CAN YOU FIND THE RED LETTERS?
Many of today’s most popular drugs can make you forgetful.
They inhibit your brain’s chemical Messengers. And this blocks your concentration, memory and ability to focus.
More specifically, these drugs block the activity of a neurotransmitter in your brain called acetylcholine.
Acetylcholine is directly involved in learning and memory. And blocking it is a risky business…
I’ve seen confusion, memory loss, and declining mental skills in patients who take prescription drugs. New research confirms what I see in my own practice.
One recent study found that people taking prescription drugs had shrunken areas of the brain linked to memories.1
Another study in JAMA Internal Medicine found that people who used these mEdications were more likely to develop dementia.2
The longer you take prescription drugs the higher your risk. But even just 60 days on these drugs can cause cognitive problems.
Sadly, most doctors — and even many pharmacists — don’t know which medications have anticholinergic effects. Drug labels often don’t disclose the dangers. So you could be taking two and even three prescription or OTC drugs with memory-blocking effects and never even know it.
Doctors use these drugs for just about everything including:
- Overactive bladder
- Stomach cramps
- Muscle spasms
- Parkinson’s tremors
- High blood pressure
- Motion sickness
- Heart disease
- Acid reflux
When you take these drugs, your mind will sOon feel the effects as AC levels plummet.
When you’re young your brain has lots of acetylcholine. It makes your mind sharp and your memory clear.
But as you get older, even if you don’t take AC-lowering drugs, your levels decline. Messages between your brain cells start to slow down or stop altogether.
My Top 5 Nutrients to Keep Your Brain Sharp and Reduce Memory Loss
Here are the top five nutrients I recommend to boost acetylcholine and keep your brain clear and sharp.
- Choline. Your brain has a huge appetite for choline. It’s one of the building blocks your body needs to make acetylcholine. In one study people with a choline deficiency were given choline or a placebo. The choline group showed dramatic improvement in memory tests after just six months.3 Women need at least 425 mg of choline a day and men need at least 550 mg.The best way to get choline is to eat animal products like pastured eggs and grass-fed red meat. Liver is also a gReat source. Two ounces of beef liver have 174 mg of choline. One large egg has 141 mg.You can also take supplements to boost your choline. I recommend 535 mg of choline citrate and 35 mg of its cousin, CDP choline. They each work in different areas of the brain.
- Phosphatidylserine. This phospholipid is a key building block for the billions of cells in your brain. In a recent study, Alzheimer’s patients who took this supplement twice a day showed improvement in mental function after 8 weeks.4 The best food sources for phosphatidylserine are organ meats. Other good sources include wild Atlantic mackerel and herring, tuna and pastured chicken meat.But it’s hard to get enough from your diet. I recommend a supplement. Take 100 mg 3 times a day.
- Phosphatidylcholine. This is anotherupregulator of acetylcholine. When phosphatidylcholine enters your brain, it helps build and repair new cell membranes. But its most important function is to increase choline supply in the brain.I recommend taking a 400 mg supplement 3 days a day.
- DMAE. Choline also works synergistically with dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE) to produce acetylcholine. Studies prove just 50 mg twice a day improves brain function and puzzle solving.5 It can also improve your mood, increase your awareness and attention, and prevent confusion and brain fog.The best sources of DMAE are wild-caught fish like salmon and small, oily fish like sardines. You need at least 35 mg per day.
- Lemon Balm. One of the most effective brain herbs I’ve found is lemon balm (Melissa officinalis). You might mistake it for a backYard weed. But studies show lemon balm improves memory, alertness, and mental processing.It works by increasing the activity of acetylcholine. When researchers gave young adults 300 mg of lemon balm it significantly improved their memory almost immediately. It also dramatically increased their math skills.6 You can make a tea with lemon balm leaves or inhale the essential oil. But for best results I recommend a supplement. Take 300 mg to 500 mg three times a day.
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD, CNS
DID YOU FIND THE RED LETTERS: MEMORY
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- Risacher SL, McDonald BC, Tallman EF, et al. “Association Between Anticholinergic Medication Use and Cognition, Brain Metabolism, and Brain Atrophy in Cognitively Normal Older Adults.” JAMA Neurol. Published online April 18, 2016.
- Gray SL, Anderson ML, Dublin S, et al. “Cumulative Use of Strong Anticholinergics and Incident Dementia: A Prospective Cohort Study.” JAMA Intern Med. 2015.
- Buchman AL, et al. “Verbal and visual memory improve after choline supplementation.” JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr. 2001.
- Heiss WD et al. “Long-term effects of phosphatidylserine, pyritinol, and cognitive training in Alzheimer’s disease. A neuropsychological, EEG, and PET investigation.” Dementia. 1994 Mar-Apr.
- Geller S1. “Comparison of a tranquilizer and a psychic energizer used in treatment of children with behavioral disorders.” JAMA. 1960.
- Scholey A et al. “Anti-stress effects of M. Officinalis-containing foods.” Nutrients. 2014.