Optimizing Cognitive Performance 

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Posted: March 21, 2024

A Guide to Lifestyle and Nutrients for Brain Health and Cognitive Performance

As an ambitious individual, you’re constantly juggling tasks and responsibilities, navigating the dynamic balance between ambition and stress. In the pursuit of your goals, it’s critical to take steps to support your overall cognitive performance and health. Today, let’s explore essential nutrients such as magnesium, iron, and choline in supporting cognitive performance. We’ll also touch upon lifestyle modifications to support overall brain function. 

Crucial Nutrient for Brain Health 

The Role of Magnesium: 

Magnesium is a nutrient that the body needs to stay healthy, and it plays an important role in the relaxation of cells in the body.1 It is essential for various bodily processes, including the regulation of muscle and nerve function, blood sugar levels, and blood pressure, as well as the synthesis of protein, bone, and DNA.2 Additionally, magnesium helps modulate the stress hormone cortisol, which can help regulate mood and improve sleep. 3,4 

 A noteworthy aspect of magnesium’s functionality lies in its role as a calcium channel blocker, impeding the influx of additional calcium into cells and facilitating relaxation 1. Research supports the impact of magnesium supplementation on sleep quality, showing a significant reduction in insomnia severity and sleep onset latency. Furthermore, magnesium supplementation has been associated with an increase in overall sleep duration and efficiency. 5 

To ensure an ample magnesium intake, it is recommended to incorporate rich sources such as leafy green vegetables like spinach and kale, nuts and seeds such as almonds and sunflower seeds, whole grains including brown rice and quinoa, and fish, particularly mackerel and tuna, into one’s diet. 1 

However, more than 50% of adults in the United States do not get enough magnesium through their diet alone. In such cases, dietary supplements can help to fill this nutrient gap. 6 

Harnessing the Power of Iron: 

Iron is an essential mineral for transporting oxygen throughout the body, including the brain. A well-oxygenated brain is crucial for optimal cognitive function and mental alertness. Iron deficiency can lead to fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and impaired cognitive function. 7 

Iron deficiency stands as one of the most prevalent nutritional gaps. It is estimated that anemia, often linked to iron deficiency, affects half a billion women aged 15-49 and 269 million children aged 6-59 months.  In 2019 alone, 30% of non-pregnant women and 37% of pregnant women aged 15-49 were affected by anemia.8 

To ensure sufficient iron intake, it is important to include a variety of iron-rich sources in one’s diet, such as lean meats like beef and poultry, legumes like lentils and chickpeas, dark leafy greens like spinach and kale, and fortified cereals and grains.7 

It’s noteworthy that certain dietary components, such as phytates, can decrease iron absorption in foods. In such cases, dietary supplements can play a role in bridging the nutrient gap, with Ferrochel® Chelated Iron, a form of iron bisglycinate, emerging as a beneficial option.  

Studies on iron bisglycinate have demonstrated a significant increase in hemoglobin and ferritin levels9,10, making it an effective and bioavailable source of iron, particularly in diets rich in phytates.11  Notably, iron bisglycinate has been recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) for its superior absorption compared to ferrous sulfate, especially in food with higher phytate content, with absorption rates 2-3 times higher. 12 Incorporating iron bisglycinate into one’s nutritional strategy, alongside a well-balanced diet, can enhance iron absorption and address deficiencies effectively.  

Choline and Cognitive Performance: 

Choline is an essential nutrient that supports our memory, mood, muscle control, and various bodily functions, playing a vital role in the well-being of the brain and nervous system.13  Recent research explored choline’s impact on visuomotor performance, indicating improved action coordination and precision after supplementation. Pupil size changes suggest altered cholinergic functions in the nervous system, emphasizing the potential cognitive benefits of adequate choline intake. 

Choline can be obtained naturally from various foods like eggs, liver, fish, and certain vegetables.13 Incorporating these choline-rich foods in your diet can naturally boost choline intake.  But unfortunately, nearly 90% of American adults fall short of the recommended choline intake in their diet.6 

Lifestyle Modifications for Cognitive Well-Being:  

While various factors contribute to cognitive challenges, adopting certain lifestyle changes can significantly improve overall brain function. Healthy habits such as getting enough sleep, maintaining a balanced diet, and staying hydrated are effective ways to support cognitive health. Engaging in regular physical activity can improve your brain health, help manage weight, reduce the risk of disease, strengthen bones and muscles, and improve your ability to do everyday activities.14 . Additionally, stress management techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga can help reduce  cortisol and stress levels.15 By implementing these adjustments, you can take proactive steps to support cognitive function and enhance your overall well-being. 

Let us know how we can help you! 

Prioritizing cognitive health is essential for ambitious individuals striving to excel in their pursuits. Balchem’s commitment to scientific research and quality ensures that our supplements provide a reliable and effective solution for supporting cognitive function.  

Don’t let cognitive challenges hinder your progress—take a proactive step towards improved mental clarity and focus.  Contact us today to discover how Balchem’s products can help you unlock your cognitive potential and elevate your overall well-being. 

Explore our various products and solutions: 


1. Institute of Medicine (US) Standing Committee on the Scientific Evaluation of Dietary Reference Intakes. Dietary Reference Intakes for Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Vitamin D, and Fluoride. National Academies Press (US); 1997. Accessed February 22, 2024. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK109825/ 

2. Office of Dietary Supplements – Magnesium. Accessed February 22, 2024. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/ 

3. Mah J, Pitre T. Oral magnesium supplementation for insomnia in older adults: a Systematic Review & Meta-Analysis. BMC Complement Med Ther. 2021;21(1):125. doi:10.1186/s12906-021-03297-z 

4. Cuciureanu MD, Vink R. Magnesium and stress. In: Vink R, Nechifor M, eds. Magnesium in the Central Nervous System. University of Adelaide Press; 2011. Accessed February 22, 2024. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK507250/ 

5. Abbasi B, Kimiagar M, Sadeghniiat K, Shirazi MM, Hedayati M, Rashidkhani B. The effect of magnesium supplementation on primary insomnia in elderly: A double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. J Res Med Sci Off J Isfahan Univ Med Sci. 2012;17(12):1161-1169. 

6. Food Surveys Research Group : USDA ARS. Accessed February 22, 2024. https://www.ars.usda.gov/northeast-area/beltsville-md-bhnrc/beltsville-human-nutrition-research-center/food-surveys-research-group/ 

7. Office of Dietary Supplements – Iron. Accessed February 22, 2024. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iron-HealthProfessional/ 

8. Anaemia. Accessed February 22, 2024. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/anaemia 

9. Pineda O, Ashmead HD. Effectiveness of treatment of iron-deficiency anemia in infants and young children with ferrous bis-glycinate chelate. Nutr Burbank Los Angel Cty Calif. 2001;17(5):381-384. doi:10.1016/s0899-9007(01)00519-6 

10. Makled A, Abuelghar W, El-Shahawy A, elshazly  manar. Amino Acid Chelated Iron versus Ferrous Fumarate in the Treatment of Iron Deficiency Anemia with Pregnancy : Randomized Controlled Trial. Evid Based Womens Health J. 2020;10:95-103. doi:10.21608/ebwhj.2019.18616.1045 

11. Iron absorption from ferrous bisglycinate and ferric trisglycinate in whole maize is regulated by iron status – PubMed. Accessed February 29, 2024. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10837299/ 

12. Guidelines on food fortification with micronutrients. Accessed February 29, 2024. https://www.who.int/publications-detail-redirect/9241594012 

13. Choline – Health Professional Fact Sheet. Accessed February 22, 2024. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Choline-HealthProfessional/ 

14. CDC. Benefits of Physical Activity. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Published August 1, 2023. Accessed February 29, 2024. https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/pa-health/index.htm  

15. Toussaint L, Nguyen QA, Roettger C, et al. Effectiveness of Progressive Muscle Relaxation, Deep Breathing, and Guided Imagery in Promoting Psychological and Physiological States of Relaxation. Evid-Based Complement Altern Med ECAM. 2021;2021:5924040. doi:10.1155/2021/5924040 

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