Memory loss is feared by most people as they get older. When talking about supplements and memory loss, some people are convinced they make a difference, whilst others disagree. What is the truth? Are there really ways to improve your memory and perhaps even prevent the development of Alzheimer’s disease?
We live in a world where we are constantly bombarded with information about what products we should take. There are exciting advancements on the brain enhancement frontier suggesting that we can enhance our memory and our performance. Many new pharmaceutical drugs are being developed that target exact regions of the brain. Excellent supplements are being created that appear to be equally good at improving brain function although they may take longer. The benefit is that they do not have the negative side effects that people experience when using brain stimulants.
Here are just some ways to improve how your brain functions:
- Keep mentally active. Challenging your brain to learn a new language, an instrument or a computer programme can help prevent memory loss.
- Get enough sleep. Researchers have discovered that ‘sharp wave ripples’ occur in the brain during the deepest levels of sleep. These ripples consolidate memory and transfer information to the neocortex for long-term memory storage.
- Get regular exercise. Exercise helps enhance memory in many ways such as stimulating blood flow to the brain. Here is a personalized fitness plan that you can use for exercising at home.
- Eat a healthy diet. The foods you eat matter and it appears that a ‘Mediterranean diet’ is very beneficial when it comes to brain function
- Reduce alcohol intake.
- Take a memory-enhancing supplement.
What do brain function supplements do? Some supplements are formulated to help increase the production of neurotransmitters. However, do not expect them to immediately boost your IQ or make you a genius. In your brain, neurons form a network that work together. Neurotransmitters are the chemicals that they use to communicate. If you have a high level of these neurotransmitters, your concentration, mood, and memory improves. Supplements can help to increase neurotransmitters and, when taken over a long period, they can permanently alter their level in your brain.
Other supplements increase blood flow to the brain. This means that the brain receives more nutrients, oxygen and glucose and therefore has more capacity to focus. Some supplements help increase the production of brain cells and slow down their reduction. Over time the signs of aging, like memory loss, are slowed down. They can even help to prevent development of certain brain disorders.
Which one should I choose?
The ingredients used in a supplement are the most important consideration – some memory supplements will contain a single ingredient while others contain a mix of ingredients. Not every product marketed as a brain supplement will improve your memory although it may be good for your general brain health. There are some ingredients that have been used for many years for help with age-related mental decline, such as Bacopa, an Ayurvedic herb and Ginkgo Biloba. Check out the ingredients used, do some research on them and find out whether they are recognized for the effect on memory loss.
Another consideration is the quantity of ingredients used. In some cases, natural ingredients are toxic when taken in large quantities. It is also necessary to check as to possible interaction with other drugs and supplements being taken.
The proper functioning of our brain is one of the most important factors affecting our well being. As not that much evidence seems to exist as to how effective supplements really are, trying one out is probably the best way to find out for yourself whether it truly makes a difference.