Bev Dunne

Whilst we often relate the cause of memory loss to aging, it is also important to note memory loss and lack of concentration can often be caused by stress, anxiety and depression.  It is therefore logical when looking for a natural supplement to assist with memory and concentration, we should look for herbs which not only address memory but also stress and anxiety.

A formula I particularly like contain herbs which may well tick all those boxes.

Brahmi also known as Bacopa is an Ayurvedic herb used by ancient monks and scholars as a nerve and mind tonic. Brahmi is believed to increase the effects of serotonin and other certain neurotransmitters in the brain. These effects plus its antioxidant and neuroprotective actions in the brain are thought to be the reason why Brahmi can be effective in enhancing mental function and relieved stress and anxiety.  This is why we often find supplementing Brahmi can be very beneficial for those studying for exams etc. as well as those suffering from memory loss due to aging.

Ginkgo Biloba is another herb which has been used for centuries to support healthy brain function, concentration and alertness.  We understand now that this effect is partly due to Gingko’s powerful antioxidant properties which help protect the brain from free radical damage.  Gingko is also believed to assist with peripheral circulation.  This means it may be beneficial by not only supporting blood flow to hands and feet, but also to the brain thereby helping with memory and concentration.

Gotu Kola is another herb which has been long recognised by naturopaths for helping memory. This herb once again has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic as well as Traditional Chinese Medicine. In fact, its Chinese name means ‘fountain of youth”. A Sri Lankan legend believes the reason elephants live remarkably long lives is because they eat gotu kola!! The ground cover apparently grows profusely in many Asian countries. It has a particularly long list of health benefits however in the case of memory and concentration it has been used to help with mental fatigue, anxiety, memory loss and insomnia.  Gotu Kola, which is grown in some areas of the Himalayas, has been used by Yogis to aid in meditation, believing it can restore the balance to the left and right hemispheres of our brain.

In addition to memory enhancing herbs there are other memory-boosting nutrients which have been found to be helpful. 

Resveratrol is a potent antioxidant which has been found to protect brain cells against free radical damage therefore assisting with healthy aging. 

Interestingly, Alpha Lipoic Acid is one of the few free radical-fighting antioxidants which can actually enter our brain cells and very importantly help protect the brain cells for the inside.

B Vitamins particularly B5, B6 and B12 also provide nutritional support of brain and nerve functions.

It’s good to know all of the above supplements can found in one tablet, which is helpful.

When it comes to brain health it has also been discovered supplementing with MCT Oil may be beneficial. We know our brain requires a steady stream of energy which is usually supplied by glucose. However, when our blood sugar drops we often find our memory and concentration waning. Fortuitously  supplementing with MCT Oil can provide a back up for our brain.  MCT Oil contains naturally occurring fats known as medium-chain triglycerides.  In contrast to long-chain triglycerides found in vegetable oils, MCTs are smaller therefore enabling easier absorption and metabolization which in turn makes them an excellent source of fuel to the brain.

It’s believed, by providing extra fuel to repair brain cell damage, MCTs may in fact impede brain aging.  There is some belief, because of MCT’s neuroprotective benefits, this oil may well be helpful for other brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s, dementia, traumatic brain injury, Parkinson’s, stroke and epilepsy.

For more information call into chat to Bev and the team at Go Vita, your health shop in North St in Batemans Bay or phone on 0244729737. Don’t forget to tune into Bev on 2EC every Wednesday at 12.30pm on Go Get Healthy.