What is a good supplement for brain health?
Is there a nutrient or substance we can include in our diet that allows our minds to function better? Yes, I believe there is, and it’s called ‘uridine’.
Let’s dig a little deeper and find out what makes uridine so special, shall we?
Uridine is a natural compound found in the cells of virtually every living thing on Earth. It’s one of the 4 amino acids used for RNA and DNA coding.
Usually the body receives the lion’s share of the uridine we ingest from foods, and very little of it reaches the brain.
It’s for this reason that supplementing with uridine has been found to be very beneficial to cognition, especially with a form of uridine that can easily cross the blood-brain barrier.
Uridine provides significant improvements in focus, memory, attention control, and mood enhancement.
Research has also shown that supplementing with uridine results in better learning ability, mental clarity, anxiety relief, and decision making ability.
These characteristics also make uridine very good for managing ADHD symptoms.
So without further ado, let’s take a look at what uridine does, shall we?
What is Uridine? – How does it Work?
I already touched on this briefly, but now I’m going to give you a bit more background information.
It’s one of the 4 amino acids used for RNA and DNA coding, making it absolutely essential for the formation of new cells.
It’s so important, in fact, that there’s tons of it in human breast milk. We also add it to baby formula.
Why? Because uridine is especially effective at encouraging the growth of brain cells.
In fact, research has shown that supplementing with uridine increases the number of neurons and synapses throughout the brain.
It also facilitates the development of additional connections between neurons so they can ‘speak’ to one another more effectively.
All of these effects lead to some pretty impressive bonuses for brain health, which is what we are going to talk about next.
Uridine Increases Brain Power
The advantages of having more brain cells, extra neural connections, and increased levels of neurotransmitters in the brain are very far reaching.
The major pathways that uridine uses to enhance cognition are:
- Neurotransmitter Synthesis
When uridine supports the coding process for RNA and DNA, this protects us from genetic damage, and can help prevent cancerous tumors.
The increased density of neurons, along with higher levels of dopamine and acetylcholine naturally lead to more synergy in brain function.
Individuals that have supplemented with uridine often report that learning new things is much easier, they feel calmer, and are able to make quick decisions more easily.
I sometimes find that it can be helpful to categorize this kind of information with a list, so here it is:
- Enhanced Focus
- Improved Memory
- Better Mental Clarity
- Advanced Learning Ability
- Elevated Mood
- Anxiety Relief
- Faster Decision Making
The great thing about all of these benefits is that they are essentially showcasing the development of more neuroplasticity.
Neuroplasticity is the ability to form new neural pathways in the brain. It usually stems from new brain cells being formed, and results in a greater ability to shift attention and multitask.
This is awesome if you want to be a superstar at work, but it’s also extremely important if you have ADHD, and want to manage your symptoms.
However, uridine is even more effective in this area because it facilitates the growth of neurites between the synapses.
Think of neurites as tiny roots or microfibers connecting neurons so they can share information.
Research has found that issues like concentration, impulse control, and other problems commonly experienced by adults with ADHD improve dramatically with uridine supplementation.
In order to understand how the effects of uridine and the symptoms of ADHD relate to each other, I think we need to better understand ADHD itself.
Uridine for ADHD – How does it Help?
Although more research still needs to be conducted in this area, the most popular theory right now is that ADHD is caused by an imbalance in the ‘catecholamine’ group of neurotransmitters:
This is especially true of dopamine and norepinephrine.
People with ADHD typically have less dopamine receptors in their synapses, which reduces its’ effectiveness.
And when the norepinephrine system isn’t working properly, attention control and impulsive behavior can become a problem.
Overall, if the catecholamines are out of balance, it has negative effects on executive functions like:
- Attention Control
- Working Memory
- Impulse Control
- Social Behavior
The most common experiences people with ADHD or ADD have is not being able to focus on anything for an extended period of time, forgetfulness, emotional outbursts, depression, and of course, antisocial behavior.
So if you look at the list of problematic areas above, it’s a perfect match; and uridine counteracts all of these symptoms beautifully.
It increases dopamine levels in the hippocampus, which is the emotional center of the brain. This gives mood a boost, of course, but also helps to regulate our higher functions.
Uridine also improves the health of brain cell membranes, increasing the number of receptors and their sensitivity.
Research has also revealed that taking uridine with omega-3 fatty acids and choline can augment cognitive performance even further, and at lower doses.
This is because the human brain is largely composed of fatty oils, and omega-3 fatty acids account for about 60% of brain mass.
When we ingest omega-3’s, it provides structural support to the formation of new brain cells.
Choline is also extremely important to the health of brain cell membranes, and supplementing with it has been shown to enhance overall brain health.
So now that we know that uridine is good for mental performance, and can help with ADHD symptoms, how can we supplement with it for best results?
Uridine Dosage – Recommendations for Best Results
Uridine is available either as a powder or in capsule form. The powder can be taken by putting it under the tongue for quick absorption.
People that have used uridine this way report that it’s much more effective, and the taste isn’t terrible, so it’s not a bad option.
UMP, or Uridine ‘5 – Monophosphate, is the most common form of uridine used in supplements. UMP easily crosses the blood-brain barrier, so it’s very efficient.
Since uridine is naturally occurring in the body, it’s very well tolerated, and adverse side effects are rare.
It’s also worth mentioning that your body has the ability to synthesize uridine from other compounds if necessary.
AND uridine is also commonly found in foods we eat every day. Beer, beets, broccoli, fish, mushrooms, oats, parsley, and tomatoes are all naturally rich in UMP.
Did I say beer? Yep. Beer is actually one of the best known sources of uridine. Brewer’s yeast has uridine in it as well.
But don’t go chug a 6 pack, and tell everybody it’s good for your brain.
(insert sarcasm here)
That being said, because uridine is a natural compound, it can’t be patented by pharmaceutical companies.
As a result, most of what we know about uridine is based on clinical trials with animals, not humans.
Just to be on the safe side, it is recommended that anyone who is pregnant or breastfeeding not use uridine as a supplement.
Please don’t take more than the recommended dosages either. You shouldn’t have any issues, but you can’t just take UMP in obscene amounts either.
So what kind of supplements can people take if they want to use uridine to their advantage?
What if you have ADHD or ADD, and you want to experience the synergy possible with uridine supplementation?
I have a few suggestions for you.
Uridine – Final Recommendations
Uridine is needed for RNA and DNA coding. This makes it essential to all living things.
Research has revealed that there are many advantages to supplementing with uridine to enhance cognitive performance.
It provides neuroprotection by ensuring cell reproduction can be performed with less risk of mutation, thereby preventing cancerous tumors and other aberrations.
Uridine optimizes thought processes by increasing the number of neurons and synapses in the brain.
It also encourages greater communication between brain cells, which enhances brain function even further.
Improvements in executive function, attention, learning ability, and impulse control all make uridine a wonderful nutrient for managing ADHD symptoms.
Mood is also elevated with uridine, because it increases dopamine levels in the hippocampus; the emotional center of the brain.
This makes uridine a great nootropic for depression.
So what is a good supplement for brain health I can recommend?
Well, in terms of pre-made supplements that can provide the benefits of uridine in a nice, complete package, I would recommend Awaken from Awakened Alchemy.Awaken and Awaken Gold both have uridine in their formulations, but also contain other nootropics that are known to be good for ADHD symptoms and depression.
Tyrosine, for example, is also known to improve ADHD issues by increasing dopamine and norepinephrine levels.
It’s best known for increasing working memory, even under the influence of stress factors.
L-Theanine is also a good example, because it provides focus along with a calming effect. A lot of the medications that are commonly prescribed for ADHD, like Adderall, are stimulants.
Stimulants often interrupt sleep patterns, or cause anxiety. About 1 in 3 people with ADHD have trouble sleeping, so Adderall is hardly a perfect solution for them.
L-Theanine actually reduces anxiety and improves sleep because of the way it regulates GABA in the brain.
Awaken and Awaken Gold both have uridine, L-Theanine, and tyrosine in their formulations.
This makes both of them good supplements for improving brain function, and for managing ADHD symptoms.
All right, that’s about everything I had to share with you about uridine, and uridine ‘5 – monophosphate (UMP).
If you have any questions at all, just post a comment below, and I’ll get right back to you.
In my next article, I’ll be talking about Performance Lab Mind as a basic nootropic supplement, and why it’s so useful for custom stacking.
Until next time,
P.S. – If you or someone you know could benefit from reading this article, please share it with them!