by Yvonne Salcido M.H.

Everyone, at sometime, experiences some form of memory loss. Have you ever walked into a room and wondered what you were going to get there and then have to retrace your steps to jog your memory? A study in Japan showed that one out of every ten young people (ages 20-35) had a serious memory problem. This was linked to dependence on computers and other electronic equipment. This dependency reduced the use of the human brain and recalling memory. Are we allowing technology to do the thinking for us?

On top of the new age electronic dependency effecting our memory, many different factors can contribute to memory loss such as: Nutritional deficiencies (example: inadequate amounts of Vitamin B12), loss of sleep, lack of exercise, not drinking enough water, alcohol consumption or illicit drug intoxication, an event where oxygen was cut off from the brain, brain growths, brain infections, cancer treatments, certain medications, seizures, head trauma or injury, heart bypass surgery, Illness that results in the nerve cells being lost or damaged,  and migraine headaches. Prevention is always the best cure so I will focus first on good habits to practice daily and then whole foods and herbs to heal.

A simple thing to do is drink plenty of good clean distilled water. Water has the amazing power to keep the brain in good health and functioning properly. The brain is 70% water keep it hydrated! When you get dehydrated (which is starting when you actually recognize that you are thirsty) the brain then releases the hormone cortisol, which affects the brain capability to retain information. Stress taxes us mentally and emotionally causing us strain or fatigue. This basically causes us to overwork the brain which leads to mental fatigue.The hormone cortisol is released during stress and emotional upset, this will affect memory. The brain needs to be able to rest and reboot.  Daily meditation is a great way to let the brain completely rest.

Is physical exercise good for the brain? You bet! It improves cognitive function. Exercise promotes neurogenesis (the creation of new nerve cells, neurons in the brain). Exercise has a protective effect on the brain as people age helping to delay or prevent neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s. Just as physical exercise is important exercising the brain is important which most of us don’t address, try learning something new, take a class, sudoku, and crossword puzzles. A great web site to play some brain games is: lumosity.com/personal-training-plan.

Sleep is something many of us fail to realize as important; especially the effect it has on brain function. Too little sleep causes impaired memory and thought processes, depression and decreased immune response. When you don’t get enough sleep, you can’t focus or concentrate the way you normally would. Inability to focus or concentrate inhibits the registration process vital to our memory formation.

The National Sleep Foundation recommends the following:

  • Maintain a regular bed and wake time (follow this schedule on weekends as well)
  • Establish a regular bedtime routine(e.g. hot bath or soaking in a tub)
  • Create a sleep conducive environment (dark, quiet, and comfortable)
  • Use your bedroom only for sleep (remove work material, computer & televisions)
  • Eat meals at least 2-3 hours before bedtime
  • Exercise regularly (exercise contributes to sounder sleep)

Good nutrition is critical for proper brain function and not just memory. Some super-foods for the brain include: green leafy vegetables, whole grains, avocados, blueberries, salmon, almonds, sunflower seeds, sweet potatoes, apples, cranberries, grapes, soy, strawberries, pumpkin seeds, eggplant,and walnuts. In addition to good nutrition, there are many herbs that have great benefits for memory a few are Gingko Biloba, Eyebright, Hawthorn, Gotu Kola, Bacopa, Rosemary, and Schisandra. Gingko biloba increases circulation to the upper half of the body especially the brain. Dr. Christopher developed a great formula for  memory healing called Memory Formula it contains Blue vervain, Gotu Kola, Blessed thistle, Brigham tea, Ginkgo biloba, Cayenne, Ginger root, and Lobelia.  Jurrasic green is another great formula for nourishing the brain. Our family has used these particular Dr. Christopher formulas faithfully when we have had exams to prepare for and take. We will take one tablespoon of Jurrasic Green in juice and six Dr. Christopher’s Memory Formula in the morning before we go to take a test. My children and I can tell a big difference in their memory retention levels.Hopefully we will all approach this subject in a holistic way and reap the benefits of taking great care of our brain… that is, if we can remember… Just kidding!