Why you shouldn’t bother with memory or brain health supplements (Consumer Reports):
“The signs of memory loss can be bewildering and scary: misplaced keys, a forgotten street name, that task you suddenly can’t remember. It’s no wonder that, according to the Nutrition Business Journal, sales of supplements touted as memory boosters nearly doubled between 2006 and 2015.
But according to a review of studies published in December, there’s virtually no good evidence that such products can prevent or delay memory lapses, mild cognitive impairment or dementia in older adults … A 2017 Government Accountability Office report analyzed hundreds of ads promoting memory-enhancing supplements online and identified 27 making what seemed to be illegal claims about treating or preventing diseases such as dementia.
But even legal claims that suggest supplements will improve, boost or enhance your memory “don’t have to have any data to justify them,” says Lon Schneider, a professor of psychiatry and the behavioral sciences at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California. (“Dietary supplements cannot cure, mitigate, treat, or prevent Alzheimer’s, dementia, or any disease,” said a statement from the Council on Responsible Nutrition, an industry group, responding to the GAO report.)
Supplements are also loosely regulated, and some may even contain undisclosed ingredients or prescription drugs. Many interact (sometimes dangerously) with medications: Ginkgo biloba, for example, should never be paired with blood thinners, blood pressure meds or SSRI antidepressants.”
News in Context
Question: Do “brain supplements” work?
Answer: Unless directed to address an identified deficiency, growing evidence shows that supplements do not seem to bring any sustained cognitive or brain benefits.
Keep reading 20 Must-Know Facts To Harness Neuroplasticity And Improve Brain Health. To learn more:
- How learning changes your brain
- What are cognitive abilities and how to boost them?
- Solving the Brain Fitness Puzzle Is the Key to Self-Empowered Aging
- Six tips to build resilience and prevent brain-damaging stress
- AARP, TINA.org and the National Consumers League join forces to challenge Prevagen memory improvement claims