If your mojo is gone and you're feeling depressed and distracted, and you're having trouble with your short-term memory, you may be worried that you're developing Alzheimer's. Don't worry, you may be suffering from brain fog which is treatable — even curable.
"Brain fog is often a scary symptom," says Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum, author of Real Cause, Real Cure. "Many people are afraid that they are developing Alzheimer's disease, but this is not the case.
"A simple way to differentiate between brain fog and dementia is that with brain fog you may constantly forget where you left the keys," Teitelbaum says. "However, with Alzheimer's you may forget how to use your keys.
"They are not the same, and brain fog also routinely resolves with treatment," he said.
What causes brain fog? Experts say it can be the result of several conditions including poor diet, chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, and insomnia. Brains also lose sharpness as they age. Fortunately, brain fog doesn't have to be permanent. "Brain fog routinely resolves with treatment," says Teitelbaum.
Below are four nutritional supplements that can break through the fog and help sharpen your brain.
Omega-3 fatty acids. The American Heart Association recommends at least two servings a week of fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids for heart health, but in addition to being heart healthy, fish is good for your brain. Researchers from the University of South Dakota found that postmenopausal women who had the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood had overall greater brain volume than women with the lowest levels. Levels are also higher in the brain's hippocampus, the area most affected by Alzheimer's.
Researchers at Rhode Island Hospital found that the brains of older adults who took fish oil, which contains omega-3 fatty acids, suffered significantly less cognitive decline and brain shrinkage when compared to those who didn't take fish oil.
A study published in the FASEB Journal found that fish oil reduced brain inflammation and the buildup of amyloid plaque, a hallmark of Alzheimer's. Other studies have also indicated that omega-3 fatty acids help people who have mild Alzheimer's disease. Be sure and choose varieties of fish low in mercury, such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines.
Gingko biloba. A randomized, double-blind study from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine found that the herb Ginkgo biloba keeps aging memories sharp. In a six-month study, it improved the brain's speed in making connections by 68 percent in a group of healthy older adults. "The results were impressive," said study leader John E. Lewis, Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences.
The study, which was published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, examined two herbal combinations: One formula contained Ginkgo biloba leaf and a mixture of grape seed extract and other nutrients, while the other formula contained a mix of grape seed and green tea extract and other nutrients, and yet another was a placebo.
"The Ginkgo formula outperformed the grape seed extract formula and placebo," Lewis told Newsmax Health. "There was a marked difference." On tests that measured the ability of the brain to process information quickly, people on the Ginkgo formula improved 68 percent, while no improvement was noted on those taking the grape seed formula or placebo. On word association tests, those taking the Ginkgo formula improved 18 percent while those on the grape seed formula increased 11 percent. "Those are dramatic improvements," said Lewis.
Acetyl-L-carnitine (ALC or ALCAR). Several clinical trials indicate that ALC delays the onset of age-related cognitive decline, and can increase cognitive function in the elderly. Some research found it can slow Alzheimer's disease in early stages. Ray Sahelian, M.D., author of Brain Boosters, believes ALC can cross the blood-brain barrier where it helps produce brain chemicals, keeps mitochondria (the cell's powerhouses) from deteriorating, and helps regenerate neurons.
"You can feel mentally sharper with more mental stamina, and be more focused and alert within a few hours of taking acetyl-L-carnitine," Sahelian tells Newsmax Health. Sahelian recommends that everyone take the supplement every day.
Rosemary. You can improve your brain's function by just sniffing a sprig of rosemary. A British study discovered that sniffing rosemary raised blood levels of 1,8-cineole, a chemical found in rosemary that boosts learning skills and mood. The study, published in the journal Therapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacology, found that the higher the concentration of 1,8-cineole in the blood, the better the participants scored on tests in both speed and accuracy.
Previous studies have shown that rosemary also fights free radical damage and helps protect the aging brain from Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia.
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