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What recommendations do you have for improving memory loss, sharpness and clarity?

Q. Dear Terry, “What recommendations do you have for improving memory loss, sharpness and clarity? What is your opinion on using CoQ10 and Ginkgo? Thanks!” — Naomi H., Las Cruces, NM

A. Dear Naomi, When it comes to maintaining optimal memory and mental function, making good decisions regarding exercise, food choices, and proven natural medicines can have a tremendous impact. Make an effort to:

  • Stay in touch with your friends and family - be social and enjoy good company and conversation.
  • Stay physically active - exercising has huge benefits for your brain.
  • Do word searches and other puzzles. It can be fun, but also serves a purpose. In fact, studies have shown that keeping your brain engaged can help prevent Alzheimer's.
  • Adopt a brain-healthy diet.

When it comes to natural medicines, I would recommend taking a combination of curcumin (an extract that comes from turmeric), vitamin D, and oils of rosemary and Spanish sage. Together, these ingredients have protective antioxidant effects for brain cells, as well as supporting memory and mental function. I recommend taking 1 or 2 softgels of this combination three times daily. Because standard curcumin is very poorly absorbed, make sure the product you choose features a curcumin with excellent absorption that has been proven in published human studies. The best form I have ever found uses micronized curcumin blended with turmeric essential oils in a patented process. This curcumin has been shown in published human studies to be up to 10 times better absorbed than standard curcumin.

CoQ10 (Coenzyme Q10) and Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) are also helpful when it comes to supporting brain function.

CoQ10 is needed by virtually every cell in the body. When it comes to CoQ10, I would suggest using the active form of CoQ10 (called ubiquinol) over plain CoQ10 (called ubiquinone).  Plain CoQ10 has to be converted to the active form to be useful, and as we age our body’s ability to convert declines. In addition, there are several diseases that can interfere with CoQ10 conversion.

Ginkgo is a potent antioxidant, meaning it can protect cells against damaging free radicals. In addition, it is also capable of increasing the oxygen carrying capacity in the blood. Ginkgo has been the subject of numerous preclinical studies and dozens of human clinical trials and has been shown to have a long history of safe use and known benefits. When it comes to ginkgo formulas, make sure you select one that is standardized to 24% ginkgoflavonglycosides and 6% terpene lactones. I know these words are kind of long and technical, but show them to your health food retailer, and they will get you connected to a quality product.

Healthy Regards!

Terry . . . Naturally

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