Health topics

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Brain & Memory


Cognitive or brain function affects every aspect of daily life - from remembering where your keys are to performing complex functions at work.  There are two basic types of memory: short term and long term.  Memory impairment is often related to the onset of age; however, depression, stress, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, long term alcohol abuse, anxiety, poor diet and poor health are all factors that can adversely affect the brain and its processes.

Chinese Skullcap extract (Scutellaria baicalensis) and Acacia extract (Acacia catechu) have been shown to improve neuron survival and function. (Naik et al. 2003)  In a human clinical trial, a proprietary blend of these two nutrients were found to "increase decision-making speed without impairing choice accuracy" - measured as working memory speed, and may increase sustained attention, thereby improving the ability to learn complex tasks and maintain consistency. (Kesslak et al. 2004)

Bacopa increases the brain's ability to deal with stress (Chowdhuri et al. 2002) and is believed to help improve learning ability by reducing anxiety and increasing energy. (Kidd 1999)  It has also been linked to improved memory and mental performance. (Stough et al. 2001)  Gotu Kola studies show improvements in memory span, general mental ability, and reduced levels of anxiety and fatigue. (Singh and Singh 1980)  Ginkgo has been shown to improve memory (Chen et al. 1991) and improve the speed of information processing. (Allain et al. 1993)

Select nutrients also provide neuroprotective benefits.  Skullcap and Acacia extracts have been shown to protect cells from excitotoxicity caused by foreign compounds and increased mental processing speeds. (Kesslak, 2003)  The anti-inflammatory properties of these herbs are thought to help preserve brain cells.  Ginkgo also protects brain neurons from oxidative stress induced by hydrogen peroxide. (Oyama et al. 1996)

L-Theanine's ability to promote relaxation with an improvement in the perception of mental fatigue may also be beneficial in maintaining brain health. (Song et al. 2002)  Another important function of L-Theanine is as a neuroprotective. (Nagasawa et al. 2004)  Rosemary leaf and Bacopa (Bhattacharya et al. 2000) are powerful antioxidants that can also help protect neurons from damage.

Nutrients that help enhance brain circulation also play a role in memory and brain health.  Vinpocetine increases blood flow to the brain (Tamaki et al. 1985) and increases oxygen consumption and arterial elasticity in the brain.  This increase in blood flow has been shown to help increase short-term memory. (Nicholson 1990; Pepeu and Spignoli 1988)  Gotu Kola has been shown to make capillaries more permeable. (Singh and Singh 1980)  Ginkgo has been used successfully to alleviate some of the symptoms of cerebrovascular insufficiency. (Arrigo 1986)

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