Memory and Concentration

Your Brain
Your brain is the most complex organ in your body. It weighs just 3 pounds, is composed of over 100 billion cells called neurons, and is the focal center of all activities. It is where higher reasoning, creativity, learning, imagination, planning, and even your sense of identity originate. Each of your brain's 100 billion neurons connects to 10,000 others, forging a grand total of somewhere between 100 to 1,000 trillion connections strung together by 90 MILLION meters of neural fibers. Yet all of this neural density weighs only three to four pounds, and is contained within a cranium no more than 1 1/2 liters in volume.
The Cerebral Cortex, the largest part of your brain, is responsible for higher thought and function and contains roughly 15 to 33 BILLION neurons (depending on gender and age) which are linked to 10,000 synaptic connections each. Each cubic millimeter of Cerebral Cortex contains roughly one BILLION synapses.

Neuron Synapse Diagram

Neurons communicate with each other via electrical impulses sent from the nucleus of each cell to the surrounding neurons. Your brain controls your body through this network of neurons. The brain receives information from numerous sensory receptors throughout the body, decides which of these sensory stimuli deserve attention, and send commands to initiate or inhibit various responses.

Your brain is composed of 7 sections. Four of these influence memory and concentration:

Brain Diagram

  • Temporal Lobe - controls memory storage, emotion, hearing, and language.

  • Frontal Lobe - is the most recently-evolved part of the brain and the last to develop in young adulthood. Its dorso-lateral prefrontal circuit is the brain's CEO. The Frontal Lobe organizes responses to complex problems, plans steps to objectives, searches memory for relevant experience, adapts strategies to accommodate new data, guides behavior with verbal skills, and houses working memory. Its orbitofrontal circuit manages emotional impulses in socially appropriate ways for productive behaviors including empathy, altruism, and interpretation of facial expressions. Stroke in this area is typically accompanied by foul language and foolish behavior.

  • Occipital Lobe - processes visual data and routes it to other parts of the brain for identification and storage.

  • Hippocampus -  processes new memories for long-term storage. This evolutionarily ancient part of the Cerebral Cortex is located deep within the brain in the inner fold of the temporal lobe. It If you didn't have a Hippocampus, you couldn't live in the present. You would be living in the past with old memories. This ability to be "present" is one of the first to falter as Alzheimer's disease progresses.

Memory

Human Memory Diagram

Memory is the brain function that allows you to store and retrieve information. There are sensory memories (taste, visual, tactile) as well as more conceptually based memories (episodic, procedural, declarative). All of these individual memory modes combine to form complex and varied remembrances.

Information decoded in sensory areas of the Cerebral Cortex converges in the Hippocampus where new sensations are compared with previously recorded ones and associations are formed amongst the various object properties. When you remember new facts by repeating them or by employing various mnemonic devices, you are actually passing them through the Hippocampus several times. The Hippocampus keeps strengthening the associations amongst these new elements until the Cerebral Cortex learns to link the diverse properties to reconstruct "memory".

During the moments in which a memory was created, your brain was processing thousands of pieces of information, and had to decide which data was important enough to store for later retrieval. You might remember the emotions of fear and excitement, the tactile sensation of wind on your arms, and procedural information and episodic information like the time of day, your age, and your general surroundings.

Some information seeped into your short-term memory from which you were able to retrieve it for a few hours or even a couple of days. This ability to hold onto a piece of information temporarily in order to complete a task is genuinely human. Short-term memory usage causes your Pre-Frontal Lobe to become very active.

But only that information most central to the memory as a whole makes it into your long-term memory, where it lives for years and possibly an entire lifetime. Information is transferred from short-term memory to long-term memory through the Hippocampus.

Memory problems are attributed to a variety of factors:
  • Depression - Slows a multitude of mental processes.  It is the most common contributor to memory problems. There are about 9,000,000 people in America who suffer from depression. 340,000,000 people in the world have depression. Its growing predominance will make it the second most common health problem by 2010. Depression sufferers are twice as likely to develop memory problems. Depression also raises risk of Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia.

  • Stress - Anxiety and stressful life events (such as work-related problems, relationship problems, bereavement) affect your ability to store and recall memories. Approximately 65% of Americans are not getting sufficient sleep due to stress. Proper sleep is essential for optimal brain function.

  • Aging - During your mid-40s and 50s, it is quite normal to feel you have become more forgetful. Surveys indicate 75% of people over the age of 50 report that they experienced memory problems in the past year. At birth, the brain weighs less than a pound, but by the time you are 20 years of age, it weighs approximately 3 pounds. However, the brain shrinks as you age. The loss of brain cells occurs as neurons die and spaces between the neurons (synapses) shrink. This shrinking occurs slowly, but nearly 30 percent of your brain's mass will be lost by the time you are in your 70s. The Hippocampus (essential for new memory creation) will lose a total of 20 percent of nerve cells by the time you turn 80. Your memory is affected because there are fewer neurons on which to impress memories, as well as fewer connections for retrieving those memories. However memory loss is not automatic as you age - a study of 111 people aged 90-100 years showed that over half had a strikingly good memory!

  • Hormonal Imbalance - Dramatic decline in estrogen and progesterone levels have a significant impact on memory retention. Research suggests a link between the hormone estrogen and Alzheimer's disease in women. Menopause (the stage of life when a woman stops menstruating and her body produces less estrogen) is associated with an increase in the onset of Alzheimer's disease. Thyroid problems can also lead to insufficient secretion of hormones that support your brain's memory-related activities.

  • Head Injury - A recent study of veterans showed that head injury early in life is associated with a higher risk of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia as you age. Furthermore, the risk of Alzheimer's disease increases with the severity of the head injury.

  • Toxins - The accumulation of evironmental toxins such as aluminum and mercury in the brain has been liked to memory deterioration and Alzheimer's disease.

  • Chemical Deficiency - People afflicted with Alzheimer's disease have abnormally low levels of acetylcholine in their brains. This highlights the importance of brain chemistry in maintaining good memory.

  • Dehydration - Not having enough fluid in your body adversely affects your nervous system as well as vital organs that support body functions.

  • Side-Effects - Many pharmaceutical medicines adversely affect brain function, memory, and concentration.

  • Infection - Brain abscess, encephalitis, meningitis, sepsis, and other illnesses restrict blood flow to the brain. This fosters neuron degeneration and memory loss.
Concentration
The key to performing well in all facets of life is a calm, relaxed, and focused mind. Any task that demands a certain degree of mental effort naturally requires concentration. As your interest becomes fully engaged, you enter a trance-like state and achieve higher levels of concentration. The level is proportional to mental effort. 

Concentration problems arise from a multitude of factors:
  • Brain Chemistry - The ability to concentrate depends on the sufficient presence of hormones, neurotransmitters, and chemicals (like dopamine) in the Pre-Frontal Cortex of the brain.

  • Sleep Deprivation - Without sufficient sleep, your body becomes oxygen deprived. Oxygen is necessary for the brain to produce dopamine and other chemicals that keep you focused.

  • Stress - Stress increases norepinephrine and cortisol levels in your body. These chemicals invoke a hyperfocus mode ("tunnel vision") which causes you to fully concentrate on the stress inducing situation. This makes it difficult for you to think about anything else.

  • Insufficient Nutrition - Nutritional deficiencies deprive nerve cells of substances required for transmitting nerve impulses. Thus, the brain is not able to work productively.

  • Emotional Strain - Anxiety and emotional stress produce a cluttered mind which degrades your ability to prioritize and focus.
Memory & Concentration Disorders

Thinking Man

As often is the case, minor imbalances in the body can lead to chronic illness. The common ailments related to memory and concentration are:

  • ADHD (Attention-Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder) is also known as hyperactivity or attention deficit disorder (ADD). It is a common condition that afflicts both children and adults. Between 3 to 10 percent of children (approximately 2,000,000 in the United States) have ADHD; 30 to 50 percent of these children continue to exhibit ADHD through adulthood. Roughly 5% (354,000,000) of the world's population is afflicted with ADHD.

    Symptoms of ADHD are inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. Children with ADHD have difficulty following instructions and are easily bored or frustrated with tasks. Adults with ADHD are poor in time management, organizational skills, goal setting, and job performance. They may also have problems with relationships, self-esteem, and addictions. Possible contributors to ADHD include genetics (the basis for the majority cases), brain injury, improper nutrition, food additives and sugar, lead exposure, and maternal smoking.
  • Alzheimer's Disease mainly afflicts the elderly. About 1% of people in their 60s, 20% of those over 85 years, and 30% of those over 90 are affected. Approximately 26,600,000 people in the world suffer from Alzheimer's Disease. The number is expected to double by 2050. Factors that may increase the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease include genetics, age, hormonal imbalance, menopause, environmental toxins, autoimmune disorder, and chemical deficiencies. While there is no cure for Alzheimer's disease and no proven treatment to slow its progression, there are a number of drugs available that help improve the mental function. When these medications are administered early during the course of the disease, they enable Alzheimer sufferers to carry on with daily activities and independent living for a longer period of time and prolong the time that family members can provide sufficient home care. Exercise, good nutrition, interesting activities, and social interaction in a calm, structured environment also help slow disease progression.
  • Amnesia is generally caused by physical brain injury or exposure to toxic substances. Emotional trauma can also engender memory loss. There are several types of Amnesia:

    • Anterograde - events before a trauma are remembered while new ones are not.

    • Retrograde - events after a trauma are remembered but not before.

    • Transient - inability to form new memories with milder loss of past memories. This is most common amongst the elderly with vascular disease.

    • Traumatic - induced by brain damage from a hard blow to the head and characterized by brief loss of conciousness leading to coma.

    • Wernike-Korsakoff - precipitated by alcohol abuse. This progressive memory loss is often accompanied by neurological problems. 

    • Infantile - inability to recall events from early childhood onwards.

      There is no medication for Amnesia.
  • Dementia is not a disease but a group of symptoms marked by gradual degradation of brain function and the ability to think, reason, and remember. Serious changes in memory, personality, and behavior are the hallmarks of Dementia. It is precipitated by an underlying disease or condition. When brain tissue is damaged, the ability to function decreases. Some of these conditions can be reversed, while others cannot. The most common cause of Dementia is Alzheimer's disease. Here changes in nerve cells in some parts of the brain result in the death of large numbers of cells. The result is a slow progressive decline in memory and thought processes. Another common form of Dementia is Multi-Infarct Dementia where small strokes or changes in the blood supply to the brain from the narrowing or hardening of arteries cause the death of brain tissue. Symptoms appear suddenly and depend on which part of the brain tissue is destroyed.

    The world prevalence rate of dementia is less than 1% for people in their 60s rising to 39% for those in their 90s.In the United Kingdom alone, 400,000 elderly suffer from it. Doctors typically prescribe blood pressure and cholesterol medications for people with vascular dementia. These drugs cannot reverse existing dementia, but they do prevent future strokes and heart disease that can lead to further brain damage.
  • Hyperactivity has been linked to elevated lead levels in the blood. Chelation therapy is advocated (especially for children) for reducing lead levels in the body.

  • Stroke commonly leads to temporary memory impairment for a period of 3 to 6 months.

  • Thyroid Dysfunction affects the attention and hyper-active-impulsive systems. Children with ADHD should be screened for thyroid dysfunction if there are symptoms to suggest thyroid dysfunction. It can be caused by lithium-based mood stabilizers which are used to treat bipolar disorder (manic depression).

  • Weakened Immune System makes your body more susceptible to ADHD and other psychiatric disorders. Deterioriation is frequently due to reliance on antibiotics which kills friendly bacteria in the body that aid in toxin elimination. As toxins accumulate, you get sick more often and rely more on antibiotics which in turn continually deplete friendly bacteria from your body.

Western Medicine
Western medicine relies on aggressive and costly prescription drugs to deal with problems related to memory and concentration. These methods generally address only the symptoms and not the underlying causes.  As soon as you stop using the drugs, the problem returns! Also these prescription drugs often result in unwanted and even dangerous side effects.

The options for drug treatment are bewildering: Alpha-Tocopherol, B-Secretase Inhibitors, Calcium Channel Blockers, Cloquinol, Donepezil, Estrogen, Galatamine, Intravenous Immunoglobulin (IVIg), Memantine, Neotropin, Nootropics, NSAIDS, Rivstigmine, Selegeline, Statins, Tacrine, and Vaccines. Typically once drug treatment begins, it is recommended for life and usually involves a multitude of medications. 

The combined COMMON side effects of these drugs include back pain, bed wetting, blurred vision, clumsiness / unsteadiness, coated tongue, confusion, constipation, decreased appetite, diarrhea, dizziness, double vision, drowsiness, drugged feeling, dry mouth, excessive daytime drowsiness, fatigue, feeling of hangover, feeling of a whirling motion, frequent urination at night, headache, increased saliva (spit), increased sweating, irritability, lightheadedness, loss of appetite, nausea, nervousness, nightmares, nose irritation, runny nose, sleeplessness, sluggishness, stomach upset, sweating, taste change, throat irritation, tiredness, trouble sleeping, unusual weakness, upset stomach, urinary tract infection, and weight loss or gain.

The combined SEVERE side effects of these medications include severe allergic reactions (rash, hives, itching, difficulty breathing, flushing, tightness in the chest, unusual hoarseness, and swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue), changes in appetite, changes in menstrual periods, chest pain, diarrhea, excessive sweating, fast or irregular heartbeat, fatigue, fever, heat intolerance, joint pain, leg cramps, mental or mood changes, muscle weakness, seizures, severe or persistent headache, shortness of breath, vomiting, and wheezing.

A popular natural option for improving memory and cognition is Ginkgo Biloba. Published studies either have not supported these claims or have been poorly designed. In a recent study of 219 men and women, the results indicated no differences between control groups in learning, memory, naming, and verbal fluency. The findings concluded that Ginkgo Biloba is ineffective for memory enhancement. Recent clinical trials were also unable to validate its usefulness in lowering the incidence of Dementia and Alzheimer's disease in the elderly. Ginkgo Biloba has the following side effects: headache, nausea, gastrointestinal upset, diarrhea, dizziness, and allergic skin reactions.

Ayurvedic Medicine


yogi

Ayurveda, the science of life, prevention, and longevity, is the oldest and most holistic and comprehensive medical system available.  Its fundamentals can be found in Hindu scriptures called the Vedas - the ancient Indian books of wisdom written over 5,000 years ago.  Ayurveda uses the inherent principles of nature to help maintain health in a person by keeping the individual's body, mind, and spirit in perfect equilibrium with nature.

India Herbs has a seasoned group of Ayurvedic doctors specialized in Rasayana Chikitsa, one of the eight major specialties of Ayurveda. It is the branch of Ayurveda that deals with various aspects of preventive health care. Rasayana Chikitsa includes therapies for longevity, improved memory, health, youthfulness, complexion, and strength of body and senses. Rasayana Chikitsa prescribes the therapeutic use of various herbal and holistic preparations for enhancing mental acuity while strengthening the body and overall well-being.

India Herbs' Rasayana Chikitsa doctors combine a proprietary herbal formula based on centuries' old wisdom with advice on diet, exercise, mental training, and relaxation to help you attain optimal memory and concentration.


Recommendations
You can optimize your long-term memory and concentration by:

1) Reversing Damage - Years of stressful living caused damage to your brain. To help reverse this, ClariMind releases hundreds of phytonutrients that act at the molecular level to rejuvenate brain cells, increase neurotransmitter production, energize the cognitive processes, enhance cellular absorption of nutrients, improve sleep quality, counter stress by lowering cortisol levels and blocking inflammatory effects of prostaglandin, and inhibit tissue deterioration by combating free radicals and neurotoxins in your brain.

2) Exercising Regulary - A fit body supports a healthy mind, and a healthy mind is a necessity for superior recall and focus. Beside improving circulation and raising oxygen levels, exercise causes your brain to release dopamine which gives you a sense of well-being and promotes restorative sleep. This counters the stress which lowers dopamine levels in the body leading to an unhealthy outlook and poor sleep.

3) Breathing Mindfully - Slow, regular, and full-intake breathing (which fills the stomach) optimizes oxygen levels in your body, relieves stress, and boosts concentration levels. This type of breathing is practiced by meditation practitioners. Most people practice shallow chest breathing, which is an improper and detrimental breathing technique. In Western society, big chests and small waists are glorified, leading to this unhealthy breathing practice. By fully utilizing the diaphragm and expanding the belly on inhales and contracting on exhales, the body will enjoy increased benefits.

4) Eating Properly - A balanced diet with sufficient essential fatty acids which help build brain cells, amino acids which are required for neurotransmitter production, and carbohydrates which provide glucose ("the brain's fuel") is critical for optimal brain function. Foods rich in essential fatty acids include dry roasted nuts, pumpkin seeds, salmon, sardines, trout, tuna, avocados, and fresh coconut. Sources of amino acids include eggs, milk products, and green leafy vegetables. Healthy sources of carbohydrates include fruits and vegetables, brown rice, wholegrain bread, porridge oats, and wholewheat pasta.

5) Increasing Iron Intake - Iron helps you gain and maintain energy and alertness. Daily Iron dosage should be 15 to 20 mg. Doses larger than this may cause stomach upset and constipation. Good sources of Iron include almonds, hazel nuts, soya beans, oat and wheat bran, and boiled mussels.

6) Increasing Vitamin A
Intake - Vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant that helps keep free radicals away from the brain and helps protect the body from infection. A daily dosage of 800 mcg is recommended. Foods rich in Vitamin A include carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, kale, cantaloupe, apricots, peaches, papayas, mangos, milk, eggs, and liver.                                             
                                            
7) Increasing Vitamin B12
Intake - Vitamin B12 helps to make red blood cells and is important for nerve cell function. It helps to produce methionine which in turn is needed to make S-adrenosyl-methionine (SAMe). SAMe is involved in the manufacture of neurotransmitters and in brain metabolism. A daily dosage of 100 to 250 mcg is recommended. Good sources of Vitamin B12 are fish, red meat, poultry, milk, cheese, and eggs.

8) Increasing Vitamin B6 Intake - Vitamin B6 is supports normal brain and nerve function and also helps the body metabolize proteins and make red blood cells.
A daily dosage of 25 to 50 mg is recommended. Vitamin B6 is found in potatoes, bananas, beans, seeds, nuts, red meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and spinach.

9) Increasing Thiamin Intake - Thiamin (Vitamin B1) helps the body metabolize carbohydrates and is necessary for proper heart, muscle, and nervous system function. 
A daily dosage of 20 to 30 mg is recommended. Good sources of  Thiamin include pasta, meat and fish, dried beans, soy beans, peas, and whole grains.

10) Increasing Niacin Intake - Niacin (Vitamin B3) supports nerve function, helps convert food into energy, and helps maintain healthy skin.
A daily dosage of 30 to 75 mg is recommended. Niacin is found in red meat, poultry, fish, and peanuts.

11) Increasing Vitamin C
Intake - Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) plays an important role in the synthesis of the neurotransmitter norepinephrine and stabilization of free radicals in the brain. It should be consumed in the form of calcium, potassium, zinc, and magnesium ascorbates which are optimal for countering oxidative stress. Recommended daily dosage of Vitamin C is 1000 to 2000 mg. Foods high in Vitamin C include oranges, tangerines, grapefruits, tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, and potatoes.

12) Increasing Vitamin E
Intake - Vitamin E is the primary fat-soluble antioxidant in the body which makes it a crucial brain protector since the brain is composed mostly of fat. One molecule of Vitamin E can protect 200 fatty acid molecules from free radical damage thereby helping brain cells remain functionally healthy for a longer life. Vitamin E also strengthens cerebral capillaries and red blood cells thus helping to increase oxygen availability in the blood. And it dissolves blood clots to prevent stroke. Recommended daily dosage of Vitamin E is 450 IU. Good sources of Vitamin E include seeds, nuts, soybeans, brown rice, oats, fresh wheat germ, and eggs.

13) Increasing Selenium
Intake - Selenium is an essential trace mineral which is a necessary component of several important antioxidant enzymes (like Glutathione) your body manufactures to combat free radicals. It is also one of the most powerful detoxifiers of heavy metals that damage the brain and other organs. Selenium binds to mercury, lead, arsenic, and cadmium, which all disrupt brain chemistry by displacing important minerals like iron, zinc, and copper. It is able to "chelate" these metals - a word derived from Greek word for "claw." In a sense, Selenium grabs hold of these molecules and removes them from brain cells. Recommended daily dosage is 50 to 200g. Selenium-rich foods include wheat germ, tuna, herring and other seafood and shellfish, beef liver and kidney, eggs, sunflower and sesame seeds, cashews, Brazil nuts, mushrooms, garlic, onions, and kelp.

14) Increasing Zinc
Intake - Zinc is one of the elements that builds brain fibers in the brain's center for regulating memory and emotion (the Hippocampus). If you don't have enough zinc in your body, these fibers will not be able to function as well and will decrease your cognitive function, or ability to remember and think. Recommended daily dosage is 15 mg. Good sources of Zinc include beans, nuts, shelled pumpkin seed, red meat, poultry, oysters, crab, whole grains, fortified cereals, and dairy products.

15) Increasing Omega-3
Intake - Omega-3 Fatty Acid known as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is a brain food because DHA is found in high concentration in the gray matter of the brain. In order for neurons to communicate properly, the membrane (or wall) around neurons need to be flexible enough to allow vital molecules to pass through. Aging and diets high in cholesterol and saturated fats can cause membranes to stiffen and be less pliable. This prevents molecules from passing and results in mood imbalances, learning difficulties, and other decreases in brain function. Omega-3 restores the flexible and pliable nature of your neuron membranes to improve cell communication and brain function. Recommended daily dosage is 600 to 1,000 mg. Excellent sources of Omega-3 include salmon, flax seeds, and walnuts.

16) Taking Time Off - Extended periods of concentration drain you of mental energy just as extended periods of exercise exhaust your body.
Occasionally distract yourself from what you are doing to give yourself time to recover.

17) Seeking Hypnotherapy - Hypnotherapy is effective for addressing past trauma that might be affecting your present state of mind. By accessing the sub-conscious in the hypnotic state, the hypnotherapist will take you back to relive the experience. The act of reliving the experience desensitizes you and helps release feelings of fear, pain, or remorse that are holding you back from optimal mental and physical health.


Results: The precise combination of ingredients in ClariMind along with a mind-body focus precisely addresses the concerns of men and women that suffer from mental fatigue and loss of intellectual vitality!

 

 

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