Memory Improvement Supplements
Memory loss can be super stressful because it is usually associated with symptoms of age-related decline that can sometimes lead to a loss of performance and work capacity. It can also create feelings of fear that one may not be able to function properly.
The reality is that memory, like most bodily functions, depends on the health of the brain. A healthy brain translates to a strong memory and optimal neurological function.
This guide was written for everyone that wants to take a deep dive into how memory works in the brain, the structures involved in the memory process, and how supplements can strengthen their brain for improved memory performance.
Content of good memory supplements
What Are The Different Types of Memory?
Understanding the various types of memory is essential to diagnosing the source of the issue affecting memory performance.
Short-term memory is the first line of defense for what gets stored in the brain. Similar to the idea of a security guard, short-term memory temporarily stores information and then determines if it will be transferred to long-term memory or dismissed.
A good example of this would be transferring numbers from a written page to a spreadsheet. We are able to temporarily remember the numbers as we record them on the computer, however forget instantly. This concept is related to “working memory” and these two terms are interrelated in this sense.
Short-Term Memory Loss
Instantly forgetting names or walking into a room and forgetting why can be examples of short-term memory loss. While this may be alarming for many people, it should also be considered that these cases could also represent a situation where there is “too much information” to be stored at a time.
With so many distractions, beeps, buzzes and screens, the storage capacity of the brain can be strained in the modern world, so forgetting some things shouldn’t always be a cause for alarm.
Long-term memory is information that was recorded by the brain and stored more than a few minutes ago, and can last for a few days or for many years.
The strength of the memory directly affects the ability to remember it. For example, a person that got married in Vienna will more likely remember that this is the capital of Austria due to the strong emotional attachment to the city when compared to a grade school student that had to simply memorize it for a test.
Long-term memory also has its own divisions, with the two major subdivisions being explicit memory and implicit memory. Explicit memories are consciously remembered and include information like dates, facts or events. Implicit memories are unconscious and include common repetitive actions like tying laces or riding a bike.
Brain Physiology: How are memories stored in the brain?
Memories are not really kept in one part of the brain like a filing cabinet, but stored across various interconnected regions of the brain.
Scientists have often wondered if the brain develops “engrams” – groups of neurons that serve as physical evidence of memories. Scientists like Karl Lashley did experiments about 100 years ago that involved damaging the brains of rats and then testing them to see if they remembered how to find their way out of a maze.
No matter how large or severe the lesion, the rats always found their way out of the maze, leading to the hypothesis that if one area of the brain is damaged, another part from the same area will take over the memory function
This has prompted many scientists to believe that the entire brain is involved with memory, with memories located in some parts of the brain with specific neurons being involved in forming memories.
The subject of how memories are formed and where they are stored is an extensive topic and ongoing subject of scientific research. For the time being, it is safe to assume that the entire brain is involved in memory and that a good memory is a function of good overall brain health.
What Causes Memory Loss?
Memory loss can be frightening and stressful, however it is also widely accepted that humans are facing an information overload in the modern era, and that memory “loss” is a consequence of the new technological landscape.
As humans adapt to this ever-changing environment, it helps to recognize the factors that can harm our brain and capacity to store and recall memories. These include:
Psychoactive medications directly affect the brain and can interfere with or cause loss of memory, according to extensive research. The types of medications under review include muscle relaxants, tranquilizers, sleeping pills, antidepressants, antihistamines, anti-anxiety medications and pain relievers.
Injuries to the head are widely known to cause memory issues. Brain traumas from falls, sports injuries or automobile accidents have been shown to cause both short and long-term memory loss that can gradually improve over time.
Alcohol contains ethanol, a flammable, volatile and colorless liquid that depresses the central nervous system. Its excessive use has long been associated with impairing memory and disturbing brain function.
Smoking cigarettes impairs memory function by reducing the amount of oxygen that gets to the brain. A recent study has shown that smokers have compromised dopamine function. Dopamine is correlated with cognitive function and sleep quality, and these factors affect memory and other neurological processes.
The brain is made of fat and requires animal fat in the diet to stay healthy. Additional nutrients like vitamin B1 and B12 are specifically linked to memory and optimal cognitive function.
Quantity and quality of sleep are important for cognitive function in general, which affects memory. Research has shown that uninterrupted sleep is optimal for learning and memory processes and that lack of sleep is associated with a negative mood, lack of motivation and poor judgment.
The above causes are some of the most common. Others include stroke, dementia, illegal drug use, tuberculosis, syphilis and other diseases. The common denominator in all these is the health of the brain, and any disease that affects the brain is likely to affect memory.
How Do We Treat Memory Loss?
The best way to approach treating memory loss is holistic, and can involve a multi-pronged approach that includes:
Rest & Rehabilitation
It is important to take breaks from information overload with the understanding that we are constantly being bombarded with information. Having said that, it is wise to choose what information is necessary for functioning in everyday life, and to discard the rest.
Like all body parts, the brain needs adequate nutrition. A good start is to stop eating processed junk and start eating real food.
One strategy is to look at what past generations ate before this era of fast-food, where multinational trade has enabled the consumption of exotic foods at all times of the year (like eating high-sugar papayas in Canada during winter). Since no diet plan fits everyone, it is our responsibility to figure out which local foods are best for our metabolism and optimal function.
Exercise brings oxygen to the brain which improves cognitive function on all levels, including memory.
The type of exercise is important as well. High-impact cardio-vascular and/or weight-bearing exercise brings many benefits and should be done a few times per week. Light exercise like walking is also important, and should be done each day. This relieves stress, clears the mind and oxygenates the brain.
Memory Loss Supplements
Supplementation works best after the above items are taken care of and turned into everyday habits.
Taking supplements without covering the fundamentals is like drinking a protein shake, watching television, and thinking this will build muscle. Some supplements (especially illegal or shifty offerings) may jolt a person awake, but they won’t bring lasting results.
Supplements can be thought of as catalysts to help the brain repair and regenerate. Here are some examples that can help detoxify the brain and body, increase oxygen flow, and support neurological function:
Reduced Glutathione – A potent antioxidant
Lion’s Mane Mushroom – Increases oxygen flow
Magnesium L-threonate – Supports brain function and neuroplasticity
Ashwagandha – Reduces stress and cortisol levels
Taken as part of a holistic health regimen, these supplements can be taken alone or as part of a stack.