Before I tell you my personal antioxidant cocktail for mental performance, I want to confess to you a secret of mine. This is hard for me because this is an uncomfortable topic. I actually hate talking about it, but it’s something I think you should know. Some people close to me may consider me to be slightly cheap. I rarely buy anything new. I purchase refurbished electronics, used cars, clothes on the clearance rack, and generic medications. My favorite shopping sites are dealnews.com, autotrader.com (I’ve driven 250 miles before to buy a used car), nahls and any clothing store that has a clearance page. I honestly can’t remember when was the last time I purchased an article of clothing that wasn’t on clearance. I won’t buy anything with a price tag over $50 without researching it for at least 5 hours. I have to get the best deal possible. I think it’s a disease. I despise paying for something that’s over-priced. Oh hell, I am a cheap bastard. I don’t care because I save money, and that’s money I work too damn hard for to waste on inflated prices.
When it comes to dietary supplements, I am no different. In an industry that’s filled with snake-oils and miracle-cures, I have to be even more alert and aggressive in my research. Like I’ve told you before, I’ve wasted roughly $10,000 over the last 10 years on dietary supplements. Over the last couple of years, I finally wised up, and decided that enough was enough. No longer would I believe what every supplement manufactured told me. I’d first try to perfect my diet, then whatever supplements I needed thereafter, tipsjanbd I’d look to the research for answers. And that’s exactly what I’ve done the last couple of years. Not only has my health improved, but my wallet has gotten heavier too.
Bang for your buck
So why am I confessing to you my cheap lifestyle? I know that after I post my ultimate antioxidant recipe, I will receive numerous e-mails and comments complaining that a certain antioxidant wasn’t included. I can already envision it. Joe Smith: “I can’t believe you didn’t include antioxidant ‘x’. It’s the best antioxidant out there. This just goes to show that you know nothing. You’re a quack.” Even though I appreciate negative feedback, I don’t appreciate those kind of e-mails.
This recipe is not the end-all-be-all antioxidant recipe. This recipe gives you the most “bang for your buck.” That’s what my shopping philosophy is all about. The majority of antioxidants I get are from my diet. They come from the fruits and vegetables I eat. However, there are some supplements that even a perfect diet can’t give you enough of. The antioxidants listed below have the most research supporting them along with having a whole lot of real-world feedback. I know a ton of very intelligent people (many times more intelligent than myself) that regularly take these antioxidants on a daily basis. Because of my thrifty lifestyle, I’ve selected these antioxidants below to cover all of my bases. However, don’t think that because I’m cheap, I’m cutting corners. Health and effectiveness are my top priorities. I would never risk saving a few bucks for quality.
The ultimate antioxidant cocktail for mental performance
Let’s take a minute to refresh why antioxidants are important for mental performance. Your brain uses more energy than any organ in your body. The primary source of energy is created from glucose and oxygen. Whenever oxygen is involved in the creation of energy, the risk of free radical formation is greatly increased. Free radicals are harmful substances that bind to anything and everything. When they bind to something that’s beneficial to your health, like cell membranes, the result is damage and dysfunction. Antioxidants bind to free radicals, thereby preventing them from damaging your cells. Not only does normal metabolism create free radicals, but so do sunlight, pollution, and your diet. Thus, the brain is under constant free radical attack. If you don’t have enough antioxidant protection, mental performance will suffer. Side note: Dog breeders Oxidative stress (free radical damage) is considered one of the potential causes of Alzheimer’s disease. Research has actually shown that the free radical damage precedes the disease. There are several clinical studies going on right now that are looking at the beneficial effects of antioxidants in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
Now let’s get to the cocktail
Vitamin C– anywhere from 1000-2000mg as buffered ascorbate powder or ester-C
Because the body doesn’t manufacture vitamin C, it must come from your diet. Even though it’s considered a water soluble vitamin, it’s still important for proper brain functioning. Its primary benefit for cognitive health is its ability to help recycle vitamin E, a fat soluble antioxidant. However, that’s not the primary reason I added it. I think this next benefit is often over-looked, and almost just as beneficial. A large amount of vitamin C is stored in the adrenal gland. The adrenal gland is considered the stress gland. It releases cortisol and noradrenaline in times of stress. Think flight-or-fight when you think about the adrenal gland. Not only is a large amount of vitamin C stored in the adrenal gland, but it’s thought to play a major role in the creation of noradrenaline. Nor adrenaline, when in the brain, helps keep you awake and energized. A deficiency in vitamin C can lead to a dysfunctional adrenal gland and a decreased amount of noradrenaline, especially during times of mental stress. Cortisol helps raise your blood sugar when it drops too low while noradrenaline stimulates the brain. A dysfunction in either of those will result in impaired cognitive performance. Did I mention that it’s extremely cheap?
Vitamin E – 400-1000 IU of d-alpha-tocopherol or the mixed tocopherol combination
I’m sure everyone already knows this, but vitamin E is considered by most to be the most important fat soluble antioxidant. Remember, the brain is largely composed of fat. Thus, it helps to maintain the stability and integrity of the brain cell’s membranes. I don’t want to go into too much detail because there is a ton of research supporting this. The majority of its benefits have been in the news for quite some time. A simple search on Google will give you a list of benefits.
R-Alpha lipoic acid -300-1000mg per day
I’m absolutely in love with this nutraceutical. Every month or so, a study comes out touting a new benefit of alpha lipoic acid. It’s been used in peripheral neuropathy, blood glucose regulation, and cognitive disorders. Not only is it water-soluble, but it’s also fat soluble. Thus, it can get anywhere in the body. In addition, it fights a host of different free radicals such as peroxyl, peroxynitrite, hydroxyl, alkoxyl, and superoxide radicals, among many others. It also helps to recycle glutathione, vitamin E, and coenzyme Q10, all important antioxidants. On top of its antioxidant properties, it’s also important in cellular energy production. It’s been shown to improve mitochondrial function, neural blood flow, and nerve conduction along with upregulating several different enzymes that offer neural protection. The R isomer has been shown to be more powerful than the S isomer. Thus, I recommend selecting a product that just includes the R-isomer instead of the mixture.
Green Tea Extract – anywhere from 400-1200mg of EGCG
When most people hear Green tea, they think of fat-loss. Yes, it’s great for weightloss, however its benefits don’t stop there. It’s also a very powerful antioxidant. It’s actually made up of several different nutraceuticals, including caffeine, theanine, and EGCG, what I’m particularly interested in. EGCG is currently involved in clinical trials that involve allergies, Alzheimer’s disease, bladder cancer, breast cancer, cervical cancer, heart disease, diabetes, immune disorders, metabolic syndrome, stroke, among others. Needless to say, I’m a huge fan. In fact, it’s in my top 3 supplements that everyone should take. Can you guess the other two? Magnesium and fish oil.
In addition to its antioxidant properties in the brain, it has also been theorized that green tea prevents the breakdown of noradrenaline. I’ve already discussed the stimulatory effects on noradrenaline in the CNS. With these two “brain benefits”, green tea is a must for the poker professional. I recommend taking the extract capsules because it becomes inconvenient to drink the large amount of green tea that’s required to reach the above dosage.