The Durk Pearson & Sandy Shaw®
Life Extension NewsTM
Volume 19 No. 3 • April 2016


INCREASING CREATIVITY WITH SUPPLEMENTS: EEG ALPHA POWER

EGCG

All indications are that creativity tends to decline with age, though certain subjects (such as mathematics or physics) seem to appear in the creative works of some even into old age. It would certainly be nice to be able to continue the creative productivity that you see mostly in young persons. Think of music composers, for instance. The songwriters who produced the great rock music of the ‘60s seem to have lost the ability to compose music with the power of their early work. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to recover those abilities, those youthful creative passions?

Creative idea generation has been linked to EEG alpha power. “Increases in EEG alpha power during creative ideation are among the most consistent findings in the neuroscientific study of creativity...” (Schwab, 2014)

It was recently discovered that supplementation with 300 mg of EGCG (epigallocatechnin gallate, highly enriched in green and white teas) was associated with “a significant increase in alpha, beta, and theta activity, also reflected in overall EEG activity...” (Scholey, 2012) Since EGCG increases EEG alpha power, it may be that EGCG could contribute to creative thinking.

NEUROGENESIS AND CREATIVITY

EGCG, as explained above, is associated with an increase in alpha waves in the brain, which, in turn, is associated with creativity, but EGCG also increases neurogenesis. (Yoo, 2010) Another nutrient that increases adult neurogenesis is taurine (Gebara, 2015), though we do not have data at this time on whether taurine enhances creativity. Both taurine and EGCG are found in our GREATER REWARDS.

Polyphenols, such as are found in tea, cocoa, and red wine) have been identified as a class of compounds that “can increase AHN” [adult hippocampal neurogenesis].” (Dias, 2012) Curcumin has been shown in published studies (So, 2008; Xu, 2007) to enhance adult hippocampal neurogenesis; in one of the studies (Xu, 2007), curcumin actually reversed impaired neurogenesis. We take curcumin in the form of turmeric root powder.

NEUROGENESIS AND SEX

Sex can initiate behavior that leads to pair-bonding in many, if not most, mammals. Scientists have begun to unravel this complex process. A recent paper (Leuner, 2010) reports that sexual experience (in rats) promotes adult neurogenesis. If one were to speculate, it seems plausible that neurogenesis resulting from sex may serve the purpose of creating new neurons dedicated to the establishment and maintenance of a pair bond.

Even ORGASM gets into the act. Another paper (Wang, 2013) describes a study in adult mice in which it was shown that the pulse of prolactin that immediately follows orgasm (Exton, 2001, this was a human study) stimulates adult neurogenesis in the subventricular zone and olfactory bulb.

References

  • Dias et al. The role of dietary polyphenols on adult hippocampal neurogenesis: molecular mechanisms and behavioral effects on depression and anxiety. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 012:541971. doi: 10.1155/2012/541971. (2012).
  • Scholey et al. Acute neurocognitive effects of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Appetite. 58:767-70 (2012)
  • Schwab et al. The time-course of EEG alpha power changes in creative ideation. Front Hum Neurosci. 13;8:310. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00310. (eCollection 2014).
  • Gebara et al. Taurine increases hippocampal neurogenesis in aging mice. Stem Cell Res. 14:369-79 (2015).
  • Yoo et al. Epigallocatechin-3-gallate increases cell proliferation and neuroblasts in the subgranular zone of the dentate gyrus in adult mice. Phytother Res. 24:1065-70 (2010).
  • So et al. Curcumin stimulates proliferation of embryonic neural progenitor cells and neurogenesis in the adult hippocampus. J Biol Chem. 283(21):14497-505 (2008).
  • Xu et al. Curcumin reverses impaired hippocampal neurogenesis and increases serotonin receptor 1A mRNA and brain-derived neurotrophic expression in chronically stressed rats. Brain Res. 1162(1):9-18 (2007).
  • Leuner et al. Sexual experience promotes adult neurogenesis in the hippocampus despite an initial elevation in stress hormones. PLoS One. 5(7):e11597 (July 2010).
  • Wang et al. Extracellular signal-regulated kinase 5 (ERK5) mediates prolactin-stimulated adult neurogenesis in the subventricular zone and olfactory bulb. J Biol Chem. 288(4):2623-2631 (2013).
  • Exton et al. Coitus-induced orgasm stimulates prolactin secretion in healthy subjects. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 26:287-94 (2001).

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