Evolutionary studies show a clear connection between the development of our cognitive functions, the size of the brain and an increased energy demand in the brain. This places new demands on us as individuals. All of a sudden we are constantly connected with either the mobile phone or the computer. Although we are more free than ever, we have less mental freedom.
For the past 10-20 years, we have undergone an unprecedented development in the history of humanity, primarily in the digital and information-based areas, and no slowdown is in sight.
The amount of information we handle daily is higher and more intense than ever, and the burden on our cognitive functions (our higher thinking and memory abilities) is increasing with each passing day.
In this article, we will look at a few common reasons why our cognitive health may not be at peak levels:
- Changed Nutritional Content In Our Foods
- Biochemical And Genetic Differences
Moderate stress affects our performance positively, and many people certainly recognize that when it happens a little more, then you get more done. Prolonged, chronic stress, on the other hand, can have very adverse effects on our cognitive health and studies have shown that the brain can shrink as an effect of chronic stress.
What this is due to is not entirely clear, but it has been seen, among other things, that the vital neurotransmitter serotonin is consumed in chronic stress, which can lead to depression and impaired cognition. Stress has also been shown to consume cell antioxidants and affect the synthesis of ATP, a substance that plays a crucial role in cellular energy metabolism and metabolism.[4, 5]
The key to success when it comes to health and nutrition is a varied and balanced diet. However, it is not always easy to absorb all the nutrients in doses that correspond to the recommended daily intake. Also, the recommended intake has not been established for many of our nutrients, which in some cases may be essential.
Choline, which is a vitamin B-like substance, is an excellent example of an essential nutrient with no recommended daily intake (RDI). This is because the body can, to some extent create it, but at the same time, you see a need for consumption through food. In other words, there are uncertainties about some of our nutrients.
Choline is commonly found in egg yolk, red meat, seafood, liver, soybeans and wheat sprouts. Despite the relatively common occurrence in food, recent analyses show that as much as 90% of the population in the United States gets too little of the substance.
It is no simple task to keep track of all the nutrients and to get them in sufficient quantities for us to function optimally. Not very often do we live in a stressful everyday life where many pieces have to be put together. Therefore, maintaining a perfect diet every day is not always the most straightforward task in the world. Furthermore, with increasing age and increased load, we require more micronutrients does not make the matter easier.
Changed Nutritional Content In Our Foods
Today, we have greater access to different foods than ever, thanks in large part to globalization and innovation and development. However, the development is a double-edged sword, increased commercial accessibility and an ever-increasing population demand higher quantities at the expense of quality.
Leached soils, use of pesticides and plant breeding that result in higher volumes with more inferior nutrient density are some of the critical factors that make our diet not as nutritious as it was 50 years ago. This means that we must consume higher amounts of food to compensate for the loss of nutrients.
Imagine you have 1 kg of magnesium, which is distributed over 1000 kg of a particular type of crop. Then you need to eat 350 grams of this food to get you the recommended daily intake.
Now the farmer discovers that there is a new, refined variety of the same plant. It gives more yield on the same surface and grows faster, though the magnesium is distributed at 5000 kg instead. All of a sudden, you need to eat 1750 grams of what you think are the same foods to get the same amount of magnesium.
Now, this is a generalizing example, but it is to illustrate what may have happened over time. And if we do not receive the same amount of nutrients, it affects our cognitive health and also health in general.
As we age, natural, gradual deterioration of the body’s functions and our cognitive health occurs. We become less active, and metabolism slows down, energy requirements from macronutrients decrease. At the same time, the absorption of micronutrients in the body decreases so that the need for higher amounts through diet increases.
Research has shown that high quality and nutritious diet is essential for physical health, cognitive functions, bone health, vascular function, the condition of the eyes and for the immune system.
Biochemical And Genetic Differences
In a perfect world, our bodies work according to the scientific models. In the real world, very few of us are in complete agreement with the models, we are all unique, and our genetics differ.
People with ADHD have seen differences in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) from the general population regarding two critical neurotransmitters involved in essential cognitive functions such as attention, memory and decision making. 
About choline, which we mentioned earlier, it has been seen that as much as 50% of the population has genetic differences that increase the need for choline to synthesize methyl. This means that the same choline cannot then be used for acetylcholine, an important signal substance for communication between the neurons in the brain.
The Rescue Is Near
Now, it almost sounds like the end is near for all of us, but thankfully it’s not that bad. Our body and brain plasticity is fantastic and can recover from most things. Even the brain that is shrunk by chronic stress can regain its size by reducing stress.
Other healthy habits such as regular exercise, nutritious diets, low or no alcohol intake and good sleep hygiene have a positive impact on our cognitive health. However, sometimes it is not quite easy to get all these pieces in place so a diet supplement can be useful to use. However, it is important to remember – supplements are not intended for medical use or as an alternative to a varied diet, but are a complement to an otherwise healthy lifestyle.
And remember, our brain is a remarkable organ, that can adapt and change throughout our whole lives, so never give up!
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Braingineers develop innovative and effective, high quality supplements for primarily cognitive health. Our attitude is that the body has an innate ability to regulate our functions that can be supported, restored and optimized.
Our products are designed to help the body regulate its own biochemistry and achieve balance. Our goal is to support the integrity of the internal processes to make them more robust and better functioning over time, providing benefits even after discontinued use.