When thinking about sharing a treat with a child, people don’t often think about going to the produce section of the grocery store. As a dietitian I love when children get excited in the produce section.
Usually when they get excited it’s because they see plump berries! Berries are known for being a rich source of antioxidants. And antioxidants are known for protecting heart health, maintaining brain function, and slowing aging.
This week, we have new studies looking to support heart health and enhance cognitive function.
L Theanine for Sleep and Cognitive Function
L-theanine is an amino acid, found in small amounts in green tea. This study involved 30 people (9 men and 21 women), ages 20-69, without psychological diagnoses.
Participants were given a placebo or 200 mg L-theanine every night for 4 weeks. After the first 4 weeks of the trial, there was a two week washout period, followed by participants taking the other pill for 4 weeks. Participants were asked to not change any habits surrounding consumption of green tea.
After 4 weeks of taking L-theanine, participants had decreased depression scores and improved sleep quality scores. Participants also scored better in verbal fluency, letter fluency, and executive function. There were no reported adverse effects of the supplement. The data suggests that the 200 mg L-theanine supplementation improved stress-related symptoms and cognitive function.
Omega 3 May Support Heart Health
Omega-3 supplements are commonly associated with heart health. This study looked for evidence of heart protection from pollution.
65 college students in Shanghai, China, took a placebo or 2.5 g fish oil (900 mg EPA, 600 mg DHA) for 5 months. Participants’ blood pressure, antioxidant activity, cardiometabolism, and neuroendocrine stress response were measured.
After two months the supplemented group had significantly higher EPA and DHA blood levels. Blood levels increased further at 4 months.
Researchers found that markers of inflammation, endothelial function, coagulation, oxidative stress, and stress hormones were more stable with fish oil supplementation. The researchers concluded that fish oil supplementation “may have short-term benefits in mitigating potential adverse cardiovascular effects in response to higher levels of PM2.5.”
Blueberry May Enhance Cognitive Function
This study not only looked at the influence of a nootropic, but also looked at its influence on a growing brain. The researchers sought to better define the aspects of executive function and memory boosted by blueberry extract in children.
54 children consumed a placebo or a blueberry supplement with 253 mg anthocyanin. This supplement amount is equivalent to 240 g or 1½ cups of fresh blueberries.
At baseline and 2 hours after taking the supplement the children completed a series of tests that measured verbal memory, executive function, and reading efficiency.
The group that received the supplement had improved memory, reaction time, and attentional aspects of executive function. No changes were seen in reading efficiency, though the researchers proposed that it may be difficult to measure the complicated process.
Serenity Nightly Nootropic provides 200 mg L Theanine per serving. The formula also provides 5 mg Melatonin and 200 mg Magnesium from 800 mg Magnesium Glycinate in each serving. These nutrients work together to enhance relaxation and sleep. As mentioned above, they may also decrease stress and enhance cognition the following day.
Omega Cardioprotector provides 500 mg combined EPA and DHA from 1430 mg Fish Oil powder in each serving. The formula also provides clinical doses of Garlic extract and Pycnogenol French Maritime Pine Bark extract in each serving. These nutrients have the highest levels of evidence for supporting healthy triglycerides, cholesterol, and circulation for better aging.
Vitality Geroprotector provides 350 mg Anthocyanin from 1400 mg Blueberry extract in each serving. The formula also provides clinical doses of Berberine, Milk Thistle, and Coenzyme Q10. These nutrients work together to enhance metabolic, cellular, and genetic function for better aging. As mentioned above, they may also enhance cognitive function.