Memory Supplements And What You Need to Know About Them
Taking memory supplements will keep our mind sharp when we grow older. Sure, we won’t be able to remember everything we did when we were 16, but taking them will still improve our ability to look back on things. Now, this might not sound like a big deal, but it sure beats losing our memory slowly and doing nothing about it.
But choosing the right memory supplements can be difficult. While it’s true that each of them provides certain benefits, all of them are advertised as the best, and that makes it hard to decide on which to buy.
Let’s take a look at how to choose the best supplements for our needs, and how to use them to enhance our cognitive abilities.
How To Choose The Best Memory Supplements For You
The brain is the most complex organ we have. Even though we need all our organs to live, the brain is the organ that makes us alive. Without it, our body would continue to function, but our personality, memories, practically everything that makes us who we are would cease to exist.
And while the brain’s complexity is fascinating, it’s also a factor that makes memory loss so problematic. Here’s why
The Field Of Nootropic Supplements
You might have heard of nootropics by now. They have also been referred to as memory pills. This field of study focuses on substances that have the ability to enhance our cognition, memory, and to facilitate our learning process. Simply put, nootropics are meds that boost our brain’s performance.
You surely know that gym-goers take supplements to stimulate muscle growth. Well, nootropics work in a similar way, but they target the brain instead.
As you can imagine, there are multiple substances that can improve our brains’ abilities. Some of them are natural, some are not. The field of nootropics studies these substances to find out their effects, and how to use them at their maximum potential.
There Many Underlying Health Issues That Can Cause Memory Issues
Most people think about Alzheimer’s or traumatic events when they hear about memory loss. Well, the truth is that many health issues can cause memory loss. Most of them are indeed caused by brain illnesses, but some are determined by certain habits, medication, or deficiencies. Here is a list of the most frequent causes of memory loss, if we exclude neurodegenerative diseases.
- Concussions and Contusions – These traumatic events determine a bruising of the brain’s surface. These events can cause memory loss on their own, but they can also increase the risk of developing neurodegenerative disorders.
- Vascular Events – A stroke is a major vascular event. When something blocks a brain vessel, the part of the brain that received the blood delivered by the vessel suffers because it’s not receiving enough oxygen. This is what happens when we suffer a stroke. But some people might experience memory loss without knowing that they suffered a stroke because the affected blood vessel is small and doesn’t feed a large part of the brain. Even though they are small, silent strokes can produce memory loss.
- Nutritional Deficiencies – We should consume about 2.4 micrograms of vitamin B-12 per day. Those of us who don’t risk developing memory loss and even dementia.
- Stress – Stress is the leading cause of anxiety and depression, and it can also affect the brain directly. However, reducing the stress levels can reverse the problem.
- Medication – Certain types of medication like antidepressants, sleeping pills, or painkillers, can cause reversible cognitive side effects that include memory loss.
- Sleep Deprivation – The lack of sleep affects our brains more than we think. People who are sleep deprived experience a decrease in their working memory, attention, vigilance, and long-term memory.
It’s Always Best To Consult A Physician And Treat The Underlying Problem
Since the brain is such a complex organ and it can be affected by so many habits, illnesses, deficiencies, and conditions, it’s always recommended you consult a physician if you experience memory loss.
This is especially true if you experience sudden memory loss, and you or those around you notice other signs of cognitive decline.
What Are The Natural Memory Supplements That Work?
So, what supplements should we take if we want to enhance our cognitive abilities? Well, it’s always recommended to start with natural supplements. Most of these supplements do not produce significant side effects, and they are often cheaper than artificial ones. Moreover, the effects of the following supplements are backed by multiple studies.
Huperzine A (Chinese Club Moss) Can Protect From Brain Degeneration
Huperzine A (HupA) is extracted from a club moss called Huperzia serrata, and it’s been used in Chinese traditional medicine to treat inflammation, fever, and contusions. However, recent studies have discovered that Hup A could be used to protect the brain from neurodegenerative diseases. HupA protects the neurons from the oxidative injury produced by the amyloids that determine diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s.
HupA could protect the brain from degeneration by slowing down the death of our neurons. Moreover, HupA can also stimulate the production of new neurons in the hippocampus, which might improve our memories.
Vitamin E Can Slow The Effects of Alzheimer’s
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant whose primary function is to protect our cells from the damage produced by free radicals that enter our bodies. The brain can be affected by oxidative stress, and scientists consider that this type of stress contributes to neuronal degeneration as we age.
Thanks to its significant antioxidant properties, vitamin E can delay or even prevent the cognitive decline of the elderly. This could slow down Alzheimer’s degenerative effects.
While several studies associate the high vitamin E levels with better cognitive performance, and most scientists agree that vitamin E can slow down the effects of Alzheimer’s, its usefulness as a treatment for this disease is still under debate.
Asian (Or Panax) Ginseng Can Treat Fatigue Related Memory Issues
Ginseng has been used for over 2,000 years in Asian traditional medicine as a health enhancer. Ginseng is a compound that has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and immune-stimulatory properties.
The active components found in ginseng play important parts in both the stimulatory and inhibitory processes of the nervous system, and they can modulate neurotransmission. Simply put, it’s believed that these active components can stimulate our memory and learning by directly increasing our brain’s activity.
Thanks to the increase of the brain’s activity, ginseng supplementation makes us more vigilant, stimulating our working memory.
Acetyl-L-Carnitine Can Help With Alzheimer’s Symptoms
Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALCAR) is an amino acid produced naturally by our bodies. This acid plays an important part in our bodies’ ability to produce and distribute energy. However, ALCAR is also a powerful antioxidant that can cross the blood-brain barrier with ease.
ALCAR helps our brains maintain healthy levels of acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is necessary for our learning, analysis, perception, and memory systems, so having more of it in our brains is definitely a benefit.
Researchers noticed that ALCAR supplementation is associated with increased levels of acetylcholine, which leads to an improved synaptic transmission and learning capacity. In addition, it’s believed that ALCAR’s antioxidant activity can help reduce the oxidative stress in the brain and remove some of the accumulated toxins.
B-Vitamins Can Boost Energy And Cognition
We talked earlier about the link between a vitamin B-12 deficiency and memory loss. Vitamin B-12 is naturally found in animal products, especially in meat. We can also consume lots of it through foods that include it in their recipe, such as breakfast cereals.
A vitamin B-12 deficiency can cause a reversible memory loss, but it can also increase the risk of developing dementia or other mental illnesses. The elderly, vegans, and vegetarians are more susceptible to suffer a deficiency, and supplementation is recommended.
Vitamin B-12 supplementation can improve our learning performance and vigilance, thus increasing our memory performance. In some cases, our memory performance can increase by up to 48 percent. But vitamin B-12 is not the only B vitamin that can stimulate our cognitive process. It’s currently believed that vitamin B-6 or pyridoxine supplementation can reduce the risk of developing cognitive impairment in the elderly.
Omega-3 Fatty Acid (Fish Oil) Can Lower Your Risk Of Alzheimer’s
The omega-3 fatty acids are naturally found in fish meat, especially in oily fish such as sardines, mackerel, or salmon. Even though omega-3 fatty acids are usually recommended to lower elevated blood triglyceride levels, they can also produce beneficial effects in our brains.
Studies found that fish oil supplements can reduce the cognitive decline and brain atrophy in the elderly. In addition, it seems that omega-3 supplementation can have a beneficial effect for those who suffer from depression.
Ginkgo Biloba is A Popular Memory Enhancer
Ginkgo Biloba is probably the most popular natural supplement in the world. Even though most people use Ginkgo as a memory enhancer, it seems that this supplement is more efficient at improving the cognitive function of those who suffer from Alzheimer’s or vascular dementia.
Several studies proved that using a Gingko Biloba extract as a treatment for neurodegenerative diseases is an efficient way of slowing down their progress.
Prevagen And Other Branded Memory Enhancers
Even though using natural supplements is an efficient way of improving your memory, you can also choose to take branded memory enhancers. These supplements might contain a mix of natural compounds, but they can also contain synthetic components that improve their effects. But are there any downsides of using branded memory supplements?
FTC Has Charged Prevagen With Making False Claims
Prevagen is a supplement that’s supposed to help us think clearly, have a sharper mind, and an improved memory. However, it seems like the company oversold their product.
The FTC charged Prevagen with false claims because the company could not back up the advertisement that the supplement could help treat Alzheimer’s with peer-reviewed studies. In addition, it seems like the company also failed to report some of the supplement’s adverse reactions.
Neuro Ignite, Neuro Clear, And Other Popular Memory Supplements
There are multiple nootropics you can choose from. Some of the most popular ones, like Neuro Ignite and Neuro Clear, boast that they can significantly improve our cognitive abilities in a short period of time.
Sure, they contain some compounds with proven efficiency like the ones we already talked about – Ginkgo or vitamin B-12 – but they also contain a “proprietary formula”. Now, you might be wondering what a proprietary formula is.
Well, this formula is a manufacturer’s way of saying “We added these ingredients in the recipe, but we’re not telling you their exact quantities. Trust us, they work.”
And this is the problem. The addition of an ingredient does not make the supplement more efficient unless the ingredient is added in a large enough dose. Without knowing the dosage, you can’t really know if you’re experiencing a memory boost thanks to the supplement’s effect or thanks to the placebo effect.
Natural Ways To Boost Memory And Cognition Through Lifestyle
While it’s true that memory supplements can improve our cognition, we can go the extra mile and make some lifestyle changes that can improve our mental capacity even further.
Try Doing Daily Brain Workouts
Our muscles can benefit from a workout, and so can our brains. And the best part is, we don’t even have to do get involved in difficult activities to exercise our brains.
Learning a new skill or a new language can significantly improve our mental abilities. Simple brain games such as doing crosswords or completing jigsaw puzzles can improve our ability to retrieve information, our problem-solving skills, and our reasoning.
Exercise Your Body Regularly
Our bodies function as a whole. If you want to have a healthy mind, you should take care of your body. Exercising regularly will reduce our stress levels, which will help us think clearer. Exercise also improves our circulation, which can have beneficial effects on the brain.
Thanks to the increased blood flow, our brains benefit from more nutrients and oxygen, which makes them perform better. In addition, regular exercise reduces the risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
Tips For Lowering Your Blood Pressure
Lowering our blood pressure significantly reduces the chances of having a stroke. Strokes are one of the leading causes of neural degeneration and memory loss, so it’s recommended to do everything we can to avoid them.
Final Thoughts on Memory Supplements
Memory supplements can significantly improve our cognitive abilities. In addition to paying attention to what we eat and how much we exercise, taking memory supplements is necessary to increase our chances of growing old without experiencing a cognitive decline.