Phone 0800 HEALTH

Smart nutrients for better brain function

Of all the challenges associated with aging, few are as distressing as the prospect of losing one's mental faculties, memory & cognition.

Research into the aging brain has given scientists a better understanding of the role that nutrients and other related compounds play to support and enhance normal memory and cognitive functions, while also slowing down the gradual loss of mental powers - all associated with human aging.

Smart nutrients for improving your brain function

Numerous compounds found in common foods, as well as more exotic natural nutrients, have been shown to have a favourable impact on improving brain function. Some of these are:

Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALC)

ALC, the acetyl form of a common nutrient, L-carnitine, is considered 'top dog' in memory and cognitive health. The brain, which is dependent on a constant supply of oxygen, is especially susceptible to increases in uncontrolled oxidation. Research points towards ALC's ability to slow and even reverse age-associated deficits in cellular function, in part by increasing brain cellular energy production, while also providing support for the major brain neurotransmitter, acetylcholine.

ALC quickly crosses the blood brain barrier to help normalise membrane fluidity, enhance neuronal metabolism, cerebral blood flow and brain neurotransmitter activity.


This non-essential amino acid (derived from proteins in the diet) serves several key functions in human health. Glutamine can easily cross the blood brain barrier, where it is converted to glutamic acid, a precursor to GABA.

GABA is a vital neurotransmitter that supports the central nervous system. Glutamine is noted for enhancing brain metabolic energy, increasing mental alertness and clarity of thought and improving the mood.

Glutamine is sold in tablets and also powder. GABA is only available with a prescription from a doctor.


A nutrient related to the B Vitamins. Researchers think that choline may help to preserve the brain's ability to reason, learn and remember. Choline is a vitamin that is associated primarily with the utilisation of fats and cholesterol in the body. It combines with fatty acids and phosphoric acid within the liver to form lecithin. This vitamin is usually found added to multivitamins or any good Vitamin B complex.

The richest form of choline is lecithin, but other rich sources include egg yolk, liver, brewers yeast and wheat germ.


Phosphatidylserine (PS) is a key weapon in the battle against mental aging and able to restore memory and learning capacity in older people. PS is found on the surface of membranes in brain cells and synapses.

International researchers have shown in clinical trials that people who took PS scored better on memory and concentration tests than people who didn't. PS is considered promising in treating memory loss later in life.

Available in bottles of 30 tablets.

Ginkgo biloba

Derived from one of the world's oldest living tree species, Ginkgo biloba is an exciting compound that has been shown to help reverse or contain the effects of age-related cognitive decline and memory loss. Gingko biloba contains a group of flavonoid compounds that act to dilate the smallest segment of the circulatory system - the micro-capillaries. Taking Ginkgo biloba improves circulation to the brain and extremities and sharpens concentration and mental activity.

Clinical studies conducted with Ginkgo biloba show that it supports circulation to the brain, as well as the extremities and that this is achieved by maintaining healthy blood vessel tone and reducing blood viscosity. Increased circulation to the brain improves mental sharpness, concentration, short-term memory and cognitive ability. Additionally, Ginkgo biloba is a proven antioxidant and free radical scavenger.

Gotu Kola

In China, Gotu Kola is believed to contribute to longevity and is called the 'fountain of youth'. In Ayurveda, Gotu Kola strengthens both the white and grey matter of the brain, stimulates learning, enhances memory and alertness and calms feelings of anxiety.

Panax and Siberian Ginseng

Ginsengs are used to restore memory, concentration and cognitive abilities, which may be impaired by improper blood supply to the brain. Siberian Ginseng contains eleutherosides (B&E), plant glycosides with potent adaptogenic properties that help the body handle stressful conditions, while enhancing cognitive function.

Ginsenosides (Rg1) are the actives in Panax Ginseng, proving useful in supporting the central nervous system, liver, circulatory system, immune and glandular system.

7-Keto DHEA

One of the most profound effects of 7-keto DHEA is an increased sense of well-being and an increased ability to calmly deal with stressful situations. In case studies, there has been an improvement in short-term memory and ability to concentrate. It has an antidepressant effect in adults as well as children.

7-keto DHEA's mode of action appears to be primarily that of a GABA antagonist, which then increases the activity of the NMDA complex, an excitatory system in the brain involved in both calcium and chloride channel control.

We sell 7-keto DHEA in the Natures Sunshine and Life Extension ranges.


DMAE is an excellent source of raw material for the production of acetylcholine, the neurotransmitter responsible for conducting nerve impulses within the brain and skeletal muscles. DMAE's ability to support the brain's synthesis of acetylcholine makes it useful in supporting memory and learning.

In clinical studies, DMAE has been demonstrated to increase muscle tone, enhance concentration, elevate mood, improve memory and learning, increase intelligence and physical energy and promote restful sleep.

DMAE can only be purchased with a doctor's prescription. If you have one, we can organise this for you.

All of these supplements are available at healthyonline.

Print Page


The Naturopathic Team
Ideal Health

Disclaimer: The health information presented here has been written for the New Zealand health consumer. It is of a general nature and is only intended to provide a summary of the subjects covered and is intended to be used for educational and general information purposes only. It is not intended as medical advice or as a means to diagnose, treat, cure or prescribe for any particular condition or disease. You assume all responsibility for the treatment which may be undertaken as a result of the information on this site, or treatment recommended by any other party. While all care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, no responsibility or liability is accepted, and no person should act in reliance on any statement contained in the information provided. All health ailments should be treated by a qualified health professional.

If you need help or advice, please email our naturopathic team with your health question.  Please allow 48 hours for a response.

Want some easy to follow recommendations based on your current health and lifestyle habits?

You can discover a number of ideas to improve your health and minimise potential health problems in the future, by completing our free health assessment.  It only takes 5-10 minutes to answer some simple online questions and a private and confidential health report will automatically be produced for you.  Try it now. No one else sees the results!

Here are some other parts of our web site that may be helpful.



Free shipping

All supplement orders over NZ$50 are delivered freight free NZ wide.
A charge of $3.50 will apply to rural delivery.


Related products


Home | Previous Page | Back to top

Choose a health topic

Free NZ Delivery
Harmony Now Available at
Oasis Sun Care Sunblock
natural health practitioners nz
100% new zealand owned
useful resources approved by natural therapy for all