By David Blyweiss, M.D.
Foggy memory is one of the most common complaints I hear from patients. Men and women who used to have a memory as sharp as a razor tell me that their mental recall has turned to Swiss cheese. They’re forgetting lunch dates, details from conversations they just had, even birthdays.
You might even call it having a “senior moment.” The American Academy of Neurology says 25% of the U.S. population over age 65 suffers from memory loss and mild cognitive impairment. That’s one in four.
But a recent study shows decline in brain function can begin much earlier. And decline can also start more suddenly than anyone realized. Some tests show you could lose up to 30% of your short-term memory capability by age 30.
What’s going on?
Memory loss is caused by four basic changes in the brain:
Memory Loss Reason #1: Reduced Size. Your brain cells shrink as you get older. Plus, the fatty material around brain cells, called myelin, declines rapidly. This is bad news. Myelin conducts electrical signals in your brain allowing thoughts to occur.
Memory Loss Reason #2: Poor Communication. The connections between brain neurons weaken. The number of dendrites, the branching fibers at the end of neurons, declines. So do brain chemicals, or neurotransmitters, that neurons use to communicate with each other.
Memory Loss Reason #3: Diminished circulation. Less blood flows to your brain. This is due to clogging deposits inside blood vessels and arteries. Brain cells can’t get the energy they need to function well as they’re not getting enough oxygen and nutrients.
Memory Loss Reason #4: Excess protein deposits. A sticky protein called beta-amyloid forms on the brain. It disrupts your ability to think and remember.
But you don’t have to do just let memory loss happen.
I’ve discovered two all-natural supplements that can sharpen your thinking. And significantly improve memory. The first is from a new generation of science-backed brain boosters. CDP-choline.
CDP-choline stands for cytidine 5-diphosphocholine. It’s natural, but it’s not a vitamin, mineral, amino acid or herb. It’s classified as a molecule.
This molecule occurs naturally in your brain where it creates phosphatidylcholine or PC. You may have heard of PC. PC makes up the membranes of fat, healthy brain cells. You can find PC and its sister, phosphatidylserine or PS, in many memory-enhancement products.
Flooding the brain with the basic building blocks of brain cell membranes allows them to repair themselves. But the scientific evidence for PC and PS is mixed. Some studies have shown they improved mental functioning while others have not.
However, when I began looking at studies on CDP-choline, I discovered a brain booster that could really deliver!
During a study of 95 volunteers between the ages of 50 and 85, those taking CDP-choline daily for two months significantly improved their “verbal memory”. 1
And the journal Psychiatric Times stated that CDP-choline
“improves overall energy metabolism in the brain, increases brain levels of dopamine and norepinephrine [beneficial brain chemicals], and enhances short-term memory in patients with [cognitive dysfunction].”
In fact, this all-natural brain booster is so safe and effective it’s now widely prescribed in Europe as a treatment for brain injuries.
CDP-choline is relatively new. But the second natural brain booster I discovered has been used for 6,000 years in India.
This little known, all-natural memory helper is from the plant Bacopa monniera, also known as water hyssop.
Bacopa or “Brahmi,” as it’s called in India, is believed to make you smarter. In fact, drinking “Brahmi tea” was said to help ancient Indian seers recite Sanskrit epics, such as the Mahabharata, entirely from memory. And modern day clinical studies confirm the ancient Indians were on to something very smart, indeed.
In one recent study, people taking an extract of Bacopa showed significantly improved performance on working memory and information processing tests over those who didn’t take Bacopa.2
Another study found similar results. Bacopa “significantly improved verbal learning as well as delayed recall”. Measurement was done by the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test. In fact, researchers concluded that Bacopa “has potential for safely enhancing cognitive performance in aging.”3
Scientists believe Bacopa’s secret is something known as saponins. Saponins work by enhancing nerve impulse transmission and repairing damaged neurons. Even more promising, they may help reduce the beta-amyloid protein deposits shown in studies to slow down thinking and memory.
Bacopa may be one of the reasons why age-related dementia appears to be virtually non-existent in India, afflicting less than 1% of the population over age 65. To put that in perspective, The World Health Organization reports that Americans over age 65 are up to 600% more likely to develop severe cognitive problems than older Indians.
However, you don’t have to accept a fading memory as an inevitable part of growing older. CDP-choline and Bacopa are on the cutting-edge of
Are You At RISK for Memory Loss?
You may be at higher risk for memory loss if you suffer from one or more of these documented risk factors …
High blood pressure. A large, preliminary study in 1998 found a link between high blood pressure and mental deterioration.
Stress. Studies show that high levels of the stress hormone cortisol can weaken memory.
Lack of exercise. Some studies suggest that physical exercise boosts cerebral blood flow, which in turn promotes neuron growth and prevents cognitive decline.
Poor diet. A recent investigation found that a Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil may protect against age related cognitive decline.
High blood sugar. High blood sugar is linked to lower levels of brain function and greater memory decline in older women.
Nutrient deficiencies. A severe lack of vitamins B12, C, folic acid or omega 3 fatty acids may cause memory loss by damaging brain tissue.
Environmental toxins. Studies link heavy metals and chemicals to memory decline.
Menopause. Poor memory and decreased concentration can result from hormonal changes that come with age.
Yeast. An overgrowth of candida yeast in the gastrointestinal tract can cause difficulty concentrating.
natural brain support.
But you can do even more to sharpen your memory, clear your thinking and hone your concentration. There are twelve more brain boosting nutrients that I recommend:
Wild Blueberry Extract: British doctors discovered a diet rich in ordinary blueberries reversed memory decline in as little as three weeks. The secret is blueberries’ anthocyanins. They appear to stimulate the development of new brain neurons, improving neuronal signaling and communication.
Folic Acid: Best known for preventing birth defects in pregnant women, folic acid can also improve mental performance when used in the right amounts. In 2005 Dutch researchers discovered people who took 800 micrograms of folate daily knocked 5 1/2 years off their ages when it came to performance on standardized memory tests.4 And that was merely the average. Some people erased even more years.
Vinpocetine: An extract from the seeds of the periwinkle plant, vinpocetine helps improve blood flow to the brain. Three separate studies of older adults with memory problems found it significantly improved attention, memory and concentration over a placebo. Some people reported increased mental alertness and a surge of new energy and vitality.
DMAE: DMAE or dimethylaminoethanol is found naturally in your brain. It supports the neurotransmitter acetylcholine that’s necessary for mental sharpness. As you age, your DMAE levels plummet. Research suggests replenishing lagging levels can help improve concentration.5
Pantothenic Acid (B5) and Vitamin B6: Helps the brain make neurotransmitters, including acetylcholine.
Vitamin B12: Helps the brain manufacture SAMe, the neurotransmitter associated with a calm, happy mood.
Phosphatidyl: A basic building block of brain cell membranes. Research shows phosphatidylcholine or PC works well when taken with CDP-choline to enhance memory function.
N-Acetyl Cysteine: An amino acid that helps the body produce the mega-antioxidant glutathione. Glutathione protects cell membranes from damage.
Perluxan™: Contains high concentrations of beneficial alpha acids. Studies suggest alpha acids prevent run away inflammation that can result in brain cell damage.
Rosemary and Ginger: Two common kitchen herbs that together, fight anxiety and improve blood flow to enhance memory.
Studies show these time-tested nutrients and new brain breakthroughs can help you feel less absent minded. And you’ll easily remember important dates, events and other precious information.
Most memory supplements contain only two, three or maybe even four of these nutrients. And usually, they’re not in the right combination or amounts to ensure maximum results.
That’s why I put today’s two top brain breakthroughs, CDP-choline and Bacopa, plus all twelve of these time-tested nutrients into one affordable daily formula.
- Paul A. Spiers, PhD; Diane Myers, MA; Gail S. Hochanadel, PhD; Harris R. Lieberman, PhD; Richard J. Wurtman, MD. Arch Neurol. 1996;53(5):441-448.
- C. Stough, J. Lloyd, J. Clarke, L. Downey, C. Hutchison, T. Rodgers, P. Nathan (2001).The chronic effects of an extract of Bacopa monniera (Brahmi) on cognitive function in healthy human subjects. Psychopharmacology (Berl).
- Morgan, AK 2006, Grey matters: does Bacopa monnieri improve memory performance in older persons, Masters thesis, Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW.
- The Lancet, Volume 369, Issue 9557, Pages 208 – 216, 20 January 2007. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(07)60109-3.
- Lewis JA, Young R. Deanol and methylphenidate in minimal brain dysfunction. Clin Pharmacol Ther. 1975 May;17(5):534-40