The signs of memory loss can be unnerving and scary: missing keys, a forgotten street name, that task you suddenly can’t remember.
While there may not yet be a “magic bullet” for memory loss, there are supplements you can take that can improve brain health.
Omega-3 helps prevent plaque build-up in blood vessels and arteries, which can restrict blood flow to the heart, brain, and other vital organs. The process of tackling the two main causes of age-related memory loss has yielded promising results in study after study of Omega-3s in older adults.
These phytochemicals have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which can help to protect the brain cells from advanced damage. They also improve blood flow to the brain, and it’s thought that they help prevent the accumulation of beta amyloids which can cause Alzheimer’s disease.
Recent studies have linked vitamin D to a number of health benefits, including reducing the risk of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, depression, and helping to improve memory and problem solving.
Dark chocolate has a high percentage of cocoa, also known as cacao. Cacao contains flavonoids, a type of antioxidant.
Antioxidants are especially important for brain health, as the brain is highly susceptible to oxidative stress, which contributes to age-related cognitive decline and brain diseases, and may encourage neuron and blood vessel growth in parts of the brain involved in memory and learning. They may also stimulate blood flow in the brain.
Some other options
Taking vitamins B, C, or E, beta-carotene, or magnesium may improve brain function if a person has a deficiency in any of them. If a person does not have a deficiency, these supplements are unlikely to improve mental performance.
Some strategies to try instead
- Do a brain workout. Improving reasoning and memory skills (learning a new language, for example) can help delay memory decline.
- Exercise. In 2011, a study estimated that one million cases of Alzheimer’s disease in the US were due to sedentary lifestyles. Several studies have found that physical activity – walking, lifting weights, yoga, or tai chi, for example – can delay or slow cognitive decline, but not prevent it.
- Check blood pressure. Lowering your blood pressure dramatically reduces your risk of heart disease and stroke, which are risk factors for memory loss.
If you or a family member are starting to experience memory loss, then get in touch with our concierge doctors at The Village Doctor.