Chapter 11.3

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Vitamin D: The Sunshine and Happiness Nutrient

In an article in The Scientific American, “Does Vitamin D Improve Brain function?”[1] new research illustrates that indeed, the difference between low and normal Vitamin D levels can double your mental performance:

“We know there are receptors for vitamin D throughout the central nervous system and in the hippocampus,” said Robert J. Przybelski, a doctor and research scientist at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. “We also know vitamin D activates and deactivates enzymes in the brain and the cerebrospinal fluid that are involved in neurotransmitter synthesis and nerve growth.” In addition, animal and laboratory studies suggest vitamin D protects neurons and reduces inflammation.

Two new European studies looking at vitamin D and cognitive function have taken us one step further. The first study, led by neuroscientist David Llewellyn of the University of Cambridge, assessed vitamin D levels in more than 1,700 men and women from England, aged 65 or older. Subjects were divided into four groups based on vitamin D blood levels: severely deficient, deficient, insufficient (borderline) and optimum, then tested for cognitive function.

The scientists found that the lower the subjects’ vitamin D levels, the more negatively impacted was their perform­ance on a battery of mental tests. Compared with people with optimum vitamin D levels, those in the lowest quartile were more than twice as likely to be cognitively impaired.

A second study, led by scientists at the University of Manchester in England, looked at vitamin D levels and cognitive performance in more than 3,100 men aged 40 to 79 in eight different countries across Europe. The data show that those people with lower vitamin D levels exhibited slower information-processing speed. This correlation was particularly strong among men older than 60 years.

“The fact that this relationship was established in a large-scale, clinical human study is very important,” Przybelski says.

But this is just the beginning of the importance of Vitamin D for human health. Consider these articles:

Vitamin D and the Brain: More Good News by Douglas Shytle, PhD

Vitamin D and Early Brain Development; Vitamin D and the Adult and Aging Brain; How to Get Vitamin D and How Much

Examining Vitamin D’s Effect on the Brain by Alan L. Rubin, MD

Vitamin D and Autism; Alzheimer’s Disease; Parkinson’s Disease; and healthy brain development.

The four steps to getting more vitamin D to prevent cancer, osteoporosis, depression and more by Mike Adams

After years of denying the health benefits of sunlight, conventional researchers are finally starting to recognize the important role that ultraviolet light plays in human health. Getting sunlight on your skin, research now shows, is extremely important for preventing and even reversing chronic diseases. I’m talking about prostate cancer, breast cancer, cervical cancer, mental depression, osteoporosis and even, to some extent, type 2 diabetes. The interactions between sunlight and body chemistry for these diseases are quite complex, and I’m not going to go into them all here, but let me give you the highlights.

Should the President Declare a National Emergency? by William Faloon, Life Extension Magazine, October 2007.

In 1941, the first scientific study was published showing that greater sunlight exposure resulted in lower cancer mortality.1 People living in northern latitudes were shown to contract more cancers than those in southern latitudes, where there is greater year-round sun exposure.

Researchers subsequently identified vitamin D as the cancer-protective factor generated from sunlight. Published scientific studies have shown cancer risk reductions of 50% and more based on higher vitamin D status. In all, we have identified 89 studies that describe how greater vitamin D levels reduce cancers of the breast, prostate, colon, esophagus, pancreas, ovary, rectum, bladder, kidney, lung and uterus, as well as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and multiple myeloma.

Vitamin D News Articles, and Infromation on

Continually updated with new articles and interviews by my colleague, Mike Adams and his team at NaturalNews.

Flus got you down? It is hard to create or HyperLearn with a flu, or the prospect of one. Check out this video by Vitamin D Researcher Dr. John Cannell, in which he says, “Ask anybody who takes 5,000 IU of Vitamin D a day, and they will tell you they just don’t get sick anymore.” Here you go:


Dr. John Cannell on Vitamin D and Immune Protection

How to Supplement with Vitamin D

Most people can take 2,000 – 5,000 IU of Vitamin D a day. These are the D Drops we use, and they are so easy. Katrina and I leave them out on the counter and just do 2-3 drops in the morning when we are taking our morning water.


That is simple, but hard-won information. Put it to use, particularly if you do not get daily sun exposure due to work or the climate that you live in.



Coconut Oil and Brain Neuron Renewal

Dr. Joseph Mercola, MD is one of my most trusted sources of integrated nutrition information and experience. I have known for years that the lauric acid in coconut oil is a very powerful antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiviral agent, but I had not heard that coconut oil can be used to rebuild neurons in the brain, preventing and even reversing Alzheimer’s Disease – which is essentially brain atrophy and death. As HyperLearners, anything that can move us in the opposite direction towards brain growth and life is of major importance. Here is what Dr. Mercola has found about Coconut Oil and the brain (with my highlights) :

Alternate Brain Food Can Stop Brain Atrophy in its Tracks[2]

Fortunately, your brain is able to run on more than one type of energy supply, and this is where coconut oil enters the picture.

There’s another substance that can feed your brain and prevent brain atrophy. It may even restore and renew neuron and nerve function in your brain after damage has set in.

The substance in question is called ketone bodies, or ketoacids.

Ketones are what your body produces when it converts fat (as opposed to glucose) into energy. And a primary source of ketone bodies are the medium chain triglycerides (MCT) found in coconut oil! Coconut oil contains about 66 percent MCTs.

MCTs and Alzheimer’s Research

The mechanism of this MCT-ketone metabolism appears to be that your body treats MCTs as a carbohydrate and not a fat. This allows the ketone energy to hit your blood stream without the normal insulin spike associated with carbohydrates entering your bloodstream.

So in effect coconut oil is a fat that acts like a carbohydrate when it comes to brain fuel.

Therapeutic levels of MCTs have been studied at 20 grams per day. According to Dr. Newport’s calculations, just over two tablespoons of coconut oil (about 35 ml or 7 level teaspoons) would supply you with the equivalent of 20 grams of MCT, which is indicated as either a preventative measure against degenerative neurological diseases, or as a treatment for an already established case.

Remember though that people tolerate coconut oil differently, and you may have to start slowly and build up to these therapeutic levels. My recommendation is to start with one teaspoon, taken with food in the mornings. Gradually add more coconut oil every few days until you are able to tolerate four tablespoons.

Coconut oil is best taken with food, to avoid upsetting your stomach.

Final Thoughts on Combating Alzheimer’s with Coconut Oil

The damage done to your brain from the wrong foods and from unbalanced insulin and leptin levels actually begins decades before you show any of the telltale signs of Alzheimer’s. So it’s vitally important to make healthy decisions now, before you unwittingly do decades of damage to your brain and nerves that you may not be able to reverse.

If you undertake a coconut oil or MCTs therapy protocol, be sure to start slow with the oil, and always take it with food to minimize stomach discomfort.

If it takes you a few weeks to work up to the four tablespoons of coconut oil required for a therapeutic dose, that’s normal. Not everyone can tolerate so much coconut oil in a single dose right from the start.

The coconut oil or MCTs should also be taken in the morning, as it takes a minimum of three hours for the oil to convert to ketones and reach your brain.

Repeating the dose of four tablespoons of coconut oil twice a day may be beneficial for those already suffering from pre-Alzheimer’s or Alzheimer’s conditions.

With 15 million cases of Alzheimer’s predicted in the United States by the year 2050, you can help ensure you are not one of the victims of this tragic disease by taking steps now to take charge of your health.

Books on Coconuts

Two excellent books on Coconuts and Coconut Oil by an expert in the field, Bruce Fife, N.D. are:


Acetyl-L-Carnitine: Master Brain Protector and Energizer

In Mind Boosters, Dr. Ray Sahelia writes: “Acetyl-L-carnitine is an antioxidant involved in energy utilization within cells. A dose of 500 mg in the morning before breakfast works within two to three hours to induce a pleasant visual and mental clarity.”

What follows is a fantastic article by researcher Robert Crayhon, M.S., “Master Brain Protector and Energizer about the importance of Acetyl-L-Carnitine for brain health and mental performance.[3] At the top, I can tell you that this is your daily dose range:

500 – 2,000 mg/day divided into two doses


(ALC) is a powerful promoter of overall health in many ways. But it is so remarkable at promoting brain health that we will spend most of our discussion reviewing its benefits in this respect.

Brain nutrition is powerful, and is an awesome responsibility. Why such a responsibility? Because evidence is mounting that whether we become senile, get Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease or develop any other disease of aging has a lot to do with what we eat and which supplements we take—or fail to take. So if you are going to have a healthy brain throughout your life, genetics may be a much smaller part of the equation than you think. The bulk of it may depend on your diet and lifestyle.

Many people ask, When do I need to begin to start taking supplements to protect my brain? My answer? Now. If you care about your brain, you should do everything possible to reduce the lifestyle and dietary insults that can harm it. Avoid stress, which means don’t go berserk when things go bad. Avoid smog, alcohol, and toxic people and toxic relationships—business or personal. Cultivate a spiritual life, and spend your life doing what you love. And start today on an optimal program for lifetime brain protection:

  • B complex 50 mg
  • Vitamin C 1,000 mg
  • Vitamin E 400 IUs
  • Magnesium 400 mg
  • Zinc 15 mg
  • EPA/DHA, 300 mg
  • Phosphatidylserine 100 mg
  • Acetyl-L-carnitine 250-2,000 mg

That said, I would like to focus on one of the most exciting nutrients that exists for brain health: acetyl-L-carnitine. This special form of carnitine helps protect brain cells, energizes them, and helps them live longer. It can also can help treat conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, according to research conducted in humans. But the best news about acetyl-L-carnitine is that it may be one of the most important nutrients for preventing Alzheimer’s.

Acetyl-L-Carnitine Slows Brain Aging

Acetyl-L-Carnitine is a special form of carnitine that has the particular ability to optimize brain function. Acetyl-L-carnitine is able to cross into the brain more effectively than regular carnitine. It may therefore enhance brain cell function much better than regular carnitine. As we age, acetyl-L-carnitine levels in our brains go down, and for optimal brain function, supplements of acetyl-L-carnitine become mandatory. Particularly for those over forty, acetyl-L-carnitine may be the preferred form of carnitine.

The research on acetyl-L-carnitine is nothing short of extraordinary. Although most of it has been done in animals, there are a handful of human studies as well. Acetyl-L-carnitine prevents the deterioration of the brain during stress, and it helps the aging brain function better. Acetyl-L-carnitine also helps prevent damage that can occur to nerve cells when there is a lack of oxygen in the brain. It is therefore of no surprise that acetyl-L-carnitine is very helpful for stroke victims, who have been found to recover better on 1500 mg of acetyl-L-carnitine per day.

Acetyl-L-carnitine acts in many ways to prevent the deterioration of brain cells that normally happens with age. It acts as a powerful antioxidant, provides the brain with healing energy, and increases levels of a very important messenger molecule called acetylcholine. It is acetylcholine which becomes deficient in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients, and that may be one of the reasons why these patients have such poor memory function. So, by increasing levels of acetylcholine, acetyl-L-carnitine helps our memory work better and may help prevent Alzheimer’s as well.

Giving cells energy is a wonderful thing. When a cell has enough energy, it can do what it wants and develop itself to the fullest. When a cell lacks energy, it dies. This is particularly bad when it comes to brain cells, because when they die, they are nearly impossible to replace. You and I can take a nap. A brain cell out of energy has no choice but to cease to exist. That is why keeping your brain cells energized with nutrients like acetyl-L-carnitine is so important.

The best thing about acetyl-L-carnitine is that it is completely natural. Because of this, it is completely non-toxic. And acetyl-L-carnitine, like all natural compounds, works through many pathways to help keep the body well. When the body weakens, it does so at many points, not just at one particular area. That is why acetyl-L-carnitine and the natural medicine of which it is a part is so superior for disease prevention. No drug will ever work as well as acetyl-L-carnitine at slowing brain aging or promoting brain health, because no drug can match its breadth of influence on brain function.

Acetyl-L-carnitine protects against loss of receptors in brain cells that normally occurs with aging. These extremely valuable receptors in brain cells allow the neurons in the brain to talk to each other. Without these receptors, you cannot form memories, short or long term. The fact that acetyl-L-carnitine can protect and repair these cell membrane receptors is nothing short of remarkable. In so doing, acetyl-L-carnitine helps to maintain the function of our brain in the most profound and basic way.
Acetyl-L-carnitine does four really remarkable things for your brain and all of your nervous system, including:

1. Keeps neurons healthy and energetic

2. Repairs and protects membrane signal receptors

3. Protects neurons from the damage of stress

4. Helps increase levels of the important brain messenger acetylcholine to promote memory function and learning ability

Simply put, acetyl-L-carnitine does virtually everything a nutrient could do to keep your brain functioning optimally.

Of particular importance is the ability of Acetyl-L-carnitine to protect the mitochondria—the intracellular powerhouses.2 Consequently, acetyl-L-carnitine not only protects the brain, but the entire body as well. You are as young as your brain, but you are also only as young as your mitochondria throughout your body as well. Acetyl-L-carnitine protects all of the above.

More Ways Acetyl-L-Carnitine Protects the Brain

Acetyl-L-carnitine significantly reduces the amounts of damaged fats such as lipofuscin in the brains of aged rats. Lipofuscin is the brownish pigment that accumulates in the backs of hands of many people over 50—commonly known as aging spots. As lipofuscin builds up in the body, the body ages.3 The reduction of these deposits by consumption of ALC is a key sign that it is slowing the aging process in the brain. Because of this protective effect, acetyl-L-carnitine may be useful in the prevention and treatment of free-radical mediated diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.4

According to animal studies, acetyl-L-carnitine maintains our ability to learn and interact positively with others as we age. In other words, it allows us to teach old dogs new tricks, and make them happier throughout the process.5 It probably does this through its overall beneficial effects on brain function. Older adults given acetyl-L-carnitine saw their directional and word memory improve in a matter of weeks.6 Many studies have confirmed these beneficial effects on memory in older adults, and the dose used in the studies is usually 2,000 mg (2 g) per day.7 Even alcoholics with cognitive impairment have benefited from acetyl-L-carnitine.8

Acetyl-L-carnitine increases levels of nerve growth factor (NGF)—an important brain healing compound. Acetyl-L-carnitine also increases the ability of the body to use NGF more effectively. NGF plays a key role in preserving neurons, especially those that make the valuable brain messenger chemical acetylcholine. Acetyl-L-carnitine also helps neurons in the hippocampus respond better to NGF. As we age, we respond less effectively to NGF, and acetyl-L-carnitine reverses this decline.

Acetyl-L-carnitine also helps maintain the myelin sheath around the nerves that is important for their health and function. This is important because without myelin, our nerves cannot transmit their messages at optimal speed. This suggests that acetyl-L-carnitine might be useful in the treatment and prevention of multiple sclerosis, however more studies are needed on this use of acetyl-L-carnitine.

Another thing acetyl-L-carnitine does is to preserve the genetic information (DNA and RNA) in our cells. DNA and RNA are very important for the longevity of our cells. Acetyl-L-carnitine, in both the heart and brain, appears to protect this genetic information that is so important for health and longevity.

Acetyl-L-carnitine also helps the brain do this by helping brain cells use alternative energy sources, such as lipids or ketone bodies. The brain prefers glucose as its main fuel. Taking acetyl-L-carnitine helps our brain cells adapt to lower levels of glucose in the blood that can sometimes occur between meals or during hypoglycemia. By so doing, it helps the brain maintain a constant supply of energy needed for optimal health and longevity.

Acetyl-L-Carnitine Benefits the Entire Body

Acetyl-L-carnitine has been found to be an important nutrient for sperm health. It may also be important for the health of the offspring because acetyl-L-carnitine protects the valuable genetic material in sperm from free radical damage.9 Acetyl-L-carnitine has also been found useful in the treatment of diabetic neuropathy. There is also mounting evidence that acetyl-L-carnitine plays a key role in immune defense. This is because immune cells require acetyl-L-carnitine to remain energetic when they defend the body and fight off pathogens. Acetyl-L-carnitine helps our immune cells stay healthy and strong.10 It has also been found useful in the treatment of depression.11 This, again, is through its role in helping brain cells communicate more effectively. A social brain—one where nerve cells can communicate effectively—is a happy one. I have found that acetyl-L-carnitine, along with phosphatidylserine, B complex and EPA/DHA can virtually eliminate winter depression (seasonal affective disorder), especially when combined with a healthy diet.

Common Questions Asked About Acetyl-L-Carnitine

When should someone start taking acetyl-L-carnitine?

As early in adulthood as possible. College age is a good time. While I believe it is an essential supplement for everyone over 40 who wants optimal brain health and longevity, the damage to the brain from stress begins earlier, for many in the college years. So for those who can afford it, I recommend taking acetyl-L-carnitine during stressful times (studying, exam times) throughout one’s twenties and thirties, and regularly after age 40. Brain aging starts young. If we are going to slow it down, we have to start optimizing nutrition and lifestyle as soon as possible. Only then can we get the best handle on preventing the loss of brain function later in life.

How much does acetyl-L-carnitine cost?

Acetyl-L-carnitine is somewhat expensive, and I hope to see prices come down soon so that it will become more affordable. This may be the main limiting factor for many who want to take it. When you compare the cost of a dose of acetyl-L-carnitine (500 mg) to the price of a cup of coffee, however, you realize that it costs less, energizes the brain in a much more beneficial way, and has none of the downsides of coffee. A lifetime of taking acetyl-L-carnitine will leave you with a much healthier brain and body than a lifetime of caffeine.

Is there anyone who should not take acetyl-L-carnitine?

I do not recommend that acetyl-L-carnitine be taken without supervision in someone with epilepsy or someone who is a manic depressive (bipolar). Such people do not always need more energy in their brain cells. However, epileptics taking medications such as Valproate—which induces carnitine deficiency—should take supplemental acetyl or regular L-carnitine at a dose of 500 mg per day.

Are there any side effects to taking acetyl-L-carnitine?

One of the side effects of taking acetyl-L-carnitine regularly is more vivid dreams at night. Some enjoy this while others do not. Adjust your dose of acetyl-L-carnitine to correspond with how much you like to dream.

What about older folks who have the beginnings of dementia—how much should they take?

500 mg-2,000 mg of acetyl-L-carnitine per day. Ideally, they should also be given vitamin B12 shots and plenty of B vitamins orally—these are all often deficient in those over 60. Phosphatidylcholine, 2,000 mg per day, and phosphatidylserine, 100-300 mg per day, also very helpful. This is all best done with the guidance of a health-care practitioner.

Are there nutrients that help acetyl-L-carnitine work more effectively?

Yes, B vitamins, magnesium, phosphatidylcholine, phosphatidylserine and EPA/DHA (fish oils) all increase the effectiveness of acetyl-L-carnitine.

Brooks JO, 3rd, Yesavage JA, Carta A, Bravi D. Acetyl L-carnitine slows decline in younger patients with Alzheimers disease: a reanalysis of a double-blind, placebo-controlled study using the trilinear approach. Int Psychogeriatr 1998;10(2):193-203.

Gadaleta MN, Cormio A, Pesce V, Lezza AM, Cantatore P. Aging and mitochondria. Biochimie 1998;80(10):863-70.

Ramacci MT, De Rossi M, Lucreziotti MR, Mione MC, Amenta F. Effect of long-term treatment with acetyl-L-carnitine on structural changes of aging rat brain. Drugs Exp Clin Res 1988;14(9):593-601.

Puca FM, Genco S, Specchio LM, et al. Clinical pharmacodynamics of acetyl-L-carnitine in patients with Parkinsons disease. Int J Clin Pharmacol Res 1990;10(1-2):139-43.

Kohjimoto Y, Ogawa T, Matsumoto M, et al. Effects of acetyl-L-carnitine on the brain lipofuscin content and emotional behavior in aged rats. Jpn J Pharmacol 1988;48(3):365-71.

Arrigo A, Casale R, Buonocore M, Ciano C. Effects of acetyl-L-carnitine on reaction times in patients with cerebrovascular insufficiency. Int J Clin Pharmacol Res 1990;10(1-2):133-7.

Passeri M, Cucinotta D, Bonati PA, Iannuccelli M, Parnetti L, Senin U. Acetyl-L-carnitine in the treatment of mildly demented elderly patients. Int J Clin Pharmacol Res 1990;10(1-2):75-9.

Tempesta E, Troncon R, Janiri L, et al. Role of acetyl-L-carnitine in the treatment of cognitive deficit in chronic alcoholism. Int J Clin Pharmacol Res 1990;10(1-2):101-7.

Jeulin C, Lewin LM. Role of free L-carnitine and acetyl-L-carnitine in post-gonadal maturation of mammalian spermatozoa. Hum Reprod Update 1996;2(2):87-102.

Kurth L, Fraker P, Bieber L. Utilization of intracellular acetyl-L-carnitine pools by mononuclear phagocytes. Biochim Biophys Acta 1994;1201(2):321-7.

Guarnaschelli C, Fugazza G, Pistarini C. Pathological brain aging: evaluation of the efficacy of a pharmacological aid. Drugs Exp Clin Res 1988;14(11):715-8.

Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA)

Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) is a potent antioxidant and free radical scavenger that has been proven to regenerate vitamin C and vitamin E; restore levels of intracellular glutathione.

One of the areas of the body that is thought to be most likely to benefit from ALA supplementation is the brain.

The main reason for ALA’s success in treating brain conditions is that, unlike some other antioxidants, it has the ability to easily pass into the brain and, thereby, neutralize the free radicals that are the root cause of many problems in the brain.

For example, a 2001 study of nine Alzheimer’s patients found that supplementation with ALA for 12 months resulted in a decrease in oxidative stress which led to a stabilization of cognitive function.

Aging generally leads to the deterioration of many bodily processes, not the least of which is brain functioning. Glucose has been linked to this deterioration due to its ability to react with some proteins, causing them to become less functional. Restricting calories is one way to reduce this process, but a 1997 study found that Alpha Lipoic Acid, because of its important role in glucose metabolism, was also able to reduce the reaction.

Alpha lipoic acid has also been found to work synergistically with other compounds, especially Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALC), to improve brain functioning in aged rats. Supplemented aged rats were found to perform as well as younger rats in memory and other tasks. Several mechanisms are thought to be involved, including the repair of oxidative damage to mitochondria and improved energy production. These exciting results have yet to be verified by long-term human trials.[4]

HyperLearning Dose: 200mg 3x/day

Join me soon in the next Chapter for HyperLearning Life Practices! Enjoy integrating these superfoods into your HyperLearning Nutritional Life Practices!

Stay Sharp,

David Rainoshek, M.A.

[1] Online:

[2] Online:

[3] Online:

[4] Online: “Alpha Lipoic Acid and the Brain,”

Coming up next time: Chapter 12: Complementary Life Practices!

Vitamin D – The Happiness Nutrient

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Coconut Oil & Neuron Renewal

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Acetyl-L-Carnitine – Master Brain Protector

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Alpha Lipoic Acid

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Nutrition For HyperLearning – Conclusion

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Vitamin D – The Happiness Nutrient


Coconut Oil & Neuron Renewal


Acetyl-L-Carnitine – Master Brain Protector


Alpha Lipoic Acid


Nutrition For HyperLearning – Conclusion