Keep a Life-Long Healthy Brain and Memory
There are multiple factors that influence brain and memory health. Simple nutritional deficiencies, heavy metal toxicity, chronic inflammation, vascular disease and even stress are risk factors for memory changes and brain diseases.
Taking steps to prevent or slow memory loss is an important consideration for those people who are using anti-aging and longevity measures. Simple lifestyle, dietary and supplement measures can help ensure clear-thinking and good memory well into old age.
Top Brain and Memory Supplements and Herbs
Brain and Memory Therapies
Table of Contents
Brain and Memory
Health Concerns by Topic
Multiple Vitamin/Mineral Formula Alzheimer’s Disease Acetyl-L-Carnitine Anxiety CoQ10 ADD/ADHD DHEA Dementia (senility) DMAE Depression Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s) Hypothyroid (Low Thyroid) Gastric Acid Self-Test Memory Loss Ginkgo Neurological Disease (ALS,MS) Ginseng (Panax) Parkinson’s Disease Huperizine Stress Melatonin Male hormones Female hormones Thyroid Vinpocetin
Multiple Vitamin/Mineral Formula. The Standard American Diet (S.A.D.) is typically deficient in essential vitamins, minerals and trace minerals. To compound this problem, older people are at even greater risk for nutrient deficiency because they tend to eat less, although their requirements for certain vitamins, such as B6, actually rise with age. Older people often also have problems with efficient absorption of nutrients from food because of low gastric acid function. Even healthy older people often have deficiencies of vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and folic acid, 3 “B complex” vitamins essential for brain and memory health.
Vitamins and certain minerals are involved in biochemical processes throughout the body and are necessary for protecting cognitive function. The B vitamins are especially important for normal brains and nervous system function and help the brain manufacture chemicals (neurotransmitters) that affect mood.
Filling in the “gaps” in diet with an optimal vitamin/mineral formula such as Maxi Multi is one of the most important steps you can take toward preserving good brain health and sharp memory.
Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALC), a derivative of the amino acid L-carnitine, is a vitamin-like compound that transports fatty acids (“fuel”) into cells. It has been approved in Europe as a “drug” to treat heart and neurological disease. It also acts as a powerful antioxidant in the brain. The acetyl form of L-carnitine (ALC) was found to be substantially more active than L-carnitine in brain cells.
CoQ10 is a naturally-occurring antioxidant produced in the human body. It is vitally involved in energy production. CoQ10 functions as an “energizer” to mitochondria, the body’s energy producing units. Mitochondria, which produce about 95% of the body’s energy, require CoQ10 to “spark” their production of energy units (ATP). Muscles, and the heart in particular, have high requirements for CoQ10.
CoQ10 is essential to the functioning of the mitochondria and many age-related diseases have been linked to lower mitochondrial function. Since CoQ10 production typically declines by about 50% with age, most longevity specialists consider it one of the most important anti-aging nutrients to supplement.
DHEAis a steroid hormone secreted by the adrenal glands. It is a precursor (“master hormone”) for many other steroid hormones including male and female sex hormones (estrogen and testosterone) and corticosteroids. DHEA levels often decline dramatically with age.
Low DHEA levels in the brain and blood are thought to contribute to many of the problems associated with aging including age-related memory and mental decline, decreased strength and muscle mass, lowered immune system response, heart disease and atherosclerosis, and age-related weight gain.
DMAE (dimethylaminoethanol), found in highest concentrations in anchovies and sardines, is also produced in small amounts in the human brain. DMAE is a precursor to the neurotransmitters choline and acetylcholine, although DMAE crosses the blood-brain barrier faster than choline. Once inside brain cells, DMAE is converted to phosphatidylcholine, a substance used for maintenance and repair of cells, especially brain cells. Studies have shown DMAE to be useful for improved memory and short-term concentration and in
Essential Fatty Acids(EFA’s). Omega-3 fatty acids, especially docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), has attracted significant attention for its ability to boost brain function. DHA is found in very high concentrations in cell membranes and is required by developing infant brains. Studies have shown that DHA helps protect brain cells by suppressing a neurotoxic substance called amyloid-beta (beta amyloid is a substance found in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients).
Ginkgo is one of the most well-studied herbs for age-related memory changes. It is also a potent antioxidant. Ginkgo increases circulation to small-diameter blood vessels (such as those in the brain and extremities) and inhibits platelet aggregation (decreases blood “stickiness”). Ginkgo also has anti-allergy effects. Ginkgo is one of the best-selling natural remedies worldwide. Many alternative physicians and researchers feel that ginkgo should be part of the Longevity Protocol for everyone over age 50.
Ginseng(Panax spp.) Panax ginseng was considered the “Herb of Emperors” in ancient China, and only the emperor was allowed to use ginseng. This was because the potent effects of ginseng were felt to be “too precious” for the common man.
Modern research has confirmed ginseng’s amazing powers. Ginseng improves immunity through a wide variety of mechanisms. It stimulates DNA synthesis and is useful for anti-aging and chronic disease. Studies have shown that ginseng improves both physical and mental stamina. “It’s not just for the emperor any more!”
Huperizine or Chinese Club moss, contains a substance (Huperizine A) which prevents the breakdown of acetylcholine in the brain. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter necessary for memory function. The most promising drugs for Alzheimer’s disease work in the same manner, although Huperizine appears to have a more precise mechanism whereby it protects acetylcholine. Huperizine may be useful for both Alzheimer’s and non-Alzheimer’s memory loss.
Melatonin, a hormone manufactured by the pineal gland, is best-known as an aid for insomnia. Beyond it’s use as a sleep aid, melatonin is also a powerful antioxidant that crosses the blood/brain barrier and helps protect the central nervous system against injury, disease, and aging. Melatonin levels decrease with age, and this reduction in melatonin levels results in many age-related concerns and complaints: sleep difficulties, an increased susceptibility to stress-related diseases, reduced immunity, and increased susceptibility to damage and disease caused by free radicals. Many researchers consider melatonin to be one of the most powerful anti-aging substances available.
Natural Hormone Replacement Therapy (estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, pregnenelone) Both women and men appear to benefit from natural hormone replacement therapy after age 40. By “natural,” I mean using hormones that are identical to what the body manufactures and in amounts that a healthy body produces in early adulthood. This is a very different type of hormone replacement from the semi-synthetic forms and doses used in conventional medicine.
Male hormones: testing and replacement
Female hormones: testing and replacement
Thyroid. Low thyroid function impairs memory and thinking. A test should be performed to determine thyroid function and natural supplements or thyroid replacement therapy should be started if thyroid levels are low.
Vinpocetin is derived from the periwinkle plant. More than 100 studies have shown that vinpocetin increases cerebral circulation (blood supply to the brain) AND improves brain energy production (ATP) and oxygen use. The potential benefits of vinpocetin include treatment of stroke, inner ear problems that result in dizziness, hearing loss, vision loss, neurological disorders, memory loss.