(NaturalHealth365) Too often, short term memory loss is seen as inevitable, simply due to stress, aging or everyday fatigue. Today’s typical diet and hectic lifestyles compound the problem by challenging the immune system, forcing the body to utilize more energy to combat illness and ward off environmental impurities – making it much more difficult to concentrate.
But scientific studies of the natural stimulant guarana bring new hope of improving memory loss. In fact, along with bettering memory retention, scientific findings suggest guarana may help alleviate symptoms of exhaustion, fatigue and an inability to concentrate often seen in those experiencing chronic stress or illness.
Are you experiencing these memory loss issues?
Guarana appears to be effective in improving short-term memory, a sort of “working” memory where the brain must manipulate multiple pieces of information simultaneously. An example would be working a simple math problem or developing a budget.
If you notice an increased forgetfulness on where you put objects, experience an inability to follow a movie or television show plot, feel like you are being bombarded with too much information at once or being to have difficulty following instructions, you may be suffering a deficiency in short-term memory.
Which is better for memory loss? Guarana vs. caffeine
Guarana contains a substance called guaranine, which acts much like a safer, yet more potent, version of what is typically referred to as caffeine. Guarana is found in nature as a flowering vine native to Brazil, where it grows along the Amazon River. Its properties were known as far back as the 1600s, when Native Amazonian tribes were known to use the seeds as a brain stimulant in medicines, beverages, topical treatments, and food.
Caffeine can be found inside nuts that produce guaranine and no one has successfully separated guaranine and caffeine. For that reason, guaranine is often confused with caffeine, though the latter is derived from different parts of the plant and is dissimilar in strength as well as effects.
Just as scientists are hard-pressed to identify a difference between natural and synthetic versions of the same vitamins while the human body can make the distinction, the body is likewise able to distinguish between caffeine and the natural substance guarana.
Through modern research, scientists now know that guarana contains greater amounts of natural stimulant than any other plant found anywhere in the world. Its memory-enhancing benefits are due to its natural stimulant component being bound to tannins and vegetable proteins.
In addition to a unique, natural caffeine-like stimulant, guarana contains theophylline, theobromine, and tannic acid in significant amounts, which may contribute to its effectiveness. Guarana is also rich in saponins, which help to boost the immune system and ward off serious diseases, such as cancer – a beneficial side effect of using guarana to improve memory.
Research reveals how guarana seed extract improves memory
Numerous studies have shown that guarana seed extract appears to improve short-term memory. In one such study, subjects who were administered 75 mg of guarana extract exhibited improved scores on working memory tests for as long as 6 hours after taking the stimulant.
It is believed that guarana enabled the study’s subjects to focus more attentively and recall short-term information more readily. A 75-mg dosage of guarana extract contains only about 9 mg of caffeine as a stimulant, so the typical caffeine-related side effects are unlikely.
In 2007, a double-blind study by the Human Cognitive Neuroscience Unit using rats compared the behavioral effects of the animals following administration of guarana extract in three dosage groups: 37.5 mg, 75 mg, 150 mg, and 150 mg.
The results of the four-phase study showed that guarana improves memory retention as well as physical endurance compared with rats provided with a placebo. In fact, the two lower doses showed better cognitive improvement than the higher doses, suggesting that in the case of guarana extract supplements, less is more.
Improvements in memory, mood and alertness supported findings of an earlier study that looked at cognitive improvements following a 75 mg dose of guarana.
Besides being safer to consume, with fewer side effects, guarana has other advantages over caffeine. Because guarana is not water soluble, it is absorbed slowly, allowing its affects to continue for as long as 8 to 10 hours. Compare this with caffeine’s normal buzz, which typically lasts only 3 to 4 hours.
There are some precautions to consuming guarana seed extract
As a stimulant, guarana is known to increase blood pressure, so it is not a good choice for those with chronic high blood pressure issues. Likewise, if you are sensitive to caffeine or xanthines, you probably should not take a guarana extract supplement.
As with any other natural supplement or drug, it’s always best to consult a qualified medical professional before taking guarana – especially if you’re concerned about a particular health issue.
One final note: Along with improving memory and concentration, guarana has been credited with a host of other benefits ranging from weight loss to increased energy. And unlike caffeine, the effects are known to last longer without the usual side effects of stimulants like caffeine – which can often cause jitteriness.