Sunday, October 09, 2011

What Supplements Should Be Taken to Preserve the Brain?

A recent study published in the Journal of Intelligence looked at the effects on IQ of a proprietary combination of nutritional supplements, called Ceretrophin, vs. placebo. The combination is made up of Huperzine A, Vinpocetine, Acetyl-l-carnitine, R. Rosea and Alpha-lipoic acid, all readily available over the counter in the US. The researchers tested the subjects on Ravens Advanced Progressive Matrices (APM) prior to treatment and after 4 weeks of treatment or placebo.
A significant study visit (time) treatment condition interaction was found: F (1, 57) = 7.279, p = 0.009, partial 2 = .113, with paired samples t-tests revealing a significant improvement in mean APM score from baseline to retest (week 4) (t(34) = 4.045, p < .001) for the Ceretrophin group. Improvements in APM scores could be attributed to the active intervention over the placebo, indicating that the treatment improved general intelligence. Implications for improving our understanding of the biological basis of intelligence and pharmacologically improving human cognition are discussed. _Intelligence_via_Inductivist
Ron Guhname at the Inductivist blog suggests that this improvement in Ravens APM scores represents an increase in IQ score of 6 points (see comment at link).

The assortment of supplements included in "Ceretrophin" provides a wide spectrum of effects on neural tissues, including anti-inflammatory, stimulant, vascular, and neuroreceptor effects.

In addition to the supplements listed, there are a number of others which should be considered, including curcumin and omega 3 fatty acids. It would be easy to go overboard on taking supplements, so make sure that you find a good justification for each supplement that you choose to take. Also keep in mind possible interactions between supplements, between supplements and any drugs you may take, an any potential of supplements to exacerbate a pre-existing condition you may have.

In general, the doses of supplements and herbs available OTC in pills and capsules in western nations, should not represent significant risk to most individuals.

Al Fin gerontologists and cognitive scientists do not dispute the findings in the study, although they feel the sample size was too small for definitive conclusions. Nevertheless, the study suggests that similar research with larger sample sizes and a variety of supplement combinations could be justified.



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