Brain health nutrition – powering and protecting today’s stressed and overstretched brains


MindCare-Logo-VerticalThe brain is a complex organ that neuroscientists openly admit we will likely never fully understand. The brain is the very essence of being human, it coordinates every single biological function and action and determines what makes us individual, so it is hardly surprising that its nutrient and energy requirements are considerable.

The brain alone accounts for 20% of our daily resting energy expenditure and every vitamin, mineral, amino acid and micronutrient you can name has some part to play in regulating and protecting the brain’s vital functions, structure and performance. In times of stress, anxiety, mood disturbance, aging, illness and increased pressure, the impact on total body energy and nutrient requirements is huge. Increased production of neurotransmitters, hormones, antioxidants and energy to support these processes, as well as keep us healthy and able to switch off and relax, requires a regular supply of high quality nutrition. Without the correct nutrition, the brain ceases to function properly, our health, wellbeing and mental function reduce and life starts to become that little bit harder. If you don’t address these issues quickly the situation can worsen, as the HPA axis and CNS become programmed to react to stress, mood-stabilising neurotransmitters deplete to dangerously low levels and inflammation and oxidative stress become elevated, which directly damages the brain and structure of neurones.

But, all is not lost, as we have taken our clinical nutrition expertise in mood, inflammation and lipid therapeutics and formulated MindCare. This unique range of supplements targets four key areas of brain health which, collectively, afflict the majority of the adult population: stress and anxiety, problems with sustained focus and attention, low mood or signs of an ageing brain.

 

MindCare Range (2)

Experts in lipid therapeutics

It is goes without saying that any good brain health range should contain the omega-3s needed to protect and preserve brain structure and function. First and foremost, our 80% concentration, high EPA to DHA ratio, re-esterified triglyceride (rTG), wild anchovy oil is fundamental to the MindCare range and is what sets us apart from all other brain health products. Delivering 660 mg of active EPA and DHA in one easy-to-swallow capsule, the oil is also infused with natural lemon essence to prevent reflux, particularly helpful for those with high stress lifestyles whose digestion and natural stomach acid production is often compromised, making them prone to experiencing reflux from fish oil.

It is of course part of the Igennus ethos to bring you the best quality, highest purity and effective formulations and studies clearly show that, in order to target the cells and raise omega-3 levels quickly and effectively, high strength, high concentration rTG fish oils outperform ALL other omega-3 sources.

EPA+DHA graphThis graph from Dyerberg et al’s 2010 paper shows the % increase in serum EPA+DHA content following a 2-week EPA and DHA supplementation regime. Participants consumed an average daily dose of 3.3g per day EPA + DHA from a range of omega-3 oil types.

(FBO = non concentrated fish body oil, CLO = cod liver oil, FFA = free fatty acids, EE = ethyl ester , CO = placebo)

rTG oil clearly comes out on top delivering the biggest increase in serum lipid content, despite containing the lowest volume of oil overall, and lowest total dose of EPA+DHA (all others delivered 200mg EPA + DHA or more).

The active ingredient concentration within an omega-3 oil is also extremely important for cellular uptake as well as the subsequent impact on health, as highlighted by the below study.

EPA+DHA Brunton & Collins graphWhen comparing two oils delivering the same total EPA and DHA dose, as either a 62.5% or 85% concentration oil, Brunton and Collins found that the 85% oil increased the red blood cell EPA and DHA content significantly (more than 100%) better than the 62.5% oil, relative to baseline levels. The health benefits seen were also significantly different between the oils, with the relative decrease in triglyceride levels being over four fold greater with the 85% oil compared with the 62.5% oil.

This study clearly shows that to ensure your fish oil delivers the best possible outcome, the active ingredient must be present in high concentrations per total volume of oil consumed in each dose.

By combining the optimum bioavailability of rTG, with a high concentration and high dose of active EPA and DHA, the omega-3 oil capsule in MindCare delivers its EPA and DHA quickly, directly to the cells of the brain and CNS, providing maximum health benefits. The oils we use are all independently batch-tested to ensure it is of the utmost purity and free from toxins and oxidation products.

The right EPA:DHA ratio for maximum brain health benefits

Many brain health products focus primarily on the DHA content of their oils – an understandable assumption ,perhaps, given the important structural role DHA plays in the brain and neurones, but nevertheless an incorrect one. Having an adequate supply of DHA is necessary for the regulation of cell membrane structure and subsequently cell to cell communication, synaptic plasticity and ion channel function. But, contrary to common thinking, ‘the more the better’ is not the case when it comes to DHA and continuously high intakes of DHA could be as detrimental as low intake. The body has evolved to tightly regulate the structural fats within cell membranes and when DHA levels within the cell are ‘optimal’, delta-6-desaturase activity is ‘switched off’ to prevent further production of DHA from its shorter chain precursors, including EPA. It is well established that 250 mg of DHA daily is all the body needs to repair and replenish cell levels and support the very low turnover of DHA in the brain and CNS.

The body does not have this same down regulation mechanism when it comes to EPA, and despite EPA’s multiple roles in regulating brain and CNS health, it is regularly present in very low dose, or even totally excluded, from brain health supplements – a fundamental scientific oversight that we have addressed in MindCare.

Although structurally EPA is not a key player in cells, it plays numerous roles that make it vital for brain structure and function:

  • EPA protects and preserves DHA levels via reducing phospholipase A2 activity – the enzyme responsible for the cleavage and release of structural fats from lipid membranes (as well as being the direct precursor to DHA production)
  • EPA is a major anti-inflammatory eicosanoid precursor that directly competes with and displaces AA from the cell, reducing inflammation and subsequently preventing cell damage
  • EPA interacts with our genetics to directly stimulate neurone growth and differentiation
  • EPA acts to reduce oxidative stress and subsequent damage to the brain and CNS
  • EPA specifically is the omega-3 responsible for enhanced focus, attention and processing speed in cognitive function studies
  • EPA is rapidly β-oxidised in preference to DHA in the brain, providing fuel for mitochondrial energy production and further preserving DHA levels

Considering these varied and important functions of EPA, the absence of regulatory mechanisms to control EPA levels in cells and its extremely high rate of turnover in the cell membrane relative to DHA, it is crucial to supply excess EPA to support and maintain both its own and DHA’s unique functions in the brain.

It is for these reasons that the omega-3 oil in MindCare provides the scientifically established 250 mg DHA per day, together with 410mg of EPA. By keeping the oil separate from the micronutrients our one–a-day fish oil delivers higher active ingredients and concentration, in a smaller capsule and lower total volume of oil than many popular ‘therapeutic’ fish oil brands.

Targeted micronutrient blends

The one-a-day micronutrient blend contains active nutrients with strong bioavailability, specifically formulated to support the brain and central nervous system and protect against physiological dysfunction known to cause stress, low mood, poor attention span and increased risk of cognitive decline.

Common to all of the MindCare products is a full B-complex formula. We’ve included the most bioavailable forms of the actives, specifically used by the brain and CNS. The carefully considered dosing for each ingredient also ensures full absorption. These include:

  • B6 as Pyroxidal-5-Phosphate
  • B12 as methylcobalamin – the form specifically used by the central nervous system
  • Fotale as methyltetrahydrofolate (Quatrefolic®) – a highly stable glucosamine salt form of folate that overcomes any issues associated with folic acid metabolism
  • B3 as nicotinamide
  • Thiamine below 5mg – as higher doses reduce bioavailability

This ensures optimal support for energy metabolism, neurotransmitter production and transport, antioxidant protection and homocysteine recycling, which together are vital for the long-term health and function of the brain and CNS.

Each product also contains vitamins C and E (non-soy, sunflower seed source), zinc (citrate) and selenium (L-selenomethionine – which is very easily absorbed and deposited in the brain at higher levels compared with other selenium forms). Together, these nutrients provide a potent antioxidant defence system, they enhance neurotransmitter production and function, support the adrenals and protects against tiredness, fatigue and psychological dysfunction.

Vitamin D plays an important role in the brain and CNS by acting to stimulate nootrophic factors, promote neurone growth and development and support calcium homeostasis thus ensuring optimal nerve transmission. Vitamin D also acts in the brain to stabilise mood and help detoxification, protecting against unwanted protein accumulation.

Boosting immunity to protect mind and mood

Vitamin C, E, D, zinc, selenium, omega-3 and B-vitamins also work together to enhance, support and protect immune function. Immune health is something not commonly associated with boosting brain health but, during times of stress, low mood and as we age, the immune system is heavily suppressed, meaning our risk of getting sick increases. By supporting the immune system, MindCare helps to reduce the likelihood of getting sick, allowing nutrients to be diverted to the brain, further protecting brain function and mood.

Specialist actives to ‘transform how you feel’!

The MindCare range is designed to support four key areas of brain health and depending on the one most applicable contains carefully chosen, unique ingredients to balance, focus, lift or protect the mind.

MindCare BALANCE

Our stress support product is designed to reach out to those of us who are increasingly feeling overwhelmed and struggling to cope with life’s demands. We know all too well that the HPA-axis and CNS go into overdrive when we are stressed and this heavily upsets the balance between the neurotransmitters that ready us for action, and those that calm us down and allow us to rest and recover. As such, prolonged and chronic stress often leads us to feel constantly on edge and hypersensitive to stressful situations. MindCare BALANCE contains an increased dose of vitamin B5 (as pantothenic acid) to help promote melatonin production and support healthy adrenal function, therefore allowing us to switch off and rest when needed. In addition, magnesium glycinate works to protect us against the negative effects of stress by directly reducing anxiety and supporting CNS function. L-Theanine also present in BALANCE interacts with GABA, serotonin and dopamine to produce a potent calming effect and enhance blood flow to the brain, helping us to relax after a stressful day.

MindCare FOCUS

The increased zinc in FOCUS supports optimal neurotransmission, whilst Acetyl-L-Carnitine shuttles fat directly to the mitochondria for sustained cellular energy production. Acetyl-L-Carnitine also helps to increase synthesis of neurotransmitters and their receptors involved in memory and cognition.

A unique synergistic relationship exists between L-Theanine, caffeine and taurine, which combine to provide potent fine tuning of our attention, concentration and memory. Together, they work to calm the mind and reduce brain ‘chatter’, increasing perception of mental alertness and helping to boost cognitive performance during demanding mental tasks, and reducing distractibility.

MindCare LIFT

MindCare LIFT is designed to protect against the physiological changes that can lead to persistent low mood by providing the nutrients needed to support serotonin production, as well as protect against neurotransmitter degradation associated with high inflammation and oxidative stress.

Omega-3 EPA is a proven antidepressant and acts to reduce inflammation known to both directly degrade serotonin and reduce its availability at the synapse. Having EPA in excess of DHA in the omega-3 oil is vital for the mood benefits associated EPA’s use, making the MindCare capsule particularly effective at helping to boost mood. Vitamin D and B7 further help to stabilise mood and blood sugar levels, to protect against mood swings.

Magnesium glycinate helps calm and relax the mind and works with zinc and vitamin B6 to support optimal neurotransmitter production, ensuring a constant supply of serotonin to the synapse. 5-HTP further enhances the production of serotonin, directly boosting mood and improving sleep quality.

MindCare PROTECT

MindCare PROTECT safeguards the brain against the increasing damage from high oxidative stress and inflammation that we are exposed to with age. By combining the ingredients needed to nourish and protect the brain’s structure and function, MindCare PROTECT keeps the brain sharp and ensures people feel their best well into old age.

The high dose, rTG form of EPA and DHA omega-3 fast-tracks these essential nutrients to the brain and CNS, rapidly replenishing the cell’s structural components, ensuring optimal cell-to-cell communication and protecting against inflammation and oxidative stress.

Increased vitamin C and selenium helps support antioxidant defences, whilst higher B vitamin doses ensure mitochondria function, detoxification and homocysteine recycling are all well supported.

N-acetyl L-Cysteine, alpha-lipoic-acid and resveratrol in MindCare PROTECT provide the brain and CNS with a potent antioxidant defence system, scientifically proven to reduce free radical damage, prevent toxin build-up, enhance mitochondrial stability, reduce signs of age-related cognitive decline and directly slow the ageing process.

Expertly formulated for maximum benefits

MindCare is a highly researched, carefully formulated and targeted range, designed to provide maximum benefits. Whilst it is not intended as a therapeutic range, mind and mood symptoms are an almost unavoidable feature of our modern lifestyles and, if we don’t prevent them from worsening, can contribute to the onset and severity of chronic illness.

The MindCare range is an ideal tool for those whose mind and mood concerns either do not require a full therapeutic approach, or are not their primary health concern. Through offering the nutrients needed for comprehensive brain and general health support, MindCare provides an excellent clinical baseline from which general health benefits can be gained and therapeutics can be integrated into, to support more severe symptoms and conditions. If you don’t already have a practitioner account with Igennus, you can sign up online.

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Important update concerning therapeutic interventions with pure EPA and the role of DHA in long-term health
Using personalised nutrition for enhanced therapeutics

Sophie Tully

About Sophie Tully

A trained pharmacologist, Sophie pursued her passion for health and nutrition by completing a master’s degree in Clinical & Public Health Nutrition at UCL, London. Sophie balances her Igennus role with her own private nutrition and health consultancy business working with elite athletes and the general public to achieve optimal health through lifestyle and dietary interventions. Sophie’s main research interests lie in the role of nutrition and lifestyle in inflammation, psychology and immunology. Sophie also lectures at the College of Naturopathic Medicine.