Having difficulties focusing, remembering tasks or organizing your thoughts? Whatever health issues bring people to our clinic, it is very common to hear complaints of poor memory, lack of concentration, lack of focus and “brain fog.” While the vast majority of the time this does not represent early onset of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, it is nonetheless a troubling and limiting complaint. Fortunately, there is much that can be done to improve our cognitive function and enhance our memory.
At SFNM, our doctors assess and understand issues with memory and mental function by first screening for conditions that may affect these systems. These may include neurotransmitter or hormonal imbalances, such as low thyroid function, issues with blood sugar regulation, such as hypoglycemia or diabetes, vitamin D deficiency and others. We also screen for the effects of stress or overstimulation that are common causes of mental dysfunction. Diet, exercise, and sleep patterns often are connected with our ability to think clearly, and we pay close attention to these lifestyle factors.
Good Nutrition Improves Cognitive Function
Good nutrition can help boost your brainpower. Not only is eating well essential to overall physical health, it can also enhance the function and harmony of the mind. The right foods enhance brain function by providing essential nutrients such as flavonoids, Omega 3s, vitamins, folate and iron that are great for improving the quality and quantity of learning capacity, cognitive abilities, memory and overall brain function. High sugar diets and problems with blood sugar regulation can affect mental function negatively since glucose is the main fuel used by the brain and nervous system. You can enhance your brain's health and function by including blueberries, fish, leafy green vegetables, seeds, nuts, and whole grains in your diet.
Boost Your Brainpower with Acupuncture
Acupuncture and Oriental medicine can help optimize your brainpower as part of a holistic treatment approach. According to acupuncture and Oriental medicine, the mind (Shen) embodies consciousness, emotions and thought. Shen influences long-term memory, the ability to think clearly, contributes to wisdom and presides over activities that involve mental and creative functions. When the mind is healthy we are able to think clearly. When the mind is unhealthy or unbalanced we experience confusion, poor memory, and clouded thinking. Disharmony of the mind often manifests as anxiety, insomnia, muddled thinking, forgetfulness and chronic restlessness. Acupuncture, as well as physical exercises such as Tai Chi or Qi Gong, can balance and strengthen the mind by supporting the Shen.
Acupuncture has been shown to significantly improve learning and memory capacity that has been impaired by hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) and cerebral ischemia (decreased blood flow), according to a 2003 study published in the October 2008 issue of Neuroscience Letters. Researchers reported on whether electroacupuncture (acupuncture needles stimulated with a mild electrical current) could improve learning and memory in rats whose memory and cognitive functions were impaired by the decreased circulatory effects of diabetes resulting in cerebral ischemia. With all tests, significant improvements were seen in restored memory and learning capacity. Researchers believe that the positive results of this study indicate similar benefits for humans and warrant further investigation.
Other studies have looked at how acupuncture affects the performance of students taking an exam or those with Alzheimer's disease and memory impairment induced by diabetes and cerebral ischemia. All results, thus far, have been positive.
Tackle ADD and ADHD with Acupuncture
People with ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) or ADHD Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) generally have trouble concentrating and paying attention. Symptoms include difficulty following directions and boredom or frustration with tasks. Those with ADD or ADHD also tend to move constantly and can be impulsive, not stopping to think before they act.
Behaviors typically associated with ADD or ADHD can interfere with the ability to function at school, at work and at home. Research indicates that when treating ADD or ADHD, a multidisciplinary approach is most effective, including behavioral therapy, exercise, dietary changes and medication. ADD or ADHD is not exclusive to children; it continues as people age and, in some cases, obvious symptoms do not manifest until later.
Acupuncture has been shown to be one of the treatment methods that is beneficial in managing ADD or ADHD and is an excellent addition to any integrative treatment plan as it is used to help the body restore balance, treating the root of the disorder, while also diminishing the symptoms of ADD or ADHD. Acupuncture can help improve focus and attention, reduce fidgeting, lower hyperactivity, augment mood management techniques and enhance concentration.
Screening for nutrient deficiencies, food or food additive sensitivities and heavy metal toxicity are also important steps in assessing the causes of ADD or ADHD.
If you are concerned about memory issues, focus, or concentration, our doctors can work with you to help remove obstacles and improve your cognitive function. Please call 415-643-6600 to schedule an appointment or a free 15-minute phone consultation to determine if this is the right approach for you.