Gateway Health News

Mental Enhancement

Mental Enhancement


Lecithin’s major active compound phosphatidylcholine is a precursor to acetyl choline,
an important neurotransmitter in the brain. Acetylcholine is involved in many
important central nervous system functions including motor control and short-term
memory, and has been shown to help maintain optimal mental function.

Supplementation with the amino acid l-glutamine has been shown to significantly raise
levels of glutamic acid in the brain. Glutamic acid is used by the brain as a major fuel
source. Studies have shown a link between increased glutamic acid in the brain and
improved mental function.


The powerful brain compound phosphatidylserine (PS) has been shown to significantly
enhance mental abilities in both young and older adults. Of special note is the ability of
PS to improve age-related memory loss; improve cognitive function and relieve
depression in patients with senile dementia; and to help repair neurofibrillary tangles,
which are a major adverse manifestation of Alzheimer’s Disease. PS helps maintain
proper fluidity of brain cell membranes and enhances neurotransmitter activity.

Ginkgo (ginkgo biloba)

The herb ginkgo is proven to improve brain function through several mechanisms, such
as; enhancement of the brain’s micro-circulation; boosting neurotransmitter activity;
increasing the utilisation of glucose and oxygen in brain cells; and by reducing free
radical damage. Clinical studies have shown ginkgo to be beneficial in improving
memory and mental function in general – both in the elderly and younger adults.

Rhodiola (rhodiola rosea)

The Eurasian herb rhodiola has been shown to enhance brain function, in part due to a
direct action on neurotransmitter activity as well as its adaptogenic (anti-stress)
properties. Studies have shown that rhodiola remarkably increases memory and mental
performance, as well as reducing mental fatigue.

Acetyl L-Carnitine Arginate (ALCA)

ALCA is a patented type of carnitine, which appears to offer advantages over
traditional acetyl l-carnitine (ALC). In one study acetyl-l-carnitine arginate
demonstrated potential support for maintaining healthy central nervous system
function by promoting healthy neurite function. Neurites are the hair-like projections
of neurons, or nervous system cells, responsible for proper signal transmission. The
acetyl group from acetyl-l-carnitine (ALC) is also responsible for production of
acetylcholine, an important neurotransmitter for optimal mental functioning. The
efficacy of long-term acetyl-l-carnitine supplementation was investigated in a doubleblind,
placebo-controlled, randomized trial, in which acetyl-l-carnitine demonstrated
the ability to slow negative cognitive changes and supported memory and attention. A
randomised double-blind study and a multi-centre trial suggested that acetyl-l-carnitine
supplementation provided statistically significant support for mental function,
including memory and attention, and behavioural and emotional support.

Mental Enhancement Summary
Nutrient/Herb Typical intake range
Phosphatidycholine1 500 – 1000mg elemental PC per day
L-Glutamine2 2000 – 4000mg per day
Phosphatidylserine3 100 – 300mg elemental PS per day
Ginkgo biloba extract (24%
ginkgoflavoglycosides, 6% terpene lactones)4
60 – 180mg per day
Rhodiola rosea5 250 – 750mg per day
Acetyl L-Carnitine Arginate (ALCA)6 250 – 1000mg per day (away from food)

Trans/hydrogenated fats
Refined and processed foods


Oily fish
Nuts and seeds
Vegetarian protein sources
Whole foods

Lifestyle Factors
Take regular gentle exercise
Reduce impact of stress - support adrenal function if necessary
Limit use of stimulants
Ensure adequate sleep

1. May cause deepening of depressive symptoms in clinical (non-bipolar) depression - use under
medical supervision only.
2. High dosages of glutamine may affect anticonvulsant medication. Avoid if sensitive to
monosodium glutamate or suffering kidney or liver problems
3. Do not use if taking prescribed anti-coagulant drugs such as warfarin without the consent of a
qualified medical health practitioner
4. Do not use during pregnancy or lactation. May decrease the action of Warfarin. Concurrent use
with insulin and oral hypoglycaemic medication under medical supervision only. Do not use with
MAOI anti-depressants.
5. Do not use during pregnancy or lactation. Concurrent use with anti-depressant medication under
medical supervision only.
6. Do not use during pregnancy or lactation unless under medical supervision.