Is There Really A Superpill That Boosts Intelligence?
The brain is truly a complex part of the human anatomy. When you stop to think about all of the things it can do at one time; we can type on a computer, talk to someone on the phone, and watch TV. It’s debatable how much information is being retained while multitasking, but just the fact that we can do it is pretty amazing.
Working with the brain as well as the spinal cord and peripheral nerves is the domain of the neurosurgeon. If a person has a stroke, a tumor in the brain or a spinal disc herniation a neurosurgeon will diagnose and treat the injury. One who wishes to specialize in neurosurgery will spend approximately 14 years in school for training, with the last few years being spent in residency. Throughout the career of a neurosurgeon they will be researching all of the latest methods and technology in their field.
That being said, there is not one single “superpill” for the brain that is recommended by a reputable neurosurgeon. There are many claims that a natural supplement such as ginkgo biloba which generates millions of dollars in sales will enhance the memory, but studies have shown only slight improvements in memory function with those who have taken it. The problem with this supplement is that it causes the blood to thin which can cause further issues if taken long term.
Another popular “superpill” is Phosphatidylserine or PS. It is a chemical that the human body produces which can also be found in food products like soy or cabbage. The supplement was once made from cow brains, but fears of mad cow disease being passed to humans made manufacturers switch to plant based products. The ingredients should be checked on every purchase to ensure the product being taken is indeed from plants. Phosphatidylserine is used to treat a myriad of brain issues such as ADHD, depression, and Alzheimer’s disease to name just a few. Side effects can include nausea and insomnia, but is shown to be safe for most people. Drug interactions should be checked as this chemical can easily cause an upset in the balance of medications already being prescribed.
If an individual really wants to protect their grey matter the best supplement to take would be a multivitamin. The human brain can suffer damage from free radicals, and the antioxidants usually found in a multivitamin (due to the addition of Vitamin C) will combat the free radicals and protect the neurons. Research has concluded that those who supplement their diet with regular doses of Vitamin C have better test scores than those who do not. A multivitamin will also supply folic acid, beta carotene, B12, zinc and iron which have all been shown to improve brain function as we age.
Eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables are a good way of getting these nutrients as well. Studies have shown that those who are elderly have better brain functions when they consume a diet that is low in saturated fats and rich in fresh fruits such as blueberries, and vegetables such as broccoli.