Vitamins for Memory
What are the best vitamins for memory? I’m sure you’ve heard that certain vitamins and supplements can improve memory and that they should be taken regularly.
But there is so much info out there that can be a little confusing.
So which vitamins and supplements work best? Here’s a quick summary of what you should know about vitamins, supplements, and memory improvement:
There are three main types of vitamins for memory improvement that you should take every day. Studies indicate that these vitamins are essential for your brain and memory operate at its best. In addition to improving your diet, consider taking vitamin pills as an easy way to make sure you are getting these vitamins in your diet daily.
Here are descriptions of the main types of vitamins that can affect memory and brain power:
- B Vitamins. Research shows that B vitamins improve memory by creating a protective shield for the neurons in the brain. B vitamins break down homocysteine, which is an amino acid that is a toxic poison to nerve cells. These vitamins also aid in the production of red blood cells, which carry oxygen, an important brain nutrient.The most important B vitamins for memory include B6, B12, and Folic Acid (B9). You can increase the B vitamins in your diet by taking vitamin supplements and by consuming healthly, natural foods such as spinach and other dark, leafy greens; broccoli, asparagus, strawberries, melons, black beans, leeks, and other legumes, citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruit, and soybeans.
- Antioxidants. Vitamins C, E, and beta carotene are antioxidants and are also important vitamins for memory. Antioxidants protect brain tissue by breaking down free radicals, which are toxic forms of the oxygen molecule natually found in the bloodstream.Antioxidant vitamins and memory are linked because the damage free radicals do can impare the functioning of the neurons in your brain. Like the B vitamins, in other words, the antioxidant vitamins prevent damage to the basic brain structures.Supplementing with antioxidant vitamins daily is recommended. In addition, these vitamins can be found in naturally occurring foods such as blueberries, strawberries, and other berries; sweet potatoes; red tomatoes, spinach, broccoli, green tea and other types of tea, nuts and seeds, and citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruits.Note that with some of these foods, you get both the B vitamins and the antioxidants – a double dose of vitamins for memory improvement!
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are not really “vitamins” as such, but important fat molecules that enhance memory and brain function. So much is said about so-called bad fats, but the Omega-3 fatty acids are actually a class of good fats. These fats help protect the brain against inflammation and high cholesterol. That’s what makes these fatty acids good vitamins for memory improvement.
Other Memory Supplements
In addition to taking regular vitamins for memory improvement, you might want to also take supplements. Memory supplements are similar to vitamins (and may even contain vitamins) but generally are only available as a pill and not necessarily in food. See the examples below – you’ll understand what I mean!
- Acetyl L-Carnitine. Known for its ability to cross the blood-brain barrier, this amino acid helps with energy production necessary for optimal brain function. Bodybuilders like it too, as it can help muscles grow stronger during exercise.
- Alpha GPC. The long name for this supplement is Alpha Glycerophospocholine. Alpha GPC is a form of choline that boosts basic life processes including growth and revitalization. Clinical studies have shown that Alpha GPC supports increased attention span, mental focus, recall, and other brain functions.
- ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate). ATP is the molecule the body needs to create energy. Increased physiological energy can help with concentration and mental focus.
- Bacopa Monnieri. This Asian herb has been used by for centuries by Ayurvedic doctors in India as one of the natural vitamins for memory improvement and concentration. Modern studies support this, showing that the bacosides, the natural phytonutrients in this herb, support brain transmitters during memorization.
- Carnosine. This is a general-purpose supplement that helps protect cells and tissues against negative effects of aging. As a broad-spectrum anti-oxidant, Carnosine defends against age-related decline of mental and immune function.
- Citicoline. This supplement is a type of B vitamin that has been refined to produce targeted action for phospholipid creation. As phospholipids make up brain cell membranes, this supplement helps enhance production of vital neurotransmitters. Several studies have shown that Citicoline improves memory and verbal learning.
- CoQ10 (in Ubiquinol). Coenzyme Q10 is a chemical found naturally in the body that contributes to the production of ATP, the body’s main source of energy. CoQ10 supplements help insure maximum physical energy which can help with concentration and memory.
- DMAE. 2-Dimethylaminoethanol, or DMAE, is believed to help with mental energy, alertness, and concentration. This is another compound able to cross the blood-brain barrier to reach brain cells.
- Ginko Biloba. This herb has been shown to improve blood flow to your organs including your brain. However, research has not shown that Gingko actually improves memory, as the National Institutes of Health (NIH) concluded recently.While Ginkgo isn’t a miracle worker, improving blood flow to the brain is probably helpful. It may mean that oxygen and nutrients are delivered to your brain cells more efficiently.
- Huperzine A. This supplement is an extract of the Chinese moss Huperzia serrata. Some studies indicate that Hyperzine A enhances learning and memory by helping the action of neurotransmitters in the brain. Indicated to fight mild age-related memory loss or as a short-term boost such as when preparing for an exam.
- L-Glutamine. This supplement passes through the blood-brain barrier to the brain, where it is converted into glutamic acid, and essential brain transmitter. Recommended for concentration and to keep your brain sharp. Also popular with bodybuilders as L-Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in muscle.
- Lecithin. (See Phosphatidyl Choline below.)
- Lion’s Mane Mushroom. Used for centuries in China and Japan to enhance mental performance, this herb has been shown to contain erinacines which may assist nerve and brain cell growth.
- NADH. Reduced B-nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, or NADH, is a form of Vitamin B3 that boosts energy in cells throughout the body. It also helps with production of the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain.
- Phosphatidyl Choline (from Lecithin). This supplement is an important nutrient for brain and liver function. It is often obtained through supplementation with Lecithin, which is a source of phosphatidylcholine.
- Phosphatidyl Serine. One of the more popular brain-improvement supplements, phosphatidyl serine (PS) is a major component of the outer membrane of brain cells. As we age, production of PS in the body declines. Studies prove that PS helps reverse age-related memory problems and mood changes.
- Vinpocetine. An extract of the periwinkle plant, this compound is a herbal aid for improving memory and concentration. It acts as a vasodilator which increases blood flow specifically in the part of the brain used for memory storage.
Analyze your diet to see where any of the three major categories of vitamins for memory might be lacking.
For example, you may want to start eating a serving of cold-water fish a couple of times per week. And if you can get in more servings of some of the most important fruits and vegetables that contain B vitamins and antioxidants, you will be doing just about all that is possible diet-wise to protect your brain and improve your memory.