How to Boost Memory and Brain Health?

How to Boost Memory and Brain Health?

Brain is the center of the nerves system, it allows to collect information, act on them, and store the results as memory for future reference. Human brain is one of the most complex structures. It is estimated that about 100 billion neurons pass signals though 1,000 trillion synaptic connections. It gives us power to learn, memorize, think, plan, imagine, dream, express emotions, and much more. Memory is essential in encoding, storing, and retrieving information. Accuracy and capacity of the memory can be affected by many factors included but not limited to physical injuries, stress, toxins such as alcohol, smoking , and heavy metals, Alzheimer's disease, attention disorder, and aging. Good news is research have found that certain nutrients and lifestyle change could be beneficial for brain health and memory.

Which Parts of the Brain Play a Role in Memory?

Human brain is consist of three major parts including the cerebrum, the cerebellum and the brain stem. Brian stem is responsible for controlling vital functions such as breathing, digestion, heart rate, and it is connected to the Spinal cord. Cerebellum is important in motor control, balance, attention, focus, language, emotions, and procedural memories. Cerebrum makes up about 75% of our brain volume. Cerebrum is divided to two symmetrical hemispheres of left and right which are connected via a thick bundle of nerves called Corpus Callosum. Although the two hemispheres look alike, they are slightly different in their tasks and functions.

Cerebrum is covered by a 2-4 millimetres thick layer of neural tissue called Cerebral Cortex. This layer covers other parts of the brain such as Thalamus, Hypothalamus, and Pituitary gland. Thalamus passes the information from Brain Stem to the Cerebral Cortex. About 90% of the neurons are located in the Cerebral Cortex. Cerebral Cortex is important in memory, attention, awareness, thoughts, language, and consciousness.

Cerebral Crotrex is divided to several lobes or regions; deep inside the medial temporal lobe (inner part of the temporal lobe near the divide between the left and right hemispheres) there is a part of the brain called Limbic System including organs such as Hippocampus, Amygdala, Thalamus, and Hypothalamus.

Hippocampus is essential for memory, particularly in processing the short term memory to the long term memory, in developing spatial memory, and behaviour. Hippocampus is one of the areas in the brain capable of growing new neurons, however this ability is greatly impacted and impaired by stress related glucocorticoid hormones. Amygdala, plays a role in processing and memory of the emotions, as well as social behaviours.

Lipids(Fats) and the Brian Cells

Our brain cells and their components like other cells of our body are protected and shaped by cell membrane. Cellular membrane consists of type of fats called Phopholipids such as Phosphatydilserine ( PS), Phosphatidylcholine (PC), and Phosphatidylethanolamine (PE); plus Fatty Acids including EPA and DHA.

Phospholipids and Essential fatty acids are important for longevity and function of the cell membrane and cellular organelles such as mitochondria. Mitochondria are the centre of energy production in cells. Through a complex process electrons are moved along the inner membrane of mitochondria resulting in energy production. This process produces lots of free radicals and mitochondria do their best to clean them up. Free radicals cause damage to both mitochondrial DNA and membrane interrupting its function and that eventually results in Mitochondrial death, less energy production and process of aging. As discussed, maintenance of functional mitochondria is essential in order to prevent degenerative processes leading to disease and aging.

Mitochondrial Membrane has higher concentration of Essential fatty acids, which helps with its fluidity supporting Proton transport. Supplementing with Essential fatty acids such as DHA and EPA and phospholipids helps to protect and repair the mitochondrial membrane as well as the cell membrane.

Number of studies show oral supplementation with membrane phospholipids and essential fatty acids, improve variety of neurological conditions. Supplementing with PS is shown to improve memory loss and cognition. In a double blind control study candidates with memory impairment were given 300 mg of PS orally for 12 weeks, results showed significant improvement is their memory recognition, total learning, executive functions, visual and spatial learning. During this study no adverse reaction was observed, in addition, In comparison with placebo group participant's blood pressure improved as well.

Studies showed cases with chronic fatigue benefited from Phospholipids supplementation, their mitochondrial function improved and felt less fatigued.

Oral supplementation with of phospholipids is well tolerated. Based on research results, taking oral phospholipids has been shown to be safe and effective with positive impact on human health. Most clinical studies used 3 grams of phospholipids from soy, milk and marine source daily and found no adverse effect. In rare cases up to 45 grams daily was used with no observed side effect.

Using the combination of antioxidants with Phospholipids is shown to successfully improve mitochondrial bioenergy both in human and animals with added benefit of reducing inflammation. Even though taking PS alone demonstrated health benefits, using spectrum of phospholipids (PC, PS, PE, PI, etc.) with essential fatty acids ( EPA, DHA) are found to be more beneficial.

Flavonoids and Memory

Evidence suggests that flavonoid rich foods such as blueberries can improve memory and cognition in human and animal. Data supports the effects of flavonoids at the molecular level in the hippocampus. Dietary amount of flavonoids and anthocyanins induce both behavioural and molecular changes related to memory providing potential preventive and/or therapeutic benefits for cognitive impairments.

Resveratrol and Memory

in a double blind control study both subjects and control group were tested for memory tasks and neuro-imaging to assess volume, microstructure, and function of the hippocampus (a key region implicated in memory functions), plus the blood glucose and inflammatory markers. Participants who completed 26 week course of 200 mg Resveratrol daily, were re-assessed and showed significant improvement in retention of words, increase in hippocampus activity, and reduction in glucose and inflammatory markers. This study provides initial evidence that supplementing with resveratrol improves memory performance in association with improved glucose metabolism and increased hippocampal function.

Herbs With Neuro-cognitive Enhancing Benefits

Stress, inflammation, Aging, and harmful free radicals are the main contributors to developing memory impairment and some other neurological issues. Natural medicine offers variety of herbs that are shown to enhance memory and cognition. Herbs work in different ways to deliver their memory boosting benefits, they may increase the availability of neurotransmitters, hormones, enzymes, brain's oxygen supply, or stimulate the nerve growth. A few well studied examples of these herbs include Bacopa monnieri, Withania somnifera ( Ashwagandha), and Ginkgo biloba which have been proven over and over to enhance memory.

Sleep and Memory

An important function of sleep is the consolidation of memories. Sleep is essential for cognitive function and losing only a few hours of it negatively impacts the cognitive processes such as attention, learning, memory, reasoning, decision making, language, and others.

Sleep phases including rapid eye movement (REM) and sleep Spindle( stage 2 of the Non-REM) are researched for their role in memory formation. Sleep spindles results from interactions between cells in the thalamus and the cortex, and it has been found to be associated with the integration of new information into the existing knowledge. Inducing spindles' intensity is shown to significantly improve verbal memory, while enhancing the Slow Eye Movement ( deep sleep- stage 3 of NREM) modulates strength and precision of the memory.

Kava Kava is used for treatment of insomnia and anxiety. Kava Kava acts quickly, without causing the next morning side effects. Calming and relaxing benefits of Kava Kava is related to its active compounds known as kavalactones or kavapyrones. Kavalactones are shown to modulate production of the neurotransmitters involved in regulating mood and relaxation, including serotonin, dopamine, and noradrenaline. Kava can help calm nervousness, relax tense muscles, and minimize the negative effects of stress, as well as having analgesic (pain-relieving) qualities. Studies recommend 180mg to 210 mg of Kavalactone as an effective sleep aid.

Valerian Root has been shown to have sleep- inducing, anti anxiety, and tranquilizing effects. Valerian is slow acting, it may take 2-3 weeks to see its results, but it does perform well in inducing deep sleep. It is suitable for long term use. A placebo-controlled, crossover study of 128 volunteers reported 400 mg of valerian extract at bedtime improved sleep quality, de-creased sleep latency, and reduced the number of night awakenings. Two other clinical studies suggest using 400-900 mg valerian before bed also improved insomnia.

Exercise and Memory

Research shows exercise specially the aerobic training (AT) to be an effective way to prevent and reverse cognitive decline by improving brain structure and function. Double blind study also supports the fact that aerobic training results in improving spatial memory and hippocampal volume.

Related articles:

Nutrients And Their Life Changing Effects On Brain Health

Key Steps to De-stress and Improve Your Energy and Focus

How to Get the Most From Your Exercise

Key Nutrients to Remove Toxic Heavy Metals from the Body

How to Reverse Aging and Stay Young Even In the Old Age

Articles and products featured by Health Palace are collected from a variety of sources and are provided as a service by Health Palace. These newsletters, while of potential interest to readers, do not necessarily represent the opinions nor constitute the advice of Health Palace. Presented materials are only for information purposes and do not intent to treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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