Give Your Brain A Boost
Nobody likes to be forgotten, and, definitely, nobody enjoys forgetting. Regardless of your age, a healthy brain and nervous system are crucial to creating and maintaining our valuable memories. However, as we age, we need to help our bodies along by eating healthy, exercising our brains, and considering appropriate supplements to maximize our brain function and continue learning and remembering.
Ginkgo biloba can be effective in improving cognitive function in patients with mild to moderate memory loss issues. It could improve short-term visual memory and speed of cognitive processing. It appears to work by increasing blood flow to the brain, decreasing toxic beta-amyloid peptides, and increasing antioxidant activity in nerve and brain cells. It is generally well-tolerated, but caution should be taken in patients on anti-clotting medicines and/or those who get migraine headaches. Benefits typically appear after 2-3 weeks of use. Ginkgo can be found on its own in products such as GINKGO PHYTOSOME (by Enzymatic Therapy), where it is bound to phosphatidylcholine for enhanced absorption. Combination products such as COGNIPLEX (by Biomed) combine ginkgo with other herbs such as bacopa monniera and vinpocetine to further improve circulation in the brain as well as to enhance learning rate and memory, especially in relation to dementias such as Alzheimer’s. SMART GINKGO (by New Roots Herbals) is another such combination that includes GABA and l-theanine to help promote a feeling of calmness as well as phosphatidylserine to nourish the brain’s tissues.
COGNISURE (by Metagenics) contains COLOSTRININ, which is a bovine-derived, protein-rich complex. It has been observed in various clinical studies to improve cognitive function in adults. It appears to work via its antioxidant properties as well as its ability to stabilize beta-amyloids and protect various DNA structures. It is well-tolerated and is taken just once daily. Cognisure’s benefits can be felt in as little as a week (as reported anecdotally). CERALIN FORTE (by Metagenics) is a foundation neuroprotective formula formulated to provide further antioxidant protection for the central nervous system (i.e., the brain and spinal cord) and to support healthy cognitive function on an ongoing basis. Both of these supplements are well tolerated and pose very little potential interactions with other medications.
LION’S MANE (eg. by Purica) is a medicinal mushroom shown to boost brain power by protecting nerve cells from chemical damage. It may also help calm the nervous system, improving focus, concentration, memory, and even curbing depression and anxiety. The active ingredients in Purica’s LION’S MANE (like their entire line of medicinal mushrooms) is harnessed by a special “micronization” process to ensure a much higher active ingredient content than other brands which rely on a simple “extraction” process.
If you want to approach things from a homeopathic stand-point, try CEREBRUM COMPOSITUM. The goal here is not only to improve the brain’s cognitive and memory functions, but to prevent or improve any circulatory disturbances that may arise from arteriosclerosis (thickening and/or hardening of the artery walls). Its formula also contains ingredients to help with stress and calming, which can be beneficial in certain cases of dementia.
Essential fatty acids have many benefits in the body including cardiovascular health, joint health, brain health, neuroprotection and healthy cognitive function. TOCO-X-KRILL (by Biomed) is a combination of biologically active tocotrienol (a form of vitamin E) and “Neptune Krill Oil” (a source of omega-3 fatty acids). Tocotrienol is better absorbed and provides antioxidant protection, which may protect against stroke-induced brain injury as well as prevent aging of the brain and dementia. Krill oil is well-known to help reduce inflammation as well as help improve cholesterol levels.
Our father, Dr. Henry Cheng, has been recommending LUCOZADE for his patients for years with amazing results. It appears as if it is simply a carbonated sugar drink, but Lucozade can give you a temporary mental and physical boost, hence it has been a staple in sports and general medicine in England and Hong Kong for decades. For the purpose of boosting brain function, Lucozade only needs to be consumed in small quantities.
Preserving cognitive function and preventing memory loss and/or dementias takes more than just popping a pill. Just as we need physical activity to maintain our body’s mobility and function, research shows we can improve the connections in our brain simply by using it: Consider doing crosswords, jigsaws, or challenging a friend to a game of chess…keep up hobbies such as sewing, knitting, carpentry…join or start a book club…it’s never too late to pursue a new interest such as learning to play a musical instrument. Work your mind and you’ll help to preserve its function and your precious memories.
(Christine and Fred Cheng are a passionate, charismatic sister-brother pharmacist team at their unique family-owned and operated Pharmasave in Cloverdale, BC. Their pharmacy celebrated its 30-Year Birthday last year. They specialize in natural remedies and compounding for both human and veterinarian use. Everything mentioned in their article is available InStore and OnLine. They would love to hear from you! 604-576-2888; www.cloverdalepharmasave.com. Of course, before you begin any activity program or try any OTC supplementation, check with your physician and pharmacist.)