Vitamins E & B
"The most powerful brain antioxidant is vitamin E," says Dharma Singh Khalsa, M.D., author of Brain Longevity. "It decreases inflammation in the brain, scavenges free radicals, [and helps] stop degeneration of cognitive function." To counteract the effects of stress on the brain, Alicia Gonzalez, N.D., a naturopath at Tashi Delek Health and Wellness in Edmonds, Wash., recommends "a good B-complex supplement that includes B6 and B12." Khalsa likes the Bs as well. "So many people complain of mental and physical fatigue, and B vitamins are very important for increasing energy," he says.
How to Use It: Khalsa recommends 400 IU of vitamin E daily for the average person, and between 800 and 1,000 IU each day if you have problems with memory, concentration, and the like--along with 400 to 800 micrograms of folio acid daily. For the other B vitamins, Gonzalez suggests taking up to 1,000 mcg a day of B12 (place tablets under the tongue for best absorption) and 50 mg of B6, three times a day.
Long appreciated for its antioxidant power, green tea may be the beverage of choice for brain gains. A study at the University of Newcastle in Great Britain turned up protective benefits in green tea. "We have data from a two-year study done on a large number of over-70-year-olds that shows those who consumed more green tea had no cognitive decline over the study period compared with those who consumed less," says Edward J. Okello, Ph.D., lead researcher of the British study.
How to Use It: While no study has pinpointed how much or which brand of tea you should drink to help keep memory intact, more seems to be better, observes Okello.