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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Pregnenolone

How many times do I forget to take my keys! I also forget to take change when I go out. Sometimes I even forget my watch. But when I use pregnenolone I remember everything. Pregnenolone is an over-the-counter hormone that's currently being investigated for its use as a memory enhancer. The beauty of this supplement is that pregnenolone is a neuroactive substance. In other words, it boosts brain power. For this reason it's also known as a smart drug. It significantly improves mood and memory. It's especially helpful for actors who have to remember many lines of dialog, and in this context it works in two ways — first, it helps with the memorization of a script, and second, it helps with recall after material has been learned. (The best way to take it is sublingual pregnenolone, that is, under the tongue because it's not absorbed well orally.) The only question is, how am I going to remember to take pregnenolone!
References
1. Life Extension: Recharge With Pregnenolone 2004.
2. Pregnenolone and Mental Function.
3. Wikipedia article on Pregnenolone.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Phosphatidylserine

Before we go anywhere with this topic -- and what an amazing one it is! -- I want you to be able to pronounce Phosphatidylserine. You say it like this:
PHOS-fuh-TITLE-sear-een

What's the deal with this, you may wonder -- and why do we need such a humongous word to describe it?

The substance is a chemical which works, along with fish oil, to boost brain power, reduce mental problems, such as age-related memory decline, and generally make your brain work at peak efficiency. By taking Phosphatidylserine you can brighten your mood, protect yourself against Alzheimer's, and increase your brain's calculating power. It might even make it easier for you to pronounce the word.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Ancient Secret for Stress Relief

“Can I help you?” The man asking the question was wearing a beige robe, and sunlight played over it through Venetian blinds in the shop window. I had stumbled into the shop on a recent trip to Calcutta. My flight had frazzled my nerves and made my head pound with anxiety. I thought roaming about this ancient Indian city would relieve the stress, but it was just making things worse. “I am Jayachand,” said the man. “I am known as a spiritual healer.” I tried to focus on his face. It was sunburned, heavily lined, but his dark brown eyes were flecked with light where the sun and shadow played over them as he moved to a long glass display case.

I knew from having read numerous books that when a person is under stress the hormone cortisol increases. But I didn’t know, until I met Jayachand, that there was an herb, an ancient Indian herb, that had the amazing ability to reduce cortisol – and thereby reduce stress – without any side effects. This herb, which Jayachand showed me, is called Ashwagandha, and it is one of the most inexpensive herbs you can buy. I bought a bottle from him that afternoon, and took my first sample of Ashwagandha in the crowded Calcutta street outside his shop. Within twenty minutes I felt calmer, and now I sleep better and my nerves are more relaxed. It’s not easy for an American to admit that he can learn something from the ancient cultures that have no large pharmaceutical companies backing them up. But when I got back to New York I did some research. It turns out that Ashwagandha has been shown in clinical studies to reduce cortisol in rats1 and in humans2. Next time I need to travel through seven time zones, you can be sure I’m taking along my little bottle of Ashwagandha.

References
1. Sharma S, Dahanukar S, Karandikar SM.Effects of long-term administration of the roots of ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) and shatavari (Asparagus racemosus) in rats. Indian Drugs 1986;23:133-139.
2. Dale Kiefer. Ashwagandha: Stress Reduction, Neural Protection, and a Lot More from an Ancient Herb. Life Extension Magazine, June 2006. http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2006/jun2006_report_ashwa_01.htm (Accessed April 17, 2008).