10 natural supplements that improve memory and concentration

To improve memory and mental performance there are several remedies that herbal medicine offers us. Let’s see what they are and why they are effective.

There are many factors that can negatively impact mental performance, ranging from a wrong lifestyle, stress, fatigue or external factors that cannot always be prevented or controlled. Phytotherapy is also part of this context, which offers remedies for enhancing memory and concentration. In this regard, there is no shortage of adaptogen remedies and therefore useful for stress management.

The following paragraph provides some details on the remedies in question and on the related supplements available on the market, whether they are composed of a single active ingredient or several components that act in synergy.

In any case, before proceeding with the use of these supplements, it is a good idea to consult your doctor, in order to submit any doubts or questions on the matter. Specifically, it is necessary to exercise the utmost caution in the case of pregnancy and breastfeeding, as well as in the case of pathologies (past or current), allergies and taking medications.

10 supplements to improve memory

As anticipated in the introductory part, botany seems to lend itself favorably to the creation of supplements for the mind. In this regard, it is quite simple to find these products from authorized dealers. Although some scientific aspects on their use require further investigation, also creating points of disagreement among the experts, it may still be interesting to provide some notion about it.

What characteristics should a supplement possess to improve memory? Let’s consider some general tips for an accurate choice. First of all, it is advisable to read the label of the products, excluding those with an excessively complex composition: the presence of too many components in addition to the active ingredient could, in fact, be a sign of poor quality. At the same time, it is important to know how to recognize dyes, additives and preservatives on the label, as well as the presence of allergens or substances not to be taken in case of intolerances: in this regard, the most reliable products will contain information on this.

For the purposes of preservation and usability of the supplements, the most efficient manufacturers will take care of the suitability of the materials to be used in packaging, also making use of a high production quality. In this regard, it is advisable to be wary of excessively low prices, sometimes indicative of a low level. Let’s now pass to the description of the individual remedies used to improve memory and concentration.

1. Ginkgo biloba

Described as a living fossil, ginkgo biloba is one of the oldest tree species on the planet, and is the only surviving specimen of the Ginkgoaceae family. The different sections of this plant and, in particular, the seeds and leaves, boast a millenary use in the context of Traditional Chinese Medicine, classifying themselves as an effective natural remedy for improving memory.

Studies conducted on laboratory animals attribute this property to the combined action of the components contained in the plant (flavonoids and terpene lactones) on some structures of the brain (probably hippocampus and prefrontal cortex).

Ginkgo supplements are commercially available in the form of capsules, tablets and liquid solution, and are recommended for enhancing memory and promoting concentration. A supplement that can be considered useful will contain an extract titrated at 25% and 5% in flavonoids and terpene derivatives, respectively, and must be taken according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

2. Bacopa monnieri

Also known as “water hyssop”, Bacopa monnieri is a creeping herbaceous plant belonging to the Scrophulariaceae family. This botanical species is classified as a phytotherapeutic remedy due to its alleged beneficial effects on memory. Several scientific investigations aimed at understanding these effects suggest that the bioactive components of bacopa (known as “bacosides”) may act at the level of multiple cellular mechanisms, carrying out a neuroprotective and memory enhancement action.

Bacopa supplements can be purchased from common sales channels (pharmacy, parapharmacy, herbal medicine) and are available as products in capsules, tablets or aqueous extracts for oral intake. Such a product is recommended as a memory supplement and as a remedy for stress and anxiety. A good supplement is made starting from the aerial fraction of the plant, composing a certain percentage of bacosides (20%, for example).

3. Gotu kola

Centella asiatica is a herbaceous species belonging to the Apiaceae family. Also known as the “Meadow Tiger”, this plant has long been used for its alleged benefits on cognitive functions and memory, ranking among the remedies of Traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic Medicine. Studies carried out in this regard attribute these benefits to some bioactive components, including substances known as triterpene saponins. These components appear to act in the brain by reducing oxidative stress.

The products on the market are mostly structured in capsules or tablets, and are offered as supplements for the mind, suitable for seniors and students. The single doses are obtained from the leaves of centella and are characterized by a certain percentage of the active ingredient (5 – 20%, in general). For the posology it is advisable to follow the package leaflet accompanying the chosen product.

4. Rhodiola rosea

Also known as the “Golden Root”, Rhodiola rosea is a plant belonging to the Crassulaceae family. In the context of Traditional Chinese Medicine, this species boasts various phytotherapeutic applications, also classifying itself as a useful remedy in improving mental functions.

On the basis of a recent review of the literature, Rhodiola could act through different cellular mechanisms (antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, etc.), exerting a favorable action on learning and memory. These effects are attributed to the bioactive components of the plant, among which salidroside and rosavin are noteworthy.

Rhodiola supplements can be purchased at drugstores, drugstores and herbalists, mostly as capsules and tablets. They are recommended for increasing concentration (for example for studying or intense work), as well as for normalizing mood. A good product will consist of active ingredients in useful concentrations, which are around 5% for rosavine and 2% for salidroside. For the posology, it is good practice to consult the instructions provided by each manufacturer.

5. Eleutherococcus

Eleutherococcus, or “Siberian Ginseng”, is known in botany as Eleutherococcus senticosus, and is a shrub that belongs to the Araliaceae family. Beneficial properties on psycho-physical performance are attributed to this plant and, to date, it is one of the best known remedies of the tonic-adaptogen type. These properties are attributed to some bioactive components obtainable from the root and called eleutherosides.

Eleutherococcus supplements are made from root extracts and contain the active ingredients in a certain percentage that can be considered useful, on average equal to 0.8%. The products are generally available in the form of capsules or tablets. For how to take it, it is advisable to follow the package leaflet supplied with the bottle.

6. Camellia sinensis (Green tea)

Camellia sinensis is a plant belonging to the Theaceae family and commonly used for making green tea. Some beneficial properties for the mind are attributed to the leaf extracts of camellia and, in particular, to the components theanine and EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate). Specifically, it seems that these substances can positively affect attention levels and memory, as well as mood and anxiety.

Good quality supplements in capsules can be found in the related commercial channels, usually composed of individual active ingredients extracted from the leaves of camellia (eg: capsules composed of 65% EGCG or capsules containing 200 mg of theanine per unit). Dosages can vary considerably depending on the manufacturer, and it is therefore advisable to follow the specific instructions.

7. Paullinia cupana (Guarana)

Known to most as Guarana, Paullinia cupana is a plant belonging to the Sapindaceae family. Some beneficial properties for psycho-physical health are attributed to its extracts. In particular, it seems that its bioactive components (mostly caffeine) can enhance memory skills and concentration levels, as well as being useful in countering stress and mental fatigue.

Guarana supplements are produced from the extract of the seeds and are represented by products in capsules or tablets. A supplement that can be defined as effective will contain a percentage of caffeine corresponding, in principle, to 10%.

8. Lycium barbarum (Goji Berries)

Lycium barbarum is a shrubby plant belonging to the Solanaceae genus and which gives rise to Goji berries. These fruits have a prominent position among the remedies of Traditional Chinese Medicine, boasting various phytotherapeutic properties. The related bioactive components, mainly represented by sugary substances called LBP (Lycium barbarum polysaccharides), are also attributed beneficial effects on mental performance.

Currently, the supplements related to this phytotherapeutic species are recommended for their tonic and energizing effect , and are available in the form of tablets and capsules. A product that can be said to be effective will contain approximately 50% polysaccharides. The recommended dosage corresponds to the indications provided by each manufacturer.

9. Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha)

The species Withania somnifera is definitely known in the context of Ayurvedic medicine and belongs to the botanical family of the Solanaceae, identifying itself with different names, such as “Ashwagandha” and “Indian Ginseng”. To withania and, in particular, to the biologically active components found in the leaves and in the root (withanolides and witaferin A), a favorable action on psycho-physical well-being is attributed.

The withania supplements are currently proposed as tonic-adaptogen remedies and are presented as products in capsules or tablets. They are formulated starting from the dry root extract, containing a percentage of withanolides equal to 2%, mostly. Regarding the dosage, it is important to follow the instructions for each supplement.

10. Ilex paraguariensis (Yerba Mate)

The name of Ilex paraguariensis indicates an arboreal plant belonging to the Aquifoliaceae family and known, outside the scientific sphere, as Yerba Mate. Beneficial effects on the nervous system are associated with this species and its bioactive components, such as caffeine, theobromine and theophylline. In particular, these substances seem to lend themselves to the treatment of some disorders, such as mental fatigue, loss of concentration and memory difficulties, acting as tonic and stimulating agents.

Mate supplements in capsules or tablets are available at the sales channels dedicated to products of this type: the recommended products are essentially composed of powdered leaves. Regarding the dosage, it is good practice to rely on the indications provided by the manufacturers.

Is it true that phosphorus improves memory?

What about phosphorus? Is it true that it’s good for the brain? Phosphorus is a very important element for human health, participating in various life processes and in the constitution of biological molecules. Regarding mental performance, there does not seem to be a correlation between phosphorus deficiency and memory and / or concentration difficulties.

On the other hand, it is phosphatidylserine (a substance present in cell membranes and particularly relevant in nerve cells) that plays a very important role in brain health and functions, also being part of the formulation of various supplements. The precursor of this substance, namely phosphoserine, is also part of the formulation of supplements to support memory and concentration.

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