Finalist in the 2019 Writers Contest – Health & Well-Being Category
A product heavily advertised on radio is a brain-boosting limitless pill. This is named after the Bradley Cooper movie “Limitless” where the main character takes a drug that unleashes the brain’s full potential, better memory recall, better perception, and higher intelligence: But with a dark side.
Now there are products trying to combat brain fog in pill form. The problem with a lot of the supplements being heavily advertised is that there is little clinical data about their effects, side effects, or ingredients. These all fall into the grey area of supplements which the FDA frequently has to send cease and desist orders because of unsubstantiated claims. Many of the ingredients are familiar and are found in common vitamin supplements. However, not all vitamin supplements are the same. Vitamins that are synthetic–like those found in the limitless pill–are cheaper compared with the ingredients in a whole-food vitamin. Your body tends to excrete more of the synthetic vitamins through urination.
The rest of the ingredients are a little more murky; it’s called a “proprietary blend” but includes things like bilberry fruit extract, green tea extract, cinnamon bark extract, and various herbs with a few hard-to-pronounce chemical compounds. As we have discussed many times before, if you are using a supplement or herb to combat a specific affiliation dosing needs to be considered. Some over-the-counter extracts will put such a minor amount of the ingredient that it would have little to no actual effect. Not knowing the ideal safe dose pretty much means you are taking their word for it.
Knowing the history of tea–especially those of Asian monks using tea to remain awake during long meditation–means you can have your own DIY limitless regimen. Tea has caffeine which is a natural stimulant and also L-Theanine which promotes calm awareness. Both of these are found in the limitless pill. Green, White and Purple Tea also contain healthy amounts of EGCG, the powerful anti-oxidant found in green tea. These neuroprotective antioxidants permeate the blood-brain barrier, and in a study performed on mice significantly boosted brain antioxidant capacity.
Fish oil is another cheap over-the-counter supplement that has been proven to increase brain volume.
A proper night’s sleep also increases alertness and mental acuity. Sleep helps tidy out cellular garbage and keeps the brain operating at peak performance. Physical activity also combats brain fog. However, watching TV results in your brain consuming fewer calories than just doing nothing.
Did you ever binge on fast food only to find yourself being slowed down mentally afterward? This is no accident. High-sugar refined-carbs processed foods are potential brain fog contributors. Coffee can also contribute to brain fog if you drink a lot of it. The potential problem is that very high caffeine intake may cause a dependency on caffeine that creates a caffeine crash, requiring more caffeine. This doesn’t happen with tea because there is less caffeine per cup and it’s absorbed more slowly. It’s almost impossible to overdose on caffeine with tea, because you need to drink an almost inhuman amount. But with the prevalence of super high-caffeinated blends of coffee, the risk of caffeine dependence goes up.
There are also herbal teas that contain turmeric, ginger, and coriander that are also great ways to ‘stimulate’ the brain without caffeine.
By drinking tea regularly, getting proper sleep, exercise, diet, and using quality supplements as needed (i.e. fish oil or whole food multi-vitamins) would be a better long-term solution for overall health than just taking a pill. A pill that temporarily masks the symptoms of poor lifestyle choices should not be a solution. For brain fog issues, tea is an ideal tool to combat a lack of sharpness.