One of the best herbs you can use to protect your brain as you age is Bacopa Monniera. Research has shown that Bacopa helps you to remember newly acquired information--people's names, reading material, a new musical instrument, etc. This is significant since this is usually the first aspect of memory to decline. Other research confirming this has added that "B. monniera significantly improved speed of visual information processing...learning rate and memory consolidation...and state anxiety compared to placebo, with maximal effects evident after 12 weeks." It appears that this herb works its magic by acting as a potent antioxidant in the brain. Brain oxidation (that's right, your brain "rusts") is one of the most common causes of cognitive decline as we age. The effects of Bacopa are so powerful, that it has been shown to protect the brain against the ravages of cigarette smoking! Recent research on rats supplemented with Bacopa has shown significant protection against amyloid formation--a change associated with Alzheimer's. You may remember from my omega-3 paper that omega-3 supplementation decreases the risk of Alzheimer's by 60%! I believe that this risk can be cut even more by supplementing with Bacopa. Bacopa is available at my office--and will soon be available in my online store!
Apathy, increased suicidal behavior, tics, libido problems, and Parkinson's-like symptoms have all been mentioned in the literature on side-effects of SSRI's--the class of antidepressants to which Prozac and Zoloft belong. Recent research shows that pregnant women taking SSRI's are more likely to have babies with low birth weight and respiratory distress. The study was published in the August Archives of General Neurology. I highly recommend 2 books on this subject; first, a book by Glenmullen called "Prozac Backlash"---Glenmullen is a Harvard Psychiatrist who has observed a disturbing prevalence of side-effects in SSRI users---second, a book called "The Omega-3 Connection" by Stoll--Stohl is also a Harvard Psychiatrist--his book details the research he has done with using omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil to treat depression. Ironically, omega-3 deficiency is a common cause of depression and is critical to infant brain development. Obviously not to address the deficiency of this critical nutrient in the mother will have adverse effects in the developing fetus. Fully 60% of the dry weigh of a newborn's brain is omega-3 fatty acids! I go more in-depth on the subject in my article "Omega 3/6 Balance", which can be found on my articles page.