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Brain food to support your memory and focus

Brain food to support your memory and focus


Memory and brain food: what’s the connection?

We all experience occasional hiccups in our memory and focus. It could be about forgetting whether or not you turned the iron off, or coming up blank on someone’s name when you’re supposed to introduce them.  Regardless of how it shows up, nobody’s brain works perfectly 100% of the time.

However, some factors are definitely associated with more frequent memory problems.  Stress is notorious for making you forgetful.  Going short on sleep has been likened to getting drunk for its ability to interfere with concentration and memory.  And while short-term memory function doesn’t invariably decline with age, the link is common enough to be a factor.

However, one of the strongest predictors of your memory and brain function seems to be the nutritional quality of your diet.  Eating a lot of saturated fats or processed, high-sugar foods can gradually have a negative effect on your brain function.  However, a nutrient-rich diet that provides good levels of antioxidants, Vitamin D and Iron seems to be associated with better memory function.

What the research says: memory-supporting herbs and nutrients 

Scientists have been researching herbs and nutrients that can support healthy memory function for several decades now.  Some of the most effective options seem to be:

  • Brahmi (Bacopa monniera): used since ancient times as a memory tonic by practitioners of Ayurvedic medicine, Brahmi was understood to increase intelligence and improve brain function1. It could also act as a nerve tonic to help those who felt tense, nervous or exhausted.

    Brahmi is particularly useful as a mental performance booster when you’re under pressure, for example, when studying for exams, or dealing with a work deadline. It has strong antioxidant properties that can help to protect brain neurons2, and may reduce beta-amyloid levels3. These proteins have been shown to play a role in certain degenerative brain conditions.  Studies also show that Brahmi may help to improve memory consolidation and learning rate4, and increase information retention5.
  • Omega 3-rich Fish Oil: Fish oil is called “brain food” because the Omega 3 essential fatty acids (EFAs) it contains are major components of your brain cells.
    Fish oil contains two EFAs:  Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA).  Both seem to play a part in maintaining brain health and reducing inflammation in brain cells. However, at least one study has concluded that the DHA in fish oil plays a greater role in memory function than EPA6.
  • Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba): Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners have used Ginkgo biloba for thousands of years to treat a wide range of health complaints.  Today we know that Ginkgo is a potent antioxidant7,8 that supports blood circulation – especially to capillaries in the hands and feet9.

    Ginkgo also appears to have some ability to keep beta-amyloid proteins from forming in the brain and nerves10,11.  Scientific evidence shows that taking Ginkgo long-term at the right dosage can help people with a mild-to-moderate cognitive impairment to improve brain function.
 
1Braun L, Cohen M. Herbs & Natural Supplements: An evidence-based guide. (2010) pp265.
2Jyoti A, Sethi P, Sharma D. Bacopa monniera prevents from aluminium neurotoxicity in the cerebral cortex of rat brain. J Ethnopharmacol 111.1(2007): 56–62
3Dhanasekaran M et al. Bacopa monniera extract reduces beta-amyloid deposition in doubly transgenic PSAPP Alzheimer’s disease mouse model. Neurology 63.8 (2004): 1545–8
4Stough C et al. The chronic effects of an extract of Bacopa monniera (Brahmi) on cognitive function in healthy human subjects. Psychopharmacology (Berl) 156.4 (2001): 481–4
5Roodenrys S et al. Chronic effects of Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri) on human memory. Neuropsychopharmacology 27.2 (2002): 279–81.
6Muldoon, M.F, Ryan, C.M, Sheu, L., Yao, J.K., Conklin, S.M., and Manuck, S.B. Serum Phospholipid Docosahexaenonic Acid Is Associated with Cognitive Functioning during Middle Adulthood. doi:10.3945/jn.109.119578
7Hibatallah J, Carduner C, Poelman MC. In vivo and in vitro assessment of the free radical scavenger activity of Ginkgo flavone glycosides at high concentration. J Pharm Pharmacol 51.12 (1999): 1435–40
8Sloley BD et al. Identification of kaempferol as a monoamine oxidase inhibitor and potential Neuroprotectant in extracts of Ginkgo biloba leaves. J Pharm Pharmacol 52.4 (2000): 451–9
9Jung F et al. Effect of Ginkgo biloba on fluidity of blood and peripheral microcirculation in volunteers. Arzneimittelforschung 40.5 (1990): 589–93
10Ao Q et al. Protective effects of extract of Ginkgo biloba (Egb 761) on nerve cells after spinal cord injury in rats. Spinal Cord 44.11 (2006): 662–7

11Luo Y. Alzheimer’s disease, the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, and Ginkgo biloba leaf extract. Life Sci 78.18 (2006): 2066–72

 

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Brain food to support your memory and focus

Nutrition & diet is the strongest predictors of your memory and brain function. Learn how Brahmi, fish oil & ginkgo can help support your memory & focus.

Memory and brain food: what’s the connection?

We all experience occasional hiccups in our memory and focus. It could be about forgetting whether or not you turned the iron off, or coming up blank on someone’s name when you’re supposed to introduce them.  Regardless of how it shows up, nobody’s brain works perfectly 100% of the time.

However, some factors are definitely associated with more frequent memory problems.  Stress is notorious for making you forgetful.  Going short on sleep has been likened to getting drunk for its ability to interfere with concentration and memory.  And while short-term memory function doesn’t invariably decline with age, the link is common enough to be a factor.

However, one of the strongest predictors of your memory and brain function seems to be the nutritional quality of your diet.  Eating a lot of saturated fats or processed, high-sugar foods can gradually have a negative effect on your brain function.  However, a nutrient-rich diet that provides good levels of antioxidants, Vitamin D and Iron seems to be associated with better memory function.

What the research says: memory-supporting herbs and nutrients 

Scientists have been researching herbs and nutrients that can support healthy memory function for several decades now.  Some of the most effective options seem to be:

  • Brahmi (Bacopa monniera): used since ancient times as a memory tonic by practitioners of Ayurvedic medicine, Brahmi was understood to increase intelligence and improve brain function1. It could also act as a nerve tonic to help those who felt tense, nervous or exhausted.

    Brahmi is particularly useful as a mental performance booster when you’re under pressure, for example, when studying for exams, or dealing with a work deadline. It has strong antioxidant properties that can help to protect brain neurons2, and may reduce beta-amyloid levels3. These proteins have been shown to play a role in certain degenerative brain conditions.  Studies also show that Brahmi may help to improve memory consolidation and learning rate4, and increase information retention5.
  • Omega 3-rich Fish Oil: Fish oil is called “brain food” because the Omega 3 essential fatty acids (EFAs) it contains are major components of your brain cells.
    Fish oil contains two EFAs:  Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA).  Both seem to play a part in maintaining brain health and reducing inflammation in brain cells. However, at least one study has concluded that the DHA in fish oil plays a greater role in memory function than EPA6.
  • Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba): Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners have used Ginkgo biloba for thousands of years to treat a wide range of health complaints.  Today we know that Ginkgo is a potent antioxidant7,8 that supports blood circulation – especially to capillaries in the hands and feet9.

    Ginkgo also appears to have some ability to keep beta-amyloid proteins from forming in the brain and nerves10,11.  Scientific evidence shows that taking Ginkgo long-term at the right dosage can help people with a mild-to-moderate cognitive impairment to improve brain function.
 
1Braun L, Cohen M. Herbs & Natural Supplements: An evidence-based guide. (2010) pp265.
2Jyoti A, Sethi P, Sharma D. Bacopa monniera prevents from aluminium neurotoxicity in the cerebral cortex of rat brain. J Ethnopharmacol 111.1(2007): 56–62
3Dhanasekaran M et al. Bacopa monniera extract reduces beta-amyloid deposition in doubly transgenic PSAPP Alzheimer’s disease mouse model. Neurology 63.8 (2004): 1545–8
4Stough C et al. The chronic effects of an extract of Bacopa monniera (Brahmi) on cognitive function in healthy human subjects. Psychopharmacology (Berl) 156.4 (2001): 481–4
5Roodenrys S et al. Chronic effects of Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri) on human memory. Neuropsychopharmacology 27.2 (2002): 279–81.
6Muldoon, M.F, Ryan, C.M, Sheu, L., Yao, J.K., Conklin, S.M., and Manuck, S.B. Serum Phospholipid Docosahexaenonic Acid Is Associated with Cognitive Functioning during Middle Adulthood. doi:10.3945/jn.109.119578
7Hibatallah J, Carduner C, Poelman MC. In vivo and in vitro assessment of the free radical scavenger activity of Ginkgo flavone glycosides at high concentration. J Pharm Pharmacol 51.12 (1999): 1435–40
8Sloley BD et al. Identification of kaempferol as a monoamine oxidase inhibitor and potential Neuroprotectant in extracts of Ginkgo biloba leaves. J Pharm Pharmacol 52.4 (2000): 451–9
9Jung F et al. Effect of Ginkgo biloba on fluidity of blood and peripheral microcirculation in volunteers. Arzneimittelforschung 40.5 (1990): 589–93
10Ao Q et al. Protective effects of extract of Ginkgo biloba (Egb 761) on nerve cells after spinal cord injury in rats. Spinal Cord 44.11 (2006): 662–7

11Luo Y. Alzheimer’s disease, the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, and Ginkgo biloba leaf extract. Life Sci 78.18 (2006): 2066–72

 

Brain food to support your memory and focus
 

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