Have you ever walked into another room in your home only to immediately forget what you were doing and why? Or has there ever been a time when you had the name of an old friend on the tip of your tongue — but couldn’t quite recall it? While such lapses in memory and focus aren’t usually cause for concern, these may be a motivating factor for improving one’s memory and focus.
Good cognitive health gives us an edge throughout our lifetime — from school days to middle age (and beyond). But our ability to remember new information peaks in our 20s, so most adults can benefit from habits and lifestyle changes that are proven to protect the brain and improve its performance.
What Causes Issues with Memory and Focus?
There are several factors that can dull the brain’s powers of focus. Among these are:
Just as certain body parts work less efficiently with age, some of the brain’s functions tend to slow down, too. As a person ages, it’s not uncommon to experience a lessened ability to focus, learn, recall new information, and solve problems.
An Unhealthy Diet
Our brains use more than 20 percent of calories consumed by the body, so what you eat has a direct impact on cognitive function. For instance, when your body breaks down unhealthy foods with high fat and excess sugar, chronic inflammation occurs in the hippocampus, a region in the brain that is involved with memory. This type of diet can ultimately lead to cognitive decline.
Stress is also associated with poorer cognitive function, both in the short term and over the long term. In one study of many, executive functions in the prefrontal cortex of the brain — working memory, attention, response inhibition, and cognitive flexibility — were found to be impaired by stress.
Not getting enough sleep can diminish cognitive functions like attention, language, reasoning, decision-making, learning, and memory. While sleep deprivation dulls the senses and slows reaction times, long sleep durations may also point to poor quality of sleep or disturbed sleep patterns, which can impair cognitive performance.
A lack of certain vitamins and nutrients has been associated with cognitive impairment. Besides the vitamins and minerals which are well established with the daily recommended intake, deficit in carnosine have been linked to cognitive decline as well.
Why Does Cognitive Decline Happen With Age?
As we get older, certain parts of the brain — like the prefrontal cortex, hippocampus, and cerebral cortex — naturally shrink in volume, and a loss of receptors and neurons can impact learning, concentration, and other mental activities. Blood flow in the brain may also decrease, inflammation may increase, and communication between nerve cells in certain brain regions may also be less effective.
While mild forgetfulness doesn’t always indicate serious memory problems, experiencing a decline in mental function can be frustrating or concerning. For those wanting to remain cognitively sharp through — and despite — the aging process, it may be reassuring to know that cognitive decline isn’t necessarily inevitable. (Some individuals remain mentally sharp well into their 80s and beyond, prompting researchers to study these cognitive “super-agers” to better understand the relationship between aging and brain function.)
Is It Possible to Improve Cognitive Function?
In many cases, it’s possible to protect memory by adopting certain lifestyle changes — much like how a balanced diet, regular exercise, and good sleep habits can improve the body’s overall fitness. Although not a literal muscle, the brain, too, needs these things to remain in optimum condition.
What Are Common Ways to Improve Memory and Focus?
There are many science-backed ways to minimize memory loss and improve focus. Start by paying attention to these factors that directly impact brain health: physical fitness, mental well-being, healthy sleep patterns, mental exercise, diet and nutrition, and dietary supplements.
To boost your memory and thinking skills, regular exercise is a must. Research links excess body weight to accelerated aging of the brain, but regular exercise enables the brain’s memory center to create new neurons — which keeps cognitive skills sharp. Your fitness regimen doesn’t have to be strenuous, either. Aim for 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity workouts, with a mix of cardio and strength training.
In one study, endurance activity (like running) and resistance exercise were shown to “induce an increase of circulating growth factors and neurotrophins which have an effect on the brain both during development and in the adult.” The same study concluded that habitual exercise is a way of maintaining not only a healthy body but also a healthy mind — and is an effective strategy for delaying the effects of aging and promoting overall brain health.
Maintaining one’s overall mental well-being is key to keeping your brain healthy. The 2018 AARP Brain Health and Mental Well-Being Survey found that people who scored higher on the scale of mental well-being reported better memory and thinking skills.
Based on these findings and additional research, the 2018 Global Council on Brain Health (GCBH) provided several recommendations for optimizing mental well-being: find healthy ways to manage your stress levels (through yoga, mindfulness/meditation, therapy, etc.), strengthen relationships with family and friends, spend time in nature, acknowledge and accept both positive and negative emotions, avoid “harmful rumination” by making peace with what you cannot change, find and develop a purpose in life, engage in hobbies that lift your mood, create a personal organization system, and work with a mental health professional if you are anxious or depressed.
Healthy Sleep Patterns
Most adults need seven to eight hours of sleep a night to maintain good brain health. Certain factors may negatively impact sleep patterns, such as limited exposure to daylight, changes in hormones, and sleep disorders like insomnia or sleep apnea, so it is vital to address these issues if and when they arise.
Studies have established a positive link between cognitively stimulating activities and brain health. So if you’ve ever wanted to play a new musical instrument, take an art class, or learn a second language, why not begin today? Even seemingly simple brain exercises — think crossword puzzles or Sudoku — can help keep the mind young.
Try memory-boosting tips and tricks to make learning faster and easier. One technique relies on associative memory (or association) to help you remember new information — like names, phone numbers, and important dates — by linking it to the information you already know. For example, if you just met someone named Dr. Brown, look closely at their features and what they’re wearing. Maybe their jacket or eyes are also brown. There’s an association, and now you’re more likely to recall the person’s name.
Diet and Nutrition
To promote brain health and fight inflammation, Dr. Uma Naidoo, Nutritional Psychiatrist and author of This Is Your Brain on Food, recommends cutting back on added sugars, fried foods, refined/higher-glycemic load carbohydrates, alcohol, and nitrates. Also avoid processed oils and fats, chemical additives, and preservatives, as these are harmful to the brain. Instead, eat anti-inflammatory and whole plant foods, as these have been shown to positively influence cognitive functioning. A balanced diet should include plenty of fresh vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains, as these nourish our brains. Some dietary supplements are also used to boost cognitive functioning, and research is yielding exciting findings about their potential.
How Can Brain Supplements Improve Memory and Focus?
Certain nutrients have been shown to have positive effects on cognitive function and may help improve memory and focus. These include:
- Vitamins and nutrients that provide energy and enhance metabolism.
- Ingredients that protect and provide healthy composition and function to the brain.
- Herbs that work as adaptogens and other pathways related to memory and signaling.
Many of these nutrients can be found in certain over-the-counter brain supplements, which are often referred to as nootropics.*
Note: when considering anti-aging supplements for brain health and function, proceed with caution. Many brands make bold claims about their cognitive benefits, but you should only consider those that are scientifically backed and use ingredients that are proven safe and effective.
What is Carnosine and Is It Naturally Produced in the Body?
When introduced into the body, beta-alanine helps to increase levels of the molecule carnosine, which acts as a neurotransmitter, heavy metal chelator, and anti-glycation/anti-aging agent. Carnosine is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory that benefits aspects of brain functioning, such as memory and focus. In one recent study, beta-alanine supplementation resulted in cognitive improvement in a randomized, double-blind, large-scale trial.
Beta-alanine is produced naturally in the body, but it’s difficult to get the required amount of this amino acid — and therefore carnosine — through diet alone. Additionally, our carnosine levels decrease as we age, and the rate of decline accelerates over time. (Declines can begin as early as age 30.) As carnosine levels in brain cell membranes decrease with age, this results in biochemical alterations and structural deterioration that impair neurotransmission. This is why a supplement like Perfect Synergy® can serve as an effective carnosine booster.
How Can Perfect Synergy® by Sustained RX® Help Improve Memory and Focus?
Perfect Synergy® is a patented, sustained release form of beta-alanine from Sustained RX® that is specifically formulated to maximize carnosine production and enhance brain health — improving memory, executive functioning, mental clarity, concentration, and alertness. This patented delivery system allows for gradual and ongoing dosing, which maintains optimal levels in the bloodstream and enables the synthesis of more carnosine for greater bioavailability within the brain and other tissues.
Scientific research backs Perfect Synergy®’s claims to improve memory and focus, with multiple studies pointing to carnosine as a support for overall brain health and cognitive function. It has been repeatedly proven to help reduce mental fatigue and improve attention, concentration, and task focus in adults.
In one recent study, beta-alanine supplementation after five to ten weeks was shown to improve cognitive function in older adults whose cognitive function at baseline was at or below normal. In another study, carnosine administered for 12 weeks at a dose of 500 milligrams to 1 gram per day improved global cognitive function and verbal memory in four placebo-controlled trials. Another study concluded that carnosine supplementation significantly preserved verbal memory, blood flow, and white-matter microstructure at prefrontal areas of the brain. In another study, verbal episodic memory performance improved after three months of carnosine supplementation.
Note: while certain dietary supplements like Perfect Synergy® can make a noticeable difference in carnosine levels, it’s important to consult a healthcare professional to determine which lifestyle changes and supplementation regimens are appropriate for you.
Why is Perfect Synergy® the Best Beta-Alanine Supplement for Improved Brain Health?
Perfect Synergy® utilizes the only patented sustained release beta-alanine that has successfully obtained New Dietary Ingredient (NDI) status with the FDA with self-affirmed Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) status. With Perfect Synergy®, you can trust that you’re getting the highest quality, safest beta-alanine possible. Perfect Synergy® is made in the USA using globally sourced ingredients and manufactured under a stringent quality control process. It contains zero unnecessary fillers, proprietary blends, or banned ingredients.
Rather than touting untested claims, Perfect Synergy® is powered by SR CarnoSyn®, which has undergone many years of rigorous testing by scientists and doctors at major universities. Its efficacy is backed by over 55 clinical studies, and it is certified by national and international agencies to be safe and effective.
When considering a beta-alanine supplement, be aware that there are many generic options available, so it’s important to do your research. Can you guarantee the brand’s claims are backed by science? What about the source and quality of the ingredients used? Generic beta-alanine manufacturers may make bold assertions about the supposed purity and benefits of their products, but they are neither backed by the FDA nor supported by science.
Is Perfect Synergy® Vegan and Gluten-Free?
Yes! Perfect Synergy® is a vegan supplement, as it is made without any animal byproducts. It is also gluten-free, allergen-free, and non-GMO.