What Ingredients Should I Look for In a Memory Supplement?
Medically Reviewed by Dr. Parris Kidd
“The truly exciting news is that you can start to change your brain and memory, beginning today.” -Daniel G. Amen, MD
Those inspiring words come from Dr. Amen’s best-selling book, Memory Rescue. In it, he details the 11 major risk factors for long-term memory problems. In addition to encouraging case studies and healthy lifestyle interventions, Dr. Amen highlights several key nutrients for memory in his book.
We’ll look at those potent memory ingredients, but first, let’s address some common questions people have about supplements.
Do I Need to Take Supplements?
Some healthcare professionals believe if you eat a balanced diet you don’t need to take supplements. Others say they’re a waste of money. Still, others swear by supplements, claiming they’ve had a tremendous positive impact on their health and the health of their patients.
So, what’s the truth?
The answer is complicated. First, supplements aren’t a cure-all. They can’t replace healthy habits such as a proper diet, exercise, sleep, and stress management.
Also, not all supplements are created equal. The quality, purity, and sourcing of ingredients widely varies in the supplement market. Sadly, some supplements have a lack of quality control in their production and many don’t contain what their labels claim.
Many supplements have fillers that may be harmful to your health. Some companies add agents to their supplements simply for cosmetic reasons, e.g., titanium dioxide for whiteness. Others include artificial dyes or contain contaminated ingredients, such as minerals with high lead content.
A dirty little secret of the dietary supplement industry is that many products have amounts of ingredients much lower than those proven to work in clinical studies – especially when those ingredients are expensive. Some in the industry call this “dusting” with “Fairy Dust.”
The existing law requires that dietary supplements use only ingredients with proven chemical identity, purity, potency, and freedom from contamination, and registered with the FDA as dietary ingredients. Yet many brands use ingredients that don’t meet these criteria.
With so many pitfalls to avoid, is it really worth taking supplements?
Reputable companies make supplements that provide safe and clinically proven ingredients, in doses that have reasonable probability of benefit for those who take them.
But always conduct thorough research on dietary supplements, and the background and qualifications of the company and its supplement formulators, before adding them to your daily regimen.
What Are the Benefits of Taking Supplements?
Here are just a few of the numerous benefits of taking dietary supplements:
- Our life processes require vitamins, essential minerals, and conditionally essential nutrients. Deficiencies can lead to illness and long-term health issues.
- All the vitamins and minerals essential for our health have substantial clinical and other scientific research on their safety and effectiveness. Nutraceuticals, highly purified concentrates of nutrients and herbals, are increasingly becoming available.
- Practically everyone has genetic polymorphisms or other mutations that increase their individual need for specific nutrients, above the levels required by the general population.
- Stress (emotional, chemical, physical, infectious), alcohol, smoking, and many medications deplete nutrients from the body.
- Traditional medicinal plants, when standardized and tested, invariably have superior benefit-risk profiles compared to medications.
- Dietary supplements, based in science, can equal or surpass pharmaceuticals. They also help pharmaceuticals work better and are often less expensive.
- Taking prescription medications can affect your insurability. Taking nutraceuticals, in lieu of medications, removes the need to report to your insurance company.
If you have a gap in your nutrition, taking supplements can help ensure you receive sufficient daily intakes of essential vitamins and minerals.
What’s a Nutrition Gap?
Due to the poor quality of the standard American diet (SAD), many people aren’t getting proper nutrition from the foods they eat. Even those who eat a relatively healthy diet may find it challenging to get all the nutrients they need daily. By only eating foods, there will always be a gap in nutrition.
According to US Govt. surveys:
- More than 93% of Americans aren’t getting enough vitamin D
- More than 85% aren’t getting enough vitamin E
- More than 54% aren’t getting enough magnesium
- More than 45% aren’t getting enough vitamin A
- More than 43% aren’t getting enough vitamin C
Other surveys indicate average omega-3 EPA+DHA intakes are far lower than recommended, and less than 10% take supplements.
To help fill that gap, it’s essential to get supplements that provide generous allowances of essential nutrients. It’s also helpful to take supplements that provide ingredients which help counter genetic limitations, help cope with stress, and support healthy brain functioning, including memory. The reason they’re called supplements is because they supplement your diet with the nutrients you might be missing by only fueling your body with food.
In a society where eating fast or processed food, consuming massive amounts of sugar, and drinking too much caffeine and/or alcohol is the norm, supplements aren’t just a good idea, they’re critical to supporting your overall health.
Do Memory Supplements Work?
Here again, the answer isn’t a simple yes or no. Everyone’s dietary needs are different. A memory supplement might work well for one person, but not as well for someone else. This may depend on whether the person has an operative nutrient deficiency.
Proof of benefit for memory, or other cognitive function, is best documented from double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials. Some nutrients have shown promise from such trials.
6 of the Best Nutrients to Power Your Cognition and Memory
1. PhosphatidylSerine (PS)
PhosphatidylSerine is a phospholipid nutrient that’s a universal, essential building block for cell membranes. PS is present in all our cells and is especially concentrated in the synapses and the brain’s nerve cells. Our brain cells need PS to generate and manage the high energy, complex electrical activity, and intense information processing that makes our brains work.
PS has been put through more than 30 years of gold standard clinical research involving randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trials. PS helps to improve attention, learning, memory, the ability to cope with stress, and overall mental sharpness.
PS is well documented to improve attention in children, and is the best-documented nutrient for memory recall of words, numbers, names, faces, and events in people over 50.
2. Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALC)
An amino acid that’s naturally produced in the body (but not used to make proteins), acetyl-L-carnitine is important for energy production. It assists in the proper functioning of genes, enzymes, and neurotransmitters.
Among ALC’s many benefits are its promotion of healthy memory, lessening of mental fatigue, enhancement of mood, and as a chemical contributor to the production of acetylcholine which is a major memory neurotransmitter.
3. N-AcetylCysteine (NAC)
N-AcetylCysteine is an amino acid (also not used to make proteins) that supports the fundamental functioning of our brain cells and regulates a broad array of cell functions. It provides powerful antioxidant defense against free radicals, which are formed as our cells’ mitochondria use oxygen to make the huge amounts of energy needed by the brain.
NAC is the ingredient source of l-cysteine, an antioxidant amino acid that cannot be directly used in supplements because it’s chemically unstable. L-Cysteine is a building block for glutathione, an extremely important antioxidant, antitoxin, and overall protectant located inside our cells. Via glutathione, NAC contributes to numerous neurotransmitter activities in the healthy brain.
4. Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA)
Alpha-lipoic acid is called a conditionally essential nutrient because the body can make it but at times needs additional amounts from the diet. It’s an essential cofactor for 3 major enzymes that all our cells use to generate energy.
Clinical trials indicate ALA supports blood sugar utilization and can enhance nerve cell energy and maintenance. It’s also a powerful antioxidant that protects our brain and other cells against oxygen free radicals.
5. Ginkgo Biloba Extract
Ginkgo has been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years. Standardized extracts prepared from the leaf have existed for over 50 years and are used worldwide for a diverse range of health benefits.
This effective plant extract promotes healthy blood flow, which is crucial for optimal brain function. Ginkgo’s unique combination of antioxidants and blood vessel protectants helps shield the brain from toxins while supporting overall mental sharpness.
6. Huperzine A
Huperzine A is extracted from the Huperzia serrata (club moss) plant, used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. It can enhance the acetylcholine neurotransmitter system, which is tied to memory and behavior, and has improved memory and other cognitive function in clinical trials.
All 6 of these proven nutrients are included in BrainMD’s top-selling memory supplement…
Brain & Memory Power Boost
Brain & Memory Power Boost promotes the brain’s energy generation and the overall functioning of its 200 billion cells. Its ingredient profile supports the connectivity functions of the trillions of synapses that these cells make with each other, and defend against oxygen free radical and other toxic threats to the brain.
This advanced brain and memory support formula is developed from advanced clinical research to also help sustain circulation to your brain, which is crucial for you to maintain your mental edge.
Brain & Memory Power Boost promotes healthy aging and can benefit brains of all ages.
Your memory allows you to revisit cherished moments in your life, so be sure to fortify it with the nutrients that can strengthen and preserve it.
Get the memory-boosting ingredients in Brain & Memory Power Boost today!
At BrainMD, we’re dedicated to providing the highest purity nutrients to help improve, preserve, and boost your memory. For more information about Brain & Body Power Boost and our full catalog of Memory supplements, please visit us at BrainMD.
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