Choline - Brain health and Focus

Believe it or not, summer is coming to an end. It is the back-to-school and, for a lot of people, back-to-work, time of year – a time requiring focus, concentration, and memory. Plenty of people struggle with those…and if you are one of those, it is time to pay attention to choline.

Choline? Many have never even heard of it before, let alone been aware they needed to pay attention to it.

So what is choline? Although not technically a vitamin by strict definition, it is an essential nutrient required for many functions of the body, especially for brain function. It is also involved in healthy liver function, nerve function, and muscle movement, as well as supporting energy levels and maintaining a healthy metabolism.

One of the primary functions of choline is helping brain cells in the production of acetylcholine, a key neurotransmitter for mental focus and learning. A choline deficiency can result in poor concentration, poor memory, mood changes and other cognitive impairments, especially as someone ages.

Additionally, choline plays an important role in maintaining the structural integrity of cell membranes and for cholinergic neurotransmission, which is responsible for memory, mental clarity, focus and concentration. Choline has been shown in research to be helpful in improving cognitive performance in a young, cognitively healthy, community-based population of 1,391 subjects.

Furthermore, choline is a major dietary source of methyl groups, which the brain needs for making the neurotransmitter epinephrine, the sleep hormone melatonin, and the myelin insulation of its nerve cells. Our neurons and all our other cells also require methyl to make and maintain their DNA, to manage their healthy gene activity (epigenetics), for growth and maintenance, regulation of potentially toxic homocysteine, and for numerous other life functions.

While our bodies are able to make a small amount of choline on their own, we must obtain the rest from food sources. Choline can be found in foods including egg yolks, liver, beef, salmon, cod, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, and peanut butter. You may have heard eggs referred to as “brain food” because they are so rich in choline.

Research indicates that a large percentage of women, children, and older men are not receiving adequate choline in their diets. Choline is especially present in animal products, so vegetarians and vegans are more prone to experiencing a deficiency in choline.

Although eating a varied diet increases the likelihood that you are consuming enough choline, you may want to consider trying a supplement that contains choline – especially if you find yourself struggling with memory, focus, attention, or learning.

The nutritional ingredients in our BrainMD Health products are specifically designed for the health of the organ that controls everything we do, think and feel—the brain. Focus & Energy and Attention Support both contain Choline for improved focus. Read more about these two different products on the BrainMd Health website to better understand how they may benefit you.

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Grape Seed Extract Benefits including estrogen blocking

What is grape seed and what does it do?

The value of grapes (Vitis vinifera), both medicinally and nutritionally has been used for thousands of years. The Greeks and Egyptians claimed that grapes had healing power as far back as 6,000 years ago, particularly when consumed through wine. Folk healers in Europe used the sap from grapevines to create an ointment that treated eye and skin diseases. Grapes were also used to do a myriad of things like stop pain, inflammation, and bleeding, specifically those introduced by hemorrhoids.

Different kinds of grapes were used to treat different types of conditions. Unripe grapes were commonly used to help treat sore throats, while raisins (dry grapes) were used for healing constipation and thirst. On the other hand, sweet grapes were used to treat a variety of problems – major and small, including skin infections, smallpox, cholera, liver diseases, and nausea.

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What are the benefits of taking grape seed?

Today, there are two primary aspects of grape seed – one is that of an antioxidant, while the other is that of a combater of heart disease.

A recent study of volunteers that are overall healthy discovered that grape seed supplementation drastically increased the levels of antioxidants found within the bloods. Antioxidants are good because they help fight and destroy free radicals, items found in the body that damage cell membranes, tamper with DNA, and can even possibly cause forms of cellular death. Free radicals can happen without outside interference and can occur within the body naturally. The aging process, as well as heart disease and cancer are believed to be affected by free radicals. Antioxidants that are founds within grape seeds may reduce or prevent a type of damage that free radicals can cause.

The other main benefit of grape seed is the flavonoids it contains. Red wine containing flavonoids has shown in studies to help protect the heart as they can possibly prevent the oxidation of LDL, or the bad kind of cholesterol. This bad kind of cholesterol, when oxidized, can possibly cause hardening of the arteries or even atherosclerosis. Other studies have shown that a lower risk of death from coronary disease and the consumption of flavonoids are connected to each other.

There may be other minor benefits of taking grape seed, mostly effecting those impacted by high blood pressure, pancreatis, and cancer.

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Who can benefit from taking grape seed?

Healthy adults, as well as those that are sick, may benefit from supplementing with grape seed due to its ability to help combat free radicals. Regardless of gender, age, and medical condition, free radicals are a danger to everybody’s body and countering them is never a bad idea.

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How much grape seed should I take?

Unfortunately, as far as children are concerned, no scientific reports exist on the pediatric uses of grape seed. Therefore, grape seed supplementation in kids is not recommended. However, whole grapes are more than appropriate for children and make a healthy snack.

Adults can take 25 to 150 milligrams of standard extract 1-3 times a day to help their body protect against damage from free radicals.

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Does grape seed have any side effects?

Herbs are very good for treating certain diseases and strengthening the body. However, herbs contain certain elements and components that may trigger certain side effects. They also have the ability to interact with certain herbs, medications, and supplements. Because of these reasons, herbs should be taken under the supervision of a professional medical doctor.

Grape seed is considered safe at the recommend dosage levels. Those that are pregnant or breastfeeding however should avoid supplements that include grape seed. Also, individuals that are taking blood thinning medications should not take grape seed because it may increase the chances of bleeding.

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Garcinia and Weight Loss

Garcinia gummi-gutta is a small, pumpkin-shaped, yellow or greenish fruit.

The fruit is so sour that it is generally not eaten fresh, but rather used for its sour flavor in cooking (2).

Garcinia cambogia supplements are made from extracts of the fruit's peel.

The peel of the fruit contains high amounts of hydroxycitric acid (HCA), an active substance that has been shown to have some weight loss properties (3, 4, 5).

The supplements generally contain 20–60% HCA. Nevertheless, studies show that those with 50–60% HCA may provide the most benefit (2).

Many high-quality human studies have tested the weight loss effects of garcinia cambogia.

What's more, most of them show that the supplement can cause a small amount of weight loss (3, 6).

This graph summarizes the weight loss results from nine studies on garcinia cambogia

The blue bars show the results from the supplement groups, while the orange bars show the results of placebo groups.

On average, garcinia cambogia has been shown to cause weight loss of about 2 pounds (0.88 kg) more than a placebo, over a period of 2–12 weeks (3, 15).

That said, several studies have not found any weight loss advantage (9, 11, 16).

For example, the largest individual study, which tested 135 participants over 12 weeks, did not find any difference in weight loss between the group that took garcinia cambogia and the group that took the placebo (9).

As you can see, the evidence is mixed. Garcinia cambogia supplements can produce modest weight loss in some people, but their effectiveness cannot be guaranteed.

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