Brain Health When Growing OlderWe are all aware of how with age our cognitive functions slowly diminish. We get to the age let's say 54 or 60 and we start wondering:” Where on earth did, I leave that pen?”
Or we struggle to learn something new, “How can it be that difficult to remember, I read that article 3 times?”
But all our worries can be put aside because there is always a way of improving your memory, learning ability and preventing memory loss and conditions that come with age. A few of the best solutions are waiting for you in this article, so get down to reading.
This amino acid naturally found in tea gained its popularity through the claims that it can keep your brain healthy and “ready for work”.
Many studies were conducted regarding these positive effects of L-Theanine on the brain and cognitive function and some claim that L-Theanine can:
- Maintain normal sleep, that leads to better brain development and therefore results in better mental and cognitive health.
- Improve memory:
- L theanine may improve learning and memorizing ability and eliminate some memory disorders and oxidative stress
- L- Theanine can lead to better cognitive function by raising brain neurotransmitters such as dopamine
- Undo the effects of neurotoxins
- Decrease Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease
- Increases dopamine and serotonin production in the brain
- Induce relaxation
- One study reported solid effects on attention performance and reaction time response
- Another study suggested that L-Theanine may improve cognitive dysfunction in elderly
- Other study investigated the effect of a combination of L-theanine and caffeine on cognitive performance. The result showed that it helps focus attention during a demanding cognitive task
- One study showed cognitive function improvement after 4 weeks of L-theanine intake
This amino acid might be popular in the sports community because it promotes muscle growth but it can also have a beneficial effect on the brain.
A lot of studies were conducted to determine the effects of creatine.
In six studies with 281 participants (in total), there was evidence that short term memory and intelligence/reasoning may be improved by creatine intake. (5)
- One study assessed both short-term and long-term memory and found improvement.
- Three studies assessed intelligence performance was significantly improved in two studies.
- In one study short term memory was improved for vegetarians after creatine supplementation but not for meat-eaters, however in another study improvement was in both groups for most cognitive tasks.
Some studies have indicated that cognitive processing in older adults can be improved with creatine supplementation and that the benefits are substantial.
It can improve quality of life, cognitive functions and may also reduce muscle atrophy/loss that occurs with aging. (6)
It appears that creatine is most likely to have influence in situations where cognitive processes are stressed (e.g. sleep deprivation, performance of more cognitively demanding tasks). (7)
Several authors have suggested the positive effects of CDP-choline on cognitive disorders and memory deficits and there is some evidence that CDP-choline has positive effects on short/medium-term memory. (8)
It has been proven that CDP-choline increases noradrenaline and dopamine levels in CNS and because of that, it improves learning and memory performance (in animal models of brain aging). (9)
The other important use for CDP-choline is in the treatment of age-related conditions and diseases. In patients with senile dementia of the Alzheimer's type, it slows the progression of the disease. (9)
In a comparative study, CDP-choline was compared with other nootropic drugs. CDP-choline was administered once or twice a day for 5 to 7 days and learning and memory were examined. The results showed its ability to improve learning and memory. (10)
Bacopa Monnieri aka Brahmi
Bacopa, also known as Brahmi, is a plant used in traditional Indian medicine - Ayurveda.
It is commonly used for:
- improving memory
- attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
It might increase specific brain chemicals that are involved in thinking, learning, and memory and several studies suggest that it might also protect brain cells from chemicals involved in Alzheimer's disease.
The effects of Brahmi on the main domains of working memory were examined.
The subjects who received Brahmi showed a notable increase in continuity of attention, the quality of memory and a significant increase in the speed of memory. This study confirms the health benefit of Brahmi for the healthy elderly. In addition, no toxicity or side effects were found throughout this experiment. (11)
Brahmi shows vast potential in the improvement of cognitive disorders. Biomedical research on Brahmi is still in its early stages but results such as these have begun to lead to more detailed research. (12)
One thing that you have definitely heard concerning brain health is that your brain needs B12 for “normal functioning”.
Scientists have long been researching the relationship between low levels of B12 and memory loss.
Vitamin B12 helps maintain healthy nerve cells and red blood cells and its deficiency is most common in:
- older adults
- people with bowel conditions and stomach issues. (13)
Memory loss is one of the signs and symptoms of B12 deficiency and in these cases, vitamin B12 supplements can help improve that.
So low concentrations of vitamin B-12 may be associated with worse cognition and poorer memory performance. (14)
One review examined the association between low vitamin B12 levels and cognitive impairment. And it was shown that vitamin B12 supplements administered orally or parenterally at high doses improved cognition only in patients with pre-existing vitamin B12 deficiency.
There is a small subset of dementia that is reversible with vitamin B12 therapy and this treatment is inexpensive and safe. (15)
Apart from these few, there are more “brain helpers” out there that may have a positive effect. Some of the more popular are:
- Panax Ginseng
- Ginkgo Biloba
- Rhodiola Rosea
Some people even use fish oil, Omega 3 for better cognitive functions.
Whatever you decide to use the important thing is that you consult your physician and see what works best for you, because effects can be individual.
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- Rajsekhar Adhikary, Vivekananda Mandal, “L-Theanine: A potential multifaceted natural bioactive amide as health supplement.” Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine, Volume 7. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2221169117308420
- Williams, J.Kellett , P. D. Roach, Andrew McKune , D. Mellor, J. Thomas, N. Naumovski , “ l-Theanine as a Functional Food Additive: Its Role in Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.” https://www.mdpi.com/2306-5710/2/2/13/htm#cite
- Giesbrecht T, Rycroft JA, Rowson MJ, De Bruin EA. “ The combination of L-theanine and caffeine improves cognitive performance and increases subjective alertness.” Sensation, Perception, and Behaviour, Unilever R&D, Vlaardingen, The Netherlands. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21040626
- Hidese, Shinsuke et al. “Effects of L-Theanine Administration on Stress-Related Symptoms and Cognitive Functions in Healthy Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” Nutrients 11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6836118/
- Avgerinos, Konstantinos I et al. “Effects of creatine supplementation on cognitive function of healthy individuals: A systematic review of randomized controlled trials.” Experimental gerontology 108. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6093191/
- Rawson ES, Venezia AC. “Use of creatine in the elderly and evidence for effects on cognitive function in young and old.” Department of Exercise Science, Bloomsburg University, Bloomsburg, PA USA. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21394604
- Dolan E. , Gualano B., Rawson ES. ”Beyond muscle: the effects of creatine supplementation on brain creatine, cognitive processing, and traumatic brain injury.”https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30086660
- Fioravanti M, Yanagi M. “Cytidinediphosphocholine (CDP choline) for cognitive and behavioural disturbances associated with chronic cerebral disorders in the elderly.”
- Department of Psychiatric Science and Psychological Medicine, University of Rome, Italy. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15106147
- Secades JJ., Frontera G., “CDP-choline: pharmacological and clinical review.” F.I.S.A. Medical Department, Barcelona. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8709678
- Petkov VD, Mosharrof AH, Kehayov R, Petkov VV, Konstantinova E, Getova D. “Effect of CDP-choline on learning and memory processes in rodents.” Institute of Physiology, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Sofia. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1494300
- Peth-Nui, Tatimah et al. “Effects of 12-Week Bacopa monnieri Consumption on Attention, Cognitive Processing, Working Memory, and Functions of Both Cholinergic and Monoaminergic Systems in Healthy Elderly Volunteers.” Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine . https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3537209/
- Aguiar, Sebastian, and Thomas Borowski. “Neuropharmacological review of the nootropic herb Bacopa monnieri.” Rejuvenation research https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3746283/
- Jonathan Graff-Radford, M.D. Mayo Clinic, “Can vitamin B-12 improve memory in Alzheimer's disease?” https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/alzheimers-disease/expert-answers/alzheimers/faq-20057895
- Köbe T, Witte A.V, Schnelle A, Grittner U, Tesky VA, Pantel J, Schuchardt J.P, Hahn A, Bohlken J, Rujescu D, Flöel A, “Vitamin B12 concentration, memory performance, and hippocampal structure in patients with mild cognitive impairment.” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 103. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26912492
- Moore E, Mander A, Ames D, Carne R, Sanders K, Watters D. “Cognitive impairment and vitamin B12: a review.” , Department of Psychiatry, The University of Melbourne, Department of Surgery, The Geelong Hospital, Barwon Health, Geelong, Victoria, Australia. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22221769
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