SUPPLEMENTS FOR TRADERS
The human brain is a supercomputer that has been a scientific mystery for centuries. As recently as 15 years ago, scientists believed that adult brains were unable to change or grow.
Although we learn more over time, we experience a steady decline in our ability to process new information and solve problems in real time starting from age 20.
That’s bad news for traders over 40.
The good news, however, is that modern neuroscience has proven that the brain is capable of growth and repair.
Regardless of age, our brain responds well to supplementation and other pro-cognitive factors (such as exercise.)
My personal goal in using supplements is to enhance executive function, which is the ability to remember and execute a plan as well as inhibit impulsive, ill-considered actions. These are key factors for every trader.
Executive function is highly dependent on adequate levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Impulsivity, hyperactivity, FOMO, chasing, and the inability to follow a plan even when you want to, are symptoms of low baseline dopamine levels in traders.
Those levels are partly set by genetics and partly by diet.
Prescription stimulants used to treat Adult ADD boost dopamine, but they never worked for me, so I had to find non-prescription alternatives.
Fortunately, scientists have identified dozens of natural compounds that gently improve cognitive function, learning, processing speed and memory and over the years I’ve tried many of them.
There are some supplements that I consider “basic brain food.” They are nutrients, not stimulants. I take them daily and plan on taking them for the rest of my life.
There are other supplements that I think of as “enhancers” that probably have a more limited utility. Some of these are pure chemical compounds made in laboratories and some are herbal (leaves, roots, berries and extracts.)
Because each of us is biologically unique, it’s impossible to know in advance which compounds might work for any one individual. I’ve simply tried various options, one at a time, and observed the effects.
Keep in mind, however, that taking supplements can interfere with some prescription medications. I am not a medical doctor. I have a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. Consult with your medical professional before you experiment. The following is presented for general informational purposes only.
MY BASIC BRAIN FOOD DIET & SUPPLEMENTS
My nutritional foundation is a diet rich in non-GMO and/or organic fruits & vegetables, grassfed meat and Scottish salmon (Wester Ross.)
I supplement it with the products listed below. Supplements vary greatly in terms of quality. Some are made in China and I avoid those. I’ve tried many brands and below you will find links to the brands I use.
Cold Brew Coffee. 1 cup per day with organic grasssfed ½ & ½. Cold brew has less acid than regular brew. I get it from Starbucks. This is the only “stimulant” in this list. Everything else is a nutrient.
SAMe (S-Adenosyl-Methionine). I take 400-800 mg/day. SAMe boosts dopamine and stabilizes my mood. I use this brand.
Bulletproof Brain Octane softgels. I take 1 per day with food. MCT oil can upset the stomach when taken alone.
Jarrow Neuro Optimizer. This is a supplement with seven synergistic ingredients.
Krill Oil, an Omega 3 fatty acid that is high in phosphorus. Phosphorus feeds the brain. I take 500mg/day. Krill is a shellfish and I’m allergic to shellfish, but not to krill oil. I use this brand, which has no fishy odor.
Phosphatidyl Serine (PS). This is a vegetable source for phosphorylated fatty acids. I take100 mg/day and I use this brand.
Magnesium Threonate. Supports memory and cognitive function. I use this brand.
Dopamind. This is a brand name for wild green oat extract. It operates differently from other dopamine enhancers.
Goji Berries. Goji berries are red Himalayan berries that have been shown to provide neuroprotection and increase neuroplasticity. They make a nice addition to a trail mix, but I blend a handful in a smoothie. I’ve tried several brands, which vary considerably as to freshness, and this is the one I use.
Exercise. Sitting too much is bad for the brain. Research has confirmed that regular exercise improves mood and cognition. There are measurable benefits from just walking 3 days a week, but more exercise may be useful for some individuals.
I personally play tennis 5 times a week. I also use a ball chair to activate core muscles while sitting. This is a link to the chair I use.