Taking a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement with added herbal ingredients may protect memory in older women, a recent study from a research group in Australia suggests.
Subjects in the experimental group consumed the commercial product Swisse Women’s Ultivite 50+, containing vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and plant extracts. Amongst many others, also the usual suspects in vitamins for memory were represented: Vitamin A, B6, B12, C, potassium and calcium. See for the full list of ingredients the table below (click on image for a bigger picture). (more…)
Antioxidants’ reputation has been built up, and broken down by scientific research. Although some studies have found great health benefits after subjects took supplements with antioxidants, others did not find these health benefits of these supplements – and even warn for taking too many antioxidants. On the other hand, many researchers and health experts point to the many benefits of having a diet with high antioxidant levels. How can you make sure you get enough of these vitamins for memory? (more…)
The extracts of ginseng are not only known as vitamins for memory, the juices also improve focus, concentration, mood, and preserve youthfulness. No wonder that ginseng is better known as flower of life. (more…)
If you want to improve your brain health, have a better memory and a greater attention span, the vitamins for memory website is your perfect starting point.
The increasing interest in brain health and daily scientific findings have created an impressive market for vitamins for memory and brain exercises. One of the best examples is the hype around fish oil tablets, which are powerful memory vitamins according to scientific research. Forbes magazine calculated that Americans spend 2.6 billion on nutritional foods supplements with omega-3 fatty acids.
What are good techniques and vitamins for memory?
Science has also greatly improved brain exercises. One of the best examples are those developed by the neuroscientists of Lumosity. The award winning training program has improved mental strength for hundreds of thousands of people (click here for a free trial).
But there are also a lot of brain games, supplements and vitamins that are not backed up with any scientific evidence. How do you know which vitamins and techniques actually improve your memory?
Who in the Hollywood-zoo takes which vitamins for memory? Name a product for your skin and it is linked to a not-so-wrinkled celebrity. Name a diet, and a not-so-fat television star is happy to advertise it. But how about vitamins for memory?
Many Hollywood-stars take vitamins and supplements, and most of those are known to have positive effects on memory. However, not all stars are as keen to talk about the vitamins they take or they would rather make a joke about it.
Like actor Harrison Ford in ‘Hollywood Homicide’, when he says to his screen girlfriend: “If I take my ginkgo, I can remember where I put my Viagra.”
Other celebrities, however, are more than happy to talk about their supplements. Actress Hilary Swank, who won her second Academy Award for her role in ‘Million Dollar Baby’, takes nearly 45 supplements a day. Aloe C, pills for her immune system and flax are only a few of the supplements she takes.
She gets her brain vitamins from BrainWave. “It’s great, like if I have a lot of lines to memorize. I shoved them in my mouth right before I met you, which I actually shouldn’t do, because I choked on my vitamins once before,” she told the reporter of W magazine.
Actress Hilary Swank takes vitamins for memory to memorize her lines
Swank gets her brain vitamins through Oz Garcia, a famous celebrity nutritionist who wrote a best-selling book on memory supplements, and she sees her vitamin regimen as one of the secrets to her success. “Oz has changed my life. The Longevity Pak is so awesome.”
She combines her vitamin intake with exercise. Some serious exercise, because twice a week she lifts weights, and the other days she hikes, does Power Pilates or Krav Maga, an Israeli hand-to-hand self-defense technique.
From Swank’s tough fitness regime, it is a small step to former professional body-builder Arnold Schwarzenegger. He is another celebrity who takes a pile of supplements a day. “Even today, when I eat, I have five or six bottles of food supplements, vitamins C and B12 and fish oil pills and all that kind of stuff,” he said. “Wherever I am, I have food supplements. That’s part of me. I just happen to believe in it very strongly.”
Even higher in the politician hierarchy, fish oil tablets are very popular. Former-president George W. Bush is known to take these tablets with every meal.
Not only the once most powerful man takes fish oil tablets, also the once fattest man in the world, Manuel Uribe. The man who once resembled on a scale the weight of five baby elephants (almost 596.9 kilos), lost 175 kilos using diet and fish oil supplements. The latter also treated his brain and memory.
Oprah’s vitamins for memory
Skateboarding legend Tony Hawk took vitamins for memory to the next level. Recent research showed that children do not take as many vitamins as their parents, but that is all about to change if you leave it up to The Hawk. The scateboarder introduced NBYT – the Tony Hawk HuckJam – to the market. These chewy vitamins for kids are shaped like miniature skateboard decks, wheels and Tony’s signature hawk skull, and contain 11 vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C and vitamin B12.
Vitamins for memory which truly have reached the stars are the ones combined in the all-natural energy drink Eboost. NBA-star Amar’e Stoudemire, Oprah Winfrey, Victoria Beckham, model Heidi Klum, football-player Shea Emry, and CSI Miami-actor Eddie Cibrian, they all consume the drink which contains zinc and vitamin B12 amongst other vitamins for memory.
Oprah says: “Jet-lagged, frazzled, on the verge of a cold? Rev up your energy with these effervescent tablets made from vitamins, green tea leaf extract and more.”
Football-hero Emry adds: “This supplement allows me to stay hydrated and focused throughout my training, practices and game days.”
And then there are the celebrities that are on the edge of taking vitamins for memory. British supermodel Kate Moss, for example, has recently started to take vitamins because she is “totally into” looking after her health. She said: “I plan to totally get into looking after myself, taking the right vitamins and all the stuff you read about.”
Well Kate, we’ll see you soon at the Vitamins for Memory website then!
Vitamins for Memory
According to a recent survey 60 percent of US adults take vitamins or supplements and particularly vitamins for memory are popular. The top 7 of most popular vitamins are all linked to vitamins for memory.
75 percent of the respondents that take supplements choose multivitamins, making them the most popular supplement in the US. vitamins for memory vitamin D and vitamin C came second and third with respectively 52 and 49 percent of the participants adding them to their diet. Calcium (45 percent), B Vitamins (43 percent), Fish oil (42 percent) and Iron (25 percent) completed the top 7.
Dietary supplements are increasingly popular. Over 40 percent of US adults used supplements in 1988-1994, which increased to half of the population in 2003-2006, according to a study by CDC. Vitamin D and particularly multivitamins have increased significantly in popularity. In 2003-2006 approximately 40 percent of US adults took multivitamins – compared to 75 percent today.
According to the recent research, conducted by Wakefield Research for Vitamin Shoppe, starting on a vitamin regimen is not an impulsive decision. Nearly half of the respondents began taking a vitamin based on the recommendation of an expert, a third gave improving overall health as a reason, and one in ten wanted to feel better about themselves.
And they sure did feel good about themselves, given that more than 70 percent agreed with the statement ‘I feel more confident about my overall health when taking vitamins and/or supplements’.
Interestingly, the research did not find major differences between men and women in taking vitamins or supplements. 65 Percent of women and 55 percent of men take dietary supplements. Vitamin C, B vitamins and fish oil, well-known memory vitamins, are slightly more popular with men, while women tend to buy more multivitamins, vitamin D, calcium and iron.
Children take less vitamins for memory
Results from the survey further suggests that having a child has a negative effect on taking vitamins for memory; only 38 percent of moms and dads take a daily vitamin – compared to 60 percent of all US adults.
Few parents pass on the habit of taking supplements to their children. Only 34 percent of children get a daily vitamin. One possible reason why kids stay behind in taking dietary supplements compared to adults, is that 59 percent of the parents said it is a challenge to find out which vitamins and supplements they needed to give their child.
Reasons why people not take vitamins for memory
And what about the respondents that do not take vitamins? They were asked why they did not take vitamins, and 43 percent felt they did not need vitamins with a balanced diet.
Almost one in four gave a different reason: they thought they would never remember to take them!
It seems the ultimate reason to start taking vitamins or memory.
Wakefield Research – for Vitamin Shoppe. (2011). America’s Take on Vitamins. (link)
Gahche, et al. (2011). Dietary supplement use among U.S. adults has increased since NHANES III (1988–1994). NCHS data brief, no 61. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2011. (link)
Vitamins for memory
Just like other vitamins for memory like Ginkgo Biloba, huperzine A has conquered a place in many memory supplements in Western civilization. Although the name huperzine A might suggest we are dealing with a state-of-the-art technique (or NASA’s latest rocket), it is actually a botanical, which has been used in China for centuries for the treatment of swelling, fever and blood disorders. Huperzine A is found in a plant called Huperzia serrata.
But what does huperzine A do to the brain? And are supplements containing this ingredient vitamins for memory?
To understand what effect huperzine A has on the brain, we have to look at a neuronal level. A brain cell (neuron) communicates with its neighbour by releasing a chemical, called a neurotransmitter. When the neighbouring cell absorbs this chemical, the communication has been completed and this neuron may do the same thing with another brain cell.
One chemical neurons use as a messenger, is acetylcholine. Acetylcholine plays an important role in learning and memory, but an enzyme with a tongue-twisting name – acetylcholinesterase – breaks down the neurotransmitter. You could say that acetylcholinesterase intercepts the messages that neurons send to each other (see picture below).
How vitamins for memory like huperzine A improve memory
This is where huperzine A comes into play. The chemical inhibits the enzyme acetylcholinesterase, making sure that more acetylcholine can float between different neurons and communication improves. This way these ingredients could be seen as vitamins for memory.
Does this mean that if you would kill all the enzymes with that terrible name, you would get a super brain? No, as with almost all other things in nature, it is all about getting the right balance. You need the enzyme to make sure the balance does not tip to the other side (too much acetylcholine).
In many people with brain diseases, like Alzheimer’s disease, the balance of acetylcholine in the brain is off. These patients might benefit from vitamins for memory like huperzine A, and this has indeed been found in a substantial amount of studies. A daily 200 micrograms of huperzine A appeared to be enough to have a beneficial effect on memory of patients wit Alzheimer’s disease.
But there is more to huperzine A, because it also has antioxidant (link) and neuroprotective properties. According to the National Institute of Aging all this together means that huperzine A ‘might be useful as a disease-modifying treatment for Alzheimer’s disease’.
Mainly groups from China have studied these vitamins for memory
However, the National Institute of Aging points out that most of the scientific evidence for huperzine A comes mainly from research groups in China (which is not surprising since it has been used as a medicine there for several centuries). The first large-scale US clinical trial of huperzine A by the Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study found that participants with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease experienced no greater benefit when taking huperzine A than when taking a placebo.
Huperzine A is often sold in vitamins for memory for healthy people. Can their memory benefit from these memory vitamins?
Both the Eastern and the Western research world agree on this: no. One Chinese study found enhanced memory in students, but that study was poorly designed and these results have not been replicated for over twelve years.
Although many studies from groups in China suggest that huperzine A might have beneficial memory effects for people with Alzheimer’s disease, these findings are not heavily supported by research in the US. If you decide to try these memory vitamins before more results on huperzine A are available, it is recommended to do this under a doctor’s supervision.
Vitamins for memory
FOCUSfactor has crammed a lot of vitamins in their memory supplements
There are no preservatives, artificial colorings and the likes in these memory supplements
The full ingredients list:
Vitamins A, C, D, E, B6, B12, riboflavin, niacin, folic acid, biotin, pantothenic acid, calcium, iron, iodine, magnesium, zinc, selenium, copper, manganese, chromium, molybdenum, potassium, proprietary formula including: (diemethylaminoethanol (as DMAE bitartrate) L-glutamine, Bacopin® (Bacopa monnieri extract; leaf), L-pyroglutamic acid, phosphatidylserine, docosahexaenoic acid concentrate (15% DHA from fish body oil), choline (as choline bitartrate), inositol, N-acetyltyrosine, bilberry fruit standardized extract (25% anthocyanosides), gamma-aminobutyric acid, grape skin extract and Activin™, (grape seed extract), vinpocetine, Trace-Lyte™ electrolyte concentrate, huperzine A (extract of huperzia serrata; whole plant), boron (as boron citrate), and vanadium (as vanadyle sulfate).
The Ginkgo Biloba tree is almost untouchable, thanks to its impressive resume. Have a look at a summary of the achievements of the tree:
Its combination of resistance to disease, insect-resistant wood and the ability to form aerial roots and sprouts makes the Ginkgo Biloba tree long-lived. It is one of the oldest living tree species on this planet, with some specimens claimed to be more than 2,500 years old. The tree can tower to a height of 120 feet, and can reach a spread of 35 feet.
Not bad, for a tree. But Ginkgo Biloba’s fame reaches much further heights.
When the Japanese city Hiroshima was attacked with an atomic bomb during the second World-war, nearly everything that lived in or around the city was killed or demolished.
Nearly… because guess who was still there. Indeed, Ginkgo the Invincible. One Gingko biloba tree, situated 1130 metres away from the hypocenter of the bomb, was unharmed by the attack, while the temple right next to it was annihilated. When they rebuilt a bigger temple at the same spot, the holy place was built around the tree. Making El ginkgo bigger than God.
Since the World-war the Ginkgo biloba tree is known as the ‘Bearer of Hope’ in Japan and in Buddhism the tree has a special place.
Also in the Western society Ginkgo’s popularity is great. Ginkgo biloba tree leaves are one of the most extensively studied botanicals in use today and in Europe and the United States Ginkgo supplements are among the best-selling herbal medications. Not only are the leaves from the Ginkgo biloba tree high in antioxidants, Ginkgo can also treat circulatory disorders. Moreover, Ginkgo has been linked to fewer feelings of depression, and improved social behaviour, activities of daily living, thinking, learning, and memory.
The leaves of the ginkgo biloba tree are vitamins for memory
In this post on vitamins for memory, evidence for Ginkgo as a memory enhancer is critically analyzed and discussed.
The components from the Ginkgo Biloba tree that are believed to be responsible for the herb’s medicinal effects are flavonoids and terpenoids. Flavonoids, which are also found in chocolate, are antioxidants and several studies have found that flavonoids protect nerves and blood vessels from damage (see my post on antioxidants). Terpenoids improve blood flow by dilating blood vessels.
What does this mean for cognitive functions? In one popular article, the Medical Center of the University of Maryland states that scientific studies throughout the years have found evidence to support that Ginkgo enhances memory and that it ‘may be especially effective in treating dementia (including Alzheimer’s disease)’.
It is not true that vitamins for memory like the Ginkgo Biloba tree treat Alzheimer’s
This is quite a statement, and it is not entirely true. First, there is evidence that Gingko can serve as a memory enhancer – the list of references under the Medical Center’s article is impressive – but it should be noted that some studies do not find such an effect of Ginkgo on memory.
Second, the claim that the juice of the tree’s leaves is effective in treating dementia seems overstated. Recently the Ginkgo Evaluation of Memory (GEM) study found Ginkgo Biloba to be ineffective in reducing the development of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in older people. With more than 3000 people followed for 8 years, GEM is the largest study on the Ginkgo as a memory enhancer.
The Ginkgo tree is quite an impressive tree, with an amazing resume. It is however easy to get carried away and attribute more characteristics to the Ginkgo Biloba tree. Although some studies suggest otherwise, Ginkgo Biloba does not seem to prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
A list of studies suggest that the leaves of the Gingko Biloba tree can serve as vitamins for memory; the ‘Bearer of Hope’ enhances memory and cognition in those reports.
Ginkgo biloba tree
Articles on vitamins C and E (popular memory supplements) usually result in an epic war story. Main characters are the antioxidants and the free radicals. Battle field: the human body.
In these Hollywood-like tales, the free radicals are the main enemies of the human body. It is never clear where exactly they come from, but they are out there. Somehow they ninja themselves into our bodies and start beating the living daylights out of the neurons in our brain.
Luckily the body is assisted by an army of Silverster Stallones and Steven Seagals. The cell bodyguards fight the free radicals under the code name ‘antioxidants’.
It’s a frightening clash, and it’s based on a true story. But what are the facts and what is dramatized for Hollywood? And where do these free radicals come from? And do the antioxidants need help from memory supplements?
Let’s first analyze ‘the enemy’. Free radicals are natural by-products of oxidation, the body’s burning of fuel to produce energy. Free radicals are not just ‘bad’, they are also generated and used by our immune cells in carrying out their tasks to maintain a healthy body. There is evidence though that free radical damage within cells is involved in degenerative diseases and cancers.
Here is where the antioxidants, for example from memory supplements, come in. The antioxidants make sure that fuel is burned in such a way that no or very little radicals are ‘set free’ to damage cells; the antioxidants protect the cells while the engine is burning.
Memory supplements protect cells
There are processes that increase the production of free radicals, so-called oxidative stress. When there is too much oxidative stress, and not enough antioxidant intake, the protection of the cells in our body is lowered. A few examples of factors that increase oxidative stress are smoking, alcohol, drugs, and environmental pollution.
Since it is hard to avoid all these factors that increase oxidative stress, our body needs antioxidants, like vitamin C and E. These vitamins for memory can be found in foods such as blueberries, strawberries, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, spinach, broccoli, green tea, nuts, seeds, and citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruits. And in memory supplements.
Memory supplements containing vitamins C and E delay cognitive decline
For a lot of people these days, the fruits and vegetables that have high vitamin C and E are not part of their diet. One long-term health study (reported in the journal Neurology) has shown that vitamin E and vitamin C supplements have a protective effect against memory problems and loss of mental alertness. Another study, known as the Cache County study, concluded that the intake from food and memory supplements with vitamin C, vitamin E and carotene may delay cognitive decline in elderly.
Although the results of these studies are appealing, there are other studies that find very little - or no - effect for memory supplements with vitamin C and vitamin E on memory. One study found that people with diabetes or vascular diseases should be careful taking these type of memory supplements and these people particularly are advised to consult a doctor before taking a vitamin C or vitamin E supplement.
As with other memory supplements, vitamin C and vitamin E (and also beta carotene) can be beneficial and assist your body to stay healthy. The best way is to make sure you get enough of these vitamins for memory from your diet, so Silvester and Steven have enough help to battle those free radicals.