These Nutritional Ingredients May Improve Memory and Reduce Stress at the Same Time
Stress is something that affects everyone, whether you are a parent, grandparent, busy professionals or college student… we all experience stress in one form or another. Different types of stress range from being protective to concern about our physical, financial, psychological and emotional wellbeing. It is difficult to live a stress free life.
Our stressors may all be different, but the results of stress are the same, our brain signals our adrenal glands to release the hormone cortisol as well as adrenaline. This reaction has a purpose and is necessary at times to energize us so that we can for example protect ourselves, (fight or flight) or stay up late to meet an important deadline.
Stress however, becomes a problem when it is ongoing, and the level of our stress hormone cortisol remains high with no clear signal to return to normal. Elevated levels of cortisol can have dangerous and unhealthy consequences.
Chronically elevated cortisol levels can lead to:
• Increased healing times
• Increased susceptibility to infection
• Increased risk of hypertension and cardiovascular disease
• Increased risk of certain types of cancers
• Decreased thyroid function
• Accumulation of visceral/abdominal fat
• Digestive problems
• Sleep issues
• Compromised immune function
• Increased belly fat, obesity with increased risk of diabetes
• Impair Brain Function
• Impair brain functions like memory and possibly increase the risk of dementia and Alzheimer disease
Regarding brain function and memory, our memory declines significantly as we get older but by reducing stress we can slow or even reverse memory decline. There are many things we can do to reduce the symptoms of stress.
- Breathe deeply. When we get stressed we tend to shorten our breaths and deprive our body of oxygen which can lead to a lot of problems. Breathe in through your nose and fill up your belly with air, not so much your chest, then slowly exhale through your mouth. Doing this 10 or 15 times, can really help you feel calm.
- Get moving. It’s been shown that as little as 10 minutes of aerobic exercise coupled with deep breathing may produce quick benefits when you are stressed.
- Sleep well. Sleep is very restorative and healing. It helps the body to reset and regenerate its systems. I suggest for those who are having trouble sleeping, to take these three dietary supplements – 1 hour before bedtime:
1,000 mg. of L-tryptophan (an amino acid)
1 mg. melatonin, (you don’t need more than 1 mg)
400 mg. valerian extract
4. Take dietary supplements known to reduce stress, maintain healthy cortisol levels and enhance memory at the same time. These ingredients or supplements, have human studies done at very reputable research locations that support their safe and effective benefits. These are not based on animal studies and they’re certainly not based on hyperbolized advertising, so they can get some comfort out of knowing that these were really looked at by independent scientists who are not involved with the ingredients other than to find out if they worked and were safe.
Ashwagandha extract (600 mg) – Ashwagandha is an Ayurvedic herb, and is a main stay of a lot of Ayurvedic pharmaceutical research. It exists as a natural extract here in the United States as a dietary supplement, and taking 600 mg a day really helps people to reduce cortisol levels and just feel calm and focused.
Vinpocentine (15 mg) – From a brain function level, as we can all imagine, the arteries in our brain have to stay supple and dilated appropriately so that we can get enough blood, which thereby allows enough oxygen, which is critical to its function. The ingredient, Vinpocetine has been shown in clinical studies, not only to help maintain excellent cerebral perfusion, which is blood flow, and oxygen usage, but it also has been shown to be of significant benefit in day-to-day memory performance.
Huperzine –A (200 mcg) – Huperzine-A is an herb which in small doses helps the nerves in our brains to work efficiently because it protects the neurotransmitters that allow one nerve to communicate with another nerve. This is very important, because if they are destroyed it is like cutting down the bridge that allows the end of one nerve to communicate with the beginning of another nerve. The human studies on Huperzine-A are very impressive and they show that it helps people to recall facts, figures and names, and now there’s significant human research showing that it helps Alzheimer’s patients improve their results on mental testing. A secondary benefit is that it seems in some preliminary human research to possibly reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) (250 mg)
• Helps protect mental clarity and memory
• Helps make neurotransmitters (chemicals that affect our mind and mood)
• Helps fight against age related memory loss and some forms of dementia
Well known for its immune protecting abilities, recent studies link high vitamin C intake with improved mental function and reduced memory loss. A deficiency of vitamin C reduces production of neurotransmitters associated with anxiety.
Pyridoxal-5-phosphate (25 mg) (the metabolically active form of vitamin B-6) also known as PLP
- Supports healthy homocysteine levels (HCY). Elevated HCY levels are associated with brain shrinkage, cognitive decline and performance
- Important for nervous system functions
- Is needed in the synthesis of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine
- Helps offset the effects of sugar (glycation) which is harmful and aging to all cells and organs in the body including the brain and nerves
- According to some studies, supplementation with B-6 might lessen age-related cognitive decline (e.g., perception, attention, reaction time, and memory)
- Symptoms of B-6 deficiency include: Difficulty concentrating, short-term memory loss, nervousness, irritability, and depression.
- Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5) (30 mg) Regulates stress-related hormones to ensure a healthy state of mind
- Builds immune system
- Stamina builder helping to fight fatigue
Vitamin B-5 produces numerous enzymes and helps maintain precise communication between the central nervous system and the brain. Pantothenic Acid helps to manage stress and psychological strain. A low-level of B5 can lead to difficulty coping with stress, inability to relax and problems sleeping.
There’s something called CDP choline, and then there’s something called GPC choline which also have shown to be of benefit in helping people’s memory just be sharper. It makes sense because acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that allows an impulse, or one of the neurotransmitters, that allows an impulse from the ending of one nerve to jump to space, which is called a synapse, to the next one. So if that acetylcholine is not there in sufficient amounts or being degraded, which was the benefit of the huperzine, it could affect memory. So those are other things that listeners can check into as well.
Bacopa Monnieri (Brahmi) (320 mg)
• Maintains health brain chemistry
• Stimulates vital neurotransmitters that process information
• Reduces symptoms of anxiety
• Improves concentration
Brahmi is a well-known herb in India and is frequently used in Ayurvedic herbal preparations to improve memory and intelligence. Clinical studies suggest that bacopa may improve learning rate, ability to process data/information, retention of learned facts and memory.
Click Here for a dietary supplement that contains all of these ingredients in one caplet.
To sum up, you do not want stress to rob your memory, your health, your quality of life and your future and elevated levels of cortisol can do just that. Studies show that the ingredients I just mentioned can reduce cortisol by as much as 30% in as little as 1 to 2 weeks and increase your ability to recall facts, names and numbers in 4 to 12 weeks. Not only does this combination reduce stress while super charging your brain, they are very protective against the ravaging effects of stress on both our brain and body. I highly recommend them for adults and teens who live with daily ongoing stress, which is pretty much all of us.
About Curt Hendrix, M.S., C.C.N., C.N.S.
Curt Hendrix is a chemist with a master’s degree in clinical nutrition. He is also certified both as a clinical nutritionist, and a clinical nutrition specialist. For the past 25 years Curt Hendrix has been studying the chemistry of why diseases and health conditions occur, progress, reverse or never occur at all. He has coupled this research with a vast knowledge of naturally occurring compounds that demonstrate therapeutic benefits for preventing or treating many diseases and conditions, as well as some that may protect health well into old age.
Akeso Health Sciences
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