Better Ways To Boost Brain Health
Someday researchers might identify a blend of ingredients that does wonders for your gray matter. But in the meantime, there are more effective ways to keep your brain healthy:
- Diet. Nutrition is one of the best ways to protect your brain, Smith says. She recommends a diet rich in produce with healthy oils from olive oil, nuts and seeds and fatty cold-water fish. Aim for a colorful diet, with dark leafy greens, as well as orange and red fruits and veggies, she says. Colorful foods contain antioxidants that may protect the brain.
- Limit alcohol. Too much alcohol can increase the risk of cognitive decline, she says.
- Physical activity. Regular exercise has a strong association with the prevention of cognitive problems, Smith says. Try to get at least 150 minutes of activity a week.
- Sleep. Being sleep-deprived is linked to cognitive decline, so prioritize your slumber.
- Socialize. Social interaction is closely tied with maintaining cognitive function as we get older. Try to spend time with others and limit isolation, Smith advises. Whenever you can, share meals with friends and family.
- Treat health problems. Chronic health problems like Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure can increase the chances of cognitive decline and dementia. To lower your risk, work with your doctor to manage any illnesses.
Vitamins B1 B2 B3 B5 And B7
Thiamine , a coenzyme in the catabolism of sugars and amino acids, is an essential co-factor in synthesizing fatty acids, neurotransmitters, and other bioactive compounds necessary for brain function . Riboflavin contains two flavoproteins, co-factors in the metabolism of essential fatty acids in brain lipids . Niacin , and Biotin , ensure oxidative metabolism and contribute to the structure and function of brain cells. While these five B vitamins have no direct relation to memory, they are essential to brain function.
Hence, deficiencies in each of these vitamins can lead to poor neuro health and cognitive performance altogether.
It May Help Treat Alzheimers Disease
Gotu kola has the ability to enhance memory and nerve function, which gives it potential in treating Alzheimers disease. In fact, one 2012 study on mice found that gotu kola extract had a positive effect on behavioral abnormalities in mice with Alzheimers disease.
The extract was also shown, in lab and animal studies, to have a modest effect on protecting brain cells from toxicity. This could also protect the cells from forming the plaque associated with Alzheimers.
Still, further research is needed to determine exactly how gotu kola could be used to treat Alzheimers. If youre interested in adding this to your treatment plan, talk to your doctor before use.
How to use: Take 30 to 60 drops of liquid gotu kola extract 3 times per day. Dosages may vary between manufacturers, so always carefully follow the directions on the bottle.
animal study from 2016 found that gotu kola had an anti-anxiety effect on male mice that were sleep deprived for 72 hours. Sleep deprivation can cause anxiety, oxidative damage, and neuroinflammation.
Mice that were given gotu kola for five consecutive days before undergoing sleep deprivation experienced significantly less anxiety-like behavior. They also experienced improved locomotor activity and less oxidative damage.
A 2013 review of anti-anxiety herbal medicines also concluded that gotu kola has an acute anti-anxiety effect. However, more research is needed to confirm these findings.
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Vitamins B6 B9 And B12
The best vitamins for memory loss in the B vitamin complex are B6, B9, and B12. Theyre all co-factors in the homocysteine metabolism that enhance the brains cognitive function, including memory .
Vitamin B6 is present in three forms pyridoxine, pyridoxal, and pyridoxamine each is a coenzyme in the homocysteine metabolism. Vitamin B9 and B12 are part of the methyl groups that help with the methylation of homocysteine to methionine .
Some studies reveal that vitamins B6, B9, and B12 have a consistent relationship with brain function. Therefore, intake of these vitamin supplements can decrease homocysteine levels in the brain, leading to improved cognitive function, attenuated cognitive decline, and minimized risk of dementia .
Theoretically, when there are deficiencies in vitamins B6, B9, or B12, it leads to elevated homocysteine levels, which can increase your risk of dementia. Moreover, B12 deficiency can increase amino acid homocysteine, which factors heavily in the emergence of Alzheimers disease leading to confusion and memory loss . Therefore, the opposite should be true with increased intake of these vitamins, theres a decrease in homocysteine levels in the brain.
The study on rats revealed that vitamin B12 could promote the regeneration of the myelin fibers, improving nerve insulation.
The best brain foods with these vitamins include eggs, beef, liver and organic meats, dark leafy vegetables, milk, legumes, and seafood.
How To Manage Memory Loss
Memory loss due to depression is typically managed with regular counseling or therapy and antidepressants. Leading an active lifestyle and getting involved in your community can also elevate your mood.
You can also manage your memory loss by using memory aids. Depending on your needs, this could mean using alarm clocks to keep track of time, color-coding household items, or placing safety notes with instructions on appliances. You may also consider getting a home care provider to help you as needed. You may also consider joining a support group.
Medications that can improve memory and brain function in people with Alzheimers disease or other neurological disorders are also available.
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Nutrients And Ingredients To Help Improve Memory
When most people look at a supplement, they dont understand what it is and how it works. To be honest, its just a bunch of different ingredients most of which you can find at the store or outside combined into a formula thats offered as a capsule or powder.
Thats why the key to finding the right supplements is always found on the ingredient label located on the back of the bottle or jug. Once you can start to understand the ingredient label, youll have a better understanding of what to expect from the supplement.
While there are so many nutrients and ingredients out there you should avoid when trying to improve your memory, there are also a wide range that are proven to work in most people.
Making The Right Brain Vitamin Decision
When deciding what brain vitamin is right for you, remember that Memory Health® has been tested and proven in double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials. It became the first supplement to receive a patent to prevent neurodegenerative disease when it received patents specifically for Alzheimer’s and dementia. And it has been clinically proven to improve cognitive functions and memory. Learn more about how this brain vitamin was developed here: The Memory Health Story
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Another Consideration When Trying To Prevent Memory Loss With Vitamins Is Supplements For Memory Loss Derived From Natural Plants Such As Turmeric
Turmeric , also known as curcumin, is a spice used frequently in Indian cooking and curries. This flavorful yellow powder may have benefits in preventing inflammatory processes including Alzheimers disease. It was first noted that the people of India have much lower rates of dementia than their western counterparts. Then several studies were done showing improvement in parts of the brain affected by Alzheimers.There is great promise for this. Likely it is best to use turmeric as much as possible in cooking. If this is difficult, daily supplements can be found .
The downside? Too much turmeric can affect the liver so should be used with caution in those with liver issues or taking other medications metabolized by the liver . Turmeric may also cause thinning of the blood and interfere with other medicines that cause bleeding. Do confer with your doctor if you have these issues.
Multivitamins: A Shortcut For Memory Preservation
You dont have to take multiple pills for individual vitamins to keep your brain working well.
The Harvard School of Public Health advises all adults to take a multivitamin supplement as insurance to fill any nutritional gaps.
And so do we.
Taking a high-quality multivitamin supplement should meet most of your brains vitamin needs.
Numerous studies confirm that taking a multivitamin alone can improve your memory and overall brain function.
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Vitamin K And Brain Function
Another fat-soluble vitamin, vitamin K is found in food as phylloquinone and several menaquinones . In the nervous system, vitamin K helps activate certain proteins involved in nerve cell survival and supports the synthesis of sphingolipids, a component of the myelin sheath that insulates nerves.
Vitamin K insufficiency has been associated with low behavioral and cognitive performance. Higher levels of phylloquinone have been associated with greater verbal episodic memory, one aspect of memory performance. Additionally, experimental studies show that menaquinone-4 may protect against inflammation and oxidative stress, processes that are implicated in neurodegeneration.
Regular exercise may help protect against conditions such as Parkinsons disease and dementia.
What Areas Of The Brain Are Responsible For Memory
It was once believed that the entire brain plays a role in our memory and that might be true. Over the years, however, researchers have started to zero-in on several different regions of the brain that are believed to contribute to the memory process.
Lets take a look at some of the most prominent parts of the brain:1. Amygdala plays a role in creating and recalling implicit or explicit memories, regulating emotions , storing memories, memory consolidation , and memory encoding .2. Hippocampus plays a role in the formation of long-term memories, normal recognition memory, spatial memory, memory consolidation, giving memories meaning, and connecting information from one memory to information from another.3. Prefrontal Cortex plays a role in semantic memory, working memory, and transferring information from short-term memory to long-term memory. Some researchers believe the left frontal region is responsible for encoding, while the right is responsible for retrieval.4. Cerebellum plays a role in managing implicit memories, conditional responses , fine motor movements , posture, and coordination.
Researchers are able to determine this due to brain activity from functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging , magnetoencephalography , or electroencephalography .
Theyve also studied lesions to these parts of the brain in rats. The rats behavior after suffering a lesion to the brain helps us understand more about what that area of the brain is responsible for.
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Best Supplements To Improve Memory
Now that weve discovered how memory works and what ingredients are known to improve memory, its time to discover the supplement brands you can trust when shopping for a memory-booster.
I know what youre thinking. No, these arent like the pills in the movie Limitless with Bradley Cooper. Theyre not going to turn you into a genius, wont give you a photographic memory, and wont allow you to learn 5 new languages in a week.
They are, however, designed to improve the way your memory works and optimize your brains function to make it more effective. Theres no magic here, but science is science and its always worth a shot especially when most people find a use for it.
Were going to take a look at four of our favorite memory-boosting supplements below, including Mind Lab Pro, Performance Lab Mind, HVMN Rise, and Lions Mane Elixir.
How To Improve Your Memory
There are many indicators of memory trouble, including forgetting simple things like someone’s name or birthday, losing track of where you placed items, or simply having trouble concentrating on various tasks. Thankfully, there are some things you can do to improve your memory naturally so that you’re still able to remember and concentrate on the important things in life. Here are some ways to improve your memory to keep your brain strong
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B6 For Mild Cognitive Impairment
Like B12 and folate, B6 is one of the best vitamins for memory because it helps control homocysteine levels and inflammation. B6 is also necessary for the production of the feel-good neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine.
The most bioavailable form of B6 is P5P . The recommended dose of P5P is 2025 mg a day, although higher amounts may be indicated in some conditions such as pyroluria, a genetic B6 and zinc deficiency.
This article was originally published in 2017. It is regularly updated.
The Best Brain Vitamins To Improve Memory In 2021
Fact checked by Professor John Nolan, PhD
Brain health is expected to be a big concern in 2021, so what brain vitamins are good for improving memory? And which brain vitamins are the best for your overall cognition? The following article will explore these questions and offer sound advice on *improving your memory through vitamin supplementation. So if you’re struggling with memory issues related to aging or cognition problems, then this guide is perfect for you.
Scientists have studied the effects of vitamins, herbal supplements, and omega-3 fatty acids on memory loss. It has long been believed that these substances can help prevent or slow down memory loss due to aging. But is this true? Although some studies suggest there are benefits for Alzheimers disease, a Cochrane review discovered no evidence in favor of supplementation as an effective method for preventing cognitive decline over time.
Contradictory studies demonstrate that certain supplements might aid brain health over an extended period or protect against cognitive decline . Others show no effects whatsoever when taken independently without other interventions like dietary changes and physical exercise.
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Can A Tablet Really Boost Your Memory
Certain vitamins and fatty acids have been said to slow or prevent memory loss. The long list of potential solutions includes vitamins like vitamin B12, herbal supplements such as ginkgo biloba, and omega-3 fatty acids. But can a supplement really boost your memory?
Much of the evidence for these potential memory-boosting supplements isnt very strong. Here, we discuss what recent clinical studies have to say about vitamins and memory loss.
Vitamin C: A Natural Antidepressant And Brain Protector
Vitamin C, the most popular vitamin supplement, is often taken to prevent or minimize the discomforts of the common cold and allergies.
But its effects on the brain are less well known and few people take it as a brain or memory supplement.
This vitamin protects against age-related brain degeneration, including dementia, Alzheimers disease, and stroke.
The brain is particularly susceptible to free radical damage, also known as oxidative stress, because of its high oxygen usage.
Vitamin C is one of the most potent antioxidant vitamins, neutralizing this damage.
” Vitamin E plus C makes a winning combination for combating memory loss.
Vitamin C also acts as a powerful detoxifier that readily crosses the blood-brain barrier to remove heavy metals like lead, mercury, and aluminum from the brain.
Smokers need more vitamin C due to oxidative stress.
Unless you are eating the recommended 9 servings of fruit and vegetables per day, you would almost certainly benefit from a vitamin C supplement.
Best Food Sources of Vitamin C
Cantaloupe, all citrus fruits, berries of all kinds, pineapple, peppers of all kinds, tomatoes, white and sweet potatoes, cruciferous vegetables, green leafy vegetables, and winter squash.
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Memory Enhancers That May Be Unsafe
Before adding any memory supplements to your diet, have a pharmacist check for potential interactions with any drugs or supplements you’re taking, advises Lausier.
“And, remember that ‘natural’ isn’t always safe,” she says. “When you think about nature, you often think of beautiful and harmless. But think about a lion and a wildebeest — that’s nature, too.”
- Bacopa. Used for millennia in India, bacopa is an Ayurvedic herb that shows some promise for memory problems, says Lausier. But it is an example of a memory supplement that carries a higher risk of drug interactions. For this reason, she doesn’t recommend using it until further study is conducted.
- DHEA. A hormone that declines with age, DHEA has garnered lots of interest. Taken long-term or in high doses, however, it may increase the risk for certain types of cancer, as well as other serious side effects.
As you evaluate other potential memory supplements, keep in mind that the FDA does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. It treats them like foods rather than medications. Unlike drug manufacturers, the makers of supplements donât have to show their products are safe or effective before selling them on the market.
This makes it harder for you to assess their strength, purity, and safety. Fugh-Berman advises doing your own research on effectiveness and adverse effects, using reliable, unbiased sources.
Niacin Benefits The Brain And May Play An Important Role In Protecting Against Alzheimers Disease
Among the many supplements and vitamins for memory protection are the B-vitamins.
The growth in Alzheimers disease prevalence is alarming. An abundance of research is trying to figure out how we can protect our brains from degeneration to keep the mind sharp and memory intact. Among the many supplements and vitamins for memory protection are the B-vitamins, including B12, B6, B9, and B3, or niacin. While the first two are more commonly associated with dementia and cognitive function, niacin benefits the brain as well, and it may play an important role in protecting against Alzheimers disease.
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The Science Behind The Memory Health Brain Health Supplement
Leading scientists developed Memory Health® to help prevent degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s Disease. Unlike other brain health supplements, Memory Health® doesn’t rely on peer group analysis and reviews to support its claims. The clinical trials conducted in the lab show that healthy brains improved when taking this supplement, while diseased brains also seemed to improve significantly too.
Vitamin E And Brain Function
Also included in the best cognitive vitamins, vitamin E is a group composed of eight natural compounds, including tocopherols and tocotrienols. As a fat-soluble antioxidant, vitamin E protects against the production of reactive oxygen species and may help prevent chronic conditions associated with these damaging free radicals. One study examined the levels of vitamin E compounds in adults with mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimers disease , a form of dementia. The researchers found that low levels of tocopherols and tocotrienols were associated with an increased risk of MCI and AD.
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