Forgetfulness is a common problem among people regardless of age. It can be quite bothersome to not remember where the car keys are right when an important meeting is due in five minutes. If this happens to you a lot of times then you might need to look for supplements that help with memory.
Listed below are some supplements that may help you remember things more clearly, not to mention providing other health benefits for your brain as well. Remember that not all supplements work for everybody, what might work for someone might not be as effective when you take it, and it takes time before their benefits take effect.
This article is written for informational purposes only and should never be substituted for actual advice from a professional. Always seek the opinion of an expert regarding these supplements to avoid possible complications upon use.
Docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, is part of the three main omega-3 fatty acids. It is an important part of healthy brain growth and development in infants. DHA keeps the brain and memory of adults in top shape, and a deficiency of it leads to difficulties in learning and eventually increasing the risk of Alzheimer’s. DHA is derived from dietary sources and supplements, as it is an essential fat which means the body cannot produce it internally. Fatty fish such as anchovy, catfish, carp, halibut, herring, mackerel, and tuna are ideal sources of DHA, but the conversion into DHA becomes more difficult for the body as it ages, making the intake of DHA supplements a must along with its dietary sources. Aside from the benefits for the brain, DHA also ensures the proper function of the eyes and the heart. The retina is found to have DHA content, and regular supplementation of it has been found to slow down vision loss due to aging. For the cardiovascular system, the fatty acid regulates the proper levels of blood pressure, heart rate, and triglycerides.
A chemical that is present in almost every single cell in the body, but with greater quantities in the brain. Adequate levels of phosphatidylserine ensure the smooth process of communication between cells in the brain, leading to better cognitive function, while a deficiency does the opposite. The chemical also reduces elevated cortisol levels, or stress hormones that harm the body when they become excessive, making it a good stress reliever especially during the most taxing of times. The earlier studies in phosphatidylserine point out the fact that cow brains contain the highest concentration of the chemical but the discovery of mad cow disease forced succeeding studies to use plant-based sources such as soybeans. Organ meats are known to contain phosphatidylserine, while smaller amounts can be derived in dairy products and eggs. As the levels of the chemical dwindle with age, maintaining it through supplementation and dietary sources is a must to keep the brain in top shape as the years go by.
Just like ALC, citicoline is also produced by the body. It provides the brain with several benefits by:
- Increases the levels of some essential neurotransmitters such as dopamine and acetylcholine. Dopamine provides focus, motivation, and productivity, and a deficiency of it can leave you less enthusiastic about a lot of things. Acetylcholine improves concentration, learning, and memory, and low levels of it are linked to several cognitive disorders including Alzheimer’s.
- Stabilizes membranes of brain cells which prevent the entry of pathogens, free radicals, toxins, and other foreign substances that are harmful to the brain. The nutrient also slows down the aging of the brain cells as well.
- Enhances cerebral blood flow which provides the brain with more energy, and preventing problems associated with poor circulation such as vertigo and memory loss.
The naturally-produced amount of citicoline in the body is not enough to reap the benefits mentioned above, hence the availability of supplements to increase the levels of the nutrient.
The ancient Indian healing system Ayurveda places a high regard on turmeric powder due to its vast number of medicinal benefits, in fact it is called the cleanser of the body because of the wide range of ailments that turmeric can cure. Its active ingredient is curcumin, and this is mainly responsible for the powder’s healing powers and anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-allergic, anti-tumor properties to name a few. The bright orange (or yellow) powder works well in keeping Alzheimer’s at bay and enhancing overall memory on adults by destroying free radicals and the beta-amyloid plaques that are believed to plague the brain and cause these bouts of forgetfulness. Turmeric is very versatile when it comes to culinary applications as there are many dishes that utilize the spice, mainly in Indian cuisine. It is also possible to make a smoothie using turmeric by using its paste form, or a cup of tea by boiling the root. If you are not the type who is well-versed in the arts of the kitchen, worry not as turmeric supplements are widely available in many health stores.
Acetyl L-Carnitine, or ALC, is an amino acid that is produced internally by the body, and it is needed for the creation of energy. ALC has the same chemical structure as L-Carnitine, but the former is more focused on giving benefits to the brain while the latter helps with weight loss and bolstering physical performance. ALC passes through the blood-brain barrier easily, and provides benefits like maintaining mental acuity as the brain goes through aging, slowing down the effects of degenerative mental disorders, and of course enhancing memory and learning capacity. Even though the body produces ALC naturally, there are genetic defects and certain disorders that can hinder its creation, hence the importance of taking supplements.
Known alternatively as Indian pennywort and water hyssop, this powerful herb is utilized in Ayurvedic medicine for its antioxidant, adaptogenic, and nootropic properties. The herb improves memory formation and recall, enhances learning and attention span, reduces anxiety and stress, and protects the brain from the ravages of free radicals. Its nootropic effects may take more than a few weeks to trigger as the herb is not fast acting. Bacopa monnieri contains compounds called bacosides that enhance synaptic transmission and are believed to be responsible for the herb’s amazing benefits for the memory. Taking a supplement of this herb can induce feelings of relaxation due to the sedative effects of its alkaloid ingredient hersaponin, hence it is taken along with other stimulants or before bedtime. The herb is available in powder and capsule forms in many health stores.
Choline is an essential nutrient that is needed in many important processes in the body including mental functions. It encourages the creation of acetylcholine which is mentioned earlier as an important neurotransmitter that enhances memory and cognitive function. Brain fog, forgetfulness, and difficulty in focusing are among the symptoms of a choline deficiency, and alcoholic individuals, athletes, and vegetarians are at greater risk. Fatty liver disease and muscle damage are also among the other medical problems wrought by choline deficiency. Food sources of the nutrient include beef liver, wheat germ, scallop, salmon, egg, shrimp, chicken breast, and broccoli. Choline supplements are an excellent addition to nootropic stacks as it works quite well with other cognitive supplements.
Alpha glycerylphosphorylcholine, or Alpha-GPC, is an enhanced version of choline that helps build cell membranes and neurons along with the nutrient’s usual benefits for the brain. People who take Alpha-GPC report increased alertness, concentration, and a spike in energy, so do not take this after eating dinner or before going to sleep.
Another Ayurvedic herb that works wonders for the brain. Four herbs native in the northern regions of Indiashare the name shankhpushpi, but convolvulus pluricaulis is the one with nootropic properties (and the one referred to in this article). Also known as aloe weed, the herb is traditionally used as a brain tonic that sharpens memory and other mental capabilities, and its other benefits include stress relief and as a remedy for insomnia. It contains alkaloids, flavonoids, and glycosides that contribute to the herb’s therapeutic effects. It is available in supplement, syrup, and powder forms, and its memory enhancing effects may take months before the results become noticeable.
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Have you tried any of these supplements? Did they make you remember things easily? Have you tried other kinds of memory-enhancing supplements? Let us know in the comments.