How to Upgrade Your Brain

Worried about your memory or cognitive health? There is no reason why it should decline as you age. There is much you can do to keep your brain sharp and even boost your brain power no matter what age you are.

In my book Brain Boost Diet I discuss the key factors that can adversely affect brain health as well as the lifestyle and dietary strategies to adopt for better brain function. When it comes to memory and cognition there are many ways to support brain function including brain training devices, Apps, stress management, exercise, meditation, sleep and other lifestyle changes.

There are also various supplements / nutrients that can be helpful.  

Here are some of my favourites


Acetyl-L-carnitine is a powerful brain antioxidant which is able to cross the blood-brain barrier.  This helps protect the brain from oxidative stress making it a neuroprotective. It also influences acetylcholine and dopamine function which is why it is such as useful cognitive aid and mood booster. It supercharges your mitochondria which helps your entire system, not just your body. Try this one


Not just for body builders and one of the best supplements to try if you are vegan or vegetarian as you are likely to be deficient. Your brain uses creatine and research shows it enhances brain function, cognition and memory even at just 5 grams per day.


Medium Chain Triglyceride Oil: MCT oil is a useful aid if you are also struggling with low brain energy as it provides a useful brain fuel being a nutritional source of ketones. Studies suggest it can aid cognition and may be useful in mild cases of Alzheimer’s. I use an MCT oil particularly when skipping meals or fasting.

Fish / Krill Oil (EPA/DHA)

These essential omega-3 fatty acids are vital for proper brain function and development at any age.  They can improve memory, speed of function, and are neuroprotective.  Depending on your genetic SNPs you may need anything from 1-2g fish oil or krill oil. Try Bare Biology FISH OIL


Caffeine is a cheap way to boost brain power. It improves short-term memory, alertness, and cognitive function. Be mindful that you can get used to caffeine so it can be useful to cycle its use particularly around study periods or exams. A useful dose can be found in a cup of coffee (90-150mg) or a pre-workout supplement. Be mindful that depending on your genetic SNPs you may be a slow metaboliser so watch your intake and timing of dose.

Bacopa monnieri

Known as an adaptogen which means it can help your body adapt to the stress you are under. For the brain it can also improve memory and focus. It may take a while to really experience the benefits so I would suggest trying it for at least 1 month and take around 750mg daily. Choose an organic brand like this one


Choline is the primary building block for acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that plays a central role in motivation, attention, learning, and memory. It is a well known nootropic and aids focus, attention and learning. Found naturally in liver, egg yolks as well as fish and lean meats you are more likely to be low if you are vegan.  Typically dose is around 500mg daily for benefits. I use Body Bio PC


Berries are the ultimate brain food and for good reason. Polyphenols are a type of antioxidants naturally found in berries as well as cacao and green tea.  They are neuroprotective but have also been shown in studies to improve focus and memory.

For maximum effect you may wish to look at a supplement that provides around 500mg-1g daily.

Methylfolate & B12

I am adding this one as someone who has the C677T SNP. Methyl folate and B12 work together with B6 to support methylation. This is crucially important for maintaining healthy balance of neurotransmitters but also for DNA repair. Shown in studies to be very important for the ageing brain as well as healthy mood. I use Pure Encapsulations.

Vitamin D

It doesn’t matter what your age is the chances are you need to supplement with vitamin D. Important for lowering inflammation, supporting hormone and neurotransmitter levels. Having optimal levels can aid mood as well as cognitive function. There are few food sources of vitamin D – I would suggest supplementing alongside vitamin K and A as they work together.