7 Most Important Vitamins for Improving Memory & Concentration
Let’s admit it, we’ve all encountered a time when we’ve totally lost our train of thought. Maybe we can’t recall a distant memory like we once could, and we find that our brains aren’t as sharp as they used to be. There are many reasons as to why our ability to remember can begin to digress at any stage in our lives, but the problem tends to become more predominant as we get into our senior years of life.
What is memory and how does it work?
Memory is held by a group of neurons that are scattered throughout the brain’s cortex, when primed to fire together in the same pattern, the original experience is remembered and we are able to easily recall past events. The brain is by far the most important part of the human body (next to the heart) as it plays the captain to our bodily functions, thoughts, memories, and speech.
Neurodegenerative disease like Alzheimer’s and other forms of Dementia begin to take precedence when risk factors like lifestyle and genetic predisposition, kill our nerve cells and nerve connections that hold our memory. The detriment of these cells interrupts the smooth firing pattern, which then makes our memories distorted or difficult to recall.
Cognitive impairment is a state that affects our thinking, communication, understanding, and memory. In this article, we will discuss a variety of vitamins and herbal brain supplements that can be used to support cognitive function, boosting memory and concentration.
7 Vitamins for improving memory function
Phosphatidylserine (or PS), is a naturally occurring phospholipid in the brain that improves mental function. It is one of the best supplements for memory because it acts as a protector, covering the cells of the brain, helping to maintain its structure and integrity.
It is used to improve attention span, language skills, and memory with those who suffer from age-related memory loss. PS production naturally decreases with age, so supplementation as preventative or less severe symptoms can be very helpful.
A double-blind, placebo-controlled study was done in Japan on the effectiveness of PS and the results proved that soy-based PS had a positive effect on cognitive function in those who complained about memory loss. PS was once manufactured from animal sources but is now extracted from cabbage or soy and can be taken at 100mg 3 times a day.
2. Ginseng Root
This ancient root has been used for thousands of years in Traditional Chinese Medicine and is now used worldwide. Ginseng boosts the immune system, protects the nervous system and adrenal glands, increases energy, and has also been used to support neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.
One of the Ginseng’s active compounds ginsenoside has been widely studied for its ability to prevent and treat neurological disease. It contains unique anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, and antioxidant properties that work to protect the brain cells. Ginseng comes in all dosage forms with varying degrees of potency, the average dose is 500mg per day for the maintenance of good health.
3. Omega 3
Omega 3 is a polyunsaturated fatty acid that has become increasingly popular over the years for its plethora of benefits. This oil-based substance can be found in chia seeds, hemp oil, freshwater fish, flaxseeds, avocados, nuts, and seeds. Studies have found that supplementation has neuroprotective effects against dementia.
Omega 3 builds healthy cell membranes throughout the body, including the brain, which slows down the degenerative symptoms of dementia.
4. L- Glutamine
L- glutamine is a naturally occurring amino acid that acts as fuel for the mind. It is the main precursor for the production of the neurotransmitter’s GABA and L- glutamate which too is located in the brain. L-glutamate is the most abundant amino acid in the brain and the delicate balance of the glutamine – glutamate cycle is necessary for healthy nerves and optimal brain function.
If this cycle is disrupted, it can result in epilepsy, bipolar disorder, depression, and alcohol addiction. 3 servings of L-glutamine rich foods like bone broth, spirulina, Chinese cabbage, wild-caught fish, venison, and turkey are recommended.
5. Vitamin B1
Absorption of Thiamine, most commonly known as vitamin B-1, is very poor in elderly individuals. Deficiency is associated with the nervous system, heart, and brain problems. Neurological complications including memory loss can occur as it plays a role in cognitive activity and nerve health.
A study was done to detect the role of B-1 in Alzheimer’s disease and the results of supplementation proved beneficial, you can find out more about it here, Some foods rich in vitamin B-1 include, poultry, organ meats, whole grains, and legumes. For dosage, I would suggest a B complex vitamin at 100mg a day. B complex vitamins contain all the B’s, including B-3 and B-6 which are also important to optimal brain function.
6. Vitamin B12
Vitamin B-12, also known as methylcobalamin is an important vitamin for memory and a vital component for brain function. B-12 protects the myelin sheaths, which are the protective coverings around the nerves. If the nerves are safely encased, then their functionality in the memory recall stays intact.
Vitamin B-12 deficiency includes memory loss, dementia symptoms, difficulty with balance and walking, numbness, and tingling in the arms and legs. B-12 rich foods include dairy products, eggs, spirulina, fish, and meat. The ideal dose depends on age, gender, and the reason for taking it. Dosage can range anywhere from 10 – 500mcg per day. B vitamins are water-soluble and therefore carry no toxicity levels.
A multivitamin should be a staple in everyone’s medicine cabinet as it is a vital component in nourishing all cells in the body, including the brain. A daily multivitamin will supply your body with the recommended daily intake of vitamins and minerals. vitamins for women and men are a great preventative measure to maintain health.
All in all, knowing which vitamins are good for memory and concentration are keys to prevention and even cure in some cases. We all have moments of forgetfulness but when we begin to see it happening more often than not, we must take the necessary steps to protect our minds. Dementia and other forms of the degenerative disease usually begin to affect the elderly after the age of 65. This does not have to be anyone’s fate, let us take the best supplements for memory and preserve the health of our minds with diet, exercise, and vitamins.