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Need Help with Memory Loss? Then Read This
Memories are the means by which we store and remember information. When we start to lose our memories, it is mostly because of damage to the memory seats of the brain. There are drugs and supplements that can help prevent and reverse these damage. This article discusses the best natural remedies for memory loss. Find out which vitamins, minerals, foods and herbs can help with your memory loss.
Memory loss can be embarrassing and it is often taken as one of the early signs of aging. While this is true, memory loss does not have to set in as we grow older.
The brain is one giant interconnected mass with each cell communicating to multiple cells. The connections between brain cells allow for the fast transmission of signals from one end of the brain to another. It is these connections that link the different parts of the brain. These connections in the brain are not static; they are always changing.
The brain grows by bringing up new neurons and forging new connections between its cells. For example, as we acquire new information, the brain stores it by creating a new memory for it, and also by linking this memory with old ones and even newer ones.
These steps require the use of more nerves and neurotransmitters in the brain.
Linking memories together makes it easy for us to remember them. With each new link formed between memories, the brain makes the process of recollection more effeicient. However, when these links are broken, memories are lost.
The most important cause of memory loss is damage to the connections between neurons.
Since neurons are responsible for carrying signals all over the brain, they represent the wiring of the brain. When parts of them are damaged, information flow is interrupted and the disruption causes lapses in memory.
Damage to the nerves can by caused by physical stress, lack of stimulation, toxins and chemical overstimulation.
However, memory loss can also be caused by low levels of a group of brain chemicals known as neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters occupy the junctions between nerves and are responsible for the handover of signals from one nerve to another.
Fortunately, the brain is always creating new connections. Therefore, it is possible to encourage the reversal of the damage done to parts of the brain as long as the damage is not extensive.
There are different ways to reverse memory loss by correcting this damage.
Drugs and natural supplements can help with memory loss. In addition, there are non-pharmaceutical methods that can improve mental focus and the ability to faithfully recall information.
Discussed below are the most important remedies for reversing memory loss.
Vitamins are involved in a lot of physiological processes and biochemical reactions in the body. From DNA synthesis to cellular metabolism, from energy production to serving as cofactors for enzymes, vitamins are needed everywhere in the body.
However, the most important vitamins for improving memory are those that can protect and nourish the brain. In this regard, antioxidant vitamins including vitamins A, C, D and E can provide modest benefits for preventing and reversing memory loss.
The B vitamins are especially useful, and the two most important B vitamins for improving memory and cognition are folic acid and vitamin B12.
Deficiency in one of these two B vitamins almost always leads to deficiency in the other. One of the presentation of these deficiencies is neurodegeneration. Therefore, supplementation with folic acid and cobalamin can improve memory and cognition. However, long-term supplementation with these vitamins is required to produce significant results.
Minerals are also important in the body in the same way as vitamins. They are required for the normal functioning of the body.
The most important minerals for improving memory are iron, zinc, selenium, magnesium and calcium.
Calcium is required for signaling between brain cells. This means that it is needed to prevent lapses in signal transfers which can affect memory storage and withdrawal.
In addition, neurons requires calcium to release neurotransmitters into the synaptic junctions separating them. This is one way in which calcium is absolutely essential for maintaining the signal relay between brain cells.
Magnesium plays a similar role to calcium. It affects the excitability of nerves in the brain.
Magnesium deficiency can cause loss of concentration, short attention spans and mental confusion. All of these effects are caused by disruptions in the connections linking brain cells. Therefore, magnesium supplementation can help improve mental focus and concentration, and by doing these it can improve memory too.
Selenium is an antioxidant. It is needed by the body to make selenoenzymes, a group of antioxidant enzymes that helps mop harmful free radicals. Therefore, selenium can protect the nerves from damage from toxins.
In addition, selenium improves the antioxidant effects of vitamin E.
In the brain, zinc is stored in special vesicles in the synapses between nerves. When released, it is responsible for changing the nature of the synapses to allow information passage. This effect is also known as synaptic plasticity and it is the reason zinc helps memory.
In fact, clinical data show that most people with memory impairment also have zinc deficiency.
Iron deficiency also affects the central nervous system and has a negative effect on memory. Because iron is needed to prevent heavy metals such as mercury, lead and cadmium from crossing the blood-brain barrier, it is believed to have a neuroprotective effect on the brain.
Iron is also involved in the syntheses of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that is essential to normal brain functioning.
Foods can also help with memory loss. Most of these brain foods contain the minerals and vitamins discussed above and produce their effects by increasing the concentration of these micronutrients.
However, there are other natural nutrients found in foods that can improve memory and cognition.
These natural nutrients include the omega-3 fatty acids, phenolic antioxidants, choline, essential oils and certain phytochemicals such as curcumin.
Fatty fish, fish oil, krill oil and nuts are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids such as EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). Besides these omega-3 fatty acids, these food sources also contain vitamins A and D and selenium, all of which are antioxidants that can improve brain function.
With regards to improving memory and cognition, experts agree that DHA is the better omega-3 fatty acid.
Where these foods are not available, omega-3 supplements can serve as substitutes.
Vegetables and fruits are rich in antioxidants such as anthocyanin, quercetin, flavonoids and vitamins C and E. Some of these antioxidants also provide additional benefits besides serving as neuroprotective agents in the brain.
For example, anthocyanin prevents acetylcholine from being broken down. Since acetylcholine is the most important neurotransmitter for memory, this dual benefits can significantly help with memory loss.
Eggs can also increase acetylcholine levels in the brain by another means. It contains choline, a precursor of acetylcholine. Therefore, eggs can serve as important memory foods.
Tea leaves are usually rich in antioxidants. Of these, green tea leaves are the richest. They contain a number of antioxidants including EGCG or epigallocatechin gallate.
EGCG not only protects brain cells from harmful toxins, it can also stimulate the production of new brain cells as well as increase acetylcholine levels.
Spices and food seasonings are also good antioxidant sources. Examples of spices that can boost memory functions are sage, turmeric and rosemary.
Lastly, essential oils extracted from the likes of jasmine, lemon, lavender and peppermint can also enhance memory. In addition, the medium-chain triglycerides such as the caprylic acid found in coconut oil can improve memory and cognition.
Herbs are the oldest medicines and there are numerous examples of herbs used in the traditional medicines of different cultures to improve memory and reverse age-related cognitive decline.
These days there are many scientific studies investigating the medicinal claims of these herbs as researchers turn to them for drug candidates. Some of the proven herbs used in alternative medicine to help with memory loss are discussed below.
Ginseng is an adaptogenic herb, and true ginseng can boost brain function. The active phytochemicals in ginseng in this regard are a group of saponins referred to as ginsenosides.
There are two major groups of ginsenosides: Rb1 and Rg1. They have both been proven to boost spatial memory and light up the specific areas in the hippocampus where memory is formed and stored.
Ginkgo is another herb used for improving brain functioning. It contains antioxidant phytochemicals such as bilobalides and ginkgolides.
Ginkgo extract was shown to protect the brain from the actions of beta amyloid proteins which are known to damage parts of the brain and contribute to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
However, the effects of ginkgo on the brain requires long-term use of the herb.
Gotu kola is another adaptogen herb. It is traditionally used as a brain tonic and at least one human study has found it effective for improving memory and mood.
Bacopa is also known as Brahmi, a prized herb in Ayurveda medicine. Among its varied medicinal benefits, bacopa can protect brain cells from toxin damage through its antioxidant properties. The antioxidant property of bacopa is believed to be similar to that of vitamin E.
Ashwagandha is another Ayurveda herb with benefits for the brain. It is a brain tonic that can increase the production of new brain cells as well as protect the brain against plaques formed from beta amyloid proteins.
Rhodiola is also an adaptogen. Its antioxidant protection is due to its quercetin and proanthocyanidins content. The active phytochemicals in rhodiola can also increase the amount of endorphins in the body as well as acetylcholine levels in the brain.
The benefits of rhodiola on memory and cognition have already been demonstrated in a number of studies.
Huperzine A is another herbal extract that protects the brain from damage caused by beta amyloid proteins. However, beyond this, huperzine A is also an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor.
This means it blocks the enzyme that breaks down acetylcholine, and therefore, prolong the actions of the neurotransmitter with the highest contribution to memory. Furthermore, huperzine A promotes the growth of new nerves and it prevents glutamate from causing damage to old nerves.
Besides foods, herbs, vitamins, minerals and other supplement, you can also prevent and reverse memory loss by non-drug means.
Sleep is important to memory formation. This is mostly evidenced by the memory lapses we experience when we are sleep-deprived.
Memory formation, consolidation and storage occurs when we sleep. The most important time for linking new memories with old ones are during the last 3 stages of the sleep cycle.
Even daytime naps have good effects on our memories.
Sleep is the right time for making memories because it is when we sleep that our brain gets the least amount of intrusion from external stimuli. Therefore, while all is quiet the brain can file away information more efficiently.
The recommended amount of sleep to get is 7 – 9 hours every day.
Regular exercise not only trains the body but it can also improve your memory.
Experts say exercise increases blood flow to the brain. This means that brain cells are well fed with oxygen and nutrients to promote the cellular processes needed for their normal functioning.
In addition, regular exercise can also drive neurogenesis. Coupled with the formation of new brain cells, exercise can also give rise to new connections in the hippocampus, one of the seats of memory in the brain.
Lastly, exercise stimulates the release of a beneficial neurotropic factor in the brain.
To help your body relax, you should also consider means to overcome stress. Stress is bad for the memory.
Therefore, take time to relax, play outside, form new social relationships and meditate. All of these allow your body to step down the stress hormones released and also help your brain find its normal rhythm again.
The brain is like a muscle in the same way that it needs to be exercised and tasked with new activities.
Our work and lifestyle may restrict the type of mental activities we do. This can lead to the overdevelopment of one part of the brain and the underdevelopment of the other. If the underdeveloped area happens to contribute to memory, memory loss may result.
Therefore, it is best to jog your memory. This can be done by learning new things. So, partake in fun, challenging activities to help your brain make new connections and exercise the ability to forge new links between new and old memories.
To improve the way you learn new things and to ensure you can remember them, recruit all your senses while learning. Also, pay attention and break down complex information into simpler ones you can easily assemble and take apart.
To help your memory remember new information, try repeating the information and consciously linking it with other things you can easily remember.
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Cyntol is an all natural memory remedy. By supporting key nutrients essential to brain function, Cyntol can help improve memory and learning.