Memory is as natural as breathing, an ability we all have unless we notice that we are losing that ability. The greatest fear brought on by lapses in memory is probably that of Alzheimer's disease. Even though this is a common disorder among the elderly, it is important to be aware that most memory lapses have nothing to do with Alzheimer's disease.

People expect that as they age, their ability to remember will begin to deteriorate and their power to recall will diminish. This is not necessarily true. Aging itself has little, if any, relevance on the ability to recall information.

Infrequent memory lapses are natural at practically any age. With proper diet and nutrition the memory should remain active and sharp well into the nineties or beyond.

One reason many people suffer from memory loss is the lack of necessary nutrients to the brain. The life of the body is in the blood. It feeds and nourishes every cell within the body. The brain is surrounded by a protective cover known as the blood-brain barrier, which allows only certain substances to pass from the bloodstream into the brain.

The arteries that feed the brain are tiny to begin with, so if the blood is thick with cholesterol and triglycerides, the amount of nutrient rich blood that can pass through the blood-brain barrier decreases and over time this results in the brain becoming mal-nourished.

Also, the functioning of the brain depends on chemicals called neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters act as electrical switches in the brain and, through the functioning of the nervous system, are responsible for all the functions of the body. If the brain lacks a sufficient supply of neurotransmitters, or the nutrients from which to make them, it begins to develop the biochemical equivalent of a "short circuit". If your mind goes blank when you are trying to recall a specific piece of information, or it begins to plug into some other irrelevant memory instead, it is likely that such a "short circuit" has occurred.

There are a number of other factors involved in the deterioration of memory. Probably one of the most important being exposure to free radicals, which can cause enormous damage to the memory. Hypoglycemia can play a role in memory loss as well. Wide swings in blood sugar levels affect brain function and memory. Nutritional deficiencies, especially of the B vitamins and amino acids, account for memory loss in some individuals. Other factors may include poor circulation to the brain, allergies, candidiasis, stress and thyroid disorders.

If you have; or are at risk for, memory loss you may benefit from taking the following supplements. Check with your doctor before trying any of these remedies, they may interfere with standard drug treatment.

Helpful Supplements

B complex plus extra B3, B5, and B6.
B complex is needed for improved memory. Take 100 milligrams daily.
B3 (niacin) promotes proper circulation to the brain and aids in brain function. Take as directed on label. Do not take niacin if you have gout, high blood pressure or a liver disorder.
B5 (pantothenic acid) helps in transformation of the amino acid choline to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Take 50 milligrams three times daily.
B6 (pyridoxine) is needed for proper brain function. Take 50 milligrams three times daily.

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that also improves circulation. Take 3,000 to 10,000 milligrams daily.

Vitamin E causes dilation of blood vessels, improving blood flow to the brain. It protects brain cells from damage caused by free radicals. Start by taking 400 IU daily and slowly increase to 1,200 IU daily.

Acetylcholine is the most important of the neurotransmitters. It maximizes mental ability and prevents memory loss in adults. Take as directed on label.

Choline increases the levels of acetylcholine. Take 100 milligrams three times daily.

Coenzyme Q10 improves brain oxygenation. Take 100 milligrams daily.

Glutathione is one of the most important antioxidants that help support the brain against free radical damage. Take as directed on label.

Manganese helps nourish the brain and nerves and aids in the utilization of choline. Take as directed on label.

Phosphatidylserine is a fatty substance found to be helpful in preventing further deterioration in people with memory problems. Take 200 to 300 milligrams daily. Be patient. It may take up to 3 months before you notice an improvement.

Selenium may help memory loss. Take 100 micrograms daily.

Zinc is important in binding toxic substances and removing them from the brain. Use zinc gluconate lozenges for best absorption. Take 50 to 80 milligrams daily. Do not exceed 100 milligrams daily.

Herbal Supplements

Ginkgo biloba has the ability to increase blood flow to the brain, reduces free radical damage and may slow the onset of Alzheimer's disease. Take capsules as directed on the product label.

Gotu kola is referred to as; a powerful brain food, and is known for its ability to enhance mental ability. It supports and improves comprehension, memory and recollection. Take capsules as directed on the product label.

Rosemary helps blood flow to the brain. It contains carnosic acid which is able to cross the blood-brain barrier and is only activated in the presence of free radical damage with out undesirable effects on normal brain cells. Take capsules as directed on the product label.

Other herbs that are helpful for memory include anise, blue cohosh, eyebright and ginseng. Do not use blue cohosh if you are pregnant. Do not use ginseng if you have high blood pressure.

Warning: If you are taking blood thinning medicine, consult with your doctor. Both Vitamin E and ginkgo biloba have mild blood thinning effects.

Author's Bio: 

Edith Lingenfelter-webmaster of Age-old Herbs shows how "self defense" is natures oldest law on how to prevent your health concerns with natural healing herbs and herbal nutrition supplements. Learn how to protect your health by visiting