A Natural Mind and Memory Enhancer
2021-01-01 17:54:54 |
It is true that brain cells die with age, you can also build new brain cells at any age by feeding your brain, both with the right nutrients and the right information. @ Shutterstock
If your memory isn’t good as it used to be, your concentration is flagging and your mind simply isn’t as sharp, you may be another victim of a widespread epidemic of brain drain. At best, you may be failing to reach your full potential for mental health. At worst, you may be one of 4 million people now thought to be suffering from age-related memory decline. This reduces your cognitive function too young and leaves you open to an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease later in life.
The good news is that mental decline is not inevitable and you can boost your memory and mental alertness at any age. Research shows clearly that healthy, well-nourished and well-educated people show no sign of declining mental function with age. What’s more, while it is true that brain cells die with age, you can also build new brain cells at any age. How? By feeding your brain, both with the right nutrients and the right information.
HOW YOUR MEMORY WORKS
Memories are not held in one, but several networked brain cells. These links between brain cells, hardwired by a network of the interconnecting neuronal dendrite, are stimulated by learning new information. Stress does the opposite. High levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, make dendrites shrivel up. Fortunately, dendrites do grow back once cortisol level declines.
Memories themselves are thought to be stored by altering the structure of a molecule called RNA within brain cells. For a memory to be made, it must enter the cells by seeing, hearing, or dong something, which accounts for the three kinds of memory – visual, auditory or kinaesthetic. If a memory involves all three, it will exist in a maximum number of brain cells. That’s why if you see a telephone number, repeat it to yourself aloud and punch the numbers on the phone several times you are more likely to remember it. The brain, particularly the hippocampus region, then decides whether it’s worth storing. In Alzheimer's, the hippocampus loses its ability to file memories, resulting in an inability to store new memories.
A critical question is how memories are put into storage, retrieved and connected. The key memory molecule is the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, highly concentrated in the hippocampus. People with Alzheimer’s, for example, show a marked deficiency in acetylcholine. Even if a memory is intact, if you don’t have enough acetylcholine, you can’t connect one part of the memory with other parts. For example, you know the face but can’t remember the name.
The hippocampus is highly sensitive to homocysteine, and methylation reactions seem to play a key part in the chemistry of memory. Increased levels of homocysteine are known to destroy cells in the brain, which is the hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease, leading to poor memory. That’s why keeping your homocysteine level low is the cornerstone of maximizing your memory.
NATURAL MIND AND MEMORY ENHANCERS
The best way to enhance your memory and mind, and protect yourself from memory decline, is to ensure an optimal intake of not only essential vitamins, minerals and fats, but also these nutrients from which your body can make key brain chemicals. These natural mind and memory enhancers are:
· B6, B9 (folic acid), B12, and TMG (Trimethylglycin or betaine) as the methylators
· Phosphatidyl choline and DMAE (2-dimethylaminoethanol) as acetylcholine precursors
· Phosphotidyl serine and pyroglutamate as receptor enhancers
· Glutamate as fuel for brain cells
· Ginkgo biloba and vinpocetine as herbal circulation improvers
· Ginseng as a tonic for the mind
· Turmeric as the memory spice.
These are becoming widely available and can be found in combination in state-of-the-art brain-boosting supplements, as well as in certain foods.
1. The methylators
The four nutrients that are central in promoting methylation – B6, B9, B12 and betaine are also key in ensuring your memory to stay in shape. Besides, increasing the intake of these four nutrients is the most likely way to prevent age-related memory decline thanks to keeping the homocysteine level low. The first step is to make sure you take enough of these nutrients, both through eating beans, nuts, seeds and greens, and through supplementation.
2. Phosphatidylcholine – memory marvel
The key brain chemical for memory is acetylcholine. A deficiency in it is probably the most common cause of declining memory after high homocysteine levels. The richest dietary sources of phosphatidylcholine are egg yolks and fish, especially sardines. Vitamin B5 is essential for the formation of acetylcholine in the body, as are vitamins B1, B12 and also C. As always, nutrients work together. Supplementing choline can help the young as well as the old with the dosage of 25mg of phosphatidylcholine equivalent to 3.75 g choline. If you combined choline with other smart nutrients such as pyroglutamate, you can achieve the same memory-boosting effect at lower doses.
3. DMAE – naturally stimulating
DMAE (again, sardines are a rich source) is a precursor of choline that crosses much more easily from the blood into brain cells, accelerating the brain’s production of acetylcholine. It reduces anxiety, stops the mind racing, improves concentration, promotes learning and acts as a mild brain stimulant. The ideal dose for memory enhancement is 100-500 mg, taken in the morning or at midday, not in the evening.
4. Phosphatidylserine – highly receptive
The ability of neurotransmitters to deliver messages depends on having a fully functioning ‘docking port’, or receptor site. These receptor sites are built out of phospholipids, essential fats and protein. The predominant phospholipid is phosphatidylserine or PS. The secret of the memory-boosting properties of PS is probably due to its key role in brain cell communication. Supplementing PS is particularly helpful for those with learning difficulties or age-related memory decline with a dosage of 300 mg.
5. Pyroglutamate – master of communication
A key brain chemical in enhancing memory and mental function is the amino acid pyroglutamate. Pyroglutamate improves memory and mental alertness by increasing acetylcholine production, boosting the number of receptors for acetylcholine and improving communication between the left and right hemispheres of the brain. Pyroglutamate is found in many foods, including fish, dairy products, fruit and vegetables. The most common supplemental form is arginine pyroglutamate from 400-1000 mg a day for a mind-enhancing effect.
6. Glutamine – amazing brain fuel
Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the cerebrospinal fluid that surrounds the brain. Glutamine can be used directly as fuel for the brain and has been shown to enhance mood and mental performance. Glutamine is an important nutrient for the brain and there is good logic to adding 5-10 g to your daily supplement program. This equates to 1-2 heaped teaspoons a day.
7. Ginkgo biloba – ancient wisdom
Ginkgo biloba is a herbal remedy that has been used for memory enhancement in the East for thousands of years and comes from one of the oldest species of tree known. The researcher has shown that it improves short-term and age-related memory loss, slow thinking, depression and circulation, and improves blood flow to the brain. You should take 30-50 mg of such a supplement, three times a day. You need to try ginkgo for at least three months before evaluating the results.
8. Vinpocetine – the secret of the periwinkle
Vinpocetine is a herb that improves blood flow and circulation, thus helping to deliver oxygen to the brain. Vinpocetine is an extract from the periwinkle plant. Vinpocetine is recommended for those who’ve noticed a decline in memory, concentration, learning speed, neuro-muscular coordination and reaction time, or deficits in hearing or vision. You need about 10-40 mg of vinpocetine a day for these positive effects.
9. Ginseng – mind tonic
Ginseng is one of the most widely used and researched energy-promoting herbs, and there’s no doubt it works in this context. The active ingredients are called ginsenosides, and there are many of them, each with specific effects.
In 1988, German academic E. Ploss published a summary and analysis of studies on the clinical use of ginseng, which was followed in 1990 by a review by Professors Ulrich Sonnenborn and Yvonne Proppert. These articles surveyed a total of 37 experiments done between 1968 and 1990, involving 2,562 people in all, with treatments averaging 2-3 months. In 11 of the studies, the participants showed an improvement in intellectual performance. All showed a near-absence of side-effects.
More recent double-blind, controlled trials on ginseng, or ginseng plus ginkgo Biloba versus placebo, have proven measurable benefits for energy and memory in both young and old people.
10. Turmeric – spice up your memory
Turmeric, the bright yellow spice found in most curry powders, does much more than add zing to food. It reduces joint pain, boosts your immune system and has even been shown to have a potential effect on age-related memory loss.
The spice contains the active ingredient curcumin, which has a variety of powerful anti-inflammatory actions. It’s also a potent antioxidant. Research has found that curcumin may be able to break up the protein ‘plaques’ that show up in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. The curcumin was able to reduce deposits of the beta-amyloid proteins that make up the plaques in the brains of elderly lab mice that ate curcumin as part of their diets.
11. Don’t forget B vitamins and zinc
Vitamin B3 is particularly good for memory enhancement. B5 is essential for the brain to make acetylcholine. B12 is very important for the health of brain cells. B vitamins work together in many ways to help the brain make and use neurotransmitters.
Zinc is another brain-friendly nutrient involved in memory. Deficiencies of zinc are well known to lead to an inability to recall dreams. Children with serious learning difficulties often have low zinc levels, and low zinc is also thought to be involved in the severe memory loss of dementia. Seeds, beans, peas and lentils are all rich in zinc. So are nuts, meat and fish, and especially oysters. Eating these foods, as well as supplementing 10 mg of zinc every day, is the best way to ensure optimal amounts of this essential nutrient.
Holford P. (2010). Optimum Nutrition for the mind. Mind.
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