How to feed a programmer’s brain ... or feed your brain


Of all the pleasures given to man in life, the
most exquisite is to move his brains .
(Boris Akunin)

It is known that when working at a computer, the brain of a programmer spends more energy than the brain of other people. A programmer, as a mental worker, must monitor his nutrition and health in order to maintain his brain in a state of high efficiency. In addition, the programmer must be in excellent intellectual shape, develop high creative activity and think about preventing age-related memory impairments.

In early adolescence, when, plunging deep into the project, I often forgot about food and it happened that my only food for the day was a kefir loaf. Now, over the years, I understand how I injured the brain then, not giving it the substances and energy it needed to work.

In this publication, we will consider how to eat properly for the life support of the brain and how to disperse it with nootropics (in the case ofinvolving all hands needed).

So, 26% of the energy of the main metabolism is spent on maintaining muscle tone, 25% on the functioning of the liver, and about 18% on the activity of the brain.

There are several ways to improve brain activity:

  • improvement of conduction of nerve impulses (synaptic transmissions) by providing a sufficient number of neurotransmitters (substances that transmit impulses from a nerve cell);
  • improvement of blood supply to the brain, normalization of blood pressure;
  • support for brain nutrition (providing energy, especially glucose);
  • hormonal control (especially the hormones of "happiness").

Consider some of the ways to achieve all of this.

Corrective nutrition

Scientists say that for normal brain function, you need to regularly eat foods high in antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids and B vitamins.

In this table, in descending order of effect on the brain, the most significant foods are listed.

Sea fish (especially salmon, tuna, herring)It contains the largest amount of omega-3 fatty acids. Phosphorus is also important for the brain.
Spinach, Broccoli and LegumesSources of folic acid and beta-carotenes, which helps to improve cognitive abilities
WalnutOmega-3 acids, vitamins B2, B12, E
Milk and Dairy ProductsVitamins B, calcium, phosphorus
Chicken eggsA valuable source of iron, iodine, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin B12. It also contains choline (a neurotransmitter that enhances brain performance).
CheeseContains a lot of tryptophan (produces serotonin)
Dark chocolateA set of bioflavonoids-antioxidants, the phenylethylamine hormone, which improves mood and enhances mental clarity. Excellent stimulation of the brain and enhancing human cognitive abilities. Avoid over-sweetened dark chocolate! The norm of chocolate is 50 - 200 gr. during the day.
CarrotContains luteolin. Helps reduce age-related memory deficits and brain inflammation
OatmealZinc and Vitamins E and Group B
Blueberries and strawberriesFlavonoids - Anthocyanidins and Polyphenols Protect Brain Cells from Aging
Green teaIt supports the water-salt balance in the body, including in the brain cells, increasing metabolism and improving memory.
Pumpkin seedsContains a lot of tryptophan (produces serotonin)
TomatoesThe source of lycopene is the protection of brain cells from destructive effects.
BeetB vitamins
The applesThey contain catechins - substances that protect brain cells from harmful chemicals.


For those who are not able to replenish the necessary set of micronutrients with a diet, there are combined multivitamin preparations, such as Balansin, Gotu Kola, Doppelherz Active, Intelamine, Memory Rice, Memostrong, NeuroBright, Secretagog. Let me remind you that all these drugs are not medicines and are registered as dietary supplements. Also, almost all of them are Western-made and have a high price.


DMAE (Dimethylaminoethanol)

It stimulates brain function, enhances memory, concentration, creativity and improves mood. Visibly increases the energy status of the body, in connection with which it is universally used by athletes. Significantly improves blood properties. DMAE helps remove cell debris (lipofuscin). Of the minuses - a high price.


This is an acid involved in the energy metabolism of nerve cells. Creatine is a very effective way to improve memory and attention span. The norm is from 5000 mg per day.

Caffeine + L-Theanine

Caffeine alone is not able to significantly improve mental abilities. However, the combination of caffeine and L-Theanine, an amino acid contained in the leaves of green tea, can really create a long-term positive effect, including improving working memory, speeding up the processing of visual information and especially switching attention. It is optimal to take 50 mg of caffeine (about a cup of coffee) and 100 mg of L-Theanine (in a cup of green tea contains only about 5-8 mg of this substance.

Herbal preparations

Small-leaved bacopa

It has the ability to improve memory and cognitive abilities. The optimal daily intake is 150 mg of the supplement.

Ginkgo biloba

This supplement is obtained from the leaves of the rarest ginko biloba tree. Causes an improvement in memory and concentration. Dosage of 240-360 mg per day.


Helps to improve working memory, concentration, has a beneficial effect on mood. Take 500 mg twice daily.

Rhodiola rosea

Promotes the production of dopamine and serotonin, which naturally affects mood. It is recommended to take 100-1000 mg, which should be divided into two equal parts.

Sage spanish

Contains acetylcholine, which is responsible for the speed of thought processes. Dosage - 300 mg in dry leaves once a day.

Let's go over the diet again.

Every day we must eat:
  • “Slow” carbohydrates, which are gradually absorbed without causing a sharp rise in blood glucose levels. They are better for breakfast. Then for a long time a feeling of satiety, a good mood is created, the brain is supplied with glucose, which is used to generate energy;
  • a sufficient amount of B vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12);
  • Vitamin C (the main water-soluble antioxidant and catalyst for many processes);
  • magnesium is the main anti-stress mineral that protects against insomnia, fatigue, nervousness, mood swings, necessary for active mental and physical activity;
  • omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), which are included in the composition of neuronal membranes and improve the conduction of nerve impulses, as they stimulate the synthesis, secretion and activity of neurotransmitters;
  • dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE), which enhances the synthesis of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine and exhibits pronounced antioxidant properties;
  • highly assimilable iron. It is with a lack of iron that a loss of physical strength and endurance, a deterioration in learning ability, and increased fatigue are often associated;
  • organic iodine. With its shortage, the production of thyroid hormones is suppressed and the ability of the brain to generate energy is sharply reduced;
  • amino acid rich proteins. Thus, the amino acid tyrosine is a precursor of norepinephrine, adrenaline and dopamine (responsible for energy production); tryptophan-serotonin (hormone of happiness) and melatonin (sleep hormone).

Hormones - the main neurotransmitters

Serotonin is one of the most important neurotransmitters, which, as you know, affects the mood so much that sometimes it is even called the “hormone of pleasure”. Serotonin itself is produced by the body from the amino acid tryptophan. Thus, by consuming more tryptophan products, we will add the hormone of pleasure to ourselves. In descending tryptophan, you need to consume cheese, meat, fish and peas.

Oxytocin is a complex hormone associated with satisfaction and sex. It is released into the blood when a person enjoys communication. Oxytocin causes a feeling of satisfaction, a decrease in anxiety and a sense of calm. Intimacy, affection, pleasant communication - all this contributes to its development. A lack of oxytocin leads to sociopathy.

Dopamine (dopamine) is a hormone of joy. It gives confidence, determination and goodwill, and also helps adaptation. Indecision and shyness are usually a manifestation of dopamine deficiency. Dopamine causes a feeling of satisfaction, affects motivation and the learning process. It is developed during sex, eating delicious food, pleasant bodily sensations, and memories of something pleasant. Drugs, nicotine and alcohol affect the production of dopamine.

Endorphin (“hormone of joy”). The chemical structure is close to opiates. They are produced by the body in the neurons of the brain and affect the emotional state. The safest and most effective way to develop endorphins is to exercise.

Thyroxine (“energy hormone”) is produced by the thyroid gland. It affects metabolism, harmony, appetite, energy, activity, working capacity, cheerfulness. Iodine-containing foods should be used for thyroid health and thyroxine production: walnuts, seaweed, seaweed.

Medicinal methods of brain promotion

Perhaps it’s worth talking only about nootropics. Nootropics are used for disorders of cerebral circulation, sleep deprivation, fatigue, asthenic and depressive states after traumatic brain injuries and neuroinfections. Nootropics are also good because they are suitable for both treatment and prevention in order to improve mental performance. In general, nootropic drugs are characterized by relatively low toxicity and a minimum of side effects.

Nootropization is the most effective modern method of “swinging” the brain and is recommended for use exclusively in special periods - exam, deadline, interview.

Nootropics increase the supply of blood to the brain, and therefore glucose and oxygen, improve the "communication" between each individual brain cells, as well as its individual parts and hemispheres. As a result, memory, concentration, intelligence, etc. are improved.

An important feature of nootropics is their ability to improve the activity of the hypothalamus, which is called the conductor of the entire hormonal system.

Classification of drugs with a nootropic effect (Voronin and Seredenin)

Pyrrolidone Derivatives (Racetam)Piracetam, Aniracetam, Pramiracetam, Oxiracetam, Etiracetam, Nefiracetam, Phenotropil.
Cholinergic enhancing drugsIpidacrine, amiridine, tacrine, gliatilin
GABA-ergic preparationsGamma-aminobutyric acid, pantogam, picamilon, phenibut, sodium hydroxybutyrate
Glutamatergic drugsGlycine, memantine
Neuropeptides and their analoguesSemax, cerebrolysin
Antioxidants and membrane protectorsMeclofenoxate, Mexidol, Pyritinol
Ginkgo biloba preparationsBilobil, tanakan, memoplant
Calcium channel blockersNimodipine, Cinnarizine
Cerebral vasodilatorsVinpocetine, nicergoline, instenon


One of the most famous drugs in this group of nootropics is piracetam.
It is one of the very first nootropic drugs. It is shown, first of all, for any disturbances in the brain.
Piracetam preparations - nootropil, phenotropil, it is advisable to take in the course with cinarizine (improves blood supply to the brain, thereby enhancing the effect of nootropics).


At the moment, it is considered the most powerful permitted nootropic in Russia. Phenotropil is a powerful neurometabolic with psychostimulating activity. I personally use it on business trips when active conversations in English are required. I feel a big difference. In particular, there is an increase in mental and physical performance, as well as a marked decrease in fatigue and drowsiness. Naturally, for the best effect with phenotropil, vitamins of group B and some of the vasodilators should be used together. Of the side effects may be an increase in the threshold of intoxication.

The most unpleasant factor in the use of Phenotropil is its high price of about 900 rubles for 30 tablets.

Amplifiers of cholinergic processes

Drugs in this group directly stimulate the excitation in nerve fibers and synaptic transmission in the neuromuscular ends.

GABA-ergic preparations

All preparations are derivatives of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). This acid is one of the most important neurotransmitters in the central nervous system. GABA preparations cause an increase in energy processes in the brain. They are also some of the most popular and cheapest of nootropics. GABA are very well tolerated and have a minimum of side effects.
The most famous GABA-based drugs are aminalon, gammalon, picamilon, pantogam (hopantenic acid), pantocalcin.
Separately, it is worth mentioning a very effective drug - phenibut, developed in the USSR, which was even included in the astronaut’s first-aid kit.

Glutamatergic drugs

The glutamatergic system is that part of the brain that is responsible for learning processes and memory functions. This group contains cult glycine. It is well tolerated and practically devoid of side effects.


Semax is popular in this group. This is a serious drug that has a multifactorial neuroprotective effect. It has no side effects.

Cerebrolysin is a complex of neuropeptides and trace elements obtained from the brain of young pigs. For more than 20 years, it has been used as a neuroprotector and nootropic. The drug increases the intensity of energy metabolism, protein synthesis in the brain, improves cerebral blood flow. Causes a noticeable effect on the brain throughout the day. Performance increases dramatically. Pricking courses of 10 days. The disadvantage is a very powerful tool, more than once every six months it is impossible.

Antioxidants and membrane protectors

Mexidol has a pronounced nootropic and neuroprotective activity. Increases cerebral blood flow.

Pyritinol (pyriditol, encephabol) exhibits pronounced nootropic properties in combination with an antidepressant and sedative effect, being a low-toxic drug.

Ginkgo biloba preparations

Standardized extracts of the relict plant of ginkgo biloba (bilobil, memoplant, tanakan, etc.) contain a composition of flavonoids. These drugs have a complex of valuable pharmacological properties, exerting an antioxidant effect, enhancing energy metabolism in the brain, improving blood rheological properties and microcirculation.

Calcium channel blockers

By affecting the intracellular concentration of calcium, cerebral blood flow can be significantly improved. Some of the best are nimodipine and cinnarizine.
Cinnarizine (stugeron) is a popular drug that improves cerebral circulation and has nootropic properties.

Cerebral vasodilators

Drugs in this group expand the capillaries of the brain.
The most famous is Cavinton (Vinpocetine).
Cavinton and its analogues have shown themselves to be quite effective in treating thinking disorders associated with defects in the blood circulation of the brain in the elderly, for example, due to atherosclerosis. It is recommended to be taken in combination with nootropics. Vinpocetine (Cavinton), obtained from a small periwinkle, has been used for about 30 years. It almost does not cause side effects.
Instenon, which is a combination of three components - hexobendin, ethamivan, and etofillin, has recently attracted attention not only as a corrector of cerebral circulation, but also as a drug with proper nootropic properties.

Prohibited drugs in Russia

Modafinil is an analeptic. Banned in Russia. More used as a psychostimulant to suppress drowsiness. The action is based on the reduction of one of the mechanisms of reuptake of dopamine. It has no side effects and is not addictive. It is, along with Ritalin, one of the most powerful smart dredges.

Ritalin is a psychostimulant, but has a powerful nootropic effect. In the United States, children have been fed this drug since they were 12 years old. At the end of the action, like any psychostimulant, it causes severe fatigue, depression and irritation. It causes psychological dependence.

Energetics for neurons

Another useful addition to true nootropics are compounds that increase the "energy" of neurons.
The human brain is very demanding on the flow of energy and absorbs up to 50% of all oxygen consumed by the body, using for its needs about 20% of the total energy production of the body.
Under physiological conditions, without starvation, the brain uses one single type of “fuel” - glucose. Thus, sugar is not just a source of energy for the functioning of neurons, but also a kind of weak “semi-nootropic”.

Also increases the energy of neurons L-acetylcarnitine and nicotinamide (vitamin PP).

A few simple tips to improve your brain.

1. Solve puzzles and puzzles.
2. Pay attention to ambiguity and ambiguity. Learn to love paradoxes and optical illusions.
3. Develop creative thinking.
4. Transpose reality. Always ask yourself: “What if? ..”
5. Learn the logic. Solve logic tasks.
6. Go in for sports.
7. Observe posture.
8. Listen to classical music.
9. Get rid of procrastination (eternal procrastination).
10. Play chess, checkers, backgammon ...
11. Develop a sense of humor. Come up with your jokes.
12. Develop observation.
13. Learn a foreign language.
14. Say long words the other way around.
15. Learn to play a musical instrument.
16. Try to mentally evaluate the passage of time.
17. Perform arithmetic calculations in the mind.
18. Do not watch TV. It inhibits the mind.
19. Put yourself in a strange place. Imagine how other people would solve your problems.
20. Find time for solitude and relaxation.
21. Accept the obligation to constantly learn something new.
22. Take a trip abroad. Learn about different lifestyles.
23. Communicate with those who are close to your interests.
24. Read the classics.
25. Develop self-awareness.
26. Engage in introspection (analysis of your actions and actions)
26. Do not be nervous

Finally, a little physiology

Sleep . To fully restore the functions of the brain, it is enough to sleep at least 7 hours. Do not think that chronic lack of sleep can be compensated for by increased sleep time on weekends. Studies with people have shown that concentration and other cognitive functions cannot be fully restored even after three days of full night sleep, which raises the question of the severity of disorders in the brain.

Sports . At least 30 minutes every day or replace with a walk - from 1 hour or more. Sport promotes endorphin production. Endorphins are an essential component of happiness.

Alcohol. The outstanding Soviet theoretical physicist Lev Landau said this: “... a drunk New Year’s glass of champagne for a whole month deprives me of creative activity.” It is proved that even a small alcohol intake significantly reduces skills and brain activity. According to Spanish scientists, three beers a week can dull brain activity by 20%. However, small doses of alcohol have been identified that stimulate creative activity (but not mental activity !!!).

I wish you all the highest efficiency and that nootropics are used only in difficult cases.
And stay tuned, gentlemen programmers!

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