January 25, 2011

The Ultimate Memory Enhancer

Memory enhancers abound. Many simple basic steps exist you can take to enhance or improve your memory.  Sound nutrition is the best memory enhancer.  Secondly, avoid toxins like tobacco and alcohol.

Stress is a memory enhancer deterrent robbing our body of vital nutrients and neurotransmitters. Stress needs to be managed successfully.  Regular exercise improves the delivery of oxygen to the brain. This is critical since the brain consumes the most oxygen and energy of any organ-system of the body.  Like muscle the brain needs to be exercised to stay in top condition.  Exericse, both physical and mental, is a memory enhancer.

Memory and thinking requires a complex network of biochemical reactions.  These reactions are most efficient/effective when hormone levels, especially sex hormone levels and thyroid hormone, are optimal.  Stress raises cortisol, another hormone.  Unfortunately, too much cortisol adversely affects the hippocampus of the brain, which is the main information processing center.  That’s why it’s vital to manage stress.

Brain Healthy Hormones

Our sex hormones include estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.  Testosterone is the main sex hormone in males, and estrogen and progesterone are the main sex hormones in females.  It is no coincidence that our memory begins to fail around the time that we see a critical decline in our sex hormone levels.  The brain contains many receptors for these hormones.  Why?  Because, optimal brain health requires optimal sex hormone levels.

The other vital hormone to memory is thyroid.  When thyroid function is low all of our bodily functions, including our ability to think and recall information, slow down.  See “Anti Aging Hormones“.

Fish as Memory EnhancerFood: the Ultimate Memory Enhancer

It’s important to eat a well balanced diet ensuring adequate levels of vitamins and minerals, and other nutrients.  Taking a good multivitamin and mineral complex is probably wise.  The important vitamins for the brain include the vitamins B6, B12, and folic acid, in addition to the antioxidant vitamins, which include vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta carotene.

Fish really is brain food.  It contains healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which support brain function and structure.  DHA, a type of omega-3 in fish, improves concentration.

Oxygen: Memory Enhancer

The brain represents only 2% of the body’ weight, yet consumes 20% of the oxygen.  Deep breathing exercises reduce stress, and improve delivery of oxygen to the brain.  Regular exercise that involves deep breathing improves oxygenation of the brain.

Supplements for Memory

Some nutritional supplements appear beneficial in enhancing memory.  These include ginkgo biloba, lecithin, vinpocetin, phophatidylserine, acetyl-A-carnitine.  Resveratrol recently was demonstrated to improve verbal memory.  See “Anti Aging Vitamins“.

Exercises for Memory

Memory can be enhanced or sharpen by engaging in mental activities like reading, working crossword puzzles, playing board games, participating in stimulating conversation, learning new skills, and critical thinking.

See related articles.

“Vitamin B12 and Memory”

“Preserving Brain Function”

“Stem Cells and Stroke Management”





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Dr. Joe Jacko

Dr. Joe is board certified in internal medicine and sports medicine with additional training in hormone replacement therapy and regenerative medicine. He has trained or practiced at leading institutions including the Hughston Clinic, Cooper Clinic, Steadman-Hawkins Clinic of the Carolinas, and Cenegenics. He currently practices in Columbus, Ohio at Grandview Primary Care. Read more about Dr. Joe Jacko

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