Physical and Mental

February 16, 2015
Cindy Alvarez

blog_head_pmf4Memory loss is something most of us begin to fear as we walk into a room, forgetting what we were after… or, introducing someone to a friend you’ve known over the years and can’t seem to utter their name. Ever have that happen to you? Whether it’s occasional forgetfulness or a real loss of short-term memory, it can be scary. Did you know that there are some common things that can cause memory loss that have nothing to do with Alzheimer’s disease? See the list below:

Medications – possible culprits include antidepressants, antihistamines, anti-anxiety meds… and even sleep aides and pain meds given after surgery. I know many of us tend to rely on a little something now and again to help us sleep, but continual use of sleep aids can lead to a less than sharp memory. If you think there is a link between medication and your memory, consult your physician.

Alcohol, tobacco, or drug use – excessive alcohol use has long been recognized as a cause for memory loss. Studies have shown that smokers have more difficulty putting names to faces than nonsmokers. And, do you remember the “Just Say No to Drugs” campaigns that used to run on TV? They showed an egg frying as an example of your brain on drugs. It is possible that they were on to something.

Sleep deprivation – this goes without saying that both quantity and quality of sleep are important to good memory function. This takes me back to when my kids were newborns… I worried all the time about forgetting them somewhere. It is a good example of memory loss as is relates to not getting your 8 solid hours of sleep at night.

Nutritional deficiency – this includes high-quality proteins and fats. Deficiencies in B1 (also known as Thiamine) and B12 specifically can affect your memory. Your body does not create B1 or B12 so you must consume them in foods. It is easy to meet your B1 needs because it is available in a wide variety of foods due to manufacturers fortifying many foods with vitamins. You can find natural sources in fruits, vegetables and dairy products. Vitamin B12 is found only in animal products, like eggs, poultry, meat and milk. If you do not eat animal products, a supplemental form is recommended.

So before you’re off to the doctor the next time you’re in mid-sentence and forgot the point you were trying to make, take a closer look at your lifestyle and think about some possible improvements.

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