What Is Good For Memory Loss
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Is It Alzheimer’s Or Another Kind Of Dementia
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia and causes significant memory loss, in addition to multiple other symptoms. If you think your memory loss could be caused by Alzheimer’s, review the symptoms and make an appointment with your physician for an assessment. Although Alzheimer’s typically affects those over the age of 65, early-onset Alzheimer’s can occur in those as young as 40.
Memory loss can also be caused by other kinds of dementia, such as vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia, frontotemporal dementia, and several others. Problems with memory should be discussed with your doctor so that any reversible cause can be found and treated, or so that treatment for Alzheimer’s or dementia can begin as soon as possible if this is the cause.
Better Ways To Boost Brain Health
Someday researchers might identify a blend of ingredients that does wonders for your gray matter. But in the meantime, there are more effective ways to keep your brain healthy:
- Diet. Nutrition is one of the best ways to protect your brain, Smith says. She recommends a diet rich in produce with healthy oils from olive oil, nuts and seeds and fatty cold-water fish. Aim for a colorful diet, with dark leafy greens, as well as orange and red fruits and veggies, she says. Colorful foods contain antioxidants that may protect the brain.
- Limit alcohol. Too much alcohol can increase the risk of cognitive decline, she says.
- Physical activity. Regular exercise has a strong association with the prevention of cognitive problems, Smith says. Try to get at least 150 minutes of activity a week.
- Sleep. Being sleep-deprived is linked to cognitive decline, so prioritize your slumber.
- Socialize. Social interaction is closely tied with maintaining cognitive function as we get older. Try to spend time with others and limit isolation, Smith advises. Whenever you can, share meals with friends and family.
- Treat health problems. Chronic health problems like Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure can increase the chances of cognitive decline and dementia. To lower your risk, work with your doctor to manage any illnesses.
Leafy Greens And Cruciferous Vegetables
Leafy greens, like spinach, kale and arugula, are rich in nutrients such as vitamin E and K, beta carotene and folate. Vitamin E protects cells from damage from free radicals. These properties have been suggested to prevent or delay cognitive decline in the aging population. Vitamin K has been shown to sharpen memory. Meanwhile, beta carotene helps slow down cognitive decline. Their antioxidants can also protect the brain from toxic free radicals.
Is There Any Scientific Evidence Supporting Prevagens Claims
The evidence to support Prevagens use is limited and flawed. Quincy Bioscience published a small study in 2016 comparing 10 mg of apoaequorin per day to placebo for 90 days. All study participants self-identified as having memory problems, but none had any serious memory loss conditions like Alzheimers disease or dementia.
At the end of the study, people taking apoaequorin had higher scores than those taking placebo on some of the tests used to measure their overall memory. The study authors noted the difference between the two groups was significant, and Quincy Bioscience who also sponsored the study has been using these results to back up Prevagens claims.
But there are a few issues with the study. First, it only included a little over 200 participants and only ran for 90 days. This number of people is smaller than what we typically require when trying to prove a medication is effective for the general population. Also, conducting the study for only 90 days means we dont know the long-term safety or effectiveness of Prevagen.
Another problem with this study is the types of tests the researchers used to test memory. None of the cognitive assessments used in this study are standard tests used by healthcare providers to look for and diagnose memory loss conditions. Using a non-standard test makes the results difficult to interpret, so we cant say for sure just how effective Prevagen is.
The Need For Memory Enhancers
Finding new ways to slow memory loss could produce astounding results. For example, if the onset of Alzheimer’s could be delayed in today’s population by an average of just one year, there would be about 210,000 fewer people with Alzheimer’s 10 years from now. And that would produce a cost savings of $10 billion.
“The problem with prescription drugs is that they’re extremely expensive and often have limited effectiveness during a short window of time,” says Evangeline Lausier, MD, assistant clinical professor in medicine, Duke Integrative Medicine, Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C.
No #: Artificial Sweeteners
When we mentioned sugary drinks and sugary foods in the above points, what did you realize? Perhaps, you thought I will use artificial sweeteners. Easy! Well, we would like to state artificial sweeteners consumed over a long period of time can cause brain and cognitive damage.
Suggestion: Eat fruits, dates and figs if you have sugar cravings. Also, check the labels of food products that mention artificial sweeteners on the same.
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Normal Forgetfulness Vs Dementia
For most people, occasional lapses in short-term memory are a normal part of the aging process, not a warning sign of serious mental deterioration or the onset of Alzheimers or another dementia.
The following types of memory lapses are normal among older adults and generally are not considered warning signs of dementia:
- Occasionally forgetting where you left things you use regularly, such as glasses or keys.
- Forgetting names of acquaintances or blocking one memory with a similar one, such as calling a grandson by your sons name.
- Occasionally forgetting an appointment or walking into a room and forgetting why you entered.
- Becoming easily distracted or having trouble remembering what youve just read, or the details of a conversation.
- Not quite being able to retrieve information you have on the tip of your tongue.
Drugs That Cause Short
Sometimes its the drug treatment for a health condition, not the condition itself, that causes memory loss.
There are many prescription drugs that list short-term memory loss as a side effect.
Acetylcholine is also essential for turning short-term memories into long-term ones.
The level of acetylcholine naturally declines with age which puts older adults at greater risk for memory loss induced by their medications.
Two of the worst kinds of medications for causing short-term memory loss are anti-anxiety drugs and narcotic painkillers .
And its not only prescription drugs that can affect your memory.
Some over-the-counter remedies such as the antihistamine Benadryl are anticholinergic and have been linked to dementia.
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Memory: 5 Ways To Protect Your Brain Health
Everybodys memory goes on the fritz now and again. Many lapses can be blamed on normal, fleeting problems like inattention or an overly busy day.
More concerning, though, are certain ongoing kinds of memory problems, which is why its worth doing everything in your power to minimize their odds of happening.
Memory is just a tiny part of brain functioning, and theres a lot you can do to protect your brain health, says Johns Hopkins neurologist Barry Gordon, M.D., Ph.D.
Five of his top suggestions:
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Brain Foods To Boost Focus And Memory
While weve always known that what we eat affects our bodies and how we look, scientists continue to uncover evidence that what we eat plays a huge role in the health of our brains. Yes, when it comes to staying mentally sharp and focused, eating plenty of brain foods matters, especially for our gray matter.
The gut and the brain are tightly connected, and when we focus on giving our bodies whole, nutritious foods, we help take care of both.
Which foods are best for your brain? Among the top brain-healthy foods are fruits, veggies, oils and even chocolate . Theres something to please everyone!
No #: Sugary Drinks Including Diet Sodas
Sugary drinks are not only connected to an expanded waistline, but these also increase the risks of Alzheimers disease. Even people who do not have diabetes are subject to a risk of dementia because of high-sugary beverages.
Let us go into the details. Sugary drinks are made out of high-fructose corn syrup , which can lead to hypertension, diabetes, arterial dysfunction, leading to risks of dementia.
Rat studies have shown that a diet loaded with sugars can lead to memory impairment and brain inflammation. While human studies are needed, it is advisable to understand the linkage between fructose in sugary drinks and your brain health.
Suggestions: Well, we would suggest you to stop buying these sugary drinks and switch to water infused with fresh fruits. You can also drink unsweetened iced tea, buttermilk, unsweetened yoghurt for satisfying your sweet tooth. Also, read the label before you purchase a drink that claims of low sugar or no sugar. There might be hidden sugars in the same.
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Memory Enhancers That May Be Unsafe
Before adding any memory supplements to your diet, have a pharmacist check for potential interactions with any drugs or supplements you’re taking, advises Lausier.
“And, remember that ‘natural’ isn’t always safe,” she says. “When you think about nature, you often think of beautiful and harmless. But think about a lion and a wildebeest — that’s nature, too.”
- Bacopa. Used for millennia in India, bacopa is an Ayurvedic herb that shows some promise for memory problems, says Lausier. But it is an example of a memory supplement that carries a higher risk of drug interactions. For this reason, she doesn’t recommend using it until further study is conducted.
- DHEA. A hormone that declines with age, DHEA has garnered lots of interest. Taken long-term or in high doses, however, it may increase the risk for certain types of cancer, as well as other serious side effects.
As you evaluate other potential memory supplements, keep in mind that the FDA does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. It treats them like foods rather than medications. Unlike drug manufacturers, the makers of supplements donât have to show their products are safe or effective before selling them on the market.
This makes it harder for you to assess their strength, purity, and safety. Fugh-Berman advises doing your own research on effectiveness and adverse effects, using reliable, unbiased sources.
Compensating For Memory Loss
The same practices that contribute to healthy aging and physical vitality also contribute to a healthy memory. So, by taking steps early to prevent cognitive decline, youll also be improving all other aspects of your life as well.
Stay social. People who arent socially engaged with family and friends are at higher risk for memory problems than people who have strong social ties. Quality face-to-face social interaction can greatly reduce stress and is powerful medicine for the brain, so schedule time with friends, join a book club, or visit the local senior center. And be sure to put your phone away and focus fully on the people youre with if you want the full brain benefit.
Stop smoking. Smoking heightens the risk of vascular disorders that can cause stroke and constrict arteries that deliver oxygen to the brain. When you quit smoking, the brain quickly benefits from improved circulation.
Manage stress. Cortisol, the stress hormone, damages the brain over time and can lead to memory problems. But even before that happens, stress or anxiety can cause memory difficulties in the moment. When youre stressed out or anxious, youre more likely to suffer memory lapses and have trouble learning or concentrating. But simple stress management techniques can minimize these harmful effects.
Walking: An easy way to fight memory loss
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Fatty Fish And Your Brain
Fatty fish is the best food for memory loss because of its omega-3s. But omega-3 fatty acids’ benefits don’t just stop with your brain. This type of fat has also been linked to lowering the risk of heart disease, helping to manage triglycerides, and helping to alleviate symptoms of arthritis.
So how do omega-3s help with memory loss specifically? Well, your brain naturally contains a lot of fat, and many of those fats are made of omega-3 fatty acids. These fats help your brain create and build more cells, which make them crucial for cognition, memory, and overall brain health as you age.
Research also shows that consuming fish with omega-3s has been linked to helping prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s, both of which are age-related diseases that greatly impact your chances of memory loss.
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No #: Nicotine/ Smoking
Nicotine is often released while smoking and is a secret killer of your health. Though smoking sounds cool, it is creating havoc in your health life.
Nicotine obstructs the blood circulation process, and transmission of glucose, oxygen and other nutrients to the body parts. It malfunctions the functioning of the neurotransmitters and tampers your brain health.
Suggestion: If you smoke because of stress, then we recommend you to try healthy stress-management techniques such as yoga and meditation. You can socialize with people who do not smoke.
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Best Ways To Help Your Memory
For young and older people alike, its valuable to get your dietary vitamins from the food you eat. Supplements can fill in the gaps, but check with your doctor before you go over the recommended daily intake.
No matter your age, the best way to combat memory decline is to eat well and exercise your body and your brain. The Mediterranean diet is a good source of all the vitamins your body needs.
The Mediterranean diet has been as a way to improve memory. The hallmarks of the diet include:
- mostly plant-based foods
- limiting red meat
- eating fish
- using liberal amounts of olive oil to prepare meals
The MIND diet, in particular, emphasizes the consumption of green, leafy vegetables and plant-based food in addition to the high protein and olive oil recommendations of the Mediterranean diet.
Having a strong support network and being engaged in your local community have been suggested as ways to delay or prevent dementia. Establishing healthy sleep habits can also protect your brain.
Tip : Dont Skip The Physical Exercise
While mental exercise is important for brain health, that doesnt mean you never need to break a sweat. Physical exercise helps your brain stay sharp. It increases oxygen to your brain and reduces the risk for disorders that lead to memory loss, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Exercise also enhances the effects of helpful brain chemicals and reduces stress hormones. Perhaps most importantly, exercise plays an important role in neuroplasticity by boosting growth factors and stimulating new neuronal connections.
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Healthy Relationships: The Ultimate Brain Booster
Humans are highly social animals. Were not meant to survive, let alone thrive, in isolation. Relationships stimulate our brainsin fact, interacting with others may provide the best kind of brain exercise.
Research shows that having meaningful friendships and a strong support system are vital not only to emotional health, but also to brain health. In one recent study from the Harvard School of Public Health, for example, researchers found that people with the most active social lives had the slowest rate of memory decline.
There are many ways to start taking advantage of the brain and memory-boosting benefits of socializing. Volunteer, join a club, make it a point to see friends more often, or reach out over the phone. And if a human isnt handy, dont overlook the value of a petespecially the highly-social dog.