Improving Memory

Dec 18, 2008 by

Improving MemoryContrary to a popular misconception, memory doesn’t function like a muscle. This means that improving memory isn’t as simple as daily exercises. It is far more accurate to look at memory like a database or spreadsheet – that is to say, memory is the way our brains organize information. Problems with memory, including the daily hiccups that plague and infuriate many of us, along with the sorts of memory loss that accompany aging, arise when the brain fails to properly organize information, or allows information to become “disorganized” (to follow the metaphor to its end).

There are two clinically proven ways to improve memory, and there’s no reason they shouldn’t be used in concert. The first is to change and reorganize the way your brain processes information. Though this may sound impossible, it’s often a matter of changing the way you think. Experts refer to these techniques as “internal aids.” They include mnemonic devices, such as combining a list of terms into a more easily remembered story, or creating a string of images to accompany the terms. The key here is improving memory by forging connections between one term and the next, thereby aiding the brain’s process of organizing information. These same mnemonic devices have been utilized for years by grade school teachers for such tasks as memorizing state capitals or the names of American presidents in sequential order.

Mnemonics are only one way you can encode a new memory. Part of the reason it can be difficult to remember things like telephone numbers is that the information is random: there’s no pattern or association your brain can attach to the information to make it memorable. What is your most vivid memory from childhood? Is the memory happy, sad, scary, funny? Chances are, the things you remember the most from years ago are those memories with powerful emotional impact. When something effects us emotionally, our brains tend to latch onto that memory and encode it into long term storage more quickly. You can use this property of the brain to good effect by associating an item you want to remember with an image or idea that resonates emotionally with you. Once you’ve created this sort of emotional connection to the information you want to retain, it will become much easier to remember.

Memory also works better when you’re in a relaxed state of mind. You’ve probably noticed that it’s more difficult to learn a new task or recall information that you’ve recently learned when you’re feeling stressed— if you’re trying to memorize facts for an upcoming exam or learn skills for a practical exam like a driver’s test, for instance. A simple relaxation exercise such as deep breathing can help your brain switch into a calmer state that is more conducive to learning and memory recall.

The second clinically verified way of improving memory is through dietary supplement. The brain remains the “final frontier” of science. Unlike our understanding of the rest of the body, our knowledge of the inner workings of the human brain is growing by the day. As our knowledge grows, so too does our understanding of the manner in which certain natural products affect the brain’s functioning. At the forefront of these developments are products that aid in brain function, including the improvement of both day-to-day memory, and longer-term memory.

Most memory improving supplents on the market today focus on boosting overall health in ways that can also have positive effects on memory. For instance, the enzyme supplements acetyl L-carnitine and COQ10 assist the body’s cells in producing ATP (our main source of energy) and on balancing energy usage throughout the body and brain. Other supplements such as alpha glycerophosphocholine (GPC), a precursor to acetylcholine, may help maintain the integrity of brain structures and protect them against oxidizing free radicals. All of these health benefits also can have the useful effect of improving your ability to form and recall memories.

We continue to search for products that come onto the market, and we test each one of them, and then furnish unbiased reviews of our findings. So far, we have found that products which incorporate Celastrus seed into their products, perform far superior to traditional herbal preparations that contain Gingko biloba.

From our research, two different products are presently available; one is in a capsule form and is called “Cognitol“, and the other is in a far more flexible and easily absorbed tincture form called “Cognihance“. We like both products, but the Cognihance product outperforms the encapsulated product in test after test.

We like the fact that the tincture is instantly absorbed by the body, it can be put under the tongue or into tea, it can be mixed with virtually any drink, it’s easy to carry, and has a 2 year shelf life…what could be better?

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