In the modern era the frenzy and efficiency are the order of the day, must that while being unsurpassable in certain situations, do not go hand in hand with the well-being of the person.
In addition to the bombardments of daily stressors of various kinds (work, personal, linked to advancing age and related problems) it is easy to fall into memory or, more commonly, loss of lucidity and concentration.
It is always important to be aware of the causes of our stress, even in particularly intense periods and, after identifying the causes, we must act to get out of that "foggy" and chaotic context in which our mind has entered.
In fact, when we feel "on tilt", it is as if our brain "hardware" has accumulated data, emotions and perceptions in a confused and chaotic way.
The brain, therefore, receives too much information that it cannot catalog and manage in an orderly fashion. If we don't break this loop, the mind comes to a kind of deadlock or saturation point. Before this happens, it is necessary to intervene with a sort of general surrender.
We think of our memory as a great collector of lived experiences which, when needed, are reused to better manage other new situations.
However, memory is not just a container, it continues to re-elaborate information based on our path of experiences. When new information arrives, it is added to the other experiences, with a "coding" mechanism that is very influenced by the psycho-physical and emotional condition in which we find ourselves. Then we move on to the consolidation of the memory, that is the phase of "retention" (long-term memory) to then be "rescued" on the occasion in which the present experience recalls and reactivates ("recovery") to help us face them in the best possible way.
Per greater clarity, it is possible to distinguish between:
- explicit memory (when we know how to describe in a conscious way);
- implicit memory (cognitive and motor skills), where other factors also take over in the processing phases, including the emotional component involved, motivational, and even the mood in which we are.
Concentration is something different, it concerns the ability to stay with the thought on a certain activity, directly linked to the will of the subject and is linked between sensory perception and controlled action (linked to short-term memory). Many stressful factors can influence the efficiency of "recording" and fixation of experiences, as well as lead to an incorrect use of memories and lead us to situations of strong and constant generalized anxiety and open to various disorders related to mood.
In phases of particularly intense stress, where adrenaline continues to keep us in a state of "alarm", the difficulty of concentrating becomes one of the most common symptoms and signals that stress is becoming unmanageable and dominant, so much so that at a neuroendocrine level we arrive at a true tilt of the "orthosympathetic" system.
It is difficult to simplify a subject so complex and susceptible to ramifications, but there are many studies that show how chronic stress, related to a dominance of the "out of control" presence of cortisol (stress hormone) arm in arm with adrenaline, affects on short-term memory and ability to concentrate. It is no coincidence that in those states, we struggle to concentrate, remember and learn, and we often respond in a non-proportional way to situations that our mind "signals" as dangerous even when they are not because it happens that through intense and prolonged stress, it can lead to true inefficiency of areas of the brain such as the amygdala or hippocampus related to memories.
Thanks to continuous scientific research it has been possible to investigate, and still seek new possibilities, on a series of natural and / or synthetic elements, which have proved to be real aids:
- adaptogens: support the management of the psychophysical response to stress;
- nootropics: able to positively improve cognitive abilities, promoting learning, memory, motivation and creativity.
Nutraceuticals have therefore highlighted various natural substances, often handed down from a long millenary medical tradition, which have demonstrated their effective use and thus to a growing diffusion as adaptogenic or nootropic elements.
Among these natural substances, Bacopa Monnieri stands out among the "best" and most considered natural nootropics , a phytoextract that has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic Medicine, used to improve cognitive and memory abilities, but also considered a powerful adaptogen by of its important effect on improving the management of the stress response, improving reactivity as well as significantly reducing anxiety and depressive states. Bacopa is characterized by the compound Bacoside A which easily crosses the blood brain barrier and binds to receptor sites that enhance cognition and memory, and is increasingly used as a neuroprotective (helps prevent arterial plaque which can lead to heart attack, stroke and other neurodegenerative diseases) and to rebalance neurotransmitters such as acetylcholine.
Another natural substance with interesting Energy on cognitive abilities, which we can define an ad hoc "nootropic", is L-Acetyl-L-carnitine (ALCAR), a much more bioavailable molecule than the better known and correlated L-Carnitine, naturally produced in the liver and kidneys, and is then transported to other tissues, including the brain and heart. In its "acetylated" version, like "L-Acetilcarnitine" we know that it intervenes in a very important way on the cerebral energy metabolism, favoring the transport of fatty acids into the mitochondria where they are necessary for energy metabolism. In this way it powers our "cellular Energy plants" by increasing adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in brain cells.
ALCAR is a necessary factor for the formation of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that increases memory and cognitive functions, mental alertness and fluid thinking. The antioxidant properties of acetyl-L-Carnitine also provide interesting neuroprotective qualities, increasing brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and promoting greater blood circulation in the brain.
Among the substances with a nootropic effect, which improve the concentration, with a proven clinical effect, is Citicoline or CDP-choline (cytidine diphosphate choline or cytidine 5′-diphosphocholine). This natural source of choline is present in every cell of our body. Choline is needed to synthesize the neurotransmitter acetylcholine released by neurons, a key factor in electrical communication between neurons, which is strongly involved in memory, learning, cognition and recall.
Citicoline not only improves the communication between neurons, but provides uridine necessary for the repair of the neurons themselves and intervenes in the release of other neurotransmitters such as adrenaline, dopamine, and serotonin.
Phosphatidylserine (PS) is another element in support of our cognitive activities and in contrast with neurodegenerative problems. It is a phospholipid component of the membranes of brain cells and helps maintain their fluidity and permeability by promoting the transport of Protein, enzymes, nutrients, oxygen and glucose in and out of each cell.
Phosphatidylserine is involved in the formation and sending of signals within neurons which occurs through neural synapses and promotes healthy nerve growth factor (NGF), supporting the neurogenesis required for long-term potentiation (LTP). And memory formation depends on a healthy LTP. Phosphatidylserine is an extraordinarily important phospholipid involved in the construction of the mitochondria which are the energy centers of every brain cell and is considered today probably one of the most effective and important nootropics that science has demonstrated, fostering the reputation of improving alertness, l attention, cognition, memory, remembrance and mood.
All this through three mechanisms: keeping brain cells fluid and permeable, optimizing neuroplasticity to form new connections necessary for the formation of memory. PS is also critical for cleaning up damaged neurons and maintaining a functional brain. PS increases mental energy by facilitating the flow of glucose and oxygen necessary to feed brain cells and is an integral part of the flow of fundamental neurotransmitters such as dopamine and again, acetylcholine, improving cognition, memory and been anxious.
Curiosity, the precious phosphatidylserine works in synergy with the essential fatty acid DHA contained in Omega-3 to keep brain cells healthy and prolong their survival.
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