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CHECK OUT THIS MONTH’S CLASSES & EVENTS!

See what classes, seminars, or local and national events are happening this month.

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WHATCHA GOT COOKIN’ THAT’S HEALTHY & TASTY?

Melanie is regularly posting new and tasty recipes with the healthiest foods on earth. Check back often for ideas on making yummy meals and delightful treats that have health benefits.

WHAT’S THE HEALTHIEST FOOD TO BUY?

Going to the grocery store or farmer’s market and not sure what to buy to achieve your best health or how to purchase good, quality food on a budget? Melanie’s food buying guide for healthy meals and snacks is here to help!

Brain / Mood / Neurotransmitter Promoting Supplements

Who doesn’t need a brain boost?! Everyone should value the health of their brain. Some of the supplements below are known to promote overall brain health while some are more targeted at neurotransmitter deficiencies. You may know you have a neurotransmitter deficiency and you may not. If you don’t know, check out this simple quiz regarding the four main brain neurotransmitters. *The quiz is not intended to be a diagnosis. I do not necessarily support or deny the other material contained on the referenced website. I just like the quiz.

In the long term, a clean, whole foods diet, moderate exercise, and good digestive health will help ensure overall mental health.

General Brain Health

MAGNESIUM – Magnesium helps everything as I’ve previously stated. It can specifically promote better moods and more even moods and help in the treatment of a wide array of mood disorders (from PMS to schizophrenia). Here is what I recommend: Source Naturals Magnesium Serene (it tastes good!). If you have never used a magnesium citrate formula, start with 400 mg dose. Any dose above that can cause loose bowels (not urgent diarrhea, just loose bowels), however, some people do well with higher doses.

Some experts believe that magnesium threonate is the type of magnesium that is better for the brain specifically. Try Jarrow Formulas MagMind or Life Extension Neuro-Mag.

MCT OIL – I hear wonderful things about MCT oil in general, but there is some mounting research that suggests it can improve cognitive performance. There is also some mounting research suggesting its use to prevent or treat Alzheimer’s. *Coconut oil can be used as well, but MCT oil is more effective. I know with MCT oil it is important to get a high-quality one, and my understanding is that the NuMedica MCT is a good product.

FISH OIL – For brain health, it is primarily the DHA in fish oil that we need. Our brains are comprised mostly of fat and much of this fat is from DHA. I first recommend that you eat wild caught salmon and sardines to get DHA. If you don’t eat either or enough of either, get a high quality fish oil supplement. I recommend buying a fish oil that is natural triglyceride form which is the most absorbable form for your body. For generally healthy people, I suggest 1,000mg per day and for those battling illness/chronic conditions, I suggest 3,000mg. If you eat wild caught salmon or sardines, you likely don’t need to take a fish oil on the days you eat those fish. If you are generally healthy and eat about 16 ounces of fish per week (see my food buying guide for recommendations on types of fish to buy), then you may not need to take fish oil at all. *Keep your fish oil in the refrigerator to protect the fragile oil. I have always liked Nordic Naturals brand. But I have also heard that Vital Choice makes quality supplements.

ACETYL L-CARNITINE – This has been shown to protect brain neurotransmitters. There are a few different brands on the market and many are just fine. I have taken and recommend Jarrow Formulas for this supplement. *I also discuss this supplement under Fat Burning/Fat Metabolism supplements.

ALPHA – LIPOIC ACID – An antioxidant that helps protect us from glucose triggered oxidation which ages our brain. ALA has shown to help protect nerves in the brain. There are several good Alpha-Lipoic supplements on the market, including this one from Jarrow Formulas. *I also discuss this supplement under Fat Loss & Metabolism – Carbohydrate Metabolism.

METHYL B-12 (METHYLCOBALAMIN) – A form of vitamin B-12 that helps with memory issues, mood, cognitive function, and dementia prevention. Jarrow Formulas has a sublingual form of Methyl B-12.

BLUEBERRIES – The anthocyanins in blueberries are thought to reduce cognitive decline. Blueberries (fresh) can be used as a daily “supplement” in a dose of three to four ounces to support cognition.

Neurotransmitter Support
Serotonin Support:

RHODIOLA ROSEA– Rhodiola is an adaptogenic herb that is commonly reported to improve serotonin levels. Recommended brands are NOW Brand, Gaia, and New Chapter. *Some people have reported that rhodiola disrupts their sleep or prevents them from sleeping, so if you take rhodiola alone or in a blend and your sleep gets worse, consider discontinuing the rhodiola. If you do take rhodiola, take it first thing in the morning.

L-THEANINE – An amino acid found almost exclusively in green tea (drink green tea!) that promotes the release of serotonin. For more neurotransmitter support, you may need a more concentrated dose of theanine than what is found in green tea. Either of the following would be good theanine supplements: Jarrow or NOW Brand.

TRYPTOPHAN – An amino acid required for protein synthesis. It helps enhance sleep and relaxation. It is the building block for serotonin and melatonin. Tryptohan can be supplemented in the form of 5HTP, which has been shown to be the most effective supplement to boost serotonin. 5HTP should be taken carefully and with caution – must be taken with tyrosine to help keep neurotransmitters balanced. Start with 100mg dose of 5HTP and can increase up to 300mg (with caution) over 3 doses – Recommend NOW Brand 5HTP. Start with 1000mg dose of L-Tyrosine (with the 5HTP) and can increase up to 3000mg over 3 doses – Recommend NOW Brand L-Tyrosine. *If these supplements are taken when not on a low-ish carb diet overall or if they are taken with a meal containing lots of starch and sugar, GI upset can occur. *It is better to test neurotransmitters before supplementing because neurotransmitter imbalance can occur or be made worse. *5HTP may raise cortisol levels and interfere with sleep – May be best taken in the morning or afternoon depending on your cortisol status. *Avoid 5HTP if you have a carcinoid tumor or are on anti-depressants. *Avoid tyrosine if you prone to migraines, are on anti-depressants, have high blood pressure, have bipolar disorder or manic depression, have malignant melanoma, or have high levels of anxiety.

*Vitamin C and the B vitamins and iron also support the production of serotonin – Please see the Vitamin and Mineral guide.

Gaba Support:

GABA – You can actually take a GABA supplement. There are a few different decent ones on the market, but I’d probably consider Source Naturals GABA Calm Mind if I were buying. *It is better to test neurotransmitters before supplementing because neurotransmitter imbalance can occur or be made worse. *Avoid GABA if you have really low blood pressure.

TAURINE – An amino acid used to make GABA and that can help ease anxiety issues. *Taurine also helps insulin to work more efficiently. You can reasonably safely supplement with taurine, although you might avoid taurine supplementation if you have really low blood pressure. There are actually so many good taurine supplements that I am not going to link to all of them, but here are some of the brands offering a good taurine supplement – NOW Brand, Jarrow Formulas, Source Naturals, Thorne Research, Pure Encapsulations, and Life Extension. The typical dose is 1,000mg per day.

PASSIONFLOWER – This herb helps support GABA and helps reduce issues with addiction and addictive behavior and general anxiety. Try GAIA Passionflower or GAIA Serenity.

THEANINE – Discussed above under Serotonin Support.

MAGNESIUM – Discussed above under General Brain Health

Acetylcholine Support:

PHOSPHATYDL CHOLINE – A phospholipid in lecithin that contains choline, the necessary ingredient to make acetylcholine. This is most often derived from soy, so watch out if you have a severe soy intolerance or allergy. Try Source Naturals Phosphatydl Choline.

PHOSPHATYDL SERINE – Another phospholipid found in lecithin to support cognitive health. It helps in the production of choline. It has been shown in research to improve concentration, focus, and memory. *It also has the potential to reduce high cortisol. Try NOW Brand Phosphatydl Serine Cognitive Health.

GINKGO BILOBA – Ginkgo has been associated with memory improvement for several years, although it still has no super strong track record. Ginkgo is also in the NOW Brand Phosphatydl Serine Cognitive Health. NOW also has a straight Ginkgo Biloba supplement.

CHOLINE – Enhances the synthesis of acetylcholine. Eat pastured egg yolks and grass-fed beef liver for a good dose of choline or consider a choline supplement from Jarrow Formulas.

Dopamine Support:

L-DOPA – A direct precursor to dopamine. Has been used in the treatment of Parkinson’s. *Use of mucuna dopa is also thought to boost libido. Try Source Naturals Mucuna Dopa. *Use with caution.

TYROSINE – Tyrosine is an amino acid necessary to produce dopamine. It is also thought to help preserve memory during times of acute stress. Start with 1000mg dose of L-Tyrosine and can increase up to 3000mg over 3 doses – Recommend NOW Brand L-Tyrosine. *If these supplements are taken when not on a low-ish carb diet overall or if they are taken with a meal containing lots of starch and sugar, GI upset can occur. *Avoid tyrosine if you prone to migraines, are on anti-depressants, have high blood pressure, have bipolar disorder or manic depression, have malignant melanoma, or have high levels of anxiety *Use caution with this supplement.

PHENYLALINE – An amino acid that is a precursor to tyrosine, and thus dopamine. Symptoms of phenylalanine deficiency can include confusion, depression, decreased alertness, and memory problems. Try NOW L-Phenylaline. *Avoid phenylaline if you prone to migraines, are on anti-depressants, have high blood pressure, have bipolar disorder or manic depression, have malignant melanoma, or have high levels of anxiety. *Use caution with this supplement.

VITAMIN B6 – See Vitamins and Minerals guide.

RHODIOLA ROSEA – Discussed above under Serotonin Support

ZINC – See Vitamins and Minerals guide.