Poor Memory

Poor Memory: Overview

Memory loss affects most people in one way or another.  More often than not, it is a momentary memory lapse; nothing to worry about – it happens to the best of us.  However, when memory lapses begin to become a regular occurrence, it is wise to dig a little deeper and seek medical advice.

Causes and Development

Short-term memory provides a small storage space for daily tasks and lists, and is more likely to be affected with age.  Memory is also affected by lack of sleep or by stress and anxiety.  Conversely, if the mind is dull from depression or boredom, short-term memory becomes rusty from lack of use.  Long-term memory tends to remain stable with age.  Childhood memories remain in the mind better than adult memories.

Memory can be affected by a number of factors and there are many possible causes of patches of memory being lost, some more sinister than others.  A high fever, an attack of epilepsy, severe alcohol intoxication or surgery can erase memory.  A stroke can cause sudden memory loss (accompanied by other neurological symptoms, such as dizziness, visual changes, buckling knees or slurred speech.) A passing loss of short-term memory, or ischemic attack, lasts only a few minutes and can precede a stroke.

Memory problems can also be the result of deeper-rooted issues such as brain disease, tumors, or the onset of a disease such as Alzheimer's that causes brain cell deterioration.  Alzheimer's disease and senile dementia are sources of memory loss in older persons and are associated with the gradual erosion of the personality.  Sufferers who have any doubts at all should always seek medical advice with regards to continued memory loss.

Many substances affect memory, including prescription drugs, such as sleeping pills and antidepressants, and chronic alcohol abuse.  Nutritional deficiencies should also be evaluated, especially in older people who do not always eat well.  Problems with memory are often associated with physical fatigue that causes inattention.  Some women experience memory loss in conjunction with menopause as a result of hormonal imbalances.  Usually short-term memory loss is a side-effect of too much stress and an overload of information.  There are many illnesses related to fatigue and poor attention span, including anemia, underactive thyroid and hyperactivity.

If a complete period of life has been forgotten, it is usually the result of blocking out psychological or emotional pain, as a coping mechanism.  If a head injury is the cause of memory loss, have it evaluated immediately.

It may simply be lack of sleep; fatigue due to over-work, lack of exercise, or poor diet.  These are all issue about which we can do something constructive to help us.

Signs and Symptoms

Forgetfulness is not a symptom of a serious problem, unless it becomes debilitating or accompanied by other symptoms of mental instability such as confusion or behavioral changes.

Treatment and Prevention

Many herbs create a positive effect on memory.  Take them as herbal teas by brewing 1 tsp.  of herbs in 1 cup of hot water and let steep for ten minutes.

Signs, symptoms & indicators of Poor Memory:

Symptoms - Mind - General

Risk factors for Poor Memory:

Allergy

Diet

Consequences of Poor Diet often increases risk of Poor Memory Consequences of Poor Diet

Changing one's diet to include more nutritious and balanced foods can also help with diet related problems such as problems with sleeping.  Lack of sleep in itself can cause memory lapses and cognitive deterioration.  A healthier diet which helps with sleeping problems may therefore have a knock-on effect and also help to improve poor memory.

Environment / Toxicity

Mercury Toxicity (Amalgam Illness) often increases risk of Poor Memory Mercury Toxicity (Amalgam Illness)

Short term memory loss is initially the most common complaint associated with mercury toxicity.

Hormones

Infections

Metabolic

Hypoglycemia often increases risk of Poor Memory Hypoglycemia

Temporary forgetfulness is a known symptom of hypoglycemia.

Nutrients

Organ Health

Cirrhosis of the Liver often increases risk of Poor Memory Cirrhosis of the Liver

A damaged liver cannot remove toxins from the blood, causing them to accumulate in the blood and eventually the brain.  Once there, toxins can dull mental functioning and cause personality changes, coma, or even death.  Signs of toxin buildup in the brain include neglect of personal appearance, unresponsiveness, forgetfulness, trouble concentrating, or changes in sleep habits.

Respiratory

Tumors, Malignant

Poor Memory suggests the following may be present:

Environment / Toxicity

Organ Health

Poor Memory may suggest Cirrhosis of the Liver Cirrhosis of the Liver

A damaged liver cannot remove toxins from the blood, causing them to accumulate in the blood and eventually the brain.  Once there, toxins can dull mental functioning and cause personality changes, coma, or even death.  Signs of toxin buildup in the brain include neglect of personal appearance, unresponsiveness, forgetfulness, trouble concentrating, or changes in sleep habits.

Recommendations for Poor Memory:

Botanical

Ginkgo Biloba often helps with Poor Memory Ginkgo Biloba

Combine wheat germ oil with ginkgo biloba.  Ginkgo biloba stimulates cerebral circulation and oxygenation, and improves mental clarity, alertness and memory by increasing blood flow in the small capillaries in the brain.  Take 2-3 capsules daily.

Korean Ginseng often helps with Poor Memory Korean Ginseng

Ginseng increases capillary circulation in the brain and decreases the effects of stress.

Evening Primrose Oil often helps with Poor Memory Evening Primrose Oil

Evening primrose oil (two 500mg capsules three times daily) contains a hormone-like substance called gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), an essential fatty acid which is required for all brain functions.

Licorice Root may help with Poor Memory Licorice Root

Licorice root supports the adrenal glands and indirectly influences the brain.

Gotu Kola may help with Poor Memory Gotu Kola

Gotu kola improves memory and increases mental stamina.

Horsetail Grass may help with Poor Memory Horsetail Grass

Lack of silica in nerve tissues and brain cells can produce poor memory.  Supply the body with silica by taking horsetail juice and teas.  For two weeks on and two weeks off, take 1 tbsp of juice mornings and evenings or 1 capsule of aqueous horsetail extract daily for two to six months.

Rosemary may help with Poor Memory Rosemary

Inhalation of rosemary essential oil enhanced overall memory performance and secondary memory factors, but impaired memory speed in a randomized study of 144 people.  [British Psychological Society Annual Conference, March 13-16, 2002, Blackpool, UK.]

Eyebright may help with Poor Memory Eyebright

Eyebright strengthens brain and memory.

Sage may help with Poor Memory Sage

Sage leaves are good for memory improvement.

Blessed Thistle may help with Poor Memory Blessed Thistle

Blessed thistle takes oxygen to the brain and strengthens memory.

Not recommended
Lavender Oil is sometimes not recommended for Poor Memory Lavender Oil

Inhalation of lavender essential oil (Lavandula angustifolia) decreased working memory performance and memory reaction time in a randomized, three-arm (lavender, rosemary, no scent) study of 144 people.[British Psychological Society Annual Conference, March 13-16, 2002, Blackpool, UK.]

Drug

GHB (Gamma-Hydroxybutyrate) may help with Poor Memory GHB (Gamma-Hydroxybutyrate)

An IND (Investigational New Drug Application) has been filed with the FDA for GHB's proposed action on improving poor memory.

Habits

Aerobic Exercise often helps with Poor Memory Aerobic Exercise

Exercise will improve oxygen levels within the bloodstream, which will in turn naturally increase oxygen levels in the brain.

Increased Sleep often helps with Poor Memory Increased Sleep

Sleep and rest is a simple remedy for memory loss that is caused by lack of sleep or fatigue due to over-work.

Hormone

Testosterone may help with Poor Memory Testosterone

Several types of memory can benefit from supplemental testosterone: Working memory, which allows you to manipulate information over brief periods of time in order to make a response; verbal memory, which helps you recall lists of words; and spatial memory, which helps you navigate a route.

DHEA may help with Poor Memory DHEA

In a study of six middle-aged and elderly patients with major depression and low plasma DHEA levels, memory performance and depression improved significantly when DHEA was supplemented sufficiently to raise their plasma DHEA to levels found in healthy younger people [Biol Psychiatry, 1997 Feb, 41:3, pp.311-8].  Other, larger studies have not supported this claim.

Nutrient

Lecithin / Choline often helps with Poor Memory Lecithin / Choline

A report published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition claimed that poor memory could be significantly improved by the intake of foods containing a substance called choline.  Dr Steven Zeisel, from the School of Public Health and Medicine in North Carolina, reported that: "...the availability of choline for normal development of the brain is critical.  In 1999, the National Academy of Sciences added Choline to the list of required nutrients for human health.  Studies have shown that this substance acts as a catalyst in the release of neurotransmitters that control memory storage." Use 3 tbsp of lecithin three times daily.

Inositol often helps with Poor Memory Inositol

Inositol and choline are B-vitamins necessary for memory, brain function and reducing stress.  Lecithin also contains high amounts of both these vitamins.

GLA (Gamma Linolenic Acid) often helps with Poor Memory GLA (Gamma Linolenic Acid)

GLA is required for all brain functions.

Psychological

Mental Exercises is highly recommended for Poor Memory Mental Exercises

To avoid brain calcification, be sure to keep mentally active.  Stimulate and exercise your mind continually by solving crossword puzzles, playing chess, memorizing or going back to school to take some special-interest courses.

Stress Management often helps with Poor Memory Stress Management

A calm environment can influence memory dramatically.  A poor memory is often related to doing too many things at once.  Try to avoid a hectic lifestyle.  Turn off the television and radio when doing something else.  Free the mind daily with a walk.  Get sufficient rest and sleep.  Use pen and paper to write things down, preferably in a book you can always keep with you.

Vitamins

Vitamin B-Complex often helps with Poor Memory Vitamin B-Complex

B-vitamins can be supplemented in a B-complex vitamin (100mg daily) to support the nervous system and prevent imbalances from occurring.

Vitamin B3 (Niacin) often helps with Poor Memory Vitamin B3 (Niacin)

Niacin (100mg daily) stimulates brain function and promotes blood flow by opening the arteries and veins, an action which usually causes a harmless flush.

Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) often helps with Poor Memory Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant which inhibits free-radical damage of cells and improves circulation, both of which are necessary for mental activity.  Use vitamin C, with bioflavonoids, at 1,000mg daily.

Bioflavonoids may help with Poor Memory Bioflavonoids

See the Link between Poor Memory and Vitamin C.

KEY

Weak or unproven link: may increase risk of; may suggest
Weak or unproven link:
may increase risk of; may suggest
Strong or generally accepted link: often increases risk of; often suggests
Strong or generally accepted link:
often increases risk of; often suggests
Definite or direct link: is a sign or symptom of
Definite or direct link:
is a sign or symptom of
May be useful: may help with
May be useful:
may help with
Moderately useful: often helps with
Moderately useful:
often helps with
Very useful: is highly recommended for
Very useful:
is highly recommended for
Caution: is sometimes not recommended for
Caution:
is sometimes not recommended for