It is precisely on the brink of autumn – the season traditionally dedicated to sowing – with the start of the new school year, when everyone goes back to work and starts planning for cultural and social events, that we must prepare our body and trace out the start of a new cycle of rebirth, prompting our physical and mental functions, especially our concentration and memory to make the most of our potential.
In its very essence, memory is about recording our experiences, which are then stratified to form a deposit. It can be either personal or collective, accumulating many experiences before us and still active within. If we talk about the mental function in its pure and simple form, we use the term ‘memorising’, but when we also consider the emotional component, we prefer the term ‘remembering’. Memory can also be considered the link between remembering the past, imagining the present, and foreseeing the future. A privileged space is reserved to our memory called the hippocampus, an anatomical seahorse-shaped structure located right in the centre of the brain.
In the book The Seven Sins of Memory, professor Daniel Schacter, director of the Department of Psychology at Harvard University, describes the dysfunctions of memory, dividing them into seven fundamental transgressions or sins: transience, absent-mindedness, blocking, misattribution, suggestibility, bias, and persistence. These alterations are part of our daily life and have damaging consequences on concentration and memorisation.
Stimulating the mind
The concentration and memorisation process requires the proper transmission of messages between nerve cells, which is ensured by certain micronutrients including B-group vitamins, fatty acids, choline, and tyrosine. Our brain is composed primarily of polyunsaturated fatty acids belonging to the omega-6 and omega-3 family, with a clear prevalence of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Vegetable oils are excellent sources of omega-6, while fish, walnuts and flax seed are particularly rich in omega-3. Among the various dietary supplements, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Uridine 5’-monophosphate, Taurine, Homotaurine, and Bacopa play a particularly positive role.
Bacopa monnieri, known as ‘Water Hyssop’, is a native Indian plant that grows in swampy environments. In Ayurvedic traditional medicine, Bacopa ‘opens the door to full knowledge’. Numerous clinical studies have confirmed the natural neuroprotective and anti-anxiety action of the dry extract obtained from the aerial parts of the plant, valuable in optimising both concentration and memory in young people under stressful conditions. This positive effect on concentration and memory is attributed to a group of substances defined as bacosides.