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Top 7 Natural Remedies
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March 3, 2016
By A. Weinberg, Contributing Columnist
“Shoot, I forgot my keys. Where in the world did I put them?” This
happens to most of us, even in our vital and buzzing youth. When we
are in a rush or thinking about a lot of things at once, the basics of life
sometimes escape us. But, as we get older, it becomes statistically more
likely that we will suffer from memory loss. People over 50 are
increasingly losing the mental faculties necessary to hold things in their
short-term memory: remembering the number of the bus they looked
up five minutes ago or the fact that they left something cooking in the
The good news is that there are ways to combat mental decline.
Memory loss is due to a variety of factors, and it is rarely caused by just
one. More severe cases include a head injury or stroke. However, there
are several more common factors that may be present in your life,
regardless of age or genetic factors.
Many people deal with stress and anxiety on a daily basis. Others suffer
from depression. These negative emotional states, when prolonged,
can not only make you feel bad, but also deteriorate certain mental
capacities. Staying positive is actually key to good memory. Some habits
also contribute to a forgetful brain. Any type of smoking can reduce
oxygen intake, making it difficult to remember things. Consuming
alcohol or other types of drugs in excess can make memories hazy. And
not just right after the fact; it may have a cumulative effect over a
period of years.
This is not to say that we shouldn’t have fun in moderation, or that we
should avoid all stressful situations. We are human, after all. It simply
means that we should keep tabs on our behavior and figure out ways
to exercise our brains.
Most brain-health habits are quite enjoyable, actually.
Top 7 Remedies for Short Term Memory Loss
1. Ingest Your Herbs and Drink Your Tea.
There are many natural and delicious ways to keep your brain on track.
One of the most powerful herbs out there is ginko biloba. Gingko biloba
helps to treat dementia, including Alzheimer’s Disease, and protects
memory in older adults.
Gingko contains flavonoids and terpenoids, powerful antioxidants that
fight against free radicals. In people with Alzheimer’s, gingko biloba
improves cognitive function, allows them to perform daily activities
more easily, improves social behavior, and reduces depression.
Experts recommend that you take 120 to 240 mg daily. According to
Amieva H. and other researchers at the University of Sao Paolo who
studied memory aids in 2013, other brain-boosting substances include
green tea, rosemary, sage, and ginseng. In addition to picking up
ingredients at your local health food store, you can fry some herbs up
in butter and have a nice cup of tea.
2. Bust Out a Crossword (Or Do Another Brainy Activity)
Doing your mental workout has a huge impact on delaying dementia. It’
s best to start young, as preventing is always easier than curing. But
even if you are already experiencing symptoms, you can slow down
According to a 2003 study by Charles Hall from the Albert Einstein
College of Medicine in New York, performing a mental exercise twice a
day (crosswords, puzzles, reading, writing, playing card games, etc.)
delays short-term memory loss associated with dementia for a year or
more after the onset.
Researchers found that people between the ages of 75 and 85 who did
an average of 11 activities a week tended to experience memory
problems 1 year and 4 months later into the onset of the disease than
those who did just 4. But don’t wait until it’s a problem. Find a hobby
that you love, and do it daily. For all of the music lovers out there,
playing an instrument and singing also counts.
3. Calm Down
Sometimes we need to be stressed out. In a fight or flight reaction
when there is danger, or for a work or personal crisis that comes up
suddenly, a stress reaction is great.
But when stress becomes prolonged or turns into a constant state of
being, it can have serious effects on your short-term memory.
A 2014 study by Jason Radley and Rachel Anderson from the University
of Iowa revealed that elevated levels of cortisol (the stress hormone)
can result in memory lapses.
The constant production of this hormone causes a gradual loss of
synapses in the pre-frontal cortex, the region of the brain that houses
short-term memory. Memory loss related with cortisol generally starts
at age 65. So, what can you do to prevent it?
Well, don’t stress out about being stressed out. Just have a daily
relaxation activity: Meditation, yoga, dance, laughing, deep breathing,
aromatherapy. Whatever works for you. (Read more about techniques
for reducing stress at work.)
4. Get Enough Zzzzs
Are you from the “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” camp of living life on the
edge? Well, props for a passionate personality, but you might want to
reconsider, lest your brain checks out before your body does.
In a 2013 study by Bryce Mander at the University of California, a good
night’s sleep is directly connected to memory storage. The slow brain
waves generated during deep sleep play a role in transporting
memories from the hippocampus.
Your hipocampus is the part of the brain that serves as a short-term
storage space, before the memories are shifted to the prefrontal cortex,
where thoughts sink in more permanently.
Brain deterioration caused from a lack of deep sleep (slow brain
waves) occurs in the middle frontal lobe. This kind of short-term
memory loss is more pronounced in older adults, but can still have a
cumulative effect when we are young. Make sure you get that quality
REM sleep by getting in at least 7 hours of shuteye a night.
5. Ditch the Drinks
Or at least cut down on them. A study conducted over a period of time
(1997-2009) by Severine Sabia PhD from University College London
found surprising statistics about those who drink alcohol.
Middle-aged men who drank more than 2.5 drinks per day showed
signs of memory loss and cognitive decline up to 6 years sooner than
men who were light drinkers or who didn’t drink. Regardless of your
gender, it’s a good idea to go easy on the alcohol. You don’t have to
give up on the pleasure of adult beverages. Just go for a couple of
fancy cocktails a week as opposed to a couple of crappy beers per day.
(Read more about beer's effect on your health.)
6. Treat Depression
You might be okay. But you might find that your recent lack of
concentration and inability to recall events correlates with a feeling of
sadness or emotional numbness.
If that’s the case, go to a professional and find out what’s up.
“Diminished ability to concentrate” is an official diagnostic symptom of
depression, according to the Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. It
may just be a temporary factor, but it’s worth finding out, if it persists.
7. Take Your B Vitamins
Especially B-12 and B-1. Several studies have shown correlation
between memory loss and a lack of B-vitamins.
A 2015 study by I. Blasko at the Innsbruk Medical University in Austria
found that B-vitamins combined with fatty acids slowed the
progression of brain atrophy.
As for dosage, the Institute of Medicine (part of the U.S. Academy of
Sciences), recommends that you take 2.4 micrograms of vitamin B-12
per day and 1.2 milligrams of vitamin B-1 (also known as thiamin) per
day. My favorite source of B-1 is Brewer’s Yeast, which you can
sprinkle on popcorn for a healthy snack.
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