Memory loss worries many of us as we age.
With age, the vitamins and minerals vital for cognitive health start declining in our bodies. There are certain vitamins and fatty acids that are known to slow down or prevent memory loss.
Vitamins That Help Boost Memory
When the brain and body fall short of important vitamins, the following are the important vitamins that play their part.
Vitamin B12 is an essential part of the B-complex family, a water-soluble group of vitamins. It takes care of nerve cells and energy production. It is important for DNA synthesis and neurological function and also red blood cell formation.(1)
Vitamin B12 is found in good amounts in poultry, eggs, beef, liver, fish, and dairy products. It is found prominently in animal products and people with vegan and vegetarian lifestyles may not get enough B-12. In such cases, vitamin B12 supplements are required.
B12 deficiencies are common in people with bowel or stomach issues that increase with age. It is due to the increase in low stomach acid in older adults. Also, certain medical conditions or people who are on medications have difficulty absorbing vitamin B12 from diet and would require dietary supplements at adequate levels.
Vitamin E is known for its ability to benefit the mind and memory in older people. A study found that high amounts of vitamin E can help people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease.(2)
Vitamin E can be easily obtained from food such as nuts, seeds, vegetable oils, spinach, and broccoli.
Vitamin E deficiency is rare and occurs in people with low-fat diets.
If interested in taking vitamin E supplements, consult your doctor. Taking more than 400IU of vitamin E in a day is risky especially for people taking blood thinners. Some studies have shown that vitamin E can increase the risk of prostate cancer.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
The brain needs omega-3 fatty acids for building cell membranes and supporting the blood flow.
DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), two omega-3 fatty acids, were found beneficial in improving neurological function.(3) Further analysis in the study revealed that dementia patients exhibited low levels of omega-3 fatty acids.
Fish oil is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids and is beneficial in reducing the risk of age-related dementia.
Other sources are nuts and seeds, plant oils such as flaxseed oil, soybean oil, and canola oil.
Lifestyle Choices That Can Harm Memory
Brain health can be improved by being more mindful of the food and the lifestyle choices that have been shown to damage it.
Eating fried food increases the risk of cardiovascular disease that affects the efficiency of the brain.
Poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle are amongst the many risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease. If these risks are managed the onset of dementia can be delayed.
Best Ways To Improve Memory
For young and elderly it is always good to get the dietary vitamins from the food you eat.
Supplements can fill in the gap but before starting them, always consult the doctor.
Mediterranean diet is a good source of all the vitamins and has been cited as a good way to improve memory.(4) The diet includes:
- Plant-based foods
- Limiting red meat
- Using olive oil to prepare meals
Routine physical exercise activates the brain and it has been proved in studies.(5)
Ashwagandha has been used as a brain tonic in traditional practices for a long time. An overview of ashwagandha noted its ability to improve brain functions and improve memory.(6)
Caffeine is also known for a small protective quality from the risk of dementia. But more research is needed on it.
An excessive quantity of supplements can be harmful. They can interact with any drug or supplement you are already taking. Therefore, adding them without consulting a doctor is not right.