The Analyst™

Comprehensive diagnosis of your symptoms

Healthy

  Poor Memory  
 
Search treatments and conditions
Signs, symptoms and indicators | Contributing risk factors | Other conditions that may be present | Recommendations

 

There are several classes of memory enhancing compounds that enhance cognitive function and protect against neurological aging. The most common memory-enhancing nutrients are choline, lecithin and DMAE. These nutrients boost acetylcholine levels in the brain. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that enables brain cells to communicate with each other. A deficiency of acetylcholine can predispose a person to a wide range of neurological diseases including Alzheimer's disease and stroke. Another mechanism of memory enhancement involves boosting the energy output of brain cells. Aging causes a decline in the ability or neurons to take up glucose and to generate energy in the mitochondria. This decline in energy production causes memory and other cognitive deficits and results in the accumulation of cellular debris that eventually kills brain cells When enough brain cells have died from accumulated cellular debris, senility is usually diagnosed. Compounds that fit into the category of brain cell energy enhancers include piracetam, acetyl-l-carnitine, ginkgo biloba, NADH, centrophenoxine, and phosphatidylserine.
 

 
 

Signs, symptoms & indicators of Poor Memory:
 
 
Symptoms - Mind - General  Short-term memory failure
  Long-term memory failure
 
 

Risk factors for Poor Memory:
 
 
Allergy  Environmental Illness / MCS

Environment / Toxicity

  Mercury Toxicity / Amalgam Illness
 Short term memory loss is initially the most common complaint associated with mercury toxicity.

  Silicone Breast Implant Problems
  General Detoxification Requirement

Hormones

  Hyperparathyroidism
  Low Estrogen Levels

Infections

  Lyme Disease

Metabolic

  Hypoglycemia
 Temporary forgetfulness is a known symptom of hypoglycemia.

Nutrients

  Iron Requirement
 Research has shown that women with moderately low iron levels might be at risk for memory, attention and poor mental function. Experts stated the simple solution to this problem was recommending women take iron supplements. The study involved dividing women into three groups according to their iron levels, which were classified as either normal, iron-deficient but not anemic, or anemic. The womenís ages ranged from 18 to 35 and iron measurements were taken from each of them to determine their iron levels. During the initial stages of the study, women were given computerized tests that were used to calculate their attention, memory and learning skills, and then they were given either a daily iron supplement or placebo.

After four months, the women took the computerized tests again. The first set of test results showed women with iron levels in the normal range scored the highest compared to the scores of the iron-deficient women who didnít have anemia, who were lower. It was also discovered that anemic women didnít score well on the test and took a longer time to finish it. However, the results showed an improvement in the testing scores after the women took supplements and brought their iron up to healthy levels. [Yahoo! News April 19, 2004]

  EFA (Essential Fatty Acid) Type 3 Requirement
 Significant changes in the way food is produced and manufactured have not only reduced the amounts of essential fats, vitamins and minerals consumed, but have also disturbed the balance of nutrients in the foods eaten. The proliferation of industrialised farming has introduced pesticides and altered the body fat composition of animals due to the diets they are now fed. As a result, the population's intake of omega-3 fatty acids has decreased whilst the consumption of omega-6 fatty acids has increased. According to the research, this unequal intake combined with a lack of vitamins and minerals is associated with depression, concentration and memory problems. [Bipolar News Jan. 2006]

  Magnesium Requirement
  Antioxidant Need/Oxidative Stress w/ Supplements
 Eating an antioxidant-rich diet may help keep cognitive skills strong during old age, according to an animal study conducted at the University of Toronto. Old dogs that were on an antioxidant diet performed better on a variety of cognitive tests than dogs that were not on the diet. The dogs eating the antioxidant-fortified foods performed as well as young animals. Antioxidants include vitamin E, vitamin C, and beta carotene (a form of vitamin A), as well as other minerals and compounds found in food. These nutrients have been shown to help reduce oxidation, a process that can cause damage to cells and may contribute to aging, including the reduced cognitive decline that typically develops with age. Supplementation was required for two years before differences were noted, so this is not a quick fix.

  Antioxidant Need/Oxidative Stress w/o Supplements
 Eating an antioxidant-rich diet may help keep cognitive skills strong during old age, according to an animal study conducted at the University of Toronto. Old dogs that were on an antioxidant diet performed better on a variety of cognitive tests than dogs that were not on the diet. The dogs eating the antioxidant-fortified foods performed as well as young animals. Antioxidants include vitamin E, vitamin C, and beta carotene (a form of vitamin A), as well as other minerals and compounds found in food. These nutrients have been shown to help reduce oxidation, a process that can cause damage to cells and may contribute to aging, including the reduced cognitive decline that typically develops with age. Supplementation was required for two years before differences were noted, so this is not a quick fix.

Organ Health

  Cirrhosis of the Liver
 A damaged liver cannot remove toxins from the blood, causing them to accumulate in the blood and eventually the brain. Once there, toxins can dull mental functioning and cause personality changes, coma, or even death. Signs of toxin buildup in the brain include neglect of personal appearance, unresponsiveness, forgetfulness, trouble concentrating, or changes in sleep habits.

Symptoms - Mind - General

Counter-indicators:
  Absence of long-term memory failure
  Absence of short-term memory loss
 
 

Poor Memory suggests the following may be present:
 
 
Environment / Toxicity  General Detoxification Requirement

Organ Health

  Cirrhosis of the Liver
 A damaged liver cannot remove toxins from the blood, causing them to accumulate in the blood and eventually the brain. Once there, toxins can dull mental functioning and cause personality changes, coma, or even death. Signs of toxin buildup in the brain include neglect of personal appearance, unresponsiveness, forgetfulness, trouble concentrating, or changes in sleep habits.
 
 

Recommendations for Poor Memory:
 
 
Amino Acid / Protein  Theanine (L-Theanine)

Botanical

  Coffee (Coffea genus)
 In a study of 15 healthy men ages 26 to 47, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) showed increased activity in the frontal lobe where the working memory is located and in the anterior cingulum that controls attention 20 minutes after the men consumed 100mg of caffeine.

Also, after consuming caffeine, all the men showed a tendency toward improved reaction times on the test, compared to when they had no caffeine, said study author Dr.Florian Koppelstatter, a radiology fellow at the university.

Caffeine is the world's most widely used stimulant, with a global, per-person average of 76mg a day.

  Vinpocetine
  Sage (Salvia officinalis)
 Sage is an outstanding memory enhancer. In this placebo-controlled, double-blind, crossover study, two trials were conducted using a total of 45 young adult volunteers. Participants were given either placebo or a standardized essential oil extract of sage in doses ranging from 50 to 150microls. Cognitive tests were then conducted 1, 2, 4, 5, and 6 hours afterwards. In both trials, even the 50microl dose of sage significantly improved subjectsí immediate recall. The two-trial experiment provides the first systematic evidence that sage is useful for memory function, at least in the short term.
[Pharmacological Biochemical Behavior June, 2003;75(3): pp.669-74]

  Rosemary (Rosemariana officinalis)
 Inhalation of rosemary essential oil enhanced overall memory performance and secondary memory factors, but impaired memory speed in a randomized study of 144 people. [British Psychological Society Annual Conference, March 13-16, 2002, Blackpool, UK.]

  Cinnamon (Cinnamonum zeylanicum)
  Huperzia serrata
  Noni
  Ginkgo Biloba
 It turns out that Gingko biloba has no beneficial effect on memory in healthy older people, according to a US study. "Many of our older patients were taking gingko and wanted to know if it was of any benefit. But although there had been dozens of trials showing beneficial effects, they all had serious shortcomings. We decided to carry out the first scientifically rigorous study," said Paul Solomon who led the study at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts.

Solomon's team studied 230 adults over the age of 60 who were physically and mentally healthy. They found no memory improvements after six weeks of daily gingko supplementation.

The participants were given 14 standardized tests of learning, memory, attention and concentration. Half of the group were then given daily gingko biloba tablets for six weeks while the rest received a placebo. [NewScientist.com news service, August 2002]


Not recommended:
  Lavender Oil (Lavandula angustifolia)
 Inhalation of lavender essential oil (Lavandula angustifolia) decreased working memory performance and memory reaction time in a randomized, three-arm (lavender, rosemary, no scent) study of 144 people.[British Psychological Society Annual Conference, March 13-16, 2002, Blackpool, UK.]

Diet

  Increased Fruit/Vegetable Consumption
 Animal study: One group of young rats were fed a diet supplemented with a 2% blueberry extract while another group was fed the same diet without the extract. Author's conclusion: Blueberries contain a particular group of as-yet unidentified bioactive chemicals that reduce the functional consequences of brain damage, including a loss of the ability to learn or remember recent events.

Drug

  GHB (Gamma-Hydroxybutyrate)
 An IND (Investigational New Drug Application) has been filed with the FDA for GHB's proposed action on improving poor memory.

Hormone

  Pregnenolone
 Aging can causes a deficiency in pregnenolone and DHEA production. Over the years, medical researchers have discovered pregnenolone is an effective stimulant of the amygdala area of the brain ≠ an area which plays a major role in memory retention. While memory enhancment has been documented in animal studies, support for use in humans is still anecdotal. While more study is needed, several experts in the field of natural memory stimulants have called pregnenolone 'the most potent memory enhancer ever found.'

Mineral

  Boron
 Boron appears to play a significant role in human brain function and cognitive performance. In multiple studies, older men and women showed statistically significant impairment in cognitive function on a low-boron diet in comparison to a diet ample in boron. Manual dexterity, eye-hand coordination, attention, perception, encoding, short-term and long-term memory all suffered on a lower boron diet. [Environ Health Perspect, 1994 (102) Suppl 7: pp.65-72]

  Lithium (low dose)
 Low dose lithium can have brain regeneration effects.

Miscellaneous

  Reading List
 The Better Brain Book by David Perlmutter, M.D. provides tools needed for rejuvenating the mind, whether you have become forgetful and less able to focus at work, or are trying to help a loved one who has suffered a serious illness. The Better Brain Book offers a unique three-tiered food and supplement program that helps heal damage and restore youthful sharpness and memory, as well as specific exercises for keeping the mind alert.

Nutrient

  Lecithin / Choline / GPC
  Phosphatidylserine
 
 


KEY
Weak or unproven link
Strong or generally accepted link
Proven definite or direct link
Very strongly or absolutely counter-indicative
May do some good
Likely to help
May have adverse consequences







GLOSSARY

Acetylcholine:  A neurotransmitter widely distributed in body tissues with a primary function of mediating synaptic activity of the nervous system and skeletal muscles.

Alzheimer's Disease:  A progressive disease of the middle-aged and elderly, characterized by loss of function and death of nerve cells in several areas of the brain, leading to loss of mental functions such as memory and learning. Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia.

Anemia:  A condition resulting from an unusually low number of red blood cells or too little hemoglobin in the red blood cells. The most common type is iron-deficiency anemia in which the red blood cells are reduced in size and number, and hemoglobin levels are low. Clinical symptoms include shortness of breath, lethargy and heart palpitations.

Antioxidant:  A chemical compound that slows or prevents oxygen from reacting with other compounds. Some antioxidants have been shown to have cancer-protecting potential because they neutralize free radicals. Examples include vitamins C and E, alpha lipoic acid, beta carotene, the minerals selenium, zinc, and germanium, superoxide dismutase (SOD), coenzyme Q10, catalase, and some amino acids, like cystiene. Other nutrient sources include grape seed extract, curcumin, gingko, green tea, olive leaf, policosanol and pycnogenol.

Beta-Carotene:  The most abundant of the carotenoids, beta-carotene has strong provitamin A activity and is a stronger antioxidant than vitamin A. It is widely accepted today as a cancer preventative. It is found in leafy green and yellow vegetables, often missing in children's diets. Beta-Carotene is believed to be a superior source of Vitamin A because it is readily converted into a more active form of the substance: your body converts it to Vitamin A as needed.

Choline:  A lipotropic substance sometimes included in the vitamin B complex as essential for the metabolism of fats in the body. Precursor to acetylcholine, a major neurotransmitter in the brain. Choline prevents the deposition of fats in the liver and facilitates the movement of fats into the cells. Deficiency leads to cirrhosis of the liver.

Fatty Acids:  Chemical chains of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms that are part of a fat (lipid) and are the major component of triglycerides. Depending on the number and arrangement of these atoms, fatty acids are classified as either saturated, polyunsaturated, or monounsaturated. They are nutritional substances found in nature which include cholesterol, prostaglandins, and stearic, palmitic, linoleic, linolenic, eicosapentanoic (EPA), and decohexanoic acids. Important nutritional lipids include lecithin, choline, gamma-linoleic acid, and inositol.

Glucose:  A sugar that is the simplest form of carbohydrate. It is commonly referred to as blood sugar. The body breaks down carbohydrates in foods into glucose, which serves as the primary fuel for the muscles and the brain.

Hypoglycemia:  A condition characterized by an abnormally low blood glucose level. Severe hypoglycemia is rare and dangerous. It can be caused by medications such as insulin (diabetics are prone to hypoglycemia), severe physical exhaustion, and some illnesses.

Iron:  An essential mineral. Prevents anemia: as a constituent of hemoglobin, transports oxygen throughout the body. Virtually all of the oxygen used by cells in the life process are brought to the cells by the hemoglobin of red blood cells. Iron is a small but most vital, component of the hemoglobin in 20,000 billion red blood cells, of which 115 million are formed every minute. Heme iron (from meat) is absorbed 10 times more readily than the ferrous or ferric form.

Lecithin:  A mixture of phospholipids that is composed of fatty acids, glycerol, phosphorus, and choline or inositol. Lecithin can be manufactured in the body. All living cell membranes are largely composed of lecithin.

Mineral:  Plays a vital role in regulating many body functions. They act as catalysts in nerve response, muscle contraction and the metabolism of nutrients in foods. They regulate electrolyte balance and hormonal production, and they strengthen skeletal structures.

Mitochondrion:  Structure inside a cell that is the location of the cell's energy production machinery. (Plural: Mitochondria)

Neurotransmitters:  Chemicals in the brain that aid in the transmission of nerve impulses. Various Neurotransmitters are responsible for different functions including controlling mood and muscle movement and inhibiting or causing the sensation of pain.

Placebo:  A pharmacologically inactive substance. Often used to compare clinical responses against the effects of pharmacologically active substances in experiments.

Stroke:  A sudden loss of brain function caused by a blockage or rupture of a blood vessel that supplies the brain, characterized by loss of muscular control, complete or partial loss of sensation or consciousness, dizziness, slurred speech, or other symptoms that vary with the extent and severity of the damage to the brain. The most common manifestation is some degree of paralysis, but small strokes may occur without symptoms. Usually caused by arteriosclerosis, it often results in brain damage.

Vitamin A:  A fat-soluble vitamin essential to one's health. Plays an important part in the growth and repair of body tissue, protects epithelial tissue, helps maintain the skin and is necessary for night vision. It is also necessary for normal growth and formation of bones and teeth. For Vitamin A only, 1mg translates to 833 IU.

Vitamin C:  Also known as ascorbic acid, Vitamin C is a water-soluble antioxidant vitamin essential to the body's health. When bound to other nutrients, for example calcium, it would be referred to as "calcium ascorbate". As an antioxidant, it inhibits the formation of nitrosamines (a suspected carcinogen). Vitamin C is important for maintenance of bones, teeth, collagen and blood vessels (capillaries), enhances iron absorption and red blood cell formation, helps in the utilization of carbohydrates and synthesis of fats and proteins, aids in fighting bacterial infections, and interacts with other nutrients. It is present in citrus fruits, tomatoes, berries, potatoes and fresh, green leafy vegetables.

Vitamin E:  An essential fat-soluble vitamin. As an antioxidant, helps protect cell membranes, lipoproteins, fats and vitamin A from destructive oxidation. It helps protect red blood cells and is important for the proper function of nerves and muscles. For Vitamin E only, 1mg translates to 1 IU.