Memory Enhancement Pills

Sep 20, 2012 by

Many different products on the market today are being billed as memory enhancement pills, both in the pharmaceutical and alternative herbal realms of medicine. Before we go on to talk about the different kinds of memory enhancing supplements and herbs available today, it’s important to make a distinction between memory enhancement pills and those designed to improve your focus or attention span. Prescription drugs used to treat people suffering from ADD/ADHD (attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder) are an example of focus or concentration-enhancing pills. However, their off-label use as study aids can also cause a mental “crash”, in which people may have more difficulty maintaining focus and clear thinking after stopping their use.

In contrast, memory enhancement pills and supplements are designed to help you enhance your recall and ability to form memories; improve your mental sharpness and energy levels; fight free radicals in the brain that contribute to oxidant damage; and generally leave you feeling mentally sharper. Even better, supplements that improve memory generally improve concentration within this constellation of beneficial effects.

Natural memory enhancing supplements usually fall into one of three categories: dietary supplements of minerals and other nutrients found in food, chemical supplements of natural amino acids and enzymes, and herbal supplements. Of these, the food supplements are probably most well known. You’ve probably heard that taking fish oil supplements (Omega 3-6-9 fatty acids) is a great way to improve concentration and reduce mental fatigue; it turns out that fish oils probably also have a beneficial effect on memory for the same reason: mainly, that these essential fatty acids seem to have a supportive effect on brain tissues, keeping cell walls and nerve shafts healthy. Holistic approaches to treating ADHD also incorporate fish oil supplements.

Other memory enhancing supplements include the B-complex of vitamins and antioxidants, both of which also seem to work by protecting brain structures from damage. B-vitamins (found in meats, animal products, and some vegetable sources) help your body make red blood cells, which carry oxygen to the brain and body. This class of vitamins also seems to play a role in breaking down homocysteine, a toxin that can otherwise build up in the brain over time. Anti-oxidants are an important class of compounds that protect our cells from damage caused by free radicals, toxic byproducts of the process of cellular respiration. Besides in a supplement, you can get anti-oxidants from dark green vegetables, purple and dark red fruits, and orange root vegetables. Certain memory herbs, like the increasingly well-known celastrus seed, are also anti-oxidant.

Then there are the memory enhancement pills that work by providing metabolic support to the brain and body: although there are a plethora of metabolic supplements out there, we’ll focus on two that have a decent amount of research to support their effectiveness. The first is acetyl-L-carnitine, a compound similar to L-carnitine, which occurs naturally in cells and helps transport fatty acids into mitochondria for the purpose of generating energy. Said to be more easily absorbed by the body than L-carnitine, acetyl-L-carnitine has been gaining press as a brain enhancer for its ability to act as a powerful anti-oxidant within brain tissues. It is also valued by body builders looking for a natural metabolic boost to help them build muscle.

Another valuable metabolic supplement, both for enhancing cognition and possibly just overall health, is CoQ10, an enzyme also referred to as ubiquinol because it occurs in every cell of the body. Researchers now think that COQ10 plays an essential role in helping cells break down ATP (adenosine triphosphate) in the presence of oxygen for the production of cellular energy. Clearly, it’s good to have a ready supply of COQ10 on hand!

Finally, we come to the herbal memory enhancement pills, supplements you can use either by themselves or in combination for a powerful synergistic effect on your memory and concentration. Herbal memory supplements can sharpen all areas of your cognition: for instance, Bacopa monnieri, an Indian herb known in Ayurvedic medicine as brahmi, can help the brain retain memories in more detail and access them more readily after they’ve formed. Celastrus paniculatus, another Ayurvedic herb long used in South Asia as a memory enhancer, seems to enhance the brain’s ability to encode information (form memories) initially, and also contributes to sharper thinking by acting as a cholinergic. If you need an herb to give you that initial boost in concentration and mental energy, there’s gotu kola, a South Indian herb that can aid focus and mental clarity as well as boost mood. Gotu kola can energize you without over-stimulating the way caffeine can, and be anxiolytic without being sedating. This herb may generate these effects at least in part by raising blood sugar levels: low blood sugar has been associated with irritability, mental fatigue, and even impaired thinking.

Currently, we’ve written about two exciting herbal products on our site: the memory-boosting Cognihance tincture and the memory enhancement pill Cognitol. Are there are any particular merits of one form over another? Although we talk about the tincture much more in depth in our Cognihance review, the main benefit of the liquid form is that your body can absorb it more readily than a pill, which must pass through the stomach. The tincture form may also have effects that are noticeable a bit more quickly. However, you may prefer memory enhancement pills if you don’t care for the taste of the Cognihance tincture, or if you want the convenience of a pill you can take any time of the day.

Whether you choose food supplements, enzymes, memory herbs or a combination of these things, these natural routes to memory enhancement can help your brain keep clicking along happily for many years to come!

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