Functional Nutrients

IQ BARs are meticulously formulated around six functional nutrients shown to support sustained cognitive energy, performance, and health. Below, we’ve aggregated research on these nutrients that we’re particularly excited about!
Lion's Mane Extract
Prebiotic Fiber
Mushroom Lion's Mane Extract

Used in Chinese medicine for millennia, the Lion’s Mane mushroom is widely championed for its potential brain benefits. It’s perhaps best known for its demonstrated ability to boost nerve growth factor (NGF) across a host of animal studies. [1][2][3] NGF promotes the generation of new neurons, the growth, maintenance, and survival of existing neurons, and the reversal of injury-induced nerve damage. [4][5] In vitro research has shown Lion’s Mane to also promote neurite outgrowth, a process by which neurons create more expansive cellular connections. [6][7]

Unsurprisingly, healthier neurons appear to improve brain function! A landmark 2009 study found that when a group of 50- to 80-year-old Japanese men and women regularly consumed Lion’s Mane tablets for weeks at a time, they scored significantly higher than a control group in cognitive function testing. A subsequent 2017 study found that mice demonstrated superior spatial short-term and visual recognition memory after consuming the mushroom. [9] Perhaps the strongest animal research on this topic is that which has shown Lion’s Mane to protect against neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. [10][11][12][13]

Lion’s Mane also appears to have strong anti-oxidant properties. Several in vitro studies in the last five years have shown the mushroom to be highly adept at “scavenging” (i.e., disabling) free radicals and reducing genes’ expression of chemicals that promote inflammation. [14][15][16] Lion’s Mane has also been linked with a reduction in fatigue, anxiety, and depression, in part due to its anti-oxidant capabilities. [17][18] These “feel-good” benefits are likely the biggest reason Lion’s Mane is cropping up everywhere these days!

  1. Bing-Ji M, Jin-Wen S, Hai-You Y, et al. Hericenones and erinacines: stimulators of nerve growth factor (NGF) biosynthesis in Hericium erinaceus. An International Journal on Fungal Biology. 2010;1(2):92-98. (Link)
  2. Kawagishi H, Shimada A, Shizuki K, et al. Erinacine D, A Stimulator of NGF-Synthesis From the Mycelia of Hericium Erinaceum. Heterocyclic Communications. 2011;2(1): 51–54. (Link)
  3. Kawagishi H, Shimada A, Shirai R, et al. Erinacines A, B and C, strong stimulators of nerve growth factor (NGF)-synthesis, from the mycelia of Hericium erinaceum. Agris. 1994;35(10):1569-1572. (Link)
  4. Wong KH, Naidu M, David RP, et al. Neuroregenerative potential of lion's mane mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Bull.: Fr.) Pers. (higher Basidiomycetes), in the treatment of peripheral nerve injury (review). Int J Med Mushrooms. 2012;14(5):427-46. (Link)
  5. Lee KF, Chen JH, Teng CC, et al. Protective effects of Hericium erinaceus mycelium and its isolated erinacine A against ischemia-injury-induced neuronal cell death via the inhibition of iNOS/p38 MAPK and nitrotyrosine. Int J Mol Sci. 2014 Aug 27;15(9):15073-89. doi: 10.3390/ijms150915073. (Link)
  6. Samberkar S, Gandhi S, Naidu M, et al. Lion's Mane, Hericium erinaceus and Tiger Milk, Lignosus rhinocerotis (Higher Basidiomycetes) Medicinal Mushrooms Stimulate Neurite Outgrowth in Dissociated Cells of Brain, Spinal Cord, and Retina: An In Vitro Study. Int J Med Mushrooms. 2015;17(11):1047-54. (Link)
  7. Lai PL, Naidu M, Sabaratnam V, et al. Neurotrophic properties of the Lion's mane medicinal mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Higher Basidiomycetes) from Malaysia. Int J Med Mushrooms. 2013;15(6):539-54. (Link)
  8. Mori K, Inatomi S, Ouchi K, et al. Improving effects of the mushroom Yamabushitake (Hericium erinaceus) on mild cognitive impairment: a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Phytother Res. 2009 Mar;23(3):367-72. (Link)
  9. Federico B, Valentina C, Andrej G, et al. Dietary Supplementation of Hericium erinaceus Increases Mossy Fiber-CA3 Hippocampal Neurotransmission and Recognition Memory in Wild-Type Mice. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2017; 2017: 3864340. (Link)
  10. Tsai-Teng T, Chin-Chu C, Li-Ya L, et al. Erinacine A-enriched Hericium erinaceus mycelium ameliorates Alzheimer's disease-related pathologies in APPswe/PS1dE9 transgenic mice. J Biomed Sci. 2016 Jun 27;23(1):49. (Link)
  11. Junrong Z, Shengshu A, Wenji H, et al. The Neuroprotective Properties of Hericium erinaceus in Glutamate-Damaged Differentiated PC12 Cells and an Alzheimer’s Disease Mouse Model. Int J Mol Sci. 2016 Nov; 17(11): 1810. (Link)
  12. Tzeng T, Chen C, Lee L, et al. Erinacine A-enriched Hericium erinaceus mycelium ameliorates Alzheimer’s disease-related pathologies in APPswe/PS1dE9 transgenic mice. J Biomed Sci. 2016; 23: 49. (Link)
  13. Kuo HC, Lu CC, Shen CH, et al. Hericium erinaceus mycelium and its isolated erinacine A protection from MPTP-induced neurotoxicity through the ER stress, triggering an apoptosis cascade. J Transl Med. 2016 Mar 18;14:78. (Link)
  14. Jiang S, Wang Y, Zhang X. Comparative studies on extracts from Hericium erinaceus by different polarity reagents to gain higher antioxidant activities. Exp Ther Med. 2016 Jul;12(1):513-517. (Link)
  15. Hou Y, Ding X, Hou W. Composition and antioxidant activity of water-soluble oligosaccharides from Hericium erinaceus. Mol Med Rep. 2015 May;11(5):3794-9. (Link)
  16. Mori K, Ouchi K, Hirasawa N. The Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Lion's Mane Culinary-Medicinal Mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Higher Basidiomycetes) in a Coculture System of 3T3-L1 Adipocytes and RAW264 Macrophages. Int J Med Mushrooms. 2015;17(7):609-18. (Link)
  17. Liu J, DU C, Wang Y, et al. Anti-fatigue activities of polysaccharides extracted from Hericium erinaceus. Exp Ther Med. 2015 Feb;9(2):483-487. (Link)
  18. Nagano M, Shimizu K, Kondo R, et al. Reduction of depression and anxiety by 4 weeks Hericium erinaceus intake. Biomed Res. 2010 Aug;31(4):231-7. (Link)
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icon-omega Omega-3s

If there was a brain nutrient rockstar, it would be omega-3 fatty acids. On top of energizing the brain, omega-3’s are a primary structural component of the organ itself, representing 8% of its total weight, and the majority of the weight of substructures like neuronal plasma membranes. [1] Moreover, greater consumption of these acids has been found to correlate with higher gray matter volume in critical components of the brain - especially in its memory center, the hippocampus. [2][3] A major driver of this correlation is omega-3’s apparent capacity to induce creation of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein that supports new neuron formation. Despite these benefits, 70% of Americans are omega-3 deficient. [4]

Omega-3 consumption has been linked to more than just larger brains - it has also correlated with greater memory retention, capacity to learn, and neuronal plasticity. Two 2012 studies found that working memories of both younger (aged 18-25) and older (aged 51-72) adults improved when omega-3 pills were taken for extended periods of time. [5][6] Further, studies focusing on 4-10 year-olds found that omega-3 intake was associated with improved reading ability, listening comprehension and vocabulary acquisition, and activation of the prefrontal cortex. [7][8][9] Finally, across animal studies where brain injury occurred, omega-3’s corresponded with greater plasticity through reductions in oxidative damage, learning impairment, and cellular homeostasis disruptions. [10][11][12]

One of omega-3 fatty acids’ greatest conferred benefits is counteracting free radicals and inflammation that contribute to a whole host of maladies from brain fog to stroke. Omega-3’s accomplish this feat by signaling the body to mass-produce the antioxidant protein Nrf2 and “mediator” molecules that prevent, halt, and resolve inflammation. [13][14][15][16] The impact of these biological mechanisms has been shown to be substantial across structural and emotional cognitive outcomes. For instance, a 2007 study tracked over 8,000 healthy older adults and found that those who regularly ingested omega-3-rich oils were 60% less likely to develop dementia than others. [17] Additional studies have found that consumers of omega-3’s are less likely to be anxious or depressed. [18][19] Long story short: omega-3’s do it all.

  1. O'Brien JS, Sampson EL. Lipid composition of the normal human brain: gray matter, white matter, and myelin. The Journal of Lipid Research. 1965 Oct;6(4):537-44. (Link)
  2. Conklin SM, Gianaros PJ, Brown SM, et al. Long-chain omega-3 fatty acid intake is associated positively with corticolimbic gray matter volume in healthy adults. Neuroscience Letters. 2007;421(3):209-212. doi:10.1016/j.neulet.2007.04.086. (Link)
  3. Pottala JV, Yaffe K, Robinson JG, Espeland MA, Wallace R, Harris WS. Higher RBC EPA + DHA corresponds with larger total brain and hippocampal volumes: WHIMS-MRI Study. Neurology. 2014;82(5):435-442. doi:10.1212/WNL.0000000000000080. (Link)
  4. Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Meeting. (Link)
  5. Narendran R, Frankle WG, Mason NS, Muldoon MF, Moghaddam B (2012) Improved Working Memory but No Effect on Striatal Vesicular Monoamine Transporter Type 2 after Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid Supplementation. PLoS ONE 7(10): e46832. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0046832. (Link)
  6. Nilsson A, Radeborg K, Salo I. Effects of supplementation with n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids on cognitive performance and cardiometabolic risk markers in healthy 51 to 72 years old subjects: a randomized controlled cross-over study. Nutrition Journal. 2012;11(99). doi:10.1186/1475-2891-11-99. (Link)
  7. Lai PL, Naidu M, Sabaratnam V, et al. Neurotrophic properties of the Lion's mane medicinal mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Higher Basidiomycetes) from Malaysia. Int J Med Mushrooms. 2013;15(6):539-54. (Link)
  8. McNamara RK, Able J, Jandacek R, et al. Docosahexaenoic acid supplementation increases prefrontal cortex activation during sustained attention in healthy boys: a placebo-controlled, dose-ranging, functional magnetic resonance imaging study. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2010;91(4):1060-1067. doi:10.3945/ajcn.2009.28549. (Link)
  9. Ryan A, Nelson B. Assessing the Effect of Docosahexaenoic Acid on Cognitive Functions in Healthy, Preschool Children: A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Double-Blind Study. Clinical Pediatrics. 2008;47(4):355-362. doi:10.1177/0009922807311730. (Link)
  10. Aiguo Wu, Zhe Ying, and Fernando Gomez-Pinilla. Dietary Omega-3 Fatty Acids Normalize BDNF Levels, Reduce Oxidative Damange, and Counteract Learning Disability after Traumatic Brain Injury in Rats. Journal of Neurotrauma. 2004;21(10):1457-1467. doi:10.1089/neu.2004.21.1457. (Link)
  11. Aiguo Wu, Zhe Ying, and Fernando Gomez-Pinilla. Omega-3 Fatty Acids Supplementation Restores Mechanisms that Maintain Brain Homeostasis in Traumatic Brain Injury. Journal of Neurotrauma. 2007;24(10):1587-1595. doi:10.1089/neu.2007.0313. (Link)
  12. Mills JD, Bailes JE, Sedney CL, et al. Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation and reduction of traumatic axonal injury in a rodent head injury model. Journal of Neurosurgery. 2011;114(1):77-84. doi:10.3171/2010.5.JNS08914. (Link)
  13. Serhan CN, Chiang N. Novel endogenous small molecules as the checkpoint controllers in inflammation and resolution: entree for resoleomics. Rheumatic Disease Clinics of North America. 2004;30(1):69-95. doi:10.1016/S0889-857X(03)00117-0. (Link)
  14. James MJ, Gibson RA, Cleland LG. Dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids and inflammatory mediator production. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2000;71(1):343S-8S. (Link)
  15. Schwab JM, Chiang N, Arita M, Serhan CN. Resolvin E1 and Protectin D1 Activate Inflammation-Resolution Programs. Nature. 2007;447(7146):869-874. doi:10.1038/nature05877. (Link)
  16. Gao L, Wang J, Sekhar K, et al. Novel n-3 Fatty Acid Oxidation Products Activate Nrf2 by Destabilizing the Association between Keap1 and Cullin3. The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 2006;282:2529-2537. doi:10.1074/jbc.M607622200. (Link)
  17. Barberger-Gateau P, Raffaitin C, Letenneur L, et al. Dietary patterns and risk of dementia: the Three-City cohort study. Neurology. 2007;69(20):1921-30. doi:10.1212/01.wnl.0000278116.37320.52. (Link)
  18. Kiecolt-Glaser JK, Belury MA, Andridge R, Malarkey WB, Glaser R. Omega-3 Supplementation Lowers Inflammation and Anxiety in Medical Students: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Brain, behavior, and immunity. 2011;25(8):1725-1734. doi:10.1016/j.bbi.2011.07.229. (Link)
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Matcha Flavonoids

Flavonoids are one of the reasons people feel “sharp” after consuming colorful fruits and vegetables. When ingested, these compounds signal the body to prioritize cognitive resources and functionality. For instance, flavonoids have been shown to drive greater blood flow to the brain. [1][2][3] They also appear to increase density of (i.e., strengthen) synaptic connections between neurons, and to activate new inter-neuron signaling pathways. [4][5] More fortified, efficient connectivity ultimately drives improved cognition. Across human studies measuring processing speed, executive function, working memory, and learning, flavonoids have been shown to cause significant improvements. [6][7][8]

Flavonoids have also been shown to confer energy, stamina, and nimbleness to the brain. A 2006 study found that healthy young adults who consumed drinks containing cocoa flavonoids self-reported reduced mental fatigue after a period of sustained demand, in addition to outperforming controls across a battery of cognitive performance tests. [9] A 2016 study came to similar conclusions, finding that healthy middle-aged men who consumed a flavonoid-rich drink self-reported higher alertness than controls, and exhibited better executive function and psychomotor speed. [10] A 2003 study made the additional discovery that older female subjects who consumed flavonoid-rich Pueraria lobata root appeared to have increased flexible thinking (i.e., ability to switch cognitive tasks). [11]

The brain is not just more functional and active on flavonoids though - it is also better fortified against oxidation, inflammation, neurodegeneration, and depressed mood. The compound’s most widely cited impact is its capacity to both directly neutralize free radicals, and indirectly offset them by facilitating mass-activation of antioxidant Nrf2 proteins in the body. [12][13] Similarly, flavonoids have been shown to both prevent and remediate inflammatory enzymes and their byproducts [12]. And, long-term consumption appears to pay off; studies show that consuming flavonoid-rich foods like berries, green tea, and cocoa over decades correlates with lower rates of cognitive decline. [14][15][16] The cherry on top? Across both humans and animals, flavonoids appear to make all creatures happier. [9][17]

  1. Francis ST, Head K, Morris PG, et al. The effect of flavonol-rich cocoa on the fMRI response to a cognitive task in healthy young people. Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology. 2006;47(2):S215-220. (Link)
  2. Fisher ND, Sorond FA, Hollenberg NK. Cocoa flavonols and brain perfusion. Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology. 2006;47(2):S210-4. (Link)
  3. Lamport DJ, Pal D, Moutsiana C, et al. The effect of flavanol-rich cocoa on cerebral perfusion in healthy older adults during conscious resting state: a placebo controlled, crossover, acute trial. Psychopharmacology. 2015;232(17):3227-3234 doi:10.1007/s00213-015-3972-4. (Link)
  4. Williams RJ, Spencer JP. Flavonoids, cognition, and dementia: actions, mechanisms, and potential therapeutic utility for Alzheimer disease. Free Radical Biology & Medicine. 2012;52(1):35-45 doi:10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2011.09.010. (Link)
  5. Spencer JP. Food for thought: the role of dietary flavonoids in enhancing human memory, learning and neurocognitive performance. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society Journal. 2008;67(2):238-52 doi:10.1017/S0029665108007088. (Link)
  6. Mix JA, Crews WD. An examination of the efficacy of Ginko biloba Extract EGb 761 on the Neuropsychologic Functioning of Cognitively Intact Older Adults. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2007;6(3): 219-229 doi:10.1089/acm.2000.6.219. (Link)
  7. Pipingas A, Silberstein RB, Vitetta L, et al. Improved cognitive performance after dietary supplementation with a Pinus radiata bark extract formulation. Phytotherapy Research. 2008;22(9):1168-74 doi:10.1002/ptr.2388. (Link)
  8. Ryan J, Croft K, Mori T, et al. An examination of the effects of the antioxidant Pycnogenol on cognitive performance, serum lipid profile, endocrinological and oxidative stress biomarkers in an elderly population. Journal of Psychopharmacology. 2008;22(5):553-62 doi:10.1177/0269881108091584. (Link)
  9. Scholey AB, French SJ, Morris PJ, et al. Consumption of cocoa flavanols results in acute improvements in mood and cognitive performance during sustained mental effort. Journal of Psychopharmacology. 2010;24(10):1505-14 doi:10.1177/0269881109106923. (Link)
  10. Alharbi MH, Lamport DJ, Dodd GF, et al. Flavonoid-rich orange juice is associated with acute improvements in cognitive function in healthy middle-aged males. European Journal of Nutrition. 2016;55(6):2021-2029. doi:10.1007/s00394-015-1016-9. (Link)
  11. Woo J, Lau E, Ho SC, et al. Comparison of Pueraria lobata with hormone replacement therapy in treating the adverse health consequences of menopause. Menopause. 2003;10(4):352-61 doi:10.1097/01.GME.0000054764.94658.33. (Link)
  12. Nijveldt RJ, van Nood E, van Hoorn DE, et al. Flavonoids: a review of probable mechanisms of action and potential applications. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2001;74(4):418-425. (Link)
  13. Leonardo CC, Doré S. Dietary flavonoids are neuroprotective through Nrf2-coordinated induction of endogenous cytoprotective proteins. Nutritional neuroscience. 2011;14(5):226-236. doi:10.1179/1476830511Y.0000000013. (Link)
  14. L Letenneur, C Proust-Lima, A Le Gouge, JF Dartigues, P Barberger-Gateau; Flavonoid Intake and Cognitive Decline over a 10-Year Period. Am J Epidemiol 2007; 165 (12): 1364-1371. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwm036. (Link)
  15. Moreira A, Diogenes MJ, de Mendonca A, et al. Chocolate Consumption is Associated with a Lower Risk of Cognitive Decline. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease. 2016;53(1):85-93 doi:10.3233/JAD-160142. (Link)
  16. Devore EE, Kang JH, Breteler MMB, Grodstein F. Dietary intake of berries and flavonoids in relation to cognitive decline. Annals of neurology. 2012;72(1):135-143 doi:10.1002/ana.23594. (Link)
  17. Messaoudi M, Bisson JF, Nejdi A, et al. Antidepressant-like effects of a cocoa polyphenolic extract in Wistar-Unilever rats. Nutritional Neuroscience. 2008;11(6):269-76 doi:10.1179/147683008X344165. (Link)
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icon-flower Vitamin-E

Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that serves a critical role in protecting the brain over time. Neuronal cell membranes are comprised of fats and cholesterol that are highly susceptible to oxidation and inflammation caused by free radicals. Vitamin E embeds itself into these cell membranes and effectively shields them against free radicals, thus preventing chain reactions of structural damage. Despite vitamin E’s capacity to drastically slow the cognitive aging process, well over 90% of adults in America do not consume adequate quantities of the nutrient. [1]

Most studies on the brain impacts of vitamin E focus on cognitive degradation in the older adult population. For instance, studies conducted in 2002 and 1999 found that healthy, elderly subjects with high vitamin E intakes performed significantly better than others on mental function questionnaires and memory tests. [2] Another 2002 study found subjects in the highest quintile of vitamin E intake had a 36% reduction in the rate of cognitive decline relative to the lowest quintile - equivalent to an age decrease of 8-9 years. [3] Finally, a 2011 study linked vitamin E intake to specific brain disorders, finding the risk of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) was 15% lower in adults with the highest levels of vitamin E, and that both MCI and Alzheimer’s disease were correlated with vitamin E damage markers. [4]

Structural protection offered by vitamin E appears to affect more than just cognition. Tests done on mice have shown that when the animals’ diets are supplemented with vitamin E, they showed markedly improved acrobatic prowess and spatial awareness, and lived 40% longer than their peers [5]. Other medical investigations have found vitamin E to confer benefits to the human heart and immune system - researchers have shown association between vitamin E consumption and decreased risk of heart attack, death from heart disease, and upper respiratory tract infections, including the common cold. [6][7][8]

  1. Ortega R, Requejo AM, Lopez-Sobaler AM, et al. Cognitive Function in Elderly People Is Influenced by Vitamin E Status. The Journal of Nutrition. 2002;132(7):2065-2068. (Link)
  2. Perkins AJ, Hendrie HC, Callahan CM, et al. Association of Antioxidants with Memory in Multiethnic Elderly Sample Using the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. American Journal of Epidemiology. 1999;150(1):37-44. (Link)
  3. Morris MC, Evans DA, Bienias JL, Tangney CC, Wilson RS. Vitamin E and Cognitive Decline in Older Persons. Arch Neurol. 2002;59(7):1125-1132. doi:10.1001/archneur.59.7.1125. (Link)
  4. Mangialasche F, Weili X, Kivipelto M, et al. Tocopherols and tocotrienols plasma levels are associated with cognitive impairment. Neurobiology of Aging. 2012;33(10):2282-2290. (Link)
  5. Navarro A, Gomez C, Sanchez-Pino M, et al. Vitamin E at high doses improves survival, neurological performance, and brain mitochondrial function in aging male mice. American Journal of Physiology. 2005;289(5):1392-1399. (Link)
  6. Knekt P, Reunanen A, Jarvinen R, et al. Antioxidant vitamin intake and coronary mortality in a longitudinal population study. American Journal of Epidemiology. 1994;139(12):1180-9. (Link)
  7. Kushi LH, Folsom AR, Prineas RJ, et al. Dietary antioxidant vitamins and death from coronary heart disease in postmenopausal women. New England Journal of Medicine. 1996;334(18):1156-62. (Link)
  8. Meydani SN, Leka LS, Fine BC, et al. Vitamin E and Respiratory Infections Among Elderly Nursing Home Residents: A Randomized Controlled Trial. JAMA : the journal of the American Medical Association. 2004;292(7):828-836. doi:10.1001/jama.292.7.828. (Link)
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Magnesium Magnesium

Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body and a component of 300+ enzymatic processes! Regarding the brain, it’s most studied for its potential to boost learning and neuron plasticity. For instance, a 2015 study found magnesium levels to correlate with memory and verbal fluency test scores amongst elderly South Indians. A series of animal studies linked magnesium supplementation with superior pattern learning, connectivity in the hippocampus (our memory center), and release of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein that supports new neuron formation. [1][2][3]

Magnesium has also shown promise in counteracting effects of brain aging. A landmark 2016 study found subjects aged 50-70 supplemented with magnesium performed as well on a host of cognitive tests as those 9-14 years younger! [4] The “miracle mineral” may also fight Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, typically suffered by aged brains. A series of human and animal studies found subjects afflicted with these diseases saw lower levels of hallmark symptoms like synapse loss, memory decline, plaque buildup, and dopamine irregularity when regularly consuming magnesium. [5][6][7][8]

Magnesium has also been linked to psychological benefits. Its correlation with reduced anxiety and depression is so strong, in fact, that it has been nicknamed “the original chill pill” and even found to be as effective as pharmaceutical anti-depressants! [9][10][11] Research has also identified magnesium as a treatment tool for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Animal studies have shown the mineral to enhance coping ability with negative memories without erasing the memories themselves. [12] Finally, magnesium appears to improve sleep quality, which is linked with nearly all aspects of psychological health. [13]

  1. Slutsky I, Abumaria N, Wu LJ, et al. Enhancement of learning and memory by elevating brain magnesium. Neuron. 2010 Jan 28;65(2):165-77. (Link)
  2. Abumaria N, Yin B, Zhang L, et al. Effects of elevation of brain magnesium on fear conditioning, fear extinction, and synaptic plasticity in the infralimbic prefrontal cortex and lateral amygdala. J Neurosci. 2011 Oct 19;31(42):14871-81. (Link)
  3. Landfield PW, Morgan GA. Chronically elevating plasma Mg2+ improves hippocampal frequency potentiation and reversal learning in aged and young rats. Brain Res. 1984 Nov 19;322(1):167-71. (Link)
  4. Liu G, Weinger JG, Lu ZL, et al. Efficacy and Safety of MMFS-01, a Synapse Density Enhancer, for Treating Cognitive Impairment in Older Adults: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial. J Alzheimers Dis. 2016;49(4):971-90. (Link)
  5. Li W, Yu J, Liu Y, et al. Elevation of brain magnesium prevents synaptic loss and reverses cognitive deficits in Alzheimer's disease mouse model. Mol Brain. 2014 Sep 13;7:65. (Link)
  6. Xin Y, Pei-Pei G, Jin-Wen G, et al. By suppressing the expression of anterior pharynx-defective-1α and -1β and inhibiting the aggregation of β-amyloid protein, magnesium ions inhibit the cognitive decline of amyloid precursor protein/presenilin 1 transgenic mice. The FASEB Journal. 20 Aug 2015;29(12). (Link)
  7. Barbagallo M, Belvedere M, Di Bella G, et al. Altered ionized magnesium levels in mild-to-moderate Alzheimer's disease. Magnes Res. 2011 Sep;24(3):S115-21. (Link)
  8. Taniguchi R, Nakagawasai O, Tan-no K, et al. Combined low calcium and lack magnesium is a risk factor for motor deficit in mice. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2013;77(2):266-70. (Link)
  9. With health care cuts looming, low-cost magnesium a welcome option for treating depression. Science Daily. 27 June 2017. (Link)
  10. Eby GA, Eby KL. Rapid recovery from major depression using magnesium treatment. Med Hypotheses. 2006;67(2):362-70. (Link)
  11. Sartori SB, Whittle N, Hetzenauer A, et al. Magnesium deficiency induces anxiety and HPA axis dysregulation: Modulation by therapeutic drug treatment. Neuropharmacology. 2012 Jan; 62(1): 304–312. (Link)
  12. Abumaria N, Yin B, Zhang L, et al. Effects of elevation of brain magnesium on fear conditioning, fear extinction, and synaptic plasticity in the infralimbic prefrontal cortex and lateral amygdala. J Neurosci. 2011 Oct 19;31(42):14871-81. (Link)
  13. Abbasi B, Kimiagar M, Sadeghniiat K, et al. The effect of magnesium supplementation on primary insomnia in elderly: A double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. J Res Med Sci. 2012 Dec; 17(12): 1161–1169. (Link)
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icon-fiber Prebiotic Fiber

Mounting evidence indicates that a high-fiber diet has numerous positive impacts on cognition and brain health. For one, fiber has been shown to combat overconsumption of food by instilling a sensation of fullness, and mitigates blood glucose spikes by slowing the body’s absorption of sugars. This is important because slimmer waistlines and lower blood glucose levels have both been associated with better memory recall, a larger hippocampus (the brain structure responsible for memory), and a reduced risk of a stroke in the brain. [1][2][3][4][5]

Additionally, fiber serves as sustenance for our gut microbiota, which is critical to the creation, absorption, and distribution of compounds essential to a healthy brain. Among such compounds are the neurotransmitters serotonin, GABA, and dopamine, which mediate everything from appetite to learning. Other such compounds are fatty acids like butyrate, which has been shown to protect neurons from cell death, promote plasticity and regeneration, reduce inflammation, and fortify the blood-brain barrier. [6] Fiber-fed bacteria have even been shown to correlate inversely with psychological depression. [7]

Finally, a fiber-rich diet has also been linked to higher levels of cognitive control amongst people of all ages. A recent 2015 study showed that, for children aged 7-9, “dietary fiber was positively associated with accuracy on an attentional inhibition task,” designed to test multitasking, working memory and ability to maintain focus. [8] Thus, it appears that all brains - not just fully developed, aging, or impaired brains - can benefit from adequate fiber intake to function at a high level.

  1. Geroldi C, Frisoni GB, Paolisso G, Bandinelli S, Lamponi M, Abbatecola AM, Zanetti O, Guralnik JM, Ferrucci L. Insulin Resistance in Cognitive ImpairmentThe InCHIANTI Study. Arch Neurol. 2005;62(7):1067-1072. doi:10.1001/archneur.62.7.1067. (Link)
  2. Raji CA, Ho AJ, Parikshak N, et al. Brain Structure and Obesity. Human brain mapping. 2010;31(3):353-364. doi:10.1002/hbm.20870. (Link)
  3. Cheke LG, Simons JS, Clayton NS. Higher body mass index is associated with episodic memory deficits in young adults. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology (2006). 2016;69(11):2305-2316. doi:10.1080/17470218.2015.1099163. (Link)
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