In a perfect world, parents get their school kids out of bed at the right time, make sure they are practicing the right hygiene, and feed them the right kind of breakfast to make/keep them healthy, alert, ready, and in the right frame of mind for the rigors of another school day. In an imperfect world, though, where most of us reside, additional help is needed. To the rescue come nutritional supplements, many of which can boost a student’s alertness, focus, and/or retention, among other mental faculties.
Another school year is well underway across America, and for most students these early weeks of school are a time of readjustment and transition from summer fun back into the academic realities of classroom instruction and testing. It’s time to get their brains back in gear, and dietary supplements can go a long way in making for a smoother academic adaptation.
Mental Acuity Is Key to School Performance
It’s common sense that enhanced mental focus can improve a child’s ability to receive and process instruction, which in turn can lead to better performance, both in the classroom and on the athletic field as well as in other extracurricular environments, such as band, choir, and theater.
Cognitive acuity is probably more important today than it has ever been. That’s because of the growing emphasis on high-stakes standardized testing, where students – and teachers – face brain-taxing stressors, meaning they need all the help they can get. It’s not just a child’s brain functionality and focus at issue here; some nutritional supplements can reduce the risk of a child suffering from disorders (such as ADHD) linked to mental development and functionality, per livestrong.com.
Recommended Supplements for Students
There are many nutritional supplements available over the counter that can, over time (these don’t kick in overnight) help school kids deal better with classroom lessons and homework. First, though, before going out and buying a bunch of supplements to spoon feed to your kids, make it a point to consult with your child’s/children’s pediatrician and perhaps even a licensed nutritionist to develop a safe, sound regimen for supplements’ use. Keep in mind: these are not substitutes for a well-rounded, healthy diet. Your child needs to be eating well, too.
Here are some supplements (“brain food”) to consider:
- Acetyl-L-Carintine (ALCAR). An amino acid that has antioxidant characteristics, per redstormscientific.com, ALCAR helps protect the brain from damage caused by free radicals.
- Huperzine A. Extracted from a plant known as Chinese Club Moss, it bolsters a neurotransmitter that has been pegged as key to several brain functions, among them memory, learning, and sleep-cycle regulation.
- Omega-3s. These should go to the top of your list of brain supplements. These fatty acids do all sorts of good things, such as boost brain size, protect the heart, increase memory, and optimize the speed of neural transfer.
- B vitamins. Start with B6 – it’s been shown to increase the brain’s availability of serotonin, which is the “feel good” chemical in our heads. It’s not just about feeling good, though; a sufficient amount of serotonin plays a key role in memory. B6’s presence also reduces the level of the amino acid homocysteine, which can contribute to memory and fatigue, and even lead to heart disease, per livestrong.com.
- Vitamin E. A little over a decade ago, vitamin E got a bad rap from a bogus study that mistakenly termed it a “killer.” What it really is, is an antioxidant that protects our nerves and has been studied in the treatment of memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease.
- Gingko biloba. This natural herb has been shown to improve blood flow to and in the brain. It can go a long way in boosting a child’s memory and cognitive abilities, per livestrong.com.
- Vitamin C. This vitamin is involved in the production of norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter that regulates attention and response actions.