diagnosed each year (3). While this may seem discouraging, there are numerous ways in which we can protect the brain.
The goal when creating and maintaining a healthy brain is to optimize the communication pattern between neurons. As we age, inflammation, free radical damage and toxic build up causes neurons to shrink and die off. In order to counteract this, we want to limit our toxic load, eat a whole foods diet and ensure we are getting adequate exercise. In addition to this, incorporating Nootropics on a daily basis is an insurance policy against the symptoms of an aging brain. Nootropics are a class of supplements shown to have neuroprotective and neurogenerative effects that increase the brains resilience throughout the lifespan. Three amazing nootropics that have uses linked back thousands of years are lion’s mane, holy basil and gotu kola.
Lions Mane stimulates the production of new neurons by increasing a substance known as nerve growth factor. It also increases the production of a protein called brain derived neurotrophic factor which helps to keep existing neurons healthy. Lions mane has been used in traditional medicine to starve off memory loss and increase focus. In the western world, it is used to prevent dementia onset (5,6)
Holy Basil is an Ayurveda herb typically known in the western world for stress management. When it comes to cognitive health, holy basil has the ability to alter neurotransmitter levels in a beneficial way. One neurotransmitter- acetylcholine is essential for forming and recalling memories. Holy basil inhibits an enzyme that breaks this down, and protects it from disintegrating which translates to easier learning and memory retention. (6).
Gotu Kola has the ability to increase the diameter of the axon and the length of the dendrite. This allows the neurons to correspond with a wider network, allowing for more neuroplasticity. Gotu kola is also neuroprotective in the sense that it mitigates the effects of toxins such as heavy metals and food additives on the brain (1,2).
Living Alchemy’s WISDOM is a blend of these nootropic herbs that are scientifically shown to help the brain transmit information in a fluid fashion. Whether you have a family history of cognitive disease, want better memory and focus, or simply stay sharp as you age – the blend of nootropic and anti-inflammatory herbs in Living Alchemy WISDOM is a no brainer.
Lokanathan, N., Omar, N., Puzi, A., Saim, A., & Idrus, R.H. (2016). Recent Updates in Neuroprotective and Neurogenerative Potential of Centelle Asiatica. The Malaysian journal of medical sciences, 23(1), 4-14. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4975583/
Zhang, CC., Cao, BY., Kubo M., Harada, K., Yan, XT., Fukuyama, Y & Goo, KM. (2017). Chemical Constituents From Hericium Erinaceus Promote Neural Survival and Potentiate Neurite Outgrowth via the trka/erk1/2 Pathway. Int J. Mol. Sci, 18(8), 1659. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4975583/
Lai, PL., Naidu, M., Sabaratnam, V., David, RP., Kuppusamy, UR., Abdullah., N & Malek, SN. (2013). Neurotrphic Propertoes of the Lion’s Mane Medicinal Mushroom Hericium Erinaceus (Higher Basidiomycetes) from Malayisia. Internation journal of medicinal mushrooms 15(6), 539-554. DOI: 10.1615/IntJMedMushr.v15.i6.30