If you struggle to recall basic life details, a memory supplement can help. Short-term and long-term memory loss can occur at any age. It's not limited to adults and elders. Frequent memory lapses happen to the best of us. Even the surest minded individuals forget things on occasion. But you’ll know when it's become a problem.
Missing the doctor’s or forgetting work meetings gets old quick. Is old age a culprit for loss of focus and memory power? Maybe brain fog and mental fatigue from a hectic lifestyle are to blame. The truth is, it's a little of everything. Even the food you eat can play a role in improving memory retention.
There are plenty of healthy ways to help memory formation without prescription drugs. You may have heard the term “nootropic” used recently. Herbal nootropics are reliable natural memory boosters for developing a sharper mind. By and large, they are both safe and effective. Many brain supplements exist for memory enhancement, but only a few live up to the claims. Information overload makes choosing one a difficult task, but we've made it easier. In today's article, we’ve selected the best memory supplements in 2018 to review.
It’s important to note; single nootropics can work wonders for brain development. Nootropics can increase your ability to interpret complicated concepts and process stored information. These memory boosting supplements work best when stacked with other natural herbs. We will elaborate on many of these stackable herbal supplements below. Before we dive in, let’s discuss the core concepts of how improving memory works.
Synaptic Plasticity & Memory Retention
In neuroscience, synaptic plasticity is the vital neurochemical foundation for memory and learning. It involves the strengthening or weakening of your brain’s synapses. In other words, it is your brain’s ability to build and maintain neural connections over time. The brain forms new memories by creating neural pathways to retain learned information. Our list of memory supplements below supports this critical “data storage” process.
Presenting your brain with new mental challenges promotes growth and sharpens memory. Studying and learning will stimulate positive plastic changes in your brain’s synapses. This type of mental training strengthens glutamatergic synaptic transmission, boosting memory function. Have you ever noticed how some students seem to score better on tests and exams than others? It’s not always genetics or luck. When hard work and preparation become a habit, your brain is the beneficiary.
Strategies for enhancing memory skills include reading, solving puzzles and playing educational games. Performing recall exercises and other cognitive training activities can also help. Don't overlook proper diet and nutrition or a fitness regimen. These items, along with regular sleeping patterns are crucial for healthy brain function. Make sure to continue challenging your brain—it’s a muscle! Do not rely on memory pills alone to enhance cognitive function. Taking a memory supplement while utilizing the strategies above will improve memory development.
How Acetylcholine Improves Memory Recall
Acetylcholine (ACh for short) was the first neurotransmitter discovered in the human body. Known as the “learning neurotransmitter,” acetylcholine's prominent role involves supporting cognition. It acts as a neuromodulator influencing how your brain retrieves and processes information. Acetylcholine is an integral part of increasing memory retention. Even a minor improvement in the cholinergic system has a profound cognitive impact.
Many people are choline deficient due to their poor dieting choices. An extra choline supplement boosts neuroplasticity, decision-making, and learning skills. If something influences acetylcholine levels, it's considered a “cholinergic” substance. The best memory supplements always contain a high-quality choline source like Alpha GPC. Avoid low-quality sources like DMAE, Choline Bitartrate, and CDP-Choline (Citicoline). These lesser choline sources have low bioavailability. Low bioavailability means they offer little nootropic benefit for memory enhancement.
Now that we understand how memory works, let’s cover the top natural memory boosters and pills in 2018. In our list, we will discuss the following supplements: Bacopa Monnieri, Huperzine A, Alpha GPC, Phosphatidylserine, Acetyl-L-Carnitine, Vinpocetine, Rhodiola Rosea, Ginkgo Biloba, MCT Oil (Medium-Chain Triglycerides), Omega-3 Fish Oil.
Best Memory Boosting Supplements & Pills 2018
1. Bacopa Monnieri
Bacopa Monnieri is one of the top natural nootropic supplements for memory enhancement. It serves as a useful stress and anxiety reliever, and brain protectant. Bacopa works by influencing dopamine and serotonin levels in the brain. This effect improves cognition in both elderly and young adults. Bacopa is also an adaptogen and antioxidant from Ayurvedic medicine. When supplemented, this herb can stimulate the growth of nerve endings called dendrites. Dendrite stimulation enhances neuron communication, improving short-term and long-term memory retention.
There’s a reason Bacopa Monnieri is a staple ingredient in today’s best memory supplements. The research is quite definitive. Several studies suggest Bacopa can increase memory recall and treat ADHD naturally. Many current studies show a link between Bacopa and boosting memory. This improvement is most evident in Alzheimer’s patients experiencing sudden memory loss. Other subjects with neurodegenerative diseases noted reduced forgetfulness using Bacopa as well.
2. Huperzine A
When discussing natural remedies for memory loss, Huperzine A always enters the conversation. Huperzine A, or Huperzia Serrata, is the purified form of a firmoss plant known as Chinese Club Moss. This potent nootropic offers many benefits for working memory function and neuroprotection.
Here’s how this memory booster works. Acetylcholinesterase (AChE) is a natural enzyme occurring in the human body. AChE handles breaking down acetylcholine in the brain. In contrast, Huperzine inhibits enzymes (like AChE) from breaking down acetylcholine. Therefore, Huperzine is in the “acetylcholinesterase antagonist” class of choline supplements.
Active inhibition of AChE allows neurotransmitter acetylcholine to increase. This cognitive effect is why the best natural memory supplements often contain Huperzine. Increasing the level of ACh improves memory retention, mental clarity, and neuroplasticity. When stacked with a good choline source such as Alpha GPC, the benefits of Huperzine A amplify. Alpha GPC increases choline directly, and Huperzine A prevents its breakdown. The result is a fine-tuned cholinergic system. Huperzine A is a well-tolerated herb with little to no cholinergic-related side effects.
3. Alpha GPC
Most pills that help memory loss will boost acetylcholine levels in some fashion. In our Alpha GPC review, we go into detail on why this memory supplement is the best choline source. Alpha GPC is like Huperzine A in that it will enhance the body’s cholinergic system. Protecting the brain from age-related cognitive decline is one of its many benefits.
Additionally, it improves focus and concentration and develops sharper recall. Still, there is a significant distinction that we need to make. Alpha GPC is an actual choline source, not an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor. Alpha GPC has the highest bioavailability with a choline by weight ratio of 40-50%. The percentage means that a 1,000mg dosage confers to 400-500mg of usable choline for the brain.
Alpha GPC is a much higher quality choline source than its counterparts. Despite their popularity, DMAE, Choline Bitartrate (Lecithin) and CDP-Choline are rarely effective. These choline sources have low bioavailability, making their cognitive effects minimal. Alpha GPC enhances memory and neurotransmission because of its high bioavailability. This natural nootropic also reduces mental and physical fatigue and eliminates brain fog. These health benefits make it ideal for entrepreneurs, students, and athletes. If you desire more than increased memory power, this is a great supplement to try.
Phosphatidylserine benefits memory retention and enhances brain function for young adults and seniors. It’s one of the best supplements for memory and focus. This natural nootropic is a favorite among biohacking experts around the world.
Phosphatidylserine is an amino acid derivative prevalent in mammalian brains. PS and other phospholipids are responsible for protecting and structuring our cells. Phosphatidylserine also improves cell-to-cell communication and supports the growth of neurons.
These characteristics make PS ideal for boosting memory recall and stabilizing mood. Other benefits include improving focus and enhancing mental processing speed and accuracy. Like choline, many individuals are deficient in Phosphatidylserine. The widespread deficiency is due to the missing presence of PS in common western foods. Hence, supplementation is beneficial for those who lack dietary PS intake. Studies also suggest that PS is an excellent neuroprotectant that slows cognitive decline. PS helps prevent memory loss by supporting short-term and long-term memory formation.
Produced by the kidneys and liver, carnitine is a compound present in most of the body's cells. In supplement form, it's called Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALCAR). It’s a very popular energy supplement and memory booster and often used in the fitness world. ALCAR has a significant impact on energy generation at a foundational level. L-Carnitine plays a key role in two biochemical processes. These processes are mitochondrial protection and energy metabolism.
Our cell's energy production makes critical thinking, learning, and physical activity possible. Carnitine increases the quality and quantity of our cell’s mitochondria. ALCAR also supports ATP (Adenosine triphosphate) production and fuel transport between individual cells.
Besides energy production, Acetyl-L-Carnitine assists neuron and cardiovascular function. Our brains need a healthy cardiovascular system to deliver nutrient and oxygen-rich blood. Through ALCAR supplementation, the heart supports improved focus and concentration. Studies show that ALCAR can also increase verbal and spatial memory power. This supplement may even reduce chronic fatigue and neurological decline related to aging.
Vinpocetine is a natural memory supplement extracted from the seeds of Periwinkle plants. Several countries prescribe Vinpocetine as holistic medicine for improving memory and cognition. These regions include Russia, Mexico, Japan, and many in Europe. Studies show Vinpocetine may boost long-term and short-term memory retention. The definitive literature lacks despite the noteworthy anecdotal evidence. Still, you’ll likely find Vinpocetine as an active ingredient in a variety of memory loss pills. It's a favorite herb among smart drugs and cognitive support supplements.
Vinpocetine’s proven benefits involve neuroprotection, cerebral blood flow, and neural inflammation. Increased blood flow and reduced brain inflammation allow Vinpocetine to heighten cognitive abilities. Such functions include verbal fluidity, reaction time, and subjective well-being.
Vinpocetine may also protect the brain from neurodegenerative diseases such as amnesia. This mental disorder brings frequent memory loss, confusion, and mental impairment. Vinpocetine may not be one of the best memory boosting supplements. But, this natural herb enhances cognitive function in other ways.
7. Rhodiola Rosea
Another herbal memory supplement for over the counter sale is Rhodiola Rosea. Rhodiola is an adaptogen compound used in traditional Chinese medicine. This Scandinavian herb inhibits the physical and chemical effects of anxiety and stress. Rhodiola supplementation also improves memory retention and concentration.
This nootropic served a multitude of therapeutic purposes throughout history. These include enhancing physical endurance and treating fibromyalgia. Several studies prove that Rhodiola increases mental processing speed and accuracy. The focused antifatigue state makes it one of the best natural remedies for memory.
We know Rhodiola improves memory and enhances mental clarity. Rhodiola Rosea also boosts athletic performance and assists weight loss. The cognitive and mood enhancing benefits derive from salidroside and rosavin. These two chemicals are the extract of Rhodiola’s ground up roots.
Both salidroside and rosavin offer many physical and mental health benefits. Although, research suggests the salidroside component is more effective in isolation than rosavin. Use caution when choosing your natural memory supplement. For best results, it's important to select Rhodiola Rosea with the proper composition. We recommend a 3% salidroside and 1% rosavin extract.
8. Ginkgo Biloba
When researching supplements for memory loss, Ginkgo Biloba is always a hot topic. This herbal memory booster is one of the most ingested nootropics. Most users take it for everyday brain function support, but it can do much more. Ginkgo Biloba appears to be useful for seniors experiencing cognitive decline. Multiple studies show improvements in memory recall and facial recognition. Subjects also experience a reduction in symptoms related to Alzheimer’s and dementia. Ginkgo Biloba does not appear to prevent Alzheimer’s or dementia. Though, it seems to stabilize and reduce the symptoms of neurodegenerative diseases.
Ginkgo Biloba works by improving cerebral blood flow and preserving neurotransmitter balance. It helps acetylcholine, dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine maintain equilibrium. This effect allows the user to reach a focused and relaxed frame of mind. Ginkgo increases memory power, boosts attention span, and supports concentration.
Extended supplementation of Ginkgo has shown even more positive results. Long-time users may notice anxiety reduction and mood improvement as well. In other words, it’s a great natural herb to use for ADHD, regardless of your age. Ginkgo is also useful in young adults, not just seniors. Thus, it’s considered one of the best long-term and short-term memory supplements.
9. MCT Oil (Medium-Chain Triglycerides)
It turns out, MCT oil benefits memory function more than we thought. MCT oil derives from coconut oil, which contains both long-chain and medium-chain triglycerides. The body is more likely to store long-chain fatty acids as adipose tissue (stomach fat). Whereas, medium-chain fatty acids are more likely to convert into quick ketone energy. Purified coconut oil containing only MCTs offers more health benefits. MCT oil comes with less risk of packing on the pounds and provides excellent fuel for the body and mind.
Many people looking for the best memory pills and supplements overlook healthy fats. Giving your brain enough fat is crucial for improving memory function. Studies show that ketones help reduce memory loss in Alzheimer’s patients. The same result holds true for those who have dementia. These studies show promise for the future of MCT oil. Especially considering the contrary press coconut oil has received lately. Like most fats, consuming coconut oil in moderation is safe for most individuals. You may even experience increased memory power!
10. Omega-3 Fish Oil
One of the best memory supplements and the most discussed is omega-3 fish oil. This natural memory booster contains two fatty acids. They are EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). EPA is best known for improving heart health and reducing bodily inflammation. This fatty acid does not boost memory and cognition on its own. EPA's ability to stabilize your mood and reduce inflammation promotes clearer thinking. But, DHA is more beneficial as a cognitive enhancer. DHA has a crucial role in early childhood brain development. It also supports brain function and mental acuity in teenagers and adults.
Fish oil is a mass adopted dietary supplement, proven safe and effective for all ages. Studies using a higher ratio of DHA led to improved memorization and recall. Other similar studies yielded increased focus and attention in the subjects. Fish oil's benefits are more pronounced when taken with Phosphatidylserine. PS is another strong memory enhancer that we recommend. Omega-3 fish oil is inexpensive and easy to find. For reliable mental health support, we recommend a daily fish oil supplement.
Final Thoughts on Supplements & Pills for Improving Memory
It comes as no surprise that the infamous limitless pill NZT-48 is fictional. But science has given us plenty of realistic alternatives for boosting memory retention. It’s difficult to choose a single best memory supplement with so many great options on the market.
Most users prefer to avoid synthetic nootropics such as racetams and ampakines. We agree with the use of natural cognitive enhancers over synthetic alternatives. That’s why we’ve built NuClarity, an all-natural brain supplement. Our memory pill is scientifically formulated to increase focus, concentration, and memory power. For enhanced mental clarity and cognitive performance, give NuClarity a try. What do you think is the best nootropic for memory retention and learning in 2018? Let us know your thoughts below.