My life is full. So is my brain. Anyone else have any insights into how to boost brainpower?
My life is very full. So is my brain. Some of you might remember the old TV commercial: This is your brain (egg). This is your brain on drugs. (cast iron skillet with frying egg). Well, my cast iron skillet is never that empty or only occupied by a single egg. With this in mind, I've been drawn to articles that purport to help boost brain power.
I recently read an article in the February 2011 (I'm a little behind, yes, my reading pile is full also) Science News called "Brain Boosters."
This article talks about some new military "snacks" that not only boost wakefulness but also cognitive ability. These items are being developed at the Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine and aim to improve "mental energy," which includes "wakefulness, mood, motivation, and the ability to perform key mental tasks." Researchers have found that as little as 32mg of caffeine, for instance, improves attentiveness for auditory and visual cues (= a can of cola or less than 1 cup of coffee). The interesting part is that caffeine does not just wake you up; these benefits occur even when the person is NOT tired.
And for my fellow tea drinkers, there area ongoing studies into the impact of tea on the brain. In addition to caffeine, some tea contains L-theanine, an amino acid that has been linked to "increased performance under stress and improved learning and concentration." So, if you have an intractable problem on your desktop today, perhaps you should "go have a cuppa" as my mum would say. Bottoms up! If you are feeling really crazy or just want a little laugh, you can "Have a Cuppa Tea" with the Kinks circa 1972 on YouTube.
Anyone else have any insights into how to boost brainpower?
Yes, black tea...interesting compound: Theophylline, also known as dimethylxanthine, is a methylxanthine drug used in therapy for respiratory diseases such as COPD and asthma under a variety of brand names. Because of its numerous side-effects, the drug is now rarely administered for clinical use. As a member of the xanthine family, it bears structural and pharmacological similarity to caffeine. It is naturally found in tea, although in trace amounts (~1 mg/L), significantly less than therapeutic doses. It is found also in cocoa beans. Amounts as high as 3.7 mg/g have been reported in Criollo cocoa beans.
The main actions of theophylline involve:
* relaxing bronchial smooth muscle
* increasing heart muscle contractility and efficiency; as a positive inotropic
* increasing heart rate: positive chronotropic
* increasing blood pressure
* increasing renal blood flow
* some anti-inflammatory effects
* central nervous system stimulatory effect mainly on the medullary respiratory center.
Caffeine has no effect on me whatsoever! I mean I can drink an espresso and go to sleep straight away. Black tea (not green) is what keeps me awake! If I drink black tea after 6pm, I am in for a long night... for energy levels and mental awareness, nothing works better than a glucose-rich drink for me. It all makes sense scientifically: glucose is a primary source of energy for the brain (and muscle cells), and black tea contains more stimulants.
Try doing some brain games u can increase your brain power, also one such that i tried recently was www.lumosity.com here u can get free brain games that will help you out. also do some physical exercise that u like ,go out for shopping or try any new recipe.
I'm a regular caffeine consumer. I try to avoid sugar with it, but at various times have included sugar with caffeine in my attempts to maintain an adequate level of brain function.
I would have to say, though, that I've empirically determined, at least for myself, that by far the most effective two methods for maintaining good mental function throughout the day are: 1) an extra hour and a half of sleep, and 2) exercise.
500mg of acetyl-L carnitine has seemed to have positive mental effects well beyond placebo for me. I've been taking that in the morning along with one cup of coffee (unsweetened except for some whole cream). I take other vitamins and supplements as well, although not the fistfuls I've heard some consume.
As far as other aspects of diet/exercise: low carb/high protein, make sure to get enough healthful fats, particularly coconut oil. Get up and move around as often as feasible, especially if you necessarily must spend a lot of time in a chair at a monitor/keyboard. Don't suppose that some intense exercise once in a while compensates for the lack of motion during the day.
And yes: think --- don't just be a passive absorber of sensory input. A recent encounter with some math problems has been salutary, except that sometimes I stay awake thinking about them when I otherwise would sleep!
Modafinil is quite effective and pushing you up to peak performance, and keeping you there for a few hours. One report in an informal survey in Nature magazine suggested some 25% of scientists (and presumably engineers) used it at some point (as well as Ritalin).