Brain Supplements: What Works & What to Avoid


Brain Supplements: What Works & What to Avoid


Take a Pill, Protect Your Memory? 

Have you noticed the bold claims like “sharpens focus” and “improves memory” on supplements being taken by 25% of adults over 50? Are these products reliable or effective? The truth is that it’s not always clear, as manufacturers are not required to prove their supplement effectiveness according to FDA regulations – so long as they don’t make assertions about specific diseases. However, experts have conducted research and gathered evidence regarding some popular items. Here’s what we do – and do NOT – know about them!

B Vitamins 

While B vitamins such as B6, B12, and folic acid can be beneficial for brain health in those with deficiencies or expecting mothers (folic acid is essential to prevent birth defects), supplementing them likely won’t offer any cognitive advantages. There’s inconclusive evidence at this point about the efficacy of using vitamin B supplements to boost mental acuity. It may be better for you to stick with natural food sources instead like leafy greens if you want a sharper mind! If you’re at high risk of Alzheimer’s disease, however, it would still be wise to consult your doctor about potentially taking these supplements.


Don’t even think about turning to caffeine pills or powders – the risks of an overdose far outweigh any potential benefits. Fortunately, you can still enjoy coffee guilt-free and reap its rewards! Coffee helps invigorate your system by blocking adenosine receptors in your brain; plus it might even be beneficial for cognitive functions. Just make sure not to drink too much as it may worsen sleep quality or cause jitteriness.


L-theanine, a naturally occurring amino acid, has been identified as having the potential to improve mental performance when used in tandem with caffeine. Even though there have only been small studies done on this topic such as one conducted in 2019 that included thirty participants – drinking green tea is still considered the safest option. Not just due to its natural amalgamation of L-theanine and caffeine but also because it contains antioxidants capable of providing multiple benefits for your health both physically and mentally.


The Mediterranean diet, filled with omega 3-rich fish and other nutrient dense foods, has been linked to a decrease in dementia risk. But what about taking omega-3 supplements? While large studies haven’t demonstrated the effectiveness of these supplements yet, there may be an exception: those who possess the APOE4 gene mutation that’s associated with Alzheimer’s might benefit from consuming them early on according to a 2017 review.

Vitamin E 

Packed with antioxidants, Vitamin E is thought to ward off free radicals that can damage brain cells. However, studies have not been able to definitively prove its role in preventing dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. For now it may be best for most people to focus on natural food sources of Vitamin E such as nuts, seeds and vegetable oils if you are looking for health benefits from this vitamin.

Ginkgo Biloba 

Despite the fact that Ginkgo is a staple of traditional Chinese medicine, modern research has found it’s unlikely to protect your memory. Although some studies have proposed certain benefits from its use, more comprehensive and well-designed trials – such as the Ginkgo Evaluation Memory study with 3,000 elderly participants – showed no evidence that ginkgo prevents or slows down dementia.


While often used in combination with ginkgo, Ginseng has become a widely accepted supplement that originates from Asia. Research had initially suggested that Ginseng could potentially boost brain performance yet subsequent inquiries into the highest-quality trials found that there was “no convincing evidence” to support this claim.


Could turmeric’s active ingredient, curcumin, be the explanation behind India’s lower rates of Alzheimer’s? A recent UCLA study involving 40 people discovered that those who ingested curcumin exhibited improved results in memory tests and displayed fewer abnormal proteins in their brains. Although not all studies have been able to replicate these results yet, further research is essential if we are to unlock its full potential.


In Europe, CDP-choline is not available as a nutritional supplement but rather requires prescription. Researchers concluded after reviewing 14 experiments that this product can notably improve memory in individuals who have difficulty recalling past events; however, whether it prevents age related deterioration of the mind for healthy people has yet to be determined and should always warrant consultation with your physician before consuming.

What About Combos? 

It’s important to remember that some memory supplements are sold in combinations, which can be difficult to analyze and could have potential risks. Not only may these types of supplements cause side effects, but they might also interact with other medications you’re already taking or considering. To keep yourself safe from harm, it is essential to speak with your doctor or pharmacist regarding any drugs or health products – including nutritional supplements – that you would like to take for improved cognitive abilities.

Food First 

Eating a balanced diet, full of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and fish—known as the MIND Diet—is an excellent way to maintain cognitive health. It’s also essential to stay physically active through exercise, get adequate sleep every night (at least 7-8 hours), take care of any chronic illnesses one may have, remain socially connected with friends or family members regularly, and learn something new on a daily basis. All these activities not only support brain health but are beneficial for your overall wellbeing! Additionally while supplements can be helpful in some situations they’re typically not necessary when you follow this lifestyle plan.