Brain Boosters!


The Best Brain Booster of Them All

The best brain booster of them all is the herb Ginkgo biloba. Ginkgo helps healthy people keep their cognitive powers, and it helps people with Alzheimer’s to fight for them. Several double-blind studies show that ginkgo helps cognition in seniors (Human Psychopharmacol Clin Exp 2002;17:267- 77), including significantly improving memory and speed of processing (J Altern Complement Med 2000;6:219-29) as well as significantly improving mood and ability to perform daily activities (Phytother Res 2004;18:531-7). In an important 20 year study, 3,612 people aged 65 or over had a slower rate of cognitive decline than people taking either the drug piracetam or nothing (PLoS One 2013;8:e52755).

If you’re younger than the people in these studies, don’t turn the page yet! Ginkgo also helps memory in young people (Phytother Res 1999;13:408-15). Double-blind research shows that ginkgo benefits mental performance in healthy adults 45-65 (Deutsche Apotheker Zeitung 2002; Phytomed 2011;18:1202-7).

But what if you know someone who is already battling Alzheimer’s? The best answer is still ginkgo. A double-blind study of people with dementia found clinically significant improvement in memory, attention and cognitive function on ginkgo, while those on placebo continued to decline (Int J Geriatr Psychiatry 2011). A subsequent analysis of neuropsychiatric subscales found significant improvement of delusions, hallucinations, apathy, agitation, anxiety, irritability and depression on ginkgo, but no improvement on placebo (Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat 2011).

But does ginkgo work as well as drugs? Better. When researchers compared ginkgo studies to studies that used two conventional drugs, they found that all three significantly helped, but that ginkgo produced fewer side effects (J Drug Dev Clin Pract 1996). Later research found more people respond, and respond better, to ginkgo than to the cholinesterase inhibitor tacrine (Psychopharmacol Bul 1998). When researchers compared ginkgo to four cholinesterase inhibitors, they found ginkgo to be better and safer than tacrine and comparable to the newer donepezil (Phytomed 2000). Subsequent research has found ginkgo to be as good as donepezil while being better tolerated (Euro J Neurol 2006; Aging Mental Health 2009).

Based on a review of 33 good quality studies, the Cochrane Collaboration concluded that there is “promising evidence of improvement in cognition and function” in elderly people with dementia. And a recent systematic review and meta-analysis of nine double-blind studies of people with Alzheimer’s, dementia, age-associated memory impairment or mild cognitive impairment concluded that 160-240 mg of ginkgo significantly improves cognition, and that a 240 mg dose also significantly improves neuropsychiatric symptoms and activities of daily living (J Alzheimers Dis 2015;43(2):589-603).

The most recent studies have continued to verify that ginkgo is as effective as donepezil (Front. Pharmacol., 03 August 2021 | https://doi.org/10.3389/ fphar.2021.721216).

More Herbs That Help

A recent review of research conducted between 1970 and 2017 concluded that there is evidence that gingko, dark chocolate, bacopa and saffron all have a beneficial effect on improving cognition (Pharmacol Res 2018;130:204-212). Double-blind research shows bacopa boosts learning, attention and memory in healthy people (Psychopharmacology 2001;156:481-484; Neuropsychoparmacology 2002;27:279- 281; Phytother Res 2008;22:1629-1634; J Alt Comp Med 2008;14:707-713; J Alt Comp Med 2010;16:735-739; Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 2012; doi:10.1155/2012/606424). A systematic review of six high-quality, double-blind studies concluded that bacopa helps improve recall in healthy people (J Alt Comp Med 2012;647-652).

Most recently, a review of 15 studies, 13 of them double-blind, found that bacopa works. All of the studies, including two on children, confirmed the benefits of bacopa, especially for memory, learning, attention and speed of processing. One unblinded study also provided hope for bacopa and Alzheimer’s (Drug Target Insights 2019 Jul 31;13:1177392819866412).

In a recent study, medical students were given either a placebo or 150 mg of bacopa extract twice a day for six weeks in a double-blind study. The researchers wanted to test the effects of bacopa on memory in people with already high cognitive abilities. And they got good news: it made their cognitive abilities even higher. The students who took the bacopa had significant improvement in cognitive function, including working memory, logical memory and attention and distractibility (Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2016;2016; Article ID 4103423).

A recent review included a double-blind study that found that bacopa significantly improved memory scores in people with Alzheimer’s, and a second double-blind study that found “remarkable improvement in verbal learning, memory acquisition and delayed recall (Ann Neurosci 2017;24(2):111-122).

For Alzheimer’s and dementia, saffron is as effective as, and safer than, donepezil (Psychopharmacology 2010;207(4):637-643). 30 mg a day of saffron extract is significantly more effective than placebo in people with probable Alzheimer’s (J Clin Pharm Ther 2010;35(5):581-588).

As we discuss in our book Chocolate: Superfood of the Gods, a growing body of evidence suggests that dark chocolate is good for your brain. When healthy people over the age of 65 eat dark chocolate, they lower their risk of cognitive decline by 41 percent (J Alzheimers Dis 2016;53(1):85-93). In perhaps the most amazing study of chocolate and the brain, people 50-69 who ate dark chocolate reversed age-related memory decline: they had about a 25 percent increase in memory function compared to people who got a placebo. The researchers said that “If a participant had the memory of a typical 60-year-old at the beginning of the study, after three months that person on average had the memory of a typical 30 or 40-year-old” (Nature Neuroscience 2014;17:1798-1803).

In a double-blind study of elderly people, dark chocolate significantly improved visual search speed, processing speed, mental flexibility and executive function. Verbal fluency tests used to assess cognitive impairment in Alzheimer’s also significantly improved (Am J Clin Nutr 2015;101:538-548). Dark chocolate also works on healthy, young people: a single dose of dark chocolate significantly improves spatial memory (Physiol Behav 2011;103):255-260).

Mint: A Brainy Family of Herbs

New research shows that help could come from an unexpected place: mint. Several members of the mint family are turning out to be among the most promising herbs for memory and Alzheimer’s, including sage extract (J Clin Pharm Ther 2003;28:53-59; Psyschopharmacology 2008;198(1):127-39), rosemary leaf powder (J Med Food 2012;15:10–17), lemon balm extract (J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2003;74:863-66; Neuropsychopharmacology 2003;28(10):1871-81; Arch Gerontol Geriatr 2018;75:146-150;) and spearmint extract (ACM 2018;doi.org/10.1089/acm.2016.0379).

More Brain Boosters

Seniors who get more vitamin E from food are 25 percent less likely to develop dementia and Alzheimer’s (Arch Neurol 2010;67:819-25). An important double-blind study of people with Alzheimer’s found that those given the drug selegiline outlived those given placebo by 215 days. But those given vitamin E outlived the placebo group by 230 days. And while 33 percent of those on placebo had to be institutionalized, 39 percent of those given the drug, but only 26 percent of those given the vitamin, did (NEJM 1997;336:1216-1222). When 561 people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s were given 2,000 IU of vitamin E , the drug memantine, both or a placebo to test the effect on activities of daily living, the vitamin E group declined by 3.15 points less than the placebo group and by 1.98 points less than the drug group. Vitamin E slowed progression by 19 percent per year compared to placebo (JAMA 2014;311:33-44).

Phosphatidylserine significantly improves memory (Psychopharmacol Bull 1992;28:61-66). A large double-blind study found that it significantly improves memory, learning, mood and behavior in people with Alzheimer’s (Aging 1993;5:123-33).

Teatime for the Brain

A large study of elderly people found that drinking 1-2 cups of green tea a day reduces the risk of dementia by 1 percent, 3-4 cups by 7 percent and 5 or more by 32 percent (Am J Geriatr Psychiatry 2016;24(10):881-889). Other studies have found that regular tea drinkers, especially green tea drinkers, reduce their risk of neurocognitive disorders by 61 percent. People at greatest risk of Alzheimer’s reduce the risk by 86 percent (J Nutr Health Aging 2016;20(10):1002–9).

Other studies have found green tea reduces the risk of dementia by 74 percent (PLoS One 2014;9:e96013.doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0096013) and that a green tea supplement significantly improves scores of dementia and memory in people with Alzheimer’s, dementia or mild cognitive impairment (Nutrients 2014;6:4032-42).

Cognitive Flexibility

Cognitive flexibility is the ability to switch between tasks when planning or reasoning. Double-blind research shows that 240 mg of ginkgo significantly improves cognitive flexibility in healthy people aged 50-65 (Hum Psychopharmacol 2016;31:227-242). Higher levels of omega-3 correlate with improved cognitive flexibility and increased volume of a brain region thought to contribute to cognitive flexibility in elderly people at genetically higher risk of cognitive decline (Aging Neurosci 2015;7(8)1-7).

Brain Boosters When You’ve Had a Stroke

A small double-blind study has shown that pomegranate polyphenols enhance “cognitive and functional recovery after ischemic stroke.” It significantly improves neurological, language and attention scores as well as functional independence and locomotion and leads to less time in hospital (Nutr Neurosci 2019;22(10):738-743).

Ginkgo also improves neurological function in people who have suffered a stroke (Medicine (Baltimore). 2020 Jan;99(2):e18568).

Brain Boosters When You’re Overweight

Strangely, being overweight is associated with having worse memory. It is also associated with lower carotenoid levels in the brain. A study of overweight adults found that higher levels of lutein from diet are associated with better memory performance (Nutrients 2019;11(4):768).

Brain Boosters When You Have Diabetes

The risk of cognitive impairment is higher in people with diabetes or prediabetes. But a study of 93 prediabetics found that cinnamon significantly improved working memory (Nutr Res 2016;36:305-310).

Ten Tips for Keeping Your Brain Young

Seniors with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) may have some difficulties with memory, language, thinking and judgement, but, unlike Alzheimer’s, the difficulty is not serious enough to cause problems in everyday living. As many as 42 percent of seniors are affected by MCI, and, though not everyone with MCI will go on to develop dementia, MCI is associated with an increased risk of dementia. There is a need for natural treatments because the cognition enhancing drugs used for Alzheimer’s not only don’t help people with MCI, they actually do harm due to their side effects (CMAJ 2013;185:1393-1401). Luckily, nature provides several helpful treatments.

1. Ginkgo biloba

240 mg of Ginkgo biloba extract improves cognition, attention, memory and executive function in people with amnestic MCI, a type of MCI in which the risk of Alzheimer’s is increased (Int J Geriatr Psychiatry 2014;29:1087- 95).

2. Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate lowers the risk of cognitive decline in healthy elderly people (J Alzheimers Dis 2016 6;53(1):85-93). It even significantly improves cognition in people who have MCI, especially improving processing speed, executive function, language and working memory (Hypertension 2012;60:794-801).

3. B Vitamins

When people with MCI who are at high risk of dementia or Alzheimer’s are given 800 mcg folic acid, 20 mg B6 and 500 mcg B12 for nearly two years, they have seven times less shrinkage of the grey matter in their brains than people given a placebo. That shrinkage is an important sign of progression of Alzheimer’s and dementia (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2013;110:9523- 9528).

4. Blueberry

Blueberry juice or powder improves memory, learning, access to words and concepts, and brain activity in people with MCI (J Agric Food Chem 2010;58:3996- 4000). Several studies show that blueberry powder or extract improves cognition, learning and memory in older adults (Eur J Nutr 2018;57(3):1169-1180; Nutrients 2018 ;10(6)). In the most recent study of people with subjective cognitive decline, blueberry powder led to significant improvement on lexical access, memory interference and memory difficulty in daily life activities, meaning that blueberry improved executive function in a way that could protect against future cognitive decline (Nutrients. 2022 Apr;14(8):1619).

5. Green Tea

When older adults drink green tea every day, their risk of dementia drops by 74 percent, and their risk of MCI by 68 percent (PLoS One 2014;9:e96013). When people who already have Alzheimer’s, dementia or MCI take a standardized green tea extract, their total dementia scores and short-term memory scores improve significantly (Nutrients 2014;6:4032-42).

6. Ashwagandha

When seniors with MCI take 600 mg of ashwagandha, their memory, executive function, attention and information processing speed improve significantly (J Diet Suppl 2017;14(6):599-612).

7. DHA

The omega-3 fatty acid DHA significantly increases IQ, including subscores for long- and short-term memory, in people with MCI. It also significantly slows atrophy of the hippocampus, the region of the brain associated with memory (J Alzheimers Dis 2017;55(2):497-507).

8. Pycnogenol

Free radical damage contributes to the impairment of cognition in old age. When elderly people take Pycnogenol, free radical damage goes down significantly, and working memory improves significantly (J Psychopharmacol 2008;22:553- 562).

9. Resveratrol

When healthy, overweight seniors take resveratrol, they remember words significantly better and their hippocampus functions significantly better (J Neurosci 2014;34:7862-7870).

10. Lion’s Mane

And, just for fun, here’s one you’ve never heard of. Elderly people with MCI were given 1 g of the mushroom lion’s mane three times a day for 16 weeks. The mushroom significantly improved cognitive function (Phytother Res 2009;23(3):367-72).

Linda Woolven is a master herbalist, acupuncturist and solution-focused counsellor with a virtual practice in Toronto, ON, Canada. Woolven and Ted Snider are the authors of several books on natural health. You can see their books at www.thenaturalpathnewsletter.com. They are also the authors of the natural health newsletter The Natural Path. The Natural Path is a natural health newsletter specifically designed to help health food stores increase their sales by educating their customers. The Natural Path contains no advertising and never mentions a brand name. To Increase Your Sales by Educating Your Customers, Start Giving The Natural Path Newsletter to Your Customers Today! Contact Ted Snider at [email protected] or at (416) 782-8211.

The Best Brain Booster of Them All

The best brain booster of them all is the herb Ginkgo biloba. Ginkgo helps healthy people keep their cognitive powers, and it helps people with Alzheimer’s to fight for them. Several double-blind studies show that ginkgo helps cognition in seniors (Human Psychopharmacol Clin Exp 2002;17:267- 77), including significantly improving memory and speed of processing (J Altern Complement Med 2000;6:219-29) as well as significantly improving mood and ability to perform daily activities (Phytother Res 2004;18:531-7). In an important 20 year study, 3,612 people aged 65 or over had a slower rate of cognitive decline than people taking either the drug piracetam or nothing (PLoS One 2013;8:e52755).

If you’re younger than the people in these studies, don’t turn the page yet! Ginkgo also helps memory in young people (Phytother Res 1999;13:408-15). Double-blind research shows that ginkgo benefits mental performance in healthy adults 45-65 (Deutsche Apotheker Zeitung 2002; Phytomed 2011;18:1202-7).

But what if you know someone who is already battling Alzheimer’s? The best answer is still ginkgo. A double-blind study of people with dementia found clinically significant improvement in memory, attention and cognitive function on ginkgo, while those on placebo continued to decline (Int J Geriatr Psychiatry 2011). A subsequent analysis of neuropsychiatric subscales found significant improvement of delusions, hallucinations, apathy, agitation, anxiety, irritability and depression on ginkgo, but no improvement on placebo (Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat 2011).

But does ginkgo work as well as drugs? Better. When researchers compared ginkgo studies to studies that used two conventional drugs, they found that all three significantly helped, but that ginkgo produced fewer side effects (J Drug Dev Clin Pract 1996). Later research found more people respond, and respond better, to ginkgo than to the cholinesterase inhibitor tacrine (Psychopharmacol Bul 1998). When researchers compared ginkgo to four cholinesterase inhibitors, they found ginkgo to be better and safer than tacrine and comparable to the newer donepezil (Phytomed 2000). Subsequent research has found ginkgo to be as good as donepezil while being better tolerated (Euro J Neurol 2006; Aging Mental Health 2009).

Based on a review of 33 good quality studies, the Cochrane Collaboration concluded that there is “promising evidence of improvement in cognition and function” in elderly people with dementia. And a recent systematic review and meta-analysis of nine double-blind studies of people with Alzheimer’s, dementia, age-associated memory impairment or mild cognitive impairment concluded that 160-240 mg of ginkgo significantly improves cognition, and that a 240 mg dose also significantly improves neuropsychiatric symptoms and activities of daily living (J Alzheimers Dis 2015;43(2):589-603).

The most recent studies have continued to verify that ginkgo is as effective as donepezil (Front. Pharmacol., 03 August 2021 | https://doi.org/10.3389/ fphar.2021.721216).

More Herbs That Help

A recent review of research conducted between 1970 and 2017 concluded that there is evidence that gingko, dark chocolate, bacopa and saffron all have a beneficial effect on improving cognition (Pharmacol Res 2018;130:204-212). Double-blind research shows bacopa boosts learning, attention and memory in healthy people (Psychopharmacology 2001;156:481-484; Neuropsychoparmacology 2002;27:279- 281; Phytother Res 2008;22:1629-1634; J Alt Comp Med 2008;14:707-713; J Alt Comp Med 2010;16:735-739; Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 2012; doi:10.1155/2012/606424). A systematic review of six high-quality, double-blind studies concluded that bacopa helps improve recall in healthy people (J Alt Comp Med 2012;647-652).

Most recently, a review of 15 studies, 13 of them double-blind, found that bacopa works. All of the studies, including two on children, confirmed the benefits of bacopa, especially for memory, learning, attention and speed of processing. One unblinded study also provided hope for bacopa and Alzheimer’s (Drug Target Insights 2019 Jul 31;13:1177392819866412).

In a recent study, medical students were given either a placebo or 150 mg of bacopa extract twice a day for six weeks in a double-blind study. The researchers wanted to test the effects of bacopa on memory in people with already high cognitive abilities. And they got good news: it made their cognitive abilities even higher. The students who took the bacopa had significant improvement in cognitive function, including working memory, logical memory and attention and distractibility (Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2016;2016; Article ID 4103423).

A recent review included a double-blind study that found that bacopa significantly improved memory scores in people with Alzheimer’s, and a second double-blind study that found “remarkable improvement in verbal learning, memory acquisition and delayed recall (Ann Neurosci 2017;24(2):111-122).

For Alzheimer’s and dementia, saffron is as effective as, and safer than, donepezil (Psychopharmacology 2010;207(4):637-643). 30 mg a day of saffron extract is significantly more effective than placebo in people with probable Alzheimer’s (J Clin Pharm Ther 2010;35(5):581-588).

As we discuss in our book Chocolate: Superfood of the Gods, a growing body of evidence suggests that dark chocolate is good for your brain. When healthy people over the age of 65 eat dark chocolate, they lower their risk of cognitive decline by 41 percent (J Alzheimers Dis 2016;53(1):85-93). In perhaps the most amazing study of chocolate and the brain, people 50-69 who ate dark chocolate reversed age-related memory decline: they had about a 25 percent increase in memory function compared to people who got a placebo. The researchers said that “If a participant had the memory of a typical 60-year-old at the beginning of the study, after three months that person on average had the memory of a typical 30 or 40-year-old” (Nature Neuroscience 2014;17:1798-1803).

In a double-blind study of elderly people, dark chocolate significantly improved visual search speed, processing speed, mental flexibility and executive function. Verbal fluency tests used to assess cognitive impairment in Alzheimer’s also significantly improved (Am J Clin Nutr 2015;101:538-548). Dark chocolate also works on healthy, young people: a single dose of dark chocolate significantly improves spatial memory (Physiol Behav 2011;103):255-260).

Mint: A Brainy Family of Herbs

New research shows that help could come from an unexpected place: mint. Several members of the mint family are turning out to be among the most promising herbs for memory and Alzheimer’s, including sage extract (J Clin Pharm Ther 2003;28:53-59; Psyschopharmacology 2008;198(1):127-39), rosemary leaf powder (J Med Food 2012;15:10–17), lemon balm extract (J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2003;74:863-66; Neuropsychopharmacology 2003;28(10):1871-81; Arch Gerontol Geriatr 2018;75:146-150;) and spearmint extract (ACM 2018;doi.org/10.1089/acm.2016.0379).

More Brain Boosters

Seniors who get more vitamin E from food are 25 percent less likely to develop dementia and Alzheimer’s (Arch Neurol 2010;67:819-25). An important double-blind study of people with Alzheimer’s found that those given the drug selegiline outlived those given placebo by 215 days. But those given vitamin E outlived the placebo group by 230 days. And while 33 percent of those on placebo had to be institutionalized, 39 percent of those given the drug, but only 26 percent of those given the vitamin, did (NEJM 1997;336:1216-1222). When 561 people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s were given 2,000 IU of vitamin E , the drug memantine, both or a placebo to test the effect on activities of daily living, the vitamin E group declined by 3.15 points less than the placebo group and by 1.98 points less than the drug group. Vitamin E slowed progression by 19 percent per year compared to placebo (JAMA 2014;311:33-44).

Phosphatidylserine significantly improves memory (Psychopharmacol Bull 1992;28:61-66). A large double-blind study found that it significantly improves memory, learning, mood and behavior in people with Alzheimer’s (Aging 1993;5:123-33).

Teatime for the Brain

A large study of elderly people found that drinking 1-2 cups of green tea a day reduces the risk of dementia by 1 percent, 3-4 cups by 7 percent and 5 or more by 32 percent (Am J Geriatr Psychiatry 2016;24(10):881-889). Other studies have found that regular tea drinkers, especially green tea drinkers, reduce their risk of neurocognitive disorders by 61 percent. People at greatest risk of Alzheimer’s reduce the risk by 86 percent (J Nutr Health Aging 2016;20(10):1002–9).

Other studies have found green tea reduces the risk of dementia by 74 percent (PLoS One 2014;9:e96013.doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0096013) and that a green tea supplement significantly improves scores of dementia and memory in people with Alzheimer’s, dementia or mild cognitive impairment (Nutrients 2014;6:4032-42).

Cognitive Flexibility

Cognitive flexibility is the ability to switch between tasks when planning or reasoning. Double-blind research shows that 240 mg of ginkgo significantly improves cognitive flexibility in healthy people aged 50-65 (Hum Psychopharmacol 2016;31:227-242). Higher levels of omega-3 correlate with improved cognitive flexibility and increased volume of a brain region thought to contribute to cognitive flexibility in elderly people at genetically higher risk of cognitive decline (Aging Neurosci 2015;7(8)1-7).

Brain Boosters When You’ve Had a Stroke

A small double-blind study has shown that pomegranate polyphenols enhance “cognitive and functional recovery after ischemic stroke.” It significantly improves neurological, language and attention scores as well as functional independence and locomotion and leads to less time in hospital (Nutr Neurosci 2019;22(10):738-743).

Ginkgo also improves neurological function in people who have suffered a stroke (Medicine (Baltimore). 2020 Jan;99(2):e18568).

Brain Boosters When You’re Overweight

Strangely, being overweight is associated with having worse memory. It is also associated with lower carotenoid levels in the brain. A study of overweight adults found that higher levels of lutein from diet are associated with better memory performance (Nutrients 2019;11(4):768).

Brain Boosters When You Have Diabetes

The risk of cognitive impairment is higher in people with diabetes or prediabetes. But a study of 93 prediabetics found that cinnamon significantly improved working memory (Nutr Res 2016;36:305-310).

Ten Tips for Keeping Your Brain Young

Seniors with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) may have some difficulties with memory, language, thinking and judgement, but, unlike Alzheimer’s, the difficulty is not serious enough to cause problems in everyday living. As many as 42 percent of seniors are affected by MCI, and, though not everyone with MCI will go on to develop dementia, MCI is associated with an increased risk of dementia. There is a need for natural treatments because the cognition enhancing drugs used for Alzheimer’s not only don’t help people with MCI, they actually do harm due to their side effects (CMAJ 2013;185:1393-1401). Luckily, nature provides several helpful treatments.

1. Ginkgo biloba

240 mg of Ginkgo biloba extract improves cognition, attention, memory and executive function in people with amnestic MCI, a type of MCI in which the risk of Alzheimer’s is increased (Int J Geriatr Psychiatry 2014;29:1087- 95).

2. Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate lowers the risk of cognitive decline in healthy elderly people (J Alzheimers Dis 2016 6;53(1):85-93). It even significantly improves cognition in people who have MCI, especially improving processing speed, executive function, language and working memory (Hypertension 2012;60:794-801).

3. B Vitamins

When people with MCI who are at high risk of dementia or Alzheimer’s are given 800 mcg folic acid, 20 mg B6 and 500 mcg B12 for nearly two years, they have seven times less shrinkage of the grey matter in their brains than people given a placebo. That shrinkage is an important sign of progression of Alzheimer’s and dementia (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2013;110:9523- 9528).

4. Blueberry

Blueberry juice or powder improves memory, learning, access to words and concepts, and brain activity in people with MCI (J Agric Food Chem 2010;58:3996- 4000). Several studies show that blueberry powder or extract improves cognition, learning and memory in older adults (Eur J Nutr 2018;57(3):1169-1180; Nutrients 2018 ;10(6)). In the most recent study of people with subjective cognitive decline, blueberry powder led to significant improvement on lexical access, memory interference and memory difficulty in daily life activities, meaning that blueberry improved executive function in a way that could protect against future cognitive decline (Nutrients. 2022 Apr;14(8):1619).

5. Green Tea

When older adults drink green tea every day, their risk of dementia drops by 74 percent, and their risk of MCI by 68 percent (PLoS One 2014;9:e96013). When people who already have Alzheimer’s, dementia or MCI take a standardized green tea extract, their total dementia scores and short-term memory scores improve significantly (Nutrients 2014;6:4032-42).

6. Ashwagandha

When seniors with MCI take 600 mg of ashwagandha, their memory, executive function, attention and information processing speed improve significantly (J Diet Suppl 2017;14(6):599-612).

7. DHA

The omega-3 fatty acid DHA significantly increases IQ, including subscores for long- and short-term memory, in people with MCI. It also significantly slows atrophy of the hippocampus, the region of the brain associated with memory (J Alzheimers Dis 2017;55(2):497-507).

8. Pycnogenol

Free radical damage contributes to the impairment of cognition in old age. When elderly people take Pycnogenol, free radical damage goes down significantly, and working memory improves significantly (J Psychopharmacol 2008;22:553- 562).

9. Resveratrol

When healthy, overweight seniors take resveratrol, they remember words significantly better and their hippocampus functions significantly better (J Neurosci 2014;34:7862-7870).

10. Lion’s Mane

And, just for fun, here’s one you’ve never heard of. Elderly people with MCI were given 1 g of the mushroom lion’s mane three times a day for 16 weeks. The mushroom significantly improved cognitive function (Phytother Res 2009;23(3):367-72).

Linda Woolven is a master herbalist, acupuncturist and solution-focused counsellor with a virtual practice in Toronto, ON, Canada. Woolven and Ted Snider are the authors of several books on natural health. You can see their books at www.thenaturalpathnewsletter.com. They are also the authors of the natural health newsletter The Natural Path. The Natural Path is a natural health newsletter specifically designed to help health food stores increase their sales by educating their customers. The Natural Path contains no advertising and never mentions a brand name. To Increase Your Sales by Educating Your Customers, Start Giving The Natural Path Newsletter to Your Customers Today! Contact Ted Snider at [email protected] or at (416) 782-8211.





Source link

Comments are closed.