What should I take for memory and heart health?
Q. Dear Terry, “What should I take for memory and heart health?”– Sheila B., Chicago, IL
A. Dear Sheila, Protecting our brain and heart is crucial for the aging process. The brain is prone to oxidative stress and damage, which can lead to changes in cognitive function and memory. The heart also requires certain nutrients to function optimally throughout our lifetime.
For memory support, I think a combination of vitamin D, curcumin, Spanish sage, and rosemary can be very beneficial. Low levels of vitamin D at age 65 means you are twice as likely to experience mental decline. In a human study, participants with even moderate vitamin D deficiencies had a 53% increased risk of dementia and a 69% increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease. I would take 2,000 IU of vitamin D3 (as cholecalciferol) per day.
Concentrated plant oils are powerful medicines that can also help improve brain function. Both rosemary and Spanish sage are important botanicals that preserve acetylcholine, an important messenger in the brain that is crucial for memory and learning. Make sure to choose concentrated plant oils that are approved for internal use.
Curcumin protects brain cells from damaging inflammation. It has been shown to reduce the beta-amyloid levels and shrink the size of accumulated plaques that interfere with brain cell signals by over 30% in experimental models of Alzheimer’s disease. Other studies have shown that curcumin plays a role in regenerating neurons and damaged brain cells, while also helping to create new brain cells. The curcumin I recommend is enhanced with turmeric essential oil in a patented process and has been clinically studied.
Curcumin, along with other ingredients, has also shown to be very heart healthy. One of my favorite ingredients for heart support is grape seed extract. Grape seed extract reduces high blood pressure, protects the blood vessel walls from free radical damage, and prevents the dangerous oxidation of LDL cholesterol. Another botanical for heart health is pomegranate. Pomegranate has also been shown to decrease LDL cholesterol aggregation (the clumping together of oxidized cholesterol in the arteries), lower blood pressure, and boost the activity of enzymes that protect LDL from oxidation.
The heart also requires vitamins and minerals for proper functioning. Magnesium is crucial to the cardiovascular system. Magnesium works with calcium to keep your heart beating in a regular rhythm. A deficiency in magnesium may be one of the contributing causes to cardiovascular complications. I prefer magnesium that is chelated to the amino acid glycine. There are two B vitamins that are highly supportive to the cardiovascular system: B1 (as benfotiamine, a fat-soluble form) and B6 (as pyridoxal-5-phosphate). These vitamins help maintain blood vessel integrity and reduce homocysteine, which is an amino acid associated with an increased risk of heart disease.
I would take grape seed extract, pomegranate, magnesium, B1, and B6 twice per day.
Lastly, for brain and cardiovascular health I think omega-3 fatty acids are essential. I prefer omega-3 fatty acids from salmon, naturally bound to phospholipids and beneficial peptides, as this is much closer to nature and how people were meant to absorb and use these nutrients. I would take omega-3s from salmon twice per day.
Terry . . . Naturally