What impact does the aging process have on the brain and how it processes memories? Can anything be done to prevent the effects of aging on your recall? These are all questions that we have to face as we get older. Thankfully, there are answers.
The question of does your age affect your short term memory may seem odd, but it really is an important question to look at as we get older. Humans have long been wrestling with the aging process attempting to slow it or stop it altogether. Since our minds are central to how we think, what we know, who we are then it perhaps one of the more critical areas to study when trying to determine what impact aging has.
So how does your age affect your short term memory? The answer is varied, but there are a few main factors of aging that inhibit recall and brain function. We’ll touch on three of them here.
The first is a decrease in blood flow to the brain as we get older. As we age the circulatory system can become less efficient and blood circulation can become hindered. Also, the same issue of clogged arteries that can affect your heart also affect your brain. Plaque in the vessels can reduce cerebral blood flow and harm brain function. The brain is highly dependent on the oxygen and nutrients that blood brings to the cells. In fact the brain is roughly the largest user of oxygen among the organs of the body. Decrease in oxygen can impact your short term memory from being able to hold and process information. It decreases concentration and inhibits focus.
Therefore, our diet and exercise levels during our lifetime not only play a role in how healthy our heart stays, but also how well our brains continue to function as we age. So while age is a factor in how efficient our circulatory system operates, we do have the power to delay that process by how well we manage what we eat and how we keep our bodies in shape.
We can also turn to nutritional supplementation to augment this by using vitamin and mineral supplements to ensure we’re getting all the nutrients our bodies need. There are also some good supplements of Ginkgo Biloba and Ginseng that help increase blood flow to the brain and enhance the memory functions. These can be especially useful whether we are young yet or we are in our later years.
The second issue that comes up when looking at how does your age affect your short term memory is the decline of neurotransmitter production. Neurotransmitters are the brain chemicals that allow your brain cells to communicate and perform their various functions. As we age the problem can be twofold. One is that we can produce less of these chemicals as we age and two the body’s natural process of breaking down excess neurotransmitters can begin to malfunction and work to excess causing a lack of supply for the brain.
Without proper supply of these chemicals the brain cannot perform correctly. One of the issues with Alzheimer’s for example is that aside from physical damage to nerve cells there is also a significant decrease in various neurotransmitters resulting in an inability to process things into memory or out of memory. It can also affect mood and other aspects of the mind.
Again, one of the keys in fighting this problem is in proper nutrition and diet. The body needs to have the right levels of vitamins and nutrients to support the production of neurotransmitters. Also, exercise tends to help slow down the aging process in general and helps keep the production process strong.
Also, supplementation here can be helpful. There are supplements out there that support brain function by providing compounds like huperzine A, which helps counter the destruction of neurotransmitters in the brain as well as L-Tyrosine, Acetyl L-Carnitine and Choline which help in producing brain chemicals and protecting nerve cell function. These can be useful tools in combating age related decline of these functions.
Lastly, one of the important elements in protecting the brain from decline as we get older is to continue to exercise the brain itself. Studies have shown that people who keep mentally active and challenged as they age tend to keep function longer than those who don’t. The habit is to let ourselves slow down. We retire from our jobs and we tend to stop being active and learning new things. This allows brain function to atrophy. You need to continue to push yourself and strive to learn new things. Working the brain even with simple things like word puzzles or brain teasers helps strengthen those functions. The brain physically strengthens the nerves that are used most, so it truly is a use it or loss it process.
The reasons behind how does your age affect your short term memory are varied, but the answers are simple and within the reach of most everyone. Some of the same things we need to do to stay healthy physically help us mentally. Maintaining good eating habits and regular exercise along with staying active mentally as well as possibly using natural supplements to enhance these programs will help ensure that age doesn’t play as big a role in our mental function as it could otherwise.