by Nils Osmar. Dec. 14, 2022 Medical Disclaimer
I started having memory issues about twelve years ago, both with my short term memory and my ability to recall names. At one point I was having several memory glitches a day.
I would be working on an article at my computer, click on a bookmark to open up a reference page, and by the time the page popped open (a second or two later), I’ve have forgotten why I’d opened it.
I would get up to go into another room and forget why I’d done so – not just once, but several times a day.
These may sound “normal”, but they were occurring more and more frequently. I was having a cascade of problems. It was alarming and I started looking for things that might help.
What fixed my memory
My first impulse was to try to “fix my life”. I was experiencing a lot of stress, and realized I needed to figure out ways to minimize it. This helped a bit, but didn’t stop the memory problems.
The things that I found which not only improved my memory issues – but completely resolved them – were:
- Exercising. I was sedentary at the time; just getting out and walking once a day started helping. See article: Exercise can boost your memory and thinking skills
- Taking B vitamins, particularly B12. I had my B12 levels checked, and while they weren’t precipitously low, they were on the low end. I found that taking a liquid, sublingual B12 supplement which also contained B6, folate and some other B vitamins, immediately gave me a mental boost (more-so than taking non-sublingual supplements) See article: B Vitamins That May Help Memory and Mild Cognitive Impairment
- Eating more fish and taking fish oil and krill oil. See article: How Omega-3 Fish Oil Affects Your Brain and Mental Health
- Most dramatically: Taking PS, PC and lecithin. (Lecithin is a good source of both phosphatidyl choline and phosphatidyl serine). See studies: Administration of phosphatidylcholine increases brain acetylcholine concentration and improves memory in mice with dementia and Phosphatidylserine and the human brain
- Another supplement I take regularly, which some studies suggest could have benefits for memory and cognition, is NMN (nicotinamide mononucleotide). See article: Researchers Show NMN Improves Cognitive Deficits in Alzheimer’s
- The supplement glycine (one of my staples) has also been shown (in animal studies) to support healthy cognitive function See study: Glycine, the smallest amino acid, confers neuroprotection against D-galactose-induced neurodegeneration and memory impairment .
I don’t have memory problems like I used to. But now and then I might have a slight issue.
For example, a couple of weeks ago I was teaching a class and found myself forgetting one of my student’s names. I have a lot of students (a lot of names to remember), but it was still irksome to forget. And I felt a little dull in that class, not as sharp as I like to feel when I’m teaching.
I upped my dosage of liquid sunflower lecithin and B12, and the issue immediately resolved. I felt clearer and sharper, and had no memory issues, when teaching the subsequent classes in that series.
I routinely eat fish and take both fish oil and krill oil, and eat a lot of wild organic blueberries. (The ones I buy are sold at a local Trader Joe’s; I stock up on several bags every month or two, and eat them several times a week.)
Fasting, blueberries and fish
In the anti-aging community, it’s common for people do a lot of fasting, hoping for benefits to both their bodies and brains.
Though this may seem counterintuitive because fasting deprives us of nutrients, intermittent fasting has generally been found to be helpful to brain health and cognition. According to a 2019 study, Fasting as a Therapy in Neurological Disease:
Fasting improves cognition, stalls age-related cognitive decline, usually slows neurodegeneration, reduces brain damage and enhances functional recovery after stroke, and mitigates the pathological and clinical features of epilepsy and multiple sclerosis in animal models.
With that said, it is possible to overdo fasting, and this can be a greater danger when we’re older and our ability to absorb nutrients is on the decline.
I do a lot of fasting (and generally like it). I often do ADF (alternate day fasting) or OMAD (one meal a day). But I do so with an awareness that when we fast, we’re slowing our intake of the nutrients the brain of nutrients may need for optimal brain functioning. To compensate for this, I eat higher nutrients than I normally might during my “feasting” hours. For example, I might eat a full cup of wild blueberries instead of a half cup, or take krill and fish oil plus eating some sardines or salmon, if I’ve been fasting that day.
Speaking only for myself, I’ve found that my brain functions best when I include some animal-based foods in my diet. My first experience with memory glitches took place when I was eating a vegan diet. These days, I go out of my way to include some animal-based food such as salmon, sardines, eggs and grass-fed beef in my diet.
I also try to keep my blood glucose low. The lower it is, the sharper I tend to feel.
Not medical advice
This article is not intended as, and should not be taken as, medical advice. I’m not advising that people eat any particular diet or take any particular supplement(s), just reporting on what I’m doing. Supplements, like medications and other interventions, can have side effects; I would encourage people to research both possible benefits and side effects before starting on any supplementation regimen, and consult with a medical professional about any issues which might have a medical component. See full Medical Disclaimer
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