Is memory loss interfering with your daily life? Most people are familiar with some of the things that can impair memory, including alcohol, head injury, stroke, severe stress, aging or symptoms of conditions like Alzheimer’s disease. What many don’t know is that episodes of forgetfulness can also be side effects of prescription drugs. This medicine can impact your memory and ability to concentrate. Nearly 90 percent of those age 65 or older take at least on medication, significantly more than any other age group. Often, older people take more than one medication, increasing the likelihood of the adverse drug reaction.
Research shows that 18 percent of those over 65 years complain of memory problems and are found to have mild cognitive deficits. To properly evaluate and treat memory loss, a comprehensive blood testing is advised, to make sure you are tested for heavy metals and mercury amalgams. This will allow your holistic physician the chance to understand what’s happening inside your body, while providing a blueprint for treatment options.
Drugs That Causes Memory Loss
There are many kind of prescription drugs and medications that causes memory loss. See if any drugs you take are on this list. Adverse drug reactions are now the fourth leading cause of death in the US and the fifth leading cause of death in Europe. Its very clear that medications carry side-effects and one of the most common risks is memory loss.
If you are taking any prescription medication that is affecting your memory, it’s probably one of these three categories of drugs known to cause memory loss and other cognitive problems.
Anticholinergics: The “Anti” Drugs
If you take a drug that starts with “anti” such as antihistamines, antidepressant, antipsychotics, antibiotics, antispasmodics, or antihypertensives, it’s likely that it will affect your acetylcholine level.
Acetylcholine is the primary neurotransmitter of memory and learning. When you are low in acetylcholine, you become forgetful, can’t concentrate, or can’t think of the right words. Acetylcholine deficiencies are associated with dementia and Alzheimer’s and medications for these disorders work by preventing the breakdown of acetylcholine in the brain. Drugs that block the action of acetylcholine are known as anticholinergics. Side effects of anticholinergic drugs include: Confusion, blurred vision, constipation etc.
Prescription sleeping pills like Ambien, Sonata, and Lunesta are notorious for causing memory problems. Ever since the drugs hit the market, people have been reporting “Ambien amnesia” or Ambien blackouts” during which they have walked, eaten, and even driven their car in their sleep with no recollection of it the following day.
Cholesterol-lowering medications might just be the single worst group of drugs for your brain. Memory loss is now required to be listed as a side effect on the label of cholesterol-lowering drugs like Lipitor and Crestor.
When researchers examined the medical records of nearly a million people, they found out that statin use increased the risk of memory loss four-fold. And its not just Statins, other kinds of cholesterol-lowering drugs were also strongly linked to increased forgetfulness. Here is why lowering cholesterol is a problem for your brain.
One-quarter of your brain is composed of cholesterol, cholesterol is necessary for memory, learning, and fast thinking. Cholesterol is also needed to make neurotransmitters, chemicals that brain cells use to communicate with each other. So, it’s not such a surprise that cholesterol-lowering drugs negatively affect the brain.
How You Can Minimize Medication-induced Memory Loss:
If you take medications you suspect are causing cognitive problems, here are some recommended steps to take.
- Take inventory of what you are taking. Write down every medication, dosage, and when you started taking it.
- Talk to your doctor about what you ae taking, how much you are taking, and why you are taking it. If you have more than one physician, have this conversation with each of them.
- Ask if there are any non-drug approaches you can take instead. Find out the consequences of stopping any medication.
- If there are any medications that can be eliminated, discuss a plan for getting off them and follow the plan.
- You should always get all your medications filled by the same pharmacy. Talk to your pharmacist about everything you take to make sure there are no known interactions.
Remedies for memory loss
In most cases, memory loss can be reversed with the proper actions. Here what to do:
- Avoid prescription medications: most do more harm than good. Look for natural supplements, nutrition and good lifestyle choices as alternatives.
- Eat only organic food: Pesticides and toxins used in non-organic food production will cause memory loss. Non-processed foods, gluten-free foods ate by our ancestors are better choices.
- Eat fat: your brain is made of fat. Support it with good fat choices like coconut and avocado.
- Eat fish: the omega-3 from the sea will crank up your brain. You cannot get the omega-3 as DHA from eating plants. You must eat wild salmon, sardines, anchovy or Shellfish.
- Carrots: they contain carotene which is a memory booster. Eat them raw, cooked, or in casseroles, or make a juice with carrots and apricots. The apricots are used to add a little compatible juice to the dry carrots
- Artichokes: These are thought to increase your mental acuity. Prepare and eat them as you normally would or follow this recipe for an elixir of artichoke: pull the artichoke apart, leaf by leaf, then put in the pieces into a jar and add enough water to just barely cover. Cover the jar with a lid or saucer, and place in a pan with water. Boil for two hours, adding more water to pan (not a jar) as necessary. Then strain the contents of the jar and give the artichoke leaves a good squeeze to get out all juices. Take 3 to 4 tablespoons four times a day.
- Adequate amount of sleep: sleep rejuvenates and heals your body and is vital for good memory support. In fact, most memories are converted from short-term to long-term while we sleep. Sleep with the sundown and awake with the sunrise.
- Limit EMF exposure: from your smart phone, Wi-Fi, lights etc. turn off the Wi-Fi at bedtime. Keep your phone as far away from you as possible.
- Limit blue light exposure: from indoor lighting, mobile devices, computer and tv. Buy a pair of blue blocking glasses to protect your health.