This bestseller from PRIMESELF is described as “the next generation in cognitive enhancing supplements, designed for pure mental performance when you need it most. Specifically to enhance cognition by supporting neurotransmitter production, increasing cerebral blood flow and enhancing NGF as well as BDNF levels.”
I think it does just that. The most important things we look for in brain health supplements are ingredients that can improve blood flow to and in the brain, improve memory recall, learning abilities, overall health and structure of brain cells and boost mental performance in a variety of tasks. Different nootropics and chemicals have the ability to do just that. Prime Mind contains a number of these ingredients and I’ve felt a real improvement in my own brain fog from using this supplement for almost two months now. Let’s take a look at the ingredients in this supplement, how they impact the brain and why they might be good in this supplement.
Lion’s Mane Mushroom (500mg)
Undoubtedly the star of this supplement, Lion’s Mane is the Mufasa of Mushrooms, and its uses and benefits are both broad and impressive. It is, quite literally, a “smart mushroom”, being the only non-psychedelic mushroom with compounds that are shown to stimulate not only brain growth but also neuron repair.
The reason why Lion’s Mane can do this is because it promotes the creation in our brains of two important things (due to being rich in beta-glucan polysaccharides), namely nerve growth factor (NGF) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).
In simple terms, NGF and BDNF are proteins that assist the brain to produce new cells and strengthening the ones that you already have. If you consider that together with ageing, we often experience memory loss and a host of other brain-related concerns which are the result of neurons shrinking and brain cells which become damaged or less efficient, what could be more potent than compounds which reverse this very process?
Let’s take a step back and consider what role BDNF plays in our brains. There is a BDNF gene which gives the instruction for making BDNF, which means we all have this ability to varying degrees. Once BDNF has been made, it promotes the survival of neurons by helping them with growth and maintenance. BDNF is active where cell-to-cell communication happens (at what we call the brain synapses), which means that BDNF assists in regulating that synaptic plasticity, which when strong and pliable, helps us with learning and memory. Increased brain plasticity means your brain cells are resilient to stressors.
Interestingly, BDNF is present in the areas of your brain that control eating and drinking and your control over these functions, making it even more important to our general wellbeing. Because Lion’s Mane can cross the blood-brain barrier (i.e. it can directly work on your brain), it can directly support these functions.
A Malaysian study in 2012 showed that Lion’s Mane could regenerate cells that were damaged in a peripheral nerve injury. Protection of cells is one thing, but regeneration is quite impressive! If we consider that the main characteristics of brain-related diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s are cell degeneration, this Mighty Mushroom deserves to be taken seriously.
What I like the most about using Lion’s Mane as a standalone product is that it feels like it removes brain fog, but with a very different feeling compared to the use of stimulants, like caffeine. Lion’s Mane is by far one of the most popular nootropics on the market and it’s because so many people see a real improvement in cognitive functioning with the continued use of Lion’s Mane.
Vitamin B6 aka Pyridoxine (10mg)
Vitamin B6 is a water-soluble vitamin. Our bodies can’t produce it so we must get it from food or supplementation. It’s relatively easy to absorb Vitamin B6 from food, with good sources including poultry, fish, potatoes, chickpeas and bananas.
While Vitamin B6 is a superstar in relation to sleep (for example, a deficiency has been linked to insomnia and depression), it is also really important for normal brain development and for keeping the central nervous system (the processing centre of the body and consists of the brain and the spinal cord) and immune system healthy. Specifically, Vitamin B6 is involved in the production of haemoglobin, which is the protein in blood that carries oxygen throughout the body. No small task!
In addition, Vitamin B6 is required for healthy brain development in children and for proper brain functioning in people of all ages. It helps with making important hormones and neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine (mood regulation), GABA (relaxation so that you can think better), norepinephrine (stress management) and melatonin (the sleep hormone).
According to the Canadian Medical Association Journal, research is increasingly showing that Vitamin B6 (in combination with Vitamin B12 and folate) could play a role in slowing cognitive decline and age-related memory loss. This would mean we need adequate levels to prevent Alzheimer’s, strokes and depression.
Finally, a really cool aspect of Vitamin B6 is that studies show that supplementing increases the ability of study participants to recall their dreams and have more vivid dreams. More research needs to be done on the brain health aspects of Vitamin B6, but given the host of accepted benefits, I think it’s a great addition to Prime Mind!
Alpha GPC (300mg)
The quick science: Alpha GPC is a precursor (i.e. is required to make something) to acetylcholine, which is an important neurotransmitter (chemical messenger) in your brain. This means Alpha GPC makes sure that the brain creates accurate and healthy messages. Acetylcholine specifically is vital to optimising memory, new learning and overall brain health. Perfect for Prime Mind.
Alpha GPC is naturally found in the brain, but supplementation has been shown in studies to have the potential for stroke prevention and dementia prevention because of its ability to improve blood flow to the brain. Neurons that produce acetylcholine are some of the first neurons lost in Alzheimer’s disease, and theoretically, taking Alpha GPC may compensate for that loss.
Bacopa Monnieri (250mg)
Bacopa Monnieri (BM) is a plant that has been used for centuries in traditional Ayurvedic medicine. Also known as brahmi, this is one of the most well-known nootropics for the brain for its ability to support brain health, address memory dysfunction and even aid epilepsy.
BM again increases neurotransmitters involved in thinking, learning and memory and is actually quite commonly used for preventing and treating Alzheimer’s, anxiety and ADHD. While more research needs to be conducted on why this appears to be the case, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence from parents noting how the use of BM has aided their children’s ADHD.
One of the most prevalent reasons why we often feel our brain functioning being affected is because we’re stressed. Ever been in a situation where you feel like you just can’t think straight because you’re under pressure? Because BM has anti-anxiety effects, it’s thought to improve your thinking abilities by alleviating stress but not sedating you at the same time.
Studies look promising, with a 12-week study in adults showing that daily use of BM improved the speed of processing visual information, learning rate and memory recall relative to placebo treatment. Another 12-week study in older adults demonstrated improved memory, attention and information processing.
Pine Bark Extract (150mg)
The extract from pine bark contains plant compounds like vitamins, polyphenols and other phytonutrients. The type used in Prime Mind (Proanthocyanidins) is particularly beneficial as an antioxidant and has shown potential as an Alzheimer’s treatment. Given its anti-inflammatory properties, it is also being investigated in terms of treating Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI’s).
However, a very interesting study on university students in 2011 showed impressive brain health benefits. A daily dose was administered for 8 weeks to test improvements in alertness, memory and mood due to improved blood flow to the brain.
The study found that the pine bark extract statistically improved the performance of the students in a series of cognitive tests that were chosen specifically to test sustained attention, memory, spatial working memory, planning skills and mental flexibility. The students were subjected to real-life stressful situations such as taking exams at the time, making the results all the more impressive. Levels of anxiety were even measured as 17% lower.
Phosphatidylserine (PS) is a type of fat and was initially derived from the brain cells of cows, but entered mad cow disease fears and PS is now derived from soy (as in Prime Mind) or cabbage derivatives.
A 2014 study looked at 127 articles and studies to determine the effect of PS on brain health. It found that PS is required for healthy brain cell membranes and that because PS can cross the blood-brain barrier and is absorbed efficiently in humans, it can safely slow, halt or reverse the structural deterioration that happens to our brain cells (and nerve damage) that is caused by ageing.
Furthermore, it found that PS can assist with the actual formation of short-term memory, consolidate long-term memory, create new memories and retrieve old memories and also with learning (focus and concentration), reasoning skills and problem-solving. It’s an impressive body of research pointing to these results. In fact, PS is the only brain supplement that the FDA has already approved for treating age-related cognitive decline.
Huperzia Serrata (20mg)
Huperzia Serrate (HS) is known as Chinese Club Moss and is used as an alternative medicine due to its purported ability to prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine, the neurotransmitter previously discussed in the context of learning and memory. As such, it is used in alternative medicine (and backed up by a number of mainstream studies since then) as a treatment for Alzheimer’s, to enhance learning and memory and to protect the brain against age-related cognitive decline. It is also used to boost energy and alertness, which obviously also affects our overall wellbeing and cognition.
Given that it may interact with certain medications like cholinesterase inhibitors and beta-blockers, it’s best to consult a doctor before supplementing with HS.
BioPerine (Black Pepper Extract) (5mg)
Piperine, which is the bioactive compound found in black pepper (and BioPerine) makes a number of substances more bioavailable for absorption in our bodies. It is therefore a great inclusion in this supplement to make sure that the ingredients included are absorbed properly by your body to be used effectively.
My Review of Prime Mind
A number of the reviews of Prime Mind mention that an improvement in brain fog, ADHD and general cognition were felt within a few days. While this is certainly possible, especially where someone has significant deficiencies, I think that the real magic with this product starts to happen after about 8 weeks of consistent use.
I found that when looking back on my time of using the product, I can definitely say that I find reduced brain fog and increased motivation when tackling tasks. All my other supplements were kept the same, so the improvement that I feel can only be ascribed to Prime Mind.
I’ve always been a big fan of Lion’s Mane, so having it combined with other brain-supporting nootropics and ingredients is a real winner. Brain fog is something that I’ve been concerned about for me for quite some time, but really thinking on it, since using this supplement I’ve felt clearer, more motivated and definitely feel like my memory recall has improved. I haven’t experienced those complete blank moments when trying to remember the name of a movie or a conversation I’ve had with someone like I used to before.
I therefore highly rate this product for its clever mix of ingredients and the very real effect which I believe it has had on my cognitive abilities and memory! YAY!!