The Top 3 Supplements to Improve Memory, Focus and Concentration

By Dr. Nicole Cain
Sep 15, 2019
8:00 am

Let’s all face it: Sometimes our brains just don’t work the way we need them to. One classic example in my life is when I’m on the phone on my way out the door for work, running all around my house searching for my phone.

There are hundreds of reasons our minds may not be as sharp as they once were: stress, fatigue, distractibility and such, but the good news is that there are things we can do to improve our mental health AND our brain health.

In today’s blog I want to share with you the top three nutrients that helped me improve my memory, focus and concentration. Not only did these little beauties help me recover from post-medical-school-brain-mushyness, but they also helped me regain my cognitive sharpness and stop looking for things that were already in my hands.

So let’s dive in:

1. Phosphatidylserine (PS)PS is called a phospholipid that is found in cell membranes of the body; your body makes this on it’s own and it is absolutely essential for the health of your brain (“Phosphatidylserine,” 2016). The amount of phosphatidylserine in the brain is pretty constant throughout the lifespan, but some conditions are associated with decreased PS levels, for example: sufferers of Alzheimer’s disease often have reduced amounts of PS in their brains (“Phosphatidylserine,” 2016). Clinical trials have found that supplementing with phosphatidylserine improves memory, concentration, cognitive performance, reduces cortisol and may even decrease blood pressure. I love to take about 100 mg PS at bedtime and find that it helps me sleep and I wake up the next morning feeling mentally sharp and ready for the day. It is noteworthy that some people find PS to increase mental activity, and in those cases it is better for them to take it in the mornings so that it does not cause increased bedtime mental activity.

2. Antioxidants such as alpha lipoic acid, CoQ10, and Vitamin E: Vitamin E has been shown in studies to slow and even prevent dementia and other cognitive-related illnesses (Larsen, 2012). It has also been shown that those who have higher blood levels of Vitamin E, tend to have increased brain function (Larsen, 2012). Taking Vitamin E in conjunction with other antioxidants, such as CoQ10, helps in increasing oxygen flow to the brain (Larsen, 2012). I love to take vitamin E in a really good multivitamin, an optimal dose is about 400-800 IU per day of Vitamin E (Larsen, 2012).

Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) is an antioxidant that deserves to be mentioned. ALA prevents cognitive decline, causes significant improvements in their cognition and memory, and prevents “age-related” cognitive decline in the elderly dogs (Fava et al., 2013).

We have some pretty amazing blogs on COQ10 here on this site, so check those out so that you don’t miss out on the brilliance that COQ10 has to offer.

3. Acetyl-L-Carnitine: Acetyl-L-Carnitine is produced naturally in the body and is useful in the treatment of dementia. Aceyl-L-Carnitine significantly improves cognitive functioning, aids in memory recall, optimizes concentration and is healthy for your brain. I like to supplement with at least 1,500 mg per day for optimal results (Yang et al., 2018).

It goes without saying that there are tons of other amazing supplements for improving cognitive performance. Stay tuned for other blogs about some of my faaaavorite botanical medicines for cognitive enhancement.

In addition to supplementing, other lifestyle changes will help keep your brain spry and razor sharp: Exercise, spending time with others, eating healthily, stimulating your mind with puzzles/games/etc., getting a good night’s sleep, and managing your stress (Smith et al., 2018). With these lifestyle changes paired with the supplements listed above, gives you a pretty good chance of not losing your phone while talking on it 🙂

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References

Fava, A., Pirritano, D., Plastino, M., Cristiano, D., Puccio, G., Colica, C., Ermio, C., De Bartolo, M., Mauro, G., & Bosco, D. (2013). The Effect of Lipoic Acid Therapy on Cognitive Functioning in Patients with Alzheimer’s Disease. Journal of neurodegenerative diseases, 2013, 454253. doi 10.1155/2013/454253

Larsen, D. (2012). Top 5 Dementia Fighting Vitamins and Minerals. Retrieved from https://www.aplaceformom.com/blog/vitamins-and-dementia/

Phosphatidylserine. (2016). Retrieved from https://www.alzdiscovery.org/cognitive-vitality/ratings/phosphatidylserine

MacGill, M. (2017). Dementia: Symptoms, stages, and types. Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/142214.php

Smith, M., Robinson, L., & Segal, J. (2018). “Preventing Alzheimer’s Disease.” Retrieved from https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Zce4DdocIWWLcvuJE0RADOEb5PUVVbbtJT9wbf2fSO4/edit

Yang Y, Choi H, Lee CN, Kim YB, Kwak YT. (2018). A Multicenter, Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Clinical Trial for Efficacy of Acetyl-L-carnitine in Patients with Dementia Associated with Cerebrovascular Disease. Dement Neurocognitive Disorders. 17(1):1-10. https://doi.org/10.12779/dnd.2018.17.1.1