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Nutrient Supplements for the Brain: A Myth

There are many become rich quick schemes on the WWW. Current research does not support the claims of many nutrient supplement sales persons. The blood brain barrier, the meninges, and the CSF effectively keep out so called supplements. Many of these supplements work on the cardiovascular system. Coffee, tea and cocoa work just as well, are cheaper and carry few risks.

The human brain is richly supplied with blood vessels. In fact it is supplied with a double loop of blood vessels such that if one important blood vessel becomes blocked the brain will continue to receive blood from its other supply.

The Circle of Willis exemplifies this set up. Further, the brain is protected by three layers of tough and soft membranes called the meninges. The outer layer is rough and tough, it is called the duramater, the middle layer is called the Arachnoid Mater and the inner most layer is called the Pia mater.

Picture: Circle of Willis & external view of Brain with Circle of Willis.

The cells of the brain are super specialized and are protected by the bones of the skull and the spinal cord. This is in addition to the brain’s meninges. One other protection is the cerebrospinal fluid. As a matter of fact the brain literally floats in the clear, pure CSF. The final part of the protection system involves a collection of highly specialized cells which form the blood brain barrier. This blood-brain barrier prevents many low-life forms (bacteria & viruses), toxins, and many medications that make it into the circulatory system from entering the brain’s pristine nerve cell habitat.

In fact, during meningitis, it becomes necessary to give patients antibiotic treatment directly into the spine because many antibiotics are not able to pass the blood brain barrier. This route of administration is called intrathecal administration.

The blood-brain barrier (BBB) is the specialized system of capillary endothelial cells which protect the brain’s internal environment from harmful and supposedly therapeutic substances in the cardiovascular system. It uses ATP to selectively move nutrients pass the blood brain barrier to nourish the brain.

In the human body peripheral blood vessels facilitate relatively free movement of substance across cell membranes. However, transport of all materials into the brain is regulated by the BBB. This control is achieved through both physical (tight junctions) and metabolic (enzymes) barriers.

In applied aspects the BBB is always the rate-limiting factor in determining permeation of therapeutic drugs into the brain. Break down of the BBB is believed to be the root cause of pathologies of the Central Nervous System. BBB investigations is a growing field of study. It has many applications in the fields of pharmacology, neurology, pathology, physiology and clinical medicine.

There have always been special interest groups which claim to have discovered magical cures for different ailments. Treatment of brain ailments is nothing new. Treating cancers with pH altering medications which never alter anything is one example of a failed treatment. Chelating blood in an effort to cure diabetes and leukemia are other examples. Insulin therapy for depression is another of these fads.

I assert that there are no brain supplements. I further assert that these supplements make the vendor rich and the patient gets the 30 % placebo effect. Many of these marketing groups are truly misleading the public with statements like “brain supplement”, brain nutrients and “miraculous new discovery. When there is such a discovery you will hear it through main stream newspapers.

Many of these supplements work on the cardiovascular system. Stimulation of the CVS makes the client more alert because the heart works harder. Tea, coffee and coco have the same effect. They are proven, cheap, easily available and do not have any really bad side effects.

“Brain supplement” is a myth perpetuated by self made nutritional experts wanting to sell their products for the highest possible price. Consumers beware.

For a healthy long life eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly and be informed. Knowledge is power. Wrong knowledge costs money and health.

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  1. This is one my latest articles published in Healthmad.

    http://healthmad.com/alternative/ayurveda-2/

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  3. Wow, I have to disagree. I take brain supplements on a weekly basis. Though, I cleanse my system from time to time. My speech abilities were diminishing after my 3rd pregnancy. I started taking Mind Boost and after two to three months of use, I finally started to see the effects. It was amazing! Overwhelming confidence, and my speech and thought process improved, and now, I only take it once a month, and it has made me more confident and I am grateful for it.

    I also take Mind Release because it is an instant stress relief pill. Both by Mastermind Supplements.

    Maybe other mind supplements are bogus, but these actually work.

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