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Diet for mental performance

Discussion in 'MCAT: Medical College Admissions Test' started by Cerberus, Mar 28, 2004.

  1. Cerberus

    Cerberus Heroic Necromancer
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    I am somewhat of a health fanatic but i've focused almost exclusively on physical health. On a whim i decided to do a little reasearch on mental health and diet this morning. I found some articles that pointed to B vitamins and Omega3s fats as essential to maximum brain function. I also read that L-Tyrosine functions as a CNS stimulant.

    Omega3S and brain function

    Does anyone else have any information on diet and brain function? I am interested in the function of other vitamins/etc in brain function as well as the validity of the claims that Vit B and omega3s are good for the brain.
     
  2. lukeday99

    lukeday99 Nooby
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    Good questions, I did this when studying for the MCAT.

    Omega thre and Omega six fatty acids are good for everything, especially mental function.

    I've also taken alot of neurotransmitter precursors. Acetyl L Carnitine, N Acetyl Cysteine, Phosphatydal Choline. These are all synthesized naturally by the body but you can easily bump up your levels, and this leads to increased mental performance. If you'd like to keep this thread open I'll hunt down some research links for you.

    By the way, how's the knee?
     
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  3. Cerberus

    Cerberus Heroic Necromancer
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    That would be great

    Feeling about 10X better. I would say the swelling is pretty much entirely gone. I havent really used it much since i injured it though. We'll see how it goes tuesday when i go back to practice.
     
  4. Olanzapine

    Olanzapine Membership Revoked
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    The natural form of vitamin E (found in fruits like blueberries, strawberries, etc) has been shown to improve memory in people and in animals. It's also been shown to prevent Alzheimer's disease as well. Only the fruit-based form seems to work though, the studies haven't been as promising when looking at the processed vitamin supplements.
     
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  5. Integra96

    Integra96 Senior Member
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    Beer and chips.
     
  6. Fumoffu

    Fumoffu Senior Member
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    I know omega3 and 6 are found in "fatty" fish like salmon...

    B vitamins are probably rich in leafy veges like spinach although I'm not entirely sure on that one.
     
  7. lukeday99

    lukeday99 Nooby
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    I just wrote an e-mail to a friend of mine who's a nutritionist and knows about, well, everything. Hopefully he writes back soon and I'll send the info on to y'all.
     
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  8. Super Rob

    Super Rob Senior Member
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    Don't forget to eliminate foods with high insulin responses (this usually translates well to avoid foods with high glycemic loads, like white bread, wheat bread, multigrain bread that lists wheat or refined grains as its first or second ingrediant, any other trick bread that tastes too good to be whole grain, pizza, cookies, ho hos, cake, ice cream, semolina, white rice, most types of potatos, any other grainy thing people mistake for vegetables, and things sweetened with maltodextrin and dextrose).

    I'm not sure I'd want to take those NT precursors indefinitely, but if you find a way to cycle them prior to the exam and another way to help your body get of of them after the exam, then go for it. Omega 3s are a GREAT idea. Everybody should be taking them. I would, but the last time I had the stomach flu, I'd taken some the night before and let's just say all I could uhh "taste" the next couple of days was fish and lemon... the gag reflex has not gone away; time for some behavioral modification therapy. (Carlsons is the only brand of oil that doesn't suck. Go to your supplement store and request they have this on a regular basis so they don't run out and keep jacking the prices like the jerks in my neck of the woods).

    Anyhow, sleep and exercise are vitally important. I suggest chasing the gunners around campus all day long and stealing their lunch money, as this will help you work up a sweat. Sleep will come naturally after studying MCAT physics.

    Good Luck!
     
  9. Cerberus

    Cerberus Heroic Necromancer
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    Crap, I wonder if my delicious honey wheat has been lying to me:(:( Guess i should replace my white rice with brown rice to (I knew this anyway but come on, white rice tastes better and takes less time to cook).


    Good post:)
     
  10. franklinthedog

    franklinthedog Senior Member
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    phosphatidylserine (sp?)....it's an otc med tested in this month's GQ magazine...
     
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  11. Gleevec

    Gleevec Peter, those are Cheerios
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    Don't do an Atkins Diet, it makes your brain work slower theoretically since you are eliminating carbs, the main preferred source of fuel for the brain.

    Carbs are good for the brain.
     
  12. IceKid

    IceKid Senior Member
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    not true- while low carbing, the body maintains a more steady blood sugar level. there is still plenty of glucose to power the brain. like a previous poster stated, you want to avoid high glycemic foods because they create an insulin spike. eating something like sugar creates an insulin surge, and consequently a drop to less than normal blood sugar levels. these lower glucose levels create cravings and possibly decreased or slower brain function.
     
  13. Neuronix

    Neuronix Total nerd
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    Hmmm... Nothing specific to pre-meds here. To the lounge!
     
  14. Cerberus

    Cerberus Heroic Necromancer
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    This is specific to premeds because it involves mental preparation for the MCAT. Move it back
     
  15. Cerberus

    Cerberus Heroic Necromancer
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    really, hmmm my biggest concern right now is timing..
     
  16. Neuronix

    Neuronix Total nerd
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    I see... Okay, to the MCAT forum!
     
  17. Cerberus

    Cerberus Heroic Necromancer
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    An improvement but preallo is better because it relates to people who have already taken the mcat. Keep blocking my diabolical plans and i'll unleash my hamsters on you!
     
  18. Wahooali

    Wahooali The Real Sydney Bristow
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    Uh oh...those hamsters can be feisty...best not be messing with a pre-med in the midst of mcat studying. ;)
     
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  19. LilyMD

    LilyMD Senior Member
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    I don't fully understand. You say to avoid sugars...but then you tell your friend's anecdote about the benefits of lifesavers....Aren't lifesavers pure sugar? Anyhow, keep it coming...this post is very informative.
     
  20. markglt

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    As far as the phosphaditylserine and choline go, they won't help unless you are deficent in them, most people are not unless they have AD. Vit. E-yes, better circulation, will thin the blood. Not one person mentioned ginkgo, it WORKS, you will be surprised at how much it helps..everything..your dreams become more lucid, your speech flows better...your memory is tops. Other synergistic supp.'s one can take are Bacopa monerra, Vinpocitne, Gotu Kola, the Omega 3's are very good, forget about the flax though, take a B-complex, all these supplements must be taken QD for at least 2 weeks to notice a diff. The kitty is right around the corner so hit up your local GNC....and EXERCISE! Good Luck to you all, I hated that damn test!
     
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  21. researchprof

    researchprof Senior Member
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    Hey there. You guys should get some UK-lucozade drinks or some Red Bull. Before I took AAMC 6R I drank a lucozade and a Red Bull and worked through the PS, VR and BS sections all continuously with no second of breaks and I felt no pain, although I flunked :D. I plan to replicate this come MCAT day. Contrast this with 4R where I drank no energy drink and I actually felt I had worked non-stop for 24 hours :oops: .
     
  22. redgrover

    redgrover Senior Member
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    There has been some very good advice here. I'm pleasently suprised.

    Some of this stuff isn't going to immediately benefit you, so it's best to start early. Getting a lot of rest is key.

    The low GI foods would be my primary suggestion after rest. Come test day, oatmeal, a banana, and a cassein protein shake (source: protein customizer online) would be my recommendation.

    I take fish oil from a bottle. I personally use Health from the Sun brand. It has been microfiltered and is thus well below toxic levels for heavy metals. Consumers Labs has tested their brand and given it the thumbs up. Ideally, you're taking one or two teaspoons per day. It's also made from sardine and anchovy oil, so smaller fish that will contain less toxicity. Carlsons is another good brand, but stay away from liver oils. Way too high in Vitamin A and also more likely to contain toxins.

    Flax oil is pretty good, but your body needs to convert it into DHA and EHA (the omega 3s that your body uses), and it usually isn't that efficient in doing it. It's next best to seaweed and the fish oils, I guess.

    I also take Acetyl-L-Carnitine, which has a load of additional health benefits. If you're looking to improve brain funciton, make sure you get acetyl and not just L-Carnitine.

    Then of course, there is old reliable caffeine.

    Finally, make sure you're eating something during a long period of testing. Prunes, an apple, something. Just avoid anything that has undergone any processing.
     
  23. king@queens

    [email protected] Junior Member
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    the atkins diet really helped me
     
  24. johnnyMD

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    i've been taking fish oil ginkgo and "stress vitamin formula (c,e,b6,etc..but at 2-500% dv)" this stuff gives me mad gas. is this normal?
     
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  25. redgrover

    redgrover Senior Member
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    Fish oil, particularly the stuff that isn't microdistilled, can cause gas. So can consuming too much protein all at once or a bit too much lactose.
     
  26. markglt

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    Yeah, the fish oils can upset the stomach and give gas, however the ginkgo can cause GI upset as well. Try Bacopa or Vinpocitine.
     
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  27. jhk43

    jhk43 Senior Member
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    how long does it take for the omega 3's to kick in?

    i've been taking ginkgo for a few months. someone mentioned that your dreams become more lucid - and i've realized that to be true. i wake up remembering dreams, which is new to me.
     
  28. markglt

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    Yeah, i mentioned that about the lucidity of ones dreams, the omega-3's should kick in pretty much right away b/c they are fat soluble, they more or less work in the background if you know what i mean. Don't take too many b/c one can become manic. Start supplementing with vit. e to thin that blood and try a b-complex which works synergistically with the aformentioned, also give bacopa, gotu kola, and vinpocitine a try, one would be surprised how much help these suppl's can be.
     
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  29. Doc Martins

    Doc Martins Senior Member
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    I heard that eating some chocolate on test day is good.....any truth to that?
     
  30. LilyMD

    LilyMD Senior Member
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    Sorry, my misconception! :wow:
     
  31. Wahooali

    Wahooali The Real Sydney Bristow
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    Eating chocolate is always good (I'm a girl, we can find any justification to eat chocolate) and you cannot tell me otherwise....mmm...chocolate...
     
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  32. thirdangel

    thirdangel Senior Member
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    That's a great tradeoff! MCAT and medical school for his teeth! :D
     
  33. vegangirl

    vegangirl DOctor begins with DO
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    Kaplan recommends that you should carboload the night before , do you think this is a good idea? the only times I've every carboloaded was before big field hockey games not for SATS or APs or anything like that.
     
  34. JohnHolmes

    JohnHolmes Large Member
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    Tyrosine doesn't, but its the precursor to T3 and T4.

    Omega fats are always good. I personally took RIPPED FUEL while I was studying for my MCAT and during all the exams. I don't think it failed me since I sailed through the test with a sweet sweet 29 and was admitted to a US MD granting-school.

    JH
     
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  35. JohnHolmes

    JohnHolmes Large Member
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    If lethargy is your name, carboloading is your game.

    I don't recommend this, and to this day, its a mystery to me why anyone ever does.

    JH
     
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