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What Is the Ultimate Brain Food?

In the February 2010 issue of Real Cures, Dr. Frank Shallenberger reported on a brain food that may be one of the best available. It was used to help Randal McCloy overcome sever brain damage. McCloy survived the longest known exposure to carbon monoxide poisoning during the Sago Mine disaster in West Virginia in 2006. With his brain and body saturated with carbon monoxide for days, doctors didn't know if he would survive, and assumed that even if he did, he would have irreversible brain damage.

After using hyperbaric oxygen to save his life, his doctor started him on 15 grams per day of a combination of DHA and EPA, which is a very large dose by normal standards. DHA, or docosahexaenoic acid supports neural development. Studies show that it improves connections between brain cells. It has been shown that pregnant women can increase the IQs of their children by as much as 6 points by increasing the the amount of DHA in their diet during pregnancy.

It is commonly combined with EPA, or eicosapentaenoic acid. Research shows that infants whose mothers take DHA/EPA supplements during pregnancy have higher mental processing scores, better hand-eye coordination, and better psychomotor development at four years old. There is some evidence that even more benefits are to be had by supplementing the children themselves with DHA/EPA.

DHA and EPA are both omega 3 fatty acids. The primary sources for DHA are seafood, algae, and especially coldwater fish. Salmon, sardines, and tuna have a large amount, while eggs and organ meats have a small amount of DHA in them. EPA is found in oily fish or fish oil from cod liver, herring, mackerel, salmon, and sardine. It is also found in human breast milk (which is why mothers may want to supplement beyond pregnancy). Interestingly, fish do not naturally produce EPA, but obtain it from algae they consume, and vegan humans can get it from spirulina and microalgae supplements.

In the case of Randal McCloy, whom doctors suspected had massive and permanent brain damage, the supplementation seemed to work. He recovered much of his memory in the weeks that followed. He also gradually regained his ability to see, and to walk and talk. He improved far beyond what the medical literature would have suggested is possible.

His doctor thinks he should be on the supplements for life, and that others might consider this as well. Unless you are treating severe brain damage, though, the usual dose is much lower. Dr. Shallenberger recommends 600 milligrams of purified EPA and 400 milligrams of purified DHA, taken twice daily. They are usually available (together or separately) at health food stores and online, and unlike fish oil capsules, have no fishy taste or odor.

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