Your Nutritional Supplement Guide

Memory Supplements Information You Forgot to Ask About

by Glenn Reschke

Memory supplement products have experienced a geometric rise in popularity in the Western world. Why?

Undoubtedly, it is due to the increasing occurrences of Alzheimer's Disease with other cerebral disorders among Westerners.

In fact, in Germany over $250 million dollars is spent each year on phytomedicines or on specific nutraceuticals that are clinically tested to significantly minimize the effects of cognitive dysfunction.

While there is no literal magic pill that can erase progressive cognitive disorders like Alzheimer's, and while some naturopathic doctors as well as skilled herbalists assert there are no incurables, the use of memory pills can at the very least minimize the effects of such cerebral decline and actually help stimulate memory and general mental capability.

Memory loss doesn't have to be the natural inheritance of those growing old, it can be fought.

Best Memory-Enhancing Supplements

So, what is the best memory supplement? The answer: Gingko Biloba. Based on personal, albeit anecdotal information, as well as research, we offer the following information on Gingko Biloba as well as other memory products that are known to help in improving mental acuity as well as helping to stave off age-related mental impairment.

However, as effective as Gingko is, it is not the only viable memory supplement. We'll also discuss the benefits and the pros and cons of DMAE and Gotu Kola as well.

Gingko Biloba

Gingko Biloba has long been recognized as one of the very best supplements known to humankind.

Gingko also has an illustrious history as it is considered to come from the oldest tree species on earth -- a species of tree that dates back literally over 200 million years! They are also more common than you may think.

These trees grow to over 100 feet tall and have a long resistance to pests, disease, man-made pollution and the like.

In fact, if you've ever been to New York City, the most common tree in Manhattan is the gingko tree!

Nevertheless, the medicinal quality of Gingko leaves have been much more popular in the East than in the eminently practical West.

The first mention in Chinese herbals of use of the gingko leaves, from which the herb's efficacy comes from, was during the Min dynasty in 1436.

It was mentioned in Lan Mao's Dian Nan Ben Cao, which is the "Pharmaceutical Natural History of Southern Yunnan." Gingko Biloba extract possesses unique ginkgolides and bilobilides, a complex group of compounds found only in the gingko tree.

Gingko is truly and literally one of a kind. Active ingredients in Gingko Biloba show strong antioxidant properties as well as having platelets inhibiting properties. (Platalets are involved in the blood clotting process.)

The ginkgolides have an anti-platelet-activating factor (PAF) action, thus helping to modulate various enzyme systems and ion pumps.

The PAF antagonist effect of ginkgolides explains Ginkgo's broad-spectrum and far reaching biological activity. The effects of Gingko are:

  • Memory improvement
  • Eases depression
  • Acts as an antioxidant
  • Increases blood flow -- thus good for angina and erectile dysfunction
  • Helps thin the blood (studies have show it to have a vascular regulating effect thus helping to modulate brain energy metabolism).
  • Eases somewhat the symptoms of asthma
  • Improves general mental acuity and cognitive function

In a study published October 22, 1997 by the AMA (American Medical Association) as reported in the Journal of The American Medical Association, the study of this particular herbal medicine spiked interest in Gingko as a possible treatment of Alzheimer's Disease. The study affirmed that the herb can improve mental acuity with those who have Alzheimer's.

Randomized, double-blind studies with both a control and treatment group are the most scientifically valid tests. With that said, according to an article written by one Gabe Romain, entitled Gingko Boosts Memory, Brain Scan Shows, says,

"Long touted for its beneficial effects on memory, the herbal supplement gingko biloba has demonstrated in brain scans to improve verbal recall among people with age-related memory impairment."
Researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles Neuropsychiatric Institute used positron-emission tomography to study brain regions associated with memory and found that "gingko biloba correlated with better brain functioning in these areas. ...The herb works by increasing blood flow throughout the body and is thought to support memory recall by repairing circulatory malfunctions in the brain." According to other research:
"Gingko biloba is approved in Germany for the treatment of dementia. There are over 1200 published studies in the scientific literature on gingko biloba extract. In one study, patients with memory disturbances were supplemented with gingko biloba. Following gingko treatment, 15% of patients reported the total absence of memory disturbance symptoms and 62% reported that the remaining symptoms were mild to moderate."

Source: It should be noted in both studies, researchers made a point that there are sometimes differing results due they believe to the potency of the batches and quality of the Gingko Biloba used. Gingko Bilboa has even grown in popularity in pop culture.

One popular U.S. comedian mentioned Gingo in his comedy routine as well as mentioning the benefits. His problem, he said, was that he couldn't remember to take it!

Moral of story: Don't forget to take your Gingko Bilboa!

Gotu Kola

Gotu Kola is another popular memory enhancer that finds its way in a myriad of mind supplements. As with Gingko Biloba, the authors can personally testify as to its efficacy. due to its capability to enhance memory and as a nerve tonic, among other capabilities, Gotu Kola has been called "food for the brain."

Interestingly enough, Gotu Kola is a favorite food among elephants perhaps explaining the saying, "A memory like an elephant." Gotu Kola is a powerful memory supplement in memory pills as its chief functions are that is serves as a mild tranquilizer, improves memory and other cognitive functions like concentration, soothes nerves, has documented anti-stress effects and has even been used as a medicinal herb for children who have Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).

In addition, its uses seem to be only limited by the person as it's also been used to treat cancer, leprosy, hemorrhoids, arthritis, tuberculosis, and even skin disorders. Whether Gotu Kola can effectively treat or help the aforementioned conditions is a matter for clinical study.

However, clinical studies do verify Gotu Kola's effective on the nervous system and its role in helping enhance and/or restore cognitive function. In one clinical study, it was found to improve memory gotu kolaand learning as well as to help negate the negatives effects associated with stress and fatigue.
Rob McCaleb, HerbalGram, "Mental Function & Gotu Kola." 1993,(28) 32.

In one other study, when it was given to children with capsicum (cayenne pepper) and ginseng, it increased I.Q. of mentally retarded children.

Mowrey, Herbal Tonic Therapies, (New Canaan, Connecticut: Keats Publishing, Inc., 1993) 53. Gotu Kola is ranked, and deservedly so, as one of the greatest herbs. Like most medicinal herbs, its taste is earthy yet mildly bitter and sweet combination. (We also make it as an herbal tea in addition to supplementing our diet with it in tablet form.)

Without question, however you take it, Gotu Kola deserves to be ranked with powerful mind supplements such as Gingko and DMAE.

DMAE (Dimethylaminoethenol)

A discussion on enhancing memory through supplementation wouldn't be complete with commentary on DMAE. It is found naturally occurring in fish oils such as sardines, salmon, and mackerel. (It also a naturally occurring chemical produced by the brain.)

The benefits of DMAE are tremdendous as it does everything from increase the strength of the immune system, to helping improve behavioral problems such as ADD, to helping prevent cardiovascular problems, to act as a potent antioxidant by deactivating free radicals, to even reduce DNA damage.

Of course, it also has potent brain enhancing brain activity.

It is believed DMAE actually has the ability to make neurotransmitters. Furthermore, based on clinical studies, it is believed DMAE actually helps in the manufacturing of acetylcholine, a crucial neurotransmitter that is responsible for cognitive functioning. In short, all matters relating to cognitive function, i.e., memory, concentration, and even creativity, DMAE helps increase.

DMAE Studies

One study showed that after just 6 weeks of DMAE supplementation, the students tested showed marked increase in concentration. Other non-cognitive related studies document how DMAE also helps with degenerative cardiovascular health issues.

According to one study, after 6 weeks of using DMAE, a reduction of one hour sleep was catalogued with testees reporting more restful and sound sleep (we've noticed this as well). Truly, DMAE is a very powerful and potent memory supplement you should include in your daily regime.

Precautions & Guidelines

Due to Gingko's anti-platelet or anti-clotting effect, there are some products it should not be taken with, namely, aspirin, Coumadin, Ticlid, Plavis, Persantine, Vitamin E, and garlic. Generally speaking, as long as the Gingko taker is consuming a healthy, balanced diet the ingestion's effect with Vitamin E and garlic with Gingko-containing memory pills should be negligible.

As always, if you have any question, consult your physician. Gotu Kola, in some studies, can cause sensitivity to sunlight in some so if you have fair skin, you might want to be mindful of this. Overall all, Gotu Kola is a tremendous nutritional supplement.

Many master herbalists consider it one of the best herbs in the world. No serious adverse effects have ever been reported with DMAE, but as DMAE is thought to make epilepsy, bipolar disorder, or manic depression worse, those afflicted should not use DMAE.

However, one of the authors of this article has suffered from depression for many years and has noticed only beneficial effects from using DMAE as well as Gotu Kola and Gingko Biloba. Nevertheless, please know this list is not exhaustive and if you have any questions at all, consult your doctor and apply your own due diligence before taking mind supplements or memory pills.

Quality Supplement That Could Help You

To be honest, finding a dietary supplement company that adheres to all the above standards is almost impossible, but after years of research we have found one that does. A little known company based in New Zealand adheres to this strict criteria.

Their New Zealand governmental regulations for the manufacture of herbal supplements actually exceed FDA standards for pharmaceutical-grade medications!

Their neurological formula has not only Gotu Kola, DMAE, Gingko Biloba, and the necessary synergistic vitamins, e.g., the aforementioned vitamins with DMAE, but it also has amino acids, minerals, trace and specialty minerals, along with a full gambit of vitamins.

It is truly a complete memory supplement. I've personally used a product called Neuro-Natural Recall.

By using this New Zealand company's supplements you will notice not only improved cognitive function.

Yours in health,

Personal Anecdote

The foregoing was the main thrust of this particular page but I wish to share a quick story of my own use of the herbal extracts found in the recommended supplement. About three years ago I began experiencing a noticeable loss of memory, specifically short-term memory.

In addition, I began sinking into periods of deep depression, and found high-end cognitive functions such as concentrating for longer periods of time impossible.

Having studied herbal medicine, pharmacology, and naturopathic remedies for over two decades, I turned to an herbal intervention -- after consulting with my physician friend. I was diagnosed with having a chemical imbalance in his brain. At that point, as I heard of the effects of Gingko in his various studies from the past, I'd never taken.

I began taking Gingko Biloba and Gotu Kola and literally noticed an immediate "clearing" that enabled me to improve my short-term memory as well as being able to concentrate better. The depression too lifted. All of this occurred in approximately seven days.

While this story is obviously anecdotal information and is not clinical data, such experiences are usually a forerunner to such testing, I can at the very least share a personal testimony as to Gotu Kola and Gingko Biloba's efficacy.

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