It is natural for people to become forgetful from time to time, but some cases of memory loss are commonly associated with aging, as well as in worse cases like dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. You may have heard about memory supplements and how they help improve one’s memory, but are they worth the purchase? Do they cause side effects? Here are some (non-professional) advice about the most commonly used memory supplements. Do not forget to consult with your physician before taking any dietary supplements.
Ginkgo Biloba – Ginkgo biloba supplements are among the best-selling herbal medicines in the United States and Europe. Considered as one of the oldest species of trees on the planet, the leaves of ginkgo biloba have been used to a variety of medical conditions, including glaucoma and macular degeneration. It is also traditionally used to improve memory. Side effects are unusual, although people taking ginkgo supplements may experience headaches, dizziness, gastrointestinal upset, and increased risk of bleeding. However, ginkgo is unsafe for people with seizure disorders and should not be used along with anti-convulsant and anti-coagulant medicines.
Vitamin B 12 – Vitamin B 12, like most B-complex vitamins, has an important role in nerve function. It is used to help prevent and treat conditions such as cardiovascular diseases and sleep disorders. Studies from the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center has shown that although vitamin B 12 has been used to improve memory and learning, direct evidence to prove its effectiveness is lacking. People with diabetes are advised to be careful with their vitamin B 12 intake, as it might interact with the drug metformin and tetracycline antibiotics.
Huperzine – A type of moss that grows in subtropical regions, huperzine has been used to treat bruises, muscle and tendon problems, and rheumatic conditions. Herbal supplements derived from huperzine are also marketed to help alleviate central nervous system disorders, including memory loss. Drugs.com notes that huperzine may cause a variety of side effects, including nausea, constipation, insomnia, and cardiac arrhythmia. Huperzine might also heighten the effect of cholinesterase inhibitors, which are medicines used to treat Alzheimer’s disease.