Is your memory on vacation?
By Nina Anderson
When we read articles about mind, body and spirit our brain engages. The mind is the most important as it controls what we think, how our body reacts and whether we are relaxed enough to let our spirit in. But when that mind goes on vacation at the wrong time we start to wonder. Most of us have had the experience of misplacing our keys or worse yet, locking them in the car. It really doesn’t matter whether your age is six or sixty; we all have memory lapses from time to time. We used to think that when we reached retirement age, we were expected to repeat ourselves and to forget to turn off the stove. Unfortunately, this behavior is showing up at earlier ages; from simply forgetting where you put something to looking at a familiar friend and not remembering their name.

Memory lapses can be attributed to the following: aging, alcohol overuse, aluminum toxicity. Alzheimer’s, anesthetics, chemical synthesis, dehydration and loss of electrolytes, chronic infections, depression, drugs, high fat diet, head trauma, menopause, mineral deficiencies, oxidative damage to the brain which effect nerve’s myelin sheath, seizures, stroke, synthetic estrogens, and Vitamin deficiencies. In a perfect body, we find that a normal brain is composed of tissue that is fat and healthy with tight spaces between the tissues. The same brain suffering from Alzheimer’s is shriveled and the tissues contain large gaps between them. This is a result of nerve cells dying. When enough nerve cells die, memory is affected. The amyloid plaque that kills brain cells may form when melatonin, a hormone produced in the brain, is deficient. This has normally been thought of as a condition of aging. Unfortunately, there are chemical imbalances appearing in younger people that can throw off hormone function. There are more reasons for memory atrophy and although technical, this description helps us understand how important the whole body is to brain function.

Prescription drugs can also affect brain function as a side effect. If you experience memory loss when taking drugs, please make your physician aware of this condition. Many times your forgetful behavior may not be associated with the drug. If misdiagnosed, further drug protocols for preventing Alzheimer’s or Dementia may be prescribed. To relieve these ‘senior moments’, all you may need to do is stop taking the drug. Common drugs that may affect memory are as follows: Aldomet, Ascendin, Dalmane, Elavil, Equanil, Haldol, Inderal, Mellaril, Pepcid, Symmetrel, Tagamet, Valium, Xantac.

Unseen culprits may also affect your memory. Since the brain is primarily chemical in nature, it is logical to assume that emotions affecting our body-chemistry also affect neural function. Anxiety, depression and stress are the most common emotions that can have a negative effect on the chemical-dependent neurotransmitter function. Distraction, fatigue, apathy, loss of sensory perception (vision, hearing) and too much information to process (neural overload), all may induce temporary memory loss. Electrolyte deficiency is a strong factor in the ability of our body to operate as it is designed to do. Since the brain is mostly water, it is common sense to assume that we must stay hydrated. Minerals are the spark that helps run the electrical sending units in our memory, therefore drinking plenty of water with added electrolytes (not just sodium and potassium) is the best choice.

Specific nutrients play a constructive part in nerve health, and if we have dietary deficiencies, memory loss may surface. A specific nutrient that helps the brain is Lecithin and lecithin-derived supplements such as Phosphatidyl Serine and Phosphatidylcholine. Good fats, such as essential fatty acids (EFAs) are extremely important in maintaining the myelin sheath that surrounds nerve fibers in the brain. People embracing the low-fat diet regime, may actually be compromising their brain’s health by avoiding all fats including the EFAs. Several supplements are beneficial to the brain including CoQ10, polysaccharide peptides (PSP), and Betaine as well as herbs such as Rhodiola rosea and Ginkgo biloba. Our eating habits can also play a big part in the health of our brain. Animals used for food are many times fed hormone-laden feed to “fatten them up”. Synthetic estrogen hormones may remain in animal tissue after slaughter and end up in your meat. In some cases, Alzheimer’s has been linked to these synthetic estrogens. Free-range meat is normally free of these hormone residues. Pesticides in food and environmental toxins can lead to an alteration in normal bodily operation, with resulting stress on the chemical balance of the brain. Therefore it is wise to take a good look at your diet and lifestyle, reduce your use of chemicals and visit a health food store more often.

In the book, Overcoming Senior Moments ( an illustrated text simplifies brain health to the following: drinking mineralized water, eating the good fats, and doing exercises that cross the midline. Slow mind-line crossing movements facilitate neural activity and are advocated by the Handle Institute® and Educational Kinesiology Foundation,. These movements can be as simple as swinging your arms across your chest or visualizing an X. With a healthy diet, avoidance of environmental and dietary toxins and a wee bit of exercise, we can keep remembering who we are, what we want and where we put our keys, well into our ninety’s and beyond.

*Overcoming Senior Moments is available nationwide or by the publisher located in Sheffield, MA

Author's Bio: 

Nina is an International Sports Science Association certified Specialist in Performance Nutrition.
As a nationally acclaimed researcher, author, television and radio personality, Nina’s message has reached thousands of listeners.
She is a retired corporate jet pilot and has flown Gulfstreams, Citations and the Hawker which is the airplane where the action takes place in her novel, 2012 Airborne Prophesy. She will release her new book Flying Above the Glass Ceiling in the spring of 2009 that comprises personal success stories of women airline and corporate (including Nina’s story) pilots who were the first to break into the occupation dominated by men.
She has been an active researcher in the alternative health field for over twenty years and has co-authored 17 books including Worse Than Global Warming, Atlantis Today - The USA. Low Carb and Beyond, Cancer Disarmed, ADD, The Natural Approach, Super Nutrition for Dogs n’ Cats, Nutritional Leverage for Great Golf and Analyzing Sports Drinks. Nina has a BA from Monmouth College.