We all experience short memory lapses or times when it is difficult to concentrate but some memory lapses become longer and more frequent. Loss of memory and concentration can have a serious impact on our daily life.
In servere case such as Alzheimer’s disease, symptoms can range from mild forgetfulness to more serious impairments in thinking, judgment, and the ability to perform daily tasks. In multi infarct dementia, a series of strokes may result in the death of brain tissue. The location in the brain where the strokes occur and the severity determine the symptoms.
When you are having difficulty concentrating and it is not associated with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease you may have any of the following associated symptoms: fatigue, stress, depression, anxiety, fever, hunger, dehydration and headache.
Why it happens?
Cause of memory loss and lack of concentration are numerous and include:
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Fatigue, lack of sleep
- Medications, alcohol abuse
- Blood sugar irregularities, hypoglycaemia
- Dementias / Alzheimer’s disease
What natural therapies can help?
Bacopa monniera (Brahmi) is a brain tonic and useful for memory, concentration and learning. It also acts as a nervous system tonic, so helps to relieve anxiety and improve performance under stress at the same time as boosting memory power.
Ginkgo – clinical studies have found that ginkgo can improve memory and concentration in healthy people and those with Alzheimer’s disease. Ginkgo is considered particularly useful as a supportive remedy for the ageing brain since it aids memory and promotes cognitive processing. These effects are due to improved blood flow to the brain.
Stress and alcohol increases our body’s demand for B group vitamins. They assist the conversion of food to energy and are important for proper functioning of our nervous system
Valerian, passion flower, chamomile, hops, skullcap and St John’s wort are all calming herbs and may help if you are experiencing mental or emotional stress.
Niacin – studies indicate that consuming higher amounts of niacin can reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Also low intake of folic acid has been associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease, while consuming at least 400mcg daily may decrease risk by more than 50 per cent.
Antioxidants – decrease cellular damage by free radicals. Damage is linked to conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Fish oil and selenium – Various studies have found low levels of omega-3 fatty acids and selenium in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
Lecithin – a small study found that patients taking lecithin produced an improvement in tests for learning ability.
Zinc – early studies indicate that supplementing with zinc may slow down cognitive deterioration in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
Did you know?
- Mental challenges help keep our brain active. Learn to play a musical instrument, a foreign language, do a crossword puzzle, a Sudoku, paint, ride a bike, and interact with others.
- Always keep important belongings eg keys in the same place.
- Get a diary – mark meetings and appointments and a write a ‘To do List’
- Chill out – exercise and stretching helps clear your mind and relax.
- Abuse of alcohol can cause malnutrition plus damages brain cells. Drinking two litres of water daily helps remove wastes and avoid dehydration.
- Essential oils help settle the nerves while creating a pleasant environment. Place a few drops essential oil in an oil burner. Rosemary is specific for memory and learning, geranium is uplifting.