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Blog / Health / Supplements for the Brain: What Works and What Doesn’t

Supplements for the Brain: What Works and What Doesn’t

Supplements for the Brain: What Works and What Doesn’t

It’s no secret that we want to keep our brains healthy and functioning at their best as we age. After all, it’s the control center for our entire body. And while there are many things we can do to keep our brains healthy - like eating a balanced diet, getting enough exercise, and avoiding stress - sometimes we need a little extra help. That’s where supplements come in. There are a lot of supplements out there claiming to be the best for brain health. But with so many options, it can be hard to know which ones are effective and which ones are just a waste of money. So, what supplements should you take for brain health? Let’s take a look at some of the most popular options and see what the science says.
 

Nootropics:

Nootropics are a type of supplement that is designed to improve cognitive function. This can include things like memory, focus, and attention. There are many different nootropics on the market, and they all claim to be the best for brain health. But do they work? These brain booster pills offer a variety of benefits. These benefits include:
  • Improved Memory: A study published in the journal Neurobiology of Learning and Memory found that taking a nootropic called piracetam helped improve memory and cognitive function in people with Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Enhanced Focus: One study showed that taking a nootropic called modafinil helped improve task performance and focus in people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
  • Reduced Stress: A study published in the journal Psychopharmacology found that taking a nootropic called ashwagandha helped reduce stress and anxiety in people with stress-related disorders.
The bottom line? Nootropics are a promising option for brain health, but more research is needed to confirm their effectiveness.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids:

Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of fat that is essential for good health. They can be found in fish, nuts, and seeds. Omega-3 fatty acids are also available in supplement form. These brain-boosting fats offer a variety of benefits, including:
  • Improved Memory: A study published in the journal Neurology found that people who took omega-3 supplements had better memory and cognitive function than those who did not.
  • Reduced Inflammation: A study published in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity found that omega-3 supplementation reduced inflammation in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Enhanced Mood: A review of studies concluded that omega-3 supplements can help improve mood in people with depression.
Omega-3 fatty acids are a good option for brain health. However, it’s important to note that they can interact with certain medications, so be sure to talk to your doctor before taking them.

Vitamin B12:

Vitamin B12 is one of the most important vitamins for the brain. It helps to produce myelin, which is a substance that covers and protects nerves. Myelin is essential for proper brain function. Vitamin B12 is found in animal foods, such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy products. It is also available in supplement form. Most people get enough vitamin B12 from their diet and don’t need to take a supplement. However, some people are at risk for vitamin B12 deficiency. This includes people with pernicious anemia, certain gastrointestinal disorders, and those who have had weight-loss surgery (gastric bypass). According to SFGate.com, vitamin B12 supplementation can improve cognitive function in people with deficiency. It can also help to improve mood and reduce stress.
  • Vitamin B12 is an important vitamin for brain health. However, most people get enough from their diet and don’t need to take a supplement. If you are at risk for a deficiency, then supplementation may be beneficial.

Folic Acid:

Folic acid is a type of B vitamin that is important for the development of the nervous system. It is found in leafy green vegetables, legumes, nuts, and fortified foods. Folic acid is also available in supplement form. Most people get enough folic acid from their diet and don’t need to take a supplement. However, some people are at risk for folic acid deficiency. This includes people with certain gastrointestinal disorders and those who have had weight-loss surgery (gastric bypass). Folic acid supplementation can improve cognitive function in people with deficiency. It can also help to reduce stress and anxiety.

Herbs and Supplements:

Many different herbs and supplements claim to be good for brain health. However, there is limited scientific evidence to support these claims. Some of the most popular herbs and supplements for brain health include:
  • Ginkgo Biloba: Ginkgo Biloba is an herb that has been used for centuries to treat a variety of ailments. It is thought to improve circulation and increase blood flow to the brain. There is some evidence to suggest that Ginkgo Biloba may help to improve cognitive function in people with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. However, more research is needed to confirm these findings.
  • Bacopa Monnieri: Bacopa Monnieri is an herb that has been used in traditional Indian medicine for centuries.
  • Huperzine A: Huperzine A is a compound found in the Chinese herb huperzia Serrata. It is thought to improve memory and cognitive function. Some studies have found that huperzine A can improve memory in healthy adults and those with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. However, more research is needed to confirm these findings.

Supplements That Don't Work:

Many supplements claim to be good for brain health, but there is no scientific evidence to support these claims. Some of the most popular supplements that don’t work include Acetyl-L-Carnitine which is an amino acid that is thought to improve energy production in cells. It is often promoted as a supplement that can improve cognitive function and memory. However, there is no scientific evidence to support these claims. Additionally, Vinpocetine is a compound found in the herb lesser periwinkle. It is thought to improve blood flow to the brain. However, there is no scientific evidence to support this claim.
Many supplements claim to be good for brain health, but there is limited scientific evidence to support these claims. Some of the most popular supplements, such as Ginkgo Biloba and Bacopa Monnieri, may have some benefits, but more research is needed. Many supplements don’t work, such as Acetyl-L-Carnitine and Vinpocetine. If you are considering taking a supplement for brain health, it is important to speak with your doctor first.

 

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