Improving the Balancing Act

In the struggle to balance work and family life, people are increasingly seeking cognitive health support. Hear Dr. Danielle Citrolo, a registered pharmacist, weigh in on what may help.

By PT Staff, published April 29, 2020 - last reviewed on May 5, 2020

Danielle Citrolo, used with permission.
Danielle Citrolo
Danielle Citrolo, used with permission.

What cognitive health issues are people facing in their everyday lives?

In the past, cognitive health issues have been very focused on memory and age-related memory. While that is obviously still an issue, that really hits consumers in their early to mid 60s. In the past five years, the cognitive health issues that people are facing really has taken a shift. We’ve been commissioning different types of cognitive health data over the past 10 years and the growing issues are now more focused on attention and concentration. This is definitely hitting a younger demographic, from 18-year-olds all the way up to those 45 to 50-year-olds. Memory problems are not going away, but they’re just not growing as fast as this group. I think a lot of it has to do with the social aspect and social media; there’s so much information now that we can take in, causing information overload.

Are people more stressed out now than in the past?

People are more stressed out than ever before. They’re juggling their career, their kids, the media, the news cycle, their social lives, and everything online. Their everyday lives are so chaotic, causing them to have difficulty focusing, paying attention, and concentrating. It’s non-stop information on our phones and on TV.

What are some of the ways people can gain more focus and avoid mental burnout?

Exercise is a huge factor in keeping your brain healthy and being able to pay attention. Food is also important; there are definitely so many foods out there that could help keep the brain healthy, including different diets that people can try. I think diet and exercise are key when it comes to brain health. There has been a lot of talk about “brain games,” as well, but there is a lot of conflicting information on that. This is where supplements are coming in, because people want to know, “What else can I do?”

Who is a good candidate for supplements?

If you break down who’s taking cognitive health supplements for focus and/or attention, there are really four main groups. One is those middle-aged people, the working mom. They are constantly bombarded with stress, ultimately causing the so-called “mom brain” because they have a million things going on. That’s one group that really needs the extra focus and attention. Then there’s the age 55-plus group— the pre-retiree or retiree who is becoming so much more active. They’re taking care of grandchildren and they’re playing sports, so having that mental energy and focus can help them do those things every day. The next two groups are a younger demographic, including those in sports and esports. People with an active lifestyle are really looking for anything they can add into their daily regimen for personalized nutrition to keep their brain healthy. The esports gamers are looking for extra concentration and focus, too. The growth that we’re seeing in the gaming space is incredible.

What should consumers look for in a product for energy and focus?

Flip the bottle around, look at the ingredients, and research the ingredients. Consumers really want to know where their ingredients are coming from, where they’re sourced, and how
they’re made. Fermentation and plant-based are on top of everybody’s mind. Mind Lab Pro® supplement (MindLabPro.com), for example, uses a brain health ingredient called Cognizin® Citicoline. Cognizin® Citicoline is manufactured by a fermentation process and it’s not chemically synthesized. Citicoline is a nutrient that is already in your body, so you’re kind of just supporting something that is already naturally occurring in your brain. Also, look at the studies that go along with a supplement or ingredient and look at the results. Cognizin® is a clinically tested form of citicoline that can supply the brain with the nutrition it needs to stay sharp. My best advice to the consumer is to find out where the ingredients in their supplements are coming from, how it is being made and what the study results are.