Do Brain Supplements Actually Work? – Cleveland Clinic

β€˜β€™It enhances memory and improves focus.” These are only a few of the assertions you might see on the supplements that 25% of individuals over 50 take to maintain brain function. But are these supplements functional? Since the FDA doesn’t require manufacturers to demonstrate the supplements’ efficacy as long as they don’t make any claims regarding specific ailments, the situation is frequently murky. Here are some things that experts know and don’t know about some of these well-liked memory supplements.


Omega 3 is a common ingredient in the best supplements for memory for aging adults. A lower incidence of dementia has been associated with the traditional Mediterranean diet, which includes seafood rich in omega 3. But do omega-3 dietary supplements work? Large-scale investigations, including one supported by the National Institutes of Health, have yet to establish that. One possible exception: According to a 2017 review, those who have the APOE4 gene mutation, which is associated with Alzheimer’s, may benefit if they start taking the supplements early enough.

Vitamin B

The B vitamins B6, B12, and B9 (folic acid) contribute to the brain’s health. However, a supplement is unlikely to help unless you’re deficient in them or pregnant (folic acid is essential to prevent birth abnormalities). Ask your doctor if you are at high risk for Alzheimer’s. Ensure you eat food sources like leafy greens to maintain your mental sharpness.


L-theanine, a naturally occurring amino acid, can enhance mental performance, particularly when paired with caffeine. But most studies haven’t been comprehensive, including one in 2019 with 30 participants. Drinking green tea is a wise choice until more analysis is available: It naturally contains L-theanine, caffeine, and antioxidants that may also benefit your physical and mental health.

Vitamin E

This antioxidant fights off free radicals, which can harm brain cells. Although at least one study revealed that vitamin E supplements might help delay the progression of Alzheimer’s in those who already have the disease, major trials looking into whether they might prevent dementia haven’t shown remarkable results. For now, doctors advise that most healthy individuals stick to vitamin E sources like nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils.


Curcumin, an antioxidant in turmeric (a component of curry powder), has received much praise. Does it demonstrate why India has lower rates of Alzheimer’s disease? According to UCLA research, those who took curcumin performed better on memory tests and had less aberrant protein buildup in their brains. However, more research is required because this study only included 40 participants, and other studies have not produced the same findings.

Eat healthily

The majority of healthy people don’t require medications for memory. However, some supplements may be helpful in particular circumstances. You may maintain brain function as you age by eating a diet high in veggies, berries, whole grains, and fish (essential components of the MIND diet). Maintaining your health by staying physically active, getting enough sleep, managing any medical concerns, keeping your social network, and challenging your mind by continuing your education throughout your life can all have a significant impact. And the rest of your body will benefit from it!

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