Memory Vitamins and Supplements

By M. CHRIS WOLF, PH.D.
Founder & Editor-in-Chief

Precautions:

Regarding memory vitamins and supplements. Because of the potential for side effects and interactions with medications, dietary supplements should be taken only under the supervision of a knowledgeable health care provider.

**Vitamin Deficiencies**

Regardless of the reason, if you are not getting the proper nutrition you need, you may be suffering from a vitamin deficiency. Brain supplements or memory vitamins may help. This can be caused by depletion of certain vitamins in your body by illness, medications, alcohol or drug use or simply from not eating the right foods.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency

One of the important brain vitamins is B12. This is one of the most common vitamin deficiencies. These levels can be reduced due to aging. In one study of older Americans, low levels of Vitamin B12 ranged from 17 to 26%. This can lead to anemia because B12 is important in developing red blood cells.

Another reason from low B12 can be poor absorption by your stomach. This can account fro 50% of the cases. One cause of this can be medication interactions. Another cause includes gastritis caused by chronic inflammation of the stomach mucosa (mucous membrane layer of the stomach).

*IMPORTANT*

Another cause can be a problem with your pancreas or overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine. It should start to become obvious that talking with your doctor about the symptoms described below is very important.

Symptoms in addition to memory loss can be fatigue, pale skin, bleeding gums, poor balance, depression and numbness or tingling in your fingers or toes.

Vitamin B12 can be obtained by assuring that you consume dairy products, some seafood, meats and egg yolks.

Helpful:You may wish to consider a Vitamin B12 supplement. Most daily vitamins have sufficient Vitamin B12 as part of the formula. If you have questions, speak with your doctor.

Improve My Memory

See Brain Supplements

Thiamine Deficiency (TD)

Thiamine Deficiency (TD) can be a reason to consider memory vitamins.There are a relatively high number of senior citizens with Thiamine Deficiency.

TD is also a consequence of alcoholism. Alcoholism and memory loss often go together. TD from excessive alcohol use can account for 95% of the cases of TD in countries were good nutrition is available.

Alcoholism can be associated with reversible memory loss when consumption of alcohol stops and good nutrition is restored.

Tragically, consequences of prolonged TD from alcoholism can result inWernicke-Korsakoff syndrome (WKS). WKS can result in severe amnesia, balance problems, confusion and speech and language deficits.

I have treated a number of patients with a condition of Wernicke's encephalopathy (disease of the brain) and their condition can be permanent. Symptoms include severe confusion, balance problems and nystagmus (involuntary eye movement).

Other less common causes of TD can be AIDS, eating disorders, disorders of diarrhea, cancer, and excessive vomiting caused by drug therapies or chemotherapy.

*IMPORTANT*

Treatment for TD requires that the person be given daily amounts of thiamine sufficient to restore brain levels. Recovery from WKS is not high.

There can be reduction of symptoms in Wernicke's but not in all cases. Less than 25% recover. People with TD caused by any of the above should be under the care of a qualified doctor who can monitor their treatment and progress.

Helpful:

You may wish to consider a Thiamine supplement. Most daily vitamins have sufficient Thiamine as part of the formula. This is an inexpensive and relatively harmless supplement that can be very helpful for many people. If you have questions, speak with your doctor.

Good Short Article: B Complex Vitamins

**Memory Vitamins Supplements**

Why should I consider taking supplements? Simply stated, memory vitamins can be used to supplement a basically healthy diet.

Many researchers believe that it may be impossible to consistently obtain optimal levels of vitamins in your daily diet alone. A number of vitamins and supplements are thought to be beneficial for brain health.

Learn more about Health Vitamins Supplements

Memory vitamins and supplements, if taken prudently, can be a vital part of improving brain health and memory fitness. We will discuss some of the ones that have been shown to be helpful.

Please keep in mind that ongoing research is occurring in this area of memory vitamins and not all of these have been shown without question to be beneficial.

Memory Vitamins will keep you updated on research. Check back often.

High EPA Omega-3 Supplement

Research has shown that Omega-3 fatty acids are necessary for human brain health. Omega-3 has also been shown to be helpful because our bodies do not make these fatty acids. You must get them through your food intake. Another way is through taking a Omega-3 supplement.

Some research has link Omega-3 to better transmission of signals in the brain through the axons (brain wiring). Many axons have a fatty covering (myelin sheath) which helps the messages between brain cells to move more quickly through the brain.

Omega-3 has been shown in some studies to help with a variety of problems other than improving brain health. These include assistance in high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), osteoporosis, depression, ADHD, skin disorders, inflammatory bowel disease and many other areas to increase health and wellness.

You can obtain Omega-3 through salmon, tuna, and halibut, other seafood including algae and krill, some plants, and nut oils.

*IMPORTANT*

Patients taking diabetic or blood-thinning medications such as aspirin, Coumadin (warfarin) or Plavix (chloedigrel) should talk with their prescriber before taking Omega-3 since adjustments in medication may be necessary.

Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo Biloba continues to have some controversy with regard to it's value as a memory aid. It may improve blood flow to the brain. However, it has been around for centuries. Some research indicates that it can be valuable in brain health and in reduction of memory loss through improving attention.

This is an herb that is well tolerated and has few side effects in its profile. However, it should only be used under a doctor's supervision if you are taking medicine to thin your blood or if you plan dental work or to have surgery.

Huperzine A

This supplement is thought to improve learning and memory. It is believed to improve the efficiency of neurotransmitters (the chemicals that go between brain cells) in the brain. It may help with mild age-related cognitive or memory decline. It is also thought to be a short-term aid to improve alertness.

Phosphatidylserine (PS)

Phosphatidylserine (PS) can be found in some supplements that claim it can improve cognitive functioning. PS is involved in communication between neurons (brain cells). Preliminary research indicates that PS may help older people because PS declines in the brain with age.

However the FDA concludes that at this time there is very little scientific evidence supporting this claim.

Rosemary

According to a study presented at the British Psychological Society's recent meeting in UK, Dr. Mark Moss, of the University of Northumbria at Newcastle, told Reuters Health that he and his colleagues found rosemary and lavender improved cognition.

Dr. Moss and his colleagues performed an experiment involving 144 young adults. They worked in cubicles infused with either no scent or with the aromas of lavender or rosemary. Rosemary exposure was associated with improved memory.

Co Q-10

Co Q-10 and other antioxidants such as grape seed extract, memory vitamins such as Vitamin E are thought to reduce aging of cells. Thus,there is some evidence that these supplements may be beneficial to brain health as well.

Cell-damage is thought to occur due to the effects of free radicals. These are highly reactive molecules produced when your cells use oxygen for energy. Free radicals can contribute to oxidative stress, which in turn may contribute to the premature aging of cells. Think of it as a stress shield!

Oxidative damage has been implicated in the cause of Alzheimer's disease and has an impact on the aging process. Sunlight, smoking and pollution can also cause free radical production.

L-Glutamine

This supplement is an important neurotransmitter (brain chemical that goes between brain cells). Some studies have shown that it may improve concentration and keep you alert. It is also known that glutamine has various effects in reducing healing time after surgery.

2-Dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE)

Short-term studies have shown an increase in awareness and attentiveness. It has also had a good influence on mood. Research for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has been promising but is preliminary

Supplement Combinations

There are numerous supplements on the market that combine some of the above to make a preparation to help improve memory or cognition (thinking) functioning.

Helpful:The memory vitamins may make it more convenient to take one or two preparations than a handful of tablets and capsules. This can be a good thing!

Important: Your health care provider should be consulted, especially if you are taking prescription medications as was noted above.


Also see:

Panthetine Benefits for Memory

Vitamins for Memory

Memory Supplements

Also Vitamin for Memory

For more information on memory vitamins and supplements for memory loss considerer these resources:

Brain Fitness: Anti-Aging to Fight Alzheimer's Disease, Supercharge Your Memory, Sharpen Your Intelligence, De-Stress Your Mind, Control Mood Swings, and Much More by Robert Goldman MD, Lisa Berger, and Ronald Klatz M.D. D.O. Ph.D.

The New Encyclopedia of Vitamins, Minerals, Supplements, and Herbs: A Completely Cross-Referenced User's Guide for Optimal Health by Nicola Reavley


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