Developing countries have a problem of insufficient iodine which degrades intelligence by 10-15 percent. This is mostly solved by adding iodine to salt in the developed world.
Most people are aware of the importance of getting enough calcium, which remains a widespread problem. Common micronutrient deficiencies are zinc, magnesium, iron, folic acid, and iodine. A swiss study also indicates the problem.
If everyone had optimal levels of micronutrients then the IQ of over half of the worlds population would be increased by up to 20 IQ points. (Enough Iodine and Zinc.) Energy levels, productivity and health would also be improved. Also, preventing brain damage from pollution like lead would also help. Increased IQ provides economic benefits and reduced crime levels. Other kinds of drugs and materials are also likely to be found to have intelligence, health and productivity enhancement. There are drugs and things in food that help with concentration and memory. Significant human cognitive enhancement is not a far out Transhumanist concept. Even more is possible with cybernetic approaches, brain computer interfaces, stem cells and gene therapy.
Magnesium is a must. The diets of all Americans are likely to be deficient……..Even a mild deficiency causes sensitiveness to noise, nervousness, irritability, mental depression, confusion, twitching, trembling, apprehension, insomnia, muscle weakness and cramps in the toes, feet, legs, or fingers.
Magnesium (Mg) is a trace mineral that is known to be required for several hundred different functions in the body. A significant portion of the symptoms of many chronic disorders are identical to symptoms of magnesium deficiency. Studies show many people in the U.S. today do not consume the daily recommended amounts of Mg. A lack of this important nutrient may be a major factor in many common health problems in industrialized countries. Common conditions such as mitral valve prolapse, migraines, attention deficit disorder, fibromyalgia, asthma and allergies have all been linked to a Mg deficiency.
The first step, of course, is to basically just eat more magnesium rich foods, especially beans, nuts and vegetables. Vegetables are especially good if you are watching your weight because you can ingest a lot of magnesium for a relatively small number of calories. Calcium is a magnesium antagonist. As such, drinking too much milk or eating too many other calcium rich foods in relation to Mg containing foods may lower magnesium levels.
Supplementation problem: Magnesium is an alkaline mineral and a common ingredients in antacids. We’ve noticed in my family that taking magnesium supplements for more than a day or two can sometimes cause cramping and diarrhea.
Food alone in all 20 subjects did not meet the minimal Recommended Daily Allowances (RDA) micronutrient requirements for preventing nutrient-deficiency diseases. The moreactive the person, the greater the need to employ avariety of balanced micronutrient-enriched foods including micronutrient supplementation as apreventative protocol for preventing these observed deficiencies.
Bruce has developed a low calorie bar to top up micronutrient levels more effectively than vitamin pills and other supplements. It should have some limited commercial availability in 2009.
Folic acid deficiency can lead to neural tube closure defects (NTDs) and anemia.
In spite of the proven benefits of adequate zinc nutrition, approximately 2 billion people still remain at risk of zinc deficiency.
The most vulnerable population groups are infants, young children, and pregnant and lactating women because of their elevated requirements for this essential nutrient.
Iron deficiency anemia (IDA):
-Impairs the mental development of over 40% of the developing world’s infants and reduces their chances of attending or finishing primary school
-Decreases the health and energy of approximately 500 million women and leads to approximately 50,000 deaths in childbirth each year
-Is complex because it requires increased iron intake at critical stages of the life- cycle – before and during pregnancy and throughout early childhood
-Various tests of cognitive and psychomotor skills associate lack of iron during infancy and early childhood with significant levels of disadvantage, affecting IQ scores by as much as 5 to 7 points.
Iodine deficiency is the leading preventable cause of brain damage and it can significantly lower the IQ of whole populations.
This site has looked at cognitive enhancement before.