At exam time is usually take supplements to improve concentration and memory, although most are ineffective
Improve academic performance is a key objective for any student concerned about the notes. And no doubt that good nutrition is necessary for proper brain development and, by extension, for academic performance. But, are there any nutrients, food supplements or related substances influencing the concentration or the “mental energy”? Before consuming brews and supplements, or implement some methods of study of doubtful efficacy (and safety) it is important to review the evidence. The following article discusses the most “famous” substances related to the study and intellectual capacity.
Nutritional supplements for study
Of the many nutrients involved in brain functions it should be noted, because of their relevance, fatty acids omega-3 , the phosphorus , the iron , the zinc , the iodine and vitamin B12 and is therefore discussed succinctly below although reference is also made, in addition to coffee , 28 substances or common supplements in student backpacks.
Of these it is important to highlight the role, in our environment, a vitamin and two minerals . Deficiency of vitamin B12 , common in older than 50 years or vegetarians, may be involved in a deterioration of cognitive functions. More common is the low intake of iodine , which can also alter the mental work capacity. For this and many other reasons is recommended to take iodized salt regularly. With less than a teaspoon of iodized salt (2.5 grams) recommendations iodine intake of an adult (about 150 micrograms of iodine) are covered. The recommendations for pregnant and lactating are higher, so it is recommended to take an iodine supplement. Anemia due to lack of iron , or anemia ferropénica- finally cause concentration problems. Iron supplementation, if so, should be left to the doctor.
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Omega-3 for memory
Among the most used and most dietary supplements “fashionable” include those containing omega-3 fatty acids. It is, in fact, the “natural product” more used by both adult and child population, as just referred to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine ( NCCAM ).
A type of omega-3 fatty acid abundant in the brain called DHA contributes to the maintenance of brain functions according to the European Food Safety Authority ( EFSA , its acronym in English). Hence arise hypotheses propose that more intake of DHA, increased brain performance. However, human studies available show no clear about benefits. That is, the DHA is necessary for proper function of neurons is not to say that “more is better” , nor put more gas in the car means that go faster.
There is another “famous” omega-3 fatty acid called EPA . EFSA is clear: it does not support the ability to concentrate, not improve learning ability, does not help to calm down, does not improve the care and offers no rest for the mind and body, as can be seen in this link . In sum, although the omega-3 fatty acids contribute to the construction of structures in the brain, only deficiency alter academic performance . However, there are no deficiencies in omega-3 in the population that are of concern for intellectual performance, why it does not seem advisable nor justified that students take this class of supplements.
Phosphorus for the brain
If there is a widespread myth dietician regarding nutrition and its role in brain capabilities is that involving phosphorus. Thousands of web pages (many of which sell supplements phosphorus) attributed to this mineral called improvements related to memory and learning. But phosphorus involved in nerve signaling (which is true) does not allow call it “brain food.” Phosphorus is a nutrient found in almost all foods and its deficiency is extremely rare . EFSA does not consider that there is inadequate intakes of phosphorus in the European population leading to problems related to their role in the function of cell membranes. Incuso determines that it is not proven that phosphorus supplements reduce fatigue or tiredness in situations of deficiency.
Vitamin B12 to study
Vitamin B12 deficiency can impair intellectual performance. It is common in people over 50 years and this situation is, among other reasons, so that the Institute of Medicine of the United States recommended from this age take B12 supplements or eating foods fortified with the vitamin. Studies observed that B12 supplementation improves cognitive function in older people, which can also occur in young people with vitamin deficiencies . In vegetarians it is vital to take supplements or fortified with vitamin B12, as food indicates research published in February 2013 in the journal Nutrition Reviews that studied the relationship between vegetarianism and B12 deficiency.
Iodine for active neurons
Iodine contributes to cognitive function and proper activity of neurons. Because disorders iodine deficiency (among which are counted problems related to brain function) are quite common in our environment, and as it is difficult to cover with dietary intake recommendations of this nutrient (especially during the pregnancy and lactation), societies of endocrinology and nutrition Spanish, in addition to the Ministry of Health, insist for years to take the simple step of replacing the normal (or sea) salt iodized salt . In any case, take iodized salt or iodine supplements (which must prescribe a health professional) will not improve brain function if there are no gaps.
It is estimated that 2% to 5% of adults (in developed countries) suffering from anemia due to iron deficiency, known as “iron deficiency anemia”. This ailment, among other symptoms, causes concentration problems. In such cases, academic performance can be impaired , as confirmed by the EFSA. Should see a doctor to diagnose anemia and, where appropriate, paute iron supplements , as can be seen, for example, in this guide developed by the British Society of Gastroenterology.
Zinc for cognitive functions
Zinc is a micronutrient that also contributes to normal cognitive function, according to the EFSA . But again, this contribution is not at all the evidence that zinc supplements are to make notes improve. EFSA considers that the scientific evidence does not establish that inadequate intake of zinc exist in the general population of Europe leading to losses in cognitive functions.Moreover, zinc intake above certain limits , can generate deficits copper status, a trace element involved in the immune system, among other functions .
Academic achievement: coffee and other substances or supplements used 28
In addition to the above nutrients, EFSA has also assessed the role of other substances in cognitive function, as can be found via this link . According to the EFSA, none of the substances or supplements listed below helps learning or reasoning , improves concentration or attention, provides emotional balance and serenity, reduces mental stress, contributes to relaxation or welfare mentally, it increases student achievement, fosters agility or mental “energy”, provides greater alertness, stimulates memory, induces a sense of emotional well – being, improves mental work capacity, produces a “mental vitality” decreases reaction time, alertness raises or increases the “mental and cognitive development”:
Oil wheat germ, gamma-aminobutyric acid, gamma-linoleic acid, linoleic acid (Omega-6), energy drinks with carbohydrates, coenzyme Q10 (ubiquinone), creatine, phenylalanine, fosfaditilserina, phosphatidylcholine, wheat germ, glutamine, inositol, lecithin, brewer ‘s yeast, flax or essential fatty acids, L-theanine ( “theanine”), L-tryptophan ( “tryptophan”), magnesium, manganese, multivitamins, whey protein, quercetin, taurine, tyrosine, vitamin B2, 2-dimethylaminoethanol hydrogen tartrate.
Due to regulatory nature of EFSA opinions, statements attributed to any of these substances or supplements effects as described above, contravene Article 5.1.a of Regulation 1924/2006 and are therefore illegal .
EFSA has not evaluated, so far, to coffee or Ginkgo biloba . While many studies indicate that coffee improves concentration in adults (in children is not recommended), apparently its effect is only relevant activities in which the pupil receives information passively, while having no effect on tasks in which the material is learned intentionally. As for the Ginkgo biloba , a plant used for its purported ability to improve memory, a rigorous new study has concluded that exerts a positive effect on cognitive functions. Professor Keith Laws, first author of the research, said to ScienceDaily , the following : “Our findings show that taking supplements of Ginkgo biloba . At any age does not getbetter at all memory, and can be a waste of time and money”