9 Vitamins & Supplements to Improve Your Memory
Does this describe you: You walk into the living room to get something, only to get there and forget what you needed? You often hear "Yes, you already told me about that" or maybe you thought you told someone, but you never actually verbalized it. Someone tells you their name and then ninety seconds later you say, "Ok, tell me your name again."
Perhaps you're not as young as you used to be, you have more on your plate to keep track of or you have a diagnosed or even undiagnosed medical condition. Whatever the reason, you seem to be plagued with a bad case CRS - Can't Remember Squat. First and foremost if you haven't had a physical exam in a while, go see your doctor. You'll want to rule out anything serious that may be causing your CRS. Barring any serious findings, you can take some herbs, vitamins and other supplements to help regain some of your memory. The vitamins, herbs and supplements listed below may help.
Essential Fatty Acids, otherwise known as fish oils or EPA-DHA are well known for their anti-inflammatory activity. Furthermore, DHA is required for normal brain function in adults. Decreases in brain DHA content are associated with age-related cognitive decline, dementia, and Alzheimer's disease.
Studies suggest that Polyphenol found in the skins of red grapes and various other plants may protect against inflammation and cognitive disorders.
Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA) is also an excellent antioxidant agent in neurodegenerative diseases due to the fact that it can interrupt free radical damage at several points. It has been shown to elevate antioxidants in various brain regions and improves memory. Further, ALA supports healthy blood glucose levels and insulin activity.
Coenzyme Q10 is an antioxidant cofactor that has been shown to protect the brain. In addition to being a potent free radical scavenger, CoQ10 has proven to be effective in a wide variety of age-related conditions.
Vitamin E is the primary antioxidant found in all tissues. Low vitamin E levels are consistently associated with an increased risk and occurrence of neurological diseases, including Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. In a study of patients with Alzheimer's, treatment with 2000 IU of vitamin E per day for 2 years was beneficial in delaying the primary outcome (time to the occurrence of death, institutionalization, loss of ability to perform activities of daily living, and severe dementia) of disease progression.
Ginkgo biloba extract is an approved treatment for dementia in Germany, and it is the only nonprescription substance considered a treatment for dementia in Canada. Ginkgo biloba is one extract readily available. It enhances mental efficiency in elderly patients with mild to moderate memory impairment. It is also shown to improve cognitive function in patients with dementia, to enhance blood flow to the brain, enhances cognitive performance in patients with Alzheimer's disease. Further it is said to enhance memory in young individuals.
Adaptogenic herbs have been shown to reduce the negative effects of stress. Due to the decreased ability to handle stress and the increased levels of glucocorticoids associated with aging and neurodegeneration, herbs with adaptogenic properties may be beneficial. Ayurvedic herbs such as ashwagandha, holy basil, and brahmi have a positive influence on stress response, mental function, and cognition.
Carotenoids are a class of naturally occurring plant pigments that provide the bright red, orange, and yellow colors of fruits and vegetables. A balanced intake of mixed carotenoids, as found in a healthy diet, provides the best protection against oxidative damage.
Folate and vitamins B6 and B12 are needed for proper brain function. Insufficiencies of these nutrients may result in forgetfulness, memory loss, confusion, depression, dementia, and mood and sensory changes. One study stated that age-related impairment of cognitive function is likely related to vitamin deficiencies, and is "preventable or reversible with improved vitamins, especially vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and folate."
Additionally, scientists searching for a cure for Alzheimer's disease have found a potential ally in the herb sage. Checking the writings of herbalists working four centuries ago, scientists in England found a marked improvement in the memory capabilities of Alzheimer's patients who took sage oil extract. The finding was consistent with a discovery by researchers at the Universities' Medicinal Plant Research Center that sage protects a key chemical destroyed in Alzheimer's.
This list is not all inclusive and there could be a number of other factors (environment, diet, disease) that could be the root cause of your CRS. However, starting with a few supplements may help you remember where you left your car keys!
The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to medically diagnose, treat or cure any disease. Consult a health care practitioner before beginning any health care program.
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