Brain Supplements are to Students, What Protein is to Weightlifters
When someone lifts weights to build strength and muscle, it is almost a given that they up their daily intake of protein through diet changes and supplements. In fact, many will supplement their body’s levels of many other things too. And it makes sense; protein and other things are necessary to rebuild muscles, and most people’s diets simply do not provide the levels they need to maximize the effects of their work. As long as it is safe for weightlifters to increase levels of something that helps reach their goals, many weightlifters do just that.
That brain is a muscle. It does not “grow” in the sense that other muscles do, but when it works hard on something or experiences something new, more neuron connections are formed and it is more prepared for the next challenge. The formation of these neuron connections, and the retrieval of this progress at a later point, depend on a variety of nutrients, fats, and proteins. This of course a simplified account of learning and memory, but even from this overview it is clear that certain things in your body are necessary for proper brain function. And yet while nearly all serious weightlifters are smart about their nutrient intake, very few students even know which things are important. Even more troubling, researchers suggest that as high as 99% of Americans do not get enough of these nutrients from their diet.
As a recent graduate of Stanford University, I credit my success both in and out of the classroom in large part to the many steps I take to create an approach to studying that makes me a more efficient worker and effective learner. These approaches give me a leg up even on my peers who are more naturally intelligent than I. One of these steps, and a very important one, is ensuring that my brain has everything it needs to function as well as it possibly can, and that none of my capacities are hindered by a dearth in a necessary resource. Many of the best students I knew at Stanford also took of advantage of the research in this area, and I hope that in writing this article more students across the country can be knowledgeable about the nutrients your brain needs. I will discuss a few of my favorites below. A comprehensive list, with reviews and recommendations, is available on the Supplements page here.
It is important to always keep health in mind, and always ensure that a supplement or dosage you take is not harming you. To return to the weightlifter analogy, there is a difference between protein powder and steroids. The above supplements are healthier, and in the long run more effective, alternatives to adderall or other drugs sometimes considered good study aids.
A combination of these supplements keeps the brain prepared for focusing and making neuron connections, and ensuring your brain has the nutrients it needs is an important step to getting the most out of your studying. This, maximizing return on every minute spent studying, is the goal around which intelligent studying revolves.
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