Top 49 Ways to Increase Myelin Naturally and Boost Intelligence

Myelin is an important part of the nervous system and is vital for optimal cognitive function. Read more below to learn how to increase myelin in your body.



Myelin is a sheath made out of fats and proteins that wraps around the axon (end) of a nerve cell. It helps the nervous system function properly (R, R).

It improves the conduction of action potentials, which are needed to send information down the axon to other neurons (R).

The myelin sheath increases the speed of impulses in neurons. It facilitates conduction in nerves while saving space and energy (R).

Demyelination happens when the nerves lose the myelin sheath that insulates them. This can cause many neurodegenerative diseases or nerve and brain damage. Defective myelin sheaths can also cause nerve disorders (R).

It’s thought that inflammatory cytokines reduce myelination (R).

Myelin Increases Intelligence

Since myelin transmits neuronal signals, Myelin plays a critical role in determining intelligence (R).

Good myelin allows signals to travel faster, which can make everything in the brain work better.

Children’s improved cognitive performance with maturation might result from myelination (R).

Lifestyle to Increase Myelin

1) Sleep


Sleep increases the amount of oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs) in the body, which in turn increase myelin formation. Sleep is associated with higher expression of gene coding for myelination. More studies are needed to determine whether or not sleep loss impairs myelin formation and maintenance (R).

2) Ketosis

Ketones work as precursors for fat synthesis in a developing brain. An increase in ketone bodies leads to an increase in myelination (R).

3) Exercise

Exercise can increase myelin after an injury (R) and also increase it in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s (R).  Exercise can also increase mitochondrial function, which increases myelin (R).

Nutrition to Increase Myelin

1) Fish/DHA

DHA is deposited within the cerebral cortex at an accelerated rate during the last trimester of pregnancy and during the first two years after birth (R).

This early accelerated rate of DHA deposition coincides with the onset of myelination, a process that is sensitive to DHA accumulation and stores  (RR).

A reduction of DHA in the diet negatively affects DHA concentrations within the brain (RRR). Animal models provide solid evidence that the consequences of dietary DHA deficiency are a high

Animal models provide solid evidence that the consequences of dietary DHA deficiency are a high omega-6 to omega-3 ratio in brain fatty acid composition and deficiencies in learning and memory (RR)

This is possibly due, in part, to negative impacts on neurite outgrowth and myelination (R).

2) Vitamin D

Studies show that vitamin D3 induced a functional recovery and increased myelination in a rat model of nerve injury (R).

3) Vitamin C

Vitamin C helps with myelin formation (R).

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbate, is important as a co-factor in several enzyme reactions. Ascorbate-dependent collagen synthesis helps with myelination. Ascorbate added to rat Schwann cells and neurons promoted myelin formation (R).

4) Iodine

Iodine is essential for many bodily functions. Iodine deficiency can impair myelination. Supplementation with iodine can help improve myelin formation in nerve cells (R).

5) Zinc

Zinc is needed for myelin proteins to function correctly. Zinc deficiency can cause problems with myelin formation and can cause defective sheaths to form (R).

6) Choline and Lecithin

In animal models of multiple sclerosis, the choline pathway can help with remyelination of myelin sheaths. It enhances myelin repair (R).

CDP-choline has beneficial effects on myelin in animal models of multiple sclerosis (R).

After drug-induced demyelination, CDP-choline effectively enhanced myelin regeneration and reversed motor coordination deficits (R).

The increased remyelination arose from an increase in the numbers of proliferating oligodendrocytes and oligodendrocyte precursor cells (R).

Lecithin is a component of myelin (R).

7) Vitamin B12


Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause demyelination and problems with early brain development. Therefore Vitamin B12 supplementation may help with sheath formation (R).

8) Cholesterol

Cholesterol is an essential constituent of myelin. The dry mass of myelin is about 70–85% lipids.

Cholesterol is needed for myelin membrane growth. Its presence is needed in the membranes in order for the sheath to function normally (R).

9) Iron

Iron plays a key role in normal cell functions. Normal iron levels are needed for myelin formation. Iron deficiency will lead to less myelination. Therefore, iron increases myelination in the body (R).

10) Lithium

Owing to its GSK3b inhibitory effect, Lithium can help increase myelin (R).

Treatment of adult mice with Lithium after facial nerve crush injury stimulated the expression of myelin genes, restored the myelin structure, and accelerated the recovery of whisker movements (R).

Lithium treatment also promoted remyelination of the sciatic nerve after crush (R).

11) Vitamin K2

Myelin membranes are particularly enriched with glycolipids, including galactosylceramide (GalCer) and its sulfated form, sulfatide (R).

Concentrations of sulfatides increase during brain development, parallel to an increase in brain myelination (R).

Decreases in myelin sulfatides content and/or changes in their molecule structure have been implicated as important factors in the disruption of myelin structure, with a subsequent attenuation of myelin efficiency as an axonal insulator (R).

Decreases in the content of myelin sulfatides with age has been implicated as a significant risk factor for behavioral deficits observed in normal aging, and age-associated neurological disorders (R).

Vitamin K has been implicated in increasing sulfatides and there is a positive correlation between sulfatides and vitamin K, which is present almost exclusively in the form of Vitamin K2 or menaquinone-4 (MK-4) in the brain (R).

12) Biotin

Biotin activates enzymes involved in energy production and myelin synthesis (R).

91.3% of people with multiple sclerosis (MS) improved clinically with high doses of biotin (R).

In all cases, improvement was delayed from 2 to 8 months following treatment׳s onset (R).

Two multi-centric double-blind placebo-controlled trials are currently underway (R).

13) Folate/Vitamin B9

A folate deficiency during pregnancy can also cause lower myelination in rat offspring (R, R).

14) Pantothenic Acid/Vitamin B5

Pantothenic acid indirectly helps with myelin formation by helping fatty acid synthesis (myelin is rich in lipids) (R).

Chickens deficient in pantothenic acid developed skin irritation, feather abnormalities, and spinal nerve damage associated with the degeneration of the myelin sheath (R).

15) Copper

Copper is important for myelination.  When animals are given a drug that binds to copper, demyelination results (R).

16) Phosphatidylserine

A large body of scientific evidence describes the interactions among Phosphatidylserine, cognitive activity, cognitive aging, and retention of cognitive functioning ability (R).

Phosphatidylserine is required for healthy nerve cell membranes and myelin (R).

Aging of the human brain is associated with biochemical alterations and structural deterioration that impair neurotransmission (R).

Supplemental Phosphatidylserine (300-800 mg/d) is absorbed efficiently in humans, crosses the blood-brain barrier, and safely slows, halts, or reverses biochemical alterations and structural deterioration in nerve cells (R).

It supports human cognitive functions, including the formation of short-term memory, the consolidation of long-term memory, the ability to create new memories, the ability to retrieve memories, the ability to learn and recall information, the ability to focus attention and concentrate, the ability to reason and solve problems, language skills, and the ability to communicate. It also supports rapid reactions and reflexes (R).

Hormones to Increase Myeline

1) Pregnenolone

The nervous system can synthesize steroids that are known as neurosteroids. They regulate the synthesis of myelin proteins and also help with its repair.

Pregnenolone is a precursor of other steroid hormones that can regulate myelin formation. An increase of pregnenolone can cause an increase of myelin formation (R).

2) Melatonin

In rats that had a stroke, melatonin helps promote myelination. It decreased white matter inflammation and increased myelination in nerve cells (R).

3) Progesterone

Progesterone can promote the formation, repair and regeneration of myelin sheaths (in animal models) (R, R, R).

The delivery of progesterone, however, represents a challenge because of its metabolism in digestive tract and liver (R).

Recently, the intranasal route of progesterone administration has received attention for easy and efficient targeting of the brain (R).

Progesterone in the brain is derived from glands or from local synthesis by neural cells. Stimulating the natural formation of progesterone is currently explored as an alternative strategy for neuroprotection, axonal regeneration, and myelin repair (R).

4) IGF-1

Insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) has been identified as a growth factor that promotes myelination by stimulating the early events of myelination in Schwan Cells.  IGF-1 stimulates two key fatty acid synthesizing enzymes via the PI3K/Akt signaling pathway (R, R).

5) Thyroid Hormones

Triiodothyronin (T3) stimulated many myelin protein genes (R) and enhances remyelination in the adult brain by making myelin cells (oligodendrocytes) mature faster (R).

6) Prolactin

Prolactin during pregnancy is necessary for the increase of myelin cells (R).

7) VIP

VIP (and PACAP) contribute to the myelinating process, including myelin maturation and synthesis, and help regulate the expression of myelin proteins (R).

8) Erythropoietin (EPO)

Erythropoietin (EPO) induces the expression of myelin genes in oligodendrocytes. They promote neuron repair by inducing remyelination after myelin damage. However, this only happens in erythropoietic EPO receptor (EPOR)-expressing CG4 cells (R).

 Supplements to Increase Myelin

1) Gotu Kola

Gotu kola helps rats make a more rapid functional recovery and a greater numbers of myelinated axons following nerve damage (R).

2) Uridine

Uridine can help treat myelin sheath lesions (R).

3) Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha has an active component called withanoside IV. In mice, withanoside IV treatment increased myelin levels (R).

4) SAMe and Methylation

S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe) helps regulate DNA methylation. DNA methylation plays a key role in myelin development. Hence, SAMe increases myelination in neurons (R).

A folate and B12 deficiency during pregnancy can also cause lower myelination in rat offspring (R, R).

5) Myoinositol

Chronic low blood sodium levels can cause the destruction of myelin. Myoinositol can normalize blood sodium levels, which can help keep myelin normal (R).

6) Ozone Treatment

Ozone treatment can improve nerve health and result in thicker myelin sheaths (R).

7) Grape Seed Extract

In diabetic rats, grape seed extract protects against demyelination (R).

8) Lion’s Mane

The mushroom Lion’s Mane (Hericium Erinaceus extract) quickens the process of myelination. It promoted normal development of myelin sheaths (R).

9) Forskolin/Cyclic AMP

Cyclic AMP helps increase myelin, especially in the presence of NRG1 (R).

10) PQQ (R)

11) Ginkgo – after injury (R)

Exercise (increases BDNF in Schwann Cells),

12) Quercetin -after injury (R)

Pathways to Increase Myelin

1) Acetylcholine and Acetylcholinesterase Inhibitors

Cholinergic treatments, such as acetylcholinesterase inhibitors (AChEIs), may have beneficial effects on myelination, myelin repair, and myelin integrity (R).

Increasing cholinergic stimulation helps the myelination process (R).

Cholinergic treatments, such as Nicotine, Huperzine A and Galantamine could help promote myelination during development and myelin repair in older age (R).

The acetylcholine muscarinic receptors can increase the survival of precursor cells that increase myelin (R).

2)  Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF)

The neurotrophin brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) helps regulate myelin formation in the nervous system. An increase of BFNF levels causes an increase in the rate of myelination. This causes an increase in myelin content and thickness (R).

3) Nerve Growth Factor (NGF)

Nerve growth factor (NGF) can help repair myelin damage. It also induces the production of another substance that can help increase myelination (R).

4) CB1 Cannabinoid Receptor

The CB1 cannabinoid receptor, which is acticated by cannabis, can increase myelin formation in cells (R).

5) GSK3b Inhibitors

GSK3b inhibits myelin-dependent axon outgrowth and inhibition of GSK3b helps increase myelin (R).

GSK3β inhibition stimulates the regeneration of myelin-forming cells and remyelination following chemically induced demyelination (R).

6) N-acetylaspartate (NAA)

N-acetylaspartate (NAA) supplies acetyl groups for myelin synthesis. It is essential for the formation and maintenance of myelin (R).

7) RXRgamma

A protein called retinoid X receptor gamma (RXRgamma) is known to promote oligodendrocyte precursor cells (R).

RXRgamma must combine with the Vitamin D Receptor to induce gene expression and create these myelin producing cells (R).

8-9) PPAR delta and PPAR gamma

PPAR delta is a protein that causes energy expenditure and weight loss.  This protein causes myelin cells to multiply (R).

PPAR gamma is a protein that causes a host of anti-inflammatory effects.  It promote myelin formation and growth (R).

These are proteins that can cause big effects on gene expression, and a variety of supplements increase/decrease their function.

10) Neuregulin 1

NRG1 is a protein that helps increase Schwann Cells (R).

Neuregulin 1 is important for synaptic plasticity, inhibiting the amygdala (to shut down anxiety), myelination (Schwann cell maturation, survival, and motility), heart function (cardiac growth factor) and tumor suppression.


Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) and ErbB3 receptor tyrosine kinase:

Epidermal growth factor receptor plays and important role in myelination and remyelination. EGFR signaling increases myelin repair and myelination (R).

ErbB3 receptor tyrosine kinase is a receptor located on Schwann cells. An inhibition of its expression will result in reduced myelination (R).


Gemifribrozil, a fat lowering drug, increases the expression of myelin genes in oligodendrocytes. This may help treat demyelination (R).


The small molecule inhibitor XAV939 helps regulate Axin2 levels. Axin2 is involved in the myelination process. XAV939 promoted developmental myelination and recovery (R).

What Reduces Myelination

1) Inflammation

It’s thought that inflammatory cytokines reduce myelination (R).

Myelin and oligodendrocyte (OL) destruction occur in cultured preparations subjected to cytokines such as TNF alpha and lymphotoxin (LT) (R).

Multiple sclerosis is a disease that causes demyelination.

Many studies have shown these and other cytokines to be elevated at lesion sites and in the Cerebrospinal fluid of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients, with similar findings in animal models (R).

2-3) SIRT1 and AMPK activation

SIRT1 and AMPK activation are normally  good, but when it comes to myelin, it seems like they might not be great.

SIRT1 inactivation increases the production of oligodendrocytes (myelin producing cells). In mice, SIRT1 inactivation will lead to oligodendrocyte production, which then increases the formation of myelin and white matter abnormalities (R).

Likewise, when AMPK levels are high, myelin production is slowed (R).

4) Statins


Statins are drugs that help treat heart disease. Statins have a negative impact on oligodendrocytes and myelin formation (R).


  1. bob

    Which of the improving items would be most effective in combating the reduction from taking a statin?

    I’ve read a lot about the negatives of statins, but I had a stroke in my early 30s (they were never able to explain what caused it. Even with long term monitoring for afib).

    My neurologist insists that it’s an extremely important preventive against another stroke for me so I’m somewhat terrified to just go against directions and quit it. I talked to a 2nd neuro at mayo clinic after the first couldn’t explain the stroke and had no suggestions other than aspirin + a statin and “eat better, exercise more”.

    I make my living as a statistician and am terrified of being made even dumber because of the meds. I already lost enough because of the stroke.

  2. Miel Morota

    Hi can i ask how do we acquire the following mentioned ways to increase myelin?these are found in what common food or medication? I was diagnosed with transverse myelitis. Thank you.

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