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Archive for memory

A Healthy Mind Promotes Memory

Even if we never have a head injury or acute toxicity, most of us notice lapses in our memory as we transition to more sedentary lifestyles, or simply age! We think memory loss is a normal function of the aging process. But it doesn’t have to be so. There are several factors to consider when we desire to keep our minds sharp.

To begin with, we have to consider the popular computed adage “garbage in, garbage out.” We’ve looked in other articles about some of the nutrients we need to keep a healthy brain. But we didn’t cover things we do that should be avoided. We know things like alcohol, tobacco, drugs (even some legal ones) can promote memory loss. Read the labels! Many kill brain cells. And my dad was quick to point out that many of us can’t afford to lose ANY! Lol!!! But here are some other things you can do to keep your memory strong:

Eat better foods: Get away from sugars, starches, and excess fats. Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. Make an effort to stay away from genetically modified foods – we don’t yet even know how these modifications may be treating our bodies. Add more of the food sources we mentioned in our “Healthy Brain” article.

Some specific vitamins and minerals to consider: I can’t stress more the importance of B Vitamins. Most references suggest 100mg of each of the B Vitamins for anyone who notices any memory slippage. It is noteworthy that a B-12 deficiency has been shown to be one cause of memory loss. Our brains need more free amino acids to function well. Specifically, consider the amino acid l-glutamine; it may help stall brain aging and is a key to boosting brain health. Another important amino acid is gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). This is a non-protein amino acid that functions a neurotransmitter in the brain. And the most important of the neurotransmitters is acetylcholine. Lecithin feeds brain cells and crosses the blood-brain barrier. Some research indicates that several health issues including brain disorders have been linked to a shortage of the Coenzyme Q10. And magnesium is an essential mineral for brain health.

Herbals to consider: Ginkgo biloba and Gotu Kola help with oxygenation. Pregnenolone is called “the mother hormone” that is necessary for memory, especially after age 40!

Watch your stress levels: Too much stress has been shown to be a contributor to memory loss, too. The brain has difficulty forming memories when it is preoccupied dealing with high levels of stress.

Exercise for the brain! I personally had two friends who lived well into their 90s. Their bodies gave out, but their minds were “sharp as a tack” all the way till death. Their explanations to me were “Mental Exercise”. One worked a cryptogram every day and the other worked crossword puzzles every day! On the other hand, I personally know of dozens of customers who have retired to a sedentary lifestyle of hours of mindless TV every day who died within a couple of years of retirement. Find something to do that requires mental effort and do some of it EVERY DAY! Live long and in good health. Genesis 1:29.

– Randy Lee, ND, Owner, Nana’s Pawpaw Patch – Herbs, Oils & Teas for Health, 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, MWC, 736-1030, e-mail: pawpaw@promoteyourhealth.com.

Lest We Forget

Memory is one of those things we don’t think much about unless we start to lose ours. It is as natural as breathing and done almost as unconsciously. Lapses in memory are common for all of us and are an annoyance, but the anxiety that accompanies these feelings of possible loss is even more of a concern to us. We fear it may be only a symptom of some larger problem: depression, arteriosclerosis, or a progressive Alzheimer’s disease. And while these may be real problems for many people, it is important to note that these temporary memory losses are common and may have little to do with permanent, degenerative conditions.

The idea that all people will suffer memory loss as they age is not necessarily true. We all know of people well past eighty years of age that are still “as sharp as a tack.” One of the primary causes of memory loss is an insufficient supply of necessary nutrients to the brain. Let me quote from the book Prescription for Nutritional Healing. “The life of the body is in the blood. It literally feeds and nourishes every cell within our bodies. The brain is surrounded by a protective envelope known as the blood-brain barrier, which allows only certain substances to pass from the bloodstream into the brain. [Certain conditions can], over time, result in the brain becoming malnourished.” Add to this problems such as poor neurotransmitters, exposure to free radicals from our environment, wide swings in blood sugar levels, and the use of toxins such as alcohol and drugs, and it is easy to see that encroaching memory loss can be a result.

What can you do to ensure that you keep your brain fed? Certain vitamins and minerals are certainly needed, such as a good B-complex, the antioxidants C and E, and zinc, manganese and choline. Lecithin helps “lubricate” the neural synapses. The amino acids l-glutamine and l-aspartic acid serve as fuel for the brain and prevent excess ammonia from damaging it. And l-tyrosine helps sharpen awareness. Some research shows that Coenzyme Q10 improves brain oxygenation, and the hormone melatonin is a powerful antioxidant that may prevent memory loss.

Then there are the herbs. Much attention has been given by the news media to ginkgo biloba. This herb decreases capillary permeability and, in the brain, improves neural activity, increases cerebrovascular circulation, protects membranes and restores serotonin receptors. Much of the recent research has concentrated on its ability to increase blood flow to the brain specifically. Another herb that acts similarly is gotu kola. It has long been used in Ayurvedic (East Indian) medicine as a tonic for memory loss. Other herbs that are helpful for memory are anise, blue cohosh, ginseng, Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids and rosemary.

Foods that are helpful in maintaining memory functions include brown rice, farm eggs, fish, beans, nuts, tofu, whole grains, and most raw foods. Be sure to combine your carbohydrates with proteins and essential fats. Purely carbohydrate meals inhibit memory functions. Foods to avoid include dairy and refined sugars. They tend to “shut the brain down.”

Like the rest of the body, the brain responds well to exercise. Use it! Focus on things you need to remember. Practice word puzzles, adding columns of numbers, or memorizing Bible verses, poetry, or phone numbers. Keep learning; gain a new hobby; go back to school. Anything that “exercises” the mind will help to keep it young. Activities that don’t require us to think help rob us of our ability to think.

As with all our body systems, the brain needs water, nutrition, exercise and rest – all in good balance. May you enjoy good memory and good memories throughout your life. Enjoy good health and God’s richest blessings. Gen.1:29.

– Randy Lee, ND, Owner, The Health Patch – Cultivating Naturopathic Care for Total Health, 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, OK 73130, phone/fax: 736-1030, e-mail: pawpaw@thehealthpatch.com.

Lest We Forget

Memory is one of those things we don’t think much about unless we start to loose ours.  It is as natural as breathing and done almost as unconsciously.  Lapses in memory are common for all of us and are an annoyance, but the anxiety that accompanies these feelings of possible loss is even more of a concern to us.  We fear it may be only a symptom of some larger problem: depression, arteriosclerosis, or a progressive Alzheimer’s disease.  And while these may be real problems for many people, it is important to note that these temporary memory losses are common and may have little to do with permanent, degenerative conditions.

Memory Myths

The idea that all people will suffer memory loss as they age is not necessarily true.  We all know of people well past eighty years of age that are still “as sharp as a tack.”  One of the primary causes of memory loss is an insufficient supply of necessary nutrients to the brain.  Let me quote from the book Prescription for Nutritional Healing.  “The life of the body is in the blood.  It literally feeds and nourishes every cell within our bodies.  The brain is surrounded by a protective envelope known as the blood-brain barrier, which allows only certain substances to pass from the bloodstream into the brain.  [Certain conditions can], over time, result in the brain becoming malnourished.”  Add to this, problems such as poor neurotransmitters, exposure to free radicals from our environment, wide swings in blood sugar levels, and the use of toxins such as alcohol and drugs, and it is easy to see that encroaching memory loss can be a result.

How to Maintain Memory

What can you do to ensure that you keep your brain fed?  Certain vitamins and minerals are certainly needed, such as a good B-complex, the antioxidants C and E, and zinc, manganese and choline.  Lecithin helps “lubricate” the neural synapses.  The amino acids l-glutamine and l-aspartic acid serve as fuel for the brain and prevent excess ammonia from damaging it.  And l-tyrosine helps sharpen awareness.  Some research shows that Coenzyme Q10 improves brain oxygenation, and the hormone melatonin is a powerful antioxidant that may prevent memory loss.

Then there are the herbs.  Much attention has been given by the news media to ginkgo biloba.  This herb decreases capillary permeability and, in the brain, improves neural activity, increases cerebrovascular circulation, protects membranes and restores serotonin receptors.  Much of the recent research has concentrated on its ability to increase blood flow to the brain specifically.  Another herb that acts similarly is gotu kola.  It has long been used in Ayurvedic (East Indian) medicine as a tonic for memory loss. Other herbs that are helpful for memory are anise, blue cohosh, ginseng, Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids and rosemary.

Foods that are helpful in maintaining memory functions include brown rice, farm eggs, fish, beans, nuts, tofu, whole grains, and most raw foods.  Be sure to combine your carbohydrates with proteins and essential fats.  Purely carbohydrate meals inhibit memory functions. Foods to avoid include dairy and refined sugars.  They tend to “shut the brain down.”

Like the rest of the body, the brain responds well to exercise.  Use it!  Focus on things you need to remember.  Practice word puzzles, adding columns of numbers, or memorizing Bible verses, poetry, or phone numbers.  Keep learning; gain a new hobby; go back to school.  Anything that “exercises” the mind will help to keep it young.  Activities that don’t require us to think help rob us of our ability to think.

As with all our body systems, the brain needs water, nutrition, exercise and rest – all in good balance.  May you enjoy good memory and good memories throughout your life.  Enjoy good health and God’s richest blessings.  Gen.1:29.

–  Randy Lee, ND, Owner, The Health Patch – Cultivating Naturopathic Care for Total Health, 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, OK 73130, phone/fax: 736-1030, e-mail: pawpaw@thehealthpatch.com.