9 Nutrients to Boost Your Memory

Ginkgo biloba. Numerous studies have found that ginkgo biloba improves mental alertness, clarity, and memory. Standard capsules contain 24 percent ginkgo flavonoids and 6 percent perpene lactones. Follow label recommendations, and check with your doctor first if you take blood thinners.

Ginseng. A Chinese study found that a compound in ginseng boosted memory in scores of people suffering from dementia, and a British study found that combining ginseng with ginkgo biloba produced even better memory-boosting results. Check labels for dosage recommendations.

B vitamins. While the entire complex of B vitamins is important for a top-notch memory, inositol and choline are particularly effective at reducing stress and jump-starting memory. In addition, B6 reduces levels of homocysteine in the blood, which causes brain aging. Many experts recommend a B complex supplement of 50 to 100 mg daily.

Omega-3 oils. These oils come from fatty fish such as salmon, and also from flaxseed oil. Omega-3 oils contain fatty acids essential for a healthy brain and also for fighting depression. A study from Louisiana State University found that eating fish helps protect the brain from problems associated with Alzheimer's disease, and a study from Australia's Aberdeen University found that fish oil slows the aging process while helping the brain to work faster. Many experts suggest eating two portions of fish each week or taking a 1,000 mg supplement three times a day.

Vitamin C. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps control the free radicals that damage brain cells and help improve the flow of oxygen through the brain. Experts recommend 1,000 mg daily.

Turmeric. A laboratory study at the University of Illinois found that anti-inflammatory compounds in the spice turmeric protected cells from damage caused by beta-amyloid, a main component of the plaques in the brains of Alzheimer's victims. The compounds in turmeric, called curcumin, can be part of a spicy diet (typically found in Indian food) or can be taken in pill form. Follow instructions on supplement bottles.

Ginger. The anti-inflammatory properties of ginger help protect the brain against memory-robbing diseases. Research has shown that ginger, in addition to increasing the supply of nutrients to the brain, can block the creation of inflammatory chemicals, such as prostaglandins, which are associated with Alzheimer's.

Hawthorn. Rich in bioflavonoids, this herb is a great antioxidant that fights free radicals as well as increases oxygen supply to the brain to carry important nutrients vital for the functioning of neurotransmitters. It's often combined with ginkgo.

Gotu kola. Sometimes called "food for the brain" this Asian herb improves concentration and memory. Oregon Health & Science University researchers found it supports brain function and memory retention.

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