What was I writing this article about again? Oh yeah, I wanted to put together a list of supplements that can help improve memory and concentration. It should go without saying that finding new ways to slow or prevent memory loss is high on most people’s list of the potential benefits of medicine and diet. For example, if the onset of Alzheimer's could be delayed in today's population by an average of just one year, 200,000 fewer people would suffer from the disease in 10 years time. And you do not necessarily need to rely on prescription drugs to help fight the mental signs of aging through memory loss. Here is a list of some of the most effective vitamins and supplements to combat memory loss in the elderly (or even younger people, too!).
Take Your Vitamins
Before we discuss some of the more esoteric supplements, it seems like a good idea to note the general effectiveness of taking a multivitamin every day to help prevent memory loss. B vitamins create protective shields for neurons in the brain, and they break down homocysteine, an amino acid toxic to nerve cells. Meanwhile, vitamins C, E, and beta carotene, all antioxidants, protect brain tissue by breaking down free radicals in the bloodstream. If you don’t stop those free radicals, they can impair neuronal functioning in the brain. Vitamin E especially may slow the progression of Alzheimer’s.
Taking a multivitamin is the quickest way to get your daily recommended dosage of vitamins, but they are all of course found in a variety of natural foods as well. For vitamin C, E, and antioxidants, try blueberries, strawberries, tomatoes, and green tea. Vitamin B is found in natural foods like spinach, broccoli, nuts and meats.
Ginkgo Biloba is the Tree for You
Did you know that ginkgo biloba is the world's longest living species of tree, with individual trees living for up to a millenium? Even if that comes as a surprise, chances are you have heard about the benefits of taking ginkgo biloba extract (GBE) to improve memory. GBE protects nerve cells from stroke-related injuries, and work as an antioxidant for the brain, retina of the eye, and the cardiovascular system. Studies show that ginkgo biloba may be helpful for increasing the flow of blood to the brain from clogged blood vessels.
Ginkgo biloba is available in tablets, capsules, teas, and fortified foods, but don’t eat the seeds, which are toxic. Although ginkgo biloba is safe, be aware that it has blood-thinning properties, so don’t use it before surgery or when taking blood thinners like aspirin.
Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supreme
Omega-3 fatty acids are important fat molecules that enhance memory and brain function. And remember, these are the good type of fats, which protect the brain against inflammation and high cholesterol, improving memory as a side effect. Studies suggest that getting more omega-3 fatty acid from foods such as fish and walnuts helps to lower the risk of Alzheimer's.
More Supplements for Memory
The vitamins and supplements listed here are not nearly all of the ones available to help improve memory in the young and elderly. There are many more supplements that can help with memory and focus, such as choline, gotu kola, and acetyl-L-carnitine. It would be prudent to try each supplement at the recommended dosages and see which ones work best for you. Always remember that you should consult with your physician before you take any of the supplements listed here.