WTF is Brain Health


We hear about it and we take different things for it, we even play games that help improve it! But WTF is Brain Health actually and what does that mean?

We talked with Neuroscientist, Peter Mercado-Reyes who essentially asks questions for a living, to ask him what his thoughts on brain health are.

Meet Neuroscientist, Peter Mercado-Reyes

Having extracted all the information he could about people and behavior from his grandfather, a pastor, and mother, a social worker, Peter sought to understand a more tangible basis of behavior in biochemistry and neuroscience. He has since conducted numerous investigations on the molecular basis of Parkinson’s Disease, Post-traumatic Stress disorder and psychosis. In 2015, Peter graduated from Purdue University with a B.S. in Biochemistry. As part of a team in 2017 he published a paper in the journal, Science Advances, examining the epigenetic mechanisms promoting cocaine addiction. Currently he works at a private biotechnology company in NYC investigating the gut-brain axis. And as the Director of Knowledge for On the Revel [a New York Cannabis Events & Experience Company] he has created a variety of campaigns on cannabinoid science.

So needless to say, he knows a thing or two about brain health, cannabis, and why it is so important!

So WTF is Brain Health?

Peter Mercado-Reyes: 'Everything we think, perceive and feel is a manifestation of neural activity. Although our brain/nervous system is extremely resilient, little things like being dehydrated or not getting enough sleep can have a huge impact on our behavior- whether we know it or not! Therefore monitoring the health of our brain can be a difficult task that takes consistency, feedback and self-awareness to really tease apart. Pillars to maintaining its health include restorative sleep, proper nutrition, diverse and challenging physical and mental activities, and strong fruitful relationships.'

Brain health is so important because the brain quite literally controls your entire being, mentally, emotionally, and physically!


Functions of the Brain:
- Behaviors
- Mood
- Personality
- Judgement [Planning + Problem Solving]
- Body Movement
- Vision
- Sense of touch and pain
- Memory
- And so many more!!

The way we act, talk, feel, all of it is determined by our brain health, and as Peter mentioned, actions as small as lack of sleep or dehydration can drastically affect our brains. So it makes you wonder how many other small things are affecting our brains, such as toxins, micro plastics, blue light, etc.

But instead of freaking out about what we're doing to our brains, we want to focus on what we're doing FOR our brains. Because let's get real, brain health is apart of the wellness conversation now and we are not your mother's medicine cabinet. Poplar is here to elevate the standard and redefine wellness, and that includes brain health.

5 Easy Brain Health Practices

- Get 8 hours of sleep
- Improve your diet
- Get physical exercise
- Create strong social ties and relationships
- Drink water [lots of it]

Now we've gone over the importance of brain health, what your basic and v important brain functions are, we've even gone over 5 easy brain health practices. So it seems about time that we ask Neuroscientist Peter Mercado-Reyes, what his favorite Poplar products for brain health are.

Rasa - Coffee with Adrenal Balancing Herbs

I’ve added adaptogenic tinctures to my coffee most mornings since college, so I was pleasantly surprised and happy to find Rasa Coffee. Most people know coffee and its effects in promoting wakefulness and improving cognition. Some even can name caffeine and know its mechanism of action, in blocking adenosine from sending “tired” signals throughout the body.

But more and more people are learning about adaptogens and their effects in promoting a healthier response to stress and buffering against physical and mental exhaustion. The exact molecules involved vary with the original plant sources- eleuthero, ashwagandha and rhodiola to name a few are in Rasa’s coffee. Allow they vary in structure and function they all act similarly through a variety of mechanisms to blunt your body’s response to stress, combat inflammation, and allay oxidative stress, to name a few. Therefore, the combination of caffeine and adaptogenic molecules grant a sustained wakefulness that is resistant to stress and exhuastion allowing you to go longer and harder throughout your day.

Make & Mary - Clarity Inhaler

Our olfactory system has direct connections into specific regions of the brain. One of particular importance is known as the amygdala. The amygdala, a central component of our limbic system, plays a large role in regulating our emotional learning and therefore our response to situations. The Calm Inhaler takes advantage of this direct connection, to send the signal, “relax” to our brain. It contains a variety of aromatic essential oils: lavender, cedarwood, frankincense, and orange. This potent mixture acts on receptors and transporters in the neurons of the brain to facilitate the activation of circuits promoting relaxation and calm. Essential oils have been used by civilizations for centuries and its most recent evolution into the convenient and discrete device by Make and Mary it's by far the sexiest, elegant and impactful development since incense.

Juna - Sleep the Night Away Tincture

The Juna sleep drops contain an impactful dose of CBD (25mg a dropper) along with the essential oils’ chamomile and mint. Sleep is critical to a healthy brain and body and is often the first behavior a practitioner seeks to understand in helping a patient with mental health concerns. While we sleep our brains in a way take a bath and drain all the “junk” that accumulates throughout the day. During that period, it does maintenance on synapses, reinforcing the memories we experienced, allowing overactive circuits to take a break and our dreams to unfold. Much of what we consider brain fog or fatigue is directly related to how much sleep we get the night before. Early studies on CBD indicate it may be a helpful sleep aid. CBD may blunt the secretion of cortisol, alleviate anxiety and suppress pain all serving to prevent one from getting deep and long sleep. The essential oil chamomile acts similarly to CBD in its anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety and sleep promoting effects. The 1-2 synergy makes for an undeniable K.O. a punch that hits like a soft pillow recently turned over to the “cool side.”